The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has greenlit a groundbreaking central scheme valued at Rs 1,261 crore. This initiative aims to equip 15,000 women-led self-help groups (SHGs) with drones over the next three years. Named the Pradhan Mantri Mahila Kisan Drone Kendra, the scheme intends to offer drone rental services to farmers for agricultural purposes.
In a significant move announced during his 77th Independence Day speech at the Red Fort on August 15, PM Modi pledged to empower SHGs with drone technology. He emphasized leveraging science and technology for rural development, highlighting the government's plan to provide agricultural drones to numerous women-led self-help groups. Additionally, the Prime Minister outlined plans to train these groups in drone piloting and maintenance, aiming to create two crore financially prosperous women, referred to as 'Lakhpati Didis,' in rural areas.
The Pradhan Mantri Mahila Kisan Drone Kendra scheme aims to revolutionize the agricultural sector by introducing drone services and technology to empower women self-help groups. This initiative, as per an official statement, will provide sustainable business and livelihood support to 15,000 women SHGs, enabling them to generate an additional annual income of at least Rs 1,00,000. Currently, approximately 10 crore women are associated with SHGs across the country.
Under this scheme, specific clusters where drone usage is economically viable will be identified. Subsequently, 15,000 women-led SHGs from various states within these clusters will be selected to receive drones.
The scheme includes a comprehensive 15-day training program for a selected SHG member who is at least 18 years old. This training involves a mandatory five-day drone piloting session and an additional 10-day training focused on agricultural applications such as nutrient and pesticide distribution. Moreover, another SHG member or a family member inclined toward electrical repairs, fitting, or mechanical work will be trained as a drone technician/assistant. These training modules will be provided alongside the distribution of drones as part of a comprehensive package.