This article is written by – Abhishree Paradkar, Symbiosis Law School, Pune
It was a situation of threat to national security when two enemy drones, on 27th June attacked the Indian Air Force Base that was in Jammu. After this unfortunate event, it was expected that a complete ban on commercial drones would take place. However, instead of following the said prediction, the ministry of Civil Aviation released a Draft Drone Rules, 2021, which aimed to liberalize the drone industry in India. These rules act as a welcome move for the drone industry which is now being used in myriad ways, including development activities.
In 2018, the government legalized flying drones under restricted conditions. In March, bureaucratically controlled Unmanned Aircraft System Rules, 2021 were released. However, the MCA recognized that the drone industry expressed displeasure over these rules which supported a license Raj. MCA then released the new set of draft rules which are not only revolutionary, but also positively support the ease of doing business in the drone sector.
OVERVIEW OF THE DRAFT DRONE RULES, 2021
According to the press release by the MCA, these new sets of regulatory rules are based on the principles of “trust, self-certification and non-intrusive monitoring”.
- These new rules lay down the process of registration that will now require only 6 forms instead of the earlier 25. It also reduced the fee to nominal levels and the same shall have no relation with the drone’s size.
- Safety features including “no permission, no takeoff” and real time tracking beacon, etc., will be notified on a later date.
- According to the new rules, the users will be provided with a six-month lead to comply with it.
- Presently, a unique identification number will be issued post the registration and the Digital Sky Platform will be renovated to develop into a single window online system.
- The Digital Sky Platform will involve a minimum amount of human interface on the and most of the required permissions will be self-generated
- Furthermore, zoning will be provided with the use of an air space map.
- The airspace map will be interactive, showing green, yellow and red zones to be displayed on the Digital Sky Platform. The Yellow zone has been decreased from about 45 kilometers to 12 kilometers as calculated from the airport perimeter. It also mentions that there is no permission required for flying up to 400 feet in green zones and up to 200 feet in an area which is between 8 and 12 kilometers as calculated from the airport perimeter.
- If the drone is flown between the R&D space, then no pilot license is required for non-commercial use of micro drones, nano drones and for the R&D organizations.
- Restrictions set up on the foreign-owned drone companies who are registered in India with respect to drone operations have also been removed.
- The import of drones and its components will now be regulated and no security clearance is necessary before the license is issued or any registration is made. Furthermore, the requirement of having a certificate of airworthiness or unique identification number, a remote pilot license and prior permission which was earlier necessary for R&D entities is also abolished.
- As per the new rules under Drone Rules 2021, the coverage of drones has been increased from 300 kgs to 500kgs. This is set to cover drone taxis as well.
- All the required drone training and testing shall be carried out only by the authorized drone school.
- Lastly, the maximum penalty which is provided under drone rules has been reduced to 1 lakh rupees. This however, does not include penalties which are in violation of any other laws.
BS Web team. (2021, July 15). India releases updated drone rules for consultation, plans drone corridors.
Pradeep Mehta, P. G. (2021, August 04). View: India’s new rules for drones a welcome move.