Gauging risks of drone surveillance or an unprecedented attack, the Ministry of Civil Aviation on Thursday made it clear that ‘no’ Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) shall be allowed to fly within 25 km from the international border including the Line of Control (LoC), Line of Actual Control (LAC), and Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL).
Responding to a question regarding the regulation of drones, Minister of State for Civil Aviation, VK Singh informed the Lok Sabha that Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Rules, 2021 have been notified on March 12, 2021.
“The rules cover the various aspects of drone usage viz, registration, ownership, transfer, import, operation of drone traffic management, payment of fees and penalties, etc. All civilian drone activities are regulated by the UAS Rules, 2021,” reads the Civil Aviation Ministry’s statement.
UAS rules apply to civilian purposes including professional videography
Replying to a query on whether the government differentiates between drones used for professional videography and the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) used for defence-related purposes, the Ministry clarified that the provisions of UAS Rules, 2021 apply to Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) for civilian purposes including professional videography. The operation of UAVs for defence purposes is not covered under UAS Rules, 2021.
“Drone usage in restricted areas is permissible with govt’s approval”
In response to whether the Centre proposes to regulate the usage of drones more strictly in border states and Union Territories like Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, and Arunachal Pradesh as compared to hinterlands and other major tourist destinations, the Civil Aviation Ministry said, “As per Rule 37(2)(e) under UAS Rules, 2021, no Unmanned Aerial Vehicles shall be flown within 25 km from the international border which includes Line of Control (LoC), Line of Actual Control (LAC) and Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL). As per Rule 37(3) of the UAS Rules, 2021, use of drones in restricted areas is permissible only after the approval of the Central Government, in exceptional circumstances.”
The ministry further added that to counter the threat of non-compliant drones in the country, necessary Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) had been issued on May 10 2019 by the Ministry of Home Affairs, which include measures to be taken by the Central and the State Governments, in consultation with security agencies.
In June 2020, the Ministry of Civil Aviation released the draft Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Rules 2020. After seeking comments and holding consultations with stakeholders for almost 10 months, the government finally notified the UAS Rules, 2021, which have come into effect on March 15, 2021. These rules replace the Civil Aviation Requires (CAR) on Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) which had regulated the space since 2018 while bringing in several changes for the industry.
With inputs from ANI