19,553 drones register on DGCA's Digital Sky platform

Forum Gandhi Mumbai | Updated on March 13, 2020

According to the data, 1,832 nano, 13,735 micro, 2,808 small, 140 medium and 1,038 large drones or UAVs were registered.   -  Indian Science Wire

For the first time, India has official data on the number of drones in the country. The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MOCA) has registered 19,553 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) or drones since it made it mandatory for operators to register.

On January 13, MOCA had issued a public notice to drone operators directing them to voluntarily register their drones on the Digital Sky plaform by January 31 to avoid penal action.

This came after the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) issued the Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR), Section 3 - Air Transport Series X, Part I Issue 1, which was released on August 27, 2018. The CAR regulates the use of drones in the Indian Airspace and these regulations provide a process for obtaining Unique Identification Number (UIN), Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit (UAOP) and other operational requirements including identification of civil drones and drone operators.

According to the data, reviewed by BusinessLine, 1,832 nano, 13,735 micro, 2,808 small, 140 medium and 1,038 large drones or UAVs were registered during the stipulated time.

This was a one time opportunity given by MOCA to voluntarily register the drones.

The drone operators were supposed to register their drones on the online portal after which a Drone Acknowledgement Number (DAN) and an Ownership Acknowledgement Number (OAN) will be issued online which would help in validation of operations.

However, this did not give drone operators to fly drones in India without permission.

This move had come in place after multiple events of unregistered UAVs were caught in illegal activities in India and globally.

On January 10, the Punjab Police had seized two highly sophisticated Chinese-made drones. Two smugglers belonging to a narco-terror module involved in smuggling of weapons and narcotics across the India-Pakistan border were arrested for the same.

On January 3, Iranian Revolutionary Guards Commander Maj Gen Qaseem Soleimani was killed in a drone strike by the US troops in Baghdad.

In India, there are several restricted zones such as the army, naval bases, and airports where the usage of drones is not allowed.

For civilian purposes, drones in India are used for photography, videography, shows, by the police and agriculture.

Published on March 13, 2020

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