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DRAFT DRONE RULES, 2021

Recently, the government issued the Draft Drone Rules, 2021 for public consultation. These Drone Rules are much more simplified than the Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Rules notified in March, 2021. We bring to you a short summary of these Draft Drone Rules and the Key changes proposed.

Application

  1. The rules shall apply after publication in the Official Gazette to all (non-military) drones weighing less than 500 kg., and all activities connected with such drones.

  2. Drones are classified (per weight) into 5 categories:

  3. Nano: < 250 g.

  4. Micro: 250 g. – 2 kg.

  5. Small: 2 kg. – 25 kg)

  6. Medium: 25 kg. – 150 kg.

  7. Large: 150 kg. <

Certification, Registration and Transfer

  1. Application for certificate shall be made via Form D-1 on the Digital Sky Platform and a fee of Rs. 100 shall be paid.

  2. Mandatory safety features shall be adopted by drone users within 6 months of their announcement by the Central Government.

  3. All drones shall require a unique identification number to be operated. This shall be linked to the unique serial numbers generated by a drone’s manufacturer, flight control module, and ground control station.

  4. Application for generation of unique identification number shall be made via Form D-2 on the Digital Sky Platform.

  5. Changes to a drone’s flight control module and/or ground control station must be updated on the Digital Sky Platform within a week of those changes.

  6. All pre-existing drones, with valid Drone Acknowledge Numbers, which conform to the certificate(s) of airworthiness, shall be registered via the same process.

  7. Transfer of drones, as well as an application for deregistration by the owner, may be made via Form D-3 on the Digital Sky Platform. A fee of Rs. 100 shall be paid. Such acts shall be effected in the records after the due process.

Drone Operations and Zoning

  1. All drones shall be operated in a manner not endangering the safety of any person or property.

  2. An airspace map, which segregates Indian airspace into red, yellow, and green zones, shall be published by the Central Government on the Digital Sky Platform. It shall be programmatically accessible and interactive.

  3. The zoning of areas may be changed by the Central Government and such changes shall be effected after at least 7 days of the date of update.

  4. No drones shall be operated in red or yellow zones without prior permission via the Digital Sky Platform.

  5. Verification of the relevant permissions shall be made before every drone operation.

  6. Temporary red zones may be declared for 48 hours at a time by the administration, or an officer, holding at least of the rank of Superintendent of Police (or its equivalent), through notification on the Digital Sky Platform.

Pilot Licensing

  1. Except for nano drones and non-commercial micro drones, all drones shall require the operator to possess a valid remote pilot license.

  2. Any adult aged less than 65 years and having passed class 10th may acquire a remote pilot license after completing the necessary prescribed training from an authorised remote pilot training organization.

  3. The license shall mention the class of drone the pilot is trained to operated, and whether the pilot is trained for automatic drone operations.

  4. A certificate shall be issued to the person within 7 days of the completion of their training by the training organization. Subsequently and within 15 days, the Director General may then issue the license to the person. Both processes are via the Digital Sky Platform.

  5. All licences shall be enlisted on the Digital Sky Platform and shall be valid for 10 years. A license may be renewed for a maximum period of 10 years by the organization if the pilot has undergone the necessary training and/or refresher courses.

  6. A remote pilot training organization, in order to be authorized, must:

  7. Operate from a 50 m. x 50 m. (or larger) plot of land; and

  8. Have enough classrooms to ensure the maximum capacity of each classroom being 30 students; and

  9. Have enough drones and other equipment in good working conditions; and

  10. Have enough qualified instructors and trainers with licenses.

  11. Applications for establishing a training organization shall be made via Form D-6 on the Digital Sky Platform and a fee of Rs. 1000 shall be paid. The authorisation may be issued by the Director General within 60 days.

  12. The issued authorisation shall be valid for ten years, and may be renewed for a maximum time of ten years.

  13. For each certificate issued by the organisation, it shall pay a fee of Rs. 100.

  14. Remote pilot training must strictly comply with the Director General’s requirements, be specific to a class/classes of drones, and include training for autonomous drone operations.

Apart from the above, one interesting change proposed is that now the Motor Vehicles Act shall be applicable to the third party insurance of drones and compensation would be recovered accordingly for any accident caused. Contravention of these Rules would attract a monetary penalty of up to INR 1 Lakh.

It would be interesting to see how these Rules are brought into effect and what changes they undergo post the public consultation process. If you want to know more about the compliances required by a drone startup, do contact us by clicking the WhatsApp icon below.


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