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India to become hub of drone technology, to create 1 lakh jobs: Minister Thakur

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New Delhi, Dec 06: Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur on Tuesday said that India will become a hub of drone technology and the country will require at least 1 lakh drone pilots by next year. He was speaking at the gathering after flagging of the 'Drone Yatra 2.0', in Chennai.

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, as per the statement from the government. He said, "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".

India to become hub of drone technology, to create 1 lakh jobs: Thakur

Detailing the advancements in drone technology in India, Thakur said that during the Beating Retreat, the entire nation was mesmerised by the spectacular 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 fertilizers 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.

The minister 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 quoted PM Modi's remark 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 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 the minister in detail, the workings of the advanced 'Make in India' Drones.

He reiterated the government 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 had inaugurated India's biggest Drone Festival - Bharat Drone Mahotsav 2022, wherein he had interacted with Kisan drone pilots. The promotion of drone technology is another medium of advancing our commitment to good governance and ease of living.

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

He said that PM Modi Government strives to boost the demand for cutting-edge drone technology and services in a three pronged approach. Effective policy that is the new Drone Rules, 2021; providing incentive in the form of PLI for Drones and Drone Components; And creating indigenous demand wherein 12 Ministries of the Central government have been given the task to take it forward.

Stating that India will require at least 1 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. 6000 crores a year worth employment could be created in the Drone sector," he said

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

Garuda's Drone Skilling & Training Conference which is to be conducted in 775 districts across the country hopes to reach 10 lakh Youth. With an aim to train 1 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 and Other industries.

While noting that currently there are over 200 drone start-ups operating in the country, the minister said that this number will increase to generate lakhs of new job opportunities for the youth.

"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", he added.

Thakur further claimed that effective policies, incentives to industry and 'ease of doing business' is providing the much-needed impetus to the Drone Sector which shows its huge potential in India.

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