The Central government-sponsored National Scheme of Welfare of Fisherman proposes to give financial help to fishers for construction of the house, community hall for recreation and common working place and installation of tube-wells for drinking water and aid during the lean period by saving cum relief component. The National Scheme of Welfare of Fishermen has ensured and there are a lot of welfare exercises being carried out for the service of the fishermen community. This particular scheme was commenced in 1991-92 by combining two different schemes of Janata Accident Policy and National Welfare Fund for Fishermen. This scheme includes the development of model fisherman villages, saving cum relief components, and group accident insurance.
The objectives of this very beneficial scheme for fishermen are the following:
- The fishermen are provided with the basic facilities of living like housing, community halls, and drinking water among other things.
- The standards of life of the fishermen are to be raised by this scheme.
- The financial and social security’s of the fishermen and their families are to be uplifted as a result of the scheme.
- The technical knowledge and expertise of the fishermen are meant to be enhanced by educating the fishermen regarding the new scientific ways of fishing.
Under the National Scheme of Welfare of Fisherman, the eligibility criteria for the fishermen are discussed below:
- Individuals who are into full-time fishing.
- Individuals should be under the age of 60 years.
- Individuals who are members of the Welfare Society/Federation/Cooperative Society.
- Individuals who live below the poverty line.
- In case a member of the fishermen’s family has regular employment, rather they get a regular income; the family would not be regarded as a beneficiary.
Benefits of National Scheme of Welfare of Fisherman
The main benefits of National Scheme of Welfare of fisherman are:
- Development of Model fisherman village: Under this section, the fisherman will be given basic needs such as houses, drinking water, and component for recreation and work
- Group accident insurance for active fisherman: Under this section, State Government will insure for Rs 50,000/- against death or permanent total disability and Rs 25,000/- for partial total disability
- Saving cum relief: Under this section, relief is to be given to fishermen uniformly for 3 months of the fishing ban period. Thus, Rs 1800/- will be given to the fisherman in three equal monthly installments of Rs 600/- each.
Central and State Government Contribution
The implementation of this component will be equal among both marine and inland sector fishermen. Saving is requested from fishermen for 9 months, while relief is given to them via a fishing ban for 3 months. The contribution that is done by fishermen is Rs.900 for 9 months. The Central Government and State each contribute Rs.900 over 9 months. Hence, the entire contribution of Rs.2,700 is given to the fishermen during the 3-month fishing ban. Rs.900 is given to the fishermen every month during this period. The Central Government will make the entire contribution in the case of Union Territories, while the contribution is made on a 75:25 basis in the case of North-Eastern States (the North-Eastern State contribution is Rs.450 and the Central Government contribution is Rs.1,350). Interest will be made on the contribution that is being made by the fishermen and it will be given in the last month.
The beneficiary’s contribution will be gathered by the President or the Secretary of the Association and will be given to the State or Union Territory who in turn deposit the contribution at a Nationalized Bank. The contribution will be deposited in the name of the Union Territories or State Director of Fisheries.
The beneficiary defaults on any payments, the contribution by the government will be for the months that the beneficiary contributes. After that, the total contribution will then be paid back equally in 3 months. The interest that has been formed will be paid in the last month.
But, in case the default has been only for one month and twice during the entire fishing season, the amount will be rejected if the beneficiary pays the default fee. The default fee would be equal to the interest that would have been made if the beneficiary had made the payments on time.
It depends on the weather; the lean months would vary every year. Therefore, the Director of Fisheries can determine the lean months based on climate changes and other logical reasons.
Insurance and Assistance for Fishermen
- Grants-in-aid provided to FISHCOPFED: FISHCOPFED is a National Level Federation that is mainly concerned with providing fishermen welfare activities by giving training and insurance. Due to the effect of FISHCOPFED, there is a requirement to strengthen the organization. Hence, Rs.50 lakh per year will be given as a grant-in-aid to FISHCOPFED. There will also be an encouragement given to FISHCOPFED to conduct training programs to enhance the skills of traditional fishermen by making use of the funds available or by using funds that are available from other schemes that are currently running.
- Group Accident Insurance for Active Fishermen: Fishermen who are registered with State and Union Territory then, State Governments will be given insurance for Rs.2 lakh and Rs.1 lakh against death or partial permanent disability and permanent total disability, respectively. Rs.10,000 will also be given for hospital expenses in case of an accident as well. The span of the insurance policy would be for 12 months. And the National Federation of Fishermen’s Cooperatives Ltd. (i.e. FISHCOPFED) will take out the policy for all States and Union Territories that are taking part in it. The maximum annual premium must be below Rs.65 per person and is contributed on a 50:50 basis by the Central and State Governments, individually. In the case of the Union Territories, the entire contribution is made by the Central Government, while for the North-Eastern States the contribution is made on a 75:25 basis between the Central and North-Eastern State Governments.
In the case of the States or Union Territories who have subscribed for this component, the Central Government’s contribution will be directly given to FISHCOPFED and not to the State or Union Territory Governments. However, the State Government’s contribution should be given to FISHCOPFED much before the renewal date. It depends on the annual premium; the Central Government’s share would be either based on the actual premium of the policy or the annual premium if the policy had been taken under FISHCOPFED, whichever is lesser.
Both marine and inland area fishermen are included under the scheme, and the fishermen do not have to make any contributions towards this component. The scheme would be conducted through an Insurance company and will be executed by FISHCOPFED. Though, to make sure service is given sufficiently and depending on the requirements, the Ministry may take the help of one or more different agencies.
How to Apply
To apply for the National Scheme of Welfare of Fishermen, potential beneficiaries require applying to the nearest FISHCOPFED office. The contribution is received by the President or Secretary of the Associations and delivered to nationalized bank accounts held by the Director of Fisheries.
Once the funds are submitted to the Director of Fisheries, the State and Central Governments level the contributions of the fishermen as part of their premiums. In the maturity of the schemes, the full investment is returned, along with any interest accrued.
Documents required when applying at FISHCOPFED include:
- Aadhaar Card
- Voter ID Card
- Income Certificate
- Registration as a fisherman under the Central or State Government
The Central Government grants funds for the National Scheme of Welfare of Fishermen every year at the time of announcing the budget. This welfare scheme of the fishermen community has been instrumental in enhancing the lifestyle of the fishermen. The fishermen have also learned to implement newer methods of fishing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. What is the national scheme for the welfare of fishermen?
Ans. The Centrally Sponsored National Scheme of Welfare of Fishermen was launched to provide financial support to fishermen.
Q2. What is the aim of the national scheme on the welfare of fishermen?
Ans. This Scheme aims to extend financial assistance to fishermen and to cultivate savings habits to fishermen to help them during the lean season.