Introduced under the new National Crop Insurance Programme

The State government has extended the Modified National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (MNAIS) to all districts in Tamil Nadu from the current rabi season (October to March) this year.

The MNAIS is already in operation on a pilot basis in Cuddalore, Sivagangai and Namakkal districts.

The Centre had introduced the new scheme, under the new National Crop Insurance Programme (NCIP), replacing the earlier National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (NAIS).

The State government, in an order issued on December 30, 2013, has accorded an administrative approval for extending the MNAIS for agricultural and horticultural crops from the 2013-14 rabi season to the remaining 28 districts other than the three pilot districts.

As per the order, villages with more than 20 hectares under a crop in the season will be notified. The Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme stands withdrawn from this season.

Unit of insurance

A salient feature of the MNAIS is that the village is taken as the unit of insurance, whereas under the NAIS the block or firka was the unit.

Farmers have long been complaining that they have not benefited much from the NAIS, as compensation is given only if the notified crop area in the entire firka suffers damage.

Agriculture Department officials said that farmers would now stand to benefit as the crop yield would be calculated more accurately reflecting the situation in nearly 90 per cent of area in a village under the new scheme.

S.Renganathan, secretary, Cauvery Delta Farmers Welfare Association, welcomed the extension of the MNAIS, though the premium payable by farmers could be slightly higher. “Taking the village as the unit of insurance is definitely an improvement,” he said.

He suggested fixation of different premium structures for food and cash crops to make the insurance scheme commercially viable.

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, in a recent letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, said that the NCIP would increase the burden of premium on farmers of Tamil Nadu ‘manifold’. Under the old scheme, the stipulated premium level was 2 per cent to 3.5 per cent of the sum insured, depending on the season and crop, whereas for getting the State government’s assistance, farmers had to pay only one per cent to 1.75 per cent of the sum insured. Now, this would go up to 3.75 to 4.8 per cent.

She had suggested that the additional premium burden be borne equally by the State government and also by the Centre.

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