Alerts & Updates

Notification on Drones Regulation in India

Defence & Aerospace | Aug 29, 2018

The Director General of Civil Aviation (“DGCA”), after long debated Industry deliberations, has finally announced its Policy for remotely piloted aircraft or drones on 27th August 2018. The civil aviation ministry has released what it calls “Drone Regulations 1.0”, a long-awaited policy on the flying of remotely piloted and unmanned aircrafts. The new framework has been anticipated since earlier this year after the government announced a set of draft rules in November 2017.

Set to come into effect from December 1, 2018, the new policy defines what will be classified as Remotely Piloted Aircrafts, how these can be flown and the restrictions under which they will have to operate. The framework recognises five categories of drones according to their mass: Nano (? 250 g), Micro (250 g to 2 kg), Small (2-25 kg), Medium (25-150 kg) and Large (over 150 kg). It also proposes fixed parameters for drone flights, including specific heights, and outlines what it calls “no drone zones”. These restricted airspaces are mainly clustered around airports, near international borders, strategic locations, secretariat complexes in state capitals and important military installations.

The policy sets up an automated system, where owners and pilots will have to undertake a one-time registration process. The DGCA has also introduced the concept of a Unique Identification Number as well as an Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit for every person intending to use such remote-piloted aircraft. Such Number or Permit can only be obtained by submitting the requisite documents to the DGCA after obtaining an import license. However, the new system implements what the ministry calls a “no-permission, no take-off” policy, where users of drones heavier than the Nano category will have to ask permission for every flight through a mobile app.

The Policy also lays down certain restrictions on the way in which such remotely piloted aircrafts are to be used along with the qualifications of the person using it and permits only visual line-of-sight operations in daylight as yet. The Policy also introduces the Digital Sky Platform, which is being developed to offer a seamless online process for applications and usage of drones in India.  A detailed note on the policy is attached.

While for the time being only line-of-sight flights are permitted for drones, this sets the stage for commercial applications of drones in India, which is one of the biggest markets globally. Most of the large-scale applications would need some relaxation in the policy, but this policy paves the way for applications such as personal, recreational, agricultural (with exceptions), new infrastructure project reviews (both public and private), aerial photography. The Policy precludes for now drone applications for the use of spraying of pesticides, delivery of items and food.

We hope you will find this an interesting and informative read. For any queries or comments on this update, please feel free to contact us at

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