Recognizing the need for a regulatory framework for operating civilian unmanned aerial systems (UASs), the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) has provided India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation initial guidelines that it hopes will form the basis of legislation. The final policy is expected to be released by year-end, Rajiv Nayan Choubey, India's secretary for the Ministry of Civil Aviation, confirmed to AIN recently.
Currently, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation permits only government agencies to fly UASs in India. The Indian Space Research Organization has made a start to open operations to others by filing a request for proposal (RFP) for exploratory studies using UASs for remote sensing. An unidentified U.S. company is believed to have received a separate RFP from the Gas Authority of India for using UASs to inspect a 60-mile stretch of gas pipelines in the Indian state of Bengal.
According to a FICCI draft that AIN has reviewed, more than 25 domestic companies with industrial licenses to manufacture UASs in India have expressed interest in using drones for varied applications. The draft also recommends that zones be allotted to UASs according to priority of operations in Indian airspace. This is supposed to help in “demarcation of no-fly zones with legal regulations over private property.” Geo-fencing coordinates “could also be built into UAS software by manufacturers to enforce pre-built safeguards for restricting drone access.”