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Telangana gets Centre's conditional nod to deploy drone for vaccine delivery

According to the ministry of civil aviation, the drone trials will also assist in assessing conditions, such as population, degree of isolation, and geography, to identify regions that specifically require drone deliveries. (AP)Premium
According to the ministry of civil aviation, the drone trials will also assist in assessing conditions, such as population, degree of isolation, and geography, to identify regions that specifically require drone deliveries. (AP)

  • The ministry of civil aviation has said the drone usage permission has been granted to conduct experimental delivery of covid-19 vaccines by drones within visual line of sight range
  • The permission exemption is valid for a period of one year or until further orders

NEW DELHI : The Centre has granted conditional exemption to the Telangana government for deployment of drone to conduct experimental delivery of covid-19 vaccines, the Ministry of Civil Aviation said on Friday.

"The drone usage permission has been granted for conducting experimental delivery of Covid-19 vaccines within Visual Line of Sight (VLOS) Range using drones. The permission exemption is valid for a period of one year or until further orders," it said.

"Trials will also assist in assessing conditions such as population, degree of isolation, geography, etc to identify regions that specifically require drone deliveries," it added.

A copy of the circular has been reviewed by Mint.

Earlier in April, the government granted conditional exemption to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for conducting a feasibility study of covid-19 vaccine delivery using drones in collaboration with IIT Kanpur.

The first stage for drone deployment requires drones to remain in the line of sight of the operator at all times. If the first stage is deemed successful, then the next stage of trials involve operating the drone beyond the line of sight of the operator. If these stages are successfully completed, further clearance is sought from the authorities, Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) and Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

The grant of these permissions is intended to achieve the dual objectives of faster vaccine delivery and improved healthcare access by ensuring primary health care delivery at the citizen’s doorstep, the circular said.

Using drones for vaccine delivery will further limit human exposure to covid hotspots, ensure access to healthcare to the last mile, especially in remote areas, and improve the medical supply chain, it added.

The Telangana government has already conducted a feasibility study to look at how delivery drones can be used to improve medical supply chains. The state government has partnered with the World Economic Forum and HealthNet Global for this purpose.

The Centre had earlier this month granted conditional drone use exemption to municipal corporations of Dehradun, Haldwani, Haridwar, and Rudrapur for preparation of GIS-based property database and electronic tax register for one year or until further orders.

Others given conditional drone use exemption include West Central Railway (WCR) Kota, and Katni for train accident sites and maintaining safety and security of railway assets for a period of one year.

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