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India’s drone policy caught between ministries for approvals, to face further delay


India’s drone policy will face further delay as regulation clearances are caught between the ministeries for approvals.

Already delayed, this will further delay the implementation of the regulatory framework for a couple of months.

India’s aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), is awaiting a response from the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Defence as Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR), a set of rules for operating drones, has not been finalised, said a Factordaily report quoting an official at DGCA.

Last week, the DGCA and the ministry of home affairs discussed the draft.

Now, the ministry also is planning to release the drone policy and integrate the digital sky into the regulations together. In Jan this year, drone startups in the country have come together and ask for rectification in the proposed policy for drones drafted by the government.

The top three concerns of drone raised by the startups included the proposed weight restriction of 2kgs and height restriction of 200 feet for drones used for various applications.

Meanwhile, the major challenges for implementing authority are automation and integration of registration, authentication, fleet management and flight operations, added the report. Besides ministries and agencies, all have to work together to speed up the process.

Entrackr’s queries to the civil aviation minister regarding deadline did not elicit any response till the publication of the report.

Earlier, in November last year, the ministry of civil aviation along with the DGCA had held open houses in Delhi and Bengaluru for public comments.

As per the then released blueprint, the drones are classified into five categories based on their maximum take-off weight: nano (up to 250 gm), micro (251 gm to two kg), mini (2 kg to 25 kg), small (25 kg to 150 kg) and large (greater than 150 kg).

Under the proposed rules, companies such as Amazon and Flipkart will soon be able to use drones to deliver packages in India. US and China have already been experimenting with delivery through drones.

However, experts in the industry have raised concern over its impact on job creations. According to latest estimates, there are 50,000 deliveries made by e-commerce companies like Amazon, Flipkart Dominos in Delhi alone every day. This move might negatively affect the employment of delivery partners appointed by logistics partners.

The ministry had first issued guidelines for drones in April 2016.

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