Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday underlined the need for states to release premium subsidy on time to ensure timely settlement of claims under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY).
While reviewing the implementation of the PMFBY through video conferencing, she also stressed on the need of carrying out awareness activities to ensure dissemination of information among all farmers in view of the scheme becoming voluntary for all farmers.
She suggested that stringent follow-up should be done with states where subsidy is pending, especially those which are not implementing the scheme in Kharif 2020 with a view to ensure payment of all pending claims to farmers at the earliest, an official statement said.
A presentation was made by the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers’ Welefare (DAC&FW) wherein the journey of the PMFBY since Kharif 2016 as well as challenges encountered and the status of implementation for the current Kharif 2020 crop season, especially after the revamp of PMFBY, were discussed.
The meeting was attended by Financial Services Secretary Debasish Panda, Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agarwal and senior officials of both the ministries as well as of banks and general insurance companies implementing PMFBY.
The agriculture secretary informed that leveraging technology was one of the main focus areas in revamped PMFBY and the department was working towards migrating to technology assessment of yield by 2023 and a survey would be conducted after Rabi 2020-21 to ascertain the impact of the revamped PMFBY.
Under the PMFBY, which was launched in February 2016 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it is mandatory for loanee farmers to take insurance cover under this scheme.
However, earlier this year, the government made the insurance schemes voluntary for farmers with existing crop loans or those willing to take new ones, as it seeks to address the concerns raised by farmers’ body and states in implementation of these programmes.
The PMFBY provides comprehensive crop insurance from pre-sowing to post-harvest period against non-preventable natural risks at extremely low premium rate of 2 per cent for kharif crops, 1.5 per cent for rabi crops and 5 per cent for horticulture and commercial crops.
Concerns were raised about decline in insurance coverage as it is no longer mandatory.