In the last three months, many states were hit by untimely rain and hailstorm that damaged crops and the Centre has taken various measures to help distressed farmers, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh informed the Lok Sabha.

He said several state governments have been asked to take relief measures and utilise the money available under the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF).
     
For additional financial assistance, the states can seek money from the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF). "Memoranda have been received from Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana demanding Rs 744.48 crore, Rs 8,252 crore and Rs 1,135.91 crore from NDRF, respectively," Singh said during Question Hour.
     
Financial assistance under SDRF/NDRF in the wake of natural calamities was by way of relief and not for compensation of losses suffered, he noted.
     
Besides, Singh said a new crop insurance policy was also on the anvil for this fiscal. “In addition to the assistance available under the regular schemes of crops damage, the calamity affected farmers are entitled for claims under various crop insurance schemes under implementation in the country," he noted.

To a question on whether farmers have committed suicide due to distress caused by unseasonal rains and hailstorms, the Minister said Maharashtra government reported three such cases during January to March period.

"As per reports received from some state governments namely Punjab, Karnataka, Goa, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh, there have been no incidents of farmer suicide due to agrarian distress caused by recent untimely rains and hailstorms," he said.
     
Other states affected by hailstorm and untimely rainfall include Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, West Bengal and Kerala. Among others, the government has decided to provide assistance to farmers whose crop loss was at least 33 percent.


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