In News: The Civil Aviation Ministry permitted the Telangana government to use drones for experimental delivery of vaccines within the visual line of sight.
- The permission for flying the unmanned aerial vehicles has been given for a period of one year or until further orders.
- However, these exemptions to the state will be valid only if all the limitations and conditions as stated for the respective entities are strictly followed.
- The trials will also help determine conditions such as degree of isolation, population, geography, and other factors in order to recognise regions that need drone deliveries in particular.
- The conditional exemption has been granted from the Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Rules, 2021.
- The use of drones has been granted with the aim of achieving four goals: quicker vaccine distribution across the country, increased healthcare access, possible integration into the middle mile of medical logistics for long-range drones and improving medical supply chain.
- Similar conditional permission was previously given to the ICMR in April 2021 in order to conduct a feasibility study of Coronavirus vaccine delivery using drones in collaboration with IIT Kanpur.
- A Hyderabad-based startup called ‘Hepicopter’ together with the Indian Institute of Public Health (Hyderabad), Public Health Foundation of India, and Telangana government support is focusing on doorstep delivery of healthcare solutions which includes medicines, diagnostics and vaccines.
Additional Link: https://journalsofindia.com/the-unmanned-aircraft-system-rules-2021