Farmers live at the mercy of unpredictable weather and are under constant fear of drought and floods. The state, notorious for suicides by farmers, had in 2005 launched a Farmer Public Accident Insurance to give them some monetary relief.
In case of death or injuries caused to farmers in an accident or causes specified in the scheme – the range includes snake bites, drowning, naxal attacks – his family is entitled to Rs1 lakh. In case of permanent disability, the injured farmer is entitled to Rs 50,000. A query filed by The Indian Express under the Right to Information (RTI) Act revealed that between August 2008 and June 5, 2015, as many as 13,515 farmers claimed amounts sanctioned under the insurance scheme. Over the past seven years, Rs 134.54 crore have been sanctioned to cover claims.
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- Failed by design
The scheme covers all the 1.37 crore farmers across Maharashtra. The premium is borne entirely by the state government. While 18,909 applications were received since 2008, nearly 4,500 were rejected for not meeting requirements for entitlement of the insurance claim. “The amount given under the scheme is a huge help for farmers, especially when they aren’t required to pay any premium,” said a senior officer from the Commissionerate of Agriculture.
The official said that the maximum applications get rejected due to farmers not being able to produce papers that prove the land is in his name; or there is a delay in submission of form; or the age bracket (10 to 75 years) is crossed. Some were rejected as they did not have a driving licence and were involved in road accidents.
The official added that some claims to be settled for 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-2015, are being processed.
Every year, the state government invites proposals from insurance companies and those with the lowest premium are selected.
Death: Rs 1 lakh
Loss of eyes: Rs 1 lakh
Loss of one eye: Rs 50,000
Loss of two limbs: Rs 1 lakh
Loss of a limb: Rs 50,000
Loss of an eye and a limb: Rs 1 lakh