Maharashtra’s first consultation on the Pradhan Mantri Pik Bima Yojana saw farmer leaders across party lines coming down heavily about its implementation. In fact, Minister of State for Agriculture Sadashiv Khot himself questioned the manner in which the Crop Cutting Experiments (CCE) are conducted in the state.
A flagship programme of the central government, the implementation of the scheme has come under severe criticism from various quarters. Farmers’ leaders have alleged massive corruption in the scheme. Allegations have been levied about the massive gains the insurance companies have amassed in the scheme even as farmers wait for their compensation to be paid.
The scheme entails farmers contributing just 2 per cent of the premium with central and state government picking up the lion’s share of premium payment.
Delay in payment of compensation, ambiguity about the threshold production limit for calculation of payout and CCEs are the main pain points in the scheme which has seen many agitations. In Maharashtra farmers from Parbhani and Beed have complained about rigging of CCEs and threshold yield data.
This would be the first time the state government had held such an open consultation about the scheme.
During the day-long event, farmers’ leaders continued raising issues about the scheme.
Dr Subhash Kadam, a BJP zilla parishad member from Parbhani, raised serious objections about the implementation. “The CCEs are done by the company representatives without taking the farmers into confidence. We have unearthed many cases of irregularities in the district,” he said.
Dr Anil Bonde, state Agriculture Minister, who was present on the occasion, has ordered for an inquiry into the matter.
Perhaps the biggest criticism of the scheme came from Khot who said he is yet to witness a single CCE.
“I have repeatedly asked officials and the insurance companies for the same but I am yet to witness any,” he said.
Khot also said the insurance companies should place a senior officer at the district levels to address the complaints of the farmers.
Dr Bonde, while addressing the session, talked about the need to bring in more transparency in the system.
He said financial penalties would be levied on companies which fail to appoint district level officers to address the grievances of the farmers.