Minister of State for Civil Aviation V.K. Singh said in the Rajya Sabha on Monday that the government has taken several reform measures to make India a global hub for drones by 2030.
In a written reply to a question by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Narhari Amin, the minister also said that some of the reform measures taken by the government in this direction include steps to notify Liberalized Drone Rules, 202 on August 25, 2021.
Singh said the drone airspace map, released on September 24 last year, has opened up about 90% of India’s airspace as a green zone for drones flying above 400 feet.
“Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for drones was also notified on September 30 last year as well as UAS Traffic Management (UTM) Policy Framework was published on October 24 last year,” said the Minister.
On January 22 this year, the Union Ministry of Agriculture announced a financial subsidy scheme for the acquisition of agricultural drones and on January 26 all applications under the 2021 Drone Rules were also published on the Digital Sky platform.
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Singh said that the drone certification scheme was notified on January 26 this year and the mission “Drone Shakti” was also announced for supporting drone startups and promoting Drone-as-a-Service (DrAAS) as part of the Union Budget on February 1.
On the other hand, the Drone Import Policy was introduced on February 9, which bans freeing up the import of drone components.
He also mentioned that the Drones (Amendment) Rules, 2022 were notified on February 11 removing the requirement of a drone pilot licence. Now, a remote pilot certificate issued by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and approved by the Remote Pilot Training Organization (RPTO) is sufficient for a remote pilot to operate a drone.
Detailing the Drone Rules, 2021 notified on August 25, the minister indicated that it provides the necessary regulatory framework for civil or commercial use of drones.
Singh said the rules cover various aspects, such as type certification, drone registration and operation, airspace restrictions, drone research, development and testing, training and licensing, violations and sanctions.
Mentioning the salient features of the Drones Rules 2021, the minister said all drones except research, development and experimental drones must be registered and have a Unique Identification Number (UIN).
“An airspace map of the country segregating the entire airspace into red, yellow and green zones is available on the digital sky platform. The operation of drones in red and yellow zones is subject to the approval of the Central Government and the concerned Air Traffic Control (ATC) authority respectively. No approval is required for the operation of drones in green zones,” the Ministry said.