The Indian Director General for the Civil Aviation (DGCA) has released a draft paper guideline, which gives details on the guidelines that need to be followed should the need for a unique identification number (UIN) alongside permission to operate a civilian unmanned aircraft system (UAS) arise. Justifying its need to come up with such guidelines, the DGCA has pointed to the various usage of these unmanned aerial vehicles for ventures such as assessment of damages on property and life in areas that have suffered from natural calamities, conduction of surveys, monitoring infrastructure, taking commercial photographs, drawing aerial maps and the likes as plausible reasons that require a set of rules to be drawn. As far back as April 2015, it had been reported that the DGCA was in the works, making a set of guidelines that would ultimately guide the operations of drones and UAVs in the country and certify some drones standard and legal.

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Below is a snippet of the guidelines as released by the DGCA.

1. Issuance of UIN

All unmanned aircraft to be operated in India will require a unique identification number (UIN) issue from the DGCA. This will be granted only to citizens of India or a company or body that is registered and has its principal base of business in India, its chairman and two-thirds of directors are citizens of India and its ownership and effective control is in the hand of Indian nationals.


To own a drone, one should present the following:

Address proof, statement of purpose of operation of UA, specification of the drone including (manufacturer name, type, model number, year of manufacture, weight and size, type of propulsion system, flying capabilities in terms of maximum endurance, range and height, equipment capabilities, etc.), police clearance of character, permission for all frequencies used in drone operations from the Department of Telecommunications (it’s not clear if permission is required to operate using unlicensed spectrum like WiFi), copy of the flight manual, and manufacturer-provided maintenance guidelines.

Fireproof ID plate on drone

Finally, users will also be required to make a fireproof identification plate and inscribe it with the UIN and an RFID tag, or put a SIM on the UA to for identification.

Upon the completion of all of the above steps, a user would then be qualified to own only one drone.

To fly a drone:

A user needs to secure DGCA’s UA drone operator permit for flying above 200 feet or a permit from the local administration for below 200 feet.


2. Who are required to present an UA operator permit?

All drone operators operating unmanned aircraft at or above 200 feet above ground level should have a UA operator permit (UAOP) from the DGCA.

Users with drones that operate below that level out of restricted and danger areas as well as temporary segregated areas (TSA) and temporary reserved areas (TRA) will be required to obtain permission from the local administration. Model aircraft operating below 200 feet in uncontrolled airspace and indoor for recreational purposes will be permitted, including activities within the premises of educational institutions.

The rest of the guidelines can be viewed and easily read via the downloadable PDF file online.

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