Government to Promote Drone use in Agriculture – Financial Support Being Extended Under ‘Sub-Mission on Agriculture Mechanization’

What is the News?

The Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has issued guidelines to make drone technology affordable to the stakeholders of the Agriculture Sector. These guidelines have been issued under the Sub-Mission on Agriculture Mechanization.

Note: The financial assistance and grants under these guidelines would be available until March 31, 2023.

What are the guidelines issued to promote the use of drones in agriculture?

Firstly, a grant of up to 100% of the cost of an agriculture drone or ₹10 lakhs whichever is less will be provided for the purchase of drones. But this grant will be limited to only Farm Machinery Training and Testing Institutes, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) institutes, Krishi Vigyan Kendras and State Agriculture Universities.

Secondly, Farmers Producers Organizations (FPOs) would be eligible to receive grants up to 75% of the cost of agriculture drone for its demonstrations on the farmers’ fields.

Thirdly, a contingency expenditure of Rs.6000 per hectare would be provided to implementing agencies that do not want to purchase drones but will hire drones for demonstrations from Custom Hiring Centers, Hi-tech Hubs, Drone Manufacturers and Start-Ups. However, they would receive only Rs 3,000/hectare if they are purchasing the drones for demonstrations.

Fourthly, Agriculture graduates establishing Custom Hiring Centers (CHCs) will be eligible to receive 50% of the basic cost of a drone and its attachments or up to ₹5 lakh in grant for drone purchases.

Fifthly, existing Custom Hiring Centers which are set up by Cooperative Society of Farmers, FPOs and Rural entrepreneurs are entitled to receive 40% (maximum ₹4 lakh) as a grant on the basic cost of the drone.

Note: Rural entrepreneurs are defined as those who have passed the class tenth examination from a recognised Board and have a remote pilot licence from an institute recognized by the Director-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
What is the significance of these guidelines on Drones?

The subsidized purchase of agriculture drones for CHCs/Hi-tech Hubs will make the technology affordable, resulting in their widespread adoption. 

This would also make drones more accessible to the common man in India, and will also significantly encourage domestic drone production.

Read more: Threats Posed by UAVs – Explained, Pointwise

Source: This post is based on the article Government to Promote Drone use in Agriculture – Financial Support Being Extended Under ‘Sub-Mission on Agriculture Mechanizationpublished in PIB on 23rd January 2022.

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