Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar said ₹126.99 crores have been released towards Kisan Drone promotion based on the proposals received so far. In a written reply in the Rajya Sabha, Shri Tomar said this includes ₹52.50 crores released to the ICAR for purchase of 300 Kisan Drones and organising their demonstrations on the farmers’ fields in 75,000 hectares through 100 KVKs, 75 ICAR institutions and 25 SAUs. It also includes funds released to various State Governments for supply of more than 300 Kisan Drone to farmers on subsidy and establishment of more than 1500 Kisan Drone CHCs to provide drone services to the farmers. The use of Kisan Drones has a potential to provide ample opportunities of employment to people in rural areas.
Tomar also informed that the Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (DA&FW) is promoting adoption of Kisan Drones by the farmers. Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) which provide concise instructions for effective and safe operations of drones for pesticide and nutrient application have been released. Financial assistance is also provided under Sub-Mission on Agricultural Mechanisation (SMAM) as per the details given as under:
(i) Financial assistance @ 100% of the cost of drone up to a maximum of ₹10 lakhs per drone is provided for purchase of drones by institutes under Indian Council of Agricultural Research, Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs), State Agriculture Universities (SAUs), State and other Central Government Agricultural Institutions/Departments and Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) of Government of India engaged in agricultural activities. The Farmers Producers Organizations (FPOs) are provided grants up to 75% of the cost of agriculture drone for its demonstrations on the farmers’ fields. A contingency expenditure of ₹6,000 per hectare is provided to implementing agencies that do not want to purchase drones but will hire drones for demonstrations from Custom Hiring Centres, Hi-tech Hubs, Drone Manufacturers and Start-Ups. The contingent expenditure to implementing agencies that purchases drones for drone demonstrations is limited to ₹3,000 per hectare.
(ii) In order to make available drone services to farmers on rental basis, financial assistance @ 40% up to a maximum of ₹4 lakh are provided for purchase of drones by Custom Hiring Centers (CHCs) under Cooperative Society of Farmers, FPOs and Rural entrepreneurs. Agriculture graduates establishing CHCs are eligible to receive financial assistance of 50% of the cost of drone up to a maximum of ₹5 lakh per drone.
(iii) For individual purchase of drones, the Small and Marginal, Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe, Women and North Eastern State farmers are provided financial assistance of 50% of the cost up to a maximum of ₹5 lakh and other farmers of 40% up to a maximum of ₹ 4 lakh.