Over 90 lakh farmers have benefited from the crop insurance scheme during the Kharif season last year and the Rabi season in 2016-17, a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was told here today. The prime minister was informed that claims of over Rs 7,700 crore have already been paid to farmers under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, according to a PMO statement. Officials told the meeting that latest technology including smart phones, remote sensing, satellite data and drones are being used for speedy data collection with regard to crop insurance claims, it added.
The meeting was convened by the prime minister to review the progress of two key schemes related to the agriculture sector – Soil Health Cards and Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, the statement said. With regard to Soil Health Cards, the prime minister was informed that 16 states and Union Territories have completed the first cycle of distribution and the remaining are likely to complete the same within weeks. At the meeting, Modi said appropriate checks should be undertaken for variation, both within a sampling grid, and across different soil testing labs. This would help ensure quality in the reports, he added.He emphasized that soil health cards should be printed in the local dialect of an area so that the farmers are able to read and understand them easily, the statement said.
Encouraging the rapid adoption of latest technology, the prime minister said soil testing should eventually be possible through hand-held devices.
He urged the officials to explore the possibility of involving start-ups and entrepreneurs in this exercise. Senior officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, NITI Aayog and PMO were present during the review meeting.