India to promote use of drones in all sectors

India will promote use of drones in almost all sectors of the economy from agriculture to law enforcement.

Official sources said the Ministry of Civil Aviation has requested all ministries to encourage various entities under their administrative control to promote use of drones.

”Drones offer tremendous benefits to almost all sectors of the economy like -agriculture, medicine delivery, mining, infrastructure, surveillance, emergency response, transportation, geo-spatial mapping, defence and law enforcement etc,” they said.

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.

Illustrative list of drone applications under different Union Ministries;

1. Agriculture & Farmers Welfare

a. Crop and soil health monitoring
b. Irrigation estimation and scheduling
c. Requirement and efficacy assessment of fertilizer and pesticide spraying
d. Anti-locust operations
e. Crop output estimates
f. River and canal erosion; restoration tracking
g. Insurance claim surveys

2. Health & Family Welfare

a. Delivery of medicines, equipment and other supplies
b. Pathology tests – sample collection from remote or epidemic/ pandemic affected areas

3. Panchayati Raj

a. Land records and property rights (SVAMITVA Scheme)

4. Defence

a. Surveillance
b. Combat
c. Communication in remote areas
d. Swarm drone solutions
e. Counter drone solutions

5. Home Affairs

Surveillance, situational analysis, public announcements and evidence gathering for:

a. Security of sensitive installations
b. Raids and counter-terror operations
c. Crowd management
d. Crime control
e. VVIP security
f. Disaster management; search and rescue; transportation of food, medicines and essentials
g. Traffic management

6. Housing and Urban Affairs

a. Urban planning and management
b. Construction planning and monitoring
c. Incident reporting
d. Prevention of encroachment and land-use alteration

7. Transportation: Road Transport and Highways; Railways; Ports, Shipping and Waterways

a. Surveillance
b. Incident response
c. Inspection and maintenance
d. Project monitoring
e. Disaster management

8. Mining

a. Monitoring and Inspection
b. Automatic surveying and mapping
c. Stockpile assessment and management
d. Haulage road optimisation

9. Power

a. Real-time surveillance of assets and transmission lines
b. Theft prevention and incident response
c. Visual inspection and maintenance
d. Construction plannlng and management

10. Petroleum and Natural Gas

a. Real-time surveillance of assets and pipelines
b. Theft prevention and incident response
c. Visual inspection and maintenance
d. Construction planning and management

11. Environment, Forests and Climate Change

a. Monitoring of forests and wildlife
b. Afforestation through seed-balls, irrigation and real-time monitoring
c. Anti-poaching actions
d. Pollution assessment and evidence-gathering

12. Information and Broadcasting

a. High quality videography of events and
b. difficult-to-reach-places at a fraction of the cost and approvals required
c. Low altitude shooting without noise and-dust pollution and risk of accidents
d. Complete replacement of costly helicopter- based videography


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