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Wednesday, April 01, 2020

‘Retrograde, anti-farmer step’: Chidambaram on Centre’s move to make crop insurance voluntary

In a series of tweets, Chidambaram said the Centre's decision is another example of "BJP government’s shortsightedness and misplaced priorities."

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: February 20, 2020 11:47:41 am
Chidambaram, Chidambaram on crop insurance, Chidambaram  on BJP, Chidambaram  twitter Senior Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram (Express Photo by Tashi Tobgyal)

Former Finance Minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram called the Centre’s decision to reduce its contribution to the Crop Insurance Scheme as “anti-farmer” and a “retrograde” step. In a series of tweets, Chidambaram said the Centre’s decision is another example of “BJP government’s shortsightedness and misplaced priorities.”

The government on Wednesday made its flagship crop insurance schemes voluntary for farmers with existing crop loans or those willing to take new ones.

“What is required is to bring more cropped area under crop insurance. The new decisions will reduce the coverage putting millions of farmers at risk,” the former finance minister wrote on Twitter. “Nothing can be more anti-farmer than the central government’s decision to reduce its contribution to the Crop Insurance Scheme,” he added.

Revamping the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) and Restructured Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme (RWBCIS), the Centre increased premium subsidy to 90 per cent for states in the Northeast from existing sharing pattern of 50:50; and provisioning of at least 3 per cent of total allocation of the scheme for administrative expenses.

Briefing the media on the Cabinet decisions, Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar said, “Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana has been made voluntary. Till now, crop insurance was mandatory for loanee [borrower] farmers, whose number has been about 58 per cent. The percentage of non-loanee farmers was around 42, which was only 5 per cent before 2015. Some of the states, farmers and farmers’ organisations felt that the scheme should be made voluntary. Therefore, the Union Cabinet today decided to make it voluntary.”

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