Crop Insurance Scheme has been introduced by the central government after two successive drought years, under the name Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna (PMFBY). This is being represented as a Panacea to solve multitude of farmer’s issues and rejuvenating confidence in Indian agriculture sector.
The Crop Insurance Scheme PMFBY is the next step in enabling more farmers to avail insurance cover against crop loss on account of natural calamities, after the National Agricultural Insurance Scheme introduced by Mr. Chaturanan Mishra in 1995. The design of the Crop Insurance Scheme includes reducing the horticulture premium from 25% to 5%, from 15% to 2% for Kharif crops and from 15 to 1.5% for Rabi crops, which has significantly reduced the farmer’s burden. The bottom-up approach of the Crop Insurance Scheme and widening of the term “disaster” will benefit the farmers by widening the protective base. The farmers will get full sum claims in a time bound manner which will prevent delays and worsening farmer’s distress. Along with these policy measures the use of modern techniques i.e. smart phones to access the real time damage is a laudable move which will help disbursement on time.
Crop Insurance Scheme (Criticism)
Despite presenting the scheme as a game changer union government is also getting criticism from various quarters due to huge dependence on private insurers rather than lending direct helping hand. Putting the fate of already distressed sector in private hands is supposed to pose challenges. As the problems with every scheme starts at implementation level and so is it with PMFBY. Another major issue is that the crops stored post harvest; under cold storage have not been covered under this, which is a major issue for farmers these days. Another implementation issue which might arise is the apathy on part of state governments who have to bear 50% of the cost of scheme but were not taken on board while formulating it.
To make the scheme beneficial for farmers at ground level, first step that is needed to be taken is creating awareness.
Till date only 23% of crops have been insured and majority of marginal farmers in villages don’t either have the confidence nor are they aware about the steps being taken. Cooperatives and Non-governmental organizations should be included in processes for creating awareness. To tackle bureaucratic apathy, rather than relying on manual reports solely, satellite reporting in real time manners will improve transparency and efficiency of the system.
Thus the PMFBY is a laudable step taken by government which can become a game changer with transparency and inclusive approach with which it will reform the most vulnerable part of Indian Agrarian sector.
To listen to the full debate on Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna @ RSTV