Draft Drone Rules 2021

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Apr 18, 2022, 7:11

Recently, the Ministry of Civil Aviation released the Draft Drone Rules 2021, which are based on a system of trust and a non-intrusive surveillance system.

This comes when the ministry intends to build a world-class ecosystem for drones in the country. Since there are no International Civil Aviation Organisation standards for the use and construction of drones, the ministry had to undertake the arduous task of drafting the rules from scratch.

The Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Rules were notified in March 2021, but they will not be repealed by enacting these rules.

What is a Draft Drone Rules 2021?

The recent amendment in Draft Drone Rules 2021 brings to light a novel technology, which we know by the name of drones. A drone, in basic terms, implies any crewless aircraft with three subsets, remotely piloted aircraft, model aircraft and autonomous aircraft.

A remotely piloted aircraft includes -

  • Remote pilot stations.
  • Command links and required commands.
  • Any other components specified in the drone designs.

Based on the weight of the crewless aircraft, a remotely piloted aircraft can be divided into five categories as per the existing rules. These include the following -

  • Nano (<250 grams)
  • Micro: (Between 250 grams to 2 kg)
  • Small: (Between 2 kg to 25 kg)
  • Medium: (Between 25 kg to 150 kg)
  • Large: (>150 kg)
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Facts About The Draft Drone Rules 2021

  • The decision to develop the new Draft Drone Rules 2021 emerges after the recent incidents involving drones in the Jammu region.
  • Here, the government is taking a stride towards using drone technology to counter such technologies and address the threat that rogue drones pose to the nation's security.
  • The Draft Drone Rules 2021 are welcome, and in the long term, they will help facilitate investment in other drone technology in the country.

Draft Drone Rules 2021 Concern

The Draft Drone Rules 2021 will lead to creating a digital sky platform that will act as an online system for retrieving approvals. There will be a limitation of human intervention at the platform during the process, and permissions regarding this will be self-generated.

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Draft Drone Rules 2021 Effects

There are several key takeaways from the Draft Drone Rules 2021, including the following:

  • Several approvals have been abolished as per the new rules. There will be unique authorisation numbers, prototype identification numbers and certificates of maintenance along with import clearance, operator permits, remote pilot instructor authorisation and more.
  • The number of forms has been reduced from 25 to 6.
  • Installation of an interactive airspace map with unique red, yellow and green zones displayed on the digital sky platform.
  • The DGFT will regulate any import of drones or components for drones.
  • Development of drone corridors for delivery of cargo.
  • All drone training and testing are to be carried out at authorised drone schools.
  • Prescription of an easier process for the transfer or deregistration of drones.

After setting up a proper drone promotion council, a business-friendly regulatory regime will enable the enactment of the drone rules. Further, overseeing any laxity in the rules will also become possible.

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FAQs on Draft Drone Rules 2021

Q.1. Explain the meaning of the digital sky platform as per Draft Drone Rules 2021.

As per the Draft Drone Rules 2021, the digital sky platform is an initiative by MoCA which provides a secure and scalable platform to support the drone technology framework, including permissions, managing operations, and more.

Q.2. Mention some safety features introduced by the Draft Drone Rules 2021.

As per the Draft Drone Rules notified in 2021, several safety features have also been introduced, such as geofencing and a real-time tracking beacon. They will be notified in the future.

Q.3. What is the lead time within which compliance with safety features will have to be done as per the Draft Drone Rules 2021?

The lead time within which compliance with safety features will have to be done as per the Draft Drone Rules 2021 is six months.

Q.4. Has the coverage of drones increased under Draft Drone Rules 2021?

The coverage of drones has increased from 300 kg to 500 kg as per the Draft Drone Rules 2021. It will also include drone taxis.

Q.5. Mention the requirement for pilot licensing as per the Draft Drone Rules 2021.

As per the Draft Drone Rules 2021, a pilot license for micro drones will not be needed for non-commercial use or nano drones.