MoCA issues ‘Drone Rules, 2021’ draft

MoCA issues ‘Drone Rules, 2021’ draft
Police fly a drone in Jammu on Monday July 5, 2021 in the aftermath of recent attacks on an Indian Airforce Station in the district. [Image for representational purpose only].Mir Imran/GK

New Delhi: The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has issued draft rules to ensure ease of using drones in India on the basis of "trust, self-certification and non-intrusive monitoring", an official statement said on Thursday.

The number of forms to be filled to operate drones in the country has been reduced to six in the draft ‘Drone Rules, 2021' in comparison to 25 forms mentioned in the Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Rules, 2021, it said.

The Drone Rules, 2021, once notified, will supersede the UAS Rules, 2021, which came into force on March 12 this year.

The fee, according to the draft rules, has been reduced to nominal levels and de-linked from the size of the drone, the statement said.

The draft rules have also abolished the requirement of various approvals, including certificate of conformance, certificate of maintenance, import clearance, acceptance of existing drones, operator permit, authorisation of R&D organisation and student remote pilot licence, it said. Civil Aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said the draft rules mark a "stark shift" from the UAS Rules, 2021.

“Drones are bringing the next big tech revolution around the globe with reduced costs, resources and time taken for operations. It is upon us to ride on the new wave and facilitate its uptake, especially among our start-ups," he said on Twitter. No flight permission, as per the draft rules, will be required up to 400 feet in green zones and up to 200 feet in the area between 8 and 12 km from the airport perimeter.

The draft rules have also prescribed an easier process for transfer and deregistration of drones. No pilot licence will be required for micro drones (for non-commercial use), nano drones and for R&D (Research and Development) organisations, the draft rules mentioned.

Drone corridors will be developed for cargo deliveries and a drone promotion council will be set up to facilitate drone-friendly regulatory regime in the country, according to the draft rules. The last date for the public to submit their comments on the draft rules is August 5. The draft rules also stated that there would be no restriction on drone operations by foreign-owned companies registered in India. Digital sky platform will be developed as a business-friendly single-window online system. "There will be minimal human interface on the digital sky platform and most of the permissions will be self-generated," the draft rules added.

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