India, a country where it is currently illegal to fly unmanned aerial vehicles might see drones in the air by early next year.
The government is issuing draft regulations for drone operations that can be used across all industries in India from photography to e-commerce deliveries.
“The general interest was always there but not having regulations was amounting to a total ban,” aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju says.
Under the proposed rules, the government has classified drones under five categories based on their weight: nano, micro, mini, small, and large drones.
Nano drones, that weigh less than 0.25 kilograms and are incapable of flying more than 50 feet above ground level can be used without permission from the authorities. However, drones above that weight category will need permission from the police and possibly a flight license. Each drone will also be given a unique identification number.
“The drone industry offers many advantages and can help development in several sectors such as agriculture, oil, and gas. We want to make India the world leader in drones and its applications, which is why we have drafted a policy that allows unfettered use of drones,” says Jayant Sinha, minister of state for civil aviation.
The government has also proposed restrictions on flying drones in “no drone zones” such as airports and other densely populated areas where emergency operations are underway without prior approval.
The draft regulations are set to be finalized by December 31.