Drones for Women Self Help Groups: Union Cabinet approves!?

Cabinet approves Centre's scheme to provide drones to women self-help groups. The Union cabinet meeting chaired by prime minister Narendra Modi approved the Central Government's scheme to provide drones to women Self Help Groups from 2024-25 to 2025-26 at a cost of Rs 1261 crore. It aims to provide drones to 15,000 selected women self-help groups during the period 2023-24 to 2025-26.

In line with prime minister Modi's vision, the project aims to empower women self-help groups and implement new technologies through drone services in the agriculture sector. The scheme endorses holistic interventions by pooling the resources and efforts of the Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Department of Rural Development, Department of Fertilizers, women Self Help Groups and leading fertilizer companies.

Appropriate groups where the use of drones is economically viable will be identified and 15,000 women SHGs in various states in the identified clusters will be selected for provision of drones. 80% of the cost of drone and equipment / accessories up to a maximum of Rs 8 lakh will be given to women Self Help Groups for purchase of drones. Cluster-level federations of SHGs can borrow the remaining amount (excluding procurement cost and subsidy) under the National Agricultural Infrastructure Fund facility.

One member of women self-help groups aged 18 years and above will be selected for a 15-day training which includes 15 days of mandatory drone pilot training, additional 10 days of training for agricultural purposes on nutrition, pesticide use.

Considering the difficulties SHGs data-face in procuring, repairing and maintaining drones through drone companies, leading fertilizer companies will act as a bridge between drone distribution companies and SHGs.

SHGs will also promote application of nano-fertilizers like nano-urea, nano-DAP through drones along with SHGs. SHGs will rent drone services to farmers for nano-fertilizer and pesticide applications. Initiatives approved under the scheme are expected to provide sustainable business and livelihood to 15,000 SHGs and generate an additional income of at least Rs 1 lakh per annum. The scheme is said to help introduce advanced technology in agriculture, improve efficiency, increase crop yield and reduce operational cost for the benefit of farmers.

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