The new drone policy is released by the Centre government on Thursday, August 26. Under the Drone Rules 2021, the coverage of drones has increased from 300 kg to 500 kg to include heavy payload-carrying drones & drone taxis. Besides, no security clearance is required before any registration or license issuance. In March 2021, the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) had published the UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems) Rules, 2021.
Features of Drone Rules 2021
- The Civil Aviation Ministry said in a statement that several approvals are abolished including unique authorization number, unique prototype identification number, certificate of manufacturing and airworthiness, certificate of conformance, certificate of maintenance, import clearance, and more.
- The Quantum of the fee is reduced to nominal levels and delinked with the size of the drone.
- Number of forms and types of fees have been reduced from 25 to 5 and 72 to 4 respectively.
- According to the Civil Aviation Ministry, the digital sky platform shall be developed as a user-friendly single-window system.
- Within 30 days of publication of these rules, an interactive airspace map with green, yellow, and red zones shall be displayed on the digital sky platform.
- No permission is required for operating drones in green zones, which means the airspace up to a vertical distance of 400 feet.
- To fly micro drones and nano drones, no remote pilot licence is required.
- DGFT (Directorate General of Foreign Trade) will regulate the import of drones. While the import clearance from DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) is abolished. But DGCA will prescribe drone training requirements, oversee drone schools and provide pilot licences online.
- Drones present in India on or before November 30, 2021, will be issued a unique identification number through the digital sky platform provided, they have a DAN, a GST-paid invoice and are part of the list of DGCA-approved drones.
- Few safety and security features will be notified in the future such as 'No permission – no takeoff’ (NPNT), real-time tracking beacon, geo-fencing and more.
- The government with participation from academia, startups and other stakeholders will set up a drone promotion council to facilitate a growth-oriented regulatory regime.
- The statement by the union aviation ministry has said that there will be minimal human interface and most permissions will be self-generated.
(Image credit: UNSPALSH)