The new strategy will be launched early in 2016 and will use technology to assess damage to fields.
In what might turn out to be the first major step taken by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in addressing rural struggles, a crop insurance program is set to launch in early 2016 in order to help to protect farmers against the costs of damage to their fields and, therefore, their revenues.
The program will use technology such as drones in order to conduct more accurate damage assessments.
Over the last few growing seasons, farmers have been the victims of unseasonal rains that were followed by two consecutive years of drought. This has caused tremendous hardships among the growers that provide the agriculture to feed more than two out of every three people in India – a country with a population of about 1.25 billion people. This problem has grown to such a degree that it has caused a considerable political shift in certain rural yet highly important states in the country, such as Bihar. A new crop insurance program has now been designed to help to ease the strain of these unpredictable weather events.
The crop insurance program in India came as a response to some extremely heartbreaking events in the country.
Many farmers committed suicide in 2015 as a result of having been faced with overwhelming debts. The problems that have occurred as a result of the issues in security payouts for crop damage were the “biggest reason for destroying farm families,” said Radha Mohan Singh, the Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare. He explained that “I completely believe that in the beginning of the new year we’ll gift (a new insurance scheme) to farmers,” and has launched two mobile apps for farmers to use to check crop damage insurance details and to verify farm produce prices.
He feels that by implementing this new program, it will help to make sure growers receive their payments in a timely way. This has not been the case under the current system, in which payments experience massive delays, “destroying so many families.”
Modi will be using 2016 to create a shift in the budget priorities in order to place a greater spotlight on social incentives such as the crop insurance program. At the same time, he will slow down the spending on infrastructure, which has been among his main priorities since he took office.