New crop insurance plan for farmers gets govt approval


New Delhi: In a bid to provide respite to the drought affected farmers, Centre today passed a crop insurance scheme, namely the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) after the country faced drought for two years consecutively. The scheme keeps farmers’ premium at a maximum of 2 per cent for foodgrains and oilseeds and up to 5 per cent for horticulture/cotton crops.

The much awaited scheme was cleared at the Cabinet meeting which was headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It is to be implemented from the Kharif season this year.

“The cabinet has cleared the Agriculture Ministry’s proposal on new crop insurance scheme,” sources said.

PMFBY will be replacing the existing two schemes, National Agricultural Insurance Scheme as well as Modified NAIS. The schemes have had some inherent setbacks.

It has approved farmers’ premium between 1.5 to 2 per cent for foodgrains and oilseeds crops, and up to 5 per cent for horticultural and cotton crops, the sources further said.

For rabi foodgrains, the farmer’s premium is fixed at 1.5 per cent while 2 per cent is decided for Kharif foodgrains and oilseeds crops. For horticultural and cotton crops it has been fixed at up to 5 per cent for both the seasons.

Sources estimate the PMFBY will likely increase the insurance coverage to 50 per cent of the total crop area of 194.40 million hectares from the existing level of about 25-27 per cent crop area. Rs 9500 crore is estimated to be the expenditure.

There will not be a cap on the premium and reduction of the sum insured in PMFBY, the sources said. Moreover, one insurance company will be allotted for the entire state and farm level assessment for localised risk loss and post-harvest loss. Also, 25 per cent of the likely claim will be settled directly on the farmers account.

The scheme will be administered by the Agriculture Insurance Company of India Ltd along with private insurance companies. The government will provide upfront premium subsidy and all claim liability will be on the insurer.

The new scheme is said to be of vital importance as the country faces improper monsoon rains resulting in severe droughts for the second straight year. Moreover, the government aims to protect farmers from the eccentricities of monsoon by enhancing insurance cover to more crop area.

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