The government has created a portal specifically for government bodies to deploy drones for COVID-19 related work such as aerial surveillance and photography and for public announcements. Government bodies can also use the portal to authorise third-party drone service providers to operate drones on their behalf. Called GARUD (Government Authorisation for Relief Using Drones), the portal will “fast track conditional exemptions to govt agencies for COVID-19 related drone operations (sic)”, the Civil Aviation Ministry said in a tweet. The portal — which the Ministry says was launched within 2 weeks — allows almost any and every government agency to seek exemptions, including those at the Centre, states, district administration, and even “government institutions”. This portal, and the subsequent exemptions have come in at least a month late, since governments in multiple states, including Delhi, Kerala and Telangana, have already been using drones to either enforce…
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