A glimpse of the three-day Bharat Drone Mahotsav 2022, organised at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi, throws light on how the drone market in India is all set for leapfrog. The biggest drone festival of the country was all swamped with big names from the industry with over 150 companies participating. 

The new liberalised drone policies, announced by the government last year after Jyotiraditya Scindia was appointed the aviation minister, gave wings to the grounded drone industry. The new policy slashed away red tape, whittled down the number of forms and licenses to only a couple of people, and brought in exemptions for certain sizes and uses from more cumbersome compliances. Now drones are not restricted to the defence sector only but are also used in agriculture, healthcare, and other sectors, the festival was evidence of the same.

While inaugurating Bharat Drone Mahotsav 2022 in New Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed drones as a ‘game-changer’ in the agriculture sector. One of the focuses was Kisan Pilots in the agriculture sector, where PM Modi launched 150 remote pilot certificates too. Kisan pilots are farmers who operate unmanned vehicles in India’s agricultural fields. Kisan Pilot 45-year-old Mrunal Jaiswal from Madhya Pradesh, who has done her MSC in oceanography, spoke about how drones have helped them do their work better, faster and more efficiently. Mrunal said, “Due to drones, we are able to optimise the use of seeds, fertilisers, and water which has helped us save time and bring in a better profit. It also helps in working on threats of weeds, pests fungi etc. I do know how to operate a drone, once we put the mapping things are all easy.” Echoing the same were engineers and Kisan Bhaktraj Singh and Nisha Solanki from Haryana who said that most importantly this helped with respect to their health. Their hands, skins which otherwise got rashes and used to itch by using fertilizers manually.

IoTechWorld Avigation, the only DGCA approved drone manufacturer company in India, with a manufacturing capacity of around 1000 drones per month for agriculture came up with India’s first agriculture drone service application AGRINET at Bharat Drone Mahotsav 2022. AGRINET, the drone service application, provides a platform that connects farmers and drone providers. 

Through AGRINET, the farmers can hire drones for agriculture requirements like spraying, register for drone pilot training, get drone-related information etc. On the other hand, it provides an opportunity for drone owners to be entrepreneurs. They can register themselves as the service providers to give the services. With a review system, the company ensures the quality of services. Anoop Upadhyay, Director & Co-Founder, IoTechWorld Avigation Pvt. Ltd. said, “Drones can not only help farmers to enhance production and reduce the wastage of resources, but it also inspects large fields, where manual intervention is difficult and inefficient”. On one side, we are helping the farmers to carry the drones comfortably with the launch of AGRINET, while on the other side we are introducing an ecosystem to connect the small and mid-size farmers with the high-end drone technology.

The exhibition also displayed a new portable model of agricultural drone that can be carried on a bike. Patel brothers, who are using these bikes for past some time now and also interacted with PM Modi during his visit, said that drones otherwise also require some vehicles like a bike modified behind a made-up box for drone helps in crop health forecasting solution that helps to identify insects and diseases that commonly afflict crops and suggests quick and accurate remedies and spray the medicine, measuring the specific land. They said, “These bikes help easily to get in fields, it also helps farmers who can’t purchase the drones. We charge them normal height crop one acre some Rs 500 and rates increase as per the height of crop or so.” 

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