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PM Fasal Bima Yojana: Punjab Agrees to Join Central Government's Crop Insurance Scheme

After years of opposition, Punjab's Aam Aadmi Party government has finally given approval to Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY).

Shruti Kandwal
State Director of Agriculture Gurwinder Singh said interventional studies were being performed
State Director of Agriculture Gurwinder Singh said interventional studies were being performed

Two years of consecutive crop losses due to unfavorable weather and pest attacks on "white gold" cotton, which required the ruling dispensation to pay Rs 1,500 crore in compensation to paddy and cotton farmers, are what have sparked the state government to change its decision on the matter.

Till three years ago, the crop loss in Punjab had never exceeded 5%. However, over the last two to three years, crop losses in cotton and paddy (basmati and non-basmati) have exceeded 15%. In the last two years, cotton growers who had their crops damaged by bollworm or whitefly attacks alone have received compensation of Rs 700 crore, according to state agriculture department officials.

State Director of Agriculture Gurwinder Singh said interventional studies were being performed and the government was researching the implementation and effects of the crop insurance plan in both Haryana and Madhya Pradesh, confirming that the state government would finally implement the PMFBY.

It should be noted that Punjab has been protesting the scheme ever since the Centre introduced it, mainly because it combined irrigated and non-irrigated areas for determining compensation. Furthermore, aid was only to be given in cases of 40% crop destruction. Additionally, it calculated premiums using 10-year data used to evaluate average crop yield. During the previous Congress government's term in office, the state even developed its own crop insurance program, but it was never successful.

According to officials, "The state government will now be compiling all data online, use digitized land records, and analyze agricultural loss using satellite imagery."

Interestingly, many states, including Telangana, Gujarat, and Bihar, who had previously chosen to opt-out of the PMFBY as well, are apparently eager to join the scheme beginning with the following fiscal year now that the Center has agreed to introduce a revised version of it.

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