Govt unveils draft to regulate drones

Govt unveils draft to regulate drones

Amid a growth in drone use in the country, the government on Tuesday unveiled draft regulations for operating drones for civilian purposes that includes the no-go zones and security registration process.

According to the draft Civil Aviation Regulation (CAR), Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), commonly known as drones, are categorised into five based on there weight - from those weighing less than 250g to those above 150 kg.

Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju told reporters that once the regulations are in, it would discourage nefarious activities using drones.

"We are making the rules very very user-friendly," Civil Aviation Secretary R N Choubey said. Stakeholders can submit their views within 30 days.

The draft says drones weighing more than 250g would require security clearance and obtain unique identification numbers.

Drones above 2 kg should obtain operators permit as well. Those operating should also have the remote pilot licence.

While a decision on approval for drone weighing less than 2 kg will come within two days, that above 2kg would take a maximum of seven days.

Drones cannot operate 50 kilometres from the International Border and Line of Control with Pakistan, Line of Actual Control with China and Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) in Siachen.

One cannot also fly it within 5 km radius from Vijay Chowk, from where Parliament House, Rashtrapati Bhavan and North and South Blocs are a stone throw away, in Delhi and within 500 m radius from strategic locations notified by the Ministry of Home Affairs and military installations.

Drone launching from mobile platforms such as a moving vehicle, ship or aircraft is not allowed. Prior permission is required to fly drones over eco-sensitive zones around National Parks and wildlife sanctuaries.

"Operation of Nano and Micro UAS inside covered premises in No Drone Zone may be carried out subject to permission from local police authorities," the draft said. Till now, there was no CAR to regulate drones.

Fearing accidents in crowded Indian skies, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had in October 2014, disallowed the use of UAS by non-governmental agencies and individuals till the time it formulates rules.

Last year, a draft circular proposed to allow the use of UAS, including drones, with strict control. While the circular was advisory in nature, the Ministry decided to come with a CAR that would be mandatory to follow.

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