Drone Rules, 2020 – Salient Features and Plethora of Concerns revolving around the Unmanned Aircraft System

By Rohit Singh, 2nd Year, LLB, Law Centre – II, Faculty of Law, DU

Ministry of Civil Aviation has published the draft unmanned Aircraft system Rules, 2020 and set the rules to allow beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations, and bring drone traders under its ambit. It is a great step to contribute to the India Economy by identifying the drone industry as an Important part. However, the regulations and the industry need to keep working hand-in-hand to make the rule operationalize and regularise drone activity in India.

The General Rules for flying a Drone in India are:

(i) Licence for Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM), it is a key requirement for carrying out BVLOS operations, such as delivery or remote surveillance. UTMs automatically collect information of flight and vicinity of drones in airspace to avoid collisions.

(ii) Rules are cleared for BVLOS operations, but there is no clarity about the delivery food by drones, or delivery of any kind.

(iii) Private individuals and entities will need to obtain licence from Director General of civil Aviation (DGCA) to operate such ports. For temporary operations of drones, it will be issued for maximum 3 months, while DGCA’s licence to such ports will last for 5 years.

(iv) There is a requirement of “certificate of Manufacture” for drones that are either manufactured in India or imported. This will not apply to drones whose weight is more than 300 kilograms.

(v) No permission no takes off (NPNT) protocol is mandatory for all categories of drones, except nano types.

(vi) There must be insurance of drones and no drone can be operated without having a valid third-party insurance policy to cover the liability that may arise during bodily injury to any person or causing death, mishaps, or damage to property.

(vii) Unique Identification Number (UIN), will be allotted by the DGCA and without this no drone can be owned or operated in India. [1]

The person who want to fly the drone do not need to register if their drone is: (a) weighs less than 250g and has no camera or other sensor which able to detect personal data. (b) Even with a camera or other sensor, weighs less than 250g, but is a toy.[2]

Flying drones are become legal in January but it could not be applied properly due to some difficulties in registering drones and then rules were updated in June and now the flying drones become legal. Earlier flying drones was completely illegal. Although it is a good step and help in contribute to Indian Economy but flying drones have some negative impacts also such as the chemical content and residue left from these strikes, harm public health, agriculture and also cause numerous skin and respiratory diseases. Apart from these, the usage of drones also leads to invasion of Privacy, interference with air activity, storage of weapons and many other illegal activities. Only the military drones can be considered relatively secure and rest others are subject to hijacking and misuse for bad purpose. The main concern with the drones is privacy breach. The Four main concern of flying drones are:

1. Safety: The unmanned Aircraft (Drones) different form the other Aircraft. These Drones can’t see where they are going. They are along the line of, “stay out of our way” while manned aircraft rejoinder usually is, “we were here first”. Package delivery services will able to make sure they don’t land on innocent bystanders. This safety problem is real and contentious. FAA can’t regulate small unmanned aircraft identical to those used by business if they’re being flown for “hobby or recreational purposes”.

2. Security: The Drone user could build flying bombs, although conventional explosives are heavy and aren’t easily obtained. An equally large threat is using an eye in the sky to facilitate other bad activities.

3. Privacy: This is the biggest issue with the drone. Legislature should think about to make some rules. There are so many watches, and most people aren’t doing anything worth watching in the first place.

4. Public Nuisance: Public Nuisance is also arising from flying drones it provides a path for lumping the first three concerns together under the lens of “community impact” [3]

But apart from this, drones have some benefits also for military purpose it is used in Bomb detection, surveillance, AIR strikes etc. For non-military it is used for filming and journalism, shipping and delivery, Disaster management, Rescue operations and Health care, Archaeological surveys, Geographic mapping, law enforcement, safety inspections, Agriculture, wildlife Monitoring, weather forecasting, Aerial photography etc.

However, one more problem with allowing drones to fly is Crowded skies, the corporate sector, especially the big delivery and service companies, already has big plans for turning drone technology into new sources of revenue but the Experts say the major issue for these companies is the current lag time between drone technologies and official policies about drone usage. Public skies are just like the public airwaves. Drones flyers should have no right simply to fly at will. Because if they allowed to fly drones at their will then it became problem to general public. They can misuse many things. Their continued misuse or escalations in the impact of their misuse will be the only way a path will be found and a balance struck between legitimate concerns and oblivious operators.

Disclaimer : All Rights Reserved to Legally Layman and Lexstructor



[1] https://www.medianama.com/2020/06/223-drone-rules-india/





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