Himachal apple

With a view to compensate the huge loss to the farmers and Horticulturalists of the State due to harsh weather conditions and untimely rain and heavy snow, the State Government has released relief of Rs 9.14 crore under the Disaster Relief Fund to the affected which is the ever largest cover for the first time. Besides, various horticultural and agri-inputs have been provided to the affected farmers and horticulturalists under Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme (WBCIS) on pilot basis to safeguard horticulture industry which is a major revenue earner for the people of the hill state. The State government has extended the insurance scheme in all the blocks of the State in 2015-16.

As per data, in the last two years 1, 06,113 farmers were covered under WBCIS for which the State government has borne 25 percent of premium share amounting to Rs.12.33 crore to the insurance companies to compensate the losses. The Agriculture Insurance Company (AIC) of India Limited, HDFC ERGO and ICICI Lombard will be the implementing agencies for the hail storm Add on cover for the Rabi season 2014-15

During 2013-14, as many as 64782 farmers were covered under WBCIS for apple crop who had insured their 1,26,14,524 trees for which the State government had borne 25 percent premium share of Rs. 6.17 Crore subsidy with a claim of Rs. 8.14 Crore. During Rabi season 2014-15, the scheme has been extended for apple crop from 17 to 35 blocks and for mango crop to 42 blocks. The additional fruit crop namely Citrus (Kinnow) has been covered in 14 blocks, Plum in 12 blocks and Peach in four development blocks.

During Rabi, 2014-15 Add on/Index Plus scheme for hail storm under the WBCIS will be implemented in Shimla, Kullu and Mandi districts. The apple crop which has already been insured by the farmers under the WBCIS for the Rabi season 2014-15 shall be covered under the Add on/Index cover. In Shimla district, the reference unit areas or blocks to be covered Add on/Index Plus scheme for hail storm are Theog, Jubbal and Kotkhai, Chopal, Chirgaon, Rohru, Nankhari, Rampur, Narkanda, Mashobra and Basantpur. Similarly, Nagar, Ani, Banjar, Nirmand and Kullu in Kullu district and
Karsog and Janjhelli of Mandi district will also be covered under the scheme.

The sum insured for Add-on/Index Plus cover is Rs. 115 per tree in the age category of 5-15 years and Rs. 230 per tree in category of 15-40 years of age.The rate of subsidy on premium as financed by the Government of India under this add-on cover shall remain same as fixed for the WBCIS i.e out of the total premium, 50 percent shall be payable by the insured cultivator and the balance shall be borne by the Central and the State Government on 50:50 basis. Net premium to be payable by the apple growers for the two different age category under add-on/index plus cover of WBCIS during Rabi 2014-15 season are Rs 6.90 per tree for trees in age category of 5-15 years and Rs. 13.80 for trees in age category of 15-40 years.

Period of insurance for hail as Add-on Cover is from 10th April, 2015 to 30th June 2015. The Add-on cover is available only to those farmers who have insured their apple crop under WBCIS during Rabi 2014-15 season and is voluntary for both non-loanee and loanee farmers. The farmers has to declare and insure all his eligible apple trees in the orchard under the two age categories in a contiguous areas for this Add-on cover irrespective of the number of trees insured under WBCIS cover and partial insurance of apple trees is not allowed for this add-on cover. It is compulsory for all farmers seeking this coverage to have a bank account with the bank branch where he tenders the premium and proposal. Only those farmers who satisfy all these conditions can opt for this add-on cover and accordingly bank branches/ insurance intermediaries shall insure the same before accepting the proposal forms from individual farmers.

Add on/Index Plus cover under WBCIS shall operate on individual farmer assessment of losses. Risk covered is losses to insured apple crop caused by hailstorm. Losses due to hailstorm/cloud burst would be assessed at individual farm level jointly by a team comprising of officials of horticulture department, revenue department loss assessors deputed by insurance company, central government and other concerned agencies. The loss shall be assessed as percent loss to the normal crop. The claims payable to the growers would be paid in proportion to the loss suffered out of his sum insured.

Payment of claims, when payable will be made to nodal banks within 15 days from receipt of the survey report and such other documents as may be required for processing of claim. The claim payment will be made to banks, who in turn will credit the amount to farmer’s account. The banks shall be paid, service charges by the implementing agencies at the rate of 4 percent of net premium collected by them.

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Rahul Bhandari is Editor of TheNewsHimachal and has been part of the digital world for last 15 years.