New Delhi, Jan 12 (IANS) With the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), the flagship crop insurance scheme of the Narendra Modi-led government, completing five years of operation, the Central government has urged the farmers of the country to take advantage of the scheme by associating themselves with it to become self-sufficient in times of crisis and support the creation of an ‘Aatmanirbhar Kisan’.
The Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare said on Tuesday that the scheme covers over 5.5 crore farmer applications year on year and till date, claims worth Rs 90,000 crore have been paid out under the scheme.
Aadhaar seeding has helped in speedy claim settlement directly into the farmers’ accounts. Even during the Covid lockdown period, nearly 70 lakh farmers benefited and claims worth Rs 8,741.30 crore were transferred to the beneficiaries, the ministry said in a statement.
On January 13, 2016, the government of India took a historic step towards strengthening risk coverage of crops for the farmers of India and approved this flagship crop insurance scheme.
The scheme was conceived as a milestone initiative to provide a comprehensive risk solution at the lowest uniform premium to farmers across the country, said the statement.
Premium cost over and above the farmers’ share is equally subsidised by states and the government of India. However, the Centre shares 90 per cent of the premium subsidy for northeastern states to promote the uptake in the region.
The average sum insured per hectare has increased from Rs 15,100 during the pre-PMFBY scheme to Rs 40,700 under PMFBY, according to the statement.
As an end-to-end risk mitigation mechanism for the farmers, the scheme extends coverage for the entire cropping cycle from pre-sowing to post-harvest including coverage for losses arising out of prevented sowing and mid-season adversities. Individual farm level losses arising out of localised calamities and post-harvest losses are also covered due to perils such as inundation, cloudburst and natural fire.
Some notable examples of these covers include prevented sowing claims of over Rs 500 crore in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka during the Kharif 2019 dry spell, localised calamity claims of over Rs 100 crore in Haryana during Kharif 2018 hailstorm, mid-season adversity claims of nearly Rs 30 crore in Rajasthan during Rabi 2019-20 locust attack, and claims to the tune of Rs 5,000 crore in Maharashtra during the Kharif 2019 unseasonal rainfall.
Integration of land records with the PMFBY portal, crop insurance mobile-app for easy enrolment of farmers and usage of technology such as satellite imagery, remote-sensing technology, drones, artificial intelligence and machine learning to assess crop losses are some of the key features of the scheme.
The scheme makes it easier for the farmer to report crop loss within 72 hours of occurrence of any event through the crop insurance App, CSC Centre or the nearest agriculture official.
As an endeavour to constantly bring about improvements, the scheme was made voluntary for all the farmers post its revamp in February 2020. The states have also been provided flexibility to rationalise the sum insured so that adequate benefits can be availed by the farmers.