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What are the rules to fly a drone in India?

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New Delhi, September 16: Two US citizens, father and son duo got detained for flying drones near Rashtrapati Bhavan on Saturday. The drones fitted with a camera were found in the high-security area of Lutyen's Delhi.

The drone camera also had footage of Delhi secretariat.

What are the rules to fly a drone in India?

Though flying drones or Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) were made legal in India last year by the Director-General of Civil Aviation(DGCA) under the new drone policy, flying drones is banned in Delhi. Drones are banned specifically over areas like Vijay Chowk and some others.

Govt to take measures to counter threat of drones

The new policy called 'Drone Regulations 1.0' classifies a remotely piloted aircraft and delineates how they can be flown, it also sets the restrictions under which they operate.

Categories of Drones defined by DGCA:

DGCA has broadly classified drone into following categories:

  • Nano (weighing up to 250 gms)
  • Micro (250 gms to 2Kg)
  • Small (2kg to 25Kg)
  • Medium (25Kg to 150kg)
  • Large( greater than 150 Kg)

Except for Nano drones rest all need to registered and are issued a Unique Identification Number(UIN)

UIN is not issued to foreign citizens.

All drone operations need approval by Digital Sky Platform. The Digital Sky Platform system facilitates registration and licensing of drones and operators. It also gives instant(online) clearance to operators for every flight.

The restrictions

Drones in India are only allowed to fly during day time and within the 'visual line of sight'.

The regulation also clearly states that areas around airports, near the international border, Vijay Chowk in Delhi, State Secretariat Complex in state capitals, strategic locations and vital military installations are no-drone zones. Drones also cannot be flown near "permanent or temporary Prohibited, Restricted and Danger Areas" and eco-sensitive zones. Also drones cannot be operated from a moving vehicle or aircraft.

All drones other than those in the 'Nano' category must meet mandatory equipment requirements such as GPS, anti-collision light, ID plate, radio-frequency identification (RFID) and SIM facilities with software that ensures 'no-permission, no-takeoff', among other features.

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