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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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Oli Assures Modi, Nepal’s Territory Won’t Be Used Against India’s Interests

After assuming office in February, Oli made his first foreign visit to India in April.

Gokhale said that Modi's two-day visit to Nepal was aimed to strengthen bilateral relations
KP Sharma Oli, PM of Nepal, wikimedia commons

Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli has told his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi that Nepal’s territory will not be used against New Delhi’s interests, Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said here on Saturday.

“Oli reiterated that they will be sensitive to our concerns and their territory will not be allowed to be used by anybody against India. Prime Minister Modi reciprocated the sentiments,” Gokhale told the media.

Gokhale called Oli’s view “very significant”.

There was a chill in India-Nepal ties during Oli’s earlier stint as Prime Minister between October 2015 and August 2016 when a border blockade blamed on New Delhi crippled Nepal’s economy.

There were also perceptions that Oli was leaning towards China than India.

Gokhale said that Modi’s two-day visit to Nepal was aimed to strengthen bilateral relations “whether it be cross-border electricity or cross-border connectivity”.

“We are looking into cross-border electricity and cross-border connectivity not only with Nepal but other neighbouring countries as well,” he said.

After assuming office in February, Oli made his first foreign visit to India in April.

Stating that India welcomed the restoration of democracy in Nepal, Gokhale said that both the government and the opposition in the Himalayan nation were parties to it.

He said both sides agreed to be committed towards the stated projects. “We will address this within a set timeline.”

Prime Minister, Narendra Modi stressed on the importance of service to others in his last Mann Ki Baat edition for 2017.
Modi is on Nepal visit for two days, wikimedia commons

According to Gokhale, Oli confirmed to Modi that Nepal will host the the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec) summit this year.

Bimstec comprises seven countries lying in the littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal — Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

Gokhale also said that Modi’s visits to cultural sites in Nepal “suggested that there should be strong people-to-people ties”.

Apart from offering prayers at temples in Nepal, the Indian leader inaugurated the Janakpur-Ayodhya bus service, a 900 MW hydropower project and announced Rs 100-crore aid to develop Janakpur city.

Also Read: Water Crisis is Increasing in Cape Town, Red Alert For Africa 

He also held extensive discussions with Oli, President Bidhya Devi Bhandari and other government officials to better bilateral ties after which he said: “All misunderstandings with Nepal are over.”

Modi also met leaders of opposition parties, starting with former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and other members of the Nepali Congress.

He exchanged views on strengthening bilateral ties with former Prime Minister and Chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda”. (IANS)