ICRISAT gets nod to use drones for agri research work

Civil Aviation Ministry, DGCA permits with conditions

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) moved one step closer to deploying drones for agricultural research activities with the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation giving it a conditional go ahead.

“Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) have granted conditional exemption to ICRISAT, Hyderabad, for the deployment of drones for agricultural research activities,” said a release from the Ministry on Monday.

Valid for 6 months

The conditional exemption is valid for six months from the date of issue of the letter or until the full operationalisation of Digital Sky Platform (Phase-1), whichever is earlier.

The exemption will be valid only if all conditions and limitations are strictly adhered to. In case of violation, the exemption shall become null and void, the release said, setting out the conditions and limitations. Joint Secretary to the Ministry Amber Dubey said “drones are poised to play a big role in agriculture sector in India especially in areas like precision agriculture, locust control and improvement in crop yield.

The government is encouraging young entrepreneurs and researchers to look at ruggedized low-cost drone solutions for the over 6.6 lakh villages in India.”

Further, ICRISAT has to obtain necessary clearances from the Local Administration; Ministry of Defence; Ministry of Home Affairs; Air Defence clearance from Indian Air Force; and the Airport Authority of India (AAI) prior to operation of the Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS).

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