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Agriculture Insurance: Crop insurance scheme a blessing for Rajasthan farmers

Jaipur: The new crop insurance scheme to be launched by the Centre on April 1. This insurance scheme will benefit the farmers from Rajasthan most. New scheme will have premium as low as 1.5% to 2.5%. Currently the state has maximum farm land that is insured but farmers pay hefty amount as premiums.

The state has been rallying for revamping insurance policies linking it with production and output. At present crops in the state are insured under weather-based insurance scheme (WIBS) and modified national agricultural insurance scheme (MNIS).

Agriculture minister Prabhu Lal Saini said "It will be a remarkable step that Centre will implement the new scheme from April 1. We suggested them to introduced production guarantee scheme (PGS). I don't have complete details but it is expected to be around those lines."

WBIS are based on fluctuations in weather and ignore the farm output and productivity completely and in MNIS, the private sector insurance companies provide crop insurance. But more often it comes with a lot of riders. Under both arrangements farmers end up paying more while receiving less for their crop losses. Currently, 21 districts are under WBIS and 12 are under MNIS. For the kharif season, districts were granted the option to choose between WBIS and MNIS.

The aims of new policy is to keep the premium rate low compared to the existing insurance schemes. The agriculture ministry in it cabinet note proposes maximum premium up to 1.5% for wheat, 2% for oilseeds, 2.5% for paddy and 2-2.5% for other crops.

Every year Rajasthan government seeks financial assistance to distribute it among affected farmers. Under the new policy state will not have to pay for crop loss from disaster management funds.