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India - Revamped crop insurance covers more farmers

The State government has revamped the crop insurance scheme with an objective to cover more farmers and see that there is no financial burden on the farmers to pay the premium. Today, in view of the losses due to heavy rains in the last few months, crop insurance has become a necessity and the government’s reforms are expected to be of great help to the farming community.

In its recent meeting, the Council of Ministers has approved the free crop insurance from Kharif 2019 and the crop insurance claims amounting to Rs 1,227.774 crore will be paid to the farmers on December 15. Earlier, the farmers who took crop loans used to go for crop insurance and the premium amount was an additional burden on them. Now, the farmers need to pay only Rs 1 as a token amount for getting registered for crop insurance.

However, the farmers need to register the crop under E-crop, which is mandatory for two reasons; to get an accurate and authenticate data so as to avoid instances of one type of crop insured while different crops cultivated like in the past; and to have an authenticate record of the crops cultivated and its extent, for easy and earlier settlement of claims in case of crop damage.

Compared to Rs 871.26 crore paid as premium by the farmers during 2016-17 and 2018-19, they got crop insurance for free in 2019-20. On their behalf, the government has paid the crop insurance premium amounting to Rs 1,030.74 crore.

“The new free insurance scheme by the State government has not only lessened the burden on the farmers, but also increased the extent of the crop and number of farmers brought under insurance cover,” said MVS Nagi Reddy, vice-chairman of the Andhra Pradesh State Agriculture Mission.

Unlike before, there are no queue lines at the insurance companies or agriculture department offices. Once they register for the crop insurance and e-cropping, it is as good as being covered under the crop insurance. On their behalf, staff of village secretariats and RBKs will be taking care of the rest.

During 2016 and 2019, a total 60.84 lakh farmers were provided crop insurance, while in 2019-20 alone 58.77 lakh farmers were brought under crop insurance coverage. As against 70.71 lakh hectares covered by crop insurance for those three years, in 2019-20,  58.82 lakh hectares were covered. The value of the crop insurance for the three years between 2016 and 2019 was Rs 37,453.79 crore while it was Rs 37.721.57 crore for just one year (2019-20).

The total premium amount (State share) paid between 2016 and 2019 was Rs 1,179.24 crore.  The State government paid Rs 1,030.74 crore for 2019-20 alone. Many farmers welcomed the free insurance scheme. “It will definitely benefit us. Apart from the crop insurance assured unlike before, probably there will not be any delay and we can cultivate crops with the assurance that if there are any losses, they will be taken care of,” a farmer from Kadapa district said. The opinion was largely echoed by several farmers and their only request is better transparency and settlement of claims in time.

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