Saturday, January 26, 2019

Commercial use of drones in India set to rise

The unveiling of a comprehensive Drone Policy 2.0 at the Global Aviation summit in Mumbai last week by the Ministry of Civil Aviation has paved the way for a systematic and increased commercial use of drones in Indian airspace.

Commercial use of drones was earlier banned in India and was only allowed for military and security purposes in India. The commercial use of drones from now will not only be used in the service industry, but also in agriculture, film making, mining, infrastructure projects, medical purposes, among many other sectors.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation has proposed to create a “controlled airspace” for flying of drones. Known as “Digital Sky”, the drone airspace has been divided into three categories. The “Red Zone” is where no activity of commercial drone flying would be allowed due to the presence of important installations, government secretariats, International border and other important installations of national security. The “Yellow Zone” would be a regulated and controlled airspace where permissions would be required from the Drone Directorate and all UAVs flying beyond the visual line of sight (which is above 400 metres from the ground level) would have to fly on this corridor.

The “Green Zone” in the “Digital Sky” would be an “uncontrolled airspace” where drones within 400 metres above the ground can fly, but even then, these drones would be required to be registered with the Drone Directorate.

The Ministry has also defined the different categories of drones and the necessary permissions that would be required for the specific drones to operate in Indian airspace. All drones less than 250 gms, known as Nano drones, would be free to fly drones, where no permissions are required to operate such drones. These drones are mostly used for wedding photography and play toys for kids. All other drones above this weight would be required to have necessary permissions for flying.
26/01/19 Dibyendu Mondal/Sunday Guardian Live