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Drone Laws in India (Complete 2023 Guide)

Updated in 2023 by Paul Posea
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height flight limit 1

150m max height

cant fly over crowds of people 1

Don’t fly over crowds

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Don't interfere with aircraft

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Only line of sight

India has many places that make for excellent drone shots and footage. Before you decide to document your visit to Taj Mahal with your drone though you must keep in mind the drone laws set in place by Indian authorities.

Which brings us to the topic of this article. Drone laws in India and how to navigate them as a drone pilot. Stick around because this’ll be an in-depth article.

Can I fly my drone in India?

In most cases, yes. You can fly your drone in India as long as it’s within the rules and regulations set by the Indian authorities.

When we say authorities we’re more specifically talking about the Indian Ministry of Civil Aviation.

If you’d like to contact the Indian Ministry of Civil Aviation  directly before you travel with any questions you might have, e-mail them at a.yadav@ias.nic.in 

You should also take note that India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation announced the country’s first Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR) for drones on August 27, 2018 to go into effect December 1, 2018. Read the full ruling here (Section 3–Air Transport, Series X, Part I).

Where can I fly my drone in India?

Good question because not all places in India are okay for you to fly over. India has special zones where flying drones are prohibited. As a rule of thumb, avoid flying over crowds, critical infrastructure areas and military bases as well as airports.

When it comes to National Parks in which case you must seek clarification from the authority concerned.

Take care not to fly over private land and buildings unless you have express authorization from the owner. 

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General rules for flying a drone in India

Before we talk about the specific rules, let’s talk about how drones are classified first in India.

Drone categories in India:

  • Nano drones - weigh less than 250 g (0.55 pounds)
  • Microdrones - weigh 250 g to 2 Kg (0.55 to 4.4 pounds)
  • Small drones - weigh 2 Kg to 25 Kg (4.4 to 55 pounds)
  • Medium drones - weigh 25 Kg to 150 Kg (55 pounds to 330 pounds)
  • Large drones - weigh over 150 Kg (330 pounds plus)

Keep in mind that besides nano drones (sub 250 grams), all other categories should be registered before flying.

Apart from drone classification, India has specific technical requirements for the drones they allow to be flown within their airspace. These mandatory requirements include:

  • GPS
  • Return-to-home (RTH)
  • Anti-collision light
  • ID plate
  • A flight controller with flight data logging capability
  • RF ID and SIM/No Permission No Takeoff (we’ll discuss this later in the article)

With that out of the way, let’s look at the actual rules governing drone use in India:

  • All drones except nano drones need to be registered with an issued unique identification number.
  • If you’re flying your drone commercially, a permit is required. Except for those in the Nano category flown below 50 feet and those in the Micro category flown below 200 feet.
  • You should always maintain visual line of sight when flying your drone.
  • You can’t exceed 400 feet of altitude with your drone.
  • You can’t fly your drone in “No-Fly Zones”, which include areas near airports, international borders, Vijay Chowk in Delhi, State Secretariat Complex in State Capitals, strategic locations, and military installations.

India’s No Permission, No Takeoff Policy

Or NPNT for short. Before every single flight (yes, EVERY flight) pilots are required to request permission to fly via a special drone app. The app will automatically reject or approve your flight, it usually doesn’t take much time but it can be annoying to request permission every time.

If a drone pilot tries to fly without receiving permission from the Digital Sky Platform, he or she will simply not be able to take off.

Every drone pilot in India must register their drone and request permission to fly for each flight through India’s Digital Sky Platform. The Digital Sky Platform and further details will be available on the DGCA website from December 1, 2018.

Conclusion

India is home to many beautiful historical sites that make for some of the best shots and films out there. I think any drone enthusiast visiting India should take their time and take as much footage as they can, but only after familiarizing themselves with the legal landscape regarding drone use.

Otherwise you might find yourself with your drone confiscated, a hefty fine or worse, even jail time in some rare cases. 

author-paul-posea-picture
Hi, I'm Paul.
A big drone enthusiast, reviewing, comparing and writing about drones since 2015. I'm all about helping people enjoy and even monetize their hobby.
paul posea
Paul Posea
Hi, I'm a long-time drone reviewer and I hope my articles and comparisons on this site as well as Dronesgator's youtube channel are of as much help as possible.

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