Friday, January 15, 2016

Cabinet approves Pradhan Mantri Fasal Beema Yojna; Also sets up panel on 7th Pay Commission’s recommendations

The Cabinet today approved Pradhan Mantri Fasal Beema Yojna, a crop insurance scheme aimed to ensure farmers’ welfare. Briefing media after Cabinet meeting in New Delhi, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said, the scheme will offer more insurance with less premium, and lead to rise of purchasing capacity of farmers. He termed cabinet’s decision on crop insurance scheme as historic.
The new scheme replaces the existing National Agricultural Insurance Scheme. Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu said government liability on premium subsidy will be shared by central and state governments on fifty-fifty basis.
The budget for Crop Insurance will be substantially increased from 2823 crore rupees in 2015-16 to 7750 crore rupees in 2018-19. Remote Sensing, smart phones and drones will be used for quick estimation of crop losses and early settlement of claims.

Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said there will be a uniform premium of two per cent to be paid by farmers for all khairf crops and 1.5 per cent for all Rabi crops. The premium for all horticulture crops will be five per cent.

The cabinet has also approved Unified Package Insurance Scheme on pilot basis for 45 districts. It will cover activities like machinery, life, accident, house, and student safety in addition to crop insurance. These schemes will be implemented from Kharif season 2016.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today expressed confidence that the new Crop Insurance Scheme approved by Cabinet will bring about a major transformation in the lives of farmers. New scheme expands the definition of disaster to include aspects like flooding of crop and damage after harvest, he said.

In a series of tweets, the Prime Minister said the scheme includes successful aspects of the existing schemes and effectively addresses whatever was lacking in those schemes.

He added, the scheme entails easy usage of technology like mobile phone, quick assessment of damage and disbursement within a timeframe and urged farmers to join it.

The BJP has welcomed the government’s decision of announcing a new crop insurance scheme-Pradhan Mantri Fasal Beema Yojna. Briefing reporters in New Delhi, party President Amit Shah said, the farmers will be able to avail the benefit of the scheme by paying lower premium for insurance coverage of their crop. He said, under the scheme, the claims of farmers in case of their crop loss will be settled at the earliest. Mr Shah said, the government has also set a target of extending the coverage of the scheme to 50 per cent of farmers which is currently at 23 per cent.

Cabinet has also approved setting up of Empowered Committee of Secretaries to process recommendations of 7th Pay Commission in an overall perspective. It has also given its nod to India becoming a member country of the International Energy Agency – Ocean Energy Systems (IEA-OES). India will have access to advanced Research and Development teams and technologies across the world in the field of ocean renewable energies.

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