India allows drones use for anti-locust operations by farmers

Photo: For Representational Purposes Only.

New Delhi: India’s civil aviation ministry today decided to permit the use of drone by farmers and agriculturalists for anti-locust operations, based on a request from the agriculture and farmers welfare ministry.

In a major decision, the Ministry of Civil Aviation permitted the use of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) drones for use by the farmers in their anti-locust operations, with due safeguards.

“Hitherto, aerial spraying by drones was allowed only on an experimental and highly restricted basis, given the many risks involved,” according to Amber Dubey, Joint Secretary in the civil aviation ministry.

Photo: Amber Dubey, Joint Secretary in India’s civil aviation ministry

“The locusts swarms that come from across the western border wreak havoc in border states, UP (Uttar Pradesh) and MP (Madhya Pradesh). Drone-tech will now help our farmer communities and government agencies in combating this menace.”

After an initial blanket ban on drone operations by civilians due to security concerns, India formulated a regulatory policy and allowed drones subject to conditions and strict safeguards since December 2018.

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