Common Service Centres (CSCs) have started offering crop insurance plans to small and marginal farmers who have not taken out any loan from any bank or financial institution.
The initiative, launched in June, will cover only farmers without bank loans, CSC e-Governance Services India's CEO Dinesh Tyagi told DNA Money. Farmers who have loans from banks already get insurance for their crops from the banks.
The crop insurance, which provides a cover of around INR100,000 (US$1,560) for one agricultural season, is being provided under the government-backed Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana which was launched in 2016. Most of the premium for crop insurance will be paid by the central and state governments while farmers will have to pay just 1.5-3% of the premium amount.
Only insurance companies which have been empanelled by the government and authorised agents can sell crop insurance, but for CSCs, an exemption has been made and every CSC can solicit customers for the crop insurance scheme.
There are over 250,000 CSCs across the country, of which 150,000 are in rural areas and the rest in cities. CSCs, which are overseen by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, enable people to access government services online such as train tickets, birth certificates, online submission of various forms and bills. They are an important part of the government's Digital India initiative and function as a single access point for delivery of services electronically to the population.