Farmers Welfare Current Affairs - 2019
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The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has notified the norms for banks with regards to two per cent interest subvention or subsidy for short-term crop loans during 2018-19 and 2019-20 under the interest subvention scheme approved by the central government.
Interest subvention scheme
Under the interest subvention scheme, the central government provides short term crop loan up to one year for a loan up to Rs. 3 lakhs. The Central government provides an interest subvention of 2 per cent for these short term crop loans.
The RBI circular notes that interest subvention of 2 per cent will be calculated on the crop loan amount from the date of its disbursement/drawal up to the date of actual repayment of the crop loan by the farmer or up to the due date of the loan fixed by the banks whichever is earlier, subject to a maximum period of one year.
For Farmers repaying the loan promptly an additional 2 per cent interest subvention is provided. This brings down the effective rate of short-term crop loans works out to be 4 per cent per annum.
Government has appointed senior bureaucrat Ashish Kumar Bhutani as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY). He has been appointed to post till May 2020. He is IAS officer (1992 batch) of Assam-Meghalaya cadre.
Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY)
It is farmers’ welfare scheme launched in 2016 to ensure faster insurance services or reliefs to farmers. It was formulated in line with One Nation–One Scheme theme by replacing earlier two schemes National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (MNAIS) and Modified National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (MNAIS) by incorporating their best features and removing their inherent drawbacks (shortcomings). It aims to reduce the premium burden on farmers and ensure early settlement of crop assurance claim for the full insured sum.
Objectives: Provide insurance coverage and financial support to farmers in event of natural calamities, pests & diseases. Stabilise income of farmers to ensure their continuance in farming. Ensure flow of credit to the agriculture sector. Encourage farmers to adopt innovative and modern agricultural practices.
Beneficiaries: All farmers growing notified crops in notified area during season who have insurable interest in crop are eligible under this scheme. It also provides insurance benefits to Landless labourers. It is compulsory for loanee farmers availing crop loans for notified crops in notified areas and voluntary for non-loanee farmers.
Key Features of Scheme
Under this scheme, farmers need to pay uniform premium of only 2% for all Kharif crops and 1.5% for all Rabi crops. In case of annual commercial and horticultural crops, farmers have to pay premium of only 5%. The premium rates to be paid by farmers are very low and balance premium will be paid by Government. Moreover, there is no upper limit on Government subsidy, so farmers will get claim against full sum insured without any reduction.
It covers yield losses due to non-preventable risks, such as natural fire and lightning, storm, stailstorm, cyclone, typhoon, tempest, hurricane, tornado. It also covers risks due to flood, inundation and landslide, drought, dry spells, pests and diseases. It also covers post-harvest losses are also covered.
Udder this scheme, it mandatory for use of technology such as smart phones, drones etc to capture and upload data of crop cutting to reduce delays in claim payment to farmers. Remote sensing will be also used to reduce number of crop cutting experiments. The scheme is implemented on Area Approach basis. In this case, defined area (i.e. unit area of insurance) is village or above it can be geo-mapped and geo-fenced region having homogenous risk profile for notified crop.