The Indian government is set to use drones for surveillance to prevent gatherings of devotees at religious congregations. The step is to ensure the enforcement of lockdown at a time when several festivals are expected to be celebrated.
The government took this decision in a meeting chaired by defense minister Rajnath Singh, according to an ET report. The government is also reaching out to different community leaders asking them to prevent people from gathering at religious places during upcoming festivals like Hanuman Jayanti, Good Friday and Easter Sunday, Rajnath Singh said during the meeting.
Punya Salila Srivastava, the home ministry joint secretary said that the government has received support from many community leaders and they are requesting people to extend their support to the government on lockdown. In Delhi, law enforcement agencies used drones to monitor religious places to prevent mass gatherings.
The lockdown has witnessed shutting down of most religious places across the country. As a result, a lot of devotees are conducting virtual ceremonies from homes while many mosques, temples, and churches are providing users with the option to connect with the deities online.
Many startups in India are also looking to support the delivery of essentials and back the on-ground medical staff. Pune based FlytBase is offering free drone services to the government officials until May. Marut Drones, another Hyderabad-based startup, is helping the Telangana government to promote social distancing to prevent the spread of the virus by enabling drones to spray sanitizers in the city.
The directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA) has allowed Google-backed hyperlocal delivery startup Dunzo and Bengaluru-based drone startup Throttle Aerospace Systems to test their long-range drone delivery system. These startups may soon start delivering groceries via drones in the future.
Apart from the drones, the government is looking for ways to curb fake news. The cyber and information security wing of the Ministry of Home Affairs raised the issue of increasing fake coronavirus related content on social media platforms. The ministry said that spreading fake and unverified content about COVID-19 may make a person liable for punishment under the Indian Penal Code.