Government makes using drones easier for its agencies to fight corona

In a bid to provide fast track conditional exemptions to government agencies for COVID-19 related remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS)/ drone operations, aviation authorities have launched a Garud portal.

“The conditional exemption shall be limited to RPA deployed by a government entity for aerial surveillance, aerial photography and public announcements related to COVID-19… exemption shall be limited to battery-operated rotary-wing RPA only…. responsibility of safe operation of RPA shall rest entirely with the government entity…. The RPA shall, at no time, pose a risk to life, property or any other manned/ unmanned aircraft,” the aviation ministry said in a statement.

GARUD, which stands for “government authorisation for relief using drones,” was launched in two weeks by National Informatics Centre (NIC). “In a short period of eight days after getting the go-ahead, the portal was designed, developed, beta-tested, and launched by Vikram Singh, senior system analyst, NIC, New Delhi, working alone at home,” the ministry said.

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