No crop insurance provided to farmers of WB in FY 2019-20 & FY 2020-21: Govt data

New Delhi: While the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman made big announcements for states heading for assembly polls- Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, the government data shows some contradictory facts. According to a written reply by the MoS finance Anurag Thakur on the floor of the House, no crop insurance has been provided to the farmers of West Bengal in FY 2019-20 and FY 2020-2021.

In the reply of an Unstarred Question by senior Rajya Sabha member Manas Bhunia, the junior finance minister mentioned the data of the Agriculture Cooperation and Farmers Welfare. It says during the FY 2018-19, crop insurance of a total of Rs 51.3 lakh were given under the combined Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) and Restructured Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme (RWBCIS) to the farmers of West Bengal. Among which Rs 26.9 lakh for loanee farmers and Rs 24.3 lakh for non-loanee farmers.

A total of Rs 576.8 lakh of crop insurance were provided to all the states and UTs during that financial year.

But in the next two financial years, no crop insurance amount was provided to the state under the combined PMFBY and RWBCIS by the Centre.

Meanwhile, the ruling party of West Bengal Trinamool Congress hit out at the central government and called "unfortunate" and "carelessness". While speaking, TMC Upper House member Manas Bhunia asserted, " While the state government is taking care of the farmers, their loan, premium, crops and even family under the Krishak Bandhu scheme, the Centre's such carelessness approach towards the farmers is very unfortunate."

The Department of Agriculture of West Bengal government has introduced an Assured Financial Assistance to all farmers of the state and farm household families under a single benefit scheme, "Krishak Bandhu". It's a single digitised card-based identity of all farmers.

According to the scheme, farmers with one or more acre landholding entitled for Rs. 5000/- per annum (Rabi & Kharif Season) assistance with minimum Rs. 2000/- per annum assistance pro-rata basis. Further, under Death Benefits Scheme farm family will be facelifted one time of Rs. 2 lakh. Farmers need not pay any premium for availing this life insurance cover also under this scheme.

On February 19, 2020, the Union Cabinet approved major modifications to the two crop insurance schemes, PMFBY and RWBCIS. While the first scheme provides insurance based on guaranteed crop yield, the latter provides coverage based on weather parameters, irrespective of the yield of crop. The two schemes were launched in 2016 and there were major modifications in guidelines in 2018.

Moreover, not only the farmers of West Bengal, but during FY 2018-19 the farmers of Bihar, in FY 2019-2020 the farmers of Jammu and Kashmir and the last financial year farmers of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Guajarat, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Manipur and Telangana were not provided with any crop insurance from the enlisted insurance companies of the central schemes.

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