Not just vaccines and medicines, get tomatoes by drones

·3-min read
Representative Image
Representative Image

New Delhi [India], September 16 (ANI): Imagine medicines and Covid vaccines being delivered to the remotest corners of the country via drones, within minutes from the nearest health care centre. That is soon going to be a norm in India. Not just that. A farmer growing tomatoes in the Malwa region in MP can send his produce to the wholesale market in Dewas, rather than see them rotting in his fields because trucks didn't reach in time.

Using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to deliver farm produce, spraying pesticides without harm to farmers, groceries being delivered to doorstep with speed and reduction of dependency on roads, less carbon footprint...all this is gaining popularity around the world as it eases the delivery processes. India is just about waking up to this revolution. The New production linked incentive - PLI scheme for drone and drone components approved by the Union Cabinet yesterday is set to transfigure communication and business in the country and impact on the lives of millions of Indians.

The conservative estimate is that the drone and drone components manufacturing industry might see an investment of over Rs 5000 crores in the next three years, which is the proposed tenure of the PLI scheme, which might be extended if the scheme is successful. The sales turnover of drone and drone components manufacturers is expected to grow from Rs 60 crores in 2020-21 to Rs 900 crores in the three-year period.

The Jyotiraditya Scindia-led Civil Aviation Ministry is buoyant about the growth trajectory in this sector, which is expected to generate 10,000 jobs in the next three years, sources said. The government has allocated Rs 120 crores over the next three financial years for drones and drone components. The incentives are there but what is evident is the urgency that the ministry is showing in getting private players and state governments on board to make haste in getting on board with deliverables.

Path planning for UAVs is a difficult task as the paths crisscross over military installations, marine areas, private offices, schools and the likes. The task for mapping paths especially insecure and no-fly zones has been given to state governments. Sources said that adequate safety measures would be put in place when algorithms are made keeping in mind the privacy of individuals and institutions. Law enforcement agencies will also be consulted when flight paths are put into place.

Besides the boom in jobs of drone pilots, jobs are also expected to open up in ancillary sectors such as ground control stations, air frame and propulsion systems making, communication and transponder sectors, cameras, sensors, agricultural spraying systems and the likes.

The Narendra Modi government intends to make India into a global drone hub by 2030. At present 90 per cent of the drones in India are imported. That is set to change within a year say sources. The civil aviation ministry has charted a path towards a "beyond Atmanirbhar" goal in the next three years, said Civil Aviation sources. (ANI)

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