Guwahati, Thursday, September 14, 2017
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Govt to extend crop insurance scheme to Rabi season
PRANJAL BHUYAN
 GUWAHATI, Sept 13 - Crop Cutting Experiments (CCEs) under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), which were delayed due to floods in many parts of the State, are expected to start shortly and the government has also started work to implement PMFBY during the forthcoming Rabi season.Senior officials told The Assam Tribune here that CCEs were delayed as most of the crop fields were under floodwater. “It will start very soon where the field officials or agricultural extension assistants (AEAs) will be using smart phones to upload yield data,” said an official.

He said that the agriculture department submitted a report on PMFBY in Assam to Amitabh Gautam, Joint Secretary, Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, here earlier this week.

“During this Kharif 2017 season, the scheme is being implemented by four companies – AIC, HDFC-Ergo, ICICI Lombard and Royal Sundaram. Around 50,000 farmers have been insured under the scheme during the season. This includes about 1,800 non-loanee farmers, which is significant considering the fact that for the first time non-loanee farmers are being covered in the State. The scheme has covered over 38,500 hectares of farm land and the sum insured has been to the tune of Rs 233.08 crore,” said the official.

He added, “Agriculture department has already started necessary actions to implement PMFBY during the forthcoming Rabi season.”

The bidding process for implementation of the scheme during Rabi 2017-18 season started from September 12 with the pre-bidding meeting and the entire process of evaluation of bids and allocation of districts will be completed by the end of the month. The State Level Coordination Committee on Crop Insurance (SLCCCI) is planned to be convened during the first week of October and the notification for this will be issued by mid-October.

Officials said that with the State already witnessing three waves of major floods since June 2017, there has been massive crop loss.

“As the floodwater is gradually receding, insurance companies have started the loss assessment under ‘mid-season adversity’ for on-account payment, which is expected to be completed by end of September. The State government is in the process of releasing its share of subsidy within a week and farmers are likely to get insurance claims in the month of October,” said sources.

The State government is hoping that introduction of PMFBY will help in increasing farmers’ awareness about crop insurance.

Sources said that absence of land holding certificate or land patta and formal agreement of tenancy are the impeding factors for farmers for availing crop loans and participation in crop insurance. Moreover, lack of adequate claims in the earlier schemes in previous years discourages the farmers from participating in PMFBY.

PMFBY covers standing crops as well as pre-sowing to post-harvesting losses.

“New technologies like smart phones, satellite imagery and drone facilities are being utilised to carry out faster assessment of crop loss under PMFBY. The Centre has revised the norms for assistance from SDRF and NDRF. Now, the government is providing compensation if at least 33 per cent of the crop is damaged. Compensation amount has been increased to 1.5 times,” said an official.

PMFBY was introduced in the country in January 2016 starting from the Kharif 2016 season. In Assam it was first implemented in the Rabi 2016-17 season.

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