NEW DELHI: With the Union ministries already been instructed to work on the new government’s agenda for 100 days, the agriculture ministry is trying to make the farm insurance scheme more “farmer-friendly”.
“We have already started preparing the 100-day agenda for the new government and are working on reforms that were stuck due to the model code of conduct. One major agenda is to work on the agriculture insurance scheme, to make it more farmer-friendly,” a senior official from the Ministry of Agriculture told TNIE.
Launched on August 5, 2016, the farm insurance scheme was aimed at providing farmers with an inexpensive option of sustaining agriculture even if the yield is poor or damaged.
According to officials, the general consensus is to widen the coverage under the insurance scheme and to also include damage and loss to cattle and property in case of a natural disaster. Such damages are currently being covered by the National Disaster Response Fund.
To make the scheme more attractive, the ministry is also planning to further lower the premium.
The idea is not new though. The Committee on Estimates (2018-19), in its 30th report on performance of the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC), had also pointed out some loopholes in the scheme.
“The scheme suffers from several problems such as delay in crop-cutting experiments and its associated high costs, delayed/non-payment of insurance claims to farmers, and lack of transparency. As a result, farmers lose interest in the crop insurance scheme. Another problem relating to crop insurance schemes in India is coverage,” the panel had said in the report.
The committee had recommended that adequate financial allocation should be made, so that crop insurance schemes attract participation from a greater number of farmers, which was not the case currently.