NEW DELHI: Drone users who could not register the same with the aviation authorities in the one-time January 14-31 window earlier this year have got a second chance to do so now. T
he aviation ministry has started drone registration “based on public request… Ownership of drone without registration shall invite penal action,” says the public notice titled “voluntary disclosure of non-compliant drones flying in India” issued by aviation ministry joint secretary Amber Dubey this Monday (June 8). The registration has been kept open-ended with no up to date announced so far.
In the January 14-31, 2020 window over 20,000 drones had been registered with the government, which is keen to have a database of drone users given the security implications of using this equipment. Once that is known, tracking those equipment will be key to safe operations even in green zones or areas where they will be allowed.
Drones need to be registered on a link on Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) website which says: “All unmanned aircraft need to be enlisted. For ample clarity, these include models, prototypes, toys, RC aircraft, autonomous and remotely piloted aircraft systems…”
Drone enlistment form has two parts. After uploading owner’s information, the owner will receive an ownership acknowledgement number (OAN). Using the OAN, the owner will upload the drone-related information and will receive a drone acknowledgement number (DAN).
“Each drone will require a fresh enlistment. Since a drone owner may have multiple drones, the owner shall use same OAN to enlist all drones owned by him. A separate DAN will be issued for each drone. Ownership of a drone in India without a valid OAN and DAN shall invite penal action as per applicable laws. Possession of an OAN or DAN does not confer the right to operate the drone in India. Kindly (see rules) issued by DGCA from time to time for information regarding ownership and operation of drones,” the DGCA website link for drone registration says.
Penal action can be taken against anyone found using unregistered drones, which can a jail term and/or a fine, a senior government official warned. In future people buying drones in India will have the registration process completed at the time of buying the same — akin to buying a mobile phone sim card today and getting that activated after a while in which verification of given credentials is done. The users will then be required to install trackers on their drones.
“Currently these trackers cost between Rs 5,000 and Rs 7,000. We are looking at having GSM-based trackers,” an official had said recently.
The DGCA had in August 2018 issued rules to regulate the use of drones in Indian airspace which require obtaining unique identification number (UIN), unmanned aircraft operator permit (UAOP) and contain other operational requirements including identification of civil drones and drone operators. This rule also states that people found using non-registered drones can be punished as per IPC section 287 that is for “negligent conduct with respect to machinery” and provides for jail up to six months and/or fine up to Rs 1,000.
The DGCA rules provides for punishing users under IPC sections 336, 337, 338 or any relevant section. Anyone found using an unregistered drone after January 31 can be punished as per these provisions.