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Drones can operate in 166 new green zones in India

Ministry of Civil Aviation has added 166 new green zones for drone operations, bringing the total number up to 232 green zones across India. The “No-Permission-No-Takeoff” (NPNT) compliant drone operations allow flight up to 400ft above ground level across these green zones.

As per the government order, the 166 new green zones (or uncontrolled airspace) have been added to 13 states across the country, including Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh.

According to DGCA, every person intending to fly a remotely piloted drone (or unmanned aircraft), excluding nano drones, needs to obtain permission through the government’s Digital Sky platform, which acts as the national unmanned traffic management system for remotely piloted aircraft — drones.

Anyone looking to fly in these green zones will be required to register their approximate time and location for the flight via the Digital Sky website or app. The drone should also be compliant with the Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Rules, 2021 and any other guidelines issued by the Ministry of Civil Aviation.

“State governments and local administrations are required to facilitate operations of NPNT-compliant drones in the said sites and enable the growth of the Indian drone industry,” said the order signed by Amber Dubey, Joint Secretary to the Government of India,

StateNumber of Sites
Andhra Pradesh4
Madhya Pradesh24
Tamil Nadu7
Uttar Pradesh8

According to a Linkedin post by the Joint Secretary, Amber Dubey, from last year, “nearly 70% of India’s landmass is open for NPNT-compliant drones”, which includes green and yellow zones. The remaining 30% comes under red zones, including urban areas, border areas, airport zones, and strategic assets, where special permission from security agencies is required to fly.

Green zones were enabled in July 2020, with 66 of them designated for flying NPNT-compliant drones.

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