Crop premium subsidy only up to 7 hectares in Rajasthan
The Rajasthan government will give crop insurance premium to farmers for up to seven hectares of land, according to a notification issued on July 25. A move will save the state ₹60 crore this kharif season but could upset politically influential big farmers in the election bound state.
The farmers organisations have opposed the new order saying that government should provide subsidy on insurance premium to all farmers, irrespective of their land holdings. The decision to limit the premium amount will benefit the insurance companies more than the farmers, they said.
Under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), farmers give 2% of insurance premium for kharif crops and 1.5% for the rabi crops. For commercial crops, fruits and vegetables, the insurance premium is 5%. The remaining amount of premium is shared between the Centre and the state government.
There are approximately 8.5 million farmers in Rajasthan of which 4.5 million are marginal and small farmers with land holdings less than four hectares. According to the agriculture department, another 1.1 million farmers have agriculture land between four hectares and seven hectares, leaving around 400,000 farmers having more land 7 hectares.
The new notification will affect these 400,000 farmers only and that too marginally, a government official said. For example, if farmer holds 10 hectares of land, for the first 7 hectares, he or she will be entitled to get government premium subsidy and only for remaining the person will have bear the full amount.
According to agriculture department, farmers with land holdings more than seven hectares are mostly in the western Rajasthan districts of Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Churu, Jodhpur and Barmer.
The government justified the decision by saying that big farmers can afford to pay the full premium. “They are big farmers and are financially strong to pay the full insurance premium amount,” said agriculture minister Prabhu Lal Saini.
All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) national president Amra Ram said it was wrong to discriminate the farmers on basis on their land holding. ”The government should extend subsidised insurance premium all the farmers. The government wants to benefit insurance companies,” he alleged. If a farmer has more than seven hectares of land then his input cost is also more and so is his loss due to weather vagaries. The government should extend subsidised insurance premium to all farmers,” he said.
Rajasthan kisan union general secretary Badri Prasad Dhaka said, “When no discrimination for giving incentives to industrialists why then for farmers. There should be no discrimination in farmers and government should bear the insurance premium of all farmers as it has been doing since the implementation of PMFBY.”
Through this notification, the government has increased the insured amount of each crop that too district wise for this kharif season resulting in increase in premium. This would mean the government spending ₹500 crore more on subsidising the premium.
Saini said for last two years, the insured amount of the crop was based on the production value which is produce multiplied by the minimum support price of the crop. But from this kharif season, insured amount has been calculated based on the cost of cultivation as calculated by a committee in every district of the state.