The Indian drone regulations came into effect on December 1st, 2018. The drone laws mandate that every drone operator must follow several layers of protocols to acquire and fly a drone. However, the first two crucial steps are the acquisition of the drone and UIN (Unique Identification Number). Currently, there are only 17 NPNT-compliant commercial drones available in India. If an operator wishes to purchase one of these 17 drones, he/she needs to follow certain guidelines. Here are the steps on how to acquire an NPNT-compliant drone and get a UIN:
Table of Contents
- Drone Acquisition Application
- Applying for UIN
- About iDronePort
1. Drone Acquisition Application
The first step in drone acquisition is to contact the drone manufacturer, select and finalize the drone model you wish to purchase. The names of NPNT-compliant drone manufacturers can be found on Digital Sky as well as here. Once the drone is finalized, an operator must first fill out the drone acquisition application on Digital Sky in order to purchase the drone from the manufacturer. In order to fill the acquisition application, create an Operator’s profile on Digital Sky or log into one:
- Contact the drone manufacturer, select and finalize the drone model.
- Create a new Operator’s Profile on Digital Sky or log in to an existing one.
- Initiate the process for Acquiring Local RPA.
- Select the drone model and the number of drones.
- Enter the purpose of operation, location, and the security clearance document.
- Review your application and submit it.
- Provide your drone manufacturer with the Operator’s Business Identifier.
Creating an Operator’s Profile on Digital Sky
Local RPA (Drone) Acquisition Application
This is your Digital Sky Dashboard. This is where you can view and manage all of your applications. As shown above, currently there are no applications. Thus, click on Apply for Local RPA.
Step 1: Here, enter your details and select the NPNT-compliant drone from the RPA Type dropdown box. Once the drone is selected, all other details about the drone will automatically be entered.
Note: If your selected drone does not appear in the dropdown box, it may not be NPNT-compliant and in that case contact the drone manufacturer.
Step 2: Here, select Purchase as the mode of application. Below that enter the purpose of your drone operation and the location where it will be operated. Security Clearance Document is an essential file required to proceed further. All security clearances are now issued through the e-SAHAJ security clearance online portal. New users need to create an account on this portal and apply for the clearance. Once obtained, upload the clearance document here.
Step 3: Now, all of your filled details will appear on the screen for a final review. Check for any errors in the application before clicking on submit.
If you head over to the dashboard, you will see that your drone acquisition application has been submitted and can view the details of the submitted application.
Once your application is approved, the status box will turn green and your selected drone will be displayed beside it.
Now, the drone manufacturer will contact you regarding the Operator’s Business Identifier. Provide your drone manufacturer with the code and then you can apply for your drone’s UIN (Unique Identification Number).
You can find the Operator’s Business Identifier in your Operator’s Profile page (shown below), which can be accessed by clicking on the user icon in the top right corner of the screen.
2. Application for UIN
A Unique Identification Number (UIN) is equivalent to a number plate for your drone. Thus, after you have purchased a drone, you must promptly apply for a UIN. The fees for a UIN is Rs.1000 that is to be paid on the BharatKosh website (https://bharatkosh.gov.in/). Given below is a step by step procedure for successfully obtaining a UIN:
- Pay the UIN fees on the BharatKosh website.
- Initiate the UIN application process through DIgital Sky.
- Upload all necessary documents and enter UIN fee payment details.
- Select UniqueDeviceID and upload the drone’s Operating manual and Maintenance guidelines.
- Review your application and submit it.
BharatKosh Fee payment
The first step before you begin filling your UIN application is fee payment of INR 1000 on the QuickPayment section of the BharatKosh website. The payment details are as follows:
Ministry/Department: 029 – Civil Aviation & Tourism
Purpose: Operation of Remotely Piloted Aircraft System Rule 15A
Payment Type: Issue of Unique Identification Number (UIN)
Save your payment receipt as this will have to be uploaded on Digital Sky.
UIN Application Process
Where to begin?
If you click on your drone’s image in the dashboard, this screen appears. As shown above, the application process has not been initiated yet. Therefore, click on the ‘Apply For UIN‘ button.
Step 1: Here, you are required to upload the following documents.
- Filled Proforma
- Copy of CIN: The CIN document is only required if you’re applying as an organization and not for individual operators.
- GSTIN Document: This is the GST certificate and only applicable if you’re applying as an organization.
- Copy of PAN Card
- Security Clearance (Same clearance as used in the RPA acquisition form)
- Permission and ETA certificate from WPC Wing: This is applicable only in select cases. Therefore if applicable, the manufacturer will share the document with you.
- Details of Fees: Enter the BharatKosh fees receipt no/id.
Step 2: Once you provide your drone manufacturer with the Operator’s Business Identifier, the manufacturer will then link your Operator’s profile with the drone model using a management server. After this, you should be able to see a number appear in the UniqueDevice ID dropdown box. Select that number and the remaining details will automatically be entered.
Note: You are required to upload the drone’s OPerating manual and Maintenance guidelines in this section. These can be obtained from the drone manufacturer.
Step 3: Similar to the acquisition application, review your UIN application thoroughly, and then click submit.
UIN Submitted: After submitting your application, navigate to this screen from your dashboard. Here, the status of your UIN application will be changed to Submitted. DGCA will then review your application before approving it.
UIN Approved: Once approved, your new UIN number, date of registration, and approval status will be displayed on the same page. You can now paste the UIN on your drone before commencing any flight. This completes your drone registration.
iDronePort is a third-party management server developed by Algopixel Technologies. It facilitates the back-end linking of an operator’s profile and generation of UniqueDevice ID for UIN application. The screenshots shown above were taken on a Digital Sky replica which is also developed by Algopixel Technologies to simulate the entire drone registration procedure. Learn more here.