The ministry of civil aviation on Thursday notified of the new Drone (Amendment) Rules 2023 saying that any citizen can now apply to become a drone pilot with government-issued identity and address proof. According to the ministry, the rules have been made effective from September 27.
In a statement, the ministry said, “Exercising the power bestowed upon it by section 5, sub-section 2 of section 10 and sections 10A, 10B, and 12A of the Aircraft Act, 1934 (22 of 1934), the Ministry of Civil Aviation has notified the new Drone (Amendment) Rules 2023 for drone pilots.”
“After the amendment, it has now been made clear that a government-issued proof of identity and a government-issued proof of address i.e. Voter ID, Ration Card, or Driving License can now be accepted to apply for a Remote Pilot Certificate if the drone pilot does not have a passport,” the release added.
Notably, a remote pilot certificate is required when the drone is of small to medium size – up to 2kg – for non-commercial drone use.
According to the government, the new rules are aiming to further liberalise, promote and facilitate drone operations across the country and make India a global drone hub by 2030.
“The prerequisite of having a passport was becoming a hurdle for aspiring drone pilots, especially in the agricultural sector across rural India,” it said.
What is the eligibility to apply for a remote pilot certificate?
All individuals between 18 to 65 years of age will be eligible to obtain a remote pilot certificate. They should have passed class 10th or its equivalent from a recognised board, and should have successfully completed training as specified by the DGCA from any authorised remote pilot training organisation.
Once an individual gets the remote pilot certificate, it will be valid for a period of ten years if it is enlisted on the digital sky platform and is not suspended or canceled by DGCA.
Increasing drone pilot training institutes
The government is increasing the number of drone pilot training institutes across the country. In August, the Sangam city’s Naini Aerospace Limited (NAeL) in Orayagraj was given the go-ahead to set up the Remote Pilot Training Organisation (RPTO) by the DGCA. Reportedly, the NAeL tied up with a Prayagraj start-up Empyrean Robotics Technologies to provide the training to people enrolling for the course at what would be east UP’s only such training institute.
Meanwhile, last year, Tamil Nadu signed a memorandum of understanding with the Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Akademi (IGRUA), De Drone World Solutions aimed at producing 2,500 drone pilots a year.