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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

More premiums, less compensation: Report highlights gaps in implementation of farm insurance scheme

Among the farmers, PMFBY has received a thumbs-up, thanks to the low premium they had to pay and the reasonably good compensation they are promised from the scheme.

Written by Parthasarathi Biswas | Pune |
Updated: September 10, 2021 7:19:35 am
Among the farmers, PMFBY has received a thumbs-up, thanks to the low premium they had to pay and the reasonably good compensation they are promised from the scheme | Representation al image/Express Photos by Pradip Das

Five years since the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) was launched, an analysis of data shows that farmers in states which had contributed the maximum premium to insurance scheme have received lesser compensation than states where the amount of premium collected was less. An evaluation by the standing committee of the Lok Sabha has brought out gaps in implementation in the scheme, which aims to cushion the farm sector from losses due to vagaries of nature. The report was recently released on the Lok Sabha website.

Among the farmers, PMFBY has received a thumbs-up, thanks to the low premium they had to pay and the reasonably good compensation they are promised from the scheme. The scheme sees farmers paying 2 per cent (for kharif) and 1.5 per cent (rabi) of the premium while the rest is picked up by the Central and state government. Five public sector insurance companies and 13 private insurance companies implement the scheme across the country. Since the scheme was announced, insurance companies have picked up Rs 1,26,521 crore by way of premium and settled claims worth Rs 87,320 crore. In the last five years, farmers have paid Rs 19,913 crore as part of their share of the premium.

However, close scrutiny of data throws up various points of concern in the implementation of the scheme. To start with, states which have reported the maximum amount of premium collected have received lesser compensation than those states where the premium collected has been less in amount. Thus, Gujarat, which had seen a total premium collected of Rs 12,021.22 crore, had seen claims of Rs 5,232.0 crore paid since the scheme was announced. On the other hand, a state like Chhattisgarh, which had seen a total collection of premium of Rs 2,711.4 crore, had seen claim payment of Rs 3,287.50 crore.

In all, four states — Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Sikkim and Tripura — have reported more claims being paid to farmers than premiums collected in the last five years.

In states and Union Territories such as Assam, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Bihar, Goa, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Meghalaya, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, claims paid was less than 50 per cent of the premium collected in the last five years. The remaining states have seen claims to the tune of around 60-90 per cent of the premium collected.

The report highlighted the lack of due process to evaluate the performance of the companies empanelled with the scheme. Confirming this, the agriculture department said a process is being set up to evaluate the performance of companies. “Few shortcomings, especially with respect to deployment of manpower/infrastructure at ground level and delay in payment of claims have been noticed and necessary clarification/action has been initiated,” the report by the standing committee read.

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