It is communication that revolutionized the Indian economy through the use of IT and other means. But interestingly, drones which started its role as a toy, a couple of decades ago, has emerged both as a successful proposition both in commerce and also in defense replacing millions of dollars’ worth airplanes, ships or other transport. Let us study the detailed guidelines issued by Civil aviation by also quoting a live case (name hidden though it is from the web site of that ministry).

Detailed guidelines issued are reproduced below:



 Subject: Requirements for Operation of Civil Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS)

Now the analysis.

Consisting of 18 sections, all technical, and 12 annexures decorate the above instructions. It is scrupulously followed by Director General, Civil Aviation while issuing the license. I shall give an actual case from their web site but with no name for the safety of our country. Also, I would encourage budding industrialists to consider drones for commercial use with due permission.

Some details from the above communication.


“1.1 Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA), autonomous aircraft and model aircraft are various sub-sets of unmanned aircraft. Unmanned aircraft system (UAS) is an aircraft and its associated elements, which are operated with no pilot on board.

 1.2 Remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) is an unmanned aircraft, which is piloted from a remote pilot station. A remotely piloted aircraft, its associated remote pilot station(s), command and control links, and any other components form a Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS).”

Section 2 contains “ACRONYMS &DEFINITIONS” and definitions.

Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) is categorized in accordance with Maximum All-Up-Weight (including payload) as indicated below:

i) Nano: Less than or equal to 250 grams.

ii) Micro: Greater than 250 grams and less than or equal to 2 kg.

iii) Small: Greater than 2 kg and less than or equal to 25 kg.

iv) Medium: Greater than 25 kg and less than or equal to 150 kg.

v) Large: Greater than 150 kg

 To proceed further, we must keep in mind that any RMA is no more a toy played by you or myself with a key or a battery within the house. Amazingly, it is true the above definition clears our minds when we shall see any photo in the future.

This CAR is applicable to Civil Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems, which are Remotely Piloted from a Remote Pilot Station.

Section 5 contains the application process both for RPA imported to India and for RPA locally purchased in India. With ample declaration of “All applications shall be processed on a case-to-case basis through “Digital Sky Platform”, the communication clears the way for manipulation by personal contacts removing doubts in the minds of an average person.

Section 6 says that a Unique identification number is required to operate an RPA. Details are given in 6.1 to 6.6.

An interesting question arises.

Does the grandkid of my neighbor living opposite my house need permission?

Let me clear the position. Yes, our kids/grandkids do engage in fun with drones and need the liberty to do.

“Civil RPA operators other than those mentioned in Para 7.2 shall require UAOP from DGCA.

 7.2 Following entities will not require UAOP: a) Nano RPA operating below 50 feet (15 m) AGL in uncontrolled airspace / enclosed premises.

b) Micro RPA operating below 200 feet (60 m) AGL in uncontrolled airspace / enclosed premises. However, the user shall intimate to the local police office 24 hours prior to the conduct of actual operations.

c) RPA owned and operated by the agencies as indicated in Para 6.5 of this CAR.

 However, the agency shall intimate local police officers and concerned ATS Units prior to the conduct of actual operations.”

8.1 to 8.7 contains details of safety and safety requirements. However, it is important to know that

The operator shall be responsible for the safe custody, security and access control of the RPAS and In case of loss of RPA, the operator shall report immediately to the local police office, BCAS and DGCA.

This amply makes it clear that the utmost responsibility has been imposed even on kids through their parents/guardians. Yes, the message is very clear that kids do involve with the most enlightening experiences of modern gadgets under the supervision or at least the responsibility of elders.

I do request their elders to allow their kids to use the above gadgets since we could do anything like this in our younger days.

Let me narrate the names of other sections:

  • Section 9. Remote pilot requirements
  • Section 10. RPAS maintenance requirements
  • Section 11. Equipment requirements
  • Section 12. Operating requirements
  • Section 13. Operating restrictions
  • Section 14. General requirements
  • Section 15. Minimum standards for the manufacturing of RPAS
  • Section 16. Legal obligations
  • Section 17. Insurance
  • Section 18. Enforcement action

It is not possible for me to give complete details of above communication under reference but some interesting and scintillating information are given below: (all from communication under reference; this is one matter involving the security of the nation, I may not surmise the requirements)

