Drones in India Can Officially Take Off From 1 December Onwards
Want to fly drones in India? You finally can legally, as the Ministry of Aviation (MoA) has announced the first version of regulations for remotely operated flying objects.
The regulations clearly states that drones or Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) in India will be categorised into five categories; nano, micro, small, medium and large. The new regulations come into effect from 1 December onwards, with many changes likely to be made in version 2.0, depending on where drone technology is headed.
The notification also confirms that except for the nano-sized drones (those that weigh below 250 grams and can't fly higher than 15 metres), all others are supposed to be registered via a first of its kind national unmanned traffic management (UTM) platform called Digital Sky. This platform implements a no permission, no take-off policy.
Weight Categories of Drones
- Nano (less than or equal to 250 grams),
- Micro (greater than 250 grams and less than or equal to 2 kilograms),
- Mini (greater than 2 kilograms and less than or equal to 25 kilograms),
- Small (greater than 25 kilograms and less than or equal to 150 kilograms), and
- Large (greater than 150 kilograms).
The Ministry also clarified the reasons behind the delay in framing of drone policies in India. The ministry believes that India was forced to postpone its roll out of drone regulations due to issues such as drone technologies evolving rapidly and many countries still figuring out their own drone regulations.
In addition to this, India's security environment demanded extra precautions, as stated by the Ministry.
All RPAS except nano and those owned by National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO), Aviation Research Organisation (ARO) and Central Intelligence Agencies need to be registered and issued with a Unique Identification Number (UIN).
There’s a lot of information that is yet unclear. With many operators planning commercial operations of drones for door step delivery and for professional photography purposes, these regulations are a bit of a set back in their current form. The regulations also don't bring clarity on what kind of drones can be legally imported and used. Expect some more clarity on this soon.
Watch this space.