Vaccine delivery: Civil Aviation Ministry grants conditional nod for Telangana govt to try out drones

Our Bureau Hyderabad | Updated on April 30, 2021

The Telangana government has in March 2021 sought an exemption from UAS Rules 2021


The Union Ministry of Civil Aviation (MOCA) has granted conditional exemption from Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Rules, 2021 to Telangana government for conducting experimental delivery of vaccines using drones within the Visual Line of Sight (VLOS) range.

Amber Dubey, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, in an order issued today, granted permission to try out drones on experimental basis.

The Telangana government has in March 2021 sought an exemption from UAS Rules 2021 for the purpose of trying out drones for delivery of vaccines.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) through an email on April 26, 2021 accorded approval of the Standard Operating procedure (SOP) for trying out drones on experimental basis.

Also read: ICMR to study use of drones for vaccine delivery

In the order signed by Amber Dubey, it is stated that, “The Central Government, in exercise of powers conferred by Rule 70 of the UAS Rules, 2021, grants conditional exemption to the Applicant Telangana Government, for a period of one year or until further orders, whichever is earlier, from the UAS Rules 2021 for the purpose of trying out drones for delivery. However, it added that this shall be subject to complete adherence to the conditions mentioned in the approved standard operating procedure.

It may be recalled that drones are being tried out on experimental basis in several areas including agricultural operations.

The MoCA and DGCA conditional nod to the Telangana government for drone deployment is intended to achieve improved access to healthcare and for experimental delivery of Covid-19 vaccines.

The drone usage permission has been granted for conducting experimental delivery of Covid-19 vaccines within Visual Line of Sight (VLOS) Range using drones. The permission exemption is valid for a period of one year or until further orders.These exemptions shall be valid only if all conditions and limitations as stated for the respective entities are strictly adhered to.

Trials will also assist in assessing conditions such as population, degree of isolation, geography etc to identify regions that specifically require drone deliveries.

Earlier this month, similar permission was granted to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for conducting feasibility study of Covid-19 vaccine delivery using drones in collaboration with IIT Kanpur.

The grant of these permissions is intended to achieve the dual objectives of faster vaccine delivery & improved healthcare access by:

- Ensuring primary healthcare delivery at the citizen’s doorstep

- Limiting human exposure to COVID congested or COVID prone areas through aerial delivery

- Ensuring access to health care to the last mile, especially in remote areas

- Possible integration into the middle mile of medical logistics for long range drones

- Improving medical supply chain, especially with a third vaccine expected to be commissioned and millions of doses to be transported across India.

Published on April 30, 2021

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