The Yogi Adityanath government is set to mobilise the farming community by launching a state-wide drive from December 1 to bring the maximum number of farmers under the Central crop insurance scheme -- Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY).
The flagship scheme entails coverage and financial support to farmers in the event of crop failure due to natural calamities, pests and diseases.
The move comes close on the heels of the start of the winter session of Parliament as the Centre moved a bill to repeal the three farm laws. The week-long drive will be carried out by the Uttar Pradesh government in coordination with the ministry of agriculture and farmer’s welfare and financial institutions, including commercial banks and regional rural banks.
This marks another attempt by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party to assuage the feeling of farmers, who have threatened to continue the stir till their demands, including a legal guarantee for minimum support price (MSP) and sacking of Union Minister of State Ajay Mishra Teni, whose son Ashish is an accused in Lakhimpur violence, are met. Ashish Mishra is in jail.
As per the Agriculture department records, updated till August 31, Uttar Pradesh, in 2019-20, had a total cultivable area of more than 35.5 lakh hectares with around 47 lakh farmers insured under PMFBY. This, in effect, translated into Rs 16,743 crore insured sum. Records show Uttar Pradesh was way behind Maharashtra and Rajasthan, where 1.45 crore and 85 lakh farmers respectively, were insured under PMFBY.
In fact, Uttar Pradesh accounts for just over 7 per cent of 6.12 crore farmers insured under the scheme nationally. UP Agriculture department has decided to carry out a campaign in 75 development blocks across 75 districts, where the number of insured farmers are on a lower side.
In a letter sent to district magistrates, Additional Chief Secretary (Agriculture) Devesh Chaturvedi said emphasis should be laid on aspirational districts and districts with a substantial population of Scheduled Tribes.
The areas where the scheme is proposed to be taken up rigorously include Sewapuri in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi, Campierganj block in Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's political backyard of Gorakhpur and Pathardeva assembly constituency of UP Agriculture Minister Surya Pratap Shahi.
Special vehicles to spread awareness in different districts about the scheme will be flagged off by Shahi from Lucknow on December 1.