New insurance scheme for fishermen in Kerala: Minister

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Thiruvananthapuram, Jun 30: The Kerala government is proposing to introduce an insurance scheme for fishermen with the objective of providing compensation to them in case of accidents, State Fisheries Minister S Sarma told the Assembly.

As there was no provision in the Central government norms to include fishermen to provide compensation for the loss of equipment in natural calamities, the new insurance scheme would be helpful to provide them adequate compensation if they lost their fishing equipment owing to nature's fury while fishing in deep sea, he said while replying to questions by Mr T N Pratapan (Cong) and others.

Mr Sarma said the government would implement the scheme next month and the premium would be shared equally by the government and the fishermen. The maximum compensation would be 75 per cent of the cost of the equipment, he added.

He said the government would hold a detailed discussion with the trade unions before implementing the scheme.

The Cabinet had given its approval for a fish farming programme, 'Matsyakeralam', aimed at spreading fish farming to 10,000 hectares in the interior parts of the state, he said and added that the total estimated cost of the project was Rs 71.15 crore.

The state government would also take steps to provide interest-free loans to 40,000 fisherwomen to free them from exploitation by private money lenders, Mr Sarma said, adding that the government would constitute a Coastal Development Corporation for the welfare of the fishermen community.

The minister said it was for the Union government to decide whether to issue licence or not to big foreign fishing ships for fishing in the state.

UNI

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