States can set up crop insurance firms: Minister

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New Delhi, July 12 (IANS) States can set up their own insurance companies if premium payment under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFSY) was putting pressure on them, Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said on Wednesday.

“Some states have said the premium amount is too much, which is putting pressure on them. So we asked them to form their own companies. Form companies and let there be competition,” Singh said on Facebook Live.

The crop insurance scheme PMFBY, which started last year, is aimed at expanding coverage of farm insurance, in which a farmer pays just 1.5 to 5 per cent while the Centre and states pay the remaining amount, each paying equal share.

He added that the insurance scheme was transparent as states were supposed to notify the crops to be brought under the scheme and invite tenders.

Kerala and Bihar had not contributed their share in the scheme, which delayed compensation process, he said.

Farmers have to pay 1.5 per cent premium for Rabi crops, 2 per cent for Kharif crops and 5 per cent for commercial crops.

Singh said about 72,000 farmers have been compensated for crop loss through the scheme till now. However, he said states were required to use technology and collect figures quickly to ensure farmers are given compensation immediately.

“Our scheme is aimed at providing compensation immediately by using technology, smartphones. States need to accelerate data collection. We have given them drone technology training. They can also use space technology,” he said.

The minister also said that the credit flow to farmers had increased after the Narendra Modi government came to power.

“In 2013-14, the budgetary allocation was just Rs seven lakh crore. In 2017-18, it has been increased to Rs 15 lakh crore. It shows we have taken measures to save farmers from private money lenders,” he said.

–IANS

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