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Post at: Aug 12 2021

India Looks to Roll out Comprehensive Drone Policy

Recent Context

  • On June 29, 2021 a high level meeting was chaired by Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) in the wake of drone attack at Jammu air force station.

Drone Attacks and Concerns

  • Drones were used for the first time to drop explosive devices, triggering blasts inside the Air Force Station’s technical area in Jammu.
  • Over the past two years, drones have been deployed regularly by Pakistan- based outfits to smuggle arms, ammunition and drugs into Indian Territory.

Concerns

Does India have Anti – Drone Technology?

  • Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has the counter drone technology.
  • It could provide the armed forces with the capability to swiftly detect, intercept and destroy the small UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems) that pose a security threat.
  • DRDO’s anti- drone system would give the military both ‘soft skill’ and hard skill options to tackle the new and fast – emerging aerial throat.

What are India’s plans to use them in Warfare

  • The armed forces have been slowly inducting capacity.
  • In the year 2020, Navy got two unarmed Sea Guardian Predator drones on lease from the US.
  • The three forces want 30 of these UAV’s between them.

Drones Regulation in India

Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Rules, 2021

  • UAS rules 2021 was issued by Ministry of Civil Aviation.
  • The new drone laws and regulations apply to anyone looking to operate an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) in India.
  • The ability to fly a drone in India is subject to the type of drone and the corresponding permit and licence needed for it.
  • As per the size of the drone, the following categories have been listed under the Gazette –

  • The Drones pilots will have to follow the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) as accepted by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
  • The permit will allow the operation of such drones limited to the visual line of sight without any payload.

  • For the operation of either one of them, one would require UAS operator permit-II (UAOP-II).

Penalties on Failure of Compliance

  • Individual flying any drone other than those in the Nano Category, for instance, without a valid licence or permit, will have to pay a fine of Rs. 25,000.
  • Flying on unmanned aircraft over no operation area will attract a penalty of Rs. 50,000.
  • Such penalties extended up to Rs. 5 lakh for the manufactures of drones.

Way Forward

  • Guidelines on use of drones in India should be effectively implemented.
  • The government should ensure protection of privacy of citizen by limiting the use of drones for surveillance.
  • A comprehensive policy and measures are needed to tackle drone attacks by any terror-outfits.

@  Yogesh Pratap Singh


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