New Delhi: The Ministry of Civil Aviation has tightened the rules regarding drone operations in the country by reducing the number of forms that have to be filled in to reduce it from 25 to 5 and reducing the type of fees the operator charges from 72 to 4.
The Drone Rules, 2021, replaces the rules of the Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS), 2021, which went into effect on 12 March.
Under the new rules, the fee was reduced to nominal levels and decoupled from the size of the drone. The rules also abolished the requirement of various approvals, including certificate of conformity, certificate of maintenance, import clearance, acceptance of existing drones, operator permit, authorization of R&D organization and pilot license for students.
Other approvals such as unique authorization number, unique prototype identification number and manufacturing certificate and airworthiness have also been abolished, according to Drone Rules, 2021.
No flight permit is 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’s perimeter, the new rules state.
‘Green zones’ are the airspace up to a vertical distance of 400 feet which is not indicated as red or yellow zone in the airspace map. An interactive aerospace map with green, yellow and red areas will appear on the digital aerial platform within 30 days of publication of these new rules.
The Drone Rules, 2021, also prescribed an easier process for the transfer and deregistration of drones. No pilot license is required for micro-drones (for non-commercial use) and nano-drones. It also says that the type certificate and unique identification number are only required if a drone is to be used in India. If a drone is imported or manufactured for export purposes only, it is exempt from this certification and number.
Drone passages 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 state that there is no restriction on drone operations by foreign-owned companies registered in India. The new rules state that the digital cloud platform will be developed as a business-friendly single-window online system.
‘New policies will drive innovation’
By Sruti Venugopal
Hyderabad startup and experts working in the drone space welcomed the new rules with open arms, saying it would drive change and grow a hockey stick for the drone industry.
Marut Dronetech’s co-founder and CEO, prem Kumar Vislawath, appreciates the relaxed rules for drone operations in the country, saying: ‘These new rules are based on trust, self-certification and non-intrusive monitoring. India is on the verge of becoming one of the largest markets for drones with various projects such as Telangana’s Medicine from the Sky, Seedcopter, SVAMITVA Yojana (surveying and mapping of towns with improvised technology) and Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojan. Drones will play a major role in achieving these projects. ”
He added that the new rules were a ‘fearless decision to liberalize drone policy’, even after sympathizing with multiple rogue incidents near the northern borders of the country.
‘The issuance of these rules marks a new era in the Indian drone ecosystem with a market potential of 50 million crore and which could create 5,00,000 professional jobs in the next 5 years. The regulations, which cover drones up to 500 kg, provide opportunities for indigenous manufacturing of delivery drones and drones that are preparing India for the future, ‘he said.
The establishment of the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Promotion Council, which includes industry and academia, shows that the government recognizes drone technology as a technology of national importance, he added.
“Drone policy is a major step in building the future of unmanned vehicles and drone experiments, allowing new businesses to innovate in many industry segments – unmanned aerial mobility, retail, first aid, safety / security and surveillance and logistics,” tweeted Karthikeyan (Karthik) Natarajan, CEO and CEO, Cyient, and member of Nasscom’s executive board.
Source: Telangana Today