Modi Master Miff


Silencing/refuting/repudiating his critics’ “baseless” allegations of his being anti-farmers, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “practical gift” to the country’s farmers/ kisans — Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) : Crop insurance plan entailing Rs 8.8K cr outgo. Under the scheme, farmers will pay 2 per cent of premium fixed by insurance firms for kharif crops and 1.5 per cent for rabi crops.
Under Modi, Union Cabinet officially approved the launch of Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (Prime Minister Crop Insurance Scheme) in which the premium rates to be paid by the farmers have been brought down substantially so as to enable more farmers avail insurance cover against crop loss on account of natural calamities. The scheme will come into effect from the upcoming kharif season providing lifetime relief to the concerned farmers.
Under the new scheme, farmers will have to pay a uniform premium of two per cent for all kharif crops and 1.5 per cent for all rabi crops. For annual commercial and horticultural crops, farmers will have to pay a premium of 5 per cent. The remaining share of the premium, as in previous schemes, will continue to be borne equally by the Centre and the respective state governments.
With farmers having been required to pay a premium share of as high as 15 per cent in several areas in the country, there has been a long-standing discussion on the need to bring down these rates. The Centre’s move to bring down and cap these interest rates is being viewed as a major government policy outreach towards the farmers.
The Centre currently has a bill of Rs 3,100 crore on account of its share of the premium for the 23 per cent crops that are currently insured in the country. Once 30 per cent of the crop comes under insurance cover, the Centre’s financial liability is estimated to go up to Rs 5,700 crore. This financial liability is expected to touch a whopping Rs 8,800 crore once the target of bringing 50 per cent crop under insurance is achieved in three years, officials said. As the Centre’s financial liability goes up, the bill of the states where the scheme gets implemented will also go up correspondingly.
Under PMFBY, there will no upper limit on government subsidy and even if balance premium is 90 per cent, it will be borne by the government. “Earlier, there was a provision of capping the premium rate which resulted in low claims being paid to farmers. This capping was done to limit government outgo on the premium subsidy. This capping has now been removed and farmers will get claim against full sum insured without any reduction,” the government said. “The use of technology will be encouraged to a great extent. Smart phones will be used to capture and upload data of crop cutting to reduce the delays in claim payment to farmers. Remote sensing will be used to reduce the number of crop cutting experiments,” the government said. The new Crop Insurance Scheme will also seek to address a long standing demand of farmers and provide farm level assessment for localised calamities including hailstorms, unseasonal rains, landslides and inundation. Calling it a “historic” decision, Union home minister Rajnath Singh said that this scheme will act like a “safety shield” for the farmers and will protect them against the vagaries of nature. “This new crop insurance scheme will have the lowest premium for farmers in the history of independent India. The new scheme has taken care of the anomalies in the existing two schemes and added new provisions,” Singh said.
Agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh called it a “amrit yojana” and added that the scheme will also cover post-harvest losses.
Agriculture in India is highly susceptible to risks like droughts and floods. It is necessary to protect the farmers from natural calamities and ensure their credit eligibility for the next season. For this purpose, the Government of India introduced many agricultural schemes throughout the country.
Comprehensive Crop Insurance Scheme(CCIS)
The Comprehensive Insurance Scheme (CIS) covered 15 states and 2 union territories. Participation in the scheme was voluntary. Around 5 million farmers and between 8-9 million hectares were annually covered by this scheme. If the actual yield in any area covered by the scheme fell short of the guaranteed yield, the farmers were entitled to an indemnity on compensation to the extent of the shortfall in yield. The General Insurance Corporation of India administered the scheme on behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India.
A major drawback of the scheme could be seen from the fact that out of all the all-India claims of Rs 1,623 crore, Gujaratalone received Rs. 792 crores for one single crop, groundnut.
The scheme was scrapped in 1997.
Experimental Crop Insurance
An experimental crop insurance scheme was introduced in 1997-98, covering non-loanee small and marginal farmers growing specified crops in selected districts. The premium was subsidized. The premium collected was about Rs. 3 crores and the claims amounted to Rs. 40 crores.
The Government discontinued the scheme during 1997-98 itself.
Farm Income Insurance Scheme: The Central Government formulated the Farm Income Insurance Scheme (FIIS) during 2003-04. The two critical components of a farmer’s income are yield and price. FIIS targeted these two components through a single insurance policy so that the insured farmer could get a guaranteed income.
The scheme provided income protection to the farmers by insuring production and market risks. The insured farmers were ensured minimum guaranteed income (that is, average yield multiplied by the minimum support price). If the actual income was less than the guaranteed income, the insured would be compensated to the extent of the shortfall by the Agriculture Insurance Company of India. Initially, the scheme would cover only wheat and rice and would be compulsory for farmers availing crop loans. NAIS (explained in the section below) would be withdrawn for the crops covered under FIIS, but would continue to be applicable for other crops.
The FIIS was withdrawn in 2004.[1] The recent attempt by the Gujarat government to reintroduce the Farm Income Insurance Scheme (FIIS) can reform agricultural insurance and prevent farm-level distress.[2]
National Agriculture Insurance Scheme(NAIS :The Government of India experimented with a comprehensive crop insurance scheme which failed. The Government then introduced in 1999-2000, a new scheme titled “National Agricultural Insurance Scheme” (NAIS) or “Rashtriya Krishi Bima Yojana” (RKBY).[3] NAIS envisages coverage of all food crops (cereals and pulses), oilseeds, horticultural and commercial crops. It covers all farmers, both loanees and non-loanees, under the scheme.
The premium rates vary from 1.5 percent to 3.5 percent of sum assured for food crops. In the case of horticultural and commercial crops, actuarial rates are charged. Small and marginal farmers are entitled to a subsidy of 50 percent of the premium charged- the subsidy is shared equally between the Government of India and the States. The subsidy is to be phased out over a period of 5 years.
NAIS operates on the basis of
1. Area approach- defined areas for each notified crop for widespread calamities.
2. On individual basis- for localized calamities such as hailstorms, landslides, cyclones and floods.
Under the scheme, each state is required to reach the level Gram Panchayat as the unit of insurance in a maximum period of 3 years.agriculture insurance corporation of India is implementing the scheme.

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