The Union Government would provide drones for agricultural purposes to 15,000 progressive women self-help organisations (SHGs). Farmers are expected to adopt drone services for Nano fertiliser and pesticide applications.
According to Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur, the decision was made at a meeting of the Union Cabinet convened by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 29.
Mr. Modi may recall that in his Independence Day speech, he revealed a plan to use drone technology to empower women’s Self-Help Groups. The program would cost Rs. 1,261 crore over two years, beginning in 2024-25.
Mr. Thakur stated that the self-help groups will be chosen from among the 89 lakh SHGs founded under the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana, and that relevant clusters where the use of drones is economically feasible would be identified, after which the SHGs would be chosen to provide drones.
Women’s groups would receive Central financial assistance equal to 80% of the cost of the drone. A drone and its accessories cost around ten lakh rupees. The Centre will cover about 80% of the cost, or up to Rs. 8 lakh, according to the Minister.
“Fertiliser companies will provide approximately 500 drones.” “Over the next two years, the remaining 14,500 drones will be made available through Central assistance,” he stated. The drone pilot will be paid $15,000, and the co-pilot will be paid $10,000.
A well-qualified member of the SHG, aged 18 and up, will be chosen for a 15-day training that includes five days of mandatory drone pilot training and an additional ten days of agricultural training for nutrient and pesticide application, while another member of the group will be chosen for training as a technician or assistant.
The initiative will aid in the incorporation of advanced technologies into agriculture in order to improve efficiency, increase crop yield, and lower operating costs for the benefit of farmers.
The scheme’s approved initiatives are projected to give sustainable business and livelihood support to 15,000 SHGs, allowing them to earn an additional income of at least 1 lakh per year.