After stakeholder consultations, the Civil Aviation Ministry is now awaiting final inputs from the Home Ministry for deciding the regulations on commercial use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), including drones. Aviation regulator DGCA banned the use of UAVs for commercial purposes in October 2014 amid concerns over security.
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In April 2016, the watchdog came out with draft norms for public consultations but there is yet to be a final decision the issue. Recently, officials from the Civil Aviation Ministry held discussions with their counterparts in the Home Ministry about the proposed regulations for UAVs, including drones and others. A senior official said views from the Home Ministry are awaited on the matter.
“We had a meeting with the Home Ministry officials. We have requested for inputs on our proposed policy on drones and expedite the matter. As soon as we get their inputs, we will be putting out the policy on drones,” he said. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in its draft regulations had proposed that drone users would have to secure a permit and a unique identification number for their operations.
In the wake of technological advancements in UAVs over the years and their increased use, it has become necessary to develop guidance material to regulate their activities, according to officials. There have been growing instances of drones and other UAVs coming into the flight paths of aircraft, especially near busy airports, leading some of these countries to formulate rules to regulate these operations.
“Civilian use of UAS (unmanned aircraft system) includes damage assessment of property and life in areas affected with natural calamities, surveys; critical infrastructure monitoring, among others… UA (unmanned aircraft) operations present problems to the regulator in terms of ensuring safety of other users of airspace and persons on the ground,” it had said.
In October 2014, the government had banned the use of UAVs by any non-government agency, organisation or an individual.