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Liberalised ‘Drone’ rules to generate employment, economic benefits

Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia
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Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia
New Delhi
: The new drone operations policy is expected to generate employment as well as accumulate economic benefits for the country, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said on Thursday.

The Centre has replaced the UAS Rules with the liberalised Drone Rules, 2021, which are built on a premise of trust, self-certification and non-intrusive monitoring.

Scindia in a conference cited that the new policy will enable the usage of drones in multiple sectors.

“The new policy will promote research and development, manufacturing and service delivery in the country. There are already 200 startups in the country even before the announcement of this policy. We expect generation of thousands of jobs via this policy,” he said.

Besides, Scindia said that the new rules have abolished the need to obtain several approvals from the Centre.

The new rules, he said, have reduced the number of forms to be filled up for drone operations from from 25 to 5. It has also brought down the fee requirements.

Regarding the manufacturing prospects, he said the Centre envisages the policy to push software research and development that will be used in drone operations.

Furthermore, only DGFT will have the power to provide approvals for drone imports.

On the safety and security aspect of drone operations, the minister said that several measures will be implemented in a phased manner and that a lead time of six months will be provided to operators to follow these norms.

These security and safety features may include ‘No Permission – No Takeoff’ system; real-time flight tracking beacon and geo-fencing capabilities.

The minister also pointed out that an interactive ‘Air Space Map’ of the country which will demarkate ‘flying zones’ will be made operational by 30 days.

In March 2021, the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) had published the UAS Rules, 2021.

“They were 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,” the MoCA said in a statement.

“Based on the feedback, the Government has decided to repeal the UAS Rules, 2021 and replace the same with the liberalised Drone Rules, 2021,” it added.

The ‘Unmanned Aircraft Systems’ (UAS), commonly known as drones, offer tremendous benefits to almost all sectors of the economy like agriculture, mining, infrastructure, surveillance, emergency response, transportation, geo-spatial mapping, defence, and law enforcement.

“Drones can be significant creators of employment and economic growth due to their reach, versatility, and ease of use, especially in India’s remote and inaccessible areas,” the statement said.

“In view of its traditional strengths in innovation, information technology, frugal engineering and huge domestic demand,India has the potential to be a global drone hub by 2030,” it added.

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