The government provides subsidy on various agricultural machinery to the farmers. In this sequence, now the government has decided to subsidize agricultural drones up to 100% to promote modern machines in the agriculture sector. The government says that the subsidized procurement will increase the access of common man to drones and encourage domestic drone production.
In a major initiative aimed at promoting precision farming in India, the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has issued guidelines to make drone technology affordable to the stakeholders of the agriculture sector.
The guidelines of the “Sub Mission on Agricultural Mechanization” have been amended, in which a provision has been made for subsidy on the purchase of drones for different agricultural institutions, entrepreneurs, agricultural producer organizations and farmers.
Who will get grant up to Rs.10 lakh on drone purchase
Farm Machinery Training & Testing Institutes, ICAR Institutes, Krishi Vigyan Kendras and State Agriculture Universities will be given a grant of 100% of the cost of the drone or up to ₹ 10 lakh, whichever is less, on the purchase of agricultural drones for taking up large scale demonstrations of this technology on the farmers’ fields.
How much subsidy will other beneficiaries get on buying drones?
Farmers Producers Organizations (FPOs) will be eligible for up to 75% subsidy for the demonstration of this technology on farmers’ fields.
For providing agriculture services through drone application, 40% of the original cost of the drone and its attachments or ₹4 lakh, whichever is less, will be available as financial assistance for the purchase of agricultural drones by the existing Custom Hiring Centers which are established by Cooperative Society of Farmers, Farmers Producers Organizations and Rural entrepreneurs.
The new Custom Hiring Centers or Hi-tech hubs that will be set up by Cooperative Society of Farmers, Farmers Producers Organizations and Rural entrepreneurs with the financial support of SMAM, RKVY or any other schemes can also include Drone as one of the machines along with other agricultural machines.
Agriculture graduates willing to set up a Custom Hiring Center will be eligible for a grant of 50% of the original cost of the drone and its attachments or up to ₹5 lakh. Rural Entrepreneurs must have passed Class tenth examination or its equivalent from a recognized Board and must have a Remote Pilot License from an institute specified by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) or an authorized Remote Pilot Training Organization.
A contingency expenditure of ₹6000 per hectare will be provided to the implementing agencies who do not want to buy drones but will hire them for demonstration from Custom Hiring Centers, Hi-Tech Hubs, Drone Manufacturers and Start-ups.
Whereas the contingency expenditure for implementing agencies that are buying drones for demonstration will be limited to ₹3000 per hectare. Financial assistance and grants given on agricultural drones would be available till March 31, 2023.
Drone operations are being allowed through the conditional exemption route by the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Director General of Civil Aviation. MoCA has published ‘Drone Rules 2021’ to regulate the use and operation of drones in India. The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has also brought out Standard Operating Procedures for use of drone application with insecticides for crop protection in agriculture, forestry, non-crop areas etc. and application of drones in plant nutrients spraying.
The demonstrating institutions and all the providers of agricultural services through drone application have to comply with these rules/regulations and SOP.
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