Now, Drone Declaration Mandatory When You Enter India!
In last few years, drones have become quite popular – especially for personal use. Today, one can buy a drones (quadcopters etc) online with ease, they are not expensive either. These drones are especially hit with Photographers and videographers, who use these drones to shoot some excellent areal videos and photos.
However, these drones are now becoming a security hazard, atleast in the books of security agencies in India.
Now, Government of India has made changes to their custom baggage declaration regulations and have made it mandatory for people entering India to declare specifically if they are carrying drones. It was not mandatory till now.
This amendment will come into affect starting April 1st, 2016.
The notification (No.31/2016) released has said that Drones will be added as item number 10 under “All passengers who come to India and have anything to declare or are carrying dutiable or prohibited goods”
If a traveler is carrying a drone, they will need to mark ‘Yes’ and then will need to report to customs officer at Red Channel Counter and will need to pay duty on them. It will be Custom officer’s prerogative to deem whether the drone will be allowed or will ineligible to enter India.
Till very recently, Indians who were interested in buying drones, bought them online from US or Chinese eCommerce sites and got them shipped to India. Back then, drones were not much of an issue.
However, in recent times drone shipments have not been passed by custom office and in many cases have been destroyed by them, citing security threat. Infact, it is now impossible to buy drones online and get it shipped, as none of them get past the custom office.
Last May, Chinese Smartphone company, OnePlus found this the difficult way. All their DR-1 drones shipped to Indians were destroyed as Customs declared them as prohibited. And those smaller than palm sized devices are RC toys rather than anything else. Even their flight timings were not more than 5 minutes and did not fly more than a few feet!
The only way for someone to get drones into India were by bringing them in while coming back after visiting a foreign country where they were available. Now, with this custom declaration becoming mandatory, this way is blocked too.
It is now nearly impossible for anyone to get their hands on drones in India!