New Delhi: “The farmer’s one year goes waste. To give him security, only one thing comes to mind, and that is crop insurance,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in his first “Mann ki Baat” of 2016.
“In the new year, the Central government has given a given a big gift to farmers — Pradhan Mantri Crop Insurance Scheme. This scheme has been brought not for the purpose that it should be praised or the PM should be hailed,” Mr Modi added. He said for so many years, there had been talk about crop insurance, but “not more than 20-25 per cent” of the country’s farmers had been able to benefit from such schemes.
“Can we take a pledge that we should connect at least 50 per cent of farmers to this scheme in two years? I need this help from you. Because if a farmer joins the scheme, he will get huge help during a natural calamity,” he added.
Mr Modi said this time the scheme had got “wide acceptability because it has been made quite extensive and easy and involves use of technology. Not only this. If something happens to the crop within 15 days after harvest, even then help is assured.” Usage of technology will ensure speedy assessment and disbursement of compensation, he said.
“The biggest thing is that the rate of premium has been kept so low which nobody would have imagined. The rate of premium for kharif crop has been kept at two per cent, while for rabi crop it is one-and-a-half per cent... Now tell me, if any farmer is deprived of the benefits of this scheme, will he not suffer a loss? I want the awareness about this scheme to spread,” the PM added.
The Prime Minister also referred to the “Start-Up India” scheme rolled out on January 16 and said it had infused new energy among young people. Mr Modi said there was a wrong notion earlier that the initiative was limited to the sophisticated area of information technology, but now it had become clear there were enormous opportunities in this programme for all kinds of sectors and areas, which includes farming. He gave some examples of startups in the farming sector in Sikkim, which was recently declared as an “organic state”, India’s first. Mr Modi invited more such examples of startup initiatives.