The Ministry of Civil Aviation on Thursday (August 26) passed a new drone policy under the Drone Rules 2021. These rules are the latest progressive which will transform the Indian landscape for drones.
It replaces the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Rules 2021 which had come into force on March 12 this year. The move comes after a number of suspicious drones were reported recently in the Union Terrorism of Jammu and Kashmir posing a security threat over India.
The New Drone Rules were announced by the Government on July 15, 2021, and the comments were invited from the industry and the stakeholders till August 5.
Prime Minister Modi said via Twitter that new rules will help the working youth and start-ups in the sector. It will provide opportunities for entrepreneurs with innovation.
Under the new Drone Rules, 2021 security clearance before any registration or licence issuance has been removed which was mandatory earlier.
Drone Rules, 2021:
- Under the new policy several approvals have been abolished which include unique authorisation number, unique prototype identification number, certificate of manufacturing and airworthiness, certificate of conformance, certificate of maintenance, import clearance, acceptance of existing drones, operator permits, authorisation of R&D organisation, student remote pilot licence, remote pilot instructor authorisation, drone port authorisation etc.
2. Security clearance before any registration or licence issuance has been removed which was mandatory earlier.
3. Coverage of drones under Drone Rules, 2021 increased from 300 kg to 500 kg to include heavy payload-carrying drones and drone taxis.
4. As per the new Drone rules, the fees for the permissions to operate drones in the country have been reduced to nominal levels.
5. Number of forms/permissions reduced from 25 to 5.
6. Digital sky platform shall be developed as a user-friendly single-window system.
7. Drones can fly in the green zone without permission.
8. Yellow zone is reduced from 45 km to 12 km from the airport perimeter.
9. No remote pilot licence is required for micro drones (for non-commercial use) and nano drones.
10. No requirement of Type Certificate, unique identification number and remote pilot licence by R&D entities operating drones in own or rented premises, located in a green zone.
11. No restriction on foreign ownership in Indian drone companies.
12. Import of drones to be regulated by DGFT.
13. Requirement of import clearance from DGCA abolished.
14. DGCA shall prescribe drone training requirements, oversee drone schools and provide pilot licences online.
15. Remote pilot licence to be issued by DGCA within 15 days of the pilot receiving the remote pilot certificate from the authorised drone school through the digital sky platform.
16. Testing of drones for issuance of Type Certificate to be carried out by Quality Council of India or authorised testing entities. Type Certificate required only when a drone is to be operated in India. Importing and manufacturing drones purely for exports are exempt from type certification and unique identification numbers.
17. Interactive airspace map with green, yellow and red zones shall be displayed on the digital sky platform within 30 days of publication of these rules.
18. Nano and model drones (made for research or recreation purposes) are exempt from type certification.
19. Manufacturers and importers may generate their drones’ unique identification number on the digital sky platform through the self-certification route.
20. The easier process specified for transfer and deregistration of drones through the digital sky platform.
21. Drones present in India on or before 30 Nov 2021 will be issued a unique identification number through the digital sky platform provided, they have a DAN, a GST-paid invoice and are part of the list of DGCA-approved drones.
22. Standard operating procedures (SOP) and training procedure manuals (TPM) will be prescribed by DGCA on the digital sky platform for self-monitoring by users. No approvals are required unless there is a significant departure from the prescribed procedures.
23. Maximum penalty for violations reduced to INR 1 lakh.
24. Safety and security features like ‘No permission – no takeoff’ (NPNT), real-time tracking beacon, geo-fencing etc. to be notified in future. A six-month lead time will be provided to the industry for compliance.
25. Drone corridors will be developed for cargo deliveries.
26. Drone promotion council to be set up by Government with participation from academia, startups and other stakeholders to facilitate a growth-oriented regulatory regime.
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