Government announces Drone Regulations 1.0 for safe commercial usage of Drones

As per the Drone Regulations 1.0, the airspace has been partitioned into three zones- the Red Zone in which flying is not permitted, Yellow Zone that is a controlled airspace; and the Green Zone for automatic permission.

Aug 28, 2018 13:25 IST
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The Directorate General of Civil Aviation on August 27, 2018 issued the Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR) or regulations for civil use of Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) commonly known as drones.

The regulations were developed after extensive consultations among various stakeholders, and will be effective from December 1, 2018.

Drones are a technology platform having wide-ranging applications from photography to agriculture, from infrastructure asset maintenance to insurance. Drones range in size from very small and those that can carry multiple kilograms of payload.

Drone Regulations 1.0: Regulations for Civil Use of Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (Drones)

While launching the regulations, the Civil Aviation Minister, Suresh Prabhu said that the Drone Regulations 1.0 are intended to enable visual line-of-sight daytime-only and a maximum of 400 feet altitude operations of the drones.


As per the Drone Regulations 1.0, the airspace has been partitioned into three zones- the Red Zone in which flying is not permitted, Yellow Zone that is a controlled airspace; and the Green Zone for automatic permission.

There are 5 categories of RPAS (drones), categorised by weight. These five categories are - Nano, Micro, Small, Medium and Large.

Operational/ Procedural Requirements

  • All RPAS or drones, except nano and those owned by NTRO, ARC and Central Intelligence Agencies, will be registered and issued with the Unique Identification Number (UIN).
  • The Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit (UAOP) will be required for drone operators except for nano drones operating below 50 ft.; micro drones operating below 200 ft; and those owned by NTRO, ARC and Central Intelligence Agencies.
  • The mandatory equipment required for operation of drones except nano category are GNSS (GPS); Return-To-Home (RTH); Anti-collision light; ID-Plate;  Flight controller with flight data logging capability; and ID and SIM/ No-Permission No Take off (NPNT).
  • Drones will operate within visual line of sight (VLoS), during day time only, and up to maximum 400 feet altitude.
  • For flying in controlled Airspace, filing of flight plan and obtaining Air Defence Clearance (ADC) /Flight Information Centre (FIC) number shall be necessary.
  • The regulations specify minimum manufacturing standards and training requirements of drones of small and above categories.

No Drone Zones

The regulation defines “No Drone Zones” around airports; near international border, Vijay Chowk in Delhi; State Secretariat Complex in State Capitals, strategic locations/vital and military installations; etc.

Digital Sky Platform: No Permission, No Takeoff

  • The government has prepared an all-digital process for registering and operating drones in India. The operations of drones will be enabled through Digital Sky Platform.
  • The Digital Sky Platform is the first-of-its-kind national Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) platform that implements “No Permission, No Takeoff” (NPNT).
  • Users will be required to do a one-time registration of their drones, pilots and owners.
  • For every flight, users will be required to ask for permission to fly on a mobile app. This requirement is exempted for the nano category of drones. Once the user puts forward his request to fly, an automated process permits or denies the request instantly.
  • To prevent unauthorised flights and to ensure public safety, any drone without a digital permit to fly will simply not be able to takeoff.
  • The UTM operates as a traffic regulator in the drone airspace and coordinates closely with the defense and civilian Air Traffic Controllers (ATCs) to ensure that drones remain on the approved flight paths.

Enforcement Actions

The enforcement actions are:

  • Suspension or cancellation of UIN/ UAOP in case of violation of regulatory provisions
  • Actions will be undertaken as per relevant Sections of the Aircraft Act 1934, or Aircraft Rules, or any statutory provisions
  • Penalties will be enforced as per applicable India Penal Code Sections 287, 336, 337, 338, or any relevant section.

Why it took multiple years to put-out regulations on drones?

The Ministry of Civil Aviation has been working really hard to establish a world leading drone ecosystem in India. The purpose necessitates the development of global standard drone regulations that would permit the commercial application of various drone technologies.

The preparation of drone regulations through a Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) took multiple years as:

• Drone technologies have been evolving very rapidly

• Many countries are still experimenting with their drone regulations and no ICAO stands have been developed

• India’s security environment necessitates extra precautions

Drone Regulations 2.0

The Drone Task Force, constituted under the chairmanship of the Minister of State Jayant Sinha, will provide draft recommendations for Drone Regulations 2.0. These regulations will examine the following issues:

  • Certification of safe and controlled operation of drone hardware and software
  • Air space management through automated operations linked into overall airspace management framework
  • Beyond visual-line-of-sight operations
  • Contribution to establishing global standards
  • Suggestions for modifications of existing CARs and/or new CARs

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