Regulation of Drones in India

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Technology affects in positive ways yet also can be disruptive. Such is Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) which is usually referred to as Drone. Drones are useful for military, commercial, civilian and even in humanitarian activities. Technological advancements have changed our life within the numerous ways be it the way wars are fought, business operations or daily activities. Drones also are termed as Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) or Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS). Military in India is not any more a stranger to the drones as they're used for tracking enemy movements, for border patrols, search and rescue missions and emergency services. Besides in military use, drones have penetrated commercial sphere also , with business developing drones in increasing diverse roles. one among the most important online suppliers of drone Amazon said in 2013 that it wanted to use drones to deliver the packages and has been testing accordingly. Now drones are getting used for development purposes, including aerial mapping, and for monitoring critical infrastructure like ports and power plants. Today global marketplace for the drones has grown then have the debates on the legal, regulatory, and even moral issues are around their use. So far, there's no clear global mechanism to manage drone activities. There also are issues round the accidents, air collusion, safety and security of the utilization of drones. Each of those issues require a comprehensive framework for effective regulation within the civilian airspace for domestic security, privacy and legal concerns to be addressed effectively. India, a developing country plays a proactive role in shaping the worldwide norms and regulations, not only because the evolution of drone technologies can have an impression on India’s security in multiple ways, but also because it's better for India to be a neighborhood of any new global effort as a norm shaper while at an equivalent time protecting the country’s interest. Several stopgap measures are taken by the state and therefore the central authorities to prevent these gaps whether in addressing the problems of control, or response mechanism within the event of an event , questions of privacy and trespass, traffic , terrorist threats management, and legal liability. Potential large-scale use of drones in agriculture and infrastructure is that the tool within the development of India.

Case Judgement/Analysis

The regulatory framework for drones was issued by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation ("DGCA") on August 27, 2018 by way of Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR), Section 3 – air transportation Series X, Part I, Issue I ("Drone Regulations") for legalizing and regulating the operation of drones for civil use in India. To liberalize the regime further and tap the potential uses of drones especially for commercial purposes, the Ministry of Civil Aviation constituted a drone task-force under the chairmanship of Hon'ble Minister of State for Civil Aviation. Accordingly, on the clue of the commendations of the task force, the Drone Ecosystem Policy Roadmap was released by the Ministry of Civil Aviation on January 15, 2019.1 Subsequently, several new initiatives were launched by the authorities focused towards capacity building of the drone ecosystem in 2019 and this trend continues in 2020. This update brings to you the varied drone ecosystem related developments in India, which can be of interest to the organizations doing or looking to try to to drone-based business in India.

1. Invitation by DGCA for expressions of interest to conduct experimental BVLOS operation:

On May 13, 2019 the DGCA had invited an expression of interest from consortia's willing and ready to conduct experimental beyond visual line of sight ("BVLOS") operations of remotely piloted aircrafts or drones in Indian airspace. By allowing companies to supply proof of concept for the utilization of drone technology, the authorities adopted an evidence-based regulatory approach which may potentially transform the drone industry by paving the way for regulations allowing more enhanced operations by drones. From delivery of consumer products to delivery of medical supplies to surveillance of traffic, construction sites etc., companies from all spheres applied to conduct such experimental operations under the supervision of the DGCA for development of latest regulations for this growing industry. As per news reports, we understand that a complete of 34 applications were received by the DGCA but only seven companies viz. Zomato, Swiggy, Tata Advanced Systems, Honeywell, Zipline, Dunzo and Redwing, were shortlisted to supply additional technical details regarding their BVLOS application. However, this willingness shown by the DGCA and other concerned authorities to include use of drones within the civil aviation ecosystem of the country was welcomed by all.

