The Ministry of Civil Aviation has asked various ministries, including home affairs, health, defence, information and broadcasting to encourage and promote the use of drones. This comes after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman spoke about the facilitation of ‘Drone Shakti’ through varied applications and for Drone-As-A-Service (DrAAS). She also spoke of ‘Kisan Drones’ for crop assessment, digitisation of land records, spraying of insecticides, and nutrients, and called Geospatial Systems and Drones a sunrise sector.
The aviation ministry on Thursday said that drones offer tremendous benefits to sectors like agriculture, medicine delivery, mining, infrastructure, surveillance, emergency response, transportation, geo-spatial mapping, defence and law enforcement etc.
“As per Drone Rules, 2021, operation of drones in zones marked red and yellow on the drone airspace map zones requires permission from the Central Government and the Air Traffic Control (ATC) authority respectively. No permission is required to operate a drone in a green zone which is where most of the drone operations currently happen,” it said.
The following ministries were urged by the MoCA to promote the use of drones:
Agriculture & Farmers Welfare: Drones can be applied for crop and soil health monitoring, irrigation estimation and scheduling, requirement and efficacy assessment of fertiliser and pesticide spraying, anti-locust operations, crop output estimates, river and canal erosion, and insurance claim surveys, MoCA said.
Health & Family Welfare: The ministry said that the health ministry could use drones for the delivery of medicines, equipment and other supplies, pathology tests, and sample collection from remote or epidemic/pandemic affected areas.
Panchayati Raj: Drones could be applied by the ministry for the land records and property rights scheme SVAMITVA, MoCA said.
Defence: Usage of drones could prove to be beneficial for surveillance, combat, communication in remote areas, swarm drone solutions, and counter drone solutions.
Home Affairs: Surveillance, situational analysis, public announcements and evidence gathering for security of sensitive installations, raids and counter-terror operations, crowd management, crime control, VVIP security, disaster management, search and rescue, transportation of food, medicines and essentials, and traffic management are some of the areas where drones can be used by the ministry.
Housing and Urban Affairs: Urban planning and management, construction planning and monitoring, incident reporting, and prevention of encroachment and land-use alteration are areas that could use the deployment of drones.
Transportation: The Road Transport and Highways, Indian Railways, and Ports, Shipping and Waterways ministries could enlist drones for surveillance, incident response, inspection and maintenance, project monitoring, and disaster management.
Mining: Monitoring and inspection, automatic surveying and mapping, stockpile assessment and management, and haulage road optimisation are areas where drones can be used.
Power, and Petroleum and Natural Gas: Both the ministries could use drones for real-time surveillance of assets and pipelines, theft prevention and incident response, visual inspection and maintenance and construction planning and management.
Environment, Forests and Climate Change: Drones here can be deployed for monitoring of forests and wildlife, afforestation through seed-balls, irrigation and real-time monitoring, anti-poaching actions, and pollution assessment and evidence-gathering.
Information and Broadcasting: The ministry could enlist the usage of drones for high quality videography of events and difficult-to-reach-places at a fraction of the cost and approvals required, low altitude shooting without noise and-dust pollution and risk of accidents and complete replacement of costly helicopter-based videography.
The MoCA added that this list is illustrative and not exhaustive, and that more applications would evolve in time.
Also read: Budget 2022: Drone industry gets a big boost
Also read: Budget 2022: Kisan drones to be used for crop assessments, land records
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