With crops affected due to recent unseasonal rains, Punjab government is considering adopting the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY). Initially, the state was not too keen to adopt PMFBY and Weather-based Crop Insurance Scheme (WBCIS) as it said Punjab’s production variability was very low due to assured irrigation.
Farmers were also not encouraged to take crop insurance as they could save their crops during drought through additional irrigation. Even the state government has been providing electricity subsidy to farmers for this purpose. “After seeing the damage due to recent unseasonal rains and hailstorm, Punjab has expressed its desire to implement PMFBY and WBCIS for crops which have very high production variability, particularly cotton and major crops, in the areas bordering Rajasthan,” a senior Union agriculture ministry official told PTI.
The state government will meet on March 23 at Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana, to explore the possibilities of implementing PMFBY and WBCIS. Even senior officials from the Union agriculture ministry would be present in the meeting, the official added.
Unseasonal rains and hailstorm in the last few days in some parts of Punjab have affected wheat and other rabi crops. It is estimated that 5-7% wheat crop has been affected and the government is still assessing the extent of loss.
To protect farmers from vagaries of monsoon, the central government came out with the new crop insurance scheme, which will come into force from April 1 for kharif crops.
Under the scheme, farmer’s premium has been kept lower between 1.5 and 2% for foodgrains and oilseeds crops, and up to 5% for horticultural and cotton crops.
The government is targeting to increase the insurance coverage to 50% of the total crop area of 194.4 million hectares from the existing level of about 25-27%. The expenditure is expected to be around Rs 9,500 crore.
In PMFBY, there will not be a cap on the premium and reduction of the sum insured. Besides, 25% of the likely claim will be settled directly on farmers account and there will be one insurance company for the entire state as well as farm level assessment of loss for localised risks and post-harvest loss.