Centre eases rules to operate drones

Fri 27 Aug 2021, 11:45:36
New Delhi: 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 Drone Rules, 2021 supersede the Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Rules, 2021, which had come into force on March 12.

The fee, according to the new rules, has been reduced to nominal levels and de-linked from the size of the drone. The rules have also abolished the requirement of various approvals, including certificate of conformance, certificate of maintenance, import clearance, acceptance of existing drones, operator permit, authorisation of R&D organisation and student remote pilot licence.

Other approvals such as unique authorisation number, unique prototype identification number and certificate of manufacturing and airworthiness have also been abolished, according to Drone Rules, 2021.

No flight permission will be required for up to 400 feet in ‘green zones’ and up to 200 feet in the area between 8 and 12 km from the airport perimeter, the new rules stated.

‘Green zones’ are the airspace up to a vertical distance of

400 feet that have not been designated as red zone or yellow zone in the airspace map. An interactive airspace map with green, yellow and red zones shall be displayed on the digital sky platform within 30 days of publication of these new rules.

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. It also says that 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 this certification and 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.

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