The Civil Aviation ministry has passed that the new Drone Rules 2021 which will replace the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Rules 2021, the government said in a Gazette notification.
The government had announced the new drone rules on July 15 and invited comments from stakeholders and the industry till August 5. The new rules were lauded by stakeholders for simplifying procedures and reducing the compliance burden to operate a drone in India.The new rules have been passed just a week after the government gave conditional permission to 10 organisations, including Mahindra and Mahindra, Steel Authority of India (SAIL) and Bayer Crop Science, to use drones for various purposes for a period of one year.
Under the Drone Rules 2021, the government has reduced the fee to operate a drone to nominal levels and de-linked from the size of the drone, the government said in a statement on August 25.
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Furthermore, the coverage of drones under Drone Rules, 2021 has been increased from 300 kg to 500 kg to include heavy payload-carrying drones and drone taxis.
The government has also reduced the number of forms/permissions to operate a drone in India from 25 to 5 and also said that no security clearance will be required before any registration or licence issuance of a drone.
According to the Drone Rules 2021, operating drones without unique identification numbers will not be allowed, unless exempted. Drone operators will have to generate a unique identification number of a drone by providing requisite details on the digital sky platform.
The rules have abolished the requirement of various approvals, including certificate of conformance, certificate of maintenance, import clearance, acceptance of existing drones, operator permits, authorisation of R&D organisation and student remote pilot licence, the government said.
The rules have also prescribed easier processes for the transfer and deregistration of drones.
No pilot licence will be required for micro drones (for non-commercial use), nano drones and for R&D (research and development) organisations.
Drone corridors will be developed for cargo deliveries and a drone promotion council will be set up to facilitate a drone-friendly regulatory regime in the country, according to the rules.
The rules also stated that there would be no restriction on drone operations by foreign-owned companies registered in India.Digital sky platform will be developed as a business-friendly single-window online system.