Drone Regime in India Significantly Liberalised: Indian Skies Open to Global Players


Friday, September 03, 2021

Session: 07:00 PM – 08:00 PM (IST)




In a remarkable development on the regulatory front, India has overhauled the civil drone regime through the Drone Rules, 2021 (“New Rules”) notified last week. The New Rules supersede the much criticised and highly restrictive Unmanned Aircraft System Rules, 2021 (“Earlier Rules”) which were released in March 2021. Through the New Rules, the Government has now significantly liberalised the regime on drones, removing express restrictions on foreign-owned and controlled Indian companies, and simplifying the drone registration and certification process, among other things.

Given the nascent stage of the New Rules, it is pertinent to discuss the applicability, and practical operation of the liberalized regime in consonance with the growing role of drones in almost every sector in our country and the immense potential they hold.

How will drones be classified and on what basis would exemptions be granted? Which provisions have been eased in light of the restrictive Earlier Rules? What is the potential for foreign players to enter into the drone market in India? What are the changes introduced in the operation of drones in our country and how will zoning be implemented and monitored? What are the exemptions granted for research and development of drones? Join us at a virtual webinar as we address these questions, discuss the impact of the New Rules and pave the way forward.

About Drone Federation of India ("DFI")

DFI is a non-government, not-for-profit, industry-led body that aims to build a safer and scalable unmanned aviation industry. DFI promotes the drone industry by advocating policy reforms, developing a skilled talent pool, nurturing industry partnerships, promoting research and development, and building a vibrant community of experts and enthusiasts. DFI represents over 2000 drone pilots, 120 service providers, 90 Manufacturers, and 10 Training Organisations.

Focus Area

  • Overview of the drones regime, as it currently stands

  • Liberalization of regulatory regime for drones

  • Potential for foreign entities in Indian market

  • Shortcomings in the New Rules

  • Way forward and implementation of the New Rules

Our Reading Materials

Flow of the session

07:00 PM - 07:45 PM (IST)

Discussion by the Speakers

07:45 PM - 08:00 PM (IST)




Director, Drone Federation of India

Smit, currently based in New Delhi, India, holds a Bachelor's Degree in Engineering from the Mumbai University and started his career as a software developer with Germin8, a social intelligence company to build SaaS-based data analytics products.

Passionate about leveraging the power of healthcare data, he co-founded CheckApp – a health-tech start-up, which created an interoperable healthcare data exchange protocol for on-demand access to clinical data across different healthcare service providers. His work also involved interacting with state governments to integrate healthcare data exchange with public health policies. With his well-rounded business acumen and passion for public policy and technology integration to solve large scale problems, he currently has a laser focus on the Indian drone industry and serves as the Director at the Drone Federation of India.

He works ardently with leading drone manufacturers, service providers, public and private sector corporations for creating opportunities and accelerating the growth of the drone industry in India. Smit also plays a prominent role in drone policy advocacy by interacting with civil and defence government agencies and serves a member of leading government drone policy and standardisation committees:

Member, Sub-Committee for Standardisation of UAVs

Bureau of Indian Standards

Scope of the Committee: Developing the technical standards for drones and its components in India.



Leader, Disruptive Technologies Practice and Bangalore Office Head, Nishith Desai Associates

Huzefa Tavawalla leads the Disruptive Technologies Practice and is the head of the Bangalore Office of Nishith Desai Associates.

Huzefa has been at the forefront of technology and has in-depth expertise in various matters such as E-Mobility, UAVs, Fintech, AR / VR, Robotics, AI etc. Basis his expertise on drones, he was also part of the special drone task force committee of the Indian government.

Further, he has authored several articles / newsletters associated with the technology and payment space.

Huzefa also advises on several cutting edge and complex cross-border M&A transactions associated with disruptive technologies. Pursuant to the same he has received various accreditations including Legal 500 mentioning him as “an accomplished professional with a deep understanding of M&A transactions”.



Member, Disruptive Technologies Practice, Nishith Desai Associates

Aniruddha is a member of the TMT, IP, Education and Disruptive Technologies practices at Nishith Desai Associates, Mumbai. Prior to this, he worked with Talwar Thakore and Associates in Mumbai with their finance, corporate and financial regulatory practices. Aniruddha graduated from the National Law School of India University, Bangalore (NLSIU) in 2019. He has a keen interest in law and technology and was the Chief Editor of the Indian Journal of Law and Technology, a peer-reviewed journal of NLSIU which was the first journal in India to deal with the interface between law and technology. He was also the joint-convenor of the Law and Technology Society at NLSIU which is well-known for its annual academic conference ‘Consilience’ on upcoming issues on law and technology. In order to undertake a comparative study of technology law and other areas, he studied a semester at the Faculty of Law of the University of Groningen, Netherlands as part of the student exchange programme. He has published an article on topic ‘Should Illegal Works Receive Copyright Protection?’ on SpicyIP, India’s leading blog on intellectual property laws. He actively writes on various topics ranging from drones, geospatial data and the education sector.



Member, Disruptive Technologies Practice, Nishith Desai Associates

Tanya is a member of the Disruptive Technologies Practice at Nishith Desai Associates, Mumbai. Tanya graduated from Symbiosis Law School, Pune in 2021. She has a keen interest in law and technology in addition to the Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare arena. She has been an active researcher and has published numerous papers and articles pertaining to a plethora of subjects including the International Regime of Intellectual Property laws, and articles on regulatory aspect of Covid-19 vaccines, autonomous vehicles and more. She actively writes on various topics ranging from pharma, healthcare, technology, Intellectual property sector.