Kishore Jonnalaggada of Drone Aerospace Systems was in conversation with Anirudh Rastogi, founder and managing partner at Ikigai Law on a webinar organised by HasGeek. The entire conversation is available here.
Anirudh breaks down the history of drone regulations in India into three phases: first, pre-2014 when there were no explicit regulations governing drone operations; second, post-2014 when the DGCA imposed a de-facto ban and the run-up to the introduction of the drone policy (CAR 1.0) in end-2018 and third, the time period after the introduction of CAR 1.0.
He explains why it took close to five years for CAR 1.0 to be introduced and narrates a behind-the-scenes version with various regulators and ministries locked up in a regulatory tussle. How was this consensus finally achieved between the regulators, each approaching the problem with varied perspectives — whether safety, national security, domestic security or spectrum (17:00).
Other aspects touched upon by Anirudh:
1. How drone activity in India has reduced after the policy took effect and how, the digital sky, an unprecedented and possibly beautiful idea, turned out to be counter-productive (23:00).
2. Regulations pertaining to BVLOS operations and whether such operations could have been permitted even in CAR 1.0 and why it got left out of the policy (26:00).
3. How delivery operations which were specifically barred in CAR 1.0 but the thinking around this has evolved and experimental licences are now been awarded (30:00).
4. Use of drones for pesticide spraying by farmers (33:00)
5. Why the market for insurance products for drone operations has not taken off (36:00).
6. Whether government agencies are required to and are inclined to obtain DGCA approval for operations.
7. Use of drones during the Covid lockdown when it is actually safer and very beneficial to do so, but how the inaction by the DGCA has made this difficult (40:50 and 47:45) [Please note that two days after this talk, the DGCA introduced exemption for use of drones during the lockdown].
8. Participation in government tenders for drones (43:50)
9. What is the recourse in case of penal action by the DGCA (50:40)
10. The Future of the policy (51:00)
[Ikigai Law has advised the drones industry and industry association and the regulator since 2014. Ikigai Law is counsel to the Drone Federation of India and Anirudh was named a ‘pioneer’ by the Economic Times for his contribution to the drones industry (See here).]