Union Agriculture Minister Launched Nowcast and Insurance Web-Portals for Farmers
Union Agriculture Minister Shri Radha Mohan Singh, said that a number of applications which have been completed and passed through all the required checks and audits are now ready for nationwide rollout. Few of the services we launched include Insurance Portal and Weather alert service NOWCAST. The Ministers of State for Agriculture, Dr. Sanjeev Kumar Balyan and Shri Mohanbhai Kalyanjibhai Kundariya were also present on the occasion. Brief about the portals are as follows:
The Mission Mode Project in Agriculture under National e-Governance Plan (NeGP-A) aims to achieve rapid development of agriculture in India through the use of ICT by ensuring timely access to agriculture related information for the farmers of the country. Twelve clusters of services including Information on inputs; Soil Health; Good Agricultural Practices; Weather; Livestock, Fisheries: Marketing: Scheme Information; Training etc. have been identified and development of Web based applications on various components of these services is being undertaken before their roll out in the States with required local customization.
Urgent need for an Insurance Portal enabling speedy processing farmers’ queries on Insurance and also their application for Agricultural Insurance cover has been felt in the wake of recent adverse weather conditions in some parts of the country and losses suffered by farmers due to their non-awareness about insuring their crops. As per the prevailing provisions Farmers can insure their crops under 3 schemes viz. National Agriculture Insurance Scheme (NAIS), Modified National Insurance Scheme (MNAIS) and Weather based Crop Insurance Scheme (WBCIS). Besides this, Coconut Palm Insurance Scheme (CPIS) also is applicable in some parts of the country. However, statistics of the year 2014-15 shows that only about 20% gross cropped area was insured. Major reasons behind such low coverage inter alia include ignorance among farmers about insurance products & procedures and sometimes inordinately high rates as compared to NAU. Both these factors often work in a vicious cycle to the detriment of farmers.
Therefore, a beginning was made in the year 2012 by having an insurance calculator on the farmers’ portal (www.farmer.gov.in). Unfortunately, not much headway could be made because very small time window existed in most States for data entry to be completed well in time before the cut-off date. Therefore, a new web-based Portal (www.farmer.gov.in/insurance) has been developed to enter essential information under 3 major schemes viz. NAIS, MNAIS and WBCIS in an expeditious, accurate and non-repetitive manner. An Insurance Calculator has also been provided along with graphical dashboards with drill down facility down to notified units. The farmers will be able to browse through data-base of agriculture insurance companies to get details of various insurance schemes notified in their area and premium applicable to them. Facility for online entry of various provisions of insurance schemes notified in different districts by the insurance companies and the concerned states would minimize errors and facilitate quick response to online query raised by farmers on different aspects of the scheme. Detailed procedure has also been given on the home page of the Insurance Portal www.farmer.gov.in/insurance. In the second phase an online interface for filing insurance applications and scrutiny of the same by banks is also proposed to be developed.
Information on weather and agro meteorological advisories are generated and disseminated by India Meteorological Department (IMD) under the Ministry of Earth Sciences through their website and also by their 130 Agro Met Field Units (AMFUs) operating across the country. However, these advisories being generated in advance and cover a larger area, their accuracy always has a limitation due to local agro-ecological variations. To tackle this situation IMD has set up 17 Doppler Radars which feed information into Weather Stations regarding extreme weather situations like thunderstorm, squall, hail etc. 146 of these Weather Stations are regularly generating data for these extreme situations. However, these warnings relating to extreme weather situations generated by IMD are valid for a period of only 3 hours on their website. Farmers in the affected areas (which lie within a radius of 50 Kms. from each of these 146 Weather Stations) could not get this information in time because of limitations in accessing the IMD Website at farm level. Therefore, an innovative initiative has been taken by DAC in the name of NOWCAST. Under this initiative, the extreme weather data originated from IMD is being moved to mKisan portal using a web service. From mKisan Portal warnings regarding extreme weather conditions are automatically and instantaneously transmitted by SMS to farmers located in affected district/blocks. This technological break-through is a collaborative effort between mKisan Portal developed by DAC, weather technologies adopted by IMD and GIS Portal of NIC. Advance Warnings issued so far are also displayed on the Web.