Mar 15: Looking into the unique advantages of Drone technologies in agriculture, the Department of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare has released the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for use of drones in pesticide and nutrient application in the public domain in December 2021, which provide concise instructions for effective and safe operations of drones. In order to make this technology affordable to the farmers and other stakeholders of this sector, financial assistance @ 100 % cost of drone together with the contingent expenditure is extended under Sub-Mission on Agricultural Mechanization (SMAM) to the Farm Machinery Training & Testing Institutes, Institutions of Indian Council of Agricultural Research, Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) and State Agricultural Universities (SAUs) for its demonstration on the farmer’s fields. In order to provide agricultural services through drone application, financial assistance @ 40% of the basic cost of the drone and its attachments or Rs.4 lakhs, whichever less is also provided for drone purchase by existing and new Custom Hiring Centers (CHCs) under Cooperative Society of Farmers, Farmers Producer Organizations (FPOs) and Rural entrepreneurs. The agriculture graduates establishing CHCs are eligible to receive financial assistance @ 50% of the cost of drones up to a maximum of Rs.5.00 lakhs. Funds are released for Drone technology promotion based on the proposals received from various eligible entities under the scheme and during the current year, so far an amount of Rs. 2.25 Crores have been released towards this. The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has published ‘Drone Rules 2021’ to regulate the use and operation of Drones in India, which have to comply with all Drone operations, and as per these rules, the Unique Identification Number for drone operation is necessary. However, the requirement of Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit has been waived off.
This information was given by the Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Shri Narendra Singh Tomar in a written reply in Lok Sabh Sabha Today.
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