Earlier this month, the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the authority which regulates the civil aviation in India released a new draft of drone policy which outlines the drone flying regulations in India. Although the regulations released by the DGCA is a little tougher than those followed in countries like USA and Canada, the policy has made clear that India is embracing the new age of drones with open arms. The framework put forward by DGCA will certainly encourage commercial usage of drones in various sectors including e-commerce, delivery, agriculture, industrial monitoring, photography and more. In fact, when it comes to formally adopting commercial usage of drones, India has even beaten some of the developed countries by releasing its framework and regulations before them.
Under the proposed rules, drones have been classified into different categories depending on their size and permitted flight distance, with the regulations of each category being different from one another. The chart below specifies all the permissions and regulations a drone flyer requires:
Drone Regulations in India
|Item and Category||Nano (<250 gm)||Micro|
|Mini & Above|
MTOW < 2Kg
|Unique Identification Number||NR||Required||Required||NR|
|Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit||NR||NR||Required||NR|
|Remote pilot approval requirement||NR||NR||Required||NR|
|Height Restriction||50 ft||200 ft||200 ft |
(> 200 ft restrictive)
|Approval Time||NR||2 days||2-7 days||NR|
|VLoS and Day Operations||Allowed||Allowed||Allowed||Allowed|
|ADC / FIC||NR||NR||Required||NR|
|Local Police Permission||NR||Required||Required||NR|
As you can see, if you are flying nano-drones (<250 gm) for recreational purposes only, you don’t need any permission, however, if your drone is classified under Mini and above categories (>2Kg), you will need several permissions including permissions from police, flight path authorization, and more. Apart from these permissions, a user also needs to keep in mind that certain sensitive areas are restricted, and drones are not allowed in such areas. Some of the restricted areas include places falling under 50 Km from International borders, beyond 500m from sea coast, within 5 Km from Vijay Chowk, India Gate, national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, and more.
SEE ALSO: How to Set Up and Use DJI Spark (Guide)
Ready to Fly Some Drones in India?
It is good to see Indian government taking an initiative and releasing draft regulations for drones, as the subject had been in a limbo for quite a few months. With the policies in place, companies like Amazon will invest in drone technology in India, which will surely bring more foreign investments. Also, now individual drone enthusiasts have a set of guidelines that they can follow and enjoy flying their drones without any official problems. I don’t know about you guys but I know I am going to fly my DJI Spark after finishing this article.