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SOURCE: Hindustan Times

Taking a step towards the commercial manufacturing of drones in the country, aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has tied up with Quality Control of India (QCI) for a certification scheme. Under a Memorandum of Understanding ( MoU) signed between the two, the QCI has been mandated to develop and operate a certification scheme, Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS). DGCA has already come out with the minimum standards for manufacturing RPAS under a civil aviation requirement.

In June, the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) had issued draft rules for making and using drones in the country, which stated that an authorised manufacturer or importer can sell its devices only to an individual or entity approved by DGCA.

The draft had said DGCA will have the powers to inspect an Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) manufacturing or maintenance facility before granting authorisation under these rules. DGCA mentioned that only Nano class drones, which weigh less than 250 grams, will be allowed to operate in India, adding that only a “qualified remote pilot” will be permitted to operate heavier drones.

The document on the certification of the scheme was made public by DGCA on September 24. It read, “All manufacturers, whose various RPAS models have been provisionally accepted by DGCA are also advised to approach Quality Council of India for certification of their respective provisionally accepted RPAS models. No new application for provisional acceptance of RPAS model will be accepted by DGCA henceforth.”

Set up in 1997, QCI is a joint body of the government and Indian industry, represented by Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).