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India?s FICCI pushes for a regulatory framework for UAVs

India: The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) has written some initial guidelines to the Indian Civil Aviation Ministry hoping that it will form the basis of legislation for operating civilian UAVs. The final policy in this regards is expected to be released by the year-end, Rajiv Nayan Choubey, secretary for the Ministry of Civil Aviation confirmed to a news website.

According to the current rules, Directorate General of Civil Aviation permits only government agencies to fly UAVs in India. That too only if the agencies take charge of the whole exercise in their own hands. On the other hand, ISRO is making an effort to open operations for others by filing a request for proposal (RFP) for exploratory studies using UAVs for remote sensing.

The same policy has been adopted by the Gas Authority of India Limited who has received a separate RFP from an unidentified U.S. company for using UAVs to inspect a 60-mile stretch of gas pipelines in the Indian state of Bengal.

According to a FICCI draft, more than 25 domestic companies with industrial licenses to manufacture UAVs in India have expressed interest in using drones for varied applications. The draft also recommends that zones be allotted to UASs according to priority of operations in Indian airspace. This is supposed to help in “demarcation of no-fly zones with legal regulations over private property.” Geo-fencing coordinates “could also be built into UAS software by manufacturers to enforce pre-built safeguards for restricting drone access.”

Source: AIN