Thursday, 28 October 2021

New Drones rules in India

New Drones rules in India

On Thursday government notified the Drone Rules 2021, intending to liberalize the strict regime for civilian drone operations that it had established in the year 2018 when these drones were allowed for the first time in India.

The regulations notified by Civil Aviation Ministry have lowered entry hurdles. It includes cutting the number of registration forms to be filled to 25 from five and the number of fees payable to 72 from four and making it simple for an operator to start using drones in India.

However, the restrictions on operation "beyond visual line-of-sight" (BVLOS) in sizable industry interest and commercial operation potential have not been lifted.

The government put the draft liberalized drone Rules for consultations last month, after the week's drone attack in Jammu on the Indian Air Force station.

Prime Minister Modi said in a tweet.

"The new Drone Rules guided in a landmark moment for the sector in India. The rules are based on belief of self-certification and trust. Approvals, agreement requirements and entry hurdle have been remarkably reduced,"

He said

"The new Drone Rules will enormously help our youth and start-ups working in the sector. It will open up new possibilities for business & innovation. It will help hold India's strengths in innovation, technology & engineering to make India a drone hub,".

The central government has now said that safety features like 'no permission, no take-off,' real-time tracking radar, and geo-fencing, etc., would be notified in the future with a minimum six-month lead time for an agreement.

New Drones rules in India 1pixabay image

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On Thursday, the Rules notified have done away with the cutting down of approvals required under the previous government, such as having a unique authorization number, unique prototype identification number, certificate of manufacturing and airworthiness, maintenance, and conformance, import clearance, operator permits.

Fees have been reducing and delinked from the size of the drone. For example, the remote pilot license fee, which used to be 3,000 Rs for a large drone, has been reducing to Rs 100 for all categories of drones.

BVLOS operations are, however, still not free. Tech companies, especially those involved in delivering goods, have said allowing BVLOS operations could surge drone use covering the whole nation.

The approval requires for security agencies before registration or license could be issued been done away with with the New Rules implemented.

The Ministry says that the Digital Sky platform envisaged earlier would be developed for single-window clearance of all requirements. An interactive airspace map displayed on the forum will show green, red, and yellow zones to carry drone operators where they can or cannot fly their aircraft.

Norms have been liberalized within zones as well. The yellow zone now extends only to 12 km from the airport's perimeter, reduced from 45 km in an earlier rule. Beyond 12 km, it will be a green zone, where no permissions are now needed to fly.

Countries that allow civilian drone operations typically have no-fly zones around important security establishments, VVIP areas, airports, and other areas of strategic importance. In some of these areas, drones can be operating with prior permission. Such zones were ordering in the 2018 regulations, and several industry operators complained they were highly restrictive.