The Center has released daft drone rules; here are the key proposed changes

New Delhi: The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) released the updated Drone Rules, 2021 for public comment on Thursday (July 15, 2021). “The Drone Rules, 2021,” based on trust, self-certification, and non-intrusive monitoring, will replace the UAS Rules 2021. (released on 12 March 2021). The deadline for public comments is August 5, 2021.

The following are key takeaways from the Draft Drone Rules for 2021:

– Approvals have been phased out, including the following: unique authorisation number, unique prototype identification number, certificate of conformance, certificate of maintenance, import clearance, acceptance of existing drones, operator permit, R&D organisation authorization, student remote pilot licence, remote pilot instructor authorization, drone port authorization, and so on.

– The number of forms has been reduced from 25 to 6.

– Fees have been reduced to nominal levels. There is no connection with the size of the drone.

– In the future, safety features such as ‘No permission – no take-off’ (NPNT), real-time tracking beacon, geo-fencing, and so on will be notified. For compliance, a six-month lead time will be provided.

– The digital sky platform will be designed as a user-friendly single-window online system for businesses.

– The digital sky platform will have little human interaction, and most permissions will be self-generated.

– On the digital sky platform, an interactive airspace map with green, yellow, and red zones will be displayed.

– The yellow zone has been reduced from 45 kilometres to 12 kilometres from the airport’s perimeter.

– There is no need for a flight permit up to 400 feet in green zones and up to 200 feet between 8 and 12 kilometres from the airport’s perimeter.

– No pilot licence is required for micro drones (for non-commercial use), nano drones, or research and development organisations.

– There are no restrictions on drone operations by foreign-owned companies incorporated in India.

DGFT will regulate the import of drones and drone components.

– There is no need for a security clearance prior to registering or obtaining a licence.

– There is no requirement for R&D entities to have a certificate of airworthiness, a unique identification number, prior permission, or a remote pilot licence.

– The weight limit for drones under the Drone Rules, 2021 has been raised from 300 kg to 500 kg. This includes drone taxis as well.

– All drone training and testing must be performed by a licenced drone school. The DGCA will establish training requirements, supervise drone schools, and issue pilot licences online.

– Certificate of Airworthiness issuance delegated to Quality Council of India and certification entities authorised by it.

– Through the self-certification route, manufacturers can generate their drone’s unique identification number on the digital sky platform.

– A simpler procedure for transferring and deregistering drones is prescribed.

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