DGCA drone regulations come into force
03 December 2018
Flying drones have become legal in India from 1 December with the coming into force of the new policy on remotely-controlled aircraft drafted by the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
The new policy called 'Drone Regulations 1.0' classifies a remotely piloted aircraft and delineates how they can be flown and sets regulations under which they will operate.
The ministry of civil aviation has opened the registration process for users who want to operate drones. Users will be required to make one-time registration of their drones, pilots and owners on the platform, which will also allow for the online filing of a drone's specific flight path and use.
The DGCA has defined five different categories of drones as Nano, Micro, Small, Medium and Large.
Under the new policy, Nano drones which are less than or equal to 250 grams doesn't need a registration or licence. All the other categories will need a registration following which a unique identification number (UIN) or Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit (UAOP) will be issued by the DGCA.
Nano drones in India can start flying legally from 1 December. For micro and above categories, operators and pilots are required to register on the Digital Sky Portal.
For getting your UIN, the user will have to a pay a fee of Rs1,000. If you are getting a fresh UAOP, which is valid for five years, that costs is Rs 25,000, it will cost you Rs10,000 to renew a UAOP.
The platform has begun accepting registrations of users. Payments for Unmanned Aerial Operator’s Permit (UAOP) and Unique Identification Numbers (UIN) will be accepted through the Bharat Kosh (bharatkosh.gov.in) portal.
To get permissions to fly, RPAS operators or remote pilots will have to file a flight plan. Flying in the ‘green zones’ will require only intimation of the time and location of the flights via the portal or the app. Permissions will be required for flying in ‘yellow zones’ and flights will not be allowed in the ‘red zones’. The location of these zones will be announced soon. Permission, if granted, will be available digitally on the portal.
If an RPAS does not have permission to fly, it will not be allowed to take-off under the policy of NoPermission-No-Takeoff (NPNT). This aspect of the portal is expected to go live soon. Existing drone operators are requested to contact their manufacturers for NPNT-compliant firmware upgrades and Equipment Type Approvals (ETA) from WPC Wing of DoT. Potential drone owners are required to buy NPNT-compliant RPAS. A point of contact in the WPC is available on the Digital Sky Website DGCA has released a list of Frequently Asked Questions as well as a list of Do’s and Don’ts for safe flying.
A detailed RPAS Guidance Manual, released in November, is available on the DGCA website. This includes technical specifications for NPNT compliance that will help manufacturers roll out relevant upgrades to their RPAS. The import of drones is now permitted as well, and a point of contact in the DGFT is available on the Digital Sky Website.
The Digital Sky Platform is built to evolve with the evolving needs of this rapidly changing industry. In the coming months, new features will be developed to ease the process of flying for users, and provide oversight to security agencies. Furthermore, it is envisioned that in the future Digital Sky Service Providers (DSPs) will be extending the functionality of the platform through Application Program Interfaces (APIs).
“Drones are an industry of the future. It is a matter of great pride for India that we are now at the cutting edge of the rule making in this industry. India will be taking lead in this sector and will be working with countries around the world to develop common, scale able standards. This industry has a large potential for Make in India and also to export drones and services from India,’ Suresh Prabhu, minister for civil aviation, said.
“Drones are a frontier technology which has the potential to leapfrog India’s economic growth. This technology can greatly benefit our farmers, infrastructure entities like railways, roads, ports, mines and factories, sectors like insurance, photography, entertainment, etc,” minister of state for civil aviation Jayant Sinha added.
The civil aviation minister has constituted a task-force on the recommendation of Drone Policy 2.0 under the chairmanship of the minister of state. This task force is expected to release their final report by the end of this year.