MAJOR IRREGULARITIES have come to light in the implementation of the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana in Maharashtra. While the state’s total sown area in the Rabi season of 2018-19 was 33.81 lakh hectare, the total insured area under Rabi for the same year is only 45 lakh hectare. In other words, the cultivated area, for which the government is paying premium from the exchequer, was 133 per cent more than the actual sown area.
Speaking in the Legislative Assembly, Agriculture Minister Anil Bonde admitted on Friday that in Marathwada’s Aurangabad, which is reeling under drought, insured crop area (under Rabi) was 232 per cent more than the actual cultivated area.
While agriculture department’s statistics have revealed that the total sown area in the district was 2.68 lakh hectare, the insured area shown is 8.89 lakh hectare. Similarly, in Latur, the insured area is 68 per cent more than sown area.
Congress MLA Amit Deshmukh initiated a discussion in this regard during the Question Hour. Later, NCP’s Ajit Pawar accused the crop insurance companies of running a racket and defrauding nationalised banks. He demanded action against errant officials and blacklisting of the responsible insurance companies.
Admitting to the irregularities, Bonde attributed the discrepancy to the farmers being misled by officials at the common facility centre and middlemen.
While claiming that the government has asked the insurance companies to look into the discrepancy, Bonde said that in future, such companies will be asked to submit land records with their claims. He added that the concerned farmers would now get an SMS when the premiums are paid.
The Opposition went on to create a ruckus demanding action against the errant companies. Later, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced that “insurance companies would be blacklisted if they are held responsible”.