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HomeReportsBudget 2021 gives boost to SVAMITVA Yojana– making rural India AtmaNirbhar

Budget 2021 gives boost to SVAMITVA Yojana– making rural India AtmaNirbhar

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Ritu Bhandari
Ritu Bhandari
The author is Head of Research, Smahi Foundation of Policy and Research. She is based out of Mumbai. She tweets at @Ritu_twt Views are personal.

SVAMITVA Yojana is a pioneering scheme undertaken by the Modi Government to transform rural India, with the help of technology. Mapping and survey of inhabited regions in most Indian villages has never been done from the perspective of ascertaining land ownership. This will create massive requirement for local drones and jobs.

SVAMITVA stands for ‘Survey of villages and mapping with improvised technology in village areas’. It is a Central Sector scheme launched by Hon’ble Prime Minister on National Panchayat Day i.e April 24 2020. The Ministry of Panchayati Raj (MoPR) is the Nodal Ministry for implementation of the scheme, with the help of drone technology partner, Survey of India (SOI).

Most villagers in rural areas don’t have proper ownership documents for their residential properties. Under this yojana, the government will use drones to map all residential properties inside village borders to ascertain land ownership. Drones will be used to create digital maps of villages and on the basis of these maps, owners of residential properties in villages will be given a title deed (sampatti card) by respective state governments.

Holders of land title deeds would be able to use their property for availing loans, and it would also allow to bring those properties under the tax bracket. The focus is on accurate land records, dispute-resolution, direct benefit transfers and panchayat level planning.

Scope of the scheme

Under the scheme, about 6.6 lakh villages will be digitally mapped over four years (2021-2024), which means that on an average, about 1.6 lakh villages will have to be mapped every year. A drone will be able to cover 4-5 villages in a day. This will be a challenging task keeping in mind flying conditions with the onset of monsoon, fog etc.

The pilot phase of SVAMITVA had been approved with a budget outlay of about Rs 80 crore, to cover around 115,000 villages in 9 States viz. Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Punjab, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh. Till January 31, 2021, Drone Survey has been completed in about 23,300 villages. Property Cards have been prepared and distributed/under distribution to about 2.30 lakh property holders of about 1,432 villages.

The MoPR has estimated an outlay of about Rs 566 crore for extending the scheme to rest of India, to cover nearly 5.41 lakh villages. Budget 2021 has made a provision of Rs 200 crore for the SVAMITVA scheme, targeting 2.3 lakh villages in 16 States.

SOI has deployed about 130 Drone Teams in the States, which is expected to increase to 250 by March 2021 and about 500 by March 2022. Each drone costs approx Rs 10 lacs. Apart from procuring drones, SOI is also looking to outsource certain aspects of the project to drone service providers such as processing and other modules.

SOI, the technology partner has called on private companies in the drone ecosystem to assist it. The responsibility of safety and security and ownership of data will lie with SOI. With an emphasis on ‘Make in India’ preference, SOI is looking to release drone procurement tenders of small sizes to encourage participation of MSMEs and start-ups recognised by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT).


MoPR has supported the SOI in establishing what is called a CORS Network (Continuous Operating Reference Stations), which will allow the organisation to eliminate its GPS requirements. These will just be like mobile towers where they are continuously transmitting the correct position of the pilot controller, which can be directly linked with the drone. This particular technology is expected to speed up the data acquisition process.

Drones which are either RTK (Real Time Kinematic) or PPK (Post-Processing Kinematic) enabled are to be used for the mapping. RTK is a real-time satellite navigation technique used to enhance the precision of position data derived from satellite-based positioning systems. With PPK workflow, accurate positioning doesn’t happen in real time, all algorithms are applied afterwards. PPK offers more flexible workflow, allowing to run the processing multiple times using different settings.

The drones would all be equipped with a high resolution RGB camera with a minimum resolution of 15 megapixel or more, have a minimum 64 GB of onboard storage, RFID or a SIM card slot for real-time tracking and 128 bit encryption to protect the data, among other things. These drones would also be equipped with a navigation software package that enables planning and performing complex flight patterns for different surveying applications and would allow the combination of telemetry data with the recorded images/ data.


The drone requirements for SVAMITVA scheme have boosted the Drone Manufacturing sector in India. This is the first time ever that such a large-scale exercise involving most modern technology is being carried out to benefit millions of rural property owners. SVAMITVA scheme has the potential to transform rural India and uplift the rural economy. Successful implementation of this scheme would be the stepping-stone towards achieving Gram Swaraj in true sense and making rural India AtmaNirbhar.

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Ritu Bhandari
Ritu Bhandari
The author is Head of Research, Smahi Foundation of Policy and Research. She is based out of Mumbai. She tweets at @Ritu_twt Views are personal.
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