Paddy sowing has picked up pace in Haryana, but the state farmers will not have the benefit of crop insurance scheme in the state.
The Manohar Lal Khattar-led BJP government, which has been keen on setting up a crop insurance corporation, has decided not to notify any crop insurance scheme for Kharif-2015.
"There will be no formal insurance scheme for farmers for their kharif crops this season. In case the farmers suffer any damage due to adverse weather conditions, the government will try and compensate them," according to sources. The chief minister took a decision to this effect on Tuesday.
The state government had not notified any scheme for the 2014-15 rabi season earlier due to disagreement of subsidy on premium and pending premium payment. It wants to explore the possibility of setting up its own separate insurance corporation under the public-private partnership mode in the state instead.
GOVT TO STUDY 'GUJARAT MODEL'
The present regime, especially agriculture minister Om Prakash Dhankar and his advisors, has been keen on establishing the crop insurance corporation to "provide protection to all farmers" from financial losses inflicted by climatic flippancy and natural calamities. The agriculture minister had in April made public his department's intention of establishing the insurance corporation, saying that it was in the process of identifying suitable insurance companies for entering into a tie-up to undertake crop insurance activity in the state.
While the Haryana Kisan Ayog prepared a detailed note on the plan to set up the crop insurance corporation with financial costs of covering all farmers, the minister is keen on studying in detail the 'Gujarat model' where crop insurance is said to be popular. As a result, the government, which announced in April compensation of `1,092 crore to farmers whose rabi crops were affected by inclement weather, has not decided the modalities so far.
'CONSISTENCY IN POLICY NEEDED'
However, agriculture experts want the government to get its act together and notify the existing schemes or set up its own corporation quickly if it wants to popularise crop insurance in the state. "Consistency in policy and decision-making is needed to create confidence among the farmers. Unlike Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka where crop insurance schemes are popular, successive governments have lacked clarity and consistency on the matter here. Therefore, most farmers do not have knowledge and remain without cover," remarked a department official.
The state, which has 16.17 farming families as per the 2011 census, had first pushed the National Agriculture Insurance Scheme in which claims were given to the farmers on the basis of guaranteed yield, during Kharif-2004. The scheme, under which 10% subsidy on premium was equally shared by the centre and the state, covered cotton, bajra, maize and arhar crops during kharif season and gram, barley and mustard during rabi season.
The response was poor with only 6.36 lakh farmers opting for the scheme between 2004 and 2012 despite the fact that claims of `43 crore were settled against premium of `24 crore. The scheme was discontinued in the state from Kharif 2013 as the farmers' response was way below expectations.
Another crop insurance scheme, Modified National Agriculture Insurance Scheme (MNAIS), was introduced during Kharif-2011 on pilot basis in Karnal and Kaithal for paddy crop. Later, the scheme with a more proficient basis for calculation of threshold yield (average yield of preceding seven years) and uniform seasonality norms was extended to Rohtak and Jind also for wheat and paddy crops. Over 2.14 lakh farmers opted for MNAIS in 2011-12 and 2012-13.
Then, there was the Weather-Based Crop Insurance Scheme (WBCIS) which started during Rabi 2008-09 on pilot basis. The scheme, based on weather parameters such as deficit rainfall, excess rainfall, temperature and dry days, covered paddy crops in 27 blocks of 12 districts during Kharif 2013.
Over 2.66 lakh farmers opted for WBCIS between 2009 and 2013. While the centre and the state equally shared 70% subsidy on premium, many farmers were not satisfied with the manner in which their eligibility of claim was determined on the basis of occurrence of adverse weather. Against total premium collection of `113 crore, claims of `53 crore were distributed during the period.