The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has released the updated draft of Drone Rules, 2021 for public consultation. The new rules will replace the Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS), Rules 2021, released on 12th March 2021. This will ensure ease of using drones in India based on “trust, self-certification and non-intrusive monitoring.
Entities planning to operate drones will have to file six forms in draft rules 2021, from 25 forms in UAS Rules. The government is proposing to reduce the fee to nominal levels and de-link it from the size of drones.
Through the new draft rules, the government is proposing to abolish the requirement of various approvals, including certificate of conformance, certificate of maintenance, import clearance, acceptance of existing drones, operator permits, authorization of R&D organization, and student remote pilot license.
Drone operators will no longer need flight permissions for up to 400 feet flights in green zones and up to 200 feet in the area between 8 and 12 Km from the airport perimeter. Further, operators of micro-drones (for non-commercial use), nano drones, and R&D organizations won’t need a pilot license.
The government will also develop Drone corridors for cargo deliveries and a drone promotion council to facilitate a drone-friendly regulatory regime in the country. The rules do no restrict drone operations by foreign-owned companies registered in India.
It will also develop the Digital Sky Platform as a business-friendly single-window online system.
A few compliances yet to come
Apart from the above, the government will notify Safety features like ‘No permission No Take-off’ (NPNT), real-time tracking beacon, and geofencing, etc., in the future, giving a six-month window for compliance.
However, there will be minimum human interference on the digital sky platform and most of the permissions will be self-generated.
The DGCA will prescribe the Standard operating procedures (SOP) and training procedure manuals (TPM) on the digital sky platform for self-monitoring by users. Operators won’t require approvals unless there is a significant departure from the prescribed procedures.
The maximum penalty under Drone Rules, 2021 is reduced to Rs. 1 lakh. However, according to draft rules, this shall not apply to penalties in respect of violation of other laws.
The last date for the public to submit their comments on the draft rules is 5th August 2021. You can send comments/suggestions to [email protected].
Here’s a copy of the draft rules.