29 November 2022, New Delhi: The Union Agriculture Ministry is all set to make farmer-friendly changes in the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) given the recent climate crisis and rapid technological advancement.
Agriculture Secretary Mr. Manoj Ahuja said that agriculture is a direct victim of the climate crisis, so it is necessary to save the country’s vulnerable farming community from the ups and downs of nature. There is potential for growth in crop insurance and that is why we need to give more emphasis on crop and other forms of rural/agriculture insurance so that adequate insurance coverage is available to the farmers in India.
Reporting Crop Damage
Mr. Ahuja said that after the launch of PMFBY in the year 2016, the scheme brought all the crops and losses under its overall coverage. The scheme protects the farmers from pre-sowing till harvest. He said that even during its review in 2018, many new basic features were added to it, such as the time for reporting crop damage was increased from 48 hours to 72 hours. In this, it was kept in mind that after a local disaster, the damage marks either dissolve or become undetectable after 72 hours. Similarly, after the 2020 amendment, provision has been made for voluntary registration and inclusion of wildlife attacks in the scheme, to make the scheme more farmer-friendly.
Mr. Ahuja clarified that some states have opted out of the scheme. The primary reason for this is that they are unable to pay their share of the premium subsidy due to financial constraints. It is noteworthy that Andhra Pradesh re-joined the scheme in July 2022, after resolving the issues of the states.
Giving details of the contribution of the Center and the State in the premium, Mr. Ahuja said that in the last six years, farmers contributed only Rs 25,186 crore, while Rs 1,25,662 crore (as on October 31, 2002) was paid to them as claims. For this, the central and state governments contributed premiums to the scheme. It is noteworthy that the acceptance of the scheme among the farmers has increased in the last six years.
Extreme Weather and Climate Change
Mr. Ahuja said that in the World Economic Forum’s Global Risk Report 2022, extreme weather has been declared as the second biggest risk for the next 10 years. It has been said in the report that the sudden change in the weather is capable of affecting our country.
PFFBY is currently the world’s largest crop insurance scheme in terms of farmer registrations. For this, on average 5.5 crore applications come every year and it is the third largest scheme in terms of the premium received. Under the scheme, there is a commitment to minimize the financial burden of farmers, in which farmers pay 1.5 percent and 2 percent of the total premium for the Rabi and Kharif seasons respectively. The Center and the States bear the maximum share of the premium.
The acceptability of the scheme among farmers is also reflected in the fact that the number of non-loanee farmers, marginal farmers, and small farmers has increased by 282 percent since the launch of the scheme in 2016.
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