New Delhi: Government notified drone rules on Thursday and as expected several approvals have been abolished and processes made easier; number of forms reduced from 25 to 5. Moreover, coverage of drones increased from 300 kg to 500 kg; and fee has been reduced to nominal levels.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) – under whose ambit the regulation falls – has incorporated the final changes in the rules, as sought by the industry and other government agencies.

ET reported on July 15 that MoCA had given the public time until August 5 to submit their suggestions and objections to the draft rules, and was planning to notify them by August 15.

Key takeaways from Drone Rules, 2021 include:

  • Approvals abolished: unique authorisation number, unique prototype identification number, certificate of conformance, certificate of maintenance, operator permit, authorisation of R&D organisation, student remote pilot licence, remote pilot instructor authorisation, drone port authorisation, import permission for drone components.
  • Coverage of drones under Drone Rules, 2021 increased from 300 kg to 500 kg to include heavy payload-carrying drones and drone taxis.
  • Number of forms/permissions reduced from 25 to 5.
  • No security clearance required before any registration or licence issuance.
  • Fees for permissions reduced to nominal levels.
  • Maximum penalty under Drone Rules, 2021 reduced to INR 1 lakh. This shall, however, not apply to penalties in respect of violation of other laws.
  • Interactive airspace map with green, yellow, and red zones will be displayed on the digital sky platform.
  • Yellow zone reduced from 45 km to 12 km from the airport perimeter.
  • No permission required for operating a drone in green zones and upto 200 feet in the area between 8 and 12 km from the airport perimeter.
  • Online registration of all drones shall happen through the Digital Sky Platform.
  • Easy process prescribed for transfer and deregistration of drones.
  • An easy opportunity provided for regularisation of existing drones in the country.
  • No pilot licence required for operating nano drones and micro drones for non-commercial use.
  • Safety features like ‘No permission – no take-off’ (NPNT), real-time tracking beacon, geo-fencing etc. to be notified in future. A minimum six-month lead time will be provided for compliance.
  • All drone training and examination to be carried out by an authorised drone school. DGCA shall prescribe training requirements, oversee drone schools and provide pilot licences online.
  • Type Certification of drones delegated to Quality Council of India and certification entities authorised by it.
  • No requirement of type certificate, unique identification number, prior permission and remote pilot licence for R&D entities.
  • Import of drones to be regulated by DGFT.
  • Drone corridors will be developed for cargo deliveries.
  • Unmanned Aircraft Systems Promotion Council to be set up to facilitate a business-friendly regulatory regime. (Agencies)


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