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11 Dec 2023

Why Rural India Needs Women Drone Pilots


  • Women’s empowerment is the key to building a strong and developed nation. This is especially the case when women flourish economically and contribute to rural prosperity.
  • One such initiative, NAMO Drone Didi, was announced by the Prime Minister recently during interaction with beneficiaries of central government’s schemes.

Key Features of NAMO Drone Didi Initiative

  • To Modernise Agriculture Practices
    • The initiative aims to supply drones to 15,000 women Self Help Groups (SHGs) to rent to farmers for agriculture purposes.
    • It is an excellent example of harnessing technological innovation to empower rural women.
    • The NAMO Drone Didi initiative positions rural women at the forefront of the rural economy by integrating cutting-edge drone technology into agriculture.
    • Also, it addresses the need to modernise agricultural practices and boost productivity.
  • To Make Women as Pioneers of Agricultural Revolution
    • By placing drone technology in the hands of women pilots from SHGs, the initiative seeks to make them pivotal in spearheading a new agricultural revolution, effectively utilising technology for rural empowerment.
    • The NAMO Drone Didi Scheme creates new employment opportunities for rural women as drone pilots, mechanics, and spare-part dealers, contributing to their empowerment and making them the backbone of the rural economy.
  • Opportunities for Start-ups: The scheme not only empowers women but also opens avenues for dynamic start-ups in the field of drone aeronautics, tapping into significant untapped potential in this emerging sector.
  • An Effective Option as Fertigation System
    • The emergence of innovative new liquid fertilisers like Nano Urea and Nano DAP with the foliar application has generated the need for the development of an efficient fertigation system.
    • Putting drone technology in the hands of women pilots from SHGs could be an excellent idea since these drones can become fertigation systems.
  • Equitable Agrarian Family Culture: The initiative is expected to promote equity and strength in agrarian family culture, with women drone pilots playing a vital role in enhancing agricultural productivity and efficiency.
  • Time and Labor Savings: The application of pesticides and liquid fertilisers through drones not only saves farmers from physical toil and hardships but also offers a quicker, more efficient method, allowing time for more productive agricultural work.

India’s Fertiliser Challenges

  • Huge Importer of Fertilisers: Though India is the second-largest producer of fertilisers, it is also the second-largest importer due to inadequate availability of natural resources — gas, phosphatic and potassic minerals, etc.
  • Pandemic and Geopolitical Situation
    • The Covid-19 pandemic and the recent global geopolitical situation posed tough challenges to the sector.
    • Fertiliser prices soared the world over to unprecedented levels and then India decided to convert these challenges into opportunities.

 How Did India Overcome These Challenges?

  • Revival and Setting up New Plants
    • To overcome this dependence on imports, the government has facilitated the revival of several closed-down fertiliser units and encouraged the setting up of new units under the Atmanirbhar Bharat scheme.
    • These steps have successfully protected Indian farmers from the price volatility of fertilisers in the international markets.
  • Fertiliser Subsidies: Through fertiliser subsidies, the government has been able to ensure that adequate quantities of fertiliser are made available to farmers at the right price at the right time.
  • Development of an Efficient Fertigation System
    • The government encouraged indigenous research for the development of alternate fertilisers, the outcome of which is the path-breaking liquid nano fertiliser.
    • The next challenge after this new invention was to develop an efficient fertigation system.
    • That is where the emerging drone technology provided an answer.

The Role of Kisan Drones as an Efficient Fertigation System

  • The emergence of Kisan Drones has opened up immense possibilities towards revolutionising agricultural practices.
  • The conventional system of spraying pesticides and liquid fertilisers through hand-held back-strapped pumps is not only time-consuming and cumbersome but is also fraught with dangers from the poisonous reptiles and lurking wild animals in the fields.
  • The automation of the spraying system by means of agri-drones provides a time-saving and efficient application system.

The Future Prospect of NAMO Drone Didi Initiative

  • Gamechanger for Women’s Empowerment and Rural Economy
    • The NAMO Drone Didi scheme is poised to be a gamechanger, ushering in a new era of women's empowerment.
    • It can address multiple challenges by placing rural women at the centre of economic activity and rural prosperity.
  • Modern Agricultural Revolution: Supported by the network of Pradhan Mantri Krishi Samriddhi Kendras, the initiative is anticipated to be a harbinger of a modern-day agricultural revolution.


