India will require one lakh drone pilots by next year: Anurag Thakur

Anurag Thakur flags off the Drone Yatra 2.0

| Video Credit:
M. Karunakaran

India will become a hub of drone technology and would require at least one lakh drone pilots by next year, Anurag Singh Thakur, Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting and Youth Affairs and Sports, has said.

The Minister inaugurated a drone yatra organised by the Chennai-headquartered start-up Garuda Aerospace. He said each pilot would earn at least ₹50,000 to ₹80,000 a month. “If you take a conservative average, ₹50,000 × 1 lakh youth × 12 months = ₹6,000 crore a year….; [that much] worth employment could be created in the drone sector,” he said.

Detailing the advancements in drone technology in India, the Minister said during the Beating Retreat, the entire nation was mesmerised by the spectacular display of 1,000 ‘made in India’ drones, by Indian start-up ‘Botlab Dynamics’ led by an IIT alumni.

As a part of the SWAMITVA scheme (Survey of villages and mapping with improvised technology), the survey of the land and houses were being prepared through drones in the villages. Drones are increasingly being used to sprinkle pesticides and nano fertilizers in the fields in rural villages.

On Tuesday, Garuda Aerospace made an announcement about India’s first Drone Skilling and Training Virtual E-Learning Platform at its Chennai manufacturing facility. Garuda Aerospace’s drone yatra, ‘Operation 777’ will educate and demonstrate the efficacy of drones for agricultural purposes across 777 districts in India.

Agnishwar Jayaprakash, founder and CEO, Garuda Aerospace, said: “Our drone yatra will help farmers understand more about the technology and give them a better perspective on growing crops. We believe drones are truly revolutionary for our agriculture ecosystem.”

He added: “With a dual objective of empowering farmers and creating employment for Indian youth, we are committed to manufacturing at least 1 lakh Kisan Drones by 2024.”

Garuda Aerospace recently commenced its $30 million Series A round at a $250 million valuation. It boasts a fleet of 400 drones and a team of over 500 pilots across 26 different cities. Former Indian cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni has invested in the company, and is also its shareholder and brand ambassador.

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