Clarification on news article on manufacturing and testing of drones: Ministry of Civil Aviation

The Ministry of Civil Aviation, India has come across a recent news article that warrants clarification. The article insinuates that the central government has finalized the draft on standards and guidelines for manufacturing and testing of drones.

In India, drone regulations are governed by the Drone Rules 2021 and its subsequent amendments notified by the Ministry of Civil Aviation which have been in effect from August 25, 2023.

These rules apply to all individuals who own, possess, lease, operate, transfer, or maintain drones in India and cover all drones registered in India and those currently being operated within the country’s airspace.

Under these rules, the Ministry of Civil Aviation has already notified the Certification Scheme for Unmanned Aircraft Systems in the official gazette on January 26, 2022.

All manufacturers are required to conform to the standards specified under this scheme and obtain a type certificate unless they are exempted from the rule.

As of now, 32 UAS models have received type certification under this scheme and many more are in the pipeline.

The current standards and certification guidelines stand correct and remain in effect, with no new manufacturing and testing rules underway.

Additionally, the news article also suggested that sub-standard drones are being imported in India.

It may be mentioned that the Directorate General of Foreign Trade vide notification No. 54/2015-20, dated February 09, 2022, has already banned the import of drones in CBU, SKD, or CKD forms.

Hence the question of any drone being imported in India and that being used legally does not arise.