Suspending the implementation of Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) for a year, the Gujarat government on Monday launched “Mukhya Mantri Kisan Sahay Yojana” as a temporary replacement. The high premiums quoted by insurance firms under the PMBY was cited as the reason.
“The PMFBY has been a blessing for the farmers. In the entire country, farmers are being protected under this scheme. However, this year, the insurance companies have quoted very high premiums, which will entail a burden of Rs 5,700 crore on both the state and the Centre. So we decided to scrap the tenders for this year,” said Chief Minister Vijay Rupani.
“Despite this decision, the farmers will continue to be protected. So I am announcing the Mukhya Mantri Kisan Sahay Yojana (MMKSY), which will be limited to this year,” Rupani added. He said the new scheme was much “simpler” than PMFBY.
The biggest difference in both these schemes is that that the MMKSY will cover all the 56 lakh farmers in the state, unlike the PMFBY, where on an average, 15-17 lakh farmers who applied for crop insurance, used to be covered. Rupani said under PMFBY, the state government used to pay premiums between Rs 1,700 and 1,800 crore. Similar amount was also paid by the Centre.
The new crop insurance scheme is being announced at a time, when farmers’ bodies and the opposition Congress have gone public claiming wide-spread corruption in PMFBY. When asked about the same, Rupani refused to comment. “Not now,” he said.
There are certain conditions for the new crop insurance scheme launched by Gujarat. It will be restricted to crop losses happening during the ongoing Kharif season. It will cover only drought, flooding and unseasonal rainfall, and the insurance coverage will be up to a maximum of four hectares.
Farmers who suffer crop loss of less than 33 per cent will not get any compensation, while those who suffer damage of 33 to 60 per cent will get an assistance of Rs 20,000 per hectare. For crop loss above 60 per cent, the compensation amount will be Rs 25,000 per hectare.
Drought will be declared if any taluka receives less then 10 inches of rain for the season or if there is no rain for four consecutive weeks (28 days) from the onset of monsoon to August 31. In the districts of South Gujarat ( Bharuch, Narmada, Tapi, Surat, Navsari, Valsad and Dang), a taluka will be declared as affected by heavy rainfall, if it receives 35 inches or more rain, damaging the standing crops.
For all other districts, 25 inches of rainfall will be taken into consideration. Crop loss on account of unseasonal rain will be considered if 2 inches or more rainfall happens in 48 hours between October 15 to November 15.
To implement the scheme, a portal linked with land records and CM Dashboard will be created to get online application of farmers. The farmers will have to go to village level e-gram centre to apply online on designated portal. This centre will be paid Rs 8 per successful application.
The district collector will prepare a list of villages or talukas affected by drought, heavy rain or unseasonal rainfall. This list will be sent to the revenue department for approval. Teams formed by District Development Officer concerned will survey the affected fields with Panchnama within 15 days, afer which a list of eligible farmers will be issued.
The chief minister said that premiums collected from farmers for the current year for crop insurance under PMFBY will be returned. Rupani said farmers will also continue to benefit from SDRF.
Sagar Rabari, head of Gujarat Ekta Manch, a farmer’s body, said that the compensation announced under the “so-called new scheme” is not enough to even cover the per hectare sowing costs. He said under PMFBY, the compensation was as high as Rs 85,000 per hectare. Rabari said this new announcement is just a move by the government to “hide the corruption” in PMFBY.
Welcoming the Kisan Sahay Yojana, Gujarat BJP chief CR Paatil said that because of Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) there was a lot of discontent among farmers.
“We have been witnessing a lot of discontent among farmers of Gujarat and other states due to Pak Bima (Crop insurance). Despite payment of Rs 1,500 crore from state government and Rs 1,500 crore from Central government as yearly premium, the amount of compensation for the insurance was not going above Rs 250 crore. Because of this, farmers do not get the compensation that they deserve… Due to this, the state government has decided to do this experiment for one year,” said Paatil.