Commercial Drone Flying is Legal in India Starting December 1.


The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA, India) has finally legalized flying of the commercial drones in the country with Drone Regulations 1.0. Most of the restrictions, however, remain the same.

The government hopes to automate the digital process of obtaining permissions of flying commercial drones. You’ll need permission for every single flight except if you have a drone that belongs to the nano category (less than 250 grams).

MoCA says these requests will be denied or accepted instantly since most of it will be automated based on your requirements. However, if you wish to fly outside green zones (uncontrolled airspaces), it will take longer for your applications to be reviewed.

To employ the app, users will have to go through a one-time registration process for the pilots, the owner, and of course, the drone itself. For flying in controlled Airspace, filing of flight plan and obtaining Air Defence Clearance (ADC) /Flight Information Centre (FIC) number shall be necessary.

Digital Sky Platform

The Digital Sky Platform is the first-of-its-kind national unmanned traffic management (UTM) platform that implements “no permission, no takeoff” (NPNT).

This platform enable an unmanned traffic management ecosystem. The system will require drone makers to integrate the services on their products before releasing them in India which will allow UTM to prevent unauthorized flights.

The law also states that drones without a permit will simply not be able to take off. This will also power a traffic regulation system which will be closely monitored by the defense and civilian air traffic controllers.

Minister of Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu said, “Today we start an exciting new chapter in India’s aviation history by allowing commercial use of drones. I am sure that many new and exciting applications will emerge that will propel India’s economy forward. Our progressive regulations will encourage a vast Made in India drone industry.”

Hardware and Software Mandatory for Drones :

New rules prevent flyers of flying the stones during night time and impose a maximum height limit of 400 feet. There are a few hardware and software mandates for the quadcopters themselves including GNSS, Return-To-Home (RTH), Anti-Collison Light, ID-Plate, Flight Controller, RFID, and NFNT.

All the RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aircraft System) except for those which fall in the nano category will also need to have a Unique Identification Number (UIN) which will be possibly offered through the NPNT system.

“No Drone Zone!”

The regulation defines “No Drone Zones” as areas around airports, near international border, Vijay Chowk in Delhi, State Secretariat Complex in state capitals, strategic locations, vital military installations and such.

The rules announced today are the first in the series and thus titled Regulations 1.0. These regulations will enable the safe, commercial usage of drones starting December 1.