The Ministry of Civil Aviation or MoCA today announces the new Drone Rules 2021. This is the response from the Indian Government to the feedbacks provided by all the end-users, Startups, stakeholders, and all. Earlier, there were requirements for a number of paperwork and permissions. The lack of “free to fly” green zones are another major problem.
The new Drone Rules 2021, which now sits at the place of UAS Rule 2021, released on 12th March 2021, takes back the requirements for many approvals. Considering both this new Drone Rules, India’s traditional strengths in innovation, information technology, frugal engineering, and domestic demands, the Government believes India has the potential to be the Global Drone Hub by 2030.
Before mentioning the 30 key features of Drone Rules 2021, have a look at what the heads of the market leaders are saying –
Mr. Swapnik Jakkampuddi, Co-Founder, Skye Air Mobility welcomes the new drone rules released today by the Ministry of Civil Aviation. This was a revisit of the UAS Drone Rules 2021 which was released on 12th March 2021. For the Drone industry today’s release is a significant boost towards commercial use for civilian applications.
The tremendous work by MoCA in understanding the Industry and releasing such a forward policy on drones will enable growth in the industry. The drone delivery service will get a booster dose as we in the industry are now confident that the government will empower development in this space.
Though, certain nations like USA, Australia, Japan, Ireland and Africa have already started use of drones to benefit civilian population. However, with the release of the new rules we in India are poised to catch up in line with the vision of our Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. It is the belief of SKYE AIR to enable this vision in the near future. MoCA in understanding the Industry and releasing such a forward policy on drones will enable growth in the industry.
Mr Ankit Kumar, the founder Alternative Global India said, “We welcome the new drone rules released today by the Ministry of Civil Aviation. This is a forward-looking step taken by the government and will help promote not only the drone industry but also many associated usages of drones right from survey & inspection, healthcare & emergency logistics, open space for drone deliveries and advanced air mobility.
It simplifies drone operations by abolishing many approvals that were a requirement earlier. With no restriction on drone operations by foreign-owned companies registered in India, we can look forward to FDI and influx of cutting-edge technologies in the form of technology transfer and joint ventures from them since India will be a large market for these companies. This will also give a fillip to “Atmanirbhar Bharat” by manufacturing the drones and drone components in India taking advantage of low cost of manufacturing in the country.
We have been working extensively with foreign and Indian companies to enable drone deliveries and advanced air mobility. The new drone rules are going to set forth a roadmap for enabling an ecosystem which shall lead India into becoming a global drone leader. We have a line-up of foreign companies planning to enter India and we all were waiting for this policy to establish a level playing field. We anticipate an influx of USD 270 Million in the Indian drone ecosystem in the next 12 months in the form of FDI.
30 key features of Drone Rules 2021 :-
- Built on a premise of trust, self-certification and non-intrusive monitoring.
- Designed to usher in an era of super-normal growth while balancing safety and security considerations.
- Several approvals abolished: unique authorisation number, unique prototype identification number,certificate of manufacturing and airworthiness, certificate of conformance, certificate of maintenance, import clearance, acceptance of existing drones, operator permit, authorisation of R&D organisation, student remote pilot licence, remote pilot instructor authorisation, drone port authorisation etc.
- Number of forms reduced from 25 to 5.
- Types of fee reduced from 72 to 4.
- Quantum of fee reduced to nominal levels and delinked with size of drone. For instance, the fee for a remote pilot license fee has been reduced from INR 3000 (for large drone) to INR 100 for all categories of drones; and is valid for 10 years.
- Digital sky platform shall be developed as a user-friendly single-window system. There will be minimal human interface and most permissions will be self-generated.
- Interactive airspace map with green, yellow and red zones shall be displayed on the digital sky platform within 30 days of publication of these rules.
- No permission required for operating drones in green zones. Green zone means the airspace upto a vertical distance of 400 feet or 120 metre that has not been designated as a red zone or yellow zone in the airspace map; and the airspace upto a vertical distance of 200 feet or 60 metre above the area located between a lateral distance of 8 and 12 kilometre from the perimeter of an operational airport.
- Yellow zone reduced from 45 km to 12 km from the airport perimeter.
- No remote pilot licence required for micro drones (for non-commercial use) and nano drones.
- No requirement for security clearance before issuance of any registration or licence.
- No requirement of Type Certificate, unique identification numberand remote pilot licence by R&D entities operating drones in own or rented premises, located in a green zone.
- No restriction on foreign ownership in Indian drone companies.
- Import of drones to be regulated by DGFT.
- Requirement of import clearance from DGCA abolished.
- Coverage of drones under Drone Rules, 2021 increased from 300 kg to 500 kg. This will cover drone taxis also.
- DGCA shall prescribe drone training requirements, oversee drone schools and provide pilot licences online.
- Remote pilot licence to be issued by DGCA within 15 days of pilot receiving the remote pilot certificate from the authorised drone school through the digital sky platform.
- Testing of drones for issuance of Type Certificate to be carried out by Quality Council of India or authorised testing entities.
- Type Certificate required only when a drone is to be operated in India. Importing and manufacturing drones purely for exportsare exempt from type certification and unique identification number.
- Nano and model drones (made for research or recreation purposes) are exempt from type certification.
- Manufacturers and importers may generate their drones’ unique identification number on the digital sky platform through the self-certification route.
- Easier process specified for transfer and deregistration of drones through the digital sky platform.
- Drones present in India on or before 30 Nov 2021 will be issued a unique identification number through the digital sky platform provided, they have a DAN, a GST-paid invoice and are part of the list of DGCA-approved drones.
- Standard operating procedures (SOP) and training procedure manuals (TPM) will be prescribed by DGCA on the digital sky platform for self-monitoring by users. No approvals required unless there is a significant departure from the prescribed procedures.
- Maximum penalty for violations reduced to INR 1 lakh.
- Safety and security features like ‘No permission – no takeoff’ (NPNT), real-time tracking beacon, geo-fencing etc. to be notified in future. A six-month lead time will be provided to the industry for compliance.
- Drone corridors will be developed for cargo deliveries.
- Drone promotion council to be set up by Government with participation from academia, startups and other stakeholders to facilitate a growth-oriented regulatory regime.