In what could be considered a blow to BJP-led NDA government’s revamped crop insurance scheme — Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) — only 2.53 crore farmers have insured their crops under the ne
In what could be considered a blow to BJP-led NDA government’s revamped crop insurance scheme — Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) — only 2.53 crore farmers have insured their crops under the new flagship programme this year.
Around 3.69 crore farmers had insured their crops in 2014-15 under National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (NAIS) and the modified NAIS — two schemes that preceded the PMBFY.
The mundane response has set the alarm bells ringing in the agriculture ministry with secretary Shobhana K. Pattanayak last week reprimanding the state governments for slow pace of implementation of the scheme, claiming that the lack of clarity about the extent of coverage of the PMFBY and disputes regarding the areas identified for crop insurance cover between the states and insurance companies are the main reasons for slow implementation in the ongoing kharif season.
Mr Pattanayak urged the state governments to prepare well for the approaching rabi season. The Centre in January 2016 had replaced existing NAIS and modified NAIS with the PMFBY to provide a more efficient insurance support to the farmers and protect them from crop damages.
By reducing the farmers share of a uniform premium to two per cent for all kharif crops and 1.5 per cent for all rabi crops in the new scheme, not only did the Modi government hoped to widen the net of crop insurance to 50 per cent from existing 26 per cent in the next three years, they also tried to arouse farmers’ willingness to go for crop insurance. Under the PMFBY, the provision of capping the premium rate which resulted in low claims being paid to farmers was done away with as well so that nothing could be reduced from the sum insured. However, despite all steps the results from the first crop season have been “disappointing”.
The data until September 8 reveals that only 2.53 crore farmers have insured their crops. “Most of them”, a highly placed source in the ministry, said, “are those who have agricultural loans, for whom it is mandatory.” “It shows the disinterest of farmers as majority of those who have taken it have not done so willingly,” said the source.