22 Dec

The Ministry of Civil Aviation released the Drone Rules 2021 on 26th August. Taking into account, the humongous growth of drone industry in India, the ministry had allowed certain relaxations, hence liberalizing the exiting drone policies that will surely pave way for a promising future ahead. 

"The new Drone Rules will tremendously help start-ups and our youth working in this sector. It will open up new possibilities for innovation & business. It will help leverage India’s strengths in innovation, technology & engineering to make India a drone hub." - Shri Narendra Modi 

The key features of these rules include- 

      - No need of security clearance 

      - Carriage of arms has been strictly prohibited 

      - Reduction in Penalty 

      - Reduction of the coverage of all up UAVs from 300kg to 500kg 

      - Use of heavy payload-carrying drones in the logistics and transportation sectors. 

      - Development of Drone corridors for cargo deliveries 

      - Initiation of an Unmanned Aircraft Systems Promotion Council in order to facilitate a business- friendly regulatory regime. 

According to the new rules, no security clearance will be required before any registration or the issuance of license for drones. Even the number of forms have been reduced from 25 to just 5. The laws have also disregarded the requirement of pilot license for operating nano drones & micro drones being used for commercial purpose.  

No type certificate, Unique Identification Number, remote pilot license or even permission prior to usage will be required. Instead, The Director General or any entity authorized by it, recommended by the Quality Council of India will be issuing a type certificate for drones, to be used everywhere. 

The import of drones will be now regulated by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade imposing no restriction on foreign ownership in Indian drone companies. 

Manufacturers and importers will be able to generate their drone’s UIN on Digital Sky Platform through self-certification route whereas the drones purely manufactured for exports are have now been exempted from type-clarification and Unique Identification Number. 

The online registration of all drones will be mediated by the Digital Sky Platform, also allowing the drones already existing in the country, to get regularized. 

The Digital Sky Platform will also have an interactive airspace map displaying green, yellow and red zones. As enlisted in the rules, a remote pilot license holder enlisted on the Digital Sky Platform will only be allowed to operate a drone. 

The training and assessment will be conducted by a Government Authorized Drone School only. And the training requirements and license for the pilots will be prescribed by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation. 

Another law states that, no permission will be required for operating a drone in Green zones and upto 200 feet within 8-12 km of Airport perimeter.  

Some of the approvals abolished under the new rules are - 

      - Unique authorization number 

      - Unique prototype identification number 

      - Certificate of Conformance 

      - Certificate of Maintenance 

      - Operator permits  

      - Authorization of Research and Development Organisation 

      - Authorization of Remote pilot instructor  

The new laws have strictly prohibited the carriage of arms, ammunition and military stores - ‘No person shall carry dangerous goods on unmanned aircraft unless such operation is in compliance with the Aircraft (Carriage of Dangerous Goods) Rules, 2003’ 

The maximum penalty under Drone Rules, 2021 has been reduced to Rs. 1 lakh. This shall, however, not apply to penalties in respect of violation of other laws. Any accident involving drones must be reported within 48 hours. 

With the release of the new rules, the ministry as well as the people involved in the drone industry are quite hopeful that it will open up new dimensions of progress in the world of Drones.  

Lets see what the future has in store! 

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