Only 5 per cent Farmers knows about crop-insurance scheme. By Amit Dwivedi

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Even after seven years of launching the programme, there is no awareness about this scheme even in different stakeholders, forget about the farmers. A study done by Gorakhpur Environmental Action Group in Uttar Pradesh revealed that only 5% farmers know about crop-insurance scheme whereas 95 % of them had never heard about it. But they were eager to know about it.
Study further revealed that ‘more than 70% of farmers have Kisan Credit Cards and hence they are covered under crop insurance by default. Government orders do not reach the departments in time due to improper communication. Most of the farmers were eager to get involved in such schemes but had no resource to get information.
The Agriculture Insurance Company of India (AIC) had launched a new crop insurance programme in India, including Uttar Pradesh in 2000. Several government institutions were given responsibilities to execute the programme with specific and defined roles in which AIC was identified as the main implementing agency.
“Though the government of India has made state and district level monitoring committees for the proper implementation of crop insurance, these committees are not working properly. Commercial Banks are not performing their assigned roles because of which the entire process of crop insurance is suffering. Banks do not collect, compile and submit the premium amount to lead banks on scheduled time which causes delay in compiling the list of insured farmers. Monthly co-ordination meetings of government departments are not being held properly which is mandatory at district level. Co-operative banks are performing well in comparison with Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) and commercial banks. Inter department co-ordination is very poor. This insurance scheme is a multi departmental approach which needs a strong co-ordination amongst various departments. They need to compliment each other's work and if there is no co-ordination between them then the entire process gets hampered," said Dr. Shiraz A Wajih, President, Gorakhpur Environmental Action Group.
Mutual efforts of NGOs and government departments are required to improve the reach of the crop insurance scheme. They should try to advocate this scheme so that the state government can take up the issue in the mainstream of development works. Banks are not active enough to collect and compile the insurance premium which causes delay in insurance premium submission. Generally, compensation process takes more than one and half years which is too long a wait period for the farmers and it defeats the very purpose of the scheme. The involvement of several departments makes the process of timely compilation of premium and disbursement of losses very complex.'
Proper knowledge and implementation of Crop insurance scheme can increase the food-grain production in India and can reduce the risk of crops losses. This will instill a sense of security in the farmers.

(The Author is health and development journalist. He can be contacted at: amit.dwivedi.lko@gmail.com)

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