Ministry of Civil Aviation has repealed the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Rules, 2021 and replace the same with the liberalized Drone Rules, 2021. The step has been taken as the earlier UAS Rules 2021 was perceived by academia, Startups, end-users and other stakeholders as being restrictive in nature as they involved considerable paperwork, required permissions for every drone flight and very few “free to fly” green zones were available.
Some important features of liberalized Drone Rules 2021:
- Quantum of fee reduced to nominal levels and delinked with the size of the drone. For instance, the fee for a remote pilot license fee has been reduced from INR 3000 (for large drones) to INR 100 for all categories of drones; and is valid for 10 years.
- No permission is required for operating drones in green zones. Green zone means the airspace up to a vertical distance of 400 feet or 120 metres that has not been designated as a red zone or yellow zone in the airspace map; and the airspace up to a vertical distance of 200 feet or 60 metres above the area located between a lateral distance of 8 and 12 kilometres from the perimeter of an operational airport.
- Interactive airspace map with green, yellow and red zones shall be displayed on the digital sky platform within 30 days of publication of these rules.
- The yellow zone was reduced from 45 km to 12 km from the airport perimeter.
- The maximum penalty for violations is reduced to INR 1 lakh.
- Drone promotion council to be set up by Government with participation from academia, startups and other stakeholders to facilitate a growth-oriented regulatory regime.
- Nano and model drones (made for research or recreation purposes) are exempt from type certification.
- No restriction on foreign ownership in Indian drone companies.
Important takeaways for all competitive exams:
- Union Minister of Civil Aviation: Jyotiraditya M. Scindia.