After the recent J&K airport explosions, the Centre issued a national drone policy aimed to ensure ease of drone usage in the country on “trust, self-certification and non-intrusive monitoring”, as per the official statement by the Ministry of the Civil Aviation.
The Civil Aviation ministry introduced the draft of the policy and if passed, the policy will replace the Unmanned Aircraft System Rules, 2021. The government is welcoming citizen responses and one can do so by August 5, 2021.
On Thursday, July 15, the Indian Civil Aviation Ministry introduced the new ‘National Drone Policy’. The policy has been drafted as an aftermath of the J&K explosion that rocked the union territory’s airport which was under the command of the Indian Air Force.
The draft of the new policy comes just days after the last Prime Minister’s meeting with Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and the National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. The PM along with the Defence Minister and NSA discussed on the formulation of a policy that manages UAS (unmanned aircraft systems) in India.
— PIB Civil Aviation (@Pib_MoCA) July 15, 2021
No More Unnecessary Self-Authorizations
Interestingly, the new draft seems to do away with unnecessary self-authorizations such as unique authorization number, Unique PIN (prototype identification number), certifications related to conformance and maintenance. As per the Ministry of Civil Aviation – which recently got its new minister Jyotiraditya Scindia – the new rules in the draft are formed “on a premise of trust, self-certification, and non-intrusive monitoring”.
Number of Forms Required Trimmed from 25 to 6
The new drone policy also seeks to trim the number of forms required from 25 to 6. For enhanced safety and monitoring, the drones will need to come with safety features like NPNT (No permission – No Take Off), real-time tracking beacon, geo-fencing. The draft also stated that drone owners will be given a 6-month lead time for compliance.
Digital Sky platform to be developed
Further the draft also states that a Digital Sky platform will be developed which will be a business-friendly single-window online system. The system will be developed in such a way that it will require minimal human interface and the permissions to the drones will be self-generated.
More About Digital Sky Platform
The draft briefly touched upon the Digital Sky platform and stated that an Interactive airspace map will be displayed which will have 3 zones – red, yellow and green. The yellow zone will be reduced from 45 km to 12 km from the airport’s perimeter and drones will require no flight permission for flights up to 400 meters in the green zones. Further, no permissions will be required for flights up to 200 feet in the areas that are 8-12 km from the airport perimeters.
No Pilot License for Micro, Nano Drones
Further, the draft states that owners will need no pilot license for micro drones, nano drones and drones that are operated by R&D organizations.
The draft also classifies drones and its types – drones that are less than or equal to 250 gm are nano drones, drones that weigh greater than 250 gm to 2 kg are micro drones.
Meanwhile drones weighing greater than 2 kg and less than 25 kg will be small drones and those weighing above 25 kgs and less than 150 kgs will be classified as medium drones. Any drone that will weigh above 150 kgs will be classified as large drones.
Newly hailed Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia welcomed the new draft and was quoted saying-
“Drones are bringing the next big tech revolution around the globe with reduced costs, resources and time taken for operations. It is upon us to ride on the new wave and facilitate its uptake, especially among our startups.”