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Union Cabinet Allocates Rs 1,261 Crore To Provide Drones To Women Self-Help Groups For Next 2 Years

The government, in a statement, outlined plans to identify economically viable clusters for drone use in various states. A total of 15,000 forward-thinking women Self Help Groups (SHGs) will be chosen to receive drones.

Union Minister Anurag Thakur announces the launch of Mera Yuva Bharat.
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The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has greenlit a central scheme allocating Rs 1,261 crore for two years starting 2024-25 to provide drones to 15,000 forward-looking women Self Help Groups (SHGs).

Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur announced this decision with reporters on Wednesday.

"The scheme aims to provide drones to 15,000 select women SHGs during the period 2024-25 to 2025-2026 for providing rental services to farmers for agriculture purpose," Thakur said.

The women SHGs will be identified from the total 89 lakh SHGs formed under the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana, he said.

The government, in a statement, outlined plans to identify economically viable clusters for drone use in various states. A total of 15,000 forward-thinking women Self Help Groups (SHGs) will be chosen to receive drones.

The government will offer central financial assistance covering 80% of the drone and accessory/ancillary charges, up to Rs 8,00,000, for SHGs to acquire the drones. The remaining amount (total procurement cost minus subsidy) can be raised by the Cluster Level Federation (CLFs) of SHGs through a loan under the National Agriculture Infra Financing Facility (AIF), with a 3% interest subvention on the AIF loan.

"Around 500 drones will be provided by fertiliser companies. The rest 14,500 drones will be made available through the central assistance in the next two years," Thakur said.

The total expense of a drone and its accessories is about Rs 10 lakh. About 80 per cent of the cost or up to Rs 8 lakh, will be provided by the Centre, he said.

The minister said the drone pilot will get an honorarium of Rs 15,000 and a co-pilot about Rs 10,000, he said.

For use of drones, a cluster of 10-15 villages will be formed and about 1,000 hectare land will be available for drone operation. The importance will be given for commercial crops, he added.

According to the statement, one of the members of women SHGs who is well qualified, 18 and above years of age will be elected for a 15-day training, comprising five-day mandatory drone pilot training and additional 10-day training for agriculture purpose of nutrient and pesticide application.

The other member / family member of the SHG with inclination to take up repairs of electrical goods, fitting and mechanical works will be selected for training as drone technician/assistant. These training will be provided as a package along with the supply of drones.

Considering the difficulties which SHGs may face in procuring the drones, and their repair and maintenance, the lead fertiliser companies (LFCs) will act as a bridge between drone supplier companies and SHGs.

LFCs will also promote use of nano-fertilizers by drones among SHGs. SHGs will rent out the drone services to farmers for nano-fertilizers and also for pesticide applications, the statement added.

Modi had announced empowering SHGs with drone technology from the Red Fort in his Independence Day speech on August 15, while pitching for leveraging the potential of science and technology in rural development.

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