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GARUD portal launched to fast-track approval to COVID-19 related drone operations: MoCA and DGCA 

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On May 5, 2020, The Ministry of Civil Aviation(MoCA) and Directorate General of Civil Aviation(DGCA) launched Government Authorisation for Relief Using Drones(GARUD) portal( to provide fast track conditional exemptions to government agencies for COVID-19 related RPAS(Remotely Piloted Aircraft System)/drone operations.Govt launches GARUD portalKey Points

i.In a span of 8 days, the portal was designed, developed, beta-tested, and launched by Vikram Singh(worked alone at home), Senior System Analyst, National Informatics Centre(NIC).

ii.The necessary approvals from Competent Authority & the launch of the portal took place in less than 2 weeks. Other officials involved in the process are NIC & Airports Authority of India(AAI)

iii.The conditional exemption and the resultant fast track approval process through GARUD is limited to Remotely Piloted Aircraft(RPAs) deployed by government entities for aerial surveillance, aerial photography and public announcements related to COVID-19

iv.For other RPA activities, even if related to COVID-19 operations, permission will be sought separately from the Civil Aviation Ministry and the aviation regulator DGCA as per the normal procedure.

v.The conditional exemption shall be limited to battery-operated rotary-wing RPA only & use of any other type of RPA, including but not limited to fixed-wing RPA and autonomous RPA etc. is strictly prohibited.

vi.India’s arsenal against Covid-19 got a boost with the formation of the National Drone Rapid Response Force (NDRRF) by the country’s Unmanned Aerial Vehicle industry.


i.The rules and regulations related to operation of RPA are covered under Rule 15A of Aircraft Rules, 1937 and Civil Aviation Requirements (“CAR”) Section 3 Series X Part I issued by DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) dated 27.8.2018 .

ii.The provisions of this will remain in force until further orders. The Government of India reserves the right to modify, withdraw or extend the provisions of this, without providing any reasons whatsoever.

iii.Any violation of the provisions will make Conditional Exemption null and void and shall lead to penal action as per applicable law.

About Garuda Aerospace:
It is a drone start-up from Chennai, it manufactures drones to spray disinfectants and sanitise public spaces to contain the spread of COVID-19. ‘Corona-Killer’ drones  can be used to spray disinfectants on buildings up to 450 feet.

About DGCA:
Headquarters– New Delhi, India
Director General (DG)– Arun Kumar

About MoCA:
Minister of State (Independent Charge)- Hardeep Singh(S) Puri, Constituency– Uttar Pradesh

About NIC:
Works under the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology
Headquarters– New Delhi, India
DG– Neeta Verma

About AAI:
Headquarters– New Delhi, India
Chairman– Arvind Singh