Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The State government has decided to implement a pension scheme for farmers.

This was announced by the Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan while inaugurating Kisansree, a social security scheme being implemented by the Agriculture Department for small and marginal farmers, here on Wednesday.

He described Kisansree as a model scheme that would provide insurance cover free of cost to these categories of farmers as the government was remitting the premium in full. The fact that 5.25 lakh persons had joined the scheme so far proved its popularity, the Chief Minister said.

He said the government would provide all support and encouragement to strengthen the farmers’ faith in cultivation. The hiking of the procurement price of paddy by Rs.3 within 22 months, the expansion of the crop insurance scheme, the slashing of interest and the enactment of the debt relief law were part of it. He contended that more than natural calamities, the ill-effects of globalisation were responsible for the crisis in the agricultural sector and suicides by farmers. The government had succeeded in discouraging suicides among farmers in Kerala through effective intervention. It was the change in climate that had caused misery to farmers this time. The government had taken steps to provide maximum compensation to the farmers to make up for their loss.

Fund for farmers

Agriculture Minister Mullakkara Ratnakaran, who presided, said the government proposed to set up a fund with the help of the general public and voluntary agencies to help farmers in emergency situations. He described the Kisan Sri as the first scheme in the country to provide insurance cover to the farmers free of cost. The scheme was being implemented through the United India Insurance Company. The Chief Minister also presented the first policy under the scheme to Velayudhan of Kakkamoola in Thiruvananthapuram.

The compensation of Rs.1 lakh to the dependents of M.I. Joseph, a farmer of Thrissur, district who died in an accident was also paid at the function.

G. Karthikeyan MLA; Agricultural Production Commissioner K. Jayakumar; Agriculture Director K.K. Gangadharan; deputy general manager of United India Insurance Company Sanath Kumar; and farmers from various districts of the State were among those who attended the function.

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