  • Women’s empowerment is a prerequisite for achieving Viksit Bharat or developed India.
  • The NAMO Drone Didi Scheme provides new work opportunities to women making them the backbone of the rural economy.


Editorial Analysis

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Current Affairs
Dec. 11, 2023

Wheeler Island
As per reports, India's premier agency for military R&D, the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO), will pause missile testing at Wheeler Island off Odisha coast during the mass nesting season of Olive Ridley sea turtles.
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About Wheeler Island:

  • Abdul Kalam Island, formerly known as Wheeler Island, is an island off the coast of Odisha.
  • The island was renamed to honour the late President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam and also to encourage the youth to pursue a scientific temperament. 
  • It is the only place in India that has an integrated test range maintaining a missile testing facility, which is located on this island. 
  • All indigenous missiles, like Akash missile, Agni missile, Prithvi Missile etc. are tested from here.
  • The island is 2 km long, having an area of 390 acres, and is basically a soil formation without rocks in the Bay of Bengal.

Key Facts about Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO):

  • It is the R&D wing of the Ministry of Defence, Govt of India, with a vision to empower India with cutting-edge defence technologies and a mission to achieve self-reliance in critical defence technologies and systems.
  • It isIndia's largest research organisation. 
  • Formation: The organisation was formed in 1958 from the amalgamation of the then already functioning Technical Development Establishment (TDEs) of the Indian Army and the Directorate of Technical Development & Production (DTDP) with the Defence Science Organisation (DSO). 
  • Headquarters: New Delhi.
  • It has a network of laboratories engaged in developing defence technologies covering various fields, like aeronautics, armaments, electronics, land combat engineering, life sciences, materials, missiles, and naval systems.

Current Affairs
Dec. 11, 2023

PM Vishwakarma Scheme
The PM Vishwakarma Scheme, launched by the Centre, has received over 21 lakh applications in two and a half months, data from the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) show.
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About PM Vishwakarma Scheme:

  • This is a central sector scheme launched by the Ministry of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises, which offers services like market linkage support, skill training, and incentives for digital transactions to artisans and craftspeople engaged in specified trades.
  • Time period: Five years (FY 2023-24 to FY 2027-28). 
  • Aim
    • To strengthen and nurture the Guru-Shishya parampara, or family-based practice of traditional skills by artisans and craftspeople working with their hands and tools. 
    • The scheme also aims at improving the quality as well as the reach of the products and services of artisans and craftspeople and to ensure that the Vishwakarmas are integrated with the domestic and global value chains.
  • Eligibility & coverage:
    • It is available for rural and urban artisans and craftsmen across India.
    • It covers 18 traditional crafts such as Boat Maker; Armourer; Blacksmith; Hammer and Tool Kit Maker; etc.
    • Five lakh families will be covered in the first year and 30 lakh families over five years.
  • Benefits:
    • Under this scheme, the artisans and craftspeople will be provided recognition through a PM Vishwakarma certificate and ID card.
    • They will receive collateral-free credit support of up to ₹1 lakh (first tranche) and ₹2 lakh (second tranche) with a concessional interest rate of 5%.
    • The scheme will further provide craftsmen with methods of skill upgradation involving basic and advanced training, a toolkit incentive of ₹15,000 and incentives for digital transactions, and marketing support.
    • Under the scheme, there will be two types of skilling programmes -- Basic and Advanced and a stipend of Rs 500 per day will also be provided to beneficiaries while undergoing skills training.
Government Schemes and Initiatives

Current Affairs
Dec. 11, 2023

Key Facts about Ghaggar River
To spread awareness among the public against throwing waste into the Ghaggar River, trans Ghaggar residents carried out a cleanliness drive at Chatt Puja Ghat of the river recently.
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About Ghaggar River:

