India: Govt of India has amended its Customs Baggage declaration regulations for people coming to India with their UAVs. In the new guidelines, the govt has made it mandatory for drone users to declare the item to custom officers at the Red Channel counter. As per new guidelines, users are liable to pay duty on UAVs. The regulation will come into effect from 1st April.
Drones will be listed under question 10, asking if users are bringing any of the listed items in India. Other than drones, the list contains items like jewellery over free allowance, gold bullions, satellite phone, currency over Rs 10,000 or USD 5,000, and seeds, plants etc., which users are to mark with Yes or No.
Users carrying drones will have to fill further forms at the red channel, where the item might either be deemed ineligible for entry in India, or have a duty imposed upon it. It is not clear how much the duty might cost.
In February last year, a website had reported about the steps and policies the Indian govt is taking, to crackdown down on drone imports in the country. The report mentioned that users were required to possess a Wireless Planning Commission license to have the drone containing parcel clear the customs check. The requirement was ridiculous given that the license was required for the 2.4GHz band, the free, public use, WiFi frequency.
For now, there is a definite need for drone regulations in India. The fear and uncertainty over the technology, combined with regulatory and bureaucratic ignorance has created an environment where drones are currently banned in the country. In April last year, we’d reported that the directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA) was framing guidelines for the operation of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones in the country, post which drones are expected to be legalized.