In his first “Mann Ki Baat” address of 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi pitched for efforts to spread awareness about the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (Prime Minister Crop Insurance Scheme) to enable at least 50 per cent of the country’s farmers to join it in the next couple of years. The scheme, which was cleared by the Cabinet recently, aims to substantially bring down the premium rates paid by farmers to avail insurance cover against crop loss on account of natural calamities.
“Crop insurance has been discussed for so many years. But not more than 20-25 per cent farmers have been able to connect with it and become its beneficiaries…Can we take a pledge that we connect at least 50 per cent of the farmers with this scheme in two years? I need your help in this. Because if a farmer joins the scheme, he will get huge help during a natural calamity,” said the PM.
Under the new scheme, farmers will have to pay uniform premium of two per cent for all Kharif crops and 1.5 per cent for all Rabi crops. For annual commercial and horticultural crops, farmers will have to pay a premium of five per cent. The remaining share of the premium, as in previous schemes, will continue to be be borne equally by the Centre and the respective state governments.
“In our country, a lot is said in the name of farmers. I don’t want to get involved in that debate. But farmers face a major crisis. During a natural calamity, their entire effort goes waste. His one year goes waste. To give him security, only one thing comes to mind and that is crop insurance. In 2016, the central government has given a big gift to the farmers — Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana. This scheme has been brought not for the purpose that it should be praised or the PM should be hailed,” said Modi.
The PM said the scheme was getting enormous response as it was extensive, simple and technology-based. “Attention has been paid that technology is used to fast-track the process so that there is no delay in getting the insurance claim,” he said, adding that the scheme will help the farmers even if something happens to the crop even 15 days after harvest.
The scheme, which will become functional from the forthcoming Kharif season, has been viewed as a major policy outreach towards farmers by the government.
Here’s what the prime minister said during his radio show on Sunday:
* Reiterating Sadar Patel’s vision about Khadi, PM Modi said that Khadi has become the symbol and identity of India. He also urged various government and public departments to promote Khadi Gramudyog Yojna.
* Modi spoke of the International Solar Alliance and said that people from various parts of India were writing to him about how ‘Solar Charkhas’ have made an impact in their lives. “The experiment of associating spinning wheel with solar energy has been a success,” he said.
* Applauding the Haryana government, he thanked the government for their efforts in saving the girl child. “I want to express my gratitude to Haryana, as there has been a rapid increase in birth rate of girl child in the state.”
* He also highlighted various aspects of the recent crop insurance scheme introduced for farmers. PM Modi said he believes the only way to provide relief to distressed farmers is through a successful and effective crop insurance scheme.
* Moving ahead with his Swachh Bharat initiative, the prime minister said that people must ensure cleaning and maintenance of statues and idols, Modi said that people are very enthusiastic about any statue being unveiled, but forget their responsibilities in keeping them clean.
* Congratulating Indians on the success of ‘Start-up India’ campaign, the prime minister expressed his joy about the scale of participation and support that the campaign received. He also highlighted that the initiative is not restricted to just IT industries, but opportunities are ‘endless’.
* PM Modi spoke of his recent trip to Sikkim, and how the state has made India proud by becoming the first fully organic state in the country. Referring to two young entrepreneurs working in Sikkim on an agriculture start-up, PM Modi said, it is a great way of linking agriculture to the start-up India campaign.
* As the country gears up for the International Fleet Review in Visakhapatnam, PM Modi said it is an honour and privilege for India to host such a prestigious event. “It is a very important development for a country like India. India has had a golden maritime history, ” he said.
* Prime Minister Modi linked ‘Saundarya’ (beautification) to ‘Swachhata’ (cleanliness). Modi applauded various initiatives by citizens and civic groups for the beautification of many railway stations across the country.
* Modi ended his speech by mentioning the upcoming South Asian Games to be held in Guwahati, Assam. He said that the upcoming event will strengthen ties among all SAARC nations.