India's New Drone Policy: Who Can Fly Drones? Do You Need Licence?

We answer some of the most basic questions on the new drone policy.

Tech and Auto
3 min read
Hindi Female

India's Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) on Thursday, 26 August, released the new drone policy that concretises the draft policy released earlier this summer.

Based on the feedback, the government has decided to repeal the UAS Rules, 2021, and replace them with the liberalised Drone Rules, 2021.

Drones are officially known as 'Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)' and are useful in different sectors including transportation, agriculture, defence, law enforcement, surveillance, and emergency response among many.


Who can fly drones?

There are two types of licences offered: Student Remote Pilot Licence and Remote Pilot Licence. The minimum age to apply for both student and remote pilot licences is 18 years and the maximum age at which you can obtain a licence is of 65 years.

Student Remote Pilot License: A student licence is valid for a period of five years and can be renewed only for an additional period of 2 years. You should have passed Class 10 or its equivalent examination from a recognised Board.

Remote Pilot License. A remote pilot licence is valid for 10 years, and can be renewed for another 10 years with each renewal application.

Do I need a permit to fly drones in India?

Under India's new drone rules, you do not require security clearance to operate and fly mini drones and nano drones in the air.

Nano drones (less than 250 gm) are exempted from obtaining any licence. In addition, no remote pilot licence is required for micro drones (for non-commercial use). However, you need to ensure that you do not fly it beyond 50 ft (15m) AGL.

Meanwhile, all other drone operations in India require licence ie UIN and UAOP.

“No requirement of Type Certificate, unique identification number and remote pilot licence by R&D entities operating drones in own or rented premises, located in a green zone,” the government said in a press release.

Where can I fly my drone?

The Civil Aviation Ministry said that an interactive airspace map will be displayed on its website that will show the three zones — yellow (controlled airspace), green (no permission required) and red (flying not permitted).

These zones have been marked to tell drone operators where they can and cannot fly their unmanned aircraft systems.

The yellow zone, which was earlier a 45 km zone from the airport perimeter, has now been reduced to a 12 km zone, meaning that outside of a 12 km radius of an airport perimeter, it would be a green zone, where drone operators no longer need permission to fly.

Do I need an authorisation number to fly a drone in India?

No. The Indian government has abolished a series of approvals including unique authorisation number, a unique prototype identification number, a certificate of manufacturing and airworthiness, certificate of conformance, certificate of maintenance, acceptance of existing drones, and remote pilot instructor authorisation.

Do I still need to register my drone online?

Yes. Online registration for all drones is mandatory and can be done on the digital sky platform. It is also expected that the process for de-registration of drones will get easier.


What is the penalty for non-compliance of the drone rules 2021?

The new maximum penalty for drone-related non-conformity stands at Rs 1,00,000 in India.

What is the fee to get a remote pilot licence for drones?

The fee for remote pilot licence for drones in India has also been significantly reduced to nominal levels. Also, the fee structure has been delinked from the size of the drone.

According to the new rules, you just need to pay Rs 100 for all categories of drones. The remote pilot licence for drones will now be valid for 10 years.

How much weight can drones carry?

With the new drone rules, the government has increased the payload of drones from 300 kilograms to 500 kilograms.

Will there be any changes to the new rules?

The government is expected to notify more updates on parameters, real-time tracking beacon, geo fencing, etc.

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