• Niharika Kolte Alekar

Can't wait to fly high

When India released its Drone regulations in March 2021, it came as a death blow to the drone startups - manufacturers and service providers alike. The recent drone attack in J&K, we thought, would give further impetus to make the rules more stringent. But today, something unimaginable happened.


The MoCA not only repealed the earlier rules but also, in a total 180-degree move, went the other extreme and issued draft drone rules that are friendlier than expected.


While a lot of startups were on the verge of shutting shops, this time, the Govt. took a bold step and reinstated our faith in the system by taking corrective measures at the right time. There is a significant change in the new rules and is a testament to the fact that most of our grievances were addressed this time around.


Some of our favourite changes in the new draft are as follows:
A bunch of processes and approvals like UAN and import clearance have been removed for conducting operations.
There will be minimal human interface on digital sky platform and most permissions will be self-generated.
We can fly upto 400 ft without the need for permissions from the digisky portal.
Safety features like ‘No permission – no takeoff’ (NPNT), real-time tracking, geo-fencing etc. to be notified in the future. A six-month lead time will be provided for compliance.
Yellow zone is reduced from 45 km to 12 km from the airport perimeter.
Import of drones and drone components to be regulated by DGFT.
Drone corridors will be developed for cargo deliveries.

The new draft rules are conducive for the drone industry to take off and move one step closer to the dream of becoming the drone capital of the world. While there is always a difference between a draft and a final policy, we, and our friends in the industry, are extremely optimistic about the impact this is going to have on our sector. So we need to wait and watch how things pan out, but, just like our name suggests - we cant wait to fly high.


Last date for public comments: 5 Aug 2021.

Link: https://bit.ly/3i8SgK3

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