India will become a hub of drone technology: I&B minister Anurag Singh Thakur

Rs 6,000 crore a year worth employment could be created in the drone sector.


Mumbai: India will become a hub of drone technology, and India will require at least one lakh drone pilots by next year, says the union minister of information and broadcasting Anurag Singh Thakur. He was addressing the crowd after the flagging of the "Drone Yatra 2.0" in Chennai today.

"Technology is truly transforming the world at a rapid rate, and it has never been more relevant than now as its applications are solving some of the most pressing problems on the planet," said the minister. He added, "Prime minister Modi once remarked that ‘India has a billion solutions to a million problems.’ As the country of a billion plus people, India is increasingly leveraging technology to stay ahead of the curve."

Detailing the advancements in drone technology in India, he said that during the beating retreat, the entire nation was mesmerised by the display of 1000 ‘Made in India’ drones by Indian start-up ‘Botlab Dynamics’ led by an IIT alumni. As a part of the SWAMITVA scheme (Survey of villages and mapping with improvised technology in village areas), the survey of the land and houses are being prepared through drones in the villages, he added. Drones are increasingly being used to sprinkle pesticides and nano fertilisers in the fields in rural villages.

He said that recently, the ministry of civil aviation (MoCA) and directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA) had granted conditional exemption to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for the deployment of drones for live aerial cinematography of the India cricket season in 2021.

He remarked that as part of the "Kisan Drone Yatra," inaugurated by PM Narendra Modi, 100 Kisan Drones were sent to villages across the country to spray pesticides. He cited Prime Minister Narendra Modi's statement that "Kisan Drone is now the beginning of a new age revolution in this direction."

He appreciated the great effort made by Garuda Aerospace, India's largest drone manufacturing facility. While visiting the facility, the minister witnessed the advanced tools and manufacturing process of Garuda Kisan Drones, which PM Modi had inaugurated earlier this year. He expressed his happiness regarding the achievement made by the facility in such a short time. Engineers in the facility explained to the minister in detail the workings of the advanced ‘Make in India’ drones.

He reiterated the government's commitment to promote the use of technology in the agriculture sector in order to increase farm production. It is envisaged that these drones will help in streamlining the use of pesticides in farms, which will further improve the profitability of our farmers.

In May this year, PM Modi inaugurated India's biggest drone festival, Bharat Drone Mahotsav 2022, where he interacted with Kisan drone pilots. Promotion of drone technology is another medium for advancing our commitment to good governance and ease of living.

He also said that drone technology is essential for various fields, from defence to agriculture, health, and entertainment. India is also moving towards creating a strong drone manufacturing ecosystem in the country through schemes like the Production Linked Incentive (PLI), he added.

He said that the Modi government strives to boost the demand for cutting-edge drone technology and services in a three-pronged approach. The new Drone Rules of 2021 are an effective policy that provides incentives in the form of PLI for drones and drone components, as well as creating indigenous demand, with 12 ministries of the central government tasked with carrying it out.

Stating that India will require at least one lakh pilots in 2023, he said that each pilot will earn at least Rs 50–80 thousand a month. If you take the conservative average, even Rs 50,000 × 1 lakh youth × 12 months = Rs 6,000 crore a year worth employment could be created in the drone sector, he said.

Apart from this, industries and government agencies that use drones will also be impacted. He appreciated Garuda Aerospace’s plan to make one lakh 'Made in India' drones in the next two years.

Garuda's Drone Skilling and Training Conference, which is to be conducted in 775 districts across the country, hopes to reach 10 lakh youth. With an aim to train one lakh youth to significantly impact not just the drone ecosystem or generate employment for youth, but hopes to create a massive impact in agriculture, mining, government departments & other industries.

While noting that the country currently has over 200 drone start-ups, the minister stated that this number will grow in order to create lakhs of new job opportunities for the youth.

Effective policies, incentives to industry, and "ease of doing business" are providing the much-needed impetus to the drone sector, which shows huge potential in India, he said. "Aligned to PM Modi’s vision of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat,’ I am confident that the growing innovation and cutting-edge drone technology ecosystem will ensure a self-reliant and self-sustainable New India in the Amrit Kaal."

The minister also operated a drone to mark the inauguration of the first Drone Skilling & Training Conference. The minister awarded the certificates to the students who completed the drone pilot training.

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