Saturday, November 03, 2018

India may not keep December 1 date with drones

India’s serious drone users will likely have to wait longer than December 1 as the government hasn’t been able to draw up a framework to allow their operation, including the creation of a Digital Sky platform, by the deadline.
“It is highly unlikely that we will be able to launch it on and from December 1 due to various reasons, including not being able to create the Digital Sky platform for the launch of drone operations,” said a senior government official, who did not want to be identified.
Except for toys used by children, drone users have to register their devices on the platform and seek permission for every flight, according to the plan. The Airports Authority of India had issued a tender for management of drone operations but the last date for submissions had to be extended by 12 days from November 2 to November 14.
“This would mean that it would not be implemented (by the deadline),” said the official. Reasons for the delay also include the SC barring the use of Aadhaar for authentication, apart from specific purposes such as direct benefit transfers. “We had earlier decided to verify users through Aadhaar but that is not allowed under the court order. Hence, we will have to decide on a new identification to verify users,” the official said. “We can use other identity cards like PAN card too, but that decision needs to be taken.”
Also, the authority received about 500 queries on the tender and preparing replies has been time-consuming, the official said.
03/11/18 Mihir Mishra/Economic Times
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