India's Drone Policy 1.0 goes live today: Here's everything you need to know

How to register, where to register, what all permissions you need, here's all you need to know before you fly your drone today.

Announced in August this year, India's new guidelines for remotely piloted aircraft or drones as they are commonly known, comes into effect today i.e. 1 December. The guidelines are aimed to help foster technology and innovation in the development of drones — devices that have an extensive range of applications ranging from disaster relief to agriculture.

Now, starting today, the Ministry of Civil Aviation has opened the registration process for users who want to operate drones. Users will be required to make one-time registration of their drones, pilots and owners on the platform, which will also allow for the online filing of a drone's specific flight path and use.

Do all drones need to be registered

Per the new Drone Policy, Nano drones that weigh less than 250 grams will not need to be registered. So if you have a tiny drone you can safely start flying it starting today. However, micro drones, which weigh more than 250 grams up to 2 kg, small drones, that weigh between 2 and 25 kg, and the medium drones, which can weigh up to 150 kg, and the large drones, that are over 150 kg heavy, all need to be registered before flight.

Further, all operators flying larger than Micro drones, which fly over 200 feet, will also require to get a permit. It's somewhat like a driver's license.

A drone is used to survey high-voltage power lines in Wilnsdorf, Germany. Image: Reuters

A drone is used to survey high-voltage power lines in Wilnsdorf, Germany. Image: Reuters

What all document do I need for registration

If you own any of the above drone, you will have to register on www.dgca.nic.in, and get yourself a unique identification number or UIN. For getting a UIN, you need to have an address proof, a permit from the police and the department of telecom. Once you’ve submitted the relevant documents, you will get a UIN, which needs to be marked on a fire-proof plate. The plate has to be installed on your device, before your drone can set flight in the air.

For other instructions for filing all applications you can refer the Digital Sky Manual here, or head to the Digital Sky portal homepage.

Do I need to pay any fees for registeration

For getting your UIN, you will need to a pay a fee of Rs 1000. In case you are getting a fresh Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit (UAOP), that costs a bit helfty at Rs 25,000, and in case you have to renew your UAOP, that will cost you Rs 10,000.

Where do I pay fees for UIN and UAOP for drone?

If you are using the Digital Sky Platform, then you will be prompted for payment using a digital gateway. Or else, you can head to this pagewhere you will need to mention the transaction receipt number and upload copy of the payment receipt in Digital Sky Platform at the time of your application.

What is the safe airspace to fly a drone?

The new regulations has divided the airspace in three different zones:

  • Red Zone: Flying not permitted
  • Yellow Zone: Controlled airspace — permission required before flying
  • Green Zone: Uncontrolled airspace — automatic permission

Beyond these, there are also specific regions around the country that have been marked as 'No Drone Zones'. Some of these No Drone Zones that have been defined are areas around airports, those near the international border, Vijay Chowk in New Delhi, State Secretariat Complex in state capitals and what the ministry called "strategic locations/vital and military installations".

As of now, drones are allowed to operate within visual line of sight, during daytime only, and up to a maximum altitude of 400 feet.

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