2. National Counter Rogue Drone Guidelines: 

In 2019, the Ministry of Civil Aviation ("MoCA") also released the National Counter Rogue Drone Guidelines ("NCRD Guidelines") with an aim to deal with the perceived law and order and national security issues that are anticipated thanks to unregulated and unchecked operation of drones. The NCRD Guidelines aims to bring out the varied counter rogue drone measures and guidelines which will be deployed to deal with the relevant threats in an efficient manner. The scope of the NDRD Guidelines includes: • Laying out guidelines for assessing the drone threat , • Creating awareness about the varied technologies involved in handling drone threat, • Ready reckoner for anti-drone measures,

• Understanding multi-dimensionality of drone threats.
3. Website launched for granting permission for aerial photography/ remote sensing survey:

On Epiphany , 2020, Shri Rajnath Singh, the Minister of Defence of India launched Ministry of Defence ("MoD") No Objection Certificate ("NOC") web portal for undertaking aerial survey with the ultimate permission of DGCA. The portal are going to be employed by various vendors engaged by state governments/public sector undertakings/autonomous bodies in seeking NOC from MoD. Through this initiative, the MoD are going to be ready to reduce the time usually taken in issuing NOC and can ensure expeditious disposal of applications for completing aerial survey and/ or remote sensing surveys.

One-time opportunity for voluntary disclosure of unregulated drones Several instances of unmanned aircrafts or drones being operated in Indian airspace, without complying with the Drone Regulations, have come to the notice of the govt . To facilitate the identification of such unregulated and non-compliant drones, the MoCA has issued a public notice dated January 13, 2020 providing a one-time opportunity for his or her voluntary disclosure. This requirement of voluntary disclosure is applicable on all drones, which incorporates models, prototypes, toys, drone , autonomous and remotely piloted aircraft systems etc. Additionally, such drones are frequently conscripted without having to suits the No-Permission No-Takeoff (NPNT) requirement. The drone enlistment form for voluntary disclosure has two parts. After uploading the drone owner's information, the owner will receive an Ownership Acknowledgement Number ("OAN"). Using the OAN, the owner will upload the drone-related information and can receive a Drone Acknowledgement Number ("DAN"). Each drone would require a fresh enlistment. Meanwhile a drone owner might have multiple drones, the owner shall use same OAN to enlist all drones owned by him. A separate DAN are going to be issued for every drone. However, the DAN or OAN won't confer any right to work drone(s) in India, without fulfilling the wants under the Drone Regulations. it's pertinent to notice that the ownership of drone(s) in India without a legitimate DAN or OAN shall invite penal actions as per applicable law. The deadline for all owners of drones in India to finish the voluntary disclosure is 5 PM on January 31, 2020.


There has been no protocol formulated by the authorities for incident management within the event of an accident. In 2015, for instance , an unidentified man was spotted flying a drone on the brink of the President House (Rashtrapati Bhavan) and therefore the Indian Parliament. The police were confused and had uncoordinated response which was very ineffective to such an alarming situation. the person reportedly was confronted by an individual from the media, after which he left on his own accord: he has not been indentified since. Media reports say the Delhi Police has issues standard instructions to the personnel during this area in responding to similar situation, making India Gandhi International Airport no fly zone and sanctioning cops to shoot down any UAVs sighted in its vicinity. In 2015, in Bhopal UAC bearing Hanuman idols flew over the town for the considerable amount of your time without provoking a reaction from the police. The incident wasn't only a security hazard but could have sparked off religious tensions. 


Globally, rules and regulations regarding the utilization of drones are still in their infancy. albeit the India is that the small operator than US, China and other developed countries but exact legislation is there. So far, at the, multilateral level, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is that the platform for framing rules of the road for drone regulations. UAV COACH 2020 General rules for flying a drone in India:

1. Foreigners currently aren't allowed to fly drones in India. For commercial purpose they're required to lease the drone to an Indian entity that successively supports to accumulate UIN and UAOP from DGCA. 2. All drones except those within the Nano category got to be registered and acquire UIN .

3. Drones pilots must maintain a visible line of sight while flying. 4. A separate permission is required for the commercial drone operations. 5. Drones can't be flown in areas specified as “No Fly Zones” which incorporates airports and military entities.


There are various questions concerning ethics, regulation and implementation that exist within the domain of drones. These questions got to be carefully addressed, keeping in mind the extant legal and moral principles and adapting them to the rapid technological advances to make effective governance regime for UAVs in India. India must also examine the prevailing policies in other countries to adopt the simplest practices because it formulates its regulatory framework. Guidelines and circulars issued by the governments and multilateral agencies like ICAO got to be converted into legal and policy instruments that might have a binding effect on governments.