New rules for drone operation notified
GS Paper - 3 (Defence)
The Ministry of Civil Aviation has eased the rules regarding drone operations in the country by reducing the number of forms that need to be filled to operate them from 25 to 5 and decreasing the types of fees charged from the operator from 72 to 4. The rules are based on the premise of trust and self-certification. Approvals, compliance requirements and entry barriers have been significantly reduced.
- The Drone Rules, 2021, were issued on 25 August 2021. They supersede the Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Rules, 2021, which had come into force on 12 March 2021. The new rules will tremendously help start-ups and youth working in this sector.
- It will help leverage India's strengths in innovation, technology and engineering to make India a drone hub.
- The Drone Rules, 2021, have also prescribed easier process for transfer and deregistration of drones.
- No pilot licence will be required for micro drones (for non-commercial use) and nano drones, the rules mentioned, adding that the maximum penalty for violations have been reduced to Rs 1 lakh.
- According to the new rules, the type certificate and unique identification number will be required only when a drone is to be operated in India.
- If a drone is being imported or manufactured only for export purposes, it will be exempted from type certification and the requirement of unique identification number.
- Drone corridors will be developed for cargo deliveries and a drone promotion council will be set up to facilitate drone-friendly regulatory regime in the country, according to the draft rules.
- The rules also stated that there would be no restriction on drone operations by foreign-owned companies registered in India.
- Digital sky platform will be developed as a business-friendly single-window online system, the new rules mentioned.
- It (new drone rules) will also provide a launchpad to our startups who are ready to lead this revolution from the front.
- Drone here means an unmanned aircraft system which has been categorised into five: Nano (weighing less than or equal to 250 grams), Micro (weighing more than 250 grams, but less than or equal to 2 kilograms), Small (weighing more than 2 kilograms, but less than or equal to 25 kilograms), Medium (weighing more than 25 kilograms, but less than or equal to 150 kilograms) and Large weighing more than 150 kilograms).
- The rules define ‘green zone’ as airspace of up to a vertical distance of 200 feet or 60 metres above the area between a lateral distance of 8 kilometres and 12 kilometres from the perimeter of an operational airport. For other regions, the vertical space could be 400 feet or 120 metres.
- The airspace above 400 feet or 120 metre in the designated green zone and the airspace above 200 feet or 60 metre in the area located between the lateral distance of 8 kilometre and 12 kilometres from the perimeter of an operational airport will be designated as ‘yellow zone’.
- ‘Red zone’ means the airspace of defined dimensions above India’s land areas or territorial waters, or any installation or notified port limits specified by the Central Government beyond the territorial waters of India. Here unmanned aircraft system operations will be permitted only by the Central Government.