Farm loans to be restructured due to loss of crop
New Delhi: The Central Government has asked State Level Bankersâ€™ 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 â€œlocal disastersâ€ 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 Modiâ€™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:
Â· In case of agriculture crops, horticulture crops and annual plantation crops, the input subsidy has been hiked from Rs 4500 per hectare to Rs 6800 per hectare in rainfed areas and restricted to sown areas. In the assured irrigated areas, it has been hiked from Rs 9000 per hectare to Rs 13500 per hectare.
Â· In case of perennial crops, the quantum of input subisdy has been hiked from Rs 12000 to Rs 18000 per hectare.
Â· For those, engaged in sericulture, the input subsidy has been hiked from Rs 3200 – Rs 4000 per hectare to Rs 4800 â€“ Rs 6000 per hectare.
Among other measures, to alleviate the distress of the farmers following the vagaries of nature, include:
Â· The assistance for land and other losses due to silting of agricultural land has been increased from Rs 8100 per hectare to Rs 12200 per hectare. It will also be applicable to removal of debris of agricultural land in hilly areas and restoration or repair of fish farms.
Â· In case of loss of substantial portion of land due to land slide, avalanche, change of course of rivers, the existing level of financial assistance has been hiked from Rs 25000 per hectare to Rs 37500 per hectare for small and marginal farmers.
Providing respite to the small and marginal farmers engaged in animal husbandry, the Government has announced enhanced financial assistance.
Â· For the replacement of milch animals, the assistance has been increased from Rs 16400 to Rs 30000 for buffalo/cow/camel/yak etc .
Â· In case of replacement of sheep/goat, the financial assistance has been raised from Rs 1650 to Rs 3000.