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Observing that the issue of rising farmer suicides cannot be dealt with ‘overnight’, the Supreme Court has said the long-term strategy adopted by the Central government in this regard needs time for implementation and to show effective results. Therefore, the Supreme Court has given the central government six months time to demonstrate the gains of Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana on the ground level.
The scheme aims to reduce the premium rates to be paid by the farmers so as to enable more farmers avail insurance cover against crop loss on account of natural calamities.
Under the scheme, farmers will have to pay a uniform premium of 2% for all kharif crops and 1.5% for all rabi crops. For annual commercial and horticultural crops, farmers will have to pay a premium of 5 %. The remaining share of the premium, as in previous schemes, will continue to be borne equally by the Centre and the respective state governments.
Under PMFBY, there will no upper limit on government subsidy and even if balance premium is 90%, it will be borne by the government. Earlier, there was a provision of capping the premium rate which resulted in low claims being paid to farmers. This capping was done to limit government outgo on the premium subsidy. This capping has now been removed and farmers will get claim against full sum insured without any reduction.
Under the scheme, the use of technology will be encouraged to a great extent. Smart phones will be used to capture and upload data of crop cutting to reduce the delays in claim payment to farmers. Remote sensing will be used to reduce the number of crop cutting experiments.
The new Crop Insurance Scheme will also seek to address a long standing demand of farmers and provide farm level assessment for localised calamities including hailstorms, unseasonal rains, landslides and inundation.