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Bihar to give free crop assistance to all farmers

The scheme, christened Bihar State Crop Assistance Scheme (Bihar Rajya Fasal Sahayata Yojna), will be universal in nature with all categories of farmers eligible for financial assistance in case of loss in production due to vagaries of nature, including situations caused by flood, drought, lightening, hailstorm, etc.

india Updated: Jun 06, 2018 22:29 IST
Anil Kumar
Anil Kumar
Hindustan Times, Patna
Bihar,Bihar farmers,Crop assistance
(AP File Photo)

Bihar government on Tuesday approved the roll-out of an integrated crop assistance scheme to insulate farmers from losses in production on account of natural calamities, beginning Kharif season 2018.

The new scheme is a snub to the Centre’s scheme on the ground that it was helping insurance companies more than the farmers.

The scheme, christened Bihar State Crop Assistance Scheme (Bihar Rajya Fasal Sahayata Yojna), will be universal in nature with all categories of farmers eligible for financial assistance in case of loss in production due to vagaries of nature, including situations caused by flood, drought, lightening, hailstorm, etc.

“No premium will be charged from farmers and they will be provided financial assistance for notified crops in case there is a fall in actual production due to natural calamity in comparison to set threshold limit,” said Arun Kumar Singh, principal secretary, cabinet department, while briefing the media.

The significant decision aims to encourage farmers, through financial assistance, to gear up for the production of next crop, maintain continuity in their income, and ensure an increase in their income for the development of agriculture as a profitable occupation.

“This scheme is totally different from the one floated by the Centre. This is a state government scheme. We are requesting the central government to contribute in our scheme,” said principal secretary, co-operatives, Atul Prasad.

He said that the premium for existing crop insurance scheme was shared by the Centre and the state government in 49:49 ratio while farmers had to chip in with 2%.

“But it was found that only those farmers who had availed loans were able to get some benefits. As against a premium outgo of ?495 crore by the state government, an amount of only ?221 crore was paid to the farmers during Kharif season 2016,” he said.

The new scheme will not only be free and universal but also ensure that in case of a fall in production up to 20%, a sum of ?7,500 per hectare would be paid for a maximum of two hectares to each farmer. But in case of a fall of more than 20% in production, the assistance amount would be ?10,000 per hectare for a maximum of two hectares.

The state government’s move comes against the backdrop of a debate between the JD (U) and the BJP on the possible alliance face in Bihar in the forthcoming Lok Sabha and assembly polls in Bihar. Senior party leaders of Kumar’s party, the JD (U), has been asserting that chief minister Kumar will be the face of the alliance for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls in the state.

The JD(U), which broke its 17-year-old alliance with BJP in 2013, contested the 2014 LS polls on its own and won only two of the 40 seats, as against 22 of the 25 it contested in 2009 in alliance. The BJP, which won 12 of the 15 seats in 2009, swept the 2014 polls, winning 22 while its new alliance partners, LJP and RLSP, won with six and three seats, respectively.

First Published: Jun 06, 2018 22:29 IST