  • It is an intermittent river that flows only during the monsoon season.
  • Course:
    • It rises from the Shivalik Rangein northwestern Himachal Pradesh. 
    • It flows about 200 miles (320 km) southwest through Haryana state, where it receives the Saraswati River. 
    • It eventually dries up in the Thar Desertin Rajasthan.
  • This seasonal river feeds two irrigation canals that extend into Rajasthan. The Hakra, which flows in Pakistan, is the continuation of the Ghaggar River in India, and they are together called the Ghaggar - Hakra River.
  • Historical Significance:
    • Several historians identify Ghaggar with the Vedic Saraswati River.
    • Along the banks of the Ghaggar River, many settlements of the Indus Valley Civilization have been excavated.
    • Hence it is believed that the ancient settlements on its banks are the creation of ingenious Vedic Aryans.
    • It is believed that the rivers Sutlej and Yamuna once flowed into the Ghaggar-Hakra river bed.
  • Tributaries: The main tributaries of the Ghaggar are the Kaushalya River, Markanda, Sarsuti, Tangri, and Chautang.

Current Affairs
Dec. 11, 2023

Navegaon Nagzira Tiger Reserve
The two tigresses translocated to low-density zones in Navegaon Nagzira Tiger Reserve (NNTR) in eastern Maharashtra earlier this year are thriving, data from their radio collars shows.
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About Navegaon Nagzira Tiger Reserve:

  • Location: It is situated in the Gondia and Shandara Districts of Maharashtra.
  • It was declared a Wildlife Sanctuary in 1970. In 2012, the state government announced to merging this sanctuary with another national park to include in Tiger Project, now called as Nagzira Navegoan Tiger Reserve.
  • It comprises Nawegaon National Park, Nawegaon Wildlife Sanctuary, Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary, New Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary, and Koka Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • It is connected with many surrounding tiger reserves like Pench, Kanha, Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve, Indravati Tiger Reserve etc.
  • Topography: The topography is undulating, and the highest point, viz. ‘Zenda Pahad’is around 702 m above mean sea level.
  • VegetationSouthern Tropical Dry Deciduous Forest,which includes dry mixed forests to moist forest type.
  • Flora: There are 364 species of plants, and the major trees are: Terminalia tomentosa, Lagerstroemia parviflora, Anogeisus lotifolia, Pterocarpus marsupium, Diospyrus melanoxylon, Ougeinia oogenesis etc.
  • Fauna: The major wild animals are: Tiger, Panther, Small Indian Civet, Palm Civet, Wolf, Jackal, Wild Dog, Sloth Bear, Ratel, Common Giant Flying Squirrel, Gaur, Sambar, Chital, Four Horned Antelope, Mouse Deer and Pangolin.

Current Affairs
Dec. 11, 2023

Key Facts about Yellow Sea
A US F-16 fighter appears to have crashed into Yellow Sea waters off the coast of South Korea recently.
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About Yellow Sea:

  • It is a marginal sea in the western Pacific Ocean.
  • Location:
    • It is situated between mainland China to the west and north, the Korean Peninsula to the east, and the Shandong Peninsula and Liaodong Peninsula to the south.
    • It is positioned to the north of the East China Sea.
  • The sea was named for the yellowish sand particles originating from the Gobi Desert that descend on the surface of the sea, thereby giving it a golden yellow color.
  • Size: Also referred to in China as Huang Hai and in North and South Korea as the West Sea, the Yellow Sea is 870 kilometres long and 556 kilometres wide, covering an area of 380,000 sq km.
  • Depth: It is one of the largest shallow areas of the continental shelf in the world, with an average depth of 44 metres and a maximum depth of 152 metres.
  • Inflow: The main rivers that drain into the Yellow Sea include the Hai River, the Yalu River, the Han River, the Taedong River, and the Yellow River.
  • Islands: The Yellow Sea is dotted with numerous islands, the largest of which include Jeju Island (South Korea), Shandong Peninsula islands (China), and Ganghwa Island (South Korea).
  • Climate: The climate is characterized by very cold, dry winters and wet, warm summers.
  • Currents:
    • The warm current of the Yellow Sea is a part of the Tsushima Current, which diverges near the western part of the Japanese island of Kyushu and flows at less than 0.5 mile (0.8 km) per hour northward into the middle of the sea. 
    • Along the continental coasts, southward-flowing currents prevail, which strengthen markedly in the winter monsoon period, when the water is cold, turbid, and of low salinity.

Current Affairs
Dec. 11, 2023

Pangalokha Wildlife Sanctuary
Recently, a Royal Bengal Tiger was spotted in Pangalokha Wildlife Sanctuary in Sikkim at an altitude of 3,640 metre.
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Why in news?

