Government announces new rules for drones, making it easy for startups to make drone deliveries – Times of India

The government has repealed the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Rules, 2021 and has introduced a “liberalised Drone Rules, 2021”. Startups and drone operators will no longer have to go through complex approval processes and the entire system is now based on self-certification and non-intrusive monitoring. The government is also looking at creating “drone corridors” for cargo deliveries.
The government has removed several approval certificates required for flying drones like unique authorisation number, unique prototype identification number, certificate of manufacturing and airworthiness, certificate of conformance, certificate of maintenance, import clearance, acceptance of existing drones, operator permit, authorisation of R&D organisation, student remote pilot licence, remote pilot instructor authorisation, drone port authorisation etc.
Also, the number of approval forms is reduced from 25 to 5 and the types of fee reduced from 72 to 4. “The fee for a remote pilot license fee has been reduced from Rs 3000 (for large drones) to Rs 100 for all categories of drones and is valid for 10 years.” as per a statement by the Ministry of Civil Aviation
Digital sky website will now have an interactive airspace map. The map will come with green, yellow and red zones and the same shall be displayed on the digital sky wesbite within 30 days of publication of these rules.
No permission is required for flying drones in green zone
No permission required for operating drones in green zones. Green zone means the airspace up to a vertical distance of 400 feet or 120 metre that has not been designated as a red zone or yellow zone in the airspace map; and the airspace upto a vertical distance of 200 feet or 60 metre above the area located between a lateral distance of 8 and 12 kilometre from the perimeter of an operational airport.
On the other hand, the yellow zone is reduced from 45 km to 12 km from the airport perimeter.
License requirements have been eased


No remote pilot licence required for micro drones (for non-commercial use) and nano drones. Also, as per the new rules, no requirement for security clearance before issuance of any registration or licence.
“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,” it added.
Remote pilot licence to be issued by DGCA within 15 days of pilot receiving the remote pilot certificate from the authorised drone school through the digital sky platform.
The government will regulate import of drones through DGFT and there’s no restriction on “foreign ownership” in Indian drone companies. Also, the requirement of import clearance from DGCA is now abolished.
Coverage of drones under Drone Rules, 2021 increased from 300 kg to 500 kg. This will cover drone taxis also. DGCA shall prescribe drone training requirements, oversee drone schools and provide pilot licences online.
What about old drones
Drones present in India on or before 30 November 2021 will be issued a unique identification number through the digital sky platform provided, they have a DAN, a GST-paid invoice and are part of the list of DGCA-approved drones. As per the new rules, standard operating procedures (SOP) and training procedure manuals (TPM) will be prescribed by DGCA on the digital sky platform for self-monitoring by users. No approvals required unless there is a significant departure from the prescribed procedures.

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Sagar Biswas

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