Introduction

The Drone Rules, 2021 (“Rules”) were published in the Indian Gazette on August 25, 2021 by the Central Government of India. The Ministry of Civil Aviation published a press release shortly after the notice, highlighting the most important aspect as being based on “trust, self-certification, and non-intrusive monitoring.” In the future, the industry and businesses who use drones should expect it to be easier and less expensive to fly a drone in India than it has ever been.

Drone Rules: Key Takeaways for 2021

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has created and hosted Self-Certification-A D-Sky Platform, which is expected to be a user-friendly single window system. Drone makers, operators, and importers can apply to register and generate a UIN for their drones via the D-Sky Platform.

Various approvals have been abolished by the government, including the Unique Authorisation Number, Unique Prototye Identification Number, Certificate of Manufacturing, Certificate of Conformance, Certificate of Maintenance, and so on.

Fewer Forms and Processes- In comparison to the former Unmanned Aircraft System Rules (“UAS Rules”) on the issue, the number of forms has been decreased from 25 to 5. This will result in a system that is both speedier and less process-driven.

Cheap- In comparison to the previous UAS Rules, which required fee payment for 72 possible scenarios, the new rules require payment of a significantly reduced fee and only for four services.

In some situations, a remote pilot licence isn’t required. For example, a remote pilot licence isn’t required to operate nano and micro drones (when used for non-commercial purposes).

Increased rule scope: These requirements now apply to drones weighing up to 500 kilograms, up from 300 kilograms previously. Drone taxis, drone delivery, and other commercial activities are permitted under these restrictions. Drones that weigh greater than 500 kg will continue to be governed by the 1937 Aircraft Rules.

Type certificate exemption – According to the Rules, a type certificate is not required for manufacturing or importing UAS. Two types of UAS are exempt from the rules: nano UASs and model remotely piloted aircraft systems.
Maximum penalty reduced- Under the UAS Rules, the maximum penalty was compoundable and varies for persons and organizations of various sizes. A penalty of up to INR One Lakh (about USD 1350) can be imposed under the current Rules.

Drone transfer and deregistration procedures have been simplified. A UAS can now be transferred or deregistered to another person. In the event of a transfer, the Form D-3 must also include the necessary information on the transferor, transferee, and UAS UIN.

BIS Research, a worldwide market intelligence and consultancy business, believes that the global drone market, which is now dominated by the United States, China, and Israel, will reach USD28.47 billion this year, as reported here and here. India will account for around 4.25 percent of it, with revenues ranging from USD 887 to $1.21 billion in 2021.

The new Rules continue to focus on making it easier for businesses in the drone industry to conduct business. The Government of India (“GOI”) remains committed to supporting, encouraging, and boosting this sector, maybe as a result of its own personal experiences. Drones have been utilized by both the central and state governments in India, either independently or in public-private partnerships, to accomplish various government projects and programmers. Delivery of Covid 19-related drugs, completing surveys for maps, mining industries, and so on are only a few instances. The drone business can be seen flying into the skies if global trends and government cooperation are any indicator.

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