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Rules on flying of drones likely by July

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The prohibition on Indians flying drones is likely to be lifted soon as the rules for flying unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are slated to be finalised by next month with aviation regulator DGCA giving final touches to them.

The consultation process with stakeholders has been completed and the guidelines are being given final touches, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) chief M Sathiyavathy said.

"We had discussions with all the stakeholders. It (the guidelines) is almost finalised. We are giving final touches," she said.

A government order of October last year prohibits the launch of UAVs by any non-government agency, organisation or an individual.

The DGCA had come out with draft guidelines in April this year and the stakeholders, including security and defence agencies, were given time till May 21 to submit their comments on them.

When asked by when the final guidelines would be in place, the DGCA chief said "most likely by early next month."

In view of the rapid technological advancements in unmanned flying devices over the years and their increased use in everyday life, it has become necessary to develop guidance material to regulate this activity, officials had said.

In the US and the western world, there have been growing instances of drones and other UAVs coming into the flight paths of aircraft, especially near busy airports, leading some of these countries to formulate rules to regulate these operations.

In the past few months, DGCA had discussed with officials of Civil Aviation, Defence and Home Ministries along with those from other agencies and formulated the draft guidelines on the basis of the suggestions and observations at these meetings.

Among others, DGCA has proposed that drone users would have to secure permit and a unique identification number for their operations.

"Civilian use of UAS (unmanned aircraft system) includes damage assessment of property and life in areas affected with natural calamities, surveys; critical infrastructure monitoring, among others... UA (unmanned aircraft) operations present problems to the regulator in terms of ensuring safety of other users of airspace and persons on the ground," the DGCA had said in its draft guidelines.

Currently, the Aircraft Rules of the DGCA do not cover the use of drones as well as their sale and purchase.

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First Published: Wed, June 22 2016. 19:43 IST