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PM’s fasal bima falls in BJP-ruled States

| | New Delhi
PM’s fasal bima falls in BJP-ruled States

While the number of farmers insured during both the Kharif and Rabi seasons has gone down by 14 per cent this year, the area under crop insurance scheme has come down to 24 per cent of gross cropped area (GCA) in 2017-18 from 30 per cent in 2016-17.

Interestingly, the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) has performed poorly in the BJP-ruled States of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh, while it has received a good response in non-BJP States like Telangana and Tamil Nadu. Sikkim and Meghalaya are two States where farmers have not claimed any protection under the PMFBY till date.

As per the Agriculture Ministry data, over 1.20 crore farmers benefited from the crop insurance scheme during the Kharif season last year and the Rabi season in 2016-17 as compared to 1.62 crore in 2013-14. In 2016-17, over 5.73 crore farmers insured their crop while 3.33 crore farmers in 2013-14.

The crop insurance scheme is the Narendra Modi Government’s flagship scheme, launched with much fanfare two years ago to protect farmers. Under the scheme, farmers have to pay just two per cent of the total premium in case of the Kharif crop, 1.5 per cent for Rabi and five per cent for horticulture. The remaining premium is equally shared by the Centre and the States.

In 2017-18, the area insured under the PMFBY was 47.5 million hectares, which translates into 24 per cent of the GCA of 198.4 million hectares.

As per the Government’s targets, the coverage in 2017-18 should have increased to 40 per cent but has actually reduced to 24 per cent. The crop insurance scheme has also witnessed a 14 per cent drop in the number of farmers insured to 47.9 million in 2017-18 from 55.3 million in 2016-17. Binod Pandey, a farmer leader told The Pioneer that farmers had lost interest as the compensation was either denied or delayed.

Besides, flaws with the crop-cutting experiment to obtain accurate estimates of crop output. Some farmers who came with social activist Anna Hazare to protest at Ram Lila Maidan claimed that they have received their compensation one year after filing their claims.

The Central Government has been citing poor implementation by the States for the lackadaisical response to the scheme. State officials say the bid of private insurance companies for more profit and delay in settlement of claims are crucial factors for the decline.

“The new scheme permits insurance company representatives to take part in the crop-cutting experiments. This may be one of the reasons of decline in crop insurance scheme beneficiaries and areas,” the official said, requesting anonymity. “Besides, manual yield data collection and manual transmission to insurance companies impedes timely and accuracy yield data which in turn used to lead to delay in claim processing and settlement under erstwhile scheme,” said officials.

The Government had allocated Rs 55 billion in the budget for 2016-17, which was increased to Rs 1,324 billion. In 2017-18, the allocation was Rs 90 billion. For 2018-19, the Government has provided Rs 130 billion with a target to bring 98 million hectares -- close to 50 per cent of gross cropped area -- under the scheme.



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