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Draft regulations on drone usage announced: 5 categories, prior permissions required

The Ministry of Civil Aviation on Wednesday announced the draft regulations for usage of drones in the country.

At the press briefing on the regulations, Aviation Minister P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju said the drone industry could help India’s development in several sectors such as agriculture and oil and gas.

We want to make India the world’s leader in the use of drones, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said.

Civil Aviation Secretary R.N. Choubey said, related security issues were discussed with the Home Ministry and the draft regulation sought to improve ‘ease of doing business’ for the drones industry while securing any concerns of misuse.

Here are the key points of the proposed regulations:

* There are 5 types of drones: nano, micro, mini, small and large.

* These range from less than 250 grams in weight to over 150 kg.

* Drones under 250 g (nano) won’t need security clearance.

* Micro category (250 g to 2 kg) will get approvals in 2 days.

* Whenever you operate a drone, you will need different approval. Apart from nano drones, all other categories will need an air defence clearance so that aviation as well as security authorities are aware of the flight path.

* There will be no-drone zones such as above operational aerodromes and within 5 km of Vijay Chowk in Delhi, within 500 metres from strategic locations, from mobile platforms such as car, ship or air craft, over eco-sensitive zones like national parks and wildlife sanctuaries (unless approved by Environment Ministry).

* Drones less than 2 kg and operating under 200 feet of height, once registered, can be flown without nods.

* Drones can be used for photography, medical uses, ad film making and so on. E-commerce companies should be able to use drones as well.

* Air-rickshaws or passenger drones can also be considered under this policy.

Privacy and security

Drone operators won’t have any right to breach anyone’s privacy, Mr. Choubey said. We are talking to firms that have the technology to rein in such rogue drones, which take permission for a particular flight path but deviate or stray into restricted areas, he added.

Comments would be invited for 30 days and then consultations would be held in the Ministry. The regulatory framework can be expected by December 31.


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