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While the draft guidelines and ensuing public consultation are good progress towards the end goal of opening the national airspace to civilian use of drones, placing multiple clearance requirements to obtain a registration for drones of all weight categories, especially the smaller nano, micro and mini drones are too stringent. Given the wide spectrum of benefits drones can serve, the regulations must be amended so as to encourage the operators and domestic manufacturers of drones rather than taking a far too paranoid approach.
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More than 50 companies world over are actively investing and lobbying to make commercial spaceflights for tourists a regular feature of the future. Given the limited number of spacefaring nations today, these companies are largely based in the US and Russia, with other stakeholders being Japan, China, Germany and France. So where does India figure in this scenario?
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In a free society, we enjoy both, the right to offend and the right to get offended. It is exasperating that any expression that causes discomfort or displeasure to a section of society is met with increasingly vehement censure. For those who don't have the muscle power, the financial bandwidth and/or the legal firepower to deal with such threats, freely speaking your mind will always mean being prepared to pay a huge cost.
In May 2014, Mumbai inhabitants witnessed what could easily have been a scene lifted straight from a sci-fi novel; a pizza was home-delivered using an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), more popularly known as a drone, from a local pizzeria. This experiment was not amiably met by the local police and the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) came out with a circular in October expressly banning any Unmanned Aerial Vehicles from taking to the Indian airspace without prior authorisation.