- NAMO Drone Didi — an initiative that aims to supply drones to 15,000 women Self Help Groups (SHGs) to rent to farmers for agriculture purposes.
- This multifaceted scheme effectively addresses the need to modernize our agricultural practices and increase agricultural productivity by placing cutting-edge technology in the hands of rural women.
- This makes them the epicenter of the rural economy, spearheading the new agricultural revolution.
- The scheme also opens up new opportunities for the country’s young and dynamic start-ups to enter the emerging field of drone aeronautics, which has huge untapped potential.
- The scheme approves holistic interventions by converging the resources and efforts of the Department of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare (DA&FW), Department of Rural Development (DoRD) Department of Fertilizers (DoF), Women SHGs, and Lead Fertilizer Companies (LFCs).
- It is envisaged that the approved initiatives under the scheme will provide sustainable business and livelihood support to 15,000 SHGs and they would be able to earn additional income of at least Rs. One lakh per annum.
- Central Financial Assistance covering 80% of drone costs up to a maximum of Rs. 8 Lakh will be provided.
- The remaining amount can be raised through the National Agriculture Infra Financing Facility (AIF) with a provision of interest subvention @ 3% on the AIF loan.
- One of the members of SHGs will be trained in drone piloting skills and agriculture purposes of nutrient and pesticide application.
- Another member will be trained as a drone technician. This will allow them to not just operate the drone but also repair and maintain it.
What are the benefits of the NAMO Drone Didi Scheme?
Empowerment of Rural Women: It enables women’s Self-Help Groups, to rent these drones to farmers for agricultural purposes, thus playing a key role in rural economies.
Modernizing Agriculture: It introduces advanced technology in agriculture. For example, the use of drones for the foliar application of innovative liquid fertilizers like Nano Urea and Nano DAP.
Employment Opportunities: Creates jobs for rural women in drone operation and maintenance, supporting the government’s push for indigenous drone aeronautics development.
Safety and Efficiency in Farming: Replaces traditional, hazardous methods like hand-held pumps for spraying pesticides and fertilizers, reducing risks and increasing efficiency. This will enhance crop yield and reduce cost of operation for the benefit of farmers.
Reduced Physical Hardship for Farmers: The use of drones for agricultural tasks alleviates the physical strain traditionally associated with farming activities.
Promotion of Nano Fertilizers:
- LFCs will also promote the use of Nano Fertilizers, such as Nano Urea and Nano DAP, through drones. SHGs will provide drone services to farmers for the application of Nano fertilizers and pesticides.
- The emergence of innovative new liquid fertilizers has generated the need for the development of an efficient fertigation system.
- Though India is the second-largest producer of fertilizers, it is also the second-largest importer due to inadequate availability of natural resources — gas, phosphatic and potassic minerals, etc.
- To overcome this dependence on imports, the government has facilitated the revival of several closed-down fertilizer units and encouraged the setting up of new units under the Atmanirbhar Bharat scheme.
- These steps have successfully protected Indian farmers from the price volatility of fertilizers in the international markets.
- Through fertilizer subsidies, the government has been able to ensure that adequate quantities of fertilizer are made available to farmers at the right price at the right time.
- Fertilizer prices soared the world over to unprecedented levels. We decided to convert these challenges into opportunities.
- The government encouraged indigenous research for the development of alternate fertilizers, the outcome of which is the path-breaking liquid nano fertilizer.
- The next challenge after this new invention was to develop an efficient fertigation system. That is where the emerging drone technology provided an answer.