Monday, 30th October 2017

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Insurance pitch for fish farmers

The state government is looking into a proposal to introduce an insurance scheme for fish farmers on the lines of crop insurance. The animal and fish resources department is working out details.

By Sanjeev Kumar Verma
  • Published 7.02.18
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Patna: The state government is looking into a proposal to introduce an insurance scheme for fish farmers on the lines of crop insurance. The animal and fish resources department is working out details.

As of now, fish farmers do not have any such insurance cover.

This financial security can also help avail of loans from banks even after issuance of Kisan credit cards to fishermen, as proposed by the Union budget presented on February 1. "We are working out details of the proposal and the same would be sent for the state government's approval," a senior official of the state fisheries directorate told The Telegraph. "This insurance cover can prove to be a game-changer for fish farmers in the state, as it would give banks confidence to provide loans to fish farmers once Kisan credit cards are issued."

According to insurance sector norms, insurance cover is given for fish culture if the farmer is rearing fish in a captive water body, like a pond. Out of Bihar's total annual fish production of 5.10 lakh metric tonnes, around 3.6 lakh metric tonnes are produced in ponds spread across 93,000 hectares.

If one takes into account the number of fishermen who will benefit from the insurance scheme, the number is a huge 4 lakh fishermen associated with 457 fishermen cooperative societies set up at the block level. These farmers practice fish culture in private- and government-owned ponds.

It is not that Bihar has not tried its hand at giving insurance cover to fish farming. A beginning was made in 2009-10 when an insurance scheme was launched in which one public sector insurance company was roped in to provide the service.

"The effort didn't succeed as the premium rate was quite high," said the fisheries directorate official. "While half of the premium amount was being paid by the state government, the balance had to be paid by the fish farmers. As it didn't prove economical, only four to five big farmers opted for the scheme and it was subsequently discontinued."

Now, the directorate was working on a proposal to ensure that a major chunk of the premium cost is borne equally by the Centre and the state while the fish farmers has to pay only 10 to 12 per cent of the insurance premium amount.