The Bhagat Puran Singh Sehat Bima Yojna — a scheme offering Rs 5-lakh life insurance and free health cover up to Rs 50,000 to the farmers — has received a mixed response from the farming community in Faridkot and Muktsar districts. Under the scheme, a family is eligible for an insurance cover of Rs 5 lakh in case the insured person dies or becomes 100% disabled.
Even as Monday (January 18) is the last day for applying to avail the benefits of the scheme, only 50% farmers have applied so far. Of the 30,000 farmers in Faridkot only 50% — nearly 15,000 — have applied, while in Muktsar, only 20,000 of the 40,000 peasants got themselves registered.
The scheme has also left the officials of the Mandi Board, the agency registering the farmers, in the lurch as the government wanted to extend the facility to each and every rural household.
“The scheme has only been launched with an eye on the assembly elections. Had the government been sincere about farmers’ health, this should have been launched earlier. Besides, the government should have devised a system to extend financial aid farm labourers in case of accidental death,” said Jaswinder Singh, a farmer from Faridkot.
“We are trying our best to convince the farmers to apply for the scheme as they don’t have pay any premium to avail the scheme. Farmers only need to bring a ‘J form’ (document that establishes that the person is into farming) and Aadhar card. There is an insurance cover of Rs 5 lakh in case the family head dies or suffers from 100% disability, besides a cover of Rs 50,000 to meet the hospital expenses. The farmers can apply for the scheme till Monday noon,” said Kulbir Singh Matta, district mandi officer for Faridkot and Muktsar.
The scheme would be applicable for a year.