  • The Royal Bengal Tiger was captured by trap cameras of a team of Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) which is conducting a study in the sanctuary in collaboration with the Sikkim Forest department.
  • It was under a larger project called "Conservation and Use of Five Wetlands in three Himalayan States to secure Habitats of Birds Migrating within the Central Asian Flyway (CAF)."
  • This project was sanctioned under the National Mission on Himalayan Studies (NMHS), aims to protect and conserve wetland sites in Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, and Sikkim.

About Pangalokha Wildlife Sanctuary:

  • It is located in East Sikkim district and connected to the forests of Bhutan and Neora Valley National Park in West Bengal.
  • The Pangolakha Range, extending below the Chola Range, separates Sikkim from Bhutan.
  • Vegetation: The Sanctuary has typical alpine-temperate-subtropical vegetation with high altitude lakes around Jelep La.
  • Flora: Rhododendron, Silver Fir, Juniper forest and associated ground flora, moss-filled oak forests with dense bamboo thickets etc.
  • Fauna: It is home to a diverse range of charismatic species, including red pandas, snow leopards, Himalayan musk deer, Himalayan goral, and Himalayan black bears.

Current Affairs
Dec. 11, 2023

What is Pinna nobilis?
Recently, marine biologists said that a huge clam that was on the verge of extinction has made a comeback, with a surge in numbers in waters off Croatia.
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About Pinna nobilis:

  • It is a large species of Mediterranean clam, a marine bivalve mollusc in the family Pinnidae.
  • The clams, whose shells can grow as much as 1.2 m across, play an important ecological role by filtering sea water and allowing other organisms to flourish.
  • It attaches itself to rocks using a strong byssus composed of many silk-like threads which used to be made into cloth.
  • The animal secretes these fibres from its byssus gland; they consist of keratin and other proteins and may be as long as 6 cm (2.4 in). The inside of the shell is lined with brilliant mother-of-pearl.
  • As with other members of its genus, Pinna nobilis hosts symbiotic shrimp which live inside its shell.
  • It is believed that when it sees a threat, the shrimp warns the host, perhaps by retracting its claws or even by pinching. The clam then closes shut.
  • It has been demonstrated that the shrimp has a similar filter-feeding diet to its host and the relationship is likely mutualistic.
  • Distribution: This species is endemic to the Mediterranean Sea. 
  • Threats: It is relatively fragile to pollution and shell damage.
  • The clam, known as the noble pen shell or pinna nobilis, started dying out as a deadly pathogen spread in parts of the Mediterranean around 2016.
  • Conservation status
    • IUCN: Critically endangered

Current Affairs
Dec. 11, 2023

Budgett’s frog
Recently, researchers from the Indian Institute of Science’s (IISc.) molecular biophysics unit in a study have identified that peptides (short protein) produced from Budgett’s frog can combat enzymes of disease causing pathogens.
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About Budgett’s frog:

  • Behaviour
    • Budgett’s frogs are highly intelligent and very aggressive.
    • When frightened, they inflate themselves, stand up on their short legs and if this doesn’t deter the potential predator, they lunge at them with an open huge mouth followed up by a shrill shriek.
    • During the dry season, Budgett’s frogs remain in burrows they dig in the bottoms of pools of water.
    • While in the burrow, they will shed several layers of skin from which to form a waterproof cocoon that will keep the frog moist.
  • They use their exceptional night vision and their sensitivity to movement when hunting food.
  • Habitat/range: They are found near or in permanent or seasonal bodies of water in Paraguay, Argentina and Bolivia.
  • Conservation Status
    • IUCN Red List: Least Concern

Key findings of the research

  • The peptides (short proteins) produced from the skin of amphibians have long been studied because of their ability to counter unfavourable conditions in the environment, including harmful pathogens.
  • The frog-secreted peptide inhibited two key enzymes called subtilisin carlsberg and proteinase K., produced by pathogens.
  • These enzymes play a pivotal role in promoting infections by degrading specific protective proteins of the infected person.
  • The peptide was shown to act through a slow-tight binding pathway, and was found to be as effective as SSI, a well-known subtilisin inhibitor.
  • The researchers show the formation of a Michaelis complex – a tight, noncovalent complex with the intact inhibitor – during the process. 
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