The government on Thursday launched a digitised claim settlement module — DigiClaim — under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) which will help farmers receive the disbursed amount electronically like in the case of PM-Kisan. As for the launch, it has been made operational in six States with demonstration of actual transfer of claims in bank accounts of beneficiary farmers.

“It is a matter of pride for our ministry to have taken a revolutionary step in ensuring farmers can receive claim amounts digitally in a time-bound and automated manner,” said Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Narendra Singh Tomar after launching DigiClaim.

Through the DigiClaim module, insurance claims of ₹1,260.35 crore were disbursed on Thursday to farmers in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand and Haryana. The same process will continue as and when the claims are released in other States, officials said. The technology has been enabled through the integration of National Crop Insurance Portal (NCIP) and Public Finance Management System (PFMS), the Agriculture Ministry said.

Tomar said that ₹1.32 lakh crore of claim amount has been disbursed to the insured farmers under PMFBY since its launch in 2016.

Further, the minister said the Centre is working with all States who exited from the PMFBY scheme and already Andhra Pradesh and Punjab have returned to implement the scheme. Telangana, Gujarat, Bihar, West Bengal and Jharkhand have also been requested to rejoin PMFBY and several rounds of discussion have been held, he said. While Telangana and Jharkhand have indicated their willingness to come back, other States have not committed as they implement their own crop insurance schemes in the States.

Instances of delay

In the current system, there have been several instances of insured farmers’ claims being delayed due to a number of factors including delayed release of the share of premiums by States to insurance companies and non-adherence to meet stipulated deadline in crop cutting experiments.

Agriculture secretary Manoj Ahuja appealed State governments to show their participation by timely uploading yield data onto the crop insurance portal and releasing the States’ share on time so that claims could be transferred to farmers’ bank accounts in a hassle-free manner.

The introduction of DigiClaim will directly impact the claim reversal ratio, which is expected to go down with DigiClaim. Farmers will also be able to track the claim settlement process on their mobile phones on real-time basis.

This technological advancement has taken PMFBY a step closer to modernisation of the scheme. In last few years, various innovative technologies (Yes-Tech, WINDS and CROPIC) have been piloted and integrated with the scheme to make the process of yield estimation and crop loss assessment more accurate, the ministry said. Further, for timely redressal of farmers’ grievances, Farmer Grievance Portal has been launched as a pilot in Chhattisgarh and will soon be rolled out across the country.

Minister of State for Agriculture Kailash Choudhary, Agriculture Minister of Uttar Pradesh Surya Pratap Shahi and CEO of PMFBY Ritesh Chauhan were also present at the the launch.