The implementation of the Prime Minister Crop Insurance Scheme is “seriously compromised” and plagued with “loopholes”, leading to losses to farmers and windfall for insurance companies, said a report released on Friday. The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said the scheme, which came into force in April last year, is “good” in terms of its objective of acting as a “safety net” for farmers to deal with the impact of extreme and unseasonal weather due to climate change.
“The Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana is a far superior scheme than the previous agricultural insurance schemes. However, at the state level, its vision is diluted and at the district level, its implementation is seriously compromised,” CSE’s deputy director general Chandra Bhushan said.
CSE said the assessment was based on field trips to Haryana, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh, as well as engagement with various stakeholders including farmer and farmers’ organisations, insurance companies and government departments. Among the positives of the scheme, the increase in coverage of agricultural insurance in 2015 and 2016 Kharif seasons, from around three crore to a little over four crore, have been highlighted in the report. However, the scheme has loopholes in terms of assessment of crop losses, as in many cases, district or block level agricultural department officials do not conduct such sampling on ground and complete the formalities only on paper, it said.
“Insurance companies, in many cases, did not investigate losses due to a localised calamity and, therefore, did not pay claims. For kharif 2016, the claim payment to farmers was inordinately delayed – till April 2017; claims for kharif 2016 were not paid or were partly paid in 14 out of 21 states,” it said.