Bhubaneswar: Ahead of the 2024 Assembly and Lok Sabha elections, the State Government has decided to offer free crop insurance coverage to farmers from Kharif-2023.
This was announced by Cooperation Minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak and Principal Secretary Sanjeev Chadha here at a joint press briefing on Monday.
Shri Chadha has been working on this Project for quite sometime and it will lessen the hurdles of the farmers to receive a hassle free insurance facility, said a senior official.
Following a departmental review meeting taken by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Minister Shri Nayak said to protect the farmer from climatic uncertainties Cooperation Department has been implementing Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) since 2016 Kharif and 84.45 lakh farmers’ applications have been enrolled during 2022-23 under the scheme.
During the year 2021-22, 31.93 lakh farmers’ application count got the claim benefit and Rs. 1166.02 crore of claim transferred to the accounts of these farmers. The claim disbursement process of 2022-23 is underway, he said.
For the next three years crop insurance cycle i.e. Kharif-2023 to Rabi 2025-26 farmers’ share of premium (2% of sum insured) will be paid by the State Government, making crop insurance completely free for farmers. This initiative is unique in the country, the Minister said.
Cooperation Department has been mandated to provide all sorts of agricultural production inputs which includes credit for short term seasonal agricultural operations, certified seeds, fertilizers etc. through a network of 2710 Primary Agricultural Cooperative Societies (PACS) and Large Size Adivasi Multi-Purpose Cooperative Societies (LAMPCS) functioning at the Gram Panchayat level.
A three-tier cooperative credit structure functions in Odisha with 2710 PACS/LAMPCS at the Gram Panchayat level, 17 District Central Cooperative Banks (DCCBs) at the district level and Odisha State Cooperative bank ltd (OSCB) at the State level.
During Kharif- 2022, he said, crop loan to the extent of Rs. 8710.78 crores has been disbursed to 18.02 Lakh farmers. During Rabi 2022-23 Crop loan to the tune of Rs.7972.79 Crores has been disbursed to 16.55 lakh farmers.
Complying to the commitments of election manifesto, the Department of Co-operation has enhanced the interest free loan limit from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh from Kharif-2022 i.e. April 1, 2022, and about 7 lakh additional small and marginal farmers have directly reaped the benefit from this farmer centric decision of Government.
In the last 20 years, the ambit of crop loan has expanded exponentially from 6.40 lakh farmers in 2000-01 to 34.57 lakh farmers in 2022-23.
The amount of loan extended to farmers during this period has also registered a mammoth 38-fold increase i.e from Rs. 438.36 crore to Rs. 16683.56 crore.
The PACS and LAMPCS during 2022-23 have made available 1.12 lakh quintals of certified seeds and 1.69 lakhs MT of chemical fertiliser to the farmers at their doorstep.
To further bring these Cooperative organisations closer to the rural populace and make them more accessible, the Department has gone one step ahead to increase the network of these credit cooperatives by organising 1451 new PACS and LAMPCS with the ultimate aim to have one PACS/LAMPCS in every Gram Panchayat.
Working on the 5T mantra, the Department has fixed an ambitious target to make all transactions in all these credit cooperatives online and has successfully onboarded 2295 PACS/LAMPCS in the Core Banking Solution (CBS) platform and enforced online transactions to bring in transparency by use of technology, which is first of its kind in the entire country, Chadha said.
Further, all 66 Regulated Market Committees (RMCs) functioning under the control of the Department of Co-operation have been onboarded in e- NAM, the Pan-India online platform to facilitate online trading.
Odisha ranks first among the 30 States in terms of number of FPOs registered in e-NAM portal and ranks 4th in terms of Inter-Mandi trade value, he pointed out.
To further facilitate agri-marketing, the Odisha State Marketing Board (OSAM Board) under the aegis of Cooperation Department has planned to organise Buyer-Seller meets in all the RMCs, he said, adding the First Buyer-seller meet has been organised on May 18 at Nabarangpur RMC and 17 Tri-partite MoUs signed between buyers, sellers and the RMC.
The Principal Secretary also informed that the Department has taken certain transformative initiatives in the interest of farmers of the State.
The Department of Co-operation has linked all market yards, Municipal Markets, Krushak Bazars with e-NAM.
Grading and cooling infrastructure has been set up in all major production clusters of fruits/vegetables to reduce losses and empower Mission Shakti Groups/FPOs.
Capital Region Agriculture Market was established at Jatni while State Cooperative Training Institute was set up at Gopalpur-on-Sea.
Over 40 lakh farmers were brought under the coverage of cooperative crop loan dispensation mechanism while insurance coverage under crop insurance scheme was enhanced to over 15 lakhs farmers.
Besides, the Department has set up required infrastructure for banking/storage in all PACS and operationalize over 3000 Micro-ATMs in PACS to facilitate NPCI approved payment transactions.