Nagesh Prabhu

The scheme is being implemented on a pilot basis

Rs. 5.24 crore paid for crop lost in 2007

BANGALORE: With monsoon becoming weak and drought looming large over the State, the Government has extended the weather-based crop insurance scheme to five more districts, covering 12 crops this kharif season.

Being implemented on a pilot basis for the second consecutive year, the scheme aims at providing insurance to the cultivator against adverse weather such as deficit and excessive rainfall, frost, heat (temperature) and relative humidity, which affect the crops.

The scheme was implemented in 10 districts, covering eight crops last kharif season.

Officials of the Directorate of Agriculture told The Hindu that the scheme covered drought-prone Bangalore Rural, Ramangaram, Chickballapur, Hassan, Bidar, Bijapur, Bellary, Chitradurga, Gadag, Gulbarga, Haveri, Shimoga, Kolar, Koppal, and Tumkur districts.

Sowing

The percentage of area where sowing had been completed in most of these districts was less than 10. July 15 is the last date for farmers who had borrowed crop loans to submit applications for the scheme.

About three lakh farmers will benefit from it. It is being implemented at the hobli-level because of availability of weather data for 25 years.

The Agricultural Insurance Corporation (AIC) has selected 15 States for implementation of the weather-based scheme during this kharif season.

The scheme covers greengram, blackgram, soybean, toor dal, jowar, ragi, maize, groundnut, chilli, onion, cotton and sunflower. The officials said that the authorities considered the rainfall from June to November end in the 15 districts. Farmers were eligible for compensation if their crops withered after sowing till the period they matured. Irrigated land was not covered under the scheme, they added.

Claims

Since the Agricultural Insurance Corporation disburses claims soon after the kharif season, a large number of farmers have applied for the scheme. For the loss of kharif crops in 2007, the company has settled claims to the tune of Rs. 5.24 crore of 47,000 farmers. The farmers’ contribution was only Rs. 1.59 crore. A large number of farmers, who had lost their crops on account of floods in September last in Gadag and Haveri districts, have received compensation under the scheme.

The Government is continuing the regular National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (NAIS) for the kharif season. The scheme is yield-based and covers 30 crops.

Under NAIS, the Centre has not contributed its share of Rs. 28 crore to settle the claims of 65,000 farmers who lost their kharif crop in 2007. The State Government has released its share of Rs. 35 crore.

The department contacted the senior officials in the Union Agriculture Department, and the State was expecting funds from the Centre any time, the officials said.

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