Govt starts online registrations for drone operators; here is what you need to know

MUMBAI: Civil Aviation Ministry kick-started the registration process for drone operators in the country, through a portal called ‘Digital Sky'.

"Happy to announce that we are launching the Online Registration Portal for #Drone Flying Permission, #DigitalSky from TODAY. The platform is now live at https://digitalsky.dgca.gov.in/," Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu said in a tweet on December 1.

Flying drones or remotely-piloted aircraft have become legal in India starting December 1 with the National Drones Policy drafted by the Ministry of Civil Aviation coming into effect. The new policy called "Drone Regulations 1.0" clarifies where, when and how drones can operate within India. The DGCA has designed five different categories of drones as Nano, Micro, Small, Medium, and Large.

Under the new policy, Nano drones which weigh less than 250 grams or equal doesn't need a registration or license. However, drones that belong to remaining categories will need to be registered on the Digital Sky portal, following which a Unique Identification Number (UIN) or Unmanned Aircraft Operator's Permit (UAOP) will be issued by the DGCA.

The government, in August, had put in place regulations for operations of remotely piloted aircraft, to come into effect from December 1. Under these norms, drone users will be required to do one-time registration of their drones. They will also need to register the pilots of drones as well as their owners.

For drones of micro size and above categories, operators are required to register on the Digital Sky portal.

The fee for a fresh UIN is Rs 1,000. Meanwhile, the fee for a fresh UAOP is Rs 25,000 and is valid for 5 years. Payments for Unique Identification Number (UIN) or Unmanned Aircraft Operator's Permit (UAOP) will be accepted through bharatkosh.gov.in.

According to the ministry, to get permissions to fly, RPAS operators or remote pilots will have to file a flight plan. "Flying in the ‘green zones' will require only intimation of the time and location of the flights via the portal or the app. Permissions will be required for flying in ‘yellow zones' and flights will not be allowed in the ‘red zones'. The location of these zones will be announced soon. Permission, if granted, will be available digitally on the portal,"

The ministry has constituted a task-force on the recommendation of Drone Policy 2.0 under Minister of State Jayant Sinha. This task-force is expected to release their final report by the end of this year. "Drone 2.0 framework for RPAS are expected to include regulatory architecture for autonomous flying, delivery via drones and beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) flights," the ministry said in a press statement.

To prevent unauthorised flights and ensure public safety, any drone without a digital permit will not be able to take off.

"Drones are an industry of the future. India will be taking lead in this sector and will be working with countries around the world to develop common, scaleable standards. This industry has a large potential for Make in India and also to export drones and services from India," Prabhu was quoted as saying in the release.

 

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