New Delhi: An informal group of ministers, headed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, has been constituted to look into the issue of raising cap of financial assistance given to farmers whose crops have been affected due to unseasonal rains and other natural calamities.
The three-member panel also includes Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
"The current assistance given to affected farmers under the government's disaster relief fund is very less. This needs to be raised," Radha Mohan Singh told PTI, adding that a committee under the chairmanship of the Home Minister has been set up to look into this issue.
Last week, while interacting with the affected farmers in Bundi district in Rajasthan, Jaitley had said that the Centre will raise the compensation limit to help the farmers whose crops have been affected by unseasonal rain and hailstorm.
Currently, financial assistance is given to affected farmers under the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) and National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) in the wake of 12 notified natural disasters -- hailstorm, flood, cyclone, cloud burst, drought, earthquake, tsunami, landslides, avalanche, fire, pest attack and cold waves/frost.
As per the existing norms, state governments can utilise funds under SDRF to give input subsidy to farmers at the rate of Rs 4,500 per hectare for rainfed areas, Rs 9,000 per hectare for irrigated areas and Rs 12,000 per hectare for perennial crops.
The Centre allocates more funds under NDRF to state governments in case the expenditure is more than the available fund in SDRF.
The recent unseasonal rains and hailstorms have affected the rabi (winter) crops in 106 hectare in states such as Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Maharasthra, as per the Agriculture Ministry data.