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Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Rules of 2020

Topics Covered: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Rules of 2020

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Overview and Significance of these rules.

Context: Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Rules of 2020 notified by the Ministry of Civil Aviation.

These rules seek to regulate the production, import, trade, ownership and operation of unmanned aircraft systems or drones. They also create a framework for their use by businesses.


Who can sell drones? Only authorised entities.

Who can own or operate? Entities authorised by the Director General of Civil Aviation.

Permits for flying these also have to be sought online and a log has to be shared after the flight.

Applicability: The norms apply to all existing drones as well.

Exception: Nano-drones weighing 250 grams or less can be operated without a drone pilot license.

Insurance: No unmanned aircraft (UA) system shall be operated in India unless there is in existence a valid third party insurance policy to cover the liability that may arise on account of a mishap.

Rule number 36 and 38 in the Ministry’s draft state that no unmanned aircraft shall carry any payload, unless specified by the Director General of DGCA. Neither shall a person “drop or project or cause or permit to be dropped or projected from a UAS (unmanned aircraft system) in motion anything,” except when specified.

Eligibility: For owning and using a drone, one has to be at least 18 years old. In the case of companies, the requirement is that their main place of business has to be in India and the chairman and at least two thirds of directors have to be Indian citizens. Also, businesses operating drones have to be substantially owned and effectively controlled by Indian nationals.

Need for these rules:

Drones have wide use in commercial, safety, law and order, disaster management and surveillance operations, which cuts down manpower requirement and costs. The government is also keen to encourage domestic production of drones.

Besides, the rules come at a time the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the role technology can play in reducing human interface and costs.


Prelims Link:

  1. Which drones do not require permission?
  2. Who can own and operate?
  3. Who can give permits?
  4. What are rules 36 and 38?
  5. Is third party insurance necessary?

Mains Link:

Discuss the need for and significance of rules on drones.

Sources: the Hindu.