Drone Rules, 2021_00.1
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Liberalized Drone Rules 2021

Liberalized Drone Rules, 2021- Context

  • Recently, the union government has decided to repeal the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Rules, 2021, and replace the same with the liberalized Drone Rules, 2021.
  • Drone Rules 2021 are based on the principles of trust, self-certification and non-intrusive monitoring.

Drone Rules, 2021_50.1

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Liberalized Drone Rules, 2021- Key features

  • Designed to balance the need to catalyze super-normal growth while balancing safety and security considerations.
  • Abolition of Multiple Approval: for example, unique authorization number, unique prototype identification number, certificate of manufacturing and airworthiness, etc.
    • The number of forms has also been reduced from 25 to 5.
  • Rationalization of fee: Quantum of fee reduced to nominal levels and delinked with the size of the drone. For Instance-
    • The fee for remote pilot license fee has been reduced from INR 3000 (for large drones) to INR 100 for all categories of drones and is valid for 10 years.
  • Development of a Digital sky platform as a user-friendly single-window system: There will be minimal human interface and most permissions will be self-generated.
    • Interactive airspace map with green, yellow and red zones shall be displayed on the digital sky platform within 30 days of publication of these rules.
    • Manufacturers and importers may generate their drones’ unique identification number on the digital sky platform through the self-certification route.
    • Easier process specified for transfer and deregistration of drones through the digital sky platform.
  • No permission required in green zones: Green-zone means the airspace upto-
    • A vertical distance of 400 feet or 120 metre that has not been designated as a red zone or yellow zone in the airspace map; and
    • A vertical distance of 200 feet or 60 metre above the area located between a lateral distance of 8 and 12 kilometre from the perimeter of an operational airport.
  • Yellow zone was reduced from 45 km to 12 km from the airport perimeter.
  • Liberalized License Regime:
    • No remote pilot license is required for micro drones (for non-commercial use) and nano drones.
    • No requirement for security clearance before issuance of any registration or license.
    • No requirement of Type Certificate, unique identification number, and remote pilot license by R&D entities operating drones in own or rented premises, located in a green zone.
  • Promoting Investment in the Drone sector:
    • Restriction on foreign ownership in Indian drone companies has been lifted.
    • Import of drones to be regulated by DGFT.
    • Requirement of import clearance from DGCA abolished.
    • Drone corridors will be developed for cargo deliveries.
  • Coverage of drones under Drone Rules, 2021 increased from 300 kg to 500 kg. This will cover drone taxis also.
  • Role of DGCA:
    • DGCA shall prescribe drone training requirements, oversee drone schools and provide pilot licences online.
    • Remote pilot licence to be issued by DGCA within 15 days of the pilot receiving the remote pilot certificate from the authorized drone school through the digital sky platform.
    • Standard operating procedures (SOP) and training procedure manuals (TPM) will be prescribed by DGCA on the digital sky platform for self-monitoring by users. No approvals are required unless there is a significant departure from the prescribed procedures.
  • Liberalizing Type certification:
    • Testing of drones for issuance of Type Certificate to be carried out by Quality Council of India or authorized testing entities.
    • Type Certificate required only when a drone is to be operated in India. Importing and manufacturing drones purely for exports are exempt from type certification and unique identification numbers.
    • Nano and model drones (made for research or recreation purposes) are exempt from type certification.
  • Provisions for Security and Safety:
    • Maximum penalty for violations reduced to INR 1 lakh.
    • Safety and security features like ‘No permission – no takeoff’ (NPNT), real-time tracking beacon, geo-fencing, etc. to be notified in the future. A six-month lead time will be provided to the industry for compliance.
  • Drone promotion council: to be set up by Government with participation from academia, startups and other stakeholders to facilitate a growth-oriented regulatory regime.

Charter Act of 1813

 

Key Significance of the Drones (UAS)

  • Potential to offer tremendous benefits to almost all sectors of the economy like-
    • Agriculture,
    • Mining,
    • Infrastructure,
    • Surveillance,
    • Emergency response,
    • Transportation,
    • Geo-spatial mapping,
    • Defence, and law enforcement, etc.
  • Creators of employment and economic growth: due to their reach, versatility, and ease of use, especially in India’s remote and inaccessible areas.
  • Potential to be a global drone hub by 2030: In view of its traditional strengths in innovation, information technology, frugal engineering, and huge domestic demand, India has the potential to be a global drone hub by 2030.

 

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