New crop insurance scheme not reaching needy farmers
Even though there is a nominal premium on crop insurance, the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna (PMFBY) is still proving a non-starter among farmers. According to the latest report, most of the farmers insured under the scheme are those who are 'bound' to get insurance cover due to their banking compulsions.
According to the report, which has been analysed by Millennium Post, out of all insured farmers, only 26 per cent farmers without a loan have insured their kharif crops under the new crop insurance, which is being promoted as game-changer in the agriculture sector.
In case of rabi crops for the season 2016-17, the insurance coverage is all the more less as only 15 per cent farmers without a loan have signed up the new crop insurance scheme.
In the kharif season 2016, out of total 3.86 crore farmers insuring their crops, only 1.03 crore farmers without a loan availed the facility, while rest 2.83 crore have enrolled themselves under the scheme due to their banking compulsions.
The performance of states like Rajasthan, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, etc., is very poor in terms of enrolment of farmers without a loan under the scheme.
Surprisingly, the situation in West Bengal is much better as about 43 per cent farmers without a loan are availing the loan scheme. Out of total 30.59 lakh farmers registered under the scheme for kharif crops, 13.29 lakh are without a loan, while 17.30 lakh have availed agriculture loans. In case of Rajasthan, out of 60.86 lakh farm loan beneficiaries, only 673 are without a loan while rest have availed farm loans. Similarly, in Uttar Pradesh, only 4,083 farmers without a loan have availed crop insurance out the total 33.89 lakh beneficiaries.
There are some reverse trends too, which has been reported from Congress-ruled Himachal Pradesh as out of total 97,767 insured farmers for rabi crops, 34,385 are without a loan and 9,882 have availed farm loans.
The outcome of most of the states for rabi season is also very poor as out of total 1.53 crore insured farmers only 23.46 lakh are without a farm loans while 1.24 crore have availed farm loans.
Madhya Pradesh has 38.08 lakh insured farmers out of which 34.2 lakh farmers are those who have taken loan and as per practice they have to take insurance cover, while 3.87 lakh farmers have opted new insurance cover without any obligation.
In case of Andhra Pradesh, out of 10.15 lakh insured farmers, 8.63 lakh farmers are under the insurance cover due to loan obligation, while only 95,870 farmers have enrolled for the new crop insurance scheme. Haryana has 13.23 lakh insured farmers out of which 13.2 lakh farmers are those who have taken loan and as per practice they have to take insurance cover, while only 3,084 farmers have opted new insurance cover without any obligation.
In contrary to this, the number crop insurance beneficiaries in 2014-15 under National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (NAIS) was 3.69 crore and out of which most of the farmers had opted the scheme willingly.
"It's a known fact that no farmer avails crop insurance out of his will. It's just a trap as no farmers have ever got right compensation in proportion to the damage of their crops. Farmers pay premiums and when it comes to take compensation, they run from pillar to post to get petty amounts," said farmers' leader Nikhil Dey.