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Indian government mulls farm income insurance scheme

Sep 05, 2014

The farm income insurance scheme to provide protection to farmers against natural calamities is on the cards, said India’s Agriculture Minister.

New Delhi: The government is considering to launch farm income insurance scheme so that the two important components of agriculture i.e. production and price can be tackled under single policy instrument, said India’s Minister of Agriculture, Radha Mohan Singh.

The objective of this scheme would be to protect the farmers by giving them insurance cover for their production and market risks. The scheme aims to ensure continuous production, protection to livelihood and crops, encouragement to multiplicity of crops, which may promote competition from the angle of exports.

Singh highlighted that the production and price risks affect the income of farmers, which has adverse effect on their capacity to invest in advance crop varieties, techniques of production and capital formation in farm sector. “Agriculture is largely dependent upon monsoon, which leads to uncertainty in production and price of agricultural produce,” he said.

Mentioning the sea change in agricultural scenario over the past few years, Singh said that foodgrain production has touched a record figure of 264.38 million tonnes during the year 2013-14. “It is a matter of great pride that today we are producing more than our requirement of consumption. Our godowns have adequate foodgrains and we are in a position to meet any adverse contingency,” he said.

“During the year 2013-14, the country exported agricultural products worth Rs. 2.41 lakh crore. The country anticipates to exceed the targeted growth rate of 4% during the XIII Five Year Plan,” Singh added added.

The Minister said that Government of India is implementing since 1985 crop insurance to protect farmers from adverse affect of natural calamities at national level. Based on experience gained from implementation of farm insurance schemes, consultation with State Governments and stakeholders, a revised scheme is being considered which may be more conducive to farmers’ needs.

During 2003-2004 rabi season some states and districts had started a scheme under which farmers were entitled to get compensation in the event of their getting lesser income from their production than guaranteed income. However, this scheme was applicable in case of rice and wheat only and it could not be implemented further, he added.

The present government has invited suggestions from all states to protect the income of farmers by way of giving a concept paper for insurance scheme so that difficulties experienced in the past could be overcome. Ministry officials have held discussions on 14th August, 2014 with all State Governments, Singh said.

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