Drone Technology is flourishing in India at the moment, thanks to operation-friendly policies by the Government. This sector is going from a heavily regulated space to a liberalized one. The Government understands the infinite potential this technology holds and wants to ensure the rapid development of the drone industry. If our market moves quickly, India could well enter the club of the world’s pioneers in this field. India has all the potential, being a young and dynamic country with a great foundation in the modern technology area. This includes Industry 4.0, AI (Artificial Intelligence), Automation, IoT (Internet of Things), Machine Learning, etc. Here is a list of the latest drone regulations in India, eased by the Government to promote the adoption of drone technology.
- The biggest challenge in the field was numerous approvals required from various bodies. This discourages many aspirational companies to enter the commercial drone industry. However, now these approvals have been abolished. This includes Remote Pilot Instructor Authorisation, Unique Authorisation Number, Certificate of Maintenance, Unique Prototype Identification Number, Authorisation of the R&D Organisation and many more.
- The registration and licence issuance requires no security clearance. The fees for certain permissions have been reduced to very reasonable amounts.
- The coverage of heavy payload-carrying drones and drone taxis has been increased from 300 kg to 500 kg.
- Cargo deliveries will be carried out using dedicated drone corridors. The import of drones will be regulated by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT).
- One of the interesting changes to the rules includes the restriction of the maximum penalty for violating rules to Rs 1 lakh. Violation of some laws won’t even require you to pay this amount.
- To promote business in this sector, one Unmanned Aircraft Systems Promotion Council will be set up.
- The technical aspects of the green, yellow and red zones have been revised and will be available in real-time on the digital sky platform. Drones can fly without permission in the green zone and unto 200 ft in the area between 8-12 km from the airport perimeter. The yellow zone will now be marked at 12 km (down from 45 km) from the airport perimeter.
- All the registration, transfers and deregistrations shall take place online using this Digital Sky Platform which will make the entire process easier and hassle-free.
- DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) is given the responsibility to oversee training, drone schools, pilot licences, examinations, etc. The aim is the regularize each and every aspect of drone operations in the country.
- The policy also dictates that safety features like NPNT (No Permission No Take-Off), Real-Time Tracking Beacon, Geo-Fencing, etc shall be notified in the future. Drone companies will have 6 months for compliance.
Likely Implications of Liberal Policies
In one of the recent interviews with Aakash Sinha, founder of Omnipresent Robot Tech, he told Indian Business Times about his expectations from the government to ease up drone regulations. He was sure that these changes were imminent and the growth of drone technology in India will experience a huge surge. He is especially excited about the agriculture sector of India, considering the fact that almost one million jobs could be created in the largest sector in the country. Sinha also mentioned future projects including the likes of Drone Taxis and Drone Deliveries. These applications will find immense value in terms of efficiency and time-saving. The aforementioned policy changes will definitely contribute to India becoming a hub for drone technology in the immediate future.