Patna: Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh on Saturday said the Central government is working on a new crop insurance scheme to help farmers tackle flood, drought and plant diseases in a better manner.
He said it will be launched soon across the country as the existing scheme has not proved to be beneficial to the farmers. Details will be unveiled during the Budget session of the Parliament, he added.
Mr Singh also said hoarding is behind the rising prices of onion despite its all-time record production in the country, and said directions have been issued by the Central government to all states to act tough on hoarders.
“The present National Crop Insurance Programme has not benefited our farmers. Our government is working on a new crop insurance scheme in the country so that the farmers could be safe when floods, drought and diseases strike their crops,” Mr Singh told media persons.
Mr Singh, who is in the eastern state of Bihar on a two-day trip, said the Central government will consult Chief Ministers and Agriculture Ministers of all the states regarding the new crop insurance policy and make efforts to incorporate their suggestions.
Talking about rising onion prices, the Union Minister said: “There has been a record and bumper harvest of onion in the country and there is no supply gap, so there is no reason that its prices should rise. This is a handiwork of hoarders and the Central government has issued directions to all states to take action against such persons.”
Mr Singh said agriculture and farmers are the top priority of the Central government as improving their condition is a must to strengthen India. He said a policy to improve and conserve livestock in the country is also on the cards along with Soil Health Card and Pradhan Mantri Gram Sinchai Yojana.
The Union Minister met state Agriculture minister Narendra Singh and other officials and reviewed the Centre-sponsored schemes. He said Bihar has been lagging in spending the funds allocated under the Centre-sponsored schemes.
“My ministry's data shows that Rs. 785.74 crore was allocated to Bihar to spend on various agricultural schemes, but the state government spent only Rs. 386.98 crore. This is not good for the development of agriculture,” said Mr Singh.