After liberalising Drone Rule in 2021, the union government is giving a big boost to the drone industry by announcing Drone Shakti. With ‘drone as a service’ the government says start-ups will be promoted to facilitate 'Drone Shakti' through various use cases and applications.
“The current Government has taken a serious paradigm shift on drone technology and Drone Shakti announcement of the current FY budget proves that the government clear vision & focus towards this emerging industry, Drone Shakti & Kisaan Drones will definitely help take this technology to impact common people on grass root level at a massive scale,” Nagendran Kandasamy, Founder & CEO · Throttle Aerospace Systems Pvt Ltd told Business Today.
Large unmanned aircraft system weighing more than 150 kilograms will be used across sectors. Kisan Drones are being used for crop assessments, land records, spraying of insecticides, and is expected to drive a wave of technology in Agri & farming sector. Drone-based surveillance system is also being introduced for Railway Security. India deployed drones to deliver COVID-19 vaccines. The ICMR-led pilot project is being rolled out in Manipur, Nagaland and Andamans and Nicobar Islands. Drone is used for surveillance of COVID-19 hotspots and containment zones to ensure strict compliance of lockdown guidelines.
The Drone Rules 2021 were notified by the Central Government on August 25, 2021, which are based on a premise of trust, self-certification and non-intrusive monitoring.
According to the government, the new rules are designed to usher in an era of super-normal growth while balancing safety and security considerations. Several approvals were abolished, including unique authorisation number, unique prototype identification number, certificate of manufacturing and airworthiness, and many more. The number of forms required were also reduced from 25 to 5, along with types of fees which was reduced from 72 to 4.
The unmanned aircraft system, according to these new rules, will be based on the maximum all-up weight, including payload. It will be classified into:
Nano unmanned aircraft system: weighing less than or equal to 250 grams;
Micro unmanned aircraft system: weighing more than 250 grams, but less than or equal to Two kilograms;
Small unmanned aircraft system: weighing more than Two kilograms, but less than or equal to 25 kilograms;
Medium unmanned aircraft system: weighing more than 25 kilograms, but less than or equal to 150 kilograms.
Quantum of fee was also reduced to nominal levels and delinked with size of drone. For instance, the fee for a remote pilot license fee has been reduced from Rs 3000 (for large drone) to Rs 100 for all categories of drones; and is valid for 10 years. Digital sky platform being developed as a user-friendly online single-window system. There will be minimal human interface and most permissions will be self-generated. Interactive drone airspace map with red and yellow zones shall be displayed. While no permission will be required for operating drones in green zones, for yellow zone, where ATC permission is required, has been reduced from 45 km to 12 km from the airport perimeter. No remote pilot licence is also required for micro drones (for non-commercial use) and nano drones. Import of drones will be regulated by DGFT.
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