Drones can help create $100 billion GDP boost and thousands of jobs in India: WEF report

Several studies have indicated that the yield per hectare of a mechanized farm tends to be higher than that of a non-mechanized and irrigated farm.

Several studies have indicated that the yield per hectare of a mechanized farm tends to be higher than that of a non-mechanized and irrigated farm.

Placing drones at the center of a technological transformation of Indian agriculture can help boost the country’s GDP by 1-1.5% and create at least five million jobs in the coming years, the Forum has said. Economic World (WEF) in a new report on Tuesday.

The report, prepared by WEF’s Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in India in collaboration with Adani Group and launched here, highlighted the transformative potential of Indian agriculture based on drones.

It also describes drone use cases, merging military and civilian technologies made possible by digital adoption, analysis, digital financing and a well-coordinated effort from local stakeholders and provides a framework for pilot development. that can be implemented by various governments, the WEF said. .

“Aviation is arguably one of the most regulated sectors in the world. India’s bold and measured approach to boosting unmanned aviation has been celebrated by a wide range of stakeholders.

“To make the most of this regulatory landscape, drones need to be part of the core repertoire of agricultural equipment alongside tractors, cultivators, plows, shovels and combines to fortify our farms,” ​​Vignesh said. Santhanam, project manager, aerospace and drones (India). ) at the WEF.

Citing various studies, the WEF pointed to the immense potential for improving agricultural outcomes for farms through precision farming expertise and advice that can lead to a 15% increase in productivity in India’s 600-yard agricultural sector. billions of dollars.

“Drones can play a critical role in unlocking this value as they provide an efficient way to collect data and apply inputs, which directly impact yields and farmer incomes. The scale of drones in the agriculture sector will also boost agricultural mechanization and bring India closer to its global peers,” the WEF said.

The report from the Geneva-based WEF, which describes itself as an international organization for public-private cooperation, also highlighted how civil-military convergence can accelerate research for the benefit of civil society applications.

Considering the nascent state of the drone industry and the heavy reliance on imports of various key components, there is a need for a strong local support system including a “Made in India”, targeted skills development programs, next-generation digital finance mechanisms and strong outreach programs among farmer groups and policy makers, he added.

The integration of drones into the agricultural sector should be facilitated by the creation of a “green microcosm” where an integrated “drone-centric rural hub” is established and stabilized through crop cycles.

“The microcosm would be a controlled environment that would test various use cases relevant to agriculture as well as other rural applications,” the WEF said.

India has about six lakh inhabited villages, all of which are said to have a reasonable level of agricultural activity.

However, productivity in agriculture is largely determined by the inputs used by farmers at the time of cultivation, while several studies have indicated that the production per hectare of a mechanized farm tends to be higher than that of a farm. unmechanized and irrigated.

The report cites a report by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) to point out that digital technology-enabled agriculture can unlock an additional $65 billion in value by 2025 and states that the he impact of digital agriculture on gross domestic product (GDP) will be even greater.

Additionally, precision agriculture know-how and agricultural advisory services shared through multiple channels based on multiple existing and new data sources (soil health maps, weather data, farm/tractor based sensors) can enable a $25 billion economic opportunity via a 15 percent. percent increase in productivity.

Similarly, there is an opportunity to generate around $15 billion in agricultural credit and insurance through digital interventions.

In addition, there is an estimated potential for 40-60% of agricultural surplus to be transacted through digital markets by 2025 and a 10% improvement in price realization for farmers selling produce through electronic channels. , creating a $25 billion opportunity, the WEF said.

The drone and drone component industry is expected to attract $50 billion in investment over the next few years.

“If done well, drones can help transform Indian agriculture, increase agricultural GDP by 1-1.5%, create at least 5,000,000 new jobs and help the country enter the a new digital era of prosperity,” the WEF said.

The agricultural sector is vital to India’s economy, providing livelihoods to around 58% of families and ensuring food security for 130 million people.

In comparison with the industry and services sector, which adds 80% gross value while employing 54.4% of the country’s labor force, agriculture accounts for 45.6% of the labor force. to 18.29% of gross value added (GVA) in 2019-2020. .

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