Irregularities have come to light in the government’s ambitious crop insurance scheme in four northern districts of the State, with some of the beneficiaries making either multiple or false claims. Some have enrolled into the scheme by creating fake land records. Preliminary investigations indicated that 10 to 15 per cent of cases related to crop insurance scheme for kharif cultivation in 2015–16 in Kalaburagi, Dharwad, Haveri, and Gadag districts are dubious.
With farmers hitting the streets protesting the inordinate delay in disbursement of compensation for 2015 kharif crops damaged due to drought, the opposition political parties have flayed the State Government for its insensitivity towards the plight of farmers. Though the timeline for receipt of final yield data for assessment of crop loss has been fixed as ‘within one month from final harvest’, the State Government has not been able to provide a factual crop cutting reports to the insurance companies till date.
THE flash floods triggered by heavy rain in Jharkhand last week has submerged thousands of hectares of agriculture land in northern parts of Balasore district, ruining paddy and vegetable crops. Even as the flood water has receded, standing paddy crops and vegetable fields were damaged in Baliapal and Bhogarai blocks. The areas were hit by flood in river Subarnarekha and the backwater from West Bengal. Though the damage assessment has not been completed yet, according to an initial estimation agriculture field of over 7,000 acres has been damaged during the recent flood. Farmers fear huge loss as it is already middle of the kharif season and fresh transplantation may not be beneficial.
Thousands of farmers of Kalahandi district on Thursday took to the streets in protest against unavailability of crop insurance money and input subsidy against crops lost in drought in 2015. According to information, people belonging to 10 gram panchayats gathered at Borda on the State Highway 16 and blocked the road. Resultantly, traffic movement on the Kharial-Bhawanipatna road has been severely affected. People alleged that they have not received crop insurance money for the crop loss occurred due to drought in 2015 even though they had paid premium for the same. They too alleged that they have not received input subsidy announced by the State Government a year ago.
In October 2014, Cyclone Hudhud made landfall in Andhra Pradesh, inflicting heavy damage on Vishakhapatnam, Srikakulam and Vijayanagaram districts. As many as 25,000 people in 320 villages were affected, 22 persons died and mud and thatch houses were badly damaged. For farmers in these districts, the timing was really bad. Farming, a high-risk livelihood, had once again fallen victim to the uncertainties of an extreme climate episode. Standing crops worth millions were affected. A few farmers in Srikakulam who had opted for free SMS alerts by AgroMet Advisory Service (AAS) provided by a consortium led by India Meteorological Department (IMD) were exceptions. Based on the alert provided by the service, they harvested their paddy crop in advance, averting monetary loss. They also passed on the AgroMet alert messages to his friends and relatives.
The Opposition parties in Haryana plan to corner the government in the Assembly on several issues including, implementation of the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna (PMFBY), appointment of sahyogis as well as the manner in which people are recruited for various government agencies. The session is to commence on August 26. “Farmers are being forced to pay premium for insurance when they apply for bank loans even when they do not want it,” said Congress Legislature Party leader. The Congress will find support in the form of the INLD over the issue.
The Punjab government led by Shiromani Akali Dal — a strong ally of the BJP both at the Centre and State level — has been unable to persuade its farmers to get covered under the PM’s Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) as they demand that the entire insurance premium should be paid by the government. The main reason why Punjab farmers generally shy away from crop insurance is the fact that crop losses are very low in the State.
Paddy farmers in Alappuzha, Pathanamthitta and Kottayam districts, where below sea-level farming practices are in vogue, are in distress over the crop insurance scheme. Farming in the fields in the three districts has been exempted from weather-based insurance cover. The fields are to be covered under yield-based crop insurance, but the State government is yet to notify the scheme. Weather-based crop insurance cover used to be provided by the public sector company Agricultural Insurance Company of India to the State. The Union government introduced the Prime Minister’s Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) in January this year with a view to providing comprehensive insurance cover at low premium.
While the Narendra Modi-led NDA government claims to have introduced the “best” crop insurance scheme in the form of Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna (PM Crop Insurance Scheme), a parliamentary panel in its report has called upon the Centre to be bolder and make it universal to cover all crops across the country against the current coverage of rabi and kharif crops. The panel has also advocated an integrated credit-crop-livestock health insurance package for all farmers, which might boost farmers’ income levels in the long run.
The efforts of the Agriculture Department officials to enrol all the farmers under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana were not bearing fruit as far as non-loanee farmers are concerned. This came to light at the District Development Coordination and Monitoring Committee presided over by Suresh C. Angadi, MP, here on Wednesday. Zilla Panchayat President Asha Prashant Aihole and Chief Executive Officer Gautam Bagadi were present. Joint Director of Agriculture V.J. Patil said that only 47,918 non-loanee farmers (including 1,400 farmers taking up weather-based crops) could be enrolled under the PMFBY till August 10 for the current kharif season.
After the crop insurance scheme that promises record low premiums for farmers, the central government is planning to come out with a similar scheme for livestock in which farmers’ share of premium would also be in the range of 1-2 per cent per annum. Officials said the matter was discussed at a high-level meeting which was also attended by representatives from insurance companies. The new insurance scheme for livestock would provide protection to growers in case of livestock lost due to drought, floods, cyclones or any other natural calamities, including epidemics.
A committee tasked by the government’s apex planning body with studying how unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) can be used in crop insurance schemes has said drones trump satellite technology for the purpose. The committee also maintained that sharing cadastral (land’s location, ownership, tenure) details, Aadhaar card and bank account details is “mandatory” for effective crop insurance policies. The sub-committee is expected to submit its report to the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog) on August 20. It is constituted of experts from the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology, Indian Agriculture Research Institute, weather technology firm Skymet and international reinsurance company Swiss Re.
News Publications Documents
Africa Agricultural insurance Analitics Australia Canada crop crop insurance crop loss crop losses damage Documents drought farmers farming flood frost Hail India International pratice losses News Philippines Press Releases rain Risk management Russia Spain Ukraine USA USA АЧС Болезни Господдержка Казахстан агрообзор заморозки засуха кукуруза метеообзор озимые потеря урожая пшеница состояние посевов страхование посевов субсидии