Govt issues draft rules for manufacturing, using drones amid coronavirus

The Civil Aviation Ministry on Friday issued draft rules for making and using drones in the country, proposing that an authorised manufacturer or importer can sell its devices only to an individual or entity approved by the aviation regulator DGCA.

The draft rules have been issued at a time when the use of drones has increased due to the coronavirus lockdown, for purposes like surveillance, disinfection, and videography.


The rules said each drone importer, manufacturer, trader, owner, and operator will need to take approval from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation. An authorised unmanned aircraft system importer or manufacturer must not sell a UAS to any person except an authorised trader or owner.

The draft said the DGCA will have the powers to inspect a UAS manufacturing or maintenance facility before granting any authorisation under these rules.

“No UAS shall operate in India unless there is in existence a valid third party insurance policy to cover the liability that may arise on account of a mishap involving such UAS,” the draft rules added.

No UAS should carry any payload except as permitted by the DGCA.

Only Nano class drones, which weigh than 250 grams, will be allowed to operate in India in general, the draft rules stated, adding that only a “qualified remote pilot” will be permitted to operate heavier drones.

Early this month, in a fillip to the drone industry, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) approved 13 companies to use drones to make drone deliveries as logistics are stressed during the coronavirus-induced lockdown. Some of the companies that have received this permission include food ordering apps such as Zomato and Swiggy.

A drone maker called Throttle Aerospace Systems and logistics firm Dunzo, too, received permission to conduct experiments.

ShopX, Spicexpress, Zipline, Redwing, and ClearSky Flight are also on the list of companies that have received approvals.

(Disclaimer: Additional background information has been added to this PTI copy for context)

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