A drone is flown during a property inspection following Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas. (Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg)

Civilian Drones Likely To Take To Indian Skies From October

Drones for civilian purposes are likely to start flying in India from October as the civil aviation ministry expects to put in place the regulatory framework for unmanned aerial vehicles soon.

“We are working on the system for online registration of drones for civilian purposes,” Civil Aviation Secretary RN Choubey said. “The online registration as well as granting flying permission will start from October.”

The use of drones by civilians is currently restricted by aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation as the aircraft rules do not cover their use, sale or purchase. In November 2017, the ministry had come out with draft norms for operating drones by civilians.

According to the draft regulations, drones would require unique identification numbers while nano drones -- those weighing below 250 grams -- would be exempt from seeking a one-time approval. Various restrictions have been proposed to ensure that the drones are used only for valid purposes. There would be “no drone zones” across the country, including in areas that are 50 kilometres from the international border.

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A 13-member task force, headed by Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha, is in the process of preparing a road map for the implementation of unmanned aerial vehicle technology.

The task force would prepare a road map, including “outcomes, time lines, implementation & review mechanism and measurable metrics” for the implementation of UAV technology. Besides, the role of the industry would be clearly delineated, the ministry had said in a release in April.