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Govt urged to modify crop insurance scheme

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, May 12 (UNI) Lok Sabha members today cautioned the Government against ''exhausting the patience of farmers'' and asked it to take remedial course, including modifying the existing crop insurance scheme, so as to check the agrarian crisis and farmers' suicide.

Participating in a discussion on the Private Members Bill seeking to provide insurance of crops and matters connected therewith moved by Iqbal Ahmed Saradgi (Cong), they regretted that the even the UPA government did not seem to give that much attention to the farmers' problems it deserved.

Moving the Bill, Mr Saradgi said the aim of the Bill was to safeguard the interests of the farmers, who lost their crops because of natural calamities -- floods, drought, hailstorm, cyclone and weather conditions.

Stating that 80 per cent of farmers were illiterate, the Congress member suggested that the village cooperative societies should be entrusted with the task of managing the insurance scheme.

''There should be also a comprehensive mechanism and the loss of crops be assessed on the basis of actual rainfall.'' Mr Saradgi, pointing out that the cost of production in the developed countries was less in comparison with that of our country, said the insurance premium should be borne by the state governments.

Jai Prakash(Cong) suggested the new scheme should also include insurance for sugarcane, paddy, fruit ands vegetables . Their claim should be settled within 15 days.

Shalender Singh(SP) said the Government should also take care to provide adequate facilities of electricity, irrigation and agricultural inputs at nominal prices to farmers.

Balasaheb Vikhe Patil(Cong) regretted that while the coalition government took every care of the interests of industrialists and employees whom he said it could not ''confront'', it ignored the interests of farmers who were ''not organised''.

Asking for improvement in the existing scheme, Mr Patil recalled how the crops of onions and tomatoes had been sold at throwaway prices because of excessive production. '' The market for these produces should also be ensured.'' Rasa Singh Rawat( BJP) and other MPs, strongly endorsing the bill, drew the government's attention to the fact that banks did not ''entertain'' the small and marginal farmers as they pay attention only to big industrialists and the corporate sector.

Manvinder Singh (Cong) suggested that health insurance should also be extended to the families affected by natural calamities.

In brief intervention, Rural Development Minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh informed the members that the Centre had given sufficient funds to the states to construct houses of those who lost them in incidents of fire in the rural areas.

'' District collectors have been authorised to identify such houses and make on-the-spot payments,'' he added.

UNI KSA RL HT1850

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