The government has granted conditional permission to 10 organizations for drone use. “Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) and Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) have granted conditional exemption from Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Rules, 2021 to 10 organizations”, MoCA said in an official release.
Those given permission include – Karnataka, National Health Mission (Mumbai), Gangtok Smart City Development project, Steel Authority of India’s (SAIL) plant at West Bengal’s Burnpur, Hyderabad’s Asia Pacific Flight Training Academy, Gujarat’s Blue Ray Aviation, Tractors and Farm Equipment Limited, Mahindra & Mahindra, Bayer Crop Science, and Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune.
As per the government release, Karnataka will use drone-based aerial surveys for creating urban property ownership records in Bengaluru. Mumbai’s National Health Mission will conduct experimental BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line of sight) drone flights to deliver essential healthcare items in tribal areas of Jawhar in Palghar district of Maharashtra.
Gangtok Smart City Development project will use drones for aerial survey for the smart city project, SAIL will conduct perimeter surveillance of its Burnpur plant, Asia Pacific Flight Training Academy, and Blue Ray Aviation will use drones for remote pilot training, Tractors and Farm Equipment Limited will conduct drone based aerial spraying to assess crop health and prevent crop disease, the ministry said.
Mahindra & Mahindra will conduct drone-based agricultural trials, precision spraying on paddy, hot pepper crop in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, while Bayer Crop Science will conduct drone-based agricultural research activities and agricultural spraying. Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune, will use drones to conduct atmospheric research, as per the statement.
“These exemptions are valid for a period of one year from the date of approval or until further orders, whichever is earlier and shall be subject to the terms and conditions of the SOP issued by DGCA,” the Ministry said.
The permissions to these 10 organisations and companies come a month after the MoCA released the updated draft Drone Rules 2021, for public consultation, which will soon replace the UAS (unmanned aircraft system) Rules 2021, released on 12 March 2021, and make it easier for companies and state governments to seek permissions to operate drones.
For the uninitiated, Operating drones without a unique identification number will not be allowed, unless exempted, among other things, according to the Drone Rules 2021,. Drone operators will have to generate a unique identification number of a drone by providing requisite details on the digital sky platform.