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For farming community's welfare make "crop insurance" mandatory
Due to unseasonal rains and natural calamity there are huge monetary losses resulting in pouring of news of farmers committing suicide in various parts of the country.

Two factors - one the price of the produce of the farmers must be set up by the government in such a manner that farmers may be able to satisfy their basic needs like food, cloth, shelter, education, health care, clean environment and social security and second in the event of any natural calamity, he must be compensated suitably to live till the harvesting of the next crop.

In fact, in order to make compensation fair and right, the crop loss assessment needs to be shifted from the block level to individual cultivators.  It must cover the prevailing level of land rent plus the input cost.

There is no denial of the fact that agriculture is affected adversely by vagaries of nature cyclically after every four to five years in some parts of the country.  Thus, to help the farmer's community in distress the country, the country has to set up some principle based norms to access the loss and the amount to be compensated.

The Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) should not work only where there are huge losses in the country.  It must fix the compensation amount from time to time for crop damage keeping in mind the ongoing land lease rent plus the cost of inputs for that crop.

The other alternative to compensate the farmer is to introduce crop insurance which will cover both big and small farmers.  Crop insurance has to be made mandatory to help the farmers whose crop is damaged from the funds generated from the insurance premiums.

Frankly speaking, all are in favour of introduction of crop insurance but worry about the procedure for compensation which should be simplified with transparency. Rather fifty per cent of the compensation should be paid to the cultivators as an ad hoc payment within 15 days while the entire compensation be cleared through cheque payments within one month from when harvesting begins.

Still a detailed study is needed to set the premium amount suitable to the farmers and requirement of funds keeping in view the losses in the past due to damage of crops on account of natural calamities.

After meeting few persons connected in this issue - farmers, insurance company, agriculture department and common man to have first hand view to give an input while formulating the crop insurance policy.

Parveen  Dhawan, a retiree and now an agriculturist, owns 30 acres of land is of the view that government should come forward with premium and compensation amount first.  If the farmer after paying the premium is not compensated for the actual expenses incurred to cultivate the crop plus a part of the earning on its marketing, then there is no use of introducing the crop insurance. Anyhow, the concept is good to help the farmers whose crop is damaged.

S.K. Saluja, Surveyor and Valuer of an Insurance Company was of the view that the most important factor involved while deciding the compensation after the crop insurance is that it should be on yield basis with foolproof transparency while making assessment as the graph of moral values among the human-being has gone down. Higher the premium, higher the compensation formula can be worked out with no hidden or star like conditions.

Dr. Resham Singh Sandhu, Agri. Officer, who has a good experience of the schemes of the government and problems of the farmers' community, opined that crop insurance should be in group of farmers at village level as a cluster type scheme. The government should make the best use of Punjab Remote Sensing Centre (PRSC), an autonomous organization under the Department of Agri. Govt. of Punjab, which is the apex body in the State for all Remote Sensing (RS), Geographic Information System (GIS) and Global Positioning System (GPS) related works.

He said that it provides agro-ecosystems and crop modeling services and solutions.  It will be the best option to carry out surveys for monitoring and assessment of the extent of the losses. However, the compensation to the farmer must be hundred percent at MSP rate based on the yield of the area.

Monu Maini, a young farmer by virtue of inherited profession, having an agriculture land at the outskirts of the city, when contacted to share his views on crop insurance, said, "Crop insurance is a very good scheme and each farmer should come forward to adopt it when it is formulated.  By paying the premium, the farmer's community will help each other through the insurance companies, in the event of any natural calamity in any part of the country.  Besides, the government should also contribute something in the premium amount to enhance the compensation of loss amount.  However, there should be total transparency in assessment of losses by the experts."

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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