Liberalised Drone Rules, 2021


    In News

    • Recently, the Ministry of Civil Aviation notified liberalised Drone Rules, 2021.


    • Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Rules were perceived by academia, Startups, end-users and other stakeholders as being restrictive in nature as they involved considerable paperwork, required permissions for every drone flight and very few “free to fly” green zones were available. 
    • Based on the feedback, the Government has decided to repeal the UAS Rules, 2021 and replace the same with the liberalised Drone Rules, 2021

    Few of the Liberalized Drone Rules, 2021          

    • Built on a premise of trust, self-certification and non-intrusive monitoring.
    • Designed to usher in an era of supernormal growth while balancing safety and security considerations.
    • Several approvals abolished: unique authorisation number, unique prototype identification number, certificate of manufacturing and airworthiness, certificate of conformance, certificate of maintenance, import clearance, acceptance of existing drones, operator permits, authorisation of R&D organisation, student remote pilot licence, remote pilot instructor authorisation, drone port authorisation etc.
    • Digital sky platform shall be developed as a user-friendly single-window system.  There will be minimal human interface and most permissions will be self-generated.
    • Interactive airspace maps with green, yellow and red zones shall be displayed on the digital sky platform within 30 days of publication of these rules. 
    • No permission is required for operating drones in green zones.  Green zone means the airspace up to a vertical distance of 400 feet or 120 metres that has not been designated as a red zone or yellow zone in the airspace map; and the airspace up to a vertical distance of 200 feet or 60 metres above the area located between a lateral distance of 8 and 12 kilometres from the perimeter of an operational airport.
    • The Yellow zone was reduced from 45 km to 12 km from the airport perimeter.
    • No remote pilot licence is required for micro drones (for non-commercial use) and nano drones.
    • No requirement for security clearance before issuance of any registration or licence.
    • No requirement of Type Certificate, unique identification number and remote pilot licence by R&D entities operating drones in own or rented premises, located in a green zone.
    • No restriction on foreign ownership in Indian drone companies. 
    • DGCA shall prescribe drone training requirements, oversee drone schools and provide pilot licences online.
    • Remote pilot licence to be issued by DGCA within 15 days of the pilot receiving the remote pilot certificate from the authorised drone school through the digital sky platform.
    • Drones present in India on or before 30 Nov 2021 will be issued a unique identification number through the digital sky platform.  
    • Drone promotion council to be set up by the Government with participation from academia, startups and other stakeholders to facilitate a growth-oriented regulatory regime.


    (Image Courtesy: timesofindia )

    Significance of the liberalized Drone Rules, 2021

    • Liberalisation with Security in mind:
      • The liberalised regime for civilian drones marks a clear shift in policy by the government to allow operations of such drones and highlights the government’s intent to allow the use of drones while at the same time ensuring security from rogue drones through the anti-rogue drone framework that was announced in 2019. 
    • Self-certification will make the process fast: 
      • The rules are based on the premise of trust and self-certification. 
      • Approvals, compliance requirements and entry barriers have been significantly reduced
    • Help to economy and innovation culture: 
      • The new Drone Rules will tremendously help start-ups and our youth working in this sector. It will open up new possibilities for innovation & business. 
    • Ensuring security:
      • The restrictions on operations “beyond visual line-of-sight” (BVLOS) — in which there is considerable industry interest and potential for commercial operations — have not been lifted.
    • No permission, no take-off:
      • Drone companies will have a “no permission, no take-off” feature built into these aircraft — something that would not allow a drone to take off without prior registration and necessary approvals.
    • Drones made cheaper and price delinked from size: 
      • Fees have been reduced and delinked from the size of the drone. For example, the remote pilot licence fee, which used to be Rs 3,000 for a large drone, has been reduced to Rs 100 for all categories of drones.


    • The new Drone Rules usher in a landmark moment for this sector in India. 
    • It will help leverage India’s strengths in innovation, technology & engineering to make India a drone hub.

    Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)

    • Several Benefits: They offer tremendous benefits to almost all sectors of the economy like – agriculture, mining, infrastructure, surveillance, emergency response, transportation, geo-spatial mapping, defence, and law enforcement etc.
    • Creators of Economic Growth: Drones can be significant creators of employment and economic growth due to their reach, versatility, and ease of use, especially in India’s remote and inaccessible areas.
    • India as a Drone Hub: In view of its traditional strengths in innovation, information technology, frugal engineering and huge domestic demand, India has the potential to be a global drone hub by 2030. 


    Source: PIB