As Centre approves new crop insurance scheme to boost the agriculture sector, Opposition in MP says this is another attempt to dupe farmers.
Centre’s announcement of a new crop insurance scheme to be applicable from kharif 2016 has political parties in Madhya Pradesh divided with the ruling BJP saying it will address the farmers’ concerns and the opposition Congress slamming the move.
The Union cabinet on Wednesday approved the crop insurance scheme Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) to boost the farming sector and ensure farmers’ welfare.
“The new Crop Insurance Scheme is in line with One Nation – One Scheme theme. It incorporates the best features of all previous schemes and at the same time, all previous shortcomings/weaknesses have been removed,” said a ministry of agriculture statement.
Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan took to Twitter to thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi: “Highly thankful to PM @narendramodi for historic decision to bring new crop insurance scheme. It will certainly provide succour to farmers,” the chief minister, who is in Singapore, tweeted.
He also said the existing crop insurance schemes had many shortcomings. “In most cases, schemes were not good enough to reduce the hardships of farmers,” he said in Twitter.
State BJP president Nandkumar Singh Chauhan, at a press meet, said the scheme was a radical improvement over the existing scheme.
Chauhan said the new scheme was better than the previous one since it makes the agricultural field the unit of assessment, instead of the patwari halka or block.
Also, premium payment has been slashed in the new scheme, giving relief to farmers.
The state BJP chief also said the new scheme would use technology for assessment of damage, thereby reducing scope for corruption.
The premium has been capped at 2% of insured amount for kharif crop, 1.5 % for rabi crop and 5% for horticulture crops. Presently, 3.5 % premium is payable in kharif crop and 1.5% premium in rabi crop.
He said that presently about 23% farmers are covered under crop insurance which would be taken up to 50% next year.
Finance minister Jayant Malaiya, who was also present at the press meet, said the state government was happy with the scheme.
When asked if the state would still come out with its own scheme, the minister said it won’t be needed considering the Union government’s scheme.
About the future of a proposed scheme that CM Chouhan had promised to ensure a minimum income for farmers, the finance minister said that the crop insurance scheme would not come in the way of the state government’s efforts.
When asked if the new scheme would also help the state exchequer conserve its own funds, the minister said that it was a hypothetical question.
The state government has paid almost `3,500 crore as relief to farmers whose crop was damaged in the kharif season 2016.
Cong slams scheme
State Congress spokesperson Ravi Saxena termed the new insurance policy for farmers as another attempt to dupe them.
In a release, Saxena said that in last 12 years of BJP rule in the state, only 78 lakh farmers had been paid a pittance as against 3.62 crore farmers who have been paying premium for insurance.
He said the government was planning to hand over the insurance scheme to a private company which should not be done.