Agri Business

Flawed yield data cost Parbhani farmers crop cover

Rajalakshmi Nirmal BL Research Bureau | Updated on April 09, 2019 Published on February 19, 2019

Vishwambar Gorve, a farmer activist, from Parbhani

A CCE document without signatures of officials

Report by the District Collector’s office, Parbhani, shows flaws in crop cutting experiments

‘Crop Cutting Experiment’ forms the basis of their claims, but there are wide lapses in CCE

Deficiencies in crop cutting experiments (CCEs), which forms the basis of compensating insured farmers, are costing farmers in Parbhani district of Maharshtra’s Marathwada region dear.

As per the crop insurance scheme — Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) — guidelines, State governments have to plan and conduct certain number of CCEs to assess crop yield and in turn the insurance claim payable to farmers. But this writer found during a visit to Parbhani that not only were the requisite number of CCEs not done for the kharif 2017 season, wide lapses in the process has left farmers in the lurch.

What CCE entails

District/subdivision-level officials from the Revenue or Agriculture Departments conduct the CCE — that is, harvest the crop, thresh, winnow and weigh the output to estimate the yield. As per the guidelines, a minimum of four CCEs at the village level, 10 at the revenue circle, 16 at the taluk and 24 at the district level need to be done. Under ‘Preconditions for Implementation of the Scheme’, the guideline mandates use of smartphones and satellite technology for conducting the CCE. It also says that there should be an audit of the CCE with necessary checks and balances. Further, digitising the CCE process, including geo-coding (providing the latitude and longitude of the CCE location), date/time stamping with photographs (of the CCE plot and CCE activity), is a must.

 

But a scrutiny of the records accessible to the writer, suggests that in Parbhani the mandated number of CCEs were not conducted in some instances, monitoring of the process was slack, and there were serious gaps in the manner in which CCE details were recorded.

After a farmer activist from the region — Vishwambar Gorve — filed an RTI, the District Collector’s office set up a committee to investigate the CCEs carried out during the kharif 2017 season. The committee had a farmer representative.

A copy of the committee’s report, which is with BusinessLine, shows that most CCE forms did not have the signature of the farmer in whose field the CCE was done. Nor was there any photograph with geo-tagging of the farm; and most of the experiments were performed manually. A total of 146 CCEs were done through the CCE app in kharif 2017. The committee indicated that in some cases the yield data were overwritten and altered. In the original CCE report of Parbhani and Jinthur taluks, which the writer inspected, in most documents, the date column was blank. Secondly, in the space where the signature of the officials who were present when the CCE was done is required, there was only the sign of the gram sevak – the person from the Village Panchayat Office. Also missing were the signatures of the Village Sarpanch and Police Patil (officer-in-charge of the police station in whose jurisdiction the village falls) which are mandatory.

Farmers at Parbhani also complained that with Reliance General (the insurer that covered crops in kharif 2017) objecting to some of the CCEs done in Sonpeth taluk, the data of Pathri taluk was used as the basis to settle claims. At Pathri, no official came to the field to do the CCE, claim farmers.

Guideline on yield estimate

As per the government guideline, where the required number of CCEs could not be conducted in an insurance unit, the yield estimate can be generated by (i) clubbing with neighbouring units (village in this case) or (ii) adopting yield estimate of next higher unit, or (iii) adopting the yield of neighbouring insurance unit with maximum correlation.

However, in the case of Sonpeth, it cannot be compared to Pathri. As Pathri had a less favourable weather condition than Sonpeth in kharif 2017, farmers wonder how the reported CCE data shows higher yield in Pathri than in Sonpeth.

The problems at Parbhani highlight the severe lapses in the implementation of the crop insurance scheme at the ground level.

Unless there is auditing and strict watch over the activities of implementing agencies, deficiencies in PMFBY will continue.

Published on February 19, 2019
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