30 November 2023, New Delhi: The Union Cabinet has approved the Central Sector Scheme for providing Drones to the Women Self Help Groups (SHGs), with an outlay of Rs. 1261 Crore for the period from 2024-25 to 2025-26.
The scheme aims to provide drones to 15,000 selected Women SHGs during the period 2023-24 to 2025-2026 for providing rental services to farmers for agriculture purposes.
The scheme seeks to empower women Self Help Groups (SHGs) and bring new technologies through drone services in the agriculture sector.
The highlights of this scheme are as under:
i. The scheme approves holistic interventions by converging the resources and efforts of the Department of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare (DA&FW), Department of Rural Development (DoRD) and Department of Fertilizers (DoF), Women SHGs and Lead Fertilizer Companies (LFCs).
ii. Appropriate clusters where usage of Drones is economically feasible will be identified and progressive 15,000 women SHGs in various States in the identified clusters will be selected for providing drones.
iii. Central Financial Assistance @ 80% of the cost of drone and accessories/ancillary charges up to a maximum of Rs. Eight Lakh will be provided to the women SHGs for the purchase of drones. The Cluster Level Federation (CLFs) of SHGs may raise the balance amount (total cost of procurement minus subsidy) as a loan under the National Agriculture Infra Financing Facility (AIF). Interest subvention @ 3% on the AIF loan will be provided.
iv. One of the members of the women SHGs who is well qualified, 18 and above years of age will be elected by the SRLM and LFCs for 15-day training comprising of 5-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 the inclination to take up repairs of electrical goods, fitting, and mechanical works will be selected by the State Rural Livelihood Mission (SRLM) and LFCs who will be trained as drone technicians/assistants. This training shall be provided as a package along with the supply of drones.
v. Considering the difficulties that SHGs may face in procuring drones, and the repair and maintenance of drones through drone companies, the LFCs will act as a bridge between drone supplier companies and SHGs.
vi. LFCs will also promote the use of Nano Fertilizers such as Nano Urea and Nano DAP by drones with SHGs. SHGs will rent out drone services to the farmers for Nano fertilizer and also for pesticide applications.
It is envisaged that the approved initiatives under the scheme will provide sustainable business and livelihood support to 15,000 SHGs and they would be able to earn additional income of at least Rs. 1 lakh per annum.
The scheme will help infuse advance technology in agriculture for improved efficiency, enhanced crop yield, and reduced cost of operation for the benefit of farmers.
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