Daily News Analysis


15th June, 2022 Polity and Governance

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Context - The Union Minister of Civil Aviation has awarded the first Type Certificate under Drone Rules, 2021 to a manufacturer of Kisan drones.




  • The manufacturer received the Type Certificate after submission of an online application on the DigitalSky Platform.
  • The drone certification scheme was developed by the Quality Council of India in January 2022 in consultation with drone startups, industry, and academia and defence experts.


Regulations of Drones in India under Drone Rules, 2021

  • The Ministry of Civil Aviation has notified the Drone Rules, 2021.
  • These Rules were published under the Aircraft Act, 1934 and replaced the Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Rules, 2021.
    • The 1934 Act regulates the production, possession, operation, and sale of civilian aircraft in India.
    • The Rules regulated the ownership and operation of remotely operable and autonomous aircraft in India.
  • It reduced the approvals and restrictions involved in operating drones in India.
  • The Drone Rules 2021 remove the requirement of any certificate for operating or importing drones.
  • The import of drones will be regulated by the Director-General of Foreign Trade (or any other entity authorised by the Union government).
  • The Rules mandated seeking approval from the Director-General for the transfer of drones to another person in India.
  • Digital sky platform refers to the online platform hosted by the DGCA for various activities related to the management of unmanned aircraft system activities in India.
  • The central government publishes a dynamic, machine-readable, airspace map for drone operations in India.
    • The map will segregate the Indian airspace into red, yellow, and green zones. Prior permission will be required for drone operations in red and yellow zones.
  • The digital sky platform shall be developed as a business-friendly single-window online system.
    • There will be a minimal human interface on the digital sky platform and most permission will be self-generated.
  • The yellow zone was reduced from 45 km to 12 km from the airport perimeter.
  • No flight permission is required up to 400 feet in green zones and up to 200 feet in the area between 8 and 12 km from the airport perimeter.
  • No pilot licence is required for micro drones (for non-commercial use), nano drones and R&D organisations.
  • Coverage of drones under Drone Rules, 2021 increased from 300 kg to 500 kg. This will cover drone taxis also.
  • The DGCA shall prescribe training requirements, oversee drone schools and provide pilot licenses online.
  • Manufacturers may generate their drone’s unique identification number on the digital sky platform through the self-certification route.
  • The maximum penalty under Drone Rules, 2021 was reduced to INR 1 lakh.
  • Drone corridors will be developed for cargo deliveries.
  • A drone promotion council to facilitate a business-friendly regulatory regime.

Other Drone Reforms

  • Liberalised Drone Rules, 2021 was notified in August 2021.
  • Drone Airspace Map has opened up nearly 90% of the Indian airspace area as the green zone for drones flying up to 400 feet.
  • The production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for drones was notified.
  • UAS Traffic Management (UTM) Policy Framework was released.
  • A monetary grant program for the purchase of agricultural drones was announced.
  • Drone certification scheme to obtain type certificates by drone manufacturers.
  • Mission ‘Drone Shakti’ was announced for supporting drone startups.
  • A drone import policy has been published, banning the import of foreign drones.
  • Drone (Amendment) Rules, 2022 has abolished the requirement of a drone pilot licence.