Jharkhand is set to replace the Prime Minister’s insurance scheme for farmers with its own crop relief scheme. To be launched on December 29, the scheme will take three months to come into effect.
What is Jharkhand’s Kisan Fasal Rahat Yojana?
It is a compensation scheme aimed at providing security cover to Jharkhand farmers in case of crop damage due to natural calamity. It will cover both land owning and landless farmers. The Department of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Co-operative will be the implementing agency and it will work in association with a project management unit, which will be a consultancy firm that will take care of technical requirements. “Food safety, crop diversification, rapid development in agriculture and paving the way for competition,” are among the aims of the scheme. It is not an insurance scheme where premiums are paid.
How many farmers does Jharkhand have? How is the rainfall situation here?
There are around 38 lakh farmers cultivating 38 lakh hectares of land in Jharkhand. Government says that among them around 25 lakh farmers are small or marginal landholders. This year, adequate rainfall occurred in Jharkhand, however, in the last three years (2017-19), the average rainfall in the monsoon season was much less and stood at 13%, -27.8%, -20.9%’ respectively.
Irregular monsoon has affected the Kharif sowing season and as Jharkhand is mostly a single crop (paddy) state, the scheme will primarily target this group of farmers. Also, drought has been a concern in the state: In 2018, 129 blocks were drought-affected while in 2019 the number was 107.
Why does the government want to replace the PM insurance scheme?
Every year a large amount is paid as premium to the insurance companies. Jharkhand paid a total of Rs 512.55 crore in the last three years while the compensation claim settlement was only Rs 82.86 crore, which was only 16 per cent of the total premium.
The number of farmers benefited as compared to the actual cover is also hugely disproportionate. In the last three years, out of a total of 33.79 lakh registered farmers, only 2.25 lakh farmers have benefited from the scheme. The Jharkhand government says that since the state pays half the insurance premium, it would rather use that amount for direct compensation.
How will the state assess crop damage, and what will be the compensation?
Crop damage will be assessed through a ‘ground truthing’ process, which will be a combination of sample observations. In the case of post-harvest damage, assessment will be done on the basis of sighting. Various coordination committees will be constituted at various levels. The role of the gram sabha is important in the initial reporting of crop damage received from the farmers. Floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes and other geological processes fall under the category of natural calamities—risks which will be covered under the scheme.
Damage due to wild animal attack, preventable risks such as unscientific farming by farmers will not be considered under the scheme.
A payout matrix has been developed: from 0.1- 5 acre of land ranging from Rs 3000 to Rs 3500 per acre compensation depending upon the loss. More details are awaited on this.
What does a farmer need to do to avail the scheme?
A farmer will need to submit their Aadhaar number or “submit proof of their nomination for Aadhaar”. Eligible farmers will be registered only through the online portal. Sources in the government said they will train various volunteers as well as multiple customer service point operators, which act as a mini bank in rural areas, to help farmers register themselves.
The farmers will need to enter on the portal their holding land, name of crop to be sown, area of crop to be sown, Aadhaar number, bank account number, self-declaration etc verified by the gram sabha. After registration, a code will be sent to the registered mobile number of the farmer. This will be a challenge as most of the farmers are facing technological barriers during registration as evident during the current Kharif procurement season in Jharkhand. The officers, however, say monitoring will be key to implementation.
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