New Delhi, January 13: Cabinet today approved Pradhan Mantri Fasal Beema Yojna, a crop insurance scheme aimed to ensure farmers' welfare. Briefing media after Cabinet meeting in New Delhi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the scheme will offer more insurance with less premium, and lead to rise of purchasing capacity of farmers. He termed cabinet's decision on crop insurance scheme as historic.
The new scheme replaces the existing National Agricultural Insurance Scheme. Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu elaborated on the scheme that farmer’s share of premium has been substantially reduced and government will provide subsidy on premium. He said government liability on premium subsidy will be shared by central and state governments on fifty-fifty basis.
The budget for Crop Insurance will be substantially increased from 2823 crore rupees in 2015-16 to 7750 crore rupees in 2018-19. Remote Sensing, smart phones and drones will be used for quick estimation of crop losses and early settlement of claims.
Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said there will be a uniform premium of two per cent to be paid by farmers for all kharif crops and 1.5 per cent for all Rabi crops. The premium for all horticulture crops will be five per cent.
This is a path-breaking scheme for farmers' welfare. While the nation celebrates Lohri and Makar Sankranti, the harvest festivals, this news could not have come at a better time for farmers. Farmers will get full sum insured. 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 also be used to reduce the number of crop cutting experiments.
The cabinet has also approved Unified Package Insurance Scheme on pilot basis for 45 districts. It will cover activities like machinery, life, accident, house, and student safety in addition to crop insurance. These schemes will be implemented from Kharif season 2016.