The Ministry of Civil Aviation (India) vide gazette notification CG-DL-E-26082021-229221 dated August 25, 2021, published the Drone Rules. The said Rules apply to:
- All persons owning or possessing, or engaged in leasing, operating, transferring or maintaining an unmanned aircraft system in India;
- All unmanned aircraft systems that are registered in India;
- All unmanned aircraft systems that are being operated for the time being, in or over India
"Unmanned aircraft system" has been defined under the Rules as an aircraft that can operate autonomously or can be operated remotely without a pilot on board.
"Drone" has been defined under the Rules as an unmanned aircraft system.
The said rules have categorized drones into the following three categories:
- Rotorcraft2; and
- hybrid unmanned aircraft system3
As per Part III of the said Rules, the Central Government may, on the recommendation of the Quality Council of India, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify the standards for obtaining a type certificate for unmanned aircraft systems and such standards may promote the use of the following—
- made-in-India technologies, designs, components and unmanned aircraft systems; and
- Indian regional navigation satellite system, namely, Navigation with Indian Constellation
As per Rule 8 of the said Rules, the Director General or any entity authorised by the Director General in this behalf, may, on the recommendation of the Quality Council of India or an authorised testing entity, issue a type certificate for any particular type of unmanned aircraft system.
As per Rule 9 of the said Rules, any person, who intends to obtain a type certificate, shall make an application in Form D-1 on the digital sky platform along with the fee as specified in rule 46 and the following –
- Particulars of the applicant;
- details and required documents in respect of the prototype unmanned aircraft system as specified therein; and
- the prototype unmanned aircraft system shall be physically handed over to the authorised testing entity specified therein.
The Quality Council of India or the authorised testing entity shall examine the proposal and submit the test report along with its recommendations to the Director General within sixty days from the date of receipt of the application.
On the basis of test report along with the recommendations received under sub-rule (2), and on being satisfied, the Director General shall issue to the applicant a type certificate for the specific type of unmanned aircraft system within fifteen days of receiving such test report.
As far as acceptance of approvals given by foreign regulators is concerned, on the basis of the approval granted to any type of unmanned aircraft system by such of the Contracting States, as may be specified by the Central Government by notification in the Official Gazette, the Director General may issue type certification to that type of unmanned aircraft system.
The imports of drones shall be regulated by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade or any other entity authorised by the Central Government.
As per Rule 13 of the Rules, no type certificate shall be required for operating the following namely:
- a model remotely piloted aircraft system; and
- a nano unmanned aircraft system.
The unmanned aircraft system have been classified as follows as per Rule 5 of the Rules:
- Nano unmanned aircraft system: weighing less than or equal to 250 grams
- Micro unmanned aircraft system: weighing more than 250 grams, but less than or equal to 2 kilograms;
- Small unmanned aircraft system: weighing more than 2 kilograms, but less than or equal to 25 kilograms;
- Medium unmanned aircraft system: weighing more than 25 kilograms, but less than or equal to 150 kilograms; and
- Large unmanned aircraft system: weighing more than 150 kilograms.
While Part III of the Rules is concerned with certification of unmanned aircraft system, Part IV is concerned with the Registration of unmanned aircraft system.
As per Rule 14 of the Rules, no person shall operate an unmanned aircraft system without first registering it on the digital sky platform and obtaining a unique identification number, unless exempted from the requirement of a unique identification number under the rules.
Any person who intends to register and obtain a unique identification number for his unmanned aircraft system shall make an application in Form D-2 on the digital sky platform along with the fee as specified in rule 46 and provide requisite details including the unique number of the type certificate to which such unmanned aircraft system conforms to. Procedure has also been provided under the said Rules for registration of existing unmanned aircraft systems.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation has also published the e Certification Scheme for Unmanned Aircraft Systems which can be accessed from the below link:
The Drone Rules, 2021 can be accessed from the below link:
Vijay Pal Dalmia, Advocate
Supreme Court of India & Delhi High Court
Email id: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Mobile No.: +91 9810081079
Aditya Dhar, Advocate
Mobile: +91 9971873110
1. Section 3 (c) – "aeroplane" means any power-driven heavier than air aircraft machine deriving support for its lift in flight chiefly from aerodynamic reactions on surfaces which remain fixed under given conditions of flight
2. Section 3(x) – "rotorcraft" means heavier-than-air aircraft supported in flight by the reactions of the air on one or more power driven rotors on substantially vertical axes
3. Section 3(m) – "hybrid unmanned aircraft" means a heavier-than-air unmanned aircraft capable of vertical take-off and landing which depends principally on power-driven lift devices or engine thrust for the lift during the flight regimes and on non-rotating airfoil for lift during horizontal flight
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