Draft Drone Rules 2021: Drone Corridors, Digital Sky Platform Proposed

These rules are proposed as a replacement for the Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) Rules 2021.

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The Ministry of Civil Aviation on Thursday, 15 July, released Draft Drone Rules 2021 for public consultation. These rules are proposed as a replacement for the Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) Rules 2021, which were released on 12 March.

The deadline for public comments on the draft is 5 August 2021.

Under the legislation prepared by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), UAS, commonly known as drones, will now require unique identification numbers.

The rules propose the development of drone corridors for cargo deliveries and coverage of drones to be increased from from 300 kg to 500 kg.

Other crucial features of the rules include safety features like ‘No permission – no take-off’, real-time tracking beacon, geo-fencing etc. A six-month lead time will be provided for compliance.

Number of forms will be reduced from 25 to 6 and the fee will be reduced to nominal levels with no linkage with the size of the drone.

Further, a digital sky platform shall be developed as a business-friendly single-window online system with minimal human interface on it. Most permissions will be self-generated.

On the platform, an interactive airspace map with green, yellow, and red zones will be displayed.

Additionally, there will be no restriction on drone operations by foreign-owned companies registered in India and all import of drones and drone components will be regulated by DGFT.

Before any registration of license issuance, no security clearance would be required.

All drone training and testing will be carried out by an authorised drone school, with the DGCA prescribing all training requirements, overseeing drone schools, and providing pilot licences online.

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