Though north-east region is expected to get ‘below normal’ rainfall, due to quantitatively higher precipitation compared to other regions, it is not much of a concern.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Thursday predicted rainfall this month to be normal, even as monsoon showers may resume after July 15. The rainfall in July, the wettest of the four-month monsoon season (June-September), may be around 96% of the long period average (LPA) of 28.5 cm, said M Mohapatra, director general of IMD. The second fortnight of this month would receive much higher rains than the first, he added.
Meanwhile, given that monsoon has been stalled since June 19, the agriculture ministry launched a week-long campaign until July 7 to persuade to enroll for the crop insurance scheme, Prime Minister Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY).
There is no change in the seasonal forecast of 101% of LPA for the entire country and also the rainfed area (around 52% of total land) may record ‘above normal’ rain.
Though prediction of a normal monsoon remains same, IMD on June 1 had revised upwards its April forecast of 98% of LPA (88 cm during 1961-2010). Rainfall between 96 to 104 % of LPA is considered ‘normal’, between 90-96% of LPA is termed ‘below normal and between 104-110% as ‘above normal’.
The weather bureau has also predicted ‘normal’ rainfall over north-west and south peninsula regions and ‘above normal’ over Central India. Though north-east region is expected to get ‘below normal’ rainfall, due to quantitatively higher precipitation compared to other regions, it is not much of a concern.
“Since 65-70% of the sowing takes place only in July, farmers will be under tremendous pressure to complete the activities in 15 days as first fortnight is not likely to bring sufficient rains,” an analyst said.
Agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar said the crop insurance awareness campaign is aimed at providing security cover to each farmer. He said that there is a need to expand the scheme in the country, so that its coverage can be increased and more farmers get benefits. Since its launch in 2016, the scheme has insured over 29.16 crore farmers until 2020-21 crop year.
Farmers’ interest in crop insurance schemes hasn’t ebbed much, after the enrolment was made voluntary for loanee farmers effective 2020-21 crop year (July-June) as 5.96 farmers joined either of the two schemes –PMFBY and RWBCIS — in 2020-21 compared with 6.1 crore in 2019-20, down just 2.3%. This is despite the fact that the schemes were not rolled out in Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Jharkhand during 2020-21.
Under PMFBY, premium to be paid by farmers is fixed at 1.5% of the sum insured for rabi crops and 2% for kharif crops, while it is 5% for cash crops. The balance premium is split equally between the Centre and states.
Throughout the week, the campaign will cover all notified districts under kharif 2021 season, with special focus on 75 aspirational/tribal districts identified by the agriculture ministry where crop insurance penetration is low. There will be multiple engagement activities with farmers of these districts through PMFBY vans, radio, regional newspapers and wall paintings.