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Use of drones:

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Science and technology, use of technology.

 

Context:

The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has sent a note on use of drones across various sectors to different ministries at the centre.

 

Where all can drones be effectively utilised?

Ministry of Home Affairs: For surveillance, situational analysis, crime control, VVIP security, disaster management, etc.

Ministry of Defence: Drones for combat, communication in remote areas, counter-drone solutions, etc.

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare: Delivery of medicines, collection of samples from remote or epidemic/pandemic-affected areas.

The Petroleum and Natural Gas, and Power Ministries: For real-time surveillance of assets and transmission lines, theft prevention, visual inspection/maintenance, construction planning and management, etc. Environment, Forests and Climate Change Ministry: Anti-poaching actions, monitoring of forests and wildlife, pollution assessment, and evidence gathering.

Ministry of Information and Broadcasting: For high-quality videography of events and difficult-to-reach-places at a fraction of the cost and approvals required. This move would also facilitate low altitude shooting without noise, and prevent dust pollution and risk of accidents.

Other areas: To undertake disaster management, incidence response, inspection/maintenance works and project monitoring.

 

Significance:

Drones offered tremendous benefits to almost every sector of the economy, including but not limited to, national defence, agriculture, law enforcement, and mapping, among others.

 

Drone management in India:

  • The Union government had on September 15 approved a production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme for drones and drone components with an allocation of Rs 120 crore spread over three financial years.
  • The ministry had on August 25 notified the Drone Rules, 2021 that eased the regulation of drone operations in India by reducing the number of forms that need to be filled to operate them from 25 to five and decreasing the types of fees charged from the operator from 72 to four.

 

Need for stricter rules and regulations:

  • Recently, 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.
  • According to government figures, 167 drone sightings were recorded along the border with Pakistan in 2019, and in 2020, there were 77 such sightings.
  • With the rapid proliferation of drone technology and exponential growth of its global market in recent years, the possibility of a drone attack cannot be ruled out even in the safest cities in the world.
  • Drones are becoming security threats particularly in conflict zones where non-state actors are active and have easy access to the technology.

 

Insta Curious:

Did you know that there are a few countries in the world which do not have armed forces of their own? Which are those countries? Reference

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Overview of new rules.
  2. New rules vs old rules.
  3. Exemptions.
  4. Licenses required.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of the new rules.

Sources: the Hindu.