UPSC PRELIMS 2020: Drone in Delhi

Topic: Drone in Delhi

Topic in Syllabus: Security Issues


  • Recently, 2 US citizens were detained for flying a drone fitted with a camera above the high-security zone in Lutyens’s Delhi.
  • The drone was spotted above Rashtrapati Bhavan and its camera contain footage of Central Secretariat and nearby buildings.
  • Flying of drones is banned over most parts of Delhi.


Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA)

  • A general guidelines issued by the, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) also lay down specific no-go areas for drones.
  • It made legal for ordinary enthusiasts to operate drones in India, subject to various requirements and clearances.

DGCA has identified multiple categories of drones, which can be broadly classified as,

  • ‘Nano’ (weighing up to 250 g),
  • ‘Micro’ (more than 250 g but less than 2 kg) and
  • ‘Small and above’ (weighing 2 kg or more).


  • Every drone that is bigger than a ‘Nano’ must obtain a unique identification number (UIN) from the aviation regulator.
  • This number must be displayed on the remotely piloted aircraft.
  • A UIN will be issued once, against a fee of Rs 1,000, and will not be issued to a foreign citizen or entity.
  • Users of bigger drones will be required to obtain a Unique Air Operator’s Permit (UAOP), similar to a driver’s licence.
  • The UIN and UAOP can be obtained from the online platform ‘Digital Sky’.

Nano category requirements

All drones other than those in the ‘Nano’ category must meet mandatory equipment requirements such as,

  1. GPS,
  2. Anti-collision light,
  3. ID plate,
  4. Radio-frequency identification (RFID) and

SIM facilities with software that ensures ‘no-permission, no-takeoff’, among other features.

Before flying a ‘Small’ or bigger drone, an operator has to file a flight plan, and inform the local police.

  • ‘Micro’ drones will be required to submit a flight plan only if using controlled airspace.
  • Many drones used for amateur photography fall in this category.
  • These aircraft will need a UIN but no UAOP, and will be allowed to climb only to a height of 200 ft.
  • ‘Nano’ drones will be able to operate freely, without any registration or permit.
  • But their operations will be restricted to only 50 ft above the ground.


  • All those requiring a UAOP must undertake a 5-day training that will expose them to regulations, basic principles of flight, air traffic control procedures, weather and meteorology.
  • These operators will also have to take written tests and flight simulator tests before they are issued permits.
  • All categories of drones must be flown in the visual line of sight, and only during daytime.


No-drone zones

  • The regulator listed 12 categories of “No-drone zones”,
  • Area up to 5 km from the perimeters of the high-traffic airports of Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Hyderabad.
  • For other airports, the no-drone zone extends up to 3 km.
  • Drones cannot fly closer than 25 km of international borders, including the Line of Control and Line of Actual Control.
  • Within a 5-km radius of New Delhi’s Vijay Chowk.
  • Within 2 km from the perimeter of strategic locations and vital installations notified by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • Within 3 km radius of secretariat complexes in state capitals.
  • Within 3 km radius from a mobile platform such as a moving vehicle, ship or aircraft.


Sample Question:

What are UCAVs?

a)      UAVs designed for combat

b)      UAVs designed for pesticide application

c)       UAVs designed for oceanography

d)      None of the above

Answer: a)