  • All civil RPA operators shall have insurance with the liability that they might incur for any damage to a third party resulting from the accident/incident.
  • UIN and/ or UAOP issued by DGCA shall not: a) Confer on RPAS operator any right against the owner or resident of any land or building or over which the operations are conducted, or prejudice in any way the rights and remedies which a person may have in respect of any injury to persons or damage to property caused directly or indirectly by the RPA.
  • The remote pilot shall have attained 18 years of age, having passed 10th exam in English, and undergone ground/ practical training.
  • The ground training shall be obtained at any DGCA approved Flying Training Organization (FTO), and include the following theory subjects:
  • a) Basic Radio Telephony (RT) techniques including knowledge of radio frequencies.
  • b) Flight Planning and ATC procedures.
  • c) Regulations are specific to the area of operations.
  • d) Basic knowledge of principles of flight and aerodynamics for fixed wing, rotary wing, and hybrid aircraft.
  • e) Airspace Structure and Airspace Restrictions with knowledge of No Drone Zones f) Basic Aviation Meteorology.
  • The RPA operator shall prepare Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), which shall contain the following procedures according to the provisions contained in relevant sections of AIP-India:
  • Section 12.1 a) to i) contains the detailed instructions.
  • 1 No RPA shall be flown: a) Within a distance of 5 km from the perimeter of airports at Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Hyderabad;
  • b) Within a distance of 3 km from the perimeter of any civil, private or defense airports, other than those mentioned in Para 13.1(a)
  • d) Within permanent or temporary Prohibited, Restricted, and Danger Areas including TRA, and TSA, as notified in AIP.

Now that we are well-grounded with detailed instructions or at least know the place where we can look for rules/regulations, can we really sway ourselves towards an actual license detail? (No name will be given)

Let us transfer our attention to the Civil aviation web site.

Some of the conditions and limitations imposed for conducting remote pilot training for an academy was as under: (DGCA indicates Directorate General of Civil Aviation)

  • Permission is given which exempted the applicant from rules 15A of Aircraft rules, 1937.
  • The applicant to obtain clearances from local administration, Ministry of Defence, Home Affairs, clearance from Indian Air force, Airport Authority of India, etc.
  • To obtain DA number and operate with it.
  • To submit a Training Procedure Manual to Directorate of Flying Training, DGCA.
  • To obtain permission from authorities concerned for aerial photography in DGCA.
  • To be responsible for the safety and security of RPAS and data collected.
  • Operations restricted from sunrise to sun set time.
  • It shall reimburse for any legal cases to DGCA.
  • To ensure the working condition of RPCAs.
  • To have regular insurance.

Let us also look at further instructions on drones, if they are not in operation.

From Ministry of Civil Aviation web site:

It indicated an opportunity was given those possessing drones and drone operators to disclose information to authorities concerned and after obtaining the required documents, Owner Acknowledgement Number and Drone Acknowledgement Number would be issued.


Let me include some areas where the drone may be used or being used in commerce:

  • Aerial photography for journalism and film
  • Express shipping and delivery
  • Gathering information or supplying essentials for disaster management
  • Thermal sensor drones for search and rescue operations
  • Geographic mapping of inaccessible terrain and locations
  • Building safety inspections
  • Precision crop monitoring.

Drones have replaced human beings, aero planes or sophisticated monitors in army/air force/navy operations unknowingly or unwittingly. All governments have started using them and meanwhile, draft regulations or approved ones are being prepared.

I am happy to invite your attention to various strides made by our nation either in military, civil or in law and order operations in the usage of the drone.

My only request to authorities is not to make it a bureaucratic tool to delay permissions or drones may come, invade us and make fun without any legal sanction.


Disclaimer: You may recognize that this article is full of my views and neither nor, government authorities are responsible for my personal views. Please refer to various government web sites quoted for guidance.

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Qualification: Post Graduate
Company: subramanian natarajan cpa firm
Location: NEW DELHI, Delhi, India
Member Since: 09 May 2017 | Total Posts: 183
A banker with 27 years of experience, a CPA from USA with specialization in US taxation, individual, partnership, S corporation or LLC taxation etc View Full Profile

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    India has experts to find and use loop holes. Unscrupulous importers, with brilliant Customs House Brokers find ways and means, to clear the imported drones with no problem. I am told, that in some customs ports, drones are classified as TOYS under a different customs tariff heading and the items just smoothly move out. Is there any way to catch such culprits? I understand that drones can be used to photograph and rransmit the details of vital installations like power plants, defence installations etc.

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October 2021