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India’s bold and measured approach to spur unmanned aviation or drones has been celebrated across a wide spectrum of stakeholders, especially in the agriculture sector.

That said, to make the most of this regulatory landscape, drones are now part of the core agri-equipment repertoire alongside tractors, cultivators, ploughs, diggers, and combine harvesters.

Putting drones at the centre of a technology-led transformation of Indian agriculture, with support from emerging business models such as digital financing, precision agriculture, and rapid awareness building, can boost GDP by 1%-1.5% and create at least 5,00,000 jobs in the coming years in India, according to a new World Economic Forum.

Different studies have highlighted the immense potential for improving agricultural outcomes for farms through precision agriculture expertise and advisory that can enable a 15% increase in productivity in India’s $600 billion agriculture sector. It is expected that drones can play a critical role in unlocking this value as they provide an effective medium to collect data and apply inputs, directly impacting yields and farmers’ income. Scaling drones in the agriculture sector will also boost farm mechanisation and nudge India closer to global peers.

The report highlights different use cases for drones in agriculture such as crop monitoring, collecting data for advisory and application of farm inputs.

“Drones are poised to be the enabler of different use cases that leverage Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies. The need is to create a business model that drives rapid adoption and active usage of drones at farm level. It is possible only if the strengths of different ecosystem stakeholders are leveraged and unit-level value proposition is created for farmers, “said Abhay Pareek, Project Lead, Fourth Industrial Revolution for Agriculture, World Economic Forum, India.

What’s more, The report points out that a well-orchestrated set of interventions can add nearly $100 billion to GDP and help India leapfrog multiple challenges in the agriculture sector with the use of technology.

The cross-industry application of drones is nearly limitless and continues to make great strides. It offers countries like ours the opportunity to leapfrog generations of infrastructure, healthcare, logistics, agriculture, and defence advancements and break several process barriers. When combined with next-generation imaging technologies, edge-based artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities, the possibilities are endless. We have always believed that the most meaningful revolutions happen at the intersection of various domains – between military and civil, between drones and AI, and between physical and digital. India has taken the lead in establishing several forward-looking policies under the guidance of the Prime Minister to make India the drone hub of the world by 2030, “said Ashish Rajvanshi, CEO, Adani Defence & Aerospace; President, Strategy & Chairman Office, Adani Group.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members