NEW DELHI — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Aug. 26 said that the liberalized Drone Rules, 2021, will usher in a landmark moment for the sector in India.

The Prime Minister also highlighted that the new rules have significantly reduced approvals, compliance requirements, and entry barriers.

“The new Drone Rules usher in a landmark moment for this sector in India. The rules are based on the premise of trust and self-certification,” Modi tweeted.

“Approvals, compliance requirements, and entry barriers have been significantly reduced.”

“The new Drone Rules will tremendously help start-ups and our youth working in this sector,” Modi said.

“It will open up new possibilities for innovation & business. It will help leverage India’s strengths in innovation, technology & engineering to make India a drone hub.”

In March 2021, the Ministry of Civil Aviation published the Unmanned Aircraft System Rules, 2021.

They were perceived by academia, start-ups, end-users, and other stakeholders as restrictive. They involved considerable paperwork, required permissions for every drone flight, and very few “free to fly” green zones were available.

“Based on the feedback, the Government has decided to repeal the UAS Rules, 2021 and replace the same with the liberalized Drone Rules, 2021,” said the Ministry of Civil Aviation in a press release.

Unmanned Aircraft Systems, commonly known as drones, offer tremendous benefits to almost all sectors of the economy like — agriculture, mining, infrastructure, surveillance, emergency response, transportation, geo-spatial mapping, defense, law enforcement, etc.

Drones can be significant creators of employment and economic growth due to their reach, versatility, and ease of use, especially in India’s remote and inaccessible areas.

The government aims to make India a global drone hub by 2030, said Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia on Aug. 26.

He said that drone application will be ensured in transportation, logistic, defense, mining, infrastructure sectors, and more, which will generate job opportunities.

“We are going to ensure drone application in transportation, logistic, defense, mining, infrastructure sectors, and more,” said Scindia

“It will provide more jobs. Our aim is to make India a global drone hub by 2030.”

He chaired a press conference to discuss the benefits and applications of the new Drone Rules 2021. Senior officials from the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Airports Authority of India, and other essential stakeholders were also present.

“The drone rules create a balance between India’s development and security,” Scindia said.

“This shows PM Modi’s far-sightedness and capability. Our drone rules are based on trust, self-certification, and non-inclusive monitoring.”

“In the new drone rules, instead of controlling and regulating, we are trusting controller and manufacturer,” said Pradeep Singh Kharola, Secretary, Civil Aviation Ministry.

The relaxation in rules stipulates, no security clearance is now required before any registration or license issuance for the operation of drones. While the fees for permissions to operate drones have been reduced to nominal levels.

Drone corridors will be developed for cargo deliveries. It has been specified that coverage of drones under Drone Rules 2021 has increased from 300 kilograms to 500 kilograms to include heavy payload-carrying drones and drone taxis, the release said.

Some approvals abolished under the new rules include a unique authorization number, unique prototype identification number, certificate of conformance, certificate of maintenance, operator permits, Research and Development organization authorization, and remote pilot instructor authorization.

Scindia also spoke about the future possibility of witnessing air taxis.

“I believe there is a possibility that similar to taxis running on the road at present, we see taxis in the air, under the drone policy,” he said.

(With inputs from ANI)

Edited by Saptak Datta and Praveen Pramod Tewari

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