The window for drone enlistment in India was initiated on January 14, 2020, and it ended on 31st January 2020. However, due to a public request for an extension, the Ministry of Civil Aviation recently released a public notice for that matter. The notice date June 8th, 2020, re-opened the enlistment window for drones without any definite closing date. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has urged all drone owners to enlist any drone, RC aircraft, or prototype in their possession through the mentioned drone-listing portal (here).

Why is drone enlistment important in India?

India released a set of rules and regulations for drones in August 2018 called the CAR 1.0 (Civil Aviation Requirements). CAR stated that only NPNT compliant drones can take flight in the country after drone registration. However, most civil drones are not NPNT compliant. Thus, they cannot be flown legally. Few drones that are non-NPNT compliant but have a valid OAN and DAN have been exempted from the rules altogether under the GARUD platform.

This created a halt in the process of getting civil drones airborne. Therefore, this year, a one-time enlistment window was opened from the 14th of January to the 31st. During this period, over 20,000 drones were enlisted with the DGCA. The government urged drone owners to enlist their non-NPNT compliant drones with the DGCA. This would help the government identify legal drones from the illegal ones and may provide them with relaxations under future CARs.

Despite the government releasing CAR, the regulations, policies, and infrastructure will take an additional year to fall into place. As the newer drone industry is taking shape in India with the increasing demand for BVLOS operations, the regulations are set to undergo a massive change. Therefore, by enlisting your non-NPNT compliant drone with the DGCA, it will make obtaining flight permissions much easier.

It is to be noted that this drone enlistment does not give the drone owner permission to fly their drone. It is a mere enlistment of non-compliant drones, RC aircraft, or any other unmanned RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aircraft System) with the DGCA to prevent penal action.

drone enlistment in India
Drone enlistment does not automatically permit flying a drone in India.

How to go about the enlistment process?

As the drone enlistment window stands reopened, the process has to be completed through DGCA’s drone-listings portal (here). The enlistment process has two parts:

Part 1: The drone owner enters their information and receives an Ownership Acknowledgement Number (OAN).

Part 2: Using the OAN, the owner can then upload the details of their drone. Once submitted, they will receive a Drone Acknowledgement Number (DAN) for that particular drone. This means that your drone has been enlisted successfully.

In case you own multiple drones, each drone will require a new DAN. However, you do not need multiple OANs. An owner can enlist multiple drones under the same OAN.