The Drone Rules 2021 : India gears up for the next Technological Revolution

The Drone Rules 2021 have been recently drafted and released by the Indian Government as a replacement to the earlier Rules relating to Aircraft. The Unmanned Aircraft System Rules, 2021 (UAS Rules) were issued only six months back on the 12th March 2021. However, these rules shall be replaced by the new Drone Rules, 2021 with a view to bringing in better synchronization and balance between the operability and safety of drones.

Under the UAS Rules, Operation of drones was of higher complex level for the drone Industrialists. Multiple level of licenses and the difficult pricing structure for all or any type of activity related to Drone added to the complexity of the UAS Rules to which, multiple concerns were already raised. Considering the concerns raised, the Government drafted the new Drone Rules and opened it for suggestions and opinions from the Stake Holders before the 5th August 2021. After making all considerations, the Drone Rules 2021 were notified by the Ministry of Civil Aviation on the 25th August 2021.

“Drone” as defined under Rule 3 (i) and (zb) means any unmanned aircraft system which is an aircraft that can operate autonomously or can be operated remotely without a pilot on board.

The New Drone Rules 2021 shall be applicable to the following categories :

  1. Any person in ownership / possession or involved in the leasing, transferring or maintenance of an unmanned aircraft system in India;
  2. All unmanned aircraft systems that are registered in India;
  3. All unmanned systems that are already in operation in or above India.

The union Ministry of Civil Aviation, as an effort to promote minimum human interface, has announced to create a digital sky platform. This platform is an internet based system that would generate automatic approvals, thus making it easier for business. Standard operating procedures (SOPs) and training procedure manuals (TPMs) regarding the Digital Sky Platform shall be provided to drone operators for self-monitoring.  

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