Drones have become so popular these days, it sure has become an integral part of any photographer’s kit. With the amazing possibilities that can happen with a drone, everyone seems to be keen on the idea of getting one. But if you happen to be a drone enthusiast in India and can’t wait to get your hands on the next drone and fly it, hold it right there. You wouldn’t want to end up in prison, would you? It is important you understand all the legal terms and technicalities of getting and flying a drone in India to avoid any legalities.
Aviation ministry of India has not yet confirmed or updated any new rules for the year 2018. Since the year has just started and the elections are coming soon, the focus of Government is more on the serious matters. However in the past tweet by Ashok Gajapathi Raju Government is keen on new rules but there is no official announcement yet on this. Every drone lover is waiting for the updates but we think there is little more wait time.
2017 drone regulations draft, India is announced by The Ministry of Civil Aviation on Wednesday. During the press briefing, Aviation Minister P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju stated the drone industry would help the country growth in various sectors.
Below are the main points proposed in the regulations:
Currently, people are using drones for aerial photography and for those gorgeous wedding shots. Drones are also used for getting aerial shots in movies and for making documentaries. But right now in India, a few government agencies, law enforcement agencies, and the defense forces are legally allowed to use a drone. Apart from these, drones can also be quite useful for various other purposes. For examples, they can be used for remote sensing during natural calamities and disasters to pinpoint danger. Drones can also be used in agriculture; they can help to identify moisture content and nutrient soil availability; thereby passing on useful information which can be helpful to farmers.
It is not easy to get permissions for flying drones in India. There is a lengthy, official process which drone users have to flow. Also, importing drones into India is not allowed, unless you have official permissions on government letterheads. The Customs department has drones under “Prohibited Goods”, so don’t try to get them from outside India. Although there is no ban on the sale of drones in India, there are restrictions on their usage.
In April 2016, draft policy for the operation of drones was released but it is yet to see the light of day. The policy framed quite a few guidelines for flying of drones keeping in mind the recreational and R&D scope of them apart from them being used for surveillance and commercials purposes.
The first step is to register your drone with a unique identification number or a UIN. For this, you will need to have an address proof, a permit from the police and the telecom department. Once you have submitted the docs, the UIN will be generated for you which then needs to be installed on your device before you fly it.
As said, it can be a lengthy, official process before you can actually fly your drone. You need to apply for permission from a civil or defense Air Navigation System (ANS) provider. If you are flying your drone over any property, you need to get permissions from the property/landowner. You also need to get a security clearance from the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security of India. Be it recreation or commercial drone, you need all the permissions. The DGCA guidelines also state that the owners need to have insurance for their drones with the liability that they might have to deal with for any damage. You can go ahead and check out the application for permission for aerial photography to understand what all needs to be done to obtain permissions.
Bringing a drone to India is not that easy, unlike earlier years. If you are lucky and clearance happens without check and the drone is with you otherwise customs will hold the drone, give you a copy of withholding and will give it back to you when you are flying back from India. But yes, there is a way to bring drone and bringing is not illegal though. It just needs approvals and the process of approval is lengthy. If you have anyone in custom or Airforce who can fasten the legal process for you then it will be easy to bring a drone with you.
There are many professional drone photographers and filmmakers in India who fly drones to make videos abiding by all rules and regulations. They follow all the guidelines of flying drones and make professional shoots for a hobby as well as business. You can check a few of the samples of professional drone photographer from Pixel Do, Mumbai, India.
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