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Government is considering to launch farm income insurance scheme so that production and price can be tackled under single policy instrument. The objective of this scheme would be to protect the farmers by giving them insurance cover for their production and market risks. The scheme aims to ensure continuous production, protection to livelihood and crops, encouragement to multiplicity of crops, which may promote competition from the angle of exports.
Mentioning the sea change in agricultural scenario over the past few years, Union Minister of Agriculture, Radha Mohan Singh said, “Foodgrain production has touched a record figure of 264.38 million tonnes during the year 2013-14. It is a matter of great pride that today we are producing more than our requirement of consumption. Even the states considered to be backward are producing foodgrains in excess. Our godowns have adequate foodgrains and we are in a position to meet any adverse contingency.”
During the year 2013-14, India exported agricultural products worth Rs. 2.41 lakh crore. The country anticipates to exceed the targeted growth rate of 4% during the XIII Five Year Plan.
Singh stressed further, “We are facing difficulty to deal with storage capacity of our godowns and our procurement agencies like Food Corporation of India (FCI) are facing financial and structural difficulties. As such, mere subsidy cannot ensure guarantee for appropriate income to our farmers. Appropriate management of agricultural produce and improvement in processing technology can ensure good prices to farmers and they can also contribute to it.”
The Minister elaborated that the Government has been implementing since 1985 crop insurance to protect farmers from adverse affect of natural calamities at national level. Based on experience gained from implementation of farm insurance schemes, consultation with state Governments and stakeholders, a revised scheme is being considered which may be more conducive to farmers’ needs.
During 2003-2004 rabi season some states and districts had started a scheme under which farmers were entitled to get compensation in the event of their getting lesser income from their production than guaranteed income. However, this scheme was applicable in case of rice and wheat only and it could not be implemented further.
The government has invited suggestions from all states to protect the income of farmers by way of giving a concept paper for insurance scheme so that difficulties experienced in the past could be overcome.