Tuesday, January 07, 2020

Using a drone? Register with govt starting mid-January

New Delhi: Come mid-January and all drone users in India - including those using toy drones - will need to start registering the same along with their details on an aviation ministry portal. Aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Monday said the process of "registering drones will start in a few weeks".
Aviation ministry sources say the process of registering drones, where users will need to give their details and that of the drone on an official portal will begin around January 13. "The idea is to get a database of drone users. The exercise will begin with nano (weighing up to 250gm) and micro (between 250gm and 2kg) drones as these two account for 80% of all drones being used in India currently. We will give a window of about a month for drone users to enlist themselves on the portal," said an official, adding those found using drones without enlisting in the given window later on could have action taken against them. The penalty or punishment for this is being worked out taking into account several factors.

Nano drones used as toys will also need to be registered. Even a 1kg drone can be sold as a toy, said the official.

Sources say registering nano and micro drones will not require paying a fee. "What we are looking at is a two to four hour training for nano users and 20 to 25 hour training for micro drone users. The training session will be followed by an online video test. All this is work in progress and the rules will be finalised shortly," said an official.

While this exercise is for those already using drones, in future people buying drones in India will have the registration process completed at the time of buying it - akin to buying a mobile phone SIM card today and getting that activated after a while in which verification of given credentials is done.

The users will then be required to install trackers on their drones. "Currently these trackers cost between Rs 5,000 and Rs 7,000. We are looking at having GSM-based trackers," said the official. The government is keen to have a database of drone users given the security implications of using this equipment. Once that is known, tracking those equipment will be key to safe operations even in green zones or areas where they will be allowed.

07/01/20 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

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