Meliorate Drone Laws

The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) raised objections on Home Ministry’s decision to regulate unmanned aircraft (UAV), commonly known as drones. The Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) informed the Home Ministry that licensing of manned or unmanned aircraft was their domain.

According to Director of DGCA General B.S. Bhullar, “The DGCA has the domain of aircraft safety.”

“As the aviation regulator, we need to ensure aircraft safety, and remote pilots should be adequately trained,” he said in an interview.

In April 2016, DGCA set guidelines mandating citizens to obtain unique identification numbers for using drones in public areas. As per the guidelines, users need to obtain security clearance from the Bureau of Civil Aviation and Drone Operations for using drones about 200 feet.

Recently, the Home Ministry circulated ordinances to regulate unmanned flying objects after concerns regarding safety surfaced when operations at the IGI airport in Delhi was shutoff in August, 2017. It was alleged that an Air Asia airline was stranded mid-air for two hours after spotting a low flying object just minutes before landing.

After this incident, a meeting was convened in August with the civil aviation officials and Home Ministry at the North Block to discuss the need for reforms in laws for manned or unmanned aircrafts.

According to the Home Ministry, a low flying drone that cannot be detected by a radar could give rise to security and privacy issues.

A Home Ministry official, on condition of anonymity said, “A UAV may get out of control and crash into a police station or someone’s house. To address the issue, we need to know the owner of the drone, its make, and its area of operation.”

Following this incident, the Home Ministry has also framed laws to regulate the use of UAVs by industrial houses for monitoring oil pipelines and coalfields.

The Home Ministry, however, has still not released the drone regulation draft in public, yet.