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Govt policies & Interventions

iasparliament
February 13, 2018
8 months
509
1

Recently, the DGCA issues draft regulation on Unmanned Aircraft systems (UAS). Does the draft completely address the issues in the drone regulations? Analyse (200 words)

Refer – The Indian Express

Enrich the answer from other sources, if the question demands.

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IAS Parliament 8 months

KEY POINTS

·        The rapid influx and use of drones has raised several legal and policy challenges.

·        To address the same, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), in 2014, prohibited the use of drones in India for civil purposes.

·        Later, in April 2016, the DGCA released its initial draft guidelines for drone regulation followed by the updated draft guidelines in November 2017.

Issues unaddressed in the draft

·        Minimum importance to privacy – For example, there are no proposed restrictions on the operation and use of drones equipped with cameras, microphone, video devices or drones which are otherwise capable of storing and transmitting information.

·        Such loopholes have the effect of subjecting people to unwarranted snooping.

·        Uncertain property rights – Typically, the owner of a property not only owns the land but can also exercise proprietary rights over the ground beneath and on the column of air above the land, up to a certain height.

·        Thus, flying drones over private properties without permission would amount to trespass unless flown above a certain height.

·        There needs to be a minimum stipulation of height above which drones can fly in order to prevent operators from trespassing on private property.

·        Determining liability - DGCA seems to have sidestepped this issue as well.

·        It is important to establish clear liabilities for drone operators in the event of a crash, especially if an accident is caused due to the negligence of the drone operator.

·        The DGCA needs to reformulate its guidelines and prescribe clear standards for determining liabilities for drone accidents.

·        Currently, it has been provided that no person can fly a drone over a densely-populated area without prior permission.

·        This needs to be qualified with respect to what constitutes a densely populated area and the distance at which a drone can be flown.

·        Not User-friendly – For example, a drone operator who intends to fly a drone, which weighs more than 250 grams, should seek clearance from the home ministry in order to obtain a unique identification number for the drone.

·        Obtaining clearance from the local police station, like in the case of issuance of passports should suffice and would be much less of a hassle for people living in different parts of the country.

·        The draft drone regulations being contemplated by the DGCA are a step in the right direction.

·        Meanwhile, it is also important for DGCA to use this opportunity to implement forward-looking and people-friendly regulations which ingrain the protection of civil liberties.

·        Protection of privacy, limiting the use of drones for surveillance and minimising the possibilities of drone-related accidents should be designed as part of the inherent structure of drone regulation.

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