Civil Aviation Sector – CA Policy 2016, UDAN, Open Skies, etc.

[pib] Digital Sky Platform launched for registration of drones, pilots, and operators


Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies & interventions for development in various sectors & issues arising out of their design & implementation.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Drone regulations 1.0 and 2.0, Digital Sky Platform

Mains level: Potential and threats posed by drone technology



  1. Remotely Piloted Aerial Systems (RPAS), popularly referred to as drones, are a technology platform with wide-ranging applications.
  2. In August 2018, India had announced the release of its Civil Aviation Regulations (CAR) to enable safe flying of drones in India.
  3. The CAR detailed the obligations of operators, remote pilots/ users and manufacturers/ OEM for safe operations of RPAS and co-operative use of airspace.

Digital Sky Platform

  1. The Digital Sky Platform is a first of its kind that implements ‘no permission, no take-off’ (NPNT) – a novel system of software-based self-enforcement to minimize deviations from the CAR.
  2. The regulations has to come in effect from December 1, allowing the industry time to ready themselves for the launch.
  3. For micro and above categories, operators and pilots are required to register on the Digital Sky Portal.
  4. The platform has begun accepting registrations of users.
  5. Payments for Unmanned Aerial Operator’s Permit (UAOP) and Unique Identification Numbers (UIN) will be accepted through the Bharat Kosh ( portal.

How to get permissions?

  1. To get permissions to fly, RPAS operators or remote pilots will have to file a flight plan.
  2. Flying in the ‘green zones’ will require only intimation of the time and location of the flights via the portal or the app.
  3. Permissions will be required for flying in ‘yellow zones’ and flights will not be allowed in the ‘red zones’.
  4. The location of these zones will be announced soon. Permission, if granted, will be available digitally on the portal.
  5. If a drone does not have permission to fly, it will not be allowed to take-off under the policy of No Permission-No-Takeoff (NPNT).

Drone 2.0 Framework

  1. The Minister for Civil Aviation has constituted a task-force on the recommendation of Drone Policy 2.0 under the chairmanship of the Minister of State.
  2. This task-force which is expected to release their final report by the end of this year.
  3. Drone 2.0 framework for RPAS are expected to include regulatory architecture for autonomous flying, delivery via drones and beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) flights.


Highlights of Drone 1.0 Framework

  1. As per the CAR ruled out by DGCA , there are 5 categories of RPAS categorized by weight, namely:
  • Nano: Less than or equal to 250 gm
  • Micro: Greater than 250 gm but less than 2 kg
  • Mini: Greater than 2 kg but less than 25 kg
  • Small: Greater than 25 kg but less than 150 kg
  • Large: Greater than 150 kg
  1. The mandatory equipment required for operation of RPAS except nano category are (a) GNSS (GPS), (b) Return-To-Home (RTH), (c) Anti-collision light, (d) ID-Plate, (e) Flight controller with flight data logging capability, and (f) RF ID and SIM/ No-Permission No Take off (NPNT).
  2. The basic operating procedure will restrict drone flights to the daytime only and that too within “Visual Line of Sight (VLOS) for all categories.

Restricted Zones for drones

  1. RPAs cannot be flown within 5km of the perimeters of the airports in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Hyderabad and within 3km from the perimeter of any other airport.
  2. It cannot fly within “permanent or temporary Prohibited, Restricted and Danger Areas” and within 25km from international border which includes the Line of Control (LoC), Line of Actual Control (LAC) and Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL).
  3. It cannot fly beyond 500 m into sea from the coast line and within 3 km from perimeter of military installations.
  4. It also cannot fly within a 5 km radius of the Vijay Chowk in Delhi, within 2 km from perimeter of strategic locations/ vital installations notified by Ministry of Home Affairs and within 3 km from radius of State Secretariat Complexes.
  5. It also cannot be operated from a mobile platform such as a moving vehicle, ship or aircraft.
  6. Eco-sensitive zones around National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries are off-limits without prior permission.
  7. Violations will be acted on under relevant sections of the IPC and the Aircraft Act 1934.
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