NEW DELHI: Coming to the rescue of farmers hit by unseasonal rain and storms, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday announced that compensation for crop damage has been increased and it will be now easier to claim financial help from the government.

Speaking at the launch of a micro-finance bank and regulator today, PM Modi said, “The amount of compensation has been rasied to 1.5 times. If earlier a farmer was getting Rs. 100 as compensation, now he will get Rs.150, if it was Rs. 1 lakh, he will get Rs. 1.5 lakh… simply a 50% hike.”

Modi also stated that he has asked the banks to reorganize loans of affected farmers and has directed the insurance companies to settle their claims pro-actively. 

More than a dozen farmers under debt committed suicide in recent weeks after unseasonal storms damaged the winter crop in major parts of northern India.

While there was more than 10 million hectares of crops that were spoiled, the government continues to maintain that it has no clear link to the suicides.

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari who toured several of the worst affected areas on Tuesday assured the farmers of help and said, “Do not commit suicide; the government is there to support you.”

As it tries to push a bill to make land acquisition easier for industry and to develop roads, ports and power stations, among other infrastructure projects, the Modi government is fighting a common opinion that it is ‘anti-farmer’.

However, Narendra Modi has disagreed on the same and said that the land bill would help create rural jobs and has accused the Opposition of spreading lies.

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