MoA&FW Announces Subsidy to Popularise Drone in Agriculture; MoCA Notifies DCS

Govt announces subsidy to popularise drone in agriculture

Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (MoA&FW) has amended the guidelines of Sub-Mission on Agricultural Mechanisation (SMAM) to provide a 100 percent grant (up to Rs 10 lakh) to Agricultural Institutes for the purchase of drones for Farming and its allied activities.

  • The financial assistance and grants would be available until March 31, 2023.
  • Aim – To promote precision farming in India and to make drone technology affordable to the stakeholders of this sector.

About Subsidy and Eligibility:

i.100 percent subsidy (maximum Rs 10 lakh) – Farm Machinery Training and Testing Institutes, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) institutes, Krishi Vigyan Kendras and State Agriculture Universities are eligible to avail of the 100 percent subsidy.

ii.75 percent subsidy – It is applicable to the Farmers Producers Organisations (FPOs)

iii.40 percent subsidy (maximum Rs 4 lakh) – The new Custom Hiring Centres (CHCs) or the Hi-tech Hubs that will be established by the Cooperative Societies of Farmers, FPOs and Rural entrepreneurs with financial assistance from SMAM, Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) or any other Schemes can also include Drone as one of the machines.

  • A contingency expenditure of Rs.6000 per hectare would be provided to implementing agencies that just hire drones instead of purchasing for demonstrations.
  • The contingent expenditure would be limited to Rs.3000 per hectare to implementing agencies that purchase drones for drone demonstrations.

iv.50 percent (Upto 5lakh) – It is limited to CHC which has been set up by Agriculture graduates.

  • The Rural entrepreneurs should have passed the 10th examination or its equivalent from a recognized Board with a remote pilot licence from an Institute specified by the Director-General of Civil Aviation(DGCA) or from any authorised remote pilot training organisation.

Drone Operations:

i.The drone operations are permitted by the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) and DGCA through the conditional exemption route.

  • In August 2021 MoCA published ‘Drone Rules 2021’ to regulate the use and operation of Drones in India. Click here to know more

ii.The Department of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare has also brought out Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for use of Drone application with pesticides for crop protection in agricultural, forestry and non-cropped areas including Drone Application in Spraying for Soil and Crop Nutrients.

–Ministry of Civil Aviation Notifies Drone Certification Scheme

The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has notified a drone certification scheme (DCS) to ensure minimum safety and quality requirements for boosting indigenous manufacturing of drones which is applicable to indigenous drone manufacturers, assemblers and importers

  • The DCS was notified on 26th January 2022, under Rule 7 of the liberalised Drone Rules, 2021.
  • Objective – To provide safety and security criteria for drones with evaluation certificates by which the Government of India targets to make India the drone hub of the world by 2030. 

About DCS:

i.The DCS will boost airspace map, the production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme and the single window DigitalSky Platform.

  • The MoCA has already approved a PLI scheme for unmanned aircraft systems (drones) and drone components at Rs. 120 crore for 3 financial years.

ii.Requirements for certification – Manufacturers must submit various test data and results along with weight specifications, type of launch, speed and recovery mechanism installed while applying for certification of a drone.

Evaluation of DCS:

i.DCS will be overviewed by a steering committee chaired by the representative from the government with industry expertise along with a Quality Control of India secretariat.

ii.The steering committee will also include technical and certification committees.

Recent related news:

MoAFW has signed MoU with Commercial & Industrial Security Corporation (CISCO), Ninjacart, Jio Platforms Limited, Indian Tobacco Company (ITC) Limited and NCDEX e-Markets Limited (NeML) for modernising the agriculture sector which in turn increases farmer’s income.

About Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (MoA&FW):

Union Minister – Narendra Singh Tomar (Morena, Madhya Pradesh)
Minister of State – Shobha Karandlaje (Udupi Chikmagalur, Karnataka) ; Kailash Choudhary (Barmer, Rajasthan)

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