Being trained as drone pilots for agricultural purposes will enhance economic empowerment and financial autonomy among women, especially in rural areas


The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) has just signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd to conduct two Pilot Projects under the Drone Didi Yojana.

Secretary, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Shri Atul Kumar Tiwari; Group CEO & MD, Mahindra Group Dr. Anish Shah and senior officials of the MSDE were present at the event that was organised on May 10.

Under the initiative, which was launched earlier this year, rural women are trained to become drone pilots for agricultural purposes. The initiative aims to enhance economic empowerment and financial autonomy among women, especially in rural areas.

The initiative aims to equip 15,000 women-led Self-Help Groups (SHGs) with agricultural drones to assist in tasks such as crop monitoring, spraying fertilisers and sowing seeds. This will also provide additional income opportunities for many women.

The main features of this scheme are:

• Subsidy will be provided to Women SHGs on the Purchase of Drone.

• Subsidy of 80% of Drone Cost or a Maximum of Rs. 8 Lakh will be provided.

• Loan Facility from AIF will also be available for the remaining cost of the drone.

• Nominal Interest Rate of 3% will be payable on the loan.

• Training to fly drones will also be provided.

• Women SHGs can use this drone for rental purposes to provide services to farmers.

• Women SHGs can earn Additional of Rs. 1 Lakh per year with the help of drones.

While speaking at the event, Shri Tiwari explained how the agricultural expertise of Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. will be leveraged through comprehensive training. He also informed that two centres of NSTI, situated at Hyderabad and Noida, have been chosen for the Pilot Projects, to empower rural women in agriculture.

This collaboration advances the mission of upskilling women for nation-building, particularly through the successful implementation of the Drone Didi program in empowering women in emerging trades, Shri Tiwari added. He also said this collaboration will advance the vision of the Ministry to equip women with the skills needed to contribute to nation-building.

Shri Tiwari also mentioned that building on the past successful collaborations with leading technology industry partners, this initiative represents the beginning of many collaborative projects with M&M. He said, through rigorous training methodologies and hands-on learning experiences, the students will be equipped with the practical skills and competencies required to excel in their chosen fields and make meaningful contributions to the nation’s socio-economic growth.

Dr Anish Shah said that aligned with the company’s Rise philosophy, it is committed to empowering women with the skills necessary to join the workforce and achieve financial independence. The Pilot Projects under the Drone Didi Yojana represents a first-of-its-kind convergence of women, farming and technology, he said.

Under this partnership, MSDE and M&M will conduct two Pilot Projects at the National Skill Training Institute (NSTI), situated in Hyderabad and Noida, to skill 500 women in exclusive batches of 20 women each. The 15-day curriculum, approved by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), will be delivered through Remote Pilot Training Organisation (RPTO) instructors at these Centres.

Within this partnership, NSTIs will provide infrastructure for running the training programme, hostel facility for participants, and reach out to local Women Self Help Groups and NGOs to mobilise participation. Mahindra Group will provide initial set-up support through simulation machinery/drones, simulator controller, simulator software, desktop computer with i5 processor and trainers, and meet the operating costs for the duration of the Pilot Projects, including the cost of DGCA License Holder Instructors at the centres.

The learning and outcomes from the Pilot Projects will assist MSDE in scaling up the Drone Didi Yojana at identified NSTIs/ITIs across the country. As a further support to the intent of the Drone Didi Yojana, M&M will soon roll out Drone training for women at the company’s skilling centres at Zaheerabad, Telangana, and Nagpur, Maharashtra.

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