If you own a drone and haven’t registered yet, it is now time to do so. The Civil Aviation Ministry has issued a notice that drone operators can voluntarily disclose that they possess a drone. It has requested drone owners to submit required information to the government through the Digital Sky portal.
All drone owners are required to complete the process by January 31, 2020. Not registering before the deadline could attract penal action, the Civil Aviation ministry has said.
This comes after it came to the ministry’s notice that there are several drones that do not comply with the regulations issued by DGCA in August 2018.
"In order to facilitate the identification of civil drones and drone operators, a one-time opportunity for voluntary disclosure of such drones and drone operators is being provided... All persons in possession of drones are required to complete the process (of online registration) by January 31, 2020," the ministry said.
Once the person with a drone registers on the Digital sky platform, they will be issued a Drone Acknowledgement Number (DAN) and an Ownership Acknowledgement Number (OAN). However, ministry has said that obtaining the DAN and the OAN does not mean one can operate drones in India. Drone operators will have to fulfil DGCA’s drone regulations.
"Further, ownership of drones in India without a valid DAN or OAN shall invite penal action as per applicable laws. This database will be issued to process each case as per the regulations by seeking further information, if required," the notice stated.
In August 2018, the Directorate General Civil Aviation (DGCA) issued regulations on operating drones in the country.
These regulations mandated that all drone operators register online and obtain a unique identification number (UIN). It was also mandated that a ‘no permission no take off’ feature would have to be incorporated in the drones by the manufacturers
The regulations divided drones into five categories from the smallest (nano) ones being those less than 250 grams and the largest ones those that weigh more than 150 kgs.
As per these regulations, airspace was divided into Red Zone (flying not permitted), Yellow Zone (controlled airspace) and Green Zone (automatic permission). The red zone areas are closer to airports, military areas and international borders. It was also prohibited to fly drones close to the international borders and the coastline, key security installations and places like Vijay Chowk in Delhi and state secretariat buildings.
Flying over densely populate areas and places that could affect public safety will require prior approval. Flying beyond 500 metres into the sea from a coastline was also prohibited.
The guidelines also said that a drone cannot be flown from any moving platform such as a moving vehicle, ship, etc.
As per these regulations, the only category of drones exempted from the registration process were government-owned drones, nano and micro drones. Nano drones are those that weigh less than or equal to 250 grams and operate below 50 feet. Micro drones weigh between 250g and 2kg and operate below 200 feet.
As per reports, there were nearly 60,000 illegal drones in the country as of October last year.