New Drone Rules

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Are India's new drone rules for ease of operation or for large-scale surveillance?

New Drone Rules for India.

Thursday, 9th September 2021

The 2021 drone rules were introduced in India last week, relaxing many of the restrictions introduced a few years ago. The government has also reduced the licensing fees for operating drones in the country and eliminated the requirement to conduct security checks before obtaining any registrations or permits. The update promotes drone operations in the country and aims to benefit different agencies seeking to deploy drones for emergency response, surveillance, geospatial mapping, and law enforcement. However, the new drone rules introduce privacy issues because it is not clear how to report abuse. Presumably, these rules will also greatly facilitate citizen surveillance.


On this week’s Gadgets, 360 Orbital podcasts, host Akhil Arora talked with the Deputy Prosecutor of the Internet Freedom Foundation-Oversight and Transparency Anushka Jain, Skye Air Mobility co-founder Swapnik Jakkampuddi, and the founder of Wildlife Technology Shashank Srinivasan, director, talks about the scope of the new drone rules and how they affect our lives.


We are open to the reforms introduced in the new drone rules to promote the use of drones between companies and government agencies. Last year, startups such as Dunzo, Swiggy, and Zomato received approval from the General Administration of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to conduct drone delivery tests in the country. Dunzo also started piloting drone delivery of COVID19 drugs and vaccines in Telangana earlier this year. With the new rules, all of this will become much easier. Similarly, Swiggy also launched a drone delivery experiment.


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Jakkampuddi of Skye Air Mobility, a drone delivery company, detailed some of the biggest hurdles the company faced in its first BLVOS tests, which are expected to be removed by the new rules. He also said the new rules simplify operations for new drone pilots.

However, Srinivasan from the Wildlife Conservation Geospatial Data Consulting Technology Corporation noted that the new drone rules do not clearly state how they can help people and farmers, etc., to start using drones on their own. , instead of choosing a third party. He also emphasized that these rules did not solve the problem of flying drones in national parks and tiger reserves, which were part of the previous regulations.


Jain from the Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF), a non-governmental digital rights organization, also highlighted several privacy issues in the new drone rules. In addition, it expects that by promoting the use of drones among individuals, companies, and authorities, these rules can expand large-scale surveillance in the country. There are also privacy issues because drones can easily be used to monitor others. During the state shut down due to the surge in COVID19 cases earlier this year, police departments in several states also used drones for local surveillance and collection of personal data to ensure compliance with given restrictions. However, this also affects the privacy of many people.


The News Talkie Bureau



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