The Central Government has asked State Level Bankers’ Committees to facilitate timely restructuring of crop loans. With restructuring, the loan repayment period would be extended. The Home Ministry has also written to states to keep 10% of SDRF fund reserved for “local disasters” such as heavy rain which are to be declared at par with national disasters and use this money for distressed farmers. These initiatives are a part to the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi’s announcement of major relief measures to the farmers and the poor engaged in Agriculture affected by crop damage in the recent unseasonal rains and hailstorms.
While the Insurance companies have been asked to settle the claims expeditiously, State Governments have also been asked to ensure early completion of formalities for settling the insurance claims of farmers. Under the Modified National Insurance Scheme, the farmers are eligible to get claim of up to 25% without waiting for the result of crop cutting experiments. Similarly, under Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme, farmers are eligible to receive the claims within 45 days from end of the risk period. The State Governments have been asked to have meetings with insurance companies so that the process of settlement of claims is expedited.
Another very important decision has been taken that the norms of NDRF/SDRF will automatically be reviewed during April each year based on annual inflation derived from Wholesale Price Index and would be rounded off to next multiple of 100.
In a major initiative, The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has already announced that the farmers will now be eligible for input subsidy if 33 percent or more of their crop is damaged. Earlier, they used to get input subsidy only when the crop damage was 50 percent or more. The Prime Minister has also announced enhancement of the existing quantum of financial assistance by 50% in case of crop losses. These compensatory measures have been carried out after revising the norms under National Disaster Response Fund/ State Disaster Response Fund which will be effective from 1st April 2015. However, a special dispensation has been made for the farmers affected by hailstorms in different parts of the country during February/March 2015 and they will be given assistance under the new norms.
Various aspects of National Disaster Response Fund norms:
The enhanced input subsidy norms in various categories are as follows:
Among other measures, to alleviate the distress of the farmers following the vagaries of nature, include:
Providing respite to the small and marginal farmers engaged in animal husbandry, the Government has announced enhanced financial assistance.
Prime Minister, Shri. Narendra Modi directed his Cabinet Colleagues to visit states affected by unseasonal rains and hailstorms. Various teams consisting of Union Home Minister, Shri Rajnath Singh, Union Finance Minister Shri ArunJaitley, Union Agriculture Minister, Shri Radha Mohan Singh, Union Minister of Consumer Affairs Shri Ram Vilas Paswan and Ministers of State for Agriculture, Shri Sanjeev Kumar Balyan and Shri Mohanbhai Kalyanjibhai Kundaria visited affected States recently to assess the crop damage because of the unseasonal rains. A team led by Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Shri Nitin Gadkari including Minister of State for Drinking Water and Sanitation Shri Ram Kripal Yadav, Minister of State for Home Affairs, Shri Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhary visited Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday (7th April 2015) to assess the damage to the crops.
Meanwhile, the Agriculture Ministry has directed states to disburse relief from State Disaster Response Fund without any delay and in case of shortfall, they should use their State Contingency Funds as well as submit their memoranda to avail assistance from National Disaster Response Fund. Agriculture Ministry has also directed the State Governments to ensure faster processing of claims under the agriculture insurance schemes.
In view of damage to onion and potato crops, the Agriculture Minister Shri Radha Mohan Singh has written to all states including Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and West Bengal where there is likelihood of increase in their prices, to purchase and maintain stocks of the same under Market Intervention Scheme.
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