Drones’ commercial use to be legal from December

By: | Published: August 28, 2018 5:29 AM

Drones will only be allowed to fly during the daytime to a maximum altitude of 400 feet.

Currently, flying of drones is illegal in India without necessary approvals.

Flying of drones in India is set to become legal from December, the government said on Monday. The Ministry of Civil Aviation has approved regulations on the commercial use of drones or the Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) nine months after the draft guidelines were put for public comments in November last year.

“The drone technology has been evolving rapidly. There is a trillion dollar market for drones in the world. We want to lead the world in this technology,” civil aviation minister Suresh Prabhu told reporters.

Currently, flying of drones is illegal in India without necessary approvals. Under the new policy, no permission will be required to fly drones weighing up to 250 grams. For higher weight category UAVs, operators will need a one-time registration of their machine on a web portal. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) will set up a platform called Digital Sky, likely to be active from December 1, for drone user registrations.

Drones will only be allowed to fly during daytime to a maximum altitude of 400 feet.

However, companies will have to wait more for using drones for delivery of products as carrying of payload is not allowed in the new system.

“Drone usage is continuously evolving. We may think about payload delivery through drones in the next version of the policy,” minister of state for civil aviation Jayant Sinha said. Civil aviation secretary RN Choubey said the policy would facilitate drone use in the country.

“We haven’t listed the activities for which drones can be used. The idea is to let operators come out with innovative uses. The only restriction is that it (drones) should not venture into prohibited areas and invade people’s privacy,” Choubey said.

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