Monday, June 14, 2021

Ministry of Civil Aviation permits Telangana to use drones for vaccine delivery

The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) and Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Friday, April 30, permitted the Government of Telangana the conditional exemption for drone deployment..

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 only valid for a period of one year or until further orders.

The exemptions, however, will be valid only if all conditions and limitations as stated for the respective entities are strictly adhered to.

The Ministry also took to Twitter to announce that it has granted a conditional exemption to the Telangana government from the Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Rules, 2021 for conducting experimental delivery of vaccines using drones within visual line of sight range.

How will drones be used?

The government of Telangana would use drones for the delivery of vaccines across the state, by monitoring it, especially to remote areas. It would also conduct experimental trials to assess conditions such as population, degree of isolation, geography, etc to identify regions that specifically require drone deliveries.

Benefits of drone usage:

The grant of these permissions will facilitate in achieving the dual objectives of faster vaccine delivery and improved healthcare access by:

-Ensuring primary healthcare delivery at the citizen’s doorstep.

-Limiting human exposure to COVID congested or COVID prone areas through aerial delivery.

-Ensuring access to health care to the last mile, especially in remote areas.

-Possible integration into the middle mile of medical logistics for long-range drones.

-Improving medical supply chain, especially with a third vaccine expected to be commissioned and millions of doses to be transported across India.

Earlier this month, similar permission was granted to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for conducting feasibility study of Covid-19 vaccine delivery using drones in collaboration with IIT Kanpur.

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