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Crop Insurance: New Year’s gift to farmers is the crop insurance scheme

New Delhi: Agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh said, the government will launch a new crop insurance scheme month and also use drones and other technologies to assess crop damage. The scheme, aims to keep the insurance premium burden on farmers below 3%, so this scheme is a New Year gift for farmers.

Singh said delay in clearing payouts for crop losses was one of the biggest reasons for destroying farm families. The scheme has significance considering the rising cases debt-laden farmers committing suicide.

After launching a mobile app on crop insurance and agri-market in Delhi, Singh said "Currently, premium rates are as high as 40% in some states. In the current system payments keep getting delayed, destroying so many families." He said, under the new scheme, a mechanism will be in place to ensure that crop insurance claims are settled early.

Singh said, "We will use new technologies like drone to assess the crop loss and settle claims at the earliest." The minister said the new crop insurance system will be science-based as well as free from the 'patwari' system.

Though the Union Cabinet had discussed the proposed scheme in first week of this month, it was not approved. It's is learnt that the reason behind deferring the proposal is differences in opinion over the premium issue.

The agriculture ministry has proposed under this scheme 3% premium that farmers would be required to pay. The ministry has recommended premiums without any cap unlike the existing scheme Modified National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (MNAIS), for the benefit of farmers in vulnerable and disaster-prone areas.

At present, about 20% means 40.27 million hectare of the total farm land is insured under the existing schemes. Rajasthan has the maximum area insured at 12.26 million hectare followed by Bihar, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh. Major crops insured are oilseeds, pulses rice, wheat, and coarse grains.