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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Crop insurance: Firms start payments, 30 lakh state farmers benefitted

State Agriculture Minister Dadasaheb Bhuse had assured of quick payment as in many districts farmers had reported complete crop loss due to unseasonal rain.

Written by Parthasarathi Biswas | Pune |
Updated: December 12, 2021 7:39:21 am
Monsoon in Maharashtra has been patchy with long dry phases in July and August. (Representational)

After repeated follow-ups by the office of the Agriculture Commissioner, insurance companies implementing the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) have started paying the claims of crop loss in the state. By the end of this week, claims to the tune of Rs 1,770 crore have been transferred to the accounts of 29.92 lakh farmers in the state. The remaining amount would be transferred in the next seven days, said Agriculture Commissioner Dheeraj Kumar.

Monsoon in Maharashtra has been patchy with long dry phases in July and August. However, after August, the monsoon revived with a vigour and excessive rain was reported in September-October. The Agriculture Commissioner’s office had received a total of 47.61 lakh claims for crop loss both for mid-season adversity as well as localised calamity. The total claims amounted to Rs 2,750 crore.

The claims, which were raised both online and offline by the farmers, were not entertained quickly despite follow-up by farmers. State Agriculture Minister Dadasaheb Bhuse had assured of quick payment as in many districts farmers had reported complete crop loss due to unseasonal rain.

Repeated follow-ups by the office of Agriculture Commissioner, including threat of action, has prompted the insurance companies to start their payment schedule from this week. As on Friday, 29.92 lakh beneficiaries have been paid Rs 1,770 crore. The remaining amount is expected to be paid in the next seven days.

PMFBY allows farmers to insure their crops against losses due to extreme weather events. Farmers pay a small portion of the premium while central and state governments pick up the maximum share. Farmers have to register claims online or offline for losses after which the claims are paid directly into their accounts.

PMFBY has become popular with farmers with enrolments being regular despite the scheme being optional for most farmers. Enrolments have been high in Marathwada and Vidarbha, where crop loss due to extreme climatic events are high.

However, the scheme has attracted severe criticism from various quarters, with farmer leaders training their guns against the companies for not entertaining the claims on time.

Kumar, in his capacity as the commissioner, has flagged it, threatening action against companies which do not adhere to the payment schedule. In the case of some companies, the agricultural commissioner’s office had even pointed out the low payment history despite government and farmer share of the premium being received on time.

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