May 11, 2018 6:43:32 am
Maharashtra may have been hailed for the way it has implemented the Prime Minister Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) — the Centre’s flagship programme to provide crop insurance — but data from the insurance company concerned reveals that there are question marks about the settlement of claims.
The response to a Right To Information (RTI) application, filed by The Indian Express with the National Insurance Company Limited, shows that for the 2016 rabi season, claims worth Rs 5.19 crore were unsettled. However, data from the Commissionerate of Agriculture, which is entrusted with the task of implementing the scheme, shows zero pending claims for that season.
PMFBY, a major crop insurance scheme by the central government, is meant to ensure assured returns to farmers in case of crop failure. Under the scheme, the farmer pays 1.5 per cent of the premium, while the rest is shared by the state and central governments.
The claims are supposed to be settled within three weeks after the relevant data about the yield is uploaded on the relevant portals. Last year, Maharashtra had reported settlement of claims worth over Rs 2,300 crore under the scheme. The collector and agricultural officer of Beed district were felicitated for proper implementation of the scheme.
However, the National Insurance Company’s response to the RTI plea shows that for the 2016 rabi season, 8,76,655 farmers had paid premium worth Rs 63.457 crore. Later, claims worth Rs 25.622 crore were raised, of which Rs 5.19 crore remain unsettled. But the data pertaining to the season, made public by the Commissionerate of Agriculture, shows that no claim is unsettled.
Senior officials of the National Insurance Company admitted that the claims were unsettled due to “technical issues’. “That season, claims were settled by manually uploading the farmer’s MIS (management information system, where data pertaining to yield, crop loss is uploaded). Banks were given the MIS, after which they settled the claims with the accounts of individual farmers. However, there were concerns about the process, because of which claims worth over Rs 5 crore were unsettled,” they said.
Company officials said the MIS problems were also because of the failure of the commissionerate to provide data in the required format. Officials of the Commissionerate of Agriculture, however, said they had based their report on the data given by the National Insurance Company, which was not certified. “We are yet to receive certified data from the company. In fact, we have raised a complaint with the IRDA about this,” said an official of the State Agriculture Commissionerate.
The National Insurance Company, however, said the process of validation and settling of claims will be resolved soon and the data will be shared with the Agriculture Commissionerate. Since 2017, the process has been simplified, with banks, the insurance company, farmers, and commissionerate accessing the agri-insurance portal to upload their data.
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