Via a Gazette notification, the civil aviation ministry has announced new Drone Rules 2021, replacing the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Rules 2021.
The unmanned aircraft system Rules, which were issued just four months ago after a long deliberation with stakeholders, were not received enthusiastically.
It appears that the Drone policy 2021 was reshaped, keeping the concerns of the drone community at forefront.
As per the new rules, Imports of drones and drone components shall be regulated by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT).
Anyone who possesses or operates a drone needs to register their drone, after which a Unique Identification Number will be issued.
The UID will then be linked to the unique serial number provided by the manufacturer and the Unique serial number of its flight control module and ground control station.
No person shall operate a drone without a UID unless such drones are exempted under certain rules. Also, the rules legislate that any change in UIDs needs to be updated on the digital sky platform.
The platform is a unique traffic management platform (UTM) system that facilitates registration and licensing. The digital sky platform will also publish policy framework of the Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management System.
Soon a Promotion Council is to be set up to facilitate a business-friendly regulatory regime. The central government may promote the adoption and use of unmanned aircraft systems by constituting the aforementioned promotion council.
The new rules also explicitly deliberate upon Remote pilot license. No individual other than a holder of a valid remote pilot license enlisted on the digital sky platform shall operate an unmanned aircraft system.
Anyone who desires to obtain a remote pilot license shall complete training specified by the Director General for various categories.
Any pilot license issued must be enlisted in the digital sky platform. However, the pilot license is not required for operating a nano or micro Unmanned aircraft system for non-commercial purposes.
The government’s effort to regulate drones comes after the recent bomb blast case at Jammu Airbase in which a drone was used.
Anticipating the changing nature of warfare and the usage of drones in carrying out terror activities, a need for regulating and preparing the security forces was felt.
The new drone policy 2021 is an effort towards regulating and enabling safe and effective use of drones in India.