Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday flagged off 100 Kisan drones in different cities and towns of India to spray pesticides in farms across the country. He virtually addressed a group of farmers gathered at Manesar from where the “Drone Kisan Yatra” was flagged off.
PM Modi launched the drones on Friday with officials describing it as a “very novel and exciting initiative” for farmers.
In his speech, the Prime Minister said, a new culture of drone start-ups is building in India. Their numbers will soon be in thousands from over 200 now, leading to creation of new employment opportunities on a massive scale.
He said his government will ensure that there is no impediment in the sector’s development and has already undertaken several reforms and policy measures to facilitate its rise.
Nearly half of all Indians depend on a farm-based income, but a majority of India’s agriculturists are small cultivators with low yields. In December 2021, the government scrapped a set of reformist laws to lift curbs on the food trade, after a year of protests.
Analysts say drones could prove transformative, making farming efficient, although the costs involved are still high.
An agricultural drone, which typically operates using Internet-based smart technologies, can undertake precise farm operations, from spraying to monitoring crop health. They can cost anywhere between ₹5-10 lakh.
A recent government incentive provides grants that make ownership of farm drones virtually cost-free for state-run institutions.
The drones have been manufactured by Chennai-based Garuda Aerospace, a home-grown start-up. According to the PM’s tweet, the company informed that it would manufacture 1,00,000 drones in the next two years.