March 1, 2024

Lukmaan IAS

A Blog for IAS Examination

EMPOWERING WOMEN IN AGRICULTURAL ADVANCEMENTS

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TAG: GS 2: GOVERNANCE, GS 3: AGRICULTURE

THE CONTEXT: The Union Government has announced a comprehensive scheme aimed at leveraging drone technology to empower 15,000 progressive women’s Self-Help Groups (SHGs) for agricultural purposes.

EXPLANATION:

  • This initiative was taken during a Cabinet meeting chaired by the Prime Minister.
  • The initiative seeks to revolutionize agricultural practices by providing access to drones, enhancing efficiency, crop yield, and reducing operational costs for farmers.

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SCHEME:

  • Objective:
    • Infusing advanced technology in agriculture for improved efficiency, enhanced crop yield, and reduced operational costs, ultimately benefitting farmers.
  • Financial Outlay:
    • The scheme will have a financial outlay of ₹1,261 crore over two years, beginning in 2024-25.
  • Target Beneficiaries:
    • 15,000 progressive women’s Self-Help Groups (SHGs) will be identified from the 89 lakh SHGs formed under the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana.
  • Central Financial Assistance:
    • The Union Government will provide 80% of the drone’s cost, amounting to up to ₹8 lakh out of the total expense of ₹10 lakh for each drone and its accessories.
  • Drone Distribution:
    • Around 500 drones will be contributed by fertilizer companies, while the remaining 14,500 drones will be made available through Central assistance over the next two years.
  • Training and Support:
    • Selected SHG members will undergo a 15-day training program, including a five-day mandatory drone pilot training.
    • An additional 10-day training for agricultural purposes related to nutrient and pesticide application will be executed.
    • An honorarium of ₹15,000 for the pilot and ₹10,000 for the co-pilot will be provided.
  • Sustainable Livelihood:
    • The scheme is expected to provide sustainable business and livelihood support to the 15,000 SHGs, enabling them to earn an additional income of at least ₹1 lakh per annum.

IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGY:

  • Identification of SHGs:
    • The scheme will identify appropriate clusters where drone usage is economically feasible, selecting SHGs based on this criterion.
  • Training Process:
    • Well-qualified SHG members aged 18 and above will be elected for training as drone pilots, focusing on both technical operation and agricultural application aspects.
    • Additionally, another member of the group will be trained as a technician or assistant.
  • Financial Assistance and Drone Allocation:
    • Central financial assistance will cover the majority of the drone cost, with fertilizer companies contributing some drones.
    • The allocation will take place over a span of two years.

EXPECTED IMPACT:

  • Technological Advancement:
    • Integration of drone technology in agriculture will usher in advanced practices, enhancing efficiency and productivity.
  • Income Generation:
    • Empowering SHGs with drones is anticipated to generate an additional income of ₹1 lakh per annum for the participating groups.
  • Agricultural Transformation:
    • The utilization of drones for nutrient and pesticide application is expected to significantly improve crop yield while reducing operational costs for farmers.
  • Livelihood Support:
    • The scheme aims to offer sustainable business support, contributing to the livelihood enhancement of 15,000 SHGs.

CONCLUSION:

  • The initiative to empower women’s SHGs with drone technology marks a pivotal step towards modernizing agricultural practices in India.
  • With financial support, comprehensive training, and strategic distribution of drones, this scheme is poised to revolutionize farming techniques, benefitting farmers and fostering economic empowerment among women in rural areas.

SOURCE: https://www.thehindu.com/business/agri-business/cabinet-nod-for-1261-crore-scheme-to-provide-drones-to-15000-women-shgs-for-two-years/article67586797.ece

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