New Delhi: Government today said it will introduce changes in the National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (NAIS) as several states have pointed out flaws in it.
Replying to supplementaries in during Question Hour in Rajya Sabha, agriculture minister Sharad Pawar said “there have been complaints from several states regarding the scheme and they have suggested changes in its current format”.
Pawar said that while 27 states implement this scheme, many others, including Punjab, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland do not do so. “Punjab has pointed out that compensation given under it in case of crop damage is not adequate, therefore it does not implement the scheme,” he said.
The minister added that the Centre after receiving complaints about the scheme from states, had formed a group to look into the loopholes.
“The group has given its recommendations, which are currently with Centre. We will discuss these recommendations with state governments and then implement them,” Pawar said.
The scheme is in operation since 1999-2000, and is area-based. Pawar said states implementing it can notify any contiguous area including ‘village´ as unit of insurance, subject to the condition that states have past yield area data and the capacity to undertake requisite number of crop-cutting experiments to make assessment of yield.
The minister said that the scheme is available to all states on voluntary basis and they are free to opt in favour of the scheme. It envisages coverage of all food crops, oilseeds and annual commercial crops in respect of which past yield data is available for adequate number of years.
While replying to another supplementary, Pawar informed the House said that the country has procured 30 million tonnes of rice and there is no shortage.
To a supplementary on delay in onset of monsoon, the minister said the government has made contingency plans to tackle emergency situations arising out of inadequate monsoon.
“We can shift or change crops in case monsoon gets delayed in certain parts of the country,” Pawar said.
He added that progress of monsoon slowed down after first week of June, causing a delay of about one to two weeks over Telengana, Maharashtra, eastern Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Bihar and eastern UP.
“As a result, some impact on sowing of kharif crops like rice, groundnut, and soyabean was observed. However, after revival of monsoon from 25 June onwards, sowing operations have gained momentum. The situation is being watched closely in coordination with states,” Pawar said.
He said it will be ensured that states do not have shortage of seeds.