GUWAHATI, Feb 6 (IANS): Farmers across India have been making claims for crop losses under the central government's National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (NAIS), but those in the northeastern states, mainly in Assam, are not even aware any such scheme exists, said an expert.
K.M. Buzarbaruah, vice chancellor of the Jorhat-based Assam Agricultural University, told IANS no claims at all have been made by the farmers of Assam and other northeastern states last year for their crop losses.
"The government of India settled crop insurance claims worth Rs.22,135 crore last year. However, out of all the settled claims, the share of Assam and other northeastern states remained nil," said Buzarbaruah. There was not even a single claim made by the farmers in this part of the country, he added.
Giving statistics, Buzarbaruah said that while the farmers of Andhra Pradesh topped the list by claiming Rs.4,099 crore, the farming community of Gujarat stood second in the list by claiming Rs.3,917 crore for their crop losses.
The farmers of Rajasthan claimed Rs.2,621 crore under the scheme, and those in Maharashtra claimed Rs.1,873 crore, followed by Bihar and Karnataka by claiming respectively Rs.1,794 crore and Rs.1,635 crore.
In terms of number of farmers benefiting from the settlement of claims, Buzarbaruah said that Maharashtra leads the tally with over 86.6 lakh beneficiary farmers followed by Andhra Pradesh with 59.9 lakh farmers.
A total of 52 lakh farmers benefited in Rajasthan while over 40 lakh farmers benefited in Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh.
"The farmers of the Northeast, mainly Assam, have lost crops worth several crores of rupees last year due to drought and floods in various areas. Crops have also been damaged due to attacks of pests. Even then, there is no claim by the farmers and it indicates that there is no awareness among the farming community here about the National Agricultural Insurance Scheme," he said.
"I am sure many officers of the agriculture department also are not aware about the schemes of the government," he said, adding this has led to the situation where the farmers have suffered huge losses.