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SOURCE: LIVE MINT

Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said that in the coming days, drones will be enabled with automatic “on/off” switches. According to the union minister, the automated on/off switch will strengthen the security aspects of drone operations in case they deviate from the designated flight path.

“In case, there is a deviation from the designated flight path, the drone concerned can be stopped with the switch, Scindia said in a virtual Q&A live chat session on the drone industry. He also said there will be a registry for drones. He said there is a digital airspace map wherein the areas for drone operations have been demarcated into red, yellow, and green zones. “Green zones” means the airspace up to a vertical distance of 400 feet that has not been designated as a red zone or yellow zone in the airspace map. As per the new Drone Rules, 2021, no flight permission will be required up to 400 feet in “green zones” and up to 200 feet in the area between 8 and 12 km from the airport perimeter.

According to Scindia, currently, around 200 startups are working in the drone sector. New air corridors for drones will be established and there will be limited corridors for cargo deliveries, he added.

The government is aiming to make India a drone hub in the coming years.

In August, the ministry came out with revamped rules for drone operations. The new rules on drones make it mandatory that these devices are registered. With the implementation of new rules, the Civil Aviation Minister has reduced the number of forms that need to be filled to operate them from 25 to 5 and the decreasing the types of fees charged from the operator from 72 to 4.

The rules also stated that there would be no restriction on drone operations by foreign-owned companies registered in India. No pilot licence will be required for micro drones (for non-commercial use) and nano drones, the rules mentioned, adding that the maximum penalty for violations has been reduced to ?1 lakh. The government, last month, also approved a ?120 crore PLI scheme for the drone industry.