National Drones Policy

Civil Aviation ministry announced that it had started the process of registration for drone operations in the country, to be done through portal called ‘Digital sky’.

• Flying drones or remotely-piloted aircraft have become legal in India with the National Drones Policy drafted by the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
Drone regulation 1.0: The new policy defines what will be classified as remotely piloted aircraft, how they can be flown and the restrictions they will have to operate under.
Drone regulation 2.0: The government will put out draft for drone regulation 2.0 by mid January 2019.

Highlights of the Drone Regulation 1.0:
Regulatory Body: Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) will be the primary body dealing with regulation and safety issues.
RPA: The DGCA has defined Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) as an unmanned aircraft piloted from a remote pilot station.
RPAS: The remotely piloted aircraft, its associated remote pilot station(s), command and control links and any other components forms a Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS).
UIN and UAOP: It is mandatory to obtain a Unique Identification Number (UIN) assigned to each RAPS and Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit (UAOP) for the drone operator. The UIN and UAOP will be issued by the DGCA.

  • All RPAS except nano and those owned by NTRO, ARC and Central Intelligence Agencies are to be registered and issued with UIN
  • UAOP shall be required for RPA operators except for nano RPAS operating below 50 ft., micro RPAS operating below 200 ft., and those owned by NTRO, ARC and Central
    Intelligence Agencies.

• The DGCA has segregated drones into five different categories:

  • Nano: Less than or equal to 250 grams.
  • Micro: From 250 grams to 2 kg.
  • Small: From 2 kg to 25 kg.
  • Medium: From 25 kg to 150 kg.
  • Large: Greater than 150 kg.
  • Digital Sky Platform: It will be national Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) platform that implements ‘no permission no takeoff’ system for drones.

• Some Restrictions:

  • Air space has been partitioned into Red Zone (flying not permitted), Yellow Zone (controlled airspace), and Green Zone (automatic permission).
  • No Drone Zones: Specific regions in the country are marked as ‘No Drone Zones’ such as near airports, international border, and strategic locations and military installations.
  • Drones cannot be flown beyond 500 m into sea from the coast
  • It also cannot be operated from a mobile platform such as a moving vehicle, ship or aircraft.
  • Eco-sensitive zones around National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries are off-limits without prior permission.
  • The basic operating procedure will restrict drone flights to the daytime only within “Visual Line of Sight (VLOS)” upto a maximum altitude of 400-feet.
  • No remote pilot can operate more than one RPA at any time.
  • There can’t be any human or animal payloads, or anything hazardous.
  • An insurance will be mandatory to cover third-party damage.

Enforcement Actions: There are provisions for suspension/ cancellation of UIN/UAOP in case of violation of regulatory provisions. The actions will be taken as per relevant provisions of Aircraft Act 1934 or IPC sections.