Saturday, July 17, 2021

Draft Drone Rules hopes to open up India's skies, is the industry ready?

The Ministry of Civil Aviation issued the Draft Drone Rules, 2021, with an aim to replace the Unmanned Aircraft System Rules. The draft rules were announced days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi had chaired a meeting to formulate a policy for the traffic management of drones; in the aftermath of the Jammu Air Force base attack.

The draft rules have abolished the approvals for a unique authorisation number, a certificate of conformance and maintenance, an import clearance, a student remote pilot license, and many more. According to the new rules, a six-month lead time will be given for compliance.

To facilitate minimal human interface the ministry also announced the development of a digital sky platform that will act as a business-friendly single-window online system that allows self-generation of permissions.

The digital sky platform also offers an interactive airspace map marked with green, yellow and red zones which defines the permissible or restricted drone flight area.

As part of the new rules, the yellow zone around an airport has been reduced from 45 km to 12 km from the airport perimeter. Drones can fly without obtaining permission up to 400 feet in green zones and up to 200 feet in the area between 8 and 12 km from the airport perimeter.

For businesses that have been working towards using drones for delivery, now stand to benefit considerably from the new draft rules.

With new drone corridors created specifically for cargo deliveries and a drone promotion council which is will be tasked with facilitating a business-friendly regulatory regime.

16/07/21 Manbha Khonglah/

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