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Govt. plans to expand crop insurance scheme

Even as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami has petitioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the delay in the disbursal of compensation claims of farmers under the Centre’s new crop insurance scheme, the State government has planned to expand the coverage of the scheme both in terms of number of farmers and the acreage.

For the year 2017-18, the plan is to rope in nearly 23.9 lakh farmers whereas around 15.2 lakh farmers were enrolled under the insurance scheme, known as Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana. In terms of extent of area to be covered, this year will be around 30 lakh hectares while it was 12.6 lakh hectares last year.

As the long-term samba crop (which corresponds with the rabi crop in rest of the country) is the main crop of Tamil Nadu, as many as 15.1 lakh farmers are expected to be covered. The remaining 8.8 lakh crop farmers are going to be covered during the kuruvai (or kharif) crop. The State government has also decided to continue with the implementation of the Unified Package Insurance Scheme, envisaging the provision of life insurance cover to farmers and insurance of agricultural pumpsets, in Cuddalore and Nagapattinam districts on pilot basis. Totally, it has set apart ₹ 522.7 crore towards its share for the schemes. In this regard, the State government issued an order on Wednesday.

Delay in disbursal

When Mr. Palaniswami met Mr. Modi in New Delhi on Wednesday, he, through his letter, complained that all the insurance companies – Agricultural Insurance Company of India (AIC), ICICI Lombard and the New India Assurance Company – were found to be “slow in disbursement of claim compensation” to the affected insured farmers. Pointing out that the farmers of the State were already “under distress” due to the crop loss caused by the “severe drought” in 2016-17, he stated that the delay would “further enhance the agony of the aggrieved farmers.” This was why he requested the Prime Minister to have a direction issued to the companies for immediate disbursal.

Dues released

Meanwhile, the State government has disbursed about ₹404 crore to around 2.96 lakh insured farmers towards compensation for the damages suffered during the samba crop of 2015-16. The disbursal has been carried out by transferring the amount through bank accounts of the agriculturists. Till that year, the National Agricultural Insurance Scheme was in force. The three top districts, which received nearly 90% of the amount of compensation were Nagapattinam (around ₹205 crore); Tiruvarur (₹101.7 crore) and Cuddalore (₹45.15 crore).

Source: The Hindu

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