Drone Laws In India


The drone laws in India are constantly changing. This is mainly because the drone culture is not very much prevalent in India. The drones are permitted to be used as long as they are flying over the private property. A pilot is also allowed to fly over someone else’s property if he has the appropriate permission.

General Guidelines:

If pilot’s wish to fly their quadcopter over public property, they will need permission from the local authorities before flying their machine. There are not many guidelines framed by the Government yet. However, some simple regulations that have been made till date include -

  • No flying of quadcopters in the military areas.
  • No flying of drones in public areas.
  • Drones are prohibited from flying near airports.
  • Drones are not be operated in crowded areas.

Latest Developments:

In an attempt to regulate the operation of drones and quadcopters, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation recently decided to register all the unmanned aircraft. It was also planned to issue permits for operating these machines.

The regulator has come out with a draft copy for regulating the operation of civil UAS. “DGCA will register all civil unmanned aircraft and issue an operator permit on a case to case basis. All unmanned aircraft intended to be operated in India will require a Unique Identification Number (UIN) issued from DGCA,” said the draft guidelines. The comments on these guidelines were welcomed till 21st May 2016.

Further, the guidelines said, “International operations of civil UAS (flying across the territory) and/or over water shall be strictly prohibited. The UA shall not be flown over the entire airspace over the territory of Delhi (30km radius from Rashtrapati Bhavan) and areas falling within 50 km from the international borders. Also, UA (unmanned aircraft) shall not be flown over other sensitive locations viz. nuclear stations, military facilities and strategic locations,”

The DGCA also remarked, “Civilian use of UAS includes damage assessment of property and life in areas affected by natural calamities, surveys; critical infrastructure monitoring. UA operations present problems to the regulator in terms of ensuring the safety of other users of airspace and persons on the ground.”

The unique permit, as per the draft guidelines, shall only be given to a company that is registered in India and which operates through India or to a citizen of India. The draft rules also clearly state that the chairman and at least 2/3rd of the Directors of the company which seeks the permit, should be Indian citizens.

The DGCA also holds the authority to cancel the operating permit of any individual or company if it fails to meet out the requirements or standards set by the authority.

As these were only the guidelines, we can fairly predict that it will take an another year for the Indian government to enforce a full-fledged enactment for regulating the usage of drones in India.

Check out the concise guide on drone regulations


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