19 Key features of DRONE RULES, 2021

The central Govt., today, i.e. 15.09.2021, approved approved the Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for dronesand drone components. It is step towards realising our collective vision of an Aatmanirbhar Bharat.

The PLI scheme comes as a follow-through of the liberalised Drone Rules, 2021 released by the Central Government on 25 August 2021.  The PLI scheme and new drone rules are intended to catalyse super-normal growth in the upcoming drone sector. The aviation ministry expects drone manufacturing to attract investment of over Rs 5,000 crore in the next three years, generating over 10,000 direct jobs over the next three years. The ministry expects the annual sales turnover of the drone manufacturing industry to grow from Rs 60 crore in 2020-21 to over Rs 900 crore in FY 2023-24.

Top 19 Key Features:

  1. Based on a premise of trust and non-intrusive monitoring.
  2. Approvals abolished: unique authorisation number, unique prototype identification number, certificate of conformance, certificate of maintenance, operator permit, authorisation of R&D organisation, student remote pilot licence, remote pilot instructor authorisation, drone port authorisation, import permission for drone components.
  3. Several permissions and approvals abolished.  Number of forms reduced from 25 to 5.  Types of fee reduced from 72 to 4. 
  4. Digital sky platform being developed as a user-friendly online single-window system. 
  5. Interactive drone airspace map with green, yellow and red zones shall be displayed by 24 Sep 2021. 
  6. No permission required for operating drones in green zones. 
  7. Yellow zone, where ATC permission is required, has been reduced from 45 km to 12 km from the airport perimeter.
  8. No remote pilot licence required for micro drones (for non-commercial use) and all nano drones.
  9. No security clearance required before issuance of any registration or licence.
  10. Coverage of drones under drone rules, 2021 increased from 300 kg to 500 kg.  This will cover drone taxis also.
  11. Easy process prescribed for transfer and deregistration of drones.
  12. No restriction on foreign ownership in Indian drone companies. 
  13. No requirement of import clearance from DGCA.
  14. Safety features like ‘No permission – no take-off’ (NPNT), real-time tracking beacon, geo-fencing etc. to be notified in future. A minimum six-month lead time will be provided for compliance.
  15. Remote pilot licence to be issued by DGCA within 15 days of pilot receiving the remote pilot certificate from an authorised drone school.
  16. Maximum penalty for violations reduced to INR 1 lakh.  Was several lakhs earlier. This shall, however, not apply to penalties in respect of violation of other laws
  17. Drone corridors will be developed for cargo deliveries.
  18. Drone promotion council to be set up by government with participation from academia, startups and other stakeholders.
  19. Unmanned Aircraft Systems Promotion Council to be set up to facilitate a business-friendly regulatory regime.


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