Free Press Journal

Drone Regulations 1.0: Flying facts about the new drone policy, major guidelines you must know


The government on Monday (August 27) announced new policy and guidelines for remotely piloted aircraft, or better known as “drones” which will come into effect from December 1. Unveiling the “Drone Regulations 1.0” here, Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu said that these would help foster technology and innovation in the development of drones — which have an extensive range of applications ranging from the commercial use of drones (unmanned aircraft) across sectors such as agriculture, health and disaster relief under new regulations.

All drone operations will have to be approved by the Digital Sky Platform, the details about which will be available on the DGCA website, and no paper-based process is needed for registering and operating drones. However, one has to do a one-time registration of drones, pilots, and owners on the Digital Sky Platform. The Digital Sky platform will be a first national unmanned traffic management platform that implements ‘no permission, no take-off’ for remotely piloted aircraft. However, there are certain rules that must be followed in order to own and operate a drone. Any violation of these norms may put you in trouble under relevant sections of the Aircraft Act 1934 and the Indian Penal Code.

Here are things you need to know about the Drone Regulations 1.0:

  • 01

    One-time registration

    Users will be required to make one-time registration of their drones, pilots, and owners on the platform, which will also allow for the online filing of a drone's specific flight path and use.

  • 02

    Digital Sky Platform

    The registration of the drones, permission to fly will be done digitally through the 'digital sky platform', connected to local police, which will implement "no permission, no take off".

  • 03

    Foreigners not allowed to operate drones

    Foreigners will not be piloting drones as they have been barred from operating remotely piloted aircraft in the country.

  • 04

    Maximum altitude of operating drone 400-feet

    The regulations are intended to enable visual line-of-sight, daytime-only and a maximum of 400-feet altitude operations.

  • 05

    Airspace has been partitioned into zones

    Airspace has been partitioned into Red Zone (flying not permitted), Yellow Zone (controlled airspace), and Green Zone (automatic permission). There will be different colour zones visible to the applicant while applying in the digital sky platform -- Red Zone: flying not permitted, Yellow Zone (controlled airspace): permission required before flying, and Green Zone (uncontrolled airspace): automatic permission.

  • 06

    Drones divided into categories based on weight

    As per regulations, there are five categories of Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) commonly known as drones. You can only fly drones that fit into these five categories based on their weight -- nano, micro, small, medium and large.

  • 07

    Government drones to have Unique Identification Number

    The regulations list various categories of drones and all of these except the "nano" type weighing less than 250 gm and those owned by the government and intelligence agencies are to be registered and issued with a Unique Identification Number (UIN).

  • 08

    For every flight required to seek permission

    For every flight (except for the nano category), users will be required to seek permission to fly on a mobile app and an automated process will permit or deny the request instantly.

  • 09

    UTM to watch over drones

    The UTM operates as a traffic regulator in the drone airspace and coordinates closely with the defense and civilian air traffic controllers (ATCs) to ensure that drones remain on the approved flight paths.

  • 10

    Violation of these norms may put you in trouble

    The enforcement actions are, (a) suspension/ cancellation of UIN/ UAOP in case of violation of regulatory provisions, (b) actions as per relevant Sections of the Aircraft Act 1934, or Aircraft Rules, or any statutory provisions, and (c) penalties as per applicable IPCs (such as 287, 336, 337, 338, or any relevant section of IPC).

  • 11

    Air Defence Clearance number necessary

    As per the regulations, "for flying in controlled airspace, the filing of the flight plan and obtaining Air Defence Clearance/Flight Information Centre number shall be necessary."

  • 12

    Drones not allowed near airports and international border

    It has been decided that no drones will be allowed around airports, near the international border, Vijay Chowk in Delhi, State Secretariat Complex in state capitals, strategic locations/vital and military installations etc.

(Inputs from Agencies)