Drones: Out of sight, but in Indian govt's mind Your online orders will soon begin to fly down to your doorstep, thanks to the government’s push to make India a global leader in drone operations. The government on Tuesday announced that it is planning to allow drones beyond the line of sight under the second phase of the drone policy. The draft guidelines will be in place soon.

“Priority is to make India a leader in drone operations. I would hope to see drone 2.0 in place very soon,” Aviation Minister Jayant Sinha said. The proposal was announced at the two-day Global Aviation Show organised by the civil aviation ministry and the Federation of Chamber of Commerce and (Ficci).

As part of the policy, the government also proposed to set up a dedicated drone corridor, create drone ports and allow 0% foreign direct investment (FDI) in manufacturing the remotely piloted aircraft in the country. “We will have to work through serious challenges in drone operations. We have to ensure safe, lawful usage of drones,” Sinha said. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) will now have to issue a draft for the policy and it can be implemented only after the rules are approved. India, which announced the drone policy on August 27, was among a handful nations in the to have such a policy. Then it announced to allow operation of drones from December 1. The aircraft are categorised into five sections based on weight — starting at less than 250 grams and going up to more than 150 kg — and their use. Barring the smallest nano category, others — micro, small, medium and large — need to be registered. Nano drones are used by children as toys.

The policy, however, could not be implemented in its full form on that date and the government announced to allow registration of drones. The actual implementation will start only after the registration is complete.

Sinha said that a substantial number of drones have already been registered in India. The government estimates that there are 40,000 drones in the country and expects the number to reach 1 million in 5 years. That will see 500,000 drone pilots, 1,000 manufacturers and about 100,000 operators in the system.

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