The government has set a target to bring 40 per cent of gross sown area of 194.4 million hectares under crop insurance schemes in 2017-18 season beginning July.
In 2016-17 crop year, about 26.28 per cent or 51.1 million hectare of gross area under crops was insured.
At present, crops are being insured under two schemes: Restructured Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme (RWBCIS) and Pradhan Manthri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY). The PMFBY was launched last year.
"In first year of the implementation of the PMFBY, a substantial progress has been achieved. In 2017-18, the target for insured area is set at 40 per cent gross cropped area, which translates to 77.6 million hectare," a senior Agriculture Ministry official told PTI.
The state governments, banks and insurance companies will be asked to adopt appropriate strategies to achieve the targets including notification of more number of crops and greater focus on non-loanees including utilisation of Common Service Centre (CSC) for this purpose, he said.
Banks will be told to ensure compulsory coverage of all eligible loanees and electronic transmission of premium on time, the official added.
For timely settlement of claims, the official said the government is making efforts to incorporate innovative technology like use of smartphone application to record the details of crop cutting experiments (CCE) digitally.
"Some states like Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh and Odisha have taken the lead in this direction. Unless this mode is adopted completely and successfully by all implementing States/UTs, issues of area discrepancy with sown area will remain and continue to compromise transparency and genuine relief to the farmers," he said.
The central government has put in place a mechanism to facilitate adoption of this new technology and is providing 50 per cent share of the cost involved in the purchase of smartphones. The capacity building has also been done on constant basis, he added.
Under the PMFBY, the premium to be paid by farmers is kept lower and claims are settled early.