India’s new drone rules
Polity & Governance
1st Sep, 2021
- The central government has notified the Drone Rules 2021, a much more liberalized regime for unmanned aircraft systems than what existed previously.
What is in the new rules?
- Several requirements and approvals have been abolished and this isexpected to make drone operations simpler for civilian drone operators.
- The total number of forms that were to be filled has been reducedfrom 25 to five.
- The total number of fees that are to be paid before being able tooperate drones has been reduced from 72to just four.
- The various approvals that were required, such as
- Unique authorization number
- Unique prototype identification number
- Certificate of manufacturing
- Airworthiness, certificate of conformance, certificate ofmaintenance, import clearance, acceptance of existing drones, operator permit,authorization of R&D organization, student remote pilot licence, remotepilot instructor authorisation, and drone port authorization etc have been abolished.
- The quantum of fees, which was earlier linked to the size ofdrones, has been reduced and delinked from the size.
- For example, the remote pilot license fee, which was Rs 3,000 for a large sizedrone, has been reduced to Rs 100 — which is the fee for all categories ofdrones.
Other various relaxations
- The yellow zone, which was earlier a 45 km zone from the airport perimeter, has now been reduced to a 12 km zone, meaning that outside of a 12 km radius of an airport perimeter, it would be a green zone, where drone operators no longer need permission to fly.
- It has been specified that coverage of drones has increased from 300 kilograms to 500 kilograms to include heavy payload-carrying drones and drone taxis.
Significance of the new rules:
- It highlights the government’s intent to allow the use of drones while at the same time ensuring security from rogue drones through the anti-rogue drone framework that was announced in 2019.
- The rules are based on the premise of trust and self-certification.
- The 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.