Crop Insurance: Block/Dist level tech committees soon

Bhubaneswar: Three months after receiving the Centre’s letter regarding mobile application-based information on crop insurance for farmers, the Odisha government on Saturday said it would soon form technical committees at district and Block levels to effectively implement the NDA government’s ‘dream’ project.

On December 29, a letter from the Union Agriculture Ministry directed all State governments to ensure that farmers install a specially developed mobile application on their handsets to keep abreast of crop insurance services on a periodic basis.

“Crop Insurance mobile app can be used to calculate the Insurance Premium for notified crops based on the coverage area and loan amount in case of loanee farmer. It can also be used to get details of normal sum insured, extended sum insured, premium details and subsidy information of any notified crop in any notified area,” the letter read.

“Mobile First is one of the key principles of e-Kranti which says all electronic services should be delivered through numerous mobile channels like mobile apps, SMS, USSD and IVRS,” it further noted.

The Centre’s project, however is yet to take off in Odisha due to non-distribution of Android mobile phones, the app friendly devices.

“We have earmarked Rs 1.8 crore for mobiles which will be distributed among farmers during this financial year. Very soon we’ll set up technical committees at district and Block levels to teach basic knowledge regarding the app and other technicalities,” Cooperation minister Damodar Rout said.

This year, the State government has decided to distribute 25,000 mobiles among farmers of the State. Official sources said as many as 18,000 cell phones were distributed among farmers in 2013-14.

In Odisha, the free mobile distribution scheme was launched in 2013 aiming at ensuring that farmers get market and agriculture related information. The cell phones are distributed among selected leading farmers through Regulated Market Committees (RMCs).