Hyderabad: The Ministry of Civil Aviation has granted conditional exemption from the Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Rules, 2021 to Telangana for conducting experimental trials on using drones to deliver Covid vaccines. The exemption is valid for one year or until further notice.
In an order, the Civil Aviation Ministry on Thursday said that “Government of Telangana on March 9, 2021 had sought exemption from Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Rules, 2021 for conducting experimental delivery of vaccines using drones through Visual Line of Sight (VLOS) range”.
Drones in the country are allowed to be used within the visual range, and institutions and agencies have to seek special permission from Civil Aviation Ministry for conducting such trials using drones. Recently, the India Council of Medical Research (ICMR) had received permission to conduct trials for delivery of Covid vaccines using drones.
A few days ago, Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had accorded permission and released Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that must be followed by conducting experiments on using drones to transport vaccines. While granting permission, the Ministry of Civil Aviation has directed the State government to fully adhere to the SOPs released by the DGCA.
Delivering medical equipment, vaccines and drugs to remote locations using drones has been tried by research institutions and voluntary organisations across the globe and even sporadically in India. In some of the Indian States like Uttarakhand, where there are several remote and hilly areas are located, experiments are underway to study the feasibility of utilising drone to transport life saving medicines and vaccines.