Ministry of Civil Aviation releases Draft Drone Rules, 2021 | Daily Current Affairs 2021
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Ministry of Civil Aviation releases Draft Drone Rules, 2021

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Draft Drone Rules, 2021

The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) on July 15, 2021, issued the updated draft Drone Rules, 2021, for public consultation.

The last date for public consultation on the draft Drone Rules, 2021, is August 5, 2021.

Highlights:

The updated draft Drone Rules will replace the Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Rules, 2021, that were issued on March 12, 2021.

The Draft rules were built on-premise of trust, self-certification, and non-intrusive monitoring.

Key Details of the Draft Drone Rules 2021:

As per the updated draft Drone Rules, 2021 –

  • The new draft rules suggest the abolition of approvals for certain criteria, reduction of forms to six from 25 and relaxation in granting permission.
  • It proposes the development of drone corridors for cargo deliveries.
  • It will offer safety features such as geo-fencing, real-time tracking beacons. A six-month lead time will be given for compliance.
  • There will be a minimal human interface on the digital sky platform and most permission will be self-generated.
  • Safety features like ‘No Permission – No Take-off’ (NPNT), real-time tracking beacon, geo-fencing, etc. are to be notified in the future.
  • It will provide an interactive airspace map with yellow, green, and red zones that will be displayed on the Digital Sky platform.

The yellow zone has been reduced from 45 km to 12 km from the nearby airport perimeter. In the green zone, no flight permission will be required up to 400 ft and up to 200 ft in the area between 8 and 12 km from the airport perimeter.

  • The import of drones and drone components will be regulated by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT).
  • All drone training and testing are to be carried out by an authorized drone school.
  • Directorate General of Civil Aviation will prescribe training requirements, oversee drone schools and provide pilot licenses online.
  • Standard operating procedures (SOP) and training procedure manuals (TPM) will be prescribed by DGCA on the digital sky platform for self-monitoring by users.
  • No pilot license is required for micro drones (for non-commercial use), nano drones and for R&D organizations.
  • Research and Development entities will not be required to generate certificates of airworthiness, remote pilot license, prior permission, and unique identification number.
  • The Quality Council of India and certification entities authorized by the Council will handle the Issuance of Certificate of Airworthiness.
  • The coverage of drones as per the draft Drone Rules, 2021, has been increased to 500 kg from 300 kg, including drone taxis.
  • Operating drones with no unique identification number will not be allowed unless it is exempted.
  • Drone operators are required generate a unique identification number of drones by providing requisite details on digital sky platform.
  • A Drone Promotion Council will be created to enable a business-friendly regulatory regime.

Significance:

  • The drone attack incident has put focus on security and safety risks associated with drone operations.
  • Therefore, the updated draft Drone Rules, 2021, will facilitate investments in drone technology in India.
  • Further, abolishment of restrictive practices and stringent licence regime for UAS by the government offers flexibility to players in the sectors.

Background:

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in June chaired a high-level meeting to discuss the drone attack which took place in Jammu & Kashmir.
  • The was attended with the Home Minister Amit Shah, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval were also present in the meeting.

What is Digital Sky platform?

Digital Sky platform is an initiative by the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA).

This initiative was started for the following purpose:

  • To provide a secure & a scalable platform to support drone technology frameworks like NPNT (No Permission, No Take-off),
  • To provide flight permission digitally
  • To manage unmanned aircraft operations and traffic in an efficient manner.
  • It was designed to enable flight permission digitally and managing unmanned aircraft operations & traffic efficiently.

What is a Drone?

Drone is a layman terminology for Unmanned Aircraft (UA).

 The following are the three subsets of Unmanned Aircraft-

  1. Remotely Piloted Aircraft 
  2. Autonomous Aircraft 
  3. Model Aircraft.

Remotely Piloted Aircraft consists of remote pilot station(s), the required command and control links and any other components, as specified in the type design.

The remotely piloted aircraft have been divided into five categories. They are:

  1. Large : Greater than 150kg.
  2. Medium : From 25kg to 150kg.
  3. Small : From 2 kg to 25kg.
  4. Micro : From 250 grams to 2kg.
  5. Nano : Less than or equal to 250 grams.

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