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SVAMITVA scheme will be a game changer for Drone Industry - Surveyor General of India at FICCI event

Jun 26, 2020

NEW DELHI, 26 June 2020: Lt Gen (Retd) Girish Kumar, Surveyor General of India, today said that the government has initiated the process of mapping the Indian villages using drones and it will be a game changer in the history of India. 

Addressing FICCI webinar on 'Aerial Mapping of Villages Using Drones', Lt Gen Kumar said, "Drones gave us a very good platform and flexibility to map households in rural abadi areas. This scheme being undertaken by the Ministry of Panchayati Raj on a pan-India basis will be a great revolution for the country."

Highlighting the salient features of the project, Lt Gen Kumar said that the high levels of accuracy achieved using drones has been proven in successful trials and pilots conducted over the past three years in Maharashtra and Haryana. The state governments will be the owners of the data and may use it for various developmental activities for which the sky is the limit, he added. 

Emphasizing on the regulatory framework and use of high end technology, Lt Gen Kumar said that we need to make sure that every drone is registered with the DGCA and all rules in place are complied with. "If Artificial Intelligence can be used for enabling automatic feature extraction with the same accuracy standards, then that will be a big jump in technology," he added. 

Lt Gen Kumar also highlighted that the role of state governments is very critical in this mapping of the villages. He added that 'SVAMITVA' scheme will also create a large employment opportunity for the local youth. 

Mr Amber Dubey, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Govt of India said that the aim of the government is to make India the drone capital of the world. Inviting young entrepreneurs and start-ups to actively participate in the drone industry and solve various challenges, he said, "Entrepreneurs should focus on Agriculture, Disaster Management, Healthcare, Logistics, Law Enforcement and Infrastructure sectors that offer great opportunities for drones. Entrepreneurs should also look at innovation & reducing costs, and should also explore opportunities in export markets." He added that industry should focus on counter drone technology as well. Mr Dubey said that the government will soon come out with guidelines on night-time operations for drones on experimental basis.  

The event also witnessed a discussion on a potential collaboration between MoCA and Survey of India towards capacity building, skill development and training in use of drones. 

Mr Rajan Luthra, Chair, FICCI Committee on Drones, while moderating the session, said that the SVAMITVA project is the largest project using drones anywhere in the world by a wide margin. "This government initiative has the potential to impact the entire rural population covering 900 million people in India and transform the drone industry."

Mr Ankit Mehta, Co-Chair, FICCI Committee on Drones said that drones will become the new gold standard in aerial mapping. "Security is paramount, and this being a very sensitive activity, we need to ensure that our country's data is protected. Outsourcing to a large set of service providers will ease the burden on the exchequer and will become a huge opportunity for the industry," he added.