Under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, the Union Cabinet has greenlit a Central Sector Scheme, allocating Rs. 1261 Crore for 2024-25 to 2025-26, aimed at providing drones to Women Self Help Groups (SHGs). The objective is to bring about a positive transformation in the lives of women engaged in agriculture and contribute to the overall growth of the sector.
Holistic Interventions: A Collaborative Effort
One of the distinctive features of this scheme is its holistic approach, converging the resources and efforts of various departments, including the Department of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare (DA&FW), Department of Rural Development (DoRD), and Department of Fertilizers (DoF). This collaborative effort ensures a comprehensive strategy for the successful implementation of the drone initiative.
Targeted Clusters: Identifying Economically Feasible Usage
To maximize the impact of drone services, appropriate clusters where the usage of drones is economically feasible will be identified. A total of 15,000 Women SHGs in various states, situated in these identified clusters, will be selected to receive drones for providing rental services to farmers for agricultural purposes.
Financial Support: Empowering Women with Resources
The scheme provides Central Financial Assistance at 80% of the cost of drones and related accessories/ancillary charges, up to a maximum of Rs. Eight Lakh. Women SHGs can avail themselves of this financial support for the purchase of drones. The Cluster Level Federation (CLFs) of SHGs can raise the balance amount as a loan under the National Agriculture Infra Financing Facility (AIF), with an attractive interest subvention of 3%.
Comprehensive Training: Building Capacities for Success
Members of Women SHGs will undergo a 15-day training program, with a mandatory 5-day drone pilot training and an additional 10-day training for agriculture purposes, including nutrient and pesticide application. The scheme envisions electing qualified members for drone pilot training and selecting those inclined towards repairs and maintenance for training as drone technicians or assistants.
Bridging the Gap: LFCs as Facilitators
Recognizing potential difficulties in the procurement, repair, and maintenance of drones by SHGs, Lead Fertilizer Companies (LFCs) will play a pivotal role as intermediaries between drone supplier companies and SHGs. This strategic partnership aims to streamline the process and ensure the smooth functioning of drone services.
Promoting Nano Fertilizers: A Technological Leap
LFCs will not only facilitate drone services but also promote the use of Nano Fertilizers such as Nano Urea and Nano DAP through drones. SHGs will rent out drone services to farmers for Nano fertilizer and pesticide applications, contributing to sustainable and efficient agricultural practices.
Sustainable Livelihoods: Aiming for Additional Income
Envisaging sustainable business and livelihood support, the scheme anticipates that the initiatives will enable 15,000 SHGs to earn an additional income of at least Rs. One lakh per annum. This income boost is expected to create a positive economic impact on the lives of the participating women.
Technological Advancement in Agriculture: Enhancing Efficiency and Yield
The overarching goal of the scheme is to infuse advanced technology into agriculture, leading to improved efficiency, enhanced crop yield, and reduced operational costs. By integrating drones into farming practices, the initiative aims to uplift the farming community and contribute to the overall prosperity of the agricultural sector.
Questions Related to Exams
Q1. What is the main objective of the Central Sector Scheme for providing drones to Women Self Help Groups in agriculture?
Answer: The main objective is to empower women engaged in agriculture through Self Help Groups and integrate new technologies, particularly drones, to bring about a positive transformation in their lives and contribute to the overall growth of the agricultural sector.
Q2. How does the scheme address the potential difficulties in the procurement, repair, and maintenance of drones by SHGs?
Answer: Lead Fertilizer Companies (LFCs) play a pivotal role as intermediaries between drone supplier companies and SHGs. This strategic partnership aims to streamline the process and ensure the smooth functioning of drone services, bridging the gap in procurement and maintenance.
Q3. What is the anticipated additional income for Women Self Help Groups participating in the scheme, and how is it expected to be achieved?
Answer: The scheme anticipates that participating SHGs will earn an additional income of at least Rs. One lakh per annum through initiatives such as providing rental services to farmers for agricultural purposes, including Nano fertilizer and pesticide applications.