The government has put in place a robust policy doing away with some cumbersome rules and brought in ease of doing business
Union Minister of Civil Aviation Jyotiraditya M. Scindia on Tuesday said the applicability of drone in the agriculture sector is beyond pesticide spraying and has tremendous scope in organic and natural farming as well.
Drone industry in India has grown 6-8 times in the last one-and-a-half years. The drone infrastructure set up in the country is "extremely robust" and an Indian case study of drones as pioneer in agriculture will be exhibited in the ongoing meeting of G20 agriculture working group.
India's aim is to become a global hub for drones by 2030, for which an industry friendly policy including the Production Linked Incentive Scheme (PLI) is in place, he added.
Addressing the media on the side-lines of the first G20 Agriculture Deputies Meeting here, the Union minister said: "Don't look at drones through narrow lines. The versatility and diversity of the application of using drones as service is vast."
The use of drones in agriculture should not be limited to pesticide spraying. It can be used in cadastral mapping and survey of agriculture land, he said.
"The area of drone application for jaivik kheti (organic farming) is also tremendous. ...Even in natural farming, there is tremendous scope for application of drones," Scindia noted.
As organic farming sees an organic growth, there will surely be the movement of drone application, he added.
The government is promoting organic and natural farming in a big way to reduce use of chemical fertilisers and save mother earth. Madhya Pradesh is currently leading in organic farming.
Currently, drones in agriculture are permitted only for pesticides spraying.
Asserting that many more applications will continue to emerge in future, the Union minister said there are multiple uses of drones. "I think as volumes grow, versatility will also grow."
He mentioned that the prime minister has been clear in determination that India can no longer be a follower and the country must be a leader in unexplored areas in the world. Drone is one such area.
For achieving the aim of becoming a global hub for drones by 2030, the government has adopted a three-pronged approach, he said.
Firstly, the government has put in place a robust policy doing away with some cumbersome rules and brought in ease of doing business. In a short span, digital mapping of drones has been done in the country into red, green and yellow zones.
Secondly, the government has come out with the PLI scheme for promotion of the drone industry. "For the first time, the PLI scheme was brought about for industry which was in a nascent stage," he said.
The PLI scheme for drone industry encompasses close to Rs 120 crore incentive for industry whose size in 2021 was only Rs 60 crore, he added.
The minister further said the PLI scheme has yielded "very good results" as many companies have registered and the size of the industry has grown 6-8 times in the last one-and-a-half years.
Thirdly, the government is creating demand for drones and earmarked 12 ministries including agriculture for mandatory use of drone technology, he added.
The three-day event of the first G20 Agriculture Deputies Meeting of the Agriculture Working Group (AWG) will conclude on February 15.
It deliberated on four key priority areas: food security and nutrition; sustainable agriculture with climate smart approach; inclusive agriculture value chain and food supply system; and digitisation of agriculture transformation.
The next meetings of the G20 agriculture working group is likely to be held in Chandigarh, Varanasi and Hyderabad.