Gujarat wants Centre to make Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima scheme voluntaryhttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/pradhan-mantri-fasal-bima-yojana-gujarat-wants-centre-to-make-scheme-voluntary-5825871/

Gujarat wants Centre to make Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima scheme voluntary

Under the proposal, the government is planning to replace the scheme with a separate mechanism under which it will have a special corpus to compensate farmers in the event of crop failure.

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The move is planned after large-scale complaints from farmers against the current scheme.  (File)

The state government moved a formal proposal before the Centre to replace the current crop insurance scheme, Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, under which farmers have to compulsorily opt for crop insurance.

Under the proposal, the government is planning to replace the scheme with a separate mechanism under which it will have a special corpus to compensate farmers in the event of crop failure. The move is planned after large-scale complaints from farmers against the current scheme.

Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said the state government has moved the proposal before the Central Government to have a special corpus for compensation to farmers while making crop insurance scheme voluntary. “We have moved the proposal. Now, it is up to the Centre to take a call,” Patel said.

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A senior officer from the state government who is associated with the development, said, “The crop insurance scheme is being implemented through private insurance companies and it is a fact that they always aim profit which results in grievances from farmers. Politically, it may prove damaging to the ruling party. And to deal with the problem, a proposal is being considered by the state government to make the crop insurance scheme voluntary and have a special corpus from which farmers can be compensated in the event of crop failure.”

Sources said that the proposal was also discussed informally between Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel and other senior ministers in the Cabinet Wednesday.

Sources said that in 2018, the Centre, state government and farmers collectively paid Rs 3,031 crore towards premium of crop insurance. And against that, till June 2019, claims worth Rs 2,291 crore were reimbursed. And the figure of reimbursement may touch Rs 2,600 crore mark.

In a pre-Budget meeting with Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in June last month, Nitin Patel, who also holds the portfolio of Finance, had demanded that the crop insurance scheme be simplified and made voluntary. Patel had said that only those farmers who want to opt for crop insurance should be made beneficiary of the scheme.