Any unregistered drone post January 31, 2020 (5:00 P.M EST) will incur a penalty. A public notice had been issued by the Indian Aviation Ministry on January 13, 2020, that all drones, irrespective of category (micro, mini or large), have to be registered on the Digital Sky’s drone enlistment page. This step comes days after a US drone strike killed the Iranian General, Qasem Soleimani. According to the Government, it is imperative that all drones be registered as there are nearly 50,000 – 60,000 illegal drones in India.
All drones owned by an individual must be registered which includes toys, prototypes, RC aircraft, autonomous or RPAS. Using the enlistment page on Digital Sky’s website, one can register their drone in two parts:
After a drone owner submits the necessary documents, he/she will receive an Ownership Acknowledgement Number (OAN). The OAN will function to identify an individual as a drone owner in official records. Using this number the individual can register one or more drones. If someone possesses multiple drones, they can register all drones under the same OAN. However, each drone will be registered under a fresh DAN.
As mentioned above, after receiving an OAN, an individual can now move on to the second part that is registration of drone models. It is to be noted that each drone must be registered separately under the same OAN, in case of multiple drones. Once all drone related information is entered, the owner will receive a Drone Acknowledgement Number (DAN) for that particular model. After receiving both the OAN and DAN, a drone is legally registered.
The public notice issued by the Ministry puts heavy emphasis on the fact that the DAN and OAN does not give the drone owner any permission to operate their drones. The DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) had released a set of drone regulations (CAR) on August 27, 2018. Under the regulations a drone operator would need permits like the UIN and UAOP to be eligible to operate their UAVs. Also the drone must be NPNT (No-Permission-No-Takeoff) compliant. Therefore this drone enlistment is just a legal census for drones and in no circumstance gives the owner any permission to operate their drone under the CAR regulations.
The documents required by an individual to register their drone are: Scanned copy of Passport or Adhaar Card, three high quality photos of the drone (top view, front view and close up shot of the manufacturers serial number) and a copy of a utility bill or bank statement (not over 3 months old).
A government official stated, “It is easier to allow drones beyond line of sight in countries like US with large open areas, but in a congested countries like ours there are a lot of complications in allowing such operations.”
Those who do not register their drones by the stipulated deadline will face action under the Indian Penal Code and the Aircraft Act. The DGCA is also working on the Drone Policy 2.0 that would facilitate BVLOS drone flights. To establish a smooth national UTM system, this mass drone enlistment could be instrumental.