Alleging mass scale corruption in the government-sponsored crop insurance scheme, Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), the Gujarat Congress on Tuesday claimed that the state government is allegedly fudging figures to benefit private insurance companies and provide minimal relief to farmers.
At a press conference to announce the alleged scam, the Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) displayed the yield and insurance covered in two villages of Junagadh district in 2018 during Kharif season to claim that almost 90.06% insurance amount was not paid to eligible farmers during the year. Figures of Amargadh village under Mendharda taluka of Junagadh was used as an explainer to the alleged scam. The press conference was attended by Gujarat Kisan Congress chairman Pal Ambaliya, MLA Rutvik Makwana and GPCC president Amit Chavda.
“After much hard work, farmers and our Congress volunteers have been able to access the figures of insurance amount paid and crop harvest in two villages in Junagadh in 2018. In Amargadh village, we randomly chose five 5X5 metre plots and their crop harvest during Kharif season of 2018 and found them to be 1.345 kilogram in total and average per plot at 0.266 kilogram, as per government reports. With those figures, if you calculate the per hectare (10,000 metres) actual yield (AI), then it comes out at 107.600 kilograms per hectare. For the past five years, the state government has kept the total yield (TY) at 1,273 kilograms per hectare. Now to calculate percentage of eligible insurance amount, you have to subtract AY from TY, total divided by TY and then multiplied by 100, which comes around 91.547%,” said Amit Chavda.
“However, the reports revealed by state government says only 1.48% was allotted by insurance companies. To understand it simply, the villagers were eligible for Rs 62,252 per hectare but were paid only Rs 1,007.90. So, by our calculation of only one village, the state government has not paid 90.06% insurance amount to farmers and it is an indicator of a much bigger scam which needs to be probed,” said Chavda.
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As per a recent report by The Indian Express, in the Kharif season of 2018, 15.53 lakh farmers were covered under the PMFBY in Gujarat, where a total of Rs 366 crore was paid as premium by farmers in the state. In comparison, during the recently concluded Kharif season of 2019, only 13.69 lakh farmers got enrolled under the PMFBY, which is a fall of 12 per cent.
Meanwhile, Gujarat BJP president Jitu Vaghani ridiculed the Congress allegations of large scale scam in crop insurance scheme implementation and asked the opposition party not to spread canards. Addressing media persons, Vaghani said, “When premium of only worth Rs 3,000 crore was paid, Congress is talking about a scam worth Rs 50,000 crore…I can only laugh at such allegation… Congress has only spread canards.” He advised Congress leaders to stay with truth and to stop spreading misleading and false figures, adding that the scams had happened in the Congress regime at Centre in which a number of Congress leaders were jailed.
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