Unified insurance package for farmers to cover life

For a premium of Rs 5,145 a year, farmers will be able to avail of minimum insurance cover for their crop, tractors, pump-sets, self and accidents under a package being readied along with the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (Prime Minister's Crop Insurance Scheme).

This package of seven products will be first tried in 45 districts. Expansion will be decided after the response. The Fasal Bima Yojana has officially already been launched for the entire country.

"Under the united package, any farmer who wants to avail the huge subsidy given under the new crop insurance scheme has to compulsorily go for any three components out of a total package of seven products. This would guarantee his full financial security," said a senior government official.

The Centre and state governments plan to subsidise up to 90 per cent of the total premium a farmer has to pay under the new crop insurance scheme.

The seven insurance components apart from Fasal Bima Yojana in the united package are fire insurance; a personal accident coverage of Rs 2 lakh under the Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana; agriculture pump-set insurance; agriculture tractor insurance provided by a third party; life insurance through the Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana, and student safety insurance.

The entire package will be offered by the state-run Agriculture Insurance Company or any other general insurance company.

Officials said a minimum annual insurance premium of Rs 5,145 has been calculated, presuming an average holding of 1.5 hectares and a tentative insurance cover of Rs 20,000 a hectare.

The accident coverage and the life coverage will be as provided by the already existing Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana and Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana. That apart, officials said the existing weather-based crop insurance scheme (WBCIS) launched by the earlier government would also be in circulation and is not being withdrawn. The only difference is that the premium under WBCIS would have to be at par with the Fasal Bima Yojana, which is 1.5 per cent for all rabi crops and a flat two per cent for all kharif crops.

"It is up to the state governments whether they want WBCIS or opt for the new Fasal Bima Yojana," the official explained.

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