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India - Tamil Nadu farmers decry cut in crop insurance premium subsidy

The Union government’s decision to reduce its share of subsidy for crop insurance premium from 50 per cent to 25 has come as a shock for farmers in the delta.

Another decision that makes enrolment for crop insurance voluntary has also come as a big jolt to them.

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday decided to revamp the Prime Minister Crop Insurance scheme from Kharif 2020 season (Kuruvai season). Also, insurance has now been made voluntary for those who avail crop loans.

As per the revised norms, central subsidy for the scheme is to be limited for premium rates up to 30 per cent for non-irrigated areas and 25 per cent for irrigated areas like the Cauvery delta districts.

Currently, the Union and State governments share 50 per cent each of the premium subsidy.

“The decisions indicate that the Union government wants to abandon its responsibility towards farmers,” said R Sukumaran, a farmer in  Orathanadu. Farmers would be burdened as the State would not be paying the difference, he added.

P Sukumar, a farmer in Tiruvaiyaru, slammed the Centre for making insurance voluntary. “Crop insurance is what shields farmers from losses and would make them able to  repay at least part of the loan. By making insurance voluntary, the Union government is sending out a signal that financial institutions would scale down lending drastically.”

Small and marginal farmers who avail loan from banks would be thinking their crop would be automatically insured and would fail to pay premium.

“They would suffer the consequences when the crops fail and come to know their crops were not insured”, he added. One of the revised provisions mentions that if the State failed to pay its share of subsidy on time, crop in the region would not be considered for insurance in the subsequent year.  Pointing to this, Sukumar said farmers would bear the brunt for the failure of the State governments.

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