Centre approves 26 more green zone sites for drones

TE Raja Simhan Chennai | Updated on February 04, 2021

These will be enabled on the Digital Sky Platform soon

In a bid to facilitate operations by No-Permission-No-Takeoff (NPNT) compliant drones for various commercial applications, the Centre on Tuesday approved 26 more green zone sites across the country. NPNT is an automated green signal without which drones are not authorised to fly. Digital Sky is currently being developed to handle these automatic flight authorisations.

The approval given by the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Defence is in addition to the nod already given for six green zone sites.

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In the latest list, Uttar Pradesh has the maximum number of sites with eight; followed by Jharkhand (six); Chhattisgarh (four); Telangana (two) and one each in Andhra Pradesh; Gujarat; Meghalaya; Mizoram; Odisha and Tamil Nadu, said an order issued by Amber Dubey, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation. These will be enabled on the Digital Sky Platform soon. Thereafter all Unique Identification Number holders can obtain instant flight permissions online, without any further approvals required, he said in a social media post.

The use of drones can greatly benefit farmers, infrastructure entities like railways, roads, ports, mines and factories, sectors like insurance, photography and entertainment.

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‘A key milestone’

Players in the drone industry welcomed the new zone sites. Rajan Luthra - Head-Special Projects, Reliance Industries, commenting on Dubey’s post, said, “This shall mark a key milestone in the use of NPNT compliant drones for various commercial applications. Once again demonstrates the significant collaboration between all stakeholders across ministries, government bodies and industry towards Atmanirbhar Bharat.”

B Kartikeya, CEO, Drone Innovative Technologies Pvt Ltd, said that each State should have at least four. “We will train and fly more as per the industry requirements and needs.”

Remotely Piloted Aerial Systems (RPAS), popularly referred to as drones, are a technology platform with wide-ranging applications. In August 2018, India announced the release of its Civil Aviation Regulations to enable safe flying of RPAS in India.

To get permissions to fly, RPAS operators or remote pilots will have to file a flight plan. Flying in the ‘green-zones’ will require only intimation of the time and location of the flights via the portal or the app. Permissions will be required for flying in ‘yellow zones’ and flights will not be allowed in the ‘red zones’.

Published on February 04, 2021

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