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Drones in India can now Fly Legally

Flying Drones is legal in India now as the Civil Aviation Regulations (CAR), to enable safe flying of Remotely Piloted Aerial Systems (RPAS) – popularly referred to as drones, released in August 2018, have come in effect from 01 December 2018. Drones are a frontier technology which has the potential to leapfrog India’s economic growth. This technology platform with wide-ranging applications can greatly benefit our farmers, infrastructure entities like railways, roads, ports, mines and factories, sectors like insurance, photography, entertainment, etc.

The new CAR policy called ‘Drone Regulations 1.0’ classified a remotely piloted aircraft and delineates how they can be flown and sets the restrictions under which they will operate, and  detailed the obligations of operators, remote pilots/ users and manufacturers/ OEM for safe operations of RPAS and co-operative use of airspace.

Digital Sky Platform, a first of its kind that implements ‘No permission, No take-off’ (NPNT) – a novel system of software-based self-enforcement to minimize deviations from the CAR, the registration portal for online permission has also been launched to start registration of drones, pilots, and operators.

Digital Sky Platform is built to evolve with the evolving needs of this rapidly changing industry. In the coming months, new features will be developed to ease the process of flying for users, and provide oversight to security agencies. It is envisioned that in the future Digital Sky Service Providers (DSPs) will be extending the functionality of the platform through Application Program Interfaces (APIs).

  • Nano drones in India can start flying legally from the 1st of December, 2018.
  • Operators and pilots are required to register on the Digital Sky Portal for Micro and above categories.
  • Nano drones are less than or equal to 250 grams; whereas Micro are from 250 grams to 2kg; Small are from 2kg to 25kg; Medium are from 25kg to 150kg; and Large drones are greater than 150kg.
  • The platform has begun accepting registrations of users.
  • Payments for Unmanned Aerial Operator’s Permit (UAOP) and Unique Identification Numbers (UIN) will be accepted through the Bharat Kosh (bharatkosh.gov.in) portal.
  • RPAS operators or remote pilots will have to file a flight plan to get permission to fly.
  • Flying in the ‘green zones’ will require only intimation of the time and location of the flights via the portal or the app.
  • For flying in ‘yellow zones’, permissions will be required.
  • Flights will not be allowed in the ‘red zones’.
  • The location of these zones will be announced soon.
  • Permission, if granted, will be available digitally on the portal.

“Drones are an industry of the future. It is a matter of great pride for India that we are now at the cutting-edge of the rule making in this industry. India will be taking lead in this sector and will be working with countries around the world to develop common, scale able standards. This industry has a large potential for Make in India and also to export drones and services from India”, said, Suresh Prabhu, Minister for Civil Aviation Government of India on the occasion.

A task-force on the recommendation of Drone Policy 2.0, under the chairmanship of the Minister of State, has been constituted by the Minister for Civil Aviation and is expected to release their final report by the end of this year. Drone 2.0 frameworks for RPAS that are expected to include regulatory architecture for autonomous flying, delivery via drones and beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) flights.

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