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29/11/23 | 4:46 pm

Cabinet approves providing 15,000 drones to women Self Help Groups

By: Aditya Ahuja

The Union Cabinet has greenlit a visionary scheme aimed at empowering women through technological advancement in the agriculture sector. With an outlay of Rs. 1261 Crore spanning from 2024-25 to 2025-26, this Central Sector Scheme is poised to provide drones to Women Self Help Groups (SHGs) for the purpose of offering rental services to farmers, revolutionizing the landscape of agricultural practices.

“This scheme is important as part of PM Modi's 'lakhpati didi' initiative. Drones play a key role in the services sector. There are about 10 crore women who are part of some Self Help Groups. Through this drone scheme, it has been ensured that they use technology in farming…drones will improve efficiency in spraying fertilisers and pesticides,” Union minister Anurag Thakur said in a press conference while announcing the scheme.

The scheme's core objective revolves around empowering 15,000 selected Women SHGs between 2023-24 and 2025-2026 by equipping them with drones to provide rental services for agricultural purposes. This strategic alignment with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision emphasises the integration of technology, women's empowerment, and agricultural innovation. 

The scheme approves holistic interventions by converging the resources and efforts of Department of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare (DA&FW), Department of Rural development (DoRD) and Department of Fertilizers (DoF), Women SHGs and Lead Fertilizer Companies (LFCs).

Key highlights:

Empowerment and Training

Identified clusters conducive to drone usage will be targeted, and 15,000 women SHGs across states will be selected to receive drones. Comprehensive training programs will equip members with drone piloting skills and agricultural expertise, enabling them to provide rental services and support.

Financial Support

Central Financial Assistance covering 80% of the drone cost, up to a maximum of Rs. Eight Lakh, will be extended to the SHGs. The remaining amount can be raised through National Agriculture Infra Financing Facility (AIF), with an interest subvention of 3% on the AIF loan.

Innovative Roles

Members of SHGs will be trained as drone pilots and technicians, facilitating not just drone operation but also repairs and maintenance, bridging the gap between suppliers and SHGs.

Nano Fertilizer Adoption

The scheme promotes the use of Nano Fertilizers like Nano Urea and Nano DAP through drone services, facilitating efficient pesticide application and fertilizer distribution.

Economic Empowerment

Envisioned as a means of sustainable business and livelihood support, the scheme aims to enable 15,000 SHGs to earn an additional income of at least Rs. One lakh per annum.

Technological Leap in Agriculture

With the infusion of advanced drone technology, the scheme is poised to enhance agricultural efficiency, increase crop yields, and reduce operational costs, thereby benefitting farmers at large.

This scheme stands as a testament to India's commitment to leveraging technology for the betterment of agriculture while empowering women in rural communities. The scheme will help infusing advance technology in agriculture for improved efficiency, enhance crop yield and reduced cost of operation for the benefit of farmers.

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