The ministry of aviation has started drone registration, on the basis of public request. Ownership of Drones without registration shall invite penal action. In January 2020, over 20,000 drones had been registered with the government which will help in maintaining a database of drone users given the security implications of using it. Once registrations are done, tracking of drones is key to safe operations even in green zones or areas where they will be allowed to operate. Drones need to be registered on the website of Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), which says: “All unmanned aircraft need to be enlisted. For ample clarity, these include models, prototypes, toys, RC aircraft, autonomous and remotely controlled aircraft systems”. The enlistment of drones has two parts.
Firstly, information about the owner needs to be uploaded. After uploading the owner’s information, the owner receives an ownership acknowledgment number (OAN). The second is to upload the drone-related information using the OAN. After uploading the drone-related information, the owner receives a drone acknowledgment number (DAN). According to the DGCA website, “Each drone will require a fresh enlistment. Since a drone owner may have multiple drones, the owner must use the same OAN to enlist all drones used by him. Each drone will be issued a separate DAN.
Ownership of drones in India without a valid OAN and DAN shall invite penal actions as per applicable laws. Possession of an OAN or DAN does not mean the right to operate the drone in the country. Kindly (see rules) issued by DGCA time to time for information regarding ownership and operation of drones”. Penal action can be taken against anyone using unregistered drones, which can be a jail term and/or a fine. In the future, people buying drones in India will have the registration process completed at the time of purchase. The users will be required to install the trackers on the drones. Currently, these trackers cost between 5000 and 7000 Rs.
The government is looking forward to GSM-based trackers. The DGCA in August 2018 had issued rules for the regulation of the use of drones in Indian airspace. The rule makes it mandatory for the owner to obtain a unique identification number (UIN), unmanned aircraft operator permit (UAOP), and meet other operational requirements including identification of civil drones and drone operators. This rule also states that people found using non-registered drones can be punished as per IPC section 287 which is for negligent conduct with respect to machinery.