Remotely Piloted Aerial Systems (RPAS), popularly referred to as drones, are a technology platform with wide-ranging applications. In August 2018, India had announced the release of its Civil Aviation Regulations (CAR) to enable safe flying of RPAS in India.
The CAR detailed the obligations of operators, remote pilots/ users and manufacturers/ OEM for safe operations of RPAS and co-operative use of airspace. It also announced Digital Sky Platform, a first of its kind that implements ‘no permission, no take-off’ (NPNT) – a novel system of software-based self-enforcement to minimize deviations from the CAR. The regulations were to come in effect from December 1, allowing the industry time to ready themselves for the launch. Nano drones in India can start flying legally from today. For micro and above categories, operators and pilots are required to register on the Digital Sky Portal.
The platform has begun accepting registrations of users. Payments for Unmanned Aerial Operator’s Permit (UAOP) and Unique Identification Numbers (UIN) will be accepted through the Bharat Kosh (bharatkosh.gov.in) portal.
To get permissions to fly, RPAS operators or remote pilots will have to file a flight plan. Flying in the ‘green zones’ will require only intimation of the time and location of the flights via the portal or the app. Permissions will be required for flying in ‘yellow zones’ and flights will not be allowed in the ‘red zones’. The location of these zones will be announced soon. Permission, if granted, will be available digitally on the portal.
On this occasion, Suresh Prabhu, Minister for Civil Aviation, Government of India said that “Drones are an industry of the future. It is a matter of great pride for India that we are now at the cutting-edge of the rulemaking in this industry. India will be taking lead in this sector and will be working with countries around the world to develop common, scale able standards. This industry has a large potential for Make in India and also to export drones and services from India.’
Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Jayant Sinha said that, “Today, we have taken the first step towards our vision of seeing millions of drones fly in India. Drones are a frontier technology which has the potential to leapfrog India’s economic growth. This technology can greatly benefit our farmers, infrastructure entities like railways, roads, ports, mines and factories, sectors like insurance, photography, entertainment, etc.”