The Ministry of Civil Aviation has released Draft Drone Rules, 2021, for public consultation. The rules will replace the Unmanned Aircraft System Rules, 2021.
- Approvals: Abolish the need for various approvals, including certificate of conformance, certificate of maintenance, import clearance, acceptance of existing drones, operator permit, authorisation of R&D organisation and student remote pilot licence.
- Fee reduced to nominal levels. No linkage with the size of the drone.
- Digital Sky Platform: The government will be developing a digital sky platform that will have an interactive airspace map dividing the country into green, yellow, and red zones.
- It will provide a secure and a scalable platform that supports drone technology frameworks, such as NPNT (no permission, no take-off), designed to enable flight permission digitally and manage unmanned aircraft operations and traffic efficiently.
- Reduced Airport Perimeter: The draft rules reduced the airport perimeter from 45 km to 12 km.
- The rules state that no flight permissions would be required to fly upto 400 feet in green zones and upto 200 feet in the area between 8 and 12 km from the airport perimeter.
- Pilot License: No pilot licence would be needed for micro drones for non-commercial use, nano drones and for R&D organisations.There would be no restriction on drone operations by foreign-owned companies registered in India.
- Drone Corridor: The Ministry will also facilitate development of drone corridors for cargo deliveries and a drone promotion council will be set up to facilitate a business-friendly regulatory regime.
- Safety Features: The draft rule also provides for safety features such as real-time tracking beacon, and geo-fencing, which are expected to be notified in future and a six-month lead time will be provided for compliance.
- Increased Coverage of Drones: The coverage has been increased from 300 kg to 500 kg and will cover drone taxis, while the Issuance of Certificate of Airworthiness has been delegated to Quality Council of India and certification entities authorized by it.