PM insurance scheme fails to woo farmers
Maharashtra government had decided to increase the number of the farmers substantially from last year.mumbai Updated: Sep 07, 2016 00:46 IST
Contrary to the state government’s claims, the response to the Prime Minister Crop Insurance scheme in Maharashtra is lukewarm. About 49 lakh farmers have registered for the insurance this year against the last year’s number of 83 lakh farmers.
On the backdrop of the three droughts in the last four years and the similar situation in some other states, the state and central governments had announced to implement the insurance scheme very aggressively. Maharashtra government had decided to increase the number of the farmers substantially from last year. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis held a meeting with three private insurance companies empanelled for the scheme to ensure that the deadline was expended by a week till July 10. However, the response from the farmers has been tepid.
Agriculture expert claimed that the new scheme has failed to attract the farmers due to the flaws which are carried forward from the old scheme. “The Maharashtra government has failed to modify the terms to bring the village as from taluka as unit. The farmers with highest loss of crop do not get the compensation to the extent of loss due to this. Secondly, the compensation to the farmers amid worst drought last year was too little to attract the farmers towards the scheme,” said Vijay Jawandhia, agriculture expert from Vidarbha.
“I am afraid if the farmers with agriculture loan benefit extended to have fallen as the lower turn out for the insurance cover is an indicator of lacunae in loan structuring,” he said. He however admitted that the premium amounts shared by the farmers were comparatively lesser.
Modi, in an episode of Mann Ki Baat last month, had said that the scheme has almost reaching towards its goal of coverage to 50% farmers.
State agriculture minister Pandurang Fundkar said, “The response is lukewarm as it has now been made voluntary to the farmers without agriculture loan. We are still waiting for the complete figures and hope to achieve the goal.”
Officials from the department claimed that the satisfactory rains this year was major reason for the lukewarm response.
In the new scheme, the farmers had to bear 2% of the insurance cover, while the State and Centre would have borne 49% each of the premium amount. The government has made the insurance cover compulsory for the farmers with pending agriculture loans, making it voluntary for the others. The state has 1.37 crore farmers.
The crop insurance helped the drought-hit farmers in recovering Rs 4,205 crore, of which more than 80% was claimed by the Marathwada farmers. The insurance premium paid towards the insurance of Rs 8559 crore was Rs 405 crore, including the farmers share of Rs 319 crore.
This year the premium share from state and central governments is expected to go up to Rs 3000 crore.