Drone Regulations In India

Introduction

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on December 1, 2018 issued regulations for the commercial use of drones and remotely operated aircrafts. The Digital Sky Platform is a one-of-a-kind unmanned traffic management (UTM) system designed to make drone registration and licensing more convenient, as well as providing operators with fast (online) clearances for all flights. The airspace has been divided into three zones:

  • No Flying Zone or Red Zone
  • Managed Airspace or Yellow Zone
  • Automatic permission Zone or Green Zone

The current policy allows for one drone pilot per drone; however, the next set of regulations allows for any number of drones to be operated by one pilot. Artificial intelligence will be used to track drones under drone regulations.

In India, there are certain general guidelines for flying a drone. These are the important ones:

  1. All drones, with the exception of those in the Nano category, must be registered and issued a Unique Identification Number (UIN).
  2. Commercial drone operations require a permission.
  3. Drone pilots must maintain a direct line of sight while flying.
  4. Drones aren’t allowed to fly higher than 400 feet in the air.
  5. Drones are prohibited from flying near Airports, International Borders, Delhi’s Vijay Chowk, State Secretariat Complex in State Capitals, Important Areas, and Military Installations, among other places like Tirumala in Andhra Pradesh.
  6. To fly in regulated airspace, you must submit a flight plan and obtain a unique Air Defense Clearance (ADC)/Flight Information Center (FIC) number.

The first thing to understand is that the drone operator is responsible for any liability that emerges as a result of damage to a person or property. As a result, flying responsibly, operating only a legal and compliant drone, and ensuring that the drone operator follows the government’s guidelines.

Categories of Drones in India

Except for the Nano category, registration is necessary for all the other categories of drones.

Drone CategorySize
Nano 250 g (less than or equal to 250 g)
Micro0.25kilos – 2kilos
Small D2kilos – 25kilos
Medium 25kilos – 150kilos 
Large> 150kilos

Required Equipment for Drone in India

Drone flying in India is governed by a set of general guidelines. In India, the most significant rules for operating a drone are as follows: – 

  1. Global Pointing System
  2. Return to Home
  3. Light – Anti Collision
  4. Plate which shows the Identity Number
  5. A flight controller with the capacity to log flight data
  6. No Take-off due to RF ID and SIM/ No Permission (NPNT)

Restrictions for Flying Drones in India

  • A micro drone may not fly higher than 60 meters above ground level (AGL) or faster than 25 meters per second (m/s).
  • A small drone may not fly higher than 120 meters above ground level or faster than 25 meters per second.
  • Drones that are medium or large must fly in compliance with the conditions outlined in the DGCA’s Operator Permit.
  • Prohibited zones are completely off-limits, whereas restricted areas require prior approval from the DGCA.

Data Security and Drone Pilots

Any data collected during a drone operation, the drone pilot is liable for its protection and it is the duty of the drone pilot. To securely keep or dispose of such data, drone pilot must follow appropriate protocols and have the necessary hardware. Furthermore, drone pilot must ensure that any data collected during operations is not shared with any third parties without the consent of the person to whom the data relates.[1]

Illegal Drown Flying – Penalties in India

  • Any person who flies a drone without a valid license or permit, with the exception of Nano category drones, will be fined INR 25,000.
  • A punishment of INR 50,000 will be imposed if you fly over no-operation zones.
  • Drones that are flown without appropriate third-party insurance will be fined INR 10,000.

Future Prospects

The DGCA has currently approved testing for drones beyond the visual line of sight (BVLOS) to use it in food startups. Unlike VLOS missions, which take place within the pilot’s line of sight, BVLOS missions take place outside of the pilot’s visual range. These are mostly used to keep track of huge areas. It allows service providers to carry out complicated drone operations and allows drones to fly without the need for human intervention. The DGCA is also anticipated to announce a separate set of guidelines allowing drones to be used for e-commerce and medical supply delivery.

Way Forward

Drones are beneficial for businesses such as power, mining, real estate, oil and gas exploration, railways, and highways because they provide low-cost, safe, and speedy aerial surveys for data collecting. They’re also useful for disaster relief and rescue, as well as policing. However, drones can be misused, as evidenced by the recent Kashmir drone attacks, and hence drone usage must be regulated in today’s world.

By-

Allu Hari Narayana

Bennett University


[1] https://geoawesomeness.com/drone-flying-india-2021-rules-pilots/ Accessed on 7th July, 2021

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