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Registrations begin today for drone ‘census’

Any unregistered drone operated beyond January 31 will invite penal action, said the order issued by the aviation ministry. It said the presence of unregistered drones had come to the notice of the government and operating them violates the norms prescribed by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

ET Bureau|
Jan 14, 2020, 07.48 AM IST
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Penalty to be levied on any unregistered drone being operated beyond January 31
NEW DELHI: All drone operators in India will have to register their unmanned aerial vehicles from Tuesday. A government order issued on Monday wants registrations on digital sky platform by January-end to regulate drone numbers.

Any unregistered drone operated beyond January 31 will invite penal action, said the order issued by the aviation ministry. It said the presence of unregistered drones had come to the notice of the government and operating them violates the norms prescribed by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

“In order to facilitate the identification of civil drones and drone operators, a one-time opportunity for voluntary disclosure of such drones and drone operators is now being provided,” said an aviation ministry order signed by joint secretary SK Mishra.

It asked people to collect details of the submission process by visiting http://digitalsky.dgca.gov.in. “On successful completion of voluntary disclosure of possessing drone, a Drone Acknowledgement Number (DAN) and Ownership Acknowledgement Number (OAN) will be issued online which will help in validation of operations of drones in India. However, the DAN or OAN do not confer any right to operate drone (s) in India, if it does not fulfil the provisions given in the civil aviation rules,” said the order.

The DGCA had announced the rules to regulate drones in 2018 and had categorised drones into five categories based on weight, starting from 250 grams to 150 kilograms and above. The government had also categorised airspace where drones could operate.

Airspace has been partitioned into Red Zone (flying not permitted), Yellow Zone (controlled airspace) and Green Zone (automatic permission). The red zone areas are closer to airports, military areas and international borders.

After the first set of drone regulations, the government is also working on the second set of regulations that would allow operations of drones beyond the line of sight.

A senior government official said that allowing drones beyond line of sight had its own complications in a congested country like India. “It is easier to allow drones beyond line of sight in countries like the US with large open areas, but in a congested country like ours there are a lot of complications in allowing such operations,” said the official, who did not want to be identified.
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