Drone Draft Drone Rules (Policy) Explained; Here’s All You Need to Know About India’s Drone Rules | You will also be able to fly a drone lighter than 250 grams, no registration required; Drones will fly with goods in Green, Yellow and Red zones in the sky
Drones are coming. From the delivery of medicines and goods to the construction of highways, they will help in the survey of laying railway lines. We have been hearing this for so many years. But now it is about to become a reality. Last week, the central government issued Drone Rules 2021. Suggestions have been sought on these by August 5. Under the new rules, nano drones up to 250 grams will not require registration. This will create three zones in the sky for large drones.
Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia has shared the features of the new policy on social media. It is claimed that the next Big Tech revolution is about to come because of drones around the world. Startups in India will also be able to ride this new wave and complete operations with less cost, resources and time.
What is Drone Policy? What will happen with the drone? Where and how will you fly? To know all this, we did a policy study. Spoke to Ankit Kumar, Managing Partner, Alternate Global India (AGI) to present the important things related to this policy in simple words. Let us understand in his words what and how the Draft Drone Rules 2021 are going to change in the coming times…
How did the new drone policy take so long?
On June 27, there was a drone attack on the Jammu airbase. It was the fear of such an attack, which stuck with our drone policy. In 2014, instead of bringing regulation for fear of misuse, there was a policy level ban on drones. But illegal private import and misuse of drones increased and by 2018 5-6 lakh drones came to India illegally.
In 2018, the government tried regulation for drones for the first time. Drones began to be registered. But there were no concrete measures at the policy level. Because of this, the Drone Rules 2021 were issued on 12 March 2021. This rule was not liked by the industry and other stakeholders. Because of this, the matter did not work out. Meanwhile, separate trials for the delivery of medicines and other goods by drones have also started in Telangana and Karnataka.
Due to this delay, India has been left far behind in the global drone market. Now if it picks up pace, by 2025-26 it will reach 13 thousand crore rupees ($1.8 billion). That is, it will catch an annual pace of 14.61%. But only 3% will remain in the world market, which would have reached Rs 4.75 lakh crore ($ 63.6 billion). According to an estimate by Ernst & Young, India’s drone market will be worth Rs 3 lakh crore by 2030.
What is the arrangement for drones in the new policy?
In the new policy, the drone is also like any vehicle. A digital sky platform is being built, which will work for registration of drones, issuance of Unique Identification Number (UIN) and route determination. This system is exactly like RTO, which issues your vehicle number. issues a permit to him. It also issues the route of the roads.
The Digital Sky platform itself will provide the drone technology framework, such as NPNT (No Permission, No Take-Off), flight permissions, and effectively manage the operation and traffic of the drone. Along with the RTO, the responsibility of this platform will also be with the traffic police.
Many approvals have been done away with. Forms have also been reduced from 25 to 5. The coverage of the drone has been increased from 300 kg to 500 kg. Fees have been reduced at several levels. Penalty up to Rs 1 lakh has been imposed for violation of basic rules. No security clearance will be required before registration or issuance of license.
Several other private companies including Indian Railways, National Highway Authority of India are also running pilot projects on the commercial use of drones. These projects will help the government for the data it needs to implement the drone policy.
How will the Digital Sky Platform work?
This platform will act as a unified platform for the users of aviation regulator DGCA. Mandatory registration number and remote pilot license will be issued from here. Manufacturers and importers will have to obtain the unique identification number of the drone.
Transfer and de-registration of drones has become easier under the new policy. That is, if someone wants to sell their old drone, then the transfer will be done easily. Similarly, if the drone has become unusable, it can be de-registered.
Pilot license will not be required to operate micro drones (for non-commercial purposes). Similarly, there will be no pilot license for nano drones and research and development. Its monitoring will also be done from the digital sky platform itself.
How will the route of the drone be decided?
An interactive airspace map with green, yellow and red zones will be created on the digital sky platform. That is, the sky of India will be divided into three zones. The green zone will be 400 feet above the ground, the yellow zone will be 200 feet above and along with it there will be red (no-go area) zones.
Pilots may need permission from the Air Traffic Control Authority and other agencies to fly drones in the Yellow and Red Zones. The radius of the Yellow Zone was kept 45 km away from the airport, which has been reduced to 12 km. There will be no permission for flights in the Green Zone.
Why is the market so excited about the drone rules?
The new rules are based on self-certification. That is, all the responsibility related to the drone will be of its owners. Government intervention will be minimal. The process is simple to make doing business easy. Reducing the number of forms and fines is an important initiative in this episode.
These rules will make it easier for companies, startups and individuals to buy and operate drones. Certification is easy for Drone Makers, Drone Importers, Users and Operators. The rules emphasize on self-regulation and try to create an environment of trust. The new policy will also open the way for drone taxis. Cargo service will create a dedicated corridor for delivery.
The central government hopes that the new rules will increase the sale of drones. India will emerge as a big market for drones. The Drone Federation of India has also said that the Drone Rules will help the country’s drone market grow rapidly in the coming years.
When will the Drone Policy come into force?
Hard to say at the moment. The Central Government had issued Drone Rules 2021 in March, which came on 12 March. But after the objections of the stakeholders including the industry, major changes have been made in it. The Center has re-drafted the Drone Policy under the Aircraft Act 1934. Suggestions and objections have been sought on this draft till August 5.
If you have any suggestions or objections you can send them to Kameshwar Mishra, Ministry of Civil Aviation, B Block, Rajiv Gandhi Bhawan, New Delhi 110003 or firstname.lastname@example.org. It has to be written in the subject line – “Suggestions for draft Drone Rules, 2021” and it has to be done before 5th August.
What are the challenges faced by Drone Rules?
If India wants to become a global manufacturing hub of drones, more clarity will be needed on the timeline for permission to operate commercial drones. The timeline for the creation of the new Drone Corridor to the Drone Promotion Council has not been given.
Policy clarity on what the taxation on drones will be will have to wait. The industry has told the government that domestic capital, technology and skills are needed to attract and encourage foreign investment to accelerate growth in the sector.
Another major issue for the Indian drone market is the import of drone components. At present, many drones are being imported or assembled in India. Foreign components are being used in them. Like automotive or consumer durables, there will have to be a domestic supply chain of drones.