Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) filed the PIL (Public Interest Litigation) with the Gujarat High Court. The BKS sought the quashing of Clause 2 of the PMFBY - Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna, which makes crop insurance mandatory for farmers, besides seeking amendments to make the scheme more transparent and farmer-oriented.
According to the President of BKS, Gujarat Shri Vitthal Dudhatara, The Clause (2), clarifies about the insurance premium amount will be straight away deducted from the loan amount, without the knowledge of the farmers. They have no access to representatives of insurance companies either. The provisions in the scheme are against the farmers. Insurance can’t be compulsory.
The BKS has also raised objections on several operational aspects of the scheme and provisions such as “notified crop” and “notified area”. The latter disqualifies non-notified crops from insurance cover. BKS also pointed out that no policy document or acknowledgment is provided by the insurance companies, which should be brought under CAG audit.
The BKS petition terms the mandatory insurance the “ultimate violation of the right of the individual person”.
It has also raised alarm over the allegedly arbitrary deduction of premium amounts from farmers’ accounts. It has also questioned the trustworthiness of the private players roped in for the scheme. “Farmers normally rely on the government — Central or State,” the petition said, recalling unsavory past experiences with private players.
The Centre had introduced the PMFBY in 2016 and revised it the next year under the Restructured Weather-Based Crop Insurance Scheme (RWBCIS).
A Division Bench headed by Chief Justice R Subhash Reddy has asked the State Government to furnish details on the status of PMFBY in a stipulated time period.
Another BKS member from Raipur, Shri Vishal Chandrakar, also pointed out that the scheme, rather than helping the farmers face crop failure, added to their troubles. “There is no uniform mechanism for claim settlement across the country. Farmers in some States have to resort to arm-twisting to make their claims. If the local farmer body is politically strong, they get their way, the others suffer.”