CHENNAI: Coming to the rescue of farmers, Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Saturday announced that the old crop insurance scheme — National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (NAIS) — would be in force during the current year instead of the National Crop Insurance Programme (NCIP), which went against the interests of the farming community.
Charging that the NCIP was designed to extract ‘maximum premium while giving minimum compensation’, the CM said the proposal put forth by her to implement the NAIS had been accepted by the Centre and it would be in force only during the current year. “As such, the NAIS will be applicable to the paddy crop to be raised during the samba, thaladi and pisanam seasons and the other crops to be raised in the rabi season during 2014,” she added.
Jayalalithaa recalled that in her letter to then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on January 5, she had pointed out that the NCIP would burden the farmers of Tamil Nadu more and wondered if they would come forward to insure their crops under the scheme. She had suggested to the Centre that the premium amount above 2 per cent could be shared between the Central and State governments. But the UPA regime had rejected her proposal.
Under the NAIS, the premium was fixed at 2 per cent to 3.5 per cent according to the crop season. While 50 per cent of the premium was paid by the State government, the rest was paid by the farmers. When the claim exceeds the premium amount collected by the agriculture insurance company, the excess compensation claim would be shared equally by the Central and State governments.
Though it was not considered as a comprehensive insurance scheme, it was quite useful to the farmers, she observed.
However, without consulting the State governments, the UPA regime had cancelled the NAIS in November 2013 and introduced the NCIP, which comprised a Modified National Insurance Scheme and a Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme. Under the MNAIS, the premium and the claim are fixed based on the crop loss in specific areas in the past.