The Drone Rules, 2021, reduces the number of forms and permissions required to be submitted by drone manufacturers and operators from 25 to just five. They also remove the requirement of security clearances for registration and licence issuance.
The central government on Thursday officially notified the national drone policy, the draft for which was seen by HT last month. The Drone Rules 2021 make it significantly easier for people and companies in the country to now own and operate drones since under the new drone policy, no security clearance is required before registration of license issuance.
Here’s all you need to know about the Drone Rules 2021 announced by the Union ministry of civil aviation on Thursday:
1. Under the new rules, coverage of drones has been increased from 300kg to 500kg, now including heavy payload-carrying drones and drone taxis.
2. No security clearance is required before any registration or license issuance for drones. The requisite fees for permissions have also been reduced to nominal levels.
3. Several approvals have been abolished, including the unique authorisation number, the unique prototype identification number, the certificate of conformance, the certificate of maintenance, the operator permits, the authorisation of the R&D organisation, and remote pilot instructor authorisation, among others.
4. Under the new national drone policy, the maximum penalty for violating rules has been reduced to ₹1 lakh, and even that is not applicable for penalties imposed for violation of other laws.
5. A Unmanned Aircraft Systems Promotion Council is to be set up to facilitate a business-friendly regulatory regime, according to the new drone policy.
6. The import of drones will be regulated by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT). Drone corridors will also be developed for cargo deliveries, the new rules dictate.
7. Interactive airspace map with green, yellow, and red zones will be displayed on the digital sky platform. The yellow zone has been reduced from 45km to 12km from the airport perimeter. No permission is required for operating a drone in the green zone and up to 200 feet in the area between 8km-12km from the airport perimeter.
8 . Online registration of all zones shall occur through the Digital Sky platform, with an easy process prescribed for the transfer and deregistration of drones.
9 . The new drone policy aims to provide for the regularisation of the existing drones in India. All drone training and examination will be carried out by an authorised drone school. The DGCA shall prescribe training requirements, oversee drone schools, and provide pilot licenses online.
10 . Safety features like ‘No permission – no take-off (NPNT)’ real-time tracking beacon, geo-fencing, and the like shall be notified in the future, the policy notes. A minimum six-month lead time will be provided for compliance.
Aviation ministry passes Drone Rules,
The government had announced the new drone rules on July 15 and invited comments from stakeholders and the industry till August 5. The new rules were lauded by stakeholders for simplifying procedures and reducing the compliance burden to operate a drone in India.
The need for rehashing the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Rules 2021 issued just four months ago after lengthy consultations with stakeholders possibly reflects the drone community’s disappointment with the older rules that threatened to drown the drones with over-regulation.
Under the Drone Rules 2021, the government has reduced the fee to operate a drone to nominal levels and de-linked from the size of the drone, the government said in a statement on August 25.