Home Delivery via Drones? Here is All You Need to Know India’s First Drone Policy!


The Government of India is moving with the times when it comes to drone technology. In an important development earlier this week the Directorate General of Civil Aviation announced and published its policy about the private use of drones and also the remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) and it will be effective from 1st December 2018.

The private operators/companies can use drones in various sectors like agriculture, health, and disaster relief but currently, the policy bars the delivery of payload by drones for now.

In different terms that you can not order your food online and expect an e-commerce company or any other online food platforms to deliver your food. While questions can be raised about policy provisions, this is the first important step in recognizing the importance of drones today.

A drone which is an unmanned aircraft and piloted from a remote pilot station. The policy document of DGCA (The Directorate General of Civil Aviation) explains– “The remotely piloted aircraft, its associated remote pilot station(s), command and control links and any other components form a Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS).”

Just like a unique identification code for citizens of this country, every Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) will require a unique identification number, and it will also require an Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit(UAOP), and some other operational requirements set by the regulator(DGCA).

This policy has listed five different categories of drones:-

1: Large Drones: Heavier than 150 kg
2: Medium Drones: 25 to 150 kg
3: Small Drones: 2 to 5 kg
4: Micro Drones: 250 gm to 2 kg
5: Nano Dones: Less than or equal to 250 grams

With the sole exception of Nano Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems(RPAs), all drones will apply to the DGCA for import licenses.

The DGCA’s policy on the qualifications required to operate a Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) or Drone is a touch odd. The applicants must be above 18 years of age, pass a calls 10th with English and must have the necessary practical/ground training which has the approval of the DGCA.

As per the DGCA, the Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems(RPAs) exempt from acquiring a UAOP which include:

(1) “Nano RPA operating below 50 feet (15 m) AGL in uncontrolled airspace /enclosed premises.

(2) Micro RPA operating below 200 feet (60 m) AGL in uncontrolled airspace/enclosed premises. However, the user shall intimate to the local police office 24 hours prior to the conduct of actual operations.

(3) RPA owned and operated by the agencies as indicated in Para 6.5 of this CAR. However, the agency shall intimate the local police office and concerned ATS Units prior to the conduct of actual operations.”

So, Here are some restrictions set on drone operations in India…!

No Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems o Drone can fly within the 5 kilometer of the premises of airports across Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad and also within 3 km from the premises of any other airport in the country.

It can’t fly within “permanent or temporary Prohibited, Danger, and Restricted Areas”

There are also some clear restrictions for drone operations by the private operators which include:
Not flying within 25 km from any international border or the Line of Control(LoC), Line of Actual Control (LAC) and the Actual Ground Position Line (The line which divides Indian and Pakistani Troops in Siachen Glacier).

While the other restrictions include not going beyond 500 meters beyond the coastline and into the sea; within the 3 kilometers from the perimeter of any military/army installation and also within 3 kilometers from the State Secretariat offices.

Again the private drone operators can’t run the drone from a mobile base such as a moving vehicle, a ship or an aircraft. Also, the private operators cannot fly over the wildlife centuries and National Parks without necessary approvals.

And the operators those violating these rules will be booked under the Aircraft Act of 1934 and also the other assorted provisions of the Indian Penal Code.