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Centre exempts Home Ministry from drone rules, experts wary

The Central government issued a conditional exemption to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the police departments of various State governments and Union Territories (UT) from the Unmanned Aircraft System Rules (UAS) Rules 2021. Although the exemptions come under the ambit of the recently notified rules, experts in the coming days will be keenly observing the standard operating procedures (SOP) adopted by the Home Ministry in terms of safeguarding the privacy of citizens. An order dated April 27 signed by joint secretary of Ministry of Civil Aviation Amber Dubey, read, "The Central government in exercise of the powers conferred under Rule 70 of the UAS Rules 2021 grants conditional exemption from UAS Rules 2021 to agencies/organisation/entities/departments/entities under the jurisdiction of Ministry of Home Affairs and State/UT Police (exempted entities) for the operation of drones." Essentially, from now, MHA will be the designated authority for granting necessary permissions/exemptions to the exempted entities regarding drone operation. The Ministry of Civil Aviation has directed the MHA to frame necessary guidelines or standard operating procedures regarding the same. MHA shall frame necessary rules/guidelines/standard operating procedures (SOP) regarding the technical specifications and regulatory mechanism for safe operating of drones by exempted entities, especially in areas inhabited by civilians and airspaces close to the flight paths of aircraft. In controlled airspaces, prior approval from Air Traffic Control Authority (civil or military as applicable) shall be taken before commencing a drone operation -- Ministry of Civil Aviation order UAS Rules 2021 allows such exemption The UAS…

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Among other subjects, I cover the increasing usage of emerging technologies, especially for surveillance in India

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