New Delhi: The Centre’s ambitious crop insurance scheme, announced last month, can prove to be attractive to farmers but only if its implementation is glitch free. The next step will, therefore, be the real test of the government when it invites empanelled private general insurance companies to bid for clusters of districts across the country .The selection of insurance company from amongst the empanelled companies to act as an ‘implementing agency’ within the defined area will be done by the concerned state government.
It will be done on the basis of the lowest weighted premium, quoted by these companies, for all notified crops within the particular cluster of districts.
Since the Centre aims to cover at least 50% of the total crop area of 194.40 million hectare under the new scheme in two years time, it has decided to involve its 642 Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVKs), spread across the country, to reach out to as many farmers as possible in their respective districts to share information on the scheme which has provisions of very low premium and quick claim disbursements.
Unlike existing schemes, it also has the advantage of getting insurance cover for post-harvest crops.
Under the new scheme, the insurance coverage is available up to a maximum period of 14 days from harvesting for those crops which are kept in “cut and spread” condition to dry in the field against specific perils of cyclone and unseasonal rains.
Farmers under the new scheme will have to pay a uniform premium of only 2% for all Kharif crops and 1.5% for all Rabi crops as against the average premium rate of 5.5% for food-grains under the existing schemes which had last year covered only 20-25% of the total crop area.
Existing schemes will now be replaced by the new scheme – called Prime Minister’s Crop Insurance Scheme – once it is implemented from the Kharif crop cycle (beginning June).
“Messages of advantages under new scheme will reach the farmers through multiple efforts. The KVKs – institutions for imparting training to farmers and introducing them to new farm technology and sustainable agricultural practices – may play an important role in this regard”, said a senior agriculture ministry official.
Besides, the ministry has also roped in IT & communications ministry to propagate the message through digital medium and mobile phones by spelling out the advantage of the scheme.
The idea of such a move was discussed when the agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh had held a meeting with IT & communications minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and HRD minister Smriti Irani on January 22.
Under the new scheme, it was decided that only one insurance company will exclusively be allocated one particular state or two-three areas in bigger state for at least three years to cover as many farmers as possible.
“This move will allow a particular company to set up infrastructure and make rapport with the farmers of the area so that more and more farmers come under the insurance net”, said the official.