Crop insurance extended to over 176 million farmers in India

The National Agriculture Insurance Scheme (NAIS) has been extended to cover over 176 million (1,761 lakh) farmers between Rabi 1999-2000 and Rabi 2010-11. Claims worth Rs21,459 crore have also been settled under the scheme during last 23 crop seasons, benefiting 47.6 million farmers.

The NAIS coverage, estimated at 10.5 million farmers in 2000-01, has gone up to 176.1 million in 2010-11, data released by the government showed.

The scheme at present is being implemented in 25 states and two union territories. Break-up of top five states in terms of number of farmers covered under the NAIS are: Maharashtra - 2,79,12,160, Andhra Pradesh - 2,49,34,592, Madhya Pradesh - 2,17,09,607,Uttar Pradesh - 1,87,04,064 and Rajasthan - 1,50,58,674.
         
The scheme is meant to protect farmers against crop losses suffered on account of natural calamities, such as drought, flood, hailstorm, cyclone pests and diseases etc. The scheme is available to all farmers (loanee and non-loanee) irrespective of their size of land holding. It is operating on the basis of area approach.

The existing scheme has been revisited as Modified National Agriculture Insurance Scheme (MNAIS) and approved for implementation in 50 districts from Rabi season 2010-11 on a pilot basis. One of the major improvements in the MNAIS is actuarial premium. Government pays subsidy in premium ranging from 40 per cent to 75 per cent to farmers. Unit area of insurance has been reduced to village panchayat level for major crops. Other improvements include: coverage of prevented sowing/planting risk, coverage of post harvest losses due to cyclone in coastal areas, on account payment up to 25 per cent advance of likely claims as immediate relief, and minimum indemnity level of 70 per cent instead of 60 per cent.