India Announced its first Drone Policy, Here is what you need to know

India Announced its first Drone Policy, Here is what you need to know
India Announced its first Drone Policy, Here is what you need to know

Putting an end to the long period of ambiguity and lots of discussions, the Director General of Civil Aviation has announced India’s first policy for drones or remotely piloted aircraft. The policy will be effective from December 1, 2018, downwards.

The policy is detailed one and it defines and explains all about drones, what they are, and what the restriction on flying are and who can operate remotely piloted aircraft.

We have highlighted all the important points that drone policy talks about


  • The DGCA’s definition of remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) – “The remotely piloted aircraft, its associated remote pilot station(s), command and control links and any other components forms a Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS),” as stated in the policy states.
  • According to the civil aviation requirements – issued under the provisions of Rule 15A and Rule 133A of the Aircraft Rules, 1937 – these RPAs will require a Unique Identification Number (UIN), Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit (UAOP) and need to follow to other operational requirements.

Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit (UAOP)

  • Operators of any civil drones are ordered to get a proper permit from the DGCA. Exceptions being.
    i) Nano RPA flying below 50 feet (15 m) in an uncontrolled airspace or enclosed premises.
    ii) Micro RPA flying below 200 feet (60 m) in an uncontrolled airspace or enclosed premises. But this will require a permit from local police by notifying them at least 24 hours in advance. iii) RPA owned and operated by NTRO, ARC and Central Intelligence Agencies but after informing local police.
  • The DGCA will have to issue the UAOP within 7 working days after complete documentation is provided.
  • This UAOP shall be valid for five years and is not transferable.
  • The drone can only be flown by people aged 18 years of age with an at least passing certificate of English exam of class 10th
  • A person who wants to fly drone has to undergo ground/ practical training as approved by DGCA.
  • During day-time, drones can be flown to 400 feet, and have to be visible by the drone operator.
  • The rule about the visibility of drones can be relaxed later on.
  • Drone operators would require a license to fly a drone, it will cost Rs 25,000.
  • A UIN or Unique Identification number is mandatory for every drone which is flying, it will cost Rs 1000 to get one
  • Drone as are categories on 5 variants based on weight- Nano: Less than or equal to 250 grams, Micro: From 250 grams to 2kg, Small: From 2kg to 25kg, Medium: From 25kg to 150kg, Large: Greater than 150kg.
  • Drones weighing 250 grams to 2 kgs can operate without any license or permission to fly.
  • Drones beyond the said weight require a permit for every flight.

Drones operating rules in India

  • The basic operating procedure has restricted drone flights to the daytime only within “Visual Line of Sight (VLOS)”. This is mandatory for all categories
  • Along with other SOPs, the DGCA has clarified that no remote pilot can operate more than one RPA at any time.
  • Manned aircraft will get priority.
  • There can’t be any human or animal payloads, or anything hazardous.
  • It cannot in any manner cause danger to people or property.
  • Insurance is mandatory to cover third-party damage

Restrictions for Drones in India

  • Drones cannot be flown within 5km of the perimeters of the airports in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Hyderabad and within 3km from the perimeter of any other airport.
  • It cannot fly within “permanent or temporary Prohibited, Restricted and Danger Areas” and within 25km from international border which includes the Line of Control (LoC), Line of Actual Control (LAC) and Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL).
  • It cannot fly beyond 500 m into the sea from the coastline and within 3 km from the perimeter of military installations.
  • It cannot fly within a 5 km radius of the Vijay Chowk in Delhi
  • Cannot fly 2 km from the perimeter of strategic locations/ vital installations notified by Ministry of Home Affairs
  • It cannot fly within 3 km from a radius of State Secretariat Complexes.
  • It cannot fly from a mobile platform such as a moving vehicle, ship or aircraft.
  • Eco-sensitive zones around National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries are off-limits without prior permission.
  • Violations will be acted on under relevant sections of the IPC and the Aircraft Act 1934.

You can read the whole drone on the official website of DGCA. Since the popularity of drone is increasing in various sector these policies will surely help to regulate drone operability for the betterment.

“Drones range in size from very small and those that can carry multiple kilograms of payload. It was necessary to develop global standard drone regulations that would permit, with appropriate safeguards, the commercial application of various drone technologies.” said a senior ministry official in a statement.

The ministry has also stressed on an all-digital process for registering and operating drones. It is called as the  Digital Sky Platform and is reportedly “first-of-its-kind national unmanned traffic management (UTM) platform that implements ‘no permission, no takeoff’ (NPNT).” This UTM will be in close contact with the defense and civilian air traffic controllers (ATCs) so that the drones remain on the correct course.

Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha has stated that a Drone Task Force, chaired by him, is working on policy regulations for the future which will allow for flying automated drones that operate beyond the line of sight.



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