India enlisting drones for national security

Over 2,000 drones enlisted since January 14; deadline set at January 31

By Author  |  Published: 20th Jan 2020  12:13 amUpdated: 20th Jan 2020  12:40 am
national security
The Ministry of Civil Aviation has opened registration of drones from January 14.

Hyderabad: From disruption to destruction, drones are being used globally for varied applications. With the increasing incidences of military and militants using drones for surveillance, survey and attacks, nations are stepping up efforts to both enhance safety and encourage constructive use of drones by the domestic industry and operators. To streamline the drone usage in India, the Civil Aviation Ministry has embarked on an enlistment process on January 14, witnessing over 2,000 drones enlisted within the first four days. This number is likely to cross 10,000 soon.

In order to facilitate the identification of civil drones and drone operators, a one-time opportunity for voluntary disclosure of such drones and drone operators is provided by the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA).

The enlistment is happening through the MoCA’s Digital Sky platform (digitalsky.dgca.gov.in). The Ministry is issuing an Ownership Acknowledgement Number (OAN) and a Drone Acknowledgement Number (DAN) for each drone registered, to validate operations of drones in India. So far, about 500 OANs had been issued on a daily basis. The enlistment process is taking about 20-25 minutes on an average, according to the government officials.

The drone enlistment process has been conceived, developed, beta-tested, approved and launched by the Ministry in a record time of 23 days. A team of professionals from MoCA, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), Airports Authority of India (AAI), National Informatics Centre (NIC), academia, drone-aficionados and IT partners worked over it. The government sees this as the first step towards enabling the huge growth that Indian drone industry will witness over this decade and the next.

Later on, the Aviation Ministry is looking to focus on training modules, tracker technology and necessary amendments in Aircraft Rules. With a seamless collaboration between industry, academia, government, regulators and security agencies, the Ministry believes, India has the potential to be the drone capital of the world, according to Amber Dubey, joint secretary at Ministry of Civil Aviation, Government of India.

“As we know, possession of unlisted drones is a serious threat to national security and privacy of citizens and assets. It may invite penal action from security agencies post 31 January 2020 (deadline at 5PM). Liberalisation of drone regulations in India depends significantly on near 100 per cent enlistment of existing drones,” Dubey emphasised.

The requirement for uploading invoices has been dropped to make the enlistment process more broad-based and user-friendly. From February 1, DANs will be issued only when accompanied by a formal invoice and only authorised retailers will be allowed to sell drones, after uploading buyer’s know your customer (KYC) and sale invoice.


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