• Due to Covid-19 Lockdown, the use of Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) commonly known as “Drone” has increased to facilitate work like, disinfection, videography, surveillance and home delivery.
• While keeping in note all these activities, the Ministry of Civil Aviation has notified the draft Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Rules, 2020.
• Earlier, the government had issued drone regulations 1.0 and the drone regulations 2.0. The government has also finalized National Counter Rogue Drone Guidelines for handling the threats from Unmanned Aircraft Systems.
What is an Unmanned Aircraft System?
• UAS (Unmanned Aircraft System) is a driverless aero-vehicle used for a different purpose. Commonly it is known as Drone.
• Mainly they are of three types: Remotely Piloted Aircraft, Autonomous Aircraft and Model Aircraft.
• Remotely Piloted Aircraft consists of remote pilot station(s), the required command and control links and any other components, as specified in the type design.
• Remotely piloted aircraft have been divided into five categories based on their weight- Nano: Less than or equal to 250 grams, Micro: From 250 grams to 2kg, Small: From 2 kg to 25kg, Medium: From 25kg to 150kg, Large: Greater than 150kg.
What does the new rule say?
• The new rule known as Unmanned Aircraft System Rules, 2020, drafted on June 2 emphasizes on importing, manufacturing and owning drones as well as for drone ports, or airports for drones.
• The draft has prohibited carriage of payload and dropping of articles by unmanned aerial vehicles. The draft says, “No Unmanned Aircraft shall carry any payload, save, as specified by the director-general.
• the draft has set up a maximum speed limit for drones at 15 metres/second. The drones are only allowed to fly at a maximum height of 15 meters and within the range of 100 meters from the remote pilot.
• For owning and using a drone, one has to be at least 18 years old. In the case of companies, the requirement is that their main place of business has to be in India and the chairman and at least two-thirds of directors have to be Indian citizens. Also, businesses operating drones have to be substantially owned and effectively controlled by Indian nationals.
• As of now, the government is inviting feedback from the industry and various stakeholders. They can send their comments to the ministry within 30 days after which the rules will be finalised.