India has 20,000 registered drones, says government
The central government's civil drone registration, which is tantamount to a survey, has registered over 20,000 drones in the country before the January 31, 2020, deadline. "The registration was a significant achievement as far as we are concerned because we never expected such a high number," said Amber Dubey, the Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Civil Aviation, which carried out the survey. Although figures as high as five lakh "illegal" drones in India have been touted by the government, industry insiders believe there are no more than 50,000 such unlicensed vehicles operating in the country. "The registrations are just the beginning. Next, we will have the training of drone users, the tracking of drones and the mapping to ensure that drones don't intrude into sensitive areas," Dubey said.
He suggested that tracking would be achieved by using two vectors: via a SIM-based transponder attached to drones which would constantly send location data to the ministry's central systems and via ground control radar. Dubey added that a move to register civilian drones was promoted by global events, notably an attack on Saudi Arabian oilfields by drones, but also after law enforcement officials discovered a disabled drone in Punjab transporting sachets of narcotics.
The joint secretary disclosed that the ministry of civil aviation and the IT ministry were working together to ease permissions and leverage the talent of young tech disruptors and start-ups in this space.