Is Pradhan Mantri Fasal Beema Yojna benefiting the Farmers

There are news reports that only 29 percent farmers have opted for the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Beema Yojna. What eaxctly went wrong? Why more farmers are not opting for the insurance scheme. May be the farmers did not understand the scheme! There could be technical flaws to understand the same.  

The farmers must know that all insurance companies are not authorized to collect the premium. Only few branches were allowed to collect the premium.  Moreover the claim settlement is also not transparent. We can also say that the scheme is half cooked!  

How many farmers claimed the insurance benefit and the reason thereof are also not elaborated?  Who were the agents and how strongly they convinced the farmer to opt. Why the KVKs and the village panchayats were authorized to collect the premium, issues of the policy and the maturity period of the insurance! 

The latest data of Fasal Bima Yojana shows that its coverage is only 30 percent and that too because farmers have been forced into it. Any farmer who takes loan against a Kisan Credit Card is asked to be insured under Fasal Bima Yojana. Non-lonee farmers are still out of coverage. At least 70 percent of the farmers are not covered under the scheme. Moreover, it does not cover all the crops. We need a scheme that covers all farmers and all crops against all forms of losses. Latest CAG Report clearly pointed out loopholes in the assessment and monitoring systems. 

The Indian farmer desperately needs state support in the form of relief, compensation and insurance payment. Therefore, PMFBY needs to be modified as  a comprehensive relief-cum-insurance scheme that would be universal in its coverage. 

Insurance companies including public sector companies got nearly Rs 10,000 crore in its kitty. Going by official data, total premium collected during Kharif 2016 was nearly Rs 16,000 crore and claims paid by them was nearly 23 percent of total claim made. Nearly 77 percent profit certainly signals towards scam. Facing tough times in agriculture since 2011, Tamil Nadu presents even more pathetic condition, for Rabi 2016-17, the farmers’ claim amount to Rs 954 crore and so far the only Rs 22 crore worth claims have been paid. We find that for PMFBY, the Centre’s and State governments’ expenditure went up by four times whereas coverage increased only by 30 percent.  The insurance premium is being deducted without the farmers’ knowledge, consent and information and when there is crop loss, the same yield based assessment arbitrarily decided by Patwaris. Farmers are left at the merciless mercy of the administration while the insurance companies laugh all the way to the bank. 

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