Lakhpati Didi scheme to empower around 30,000 women drone pilots: Union Minster Jyotiraditya Scindia
Sanctioned for Rs 1,250 crore, Lakhpati Didi scheme will provide women with drones at an 80% subsidised rate, free training, and insurance, said Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, at TechSparks Delhi.
The drone industry will create job opportunities for women under the Lakhpati Didi Yojana, said Jyotiraditya M Scindia, Union Minister of Civil Aviation and Steel, Government of India.
The Minister said that the government has approved a scheme worth approximately Rs 1,250 crore to empower women across India by providing them with drones at a subsidised rate of almost 80%, free training, and insurance.
"We will roll out the scheme over the next two years, where we will empower about 20,000-30,000 women as drone pilots from both rural and urban areas. So that revolution is already here," he said, addressing entrepreneurs at YourStory’s flagship event TechSparks 2023 in Delhi.
Furthermore, the potential for employment and growth within the drone ecosystem is substantial, particularly in the realm of drones as a service, he noted.
Modifying existing policies
The world is undergoing a paradigm shift with the integration of drones and advanced air mobility, and Prime Minister Modi had identified this in the early days, the Minister said.
"We realised it was a bureaucratic structure that was overwhelming with numerous approvals and fee structures ... On August 21, we came out with a new drone policy where we reduced approval processes from 72 to just 5 approvals. We reduced fee structures from 25 to 2," Scindia said.
The Minister emphasised that a crucial move for the widespread adoption of drones was the creation of an airspace map linked to policyholders within 30 days. He mentioned that this step was essential for the seamless integration of drones nationwide.
He also highlighted the coordination involving 36 states and union territories in India to assess green, yellow, and red zones. This effort involved 25 horizontal ministries, including defence, telecom, and home, to develop a drone airspace map.
The Prime Minister stressed the government's role as a significant demand driver for the drone ecosystem, noted Scindia, adding that 13 ministries, such as agriculture, power, mining, and petroleum, directly utilised drones for approximately 10% of their operations.
"To ensure the drone manufacturing sector took off, a sector which generated close to only Rs 30 crore of revenue, we put in a production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme with Rs 120 crore worth of incentives introduced over three years. Through that PLI scheme, the industry has grown from a turnover of Rs 30 crore to Rs 500 crore - 600 crore today," Scindia said.
Discussing the future of the drone industry, Scindia said there are two essential elements to consider: hardware components and software.
"For every drone function, you need to come up with new software. So the software industry itself will grow with the drone business," he said.
Edited by Kanishk Singh