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Editor’s Note

                 What ails much-touted Crop

                 Insurance Scheme in India?

                               When the national Commis-      crop insurance scheme in 2016-17 but the number came
                                sion of Farmers, chaired by Fa-  down to 4.87 crores in 2017-18.
                                 ther of Green Revolution in India,   Among the States, the maximum number of 31.25
                                 Mankombu Sambasivan Swami-   lakh farmers withdrew from the scheme in Rajasthan,
                                 nathan pointed out that something   19.46 lakhs from Maharashtra, 14.69 lakhs from Uttar
                                “very serious and terribly wrong is   Pradesh, 11.29 lakhs from Karnataka and 2.90 lakhs from
                               happening in the countryside,” it   Madhya Pradesh. That is another point of concern. Had
                              was clear that steps were needed to   the scheme be beneficial to farmers, no farmer would
                          mitigate distress in the agriculture sector.     quit it. Are the methods to assess crop loss not farmer-
                 Keeping in view various type of risks involved in agri-  friendly or claims settlement procedure cumbersome
                 culture, the government came out with an ambitious   and time-consuming? Has the scheme been linked with
                 scheme called “Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana” to   the ‘Jan Dhan Yojana’ to make it truly inclusive?
                 provide insurance cover to farmers in case of a crop   There is a need to provide relief to farmers imme-
                 failure.  Insurance companies overwhelmingly partici-  diately for a crop failure by linking these to the process
                 pated in the scheme. But instead of benefiting farmers,   of direct benefit transfers. In recent times, the country
                 the scheme has benefited insurance companies.   is experiencing unseasonal rains, dust, and thunder-
                   Tehelka Cover Story in this issue and a subsequent   storms, causing extensive damage to crops at the time of
                 series would unravel the truth of PMFBY. In 2016-17,   sowing, harvesting, and marketing.  With freak weather
                 the difference between the premiums received and   becoming more imminent, measures to provide protec-
                 compensation paid to farmers was  6459.64 crores.   tion to farmers against these risks is need of the hour.
                 In 2017-18, they paid over  2,000 crores less by way of   Experts suggest the use of information and communi-
                 claims and the margin of insurance companies went   cation tools to help farmers regain faith in crop insur-
                 up to  9,335 crores.  A thorough probe in this matter is   ance schemes and make them more efficient and trans-
                 necessary to find out if this profit from a social welfare   parent. After all mitigating risk in the agriculture sector
                 scheme is legitimate. Also, there is a need to find out   has a direct implication for productivity in the farm sec-
                 why more than 84 lakh farmers, which is around 15% of   tor and the welfare of farmers.
                 the total farmers insured in the first year of the scheme,
                 withdrew themselves from the scheme in 2017-18.
                 About 5.72 crores farmers enrolled themselves for the                    (chARAnjIt AhujA)

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                       Volume 16, Issue no. 4, 16-28 february 2019, RELEASEd on 16 february, numbER oF pAgES IncLudIng covER 68
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