Reflecting wider coverage of the recently launched Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bhima Yojana (PMFBY), the total sum insured for the kharif 2016 crops has increased by over 70 per cent to Rs 1.18 lakh crore.
In the 2015 kharif season, total sum insured was only Rs 69,360 crore under the previous crop insurance scheme. As per the official data, as many as 3.15 crore farmers took advantage of the PMFBY in the just completed 2016-17 kharif season, against 3.09 crore farmers in the same season last year.
“So far, 3.15 crore farmers have taken the policy in kharif 2016. Banks are yet to submit the final data on the coverage of farmers. What is interesting is that the sum insured has jumped by 71 per cent to Rs 1,18,426 crore,” Joint Secretary in the Agriculture Ministry Ashish Bhutani said.
Earlier, crops were underinsured, but this scenario is changing. More farmers are taking advantage of the new crop insurance scheme, under which premiums are kept low and farmers will get claims for full sum insured, he said. Good progress has been achieved in the implementation of the PMFBY in the 2016 kharif season even though several states delayed notification of the scheme. About 22 states and union territories have rolled out the scheme, he added. Under PMFBY, farmers’ premium has been kept lower between 1.5-2 per cent for foodgrains and oilseed crops and up to 5 per cent for horticultural and cotton crops.
There is no cap on the premium and 25 per cent of the likely claim will be settled directly in farmers’ accounts.
Going forward, Bhutani said, “The coverage of farmers in the coming rabi season is expected to increase as the initial hiccups have been addressed at all levels. Even banks are aggressively promoting the scheme.”
In fact, the number of farmers to take up the crop insurance scheme in the 2016 rabi season is likely to surpass the last year’s level of 80 lakh, he noted. Under the PMFBY, the number of kharif crops insured vary from the state to state. In Bihar, only paddy and maize are covered, while in some states about 40 crops.
PMFBY replaces the existing two schemes National Agricultural Insurance Scheme and Modified NAIS, which have had some inherent drawbacks.