Drones will soon be used to deliver life-saving medical supplies in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Manipur and Nagaland. The system is already in use in Telangana on a trial basis in areas that are inaccessible. The system was opened in Telangana over the weekend. The drone currently allowed can carry a load of 5 kg, said a senior executive of Bluedart, which is involved in the delivery project.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) have granted conditional exemption from Drone Rules, 2021 to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-B).
While the ICMR will conduct the experimental Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) vaccine delivery from up to a height of 3,000 meters, the IIT Bombay has received permission for research, development and testing of drones on its own premises.
According to the press release, the exemption will be subject to the terms and conditions of the airspace clearance and shall be valid for a period of one year, whichever is earlier.
On September 11, Union Minister for Civil Aviation Jyotiraditya Scindia had launched ‘Medicines from the Sky’ project in Telangana’s Vikrabad, under which vaccines and other essential products will be transported to remote areas using drones.
During the trial flight, vaccines were delivered in 9 minutes, Balfour Manuel, the managing director of Bluedart, told NDTV on Saturday.
Mr Scindia had recently announced the Drone Policy nationwide and said, “India will be a drone hub globally by 2030”.
The policy aims to usher in an era of super-normal growth while balancing safety and security considerations in drone operations.