Farmers in Tamil Nadu’s Dindigul and Nagapattinam districts had received crop insurance disbursal cheques as low as Rs 3, Rs 4, Rs 5 and Rs 10. While the opposition DMK MLAs have raised the issue in the ongoing state assembly sessions, the ruling AIADMK ministers have admitted that such mistakes have occurred and assured to resolve them.
As relief for the damage to the crop, the state farmers are eligible to receive up to Rs 26,000 per acre for paddy, Rs 12,000 for pulses, and up to Rs 20,000 for millets, based on the yield loss as compensation under crop insurance scheme from insurance companies.
In Dindigul, the compensation cheques with such low amounts were issued by Dindigul Central Cooperative Bank Limited to farmers in February.
R. Doraikannu, Agriculture Minister, told the Assembly that the issue would be rectified soon.
O.S. Manian, Textiles Minister, said that the discrepancies with cheques have occurred due to clerical errors. “The issue is affecting only about 2-3% of farmers and will be rectified by April 15,” he was quoted as saying.
Being faced with a horrific drought, last year, Tamil Nadu farmers led a 144-day protest in Delhi with symbolic demonstrations every day which drew nationwide attention. Their long-pending demands have been minimum support price for agricultural or farm products as recommended by M.S. Swaminathan Commission, ban on the use of genetically modified seeds, the establishment of a Cauvery Management Board, individual crop insurance scheme and pensions for farmers among others. Also, since March this year, a group of 25 farmers is undertaking a ‘padayatra’ (rally), aiming to cover all districts in the state in 100 days while highlighting their concerns. On their rally, they have been addressing meetings organised by farmers’ organisations alongside submitting petitions to district collectors.
With series of monsoon failures in Cauvery delta districts, farmers are demanding the government to declare the region as ‘Protected Agriculture Zone’. The farmers of this region will be benefitted with the establishment of Cauvery Management Board as directed by the Supreme Court in February this year, however, so far, the Central government did not initiate any process, despite a resolution sent by Tamil Nadu assembly in this regard.
In September last year, Uttar Pradesh government was criticized when more than 17,000 farmers received certificates of loan waivers of amount Rs 1,000 and less who were eligible to get up to 1 lakh loan waiver.