On Wednesday, over one crore farmers will tune into Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar’s speech on the benefits of the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY). They are expected to listen to the minister’s address through gram sabhas, common service centres (CSCs), primary agri cooperative societies (PACS) and farmer producers organisations (FPOs).<EP>

Last week, Tomar had written to all Members of Parliament to participate in the programme preferably in a place in their constituency while mobilising maximum number of farmers for the programme. He also asked them to coordinate with district magistrates concerned for the success of the event.

Interaction with farmers

The Centre has also requested all State Agriculture Ministers to be present at the event in which Tomar will interact with pre-identified three farmer-beneficiaries each, from Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha on PMFBY-related topics and with Assam and Maharashtra on issues related to Kisan Credit Card (KCC) and on revised weather-based crop insurance scheme with growers from Himachal Pradesh.

States like Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Tamil Nadu have also been asked to ensure larger participation of farmers in the programme to be webcast through CSCs and other agencies.

“We have been providing various services to farmers like tele-consultations, Fasal Bima, KCC and PM Kisan schemes. The ‘Kisan Bhagidari, Prathamikta Hamari’ campaign initiated by the Ministry of Agriculture will help us reach out to farmers through the combined efforts of our VLEs and Gram Sabhas.” said Dinesh Tyagi, Managing Director of CSC SPV.

Since 2017, CSC SPV has served over 70 per cent of non-loanee farmers and is the major contributor in PMFBY enrollment across the country. Over 50,000 VLEs are registering about 50 lakh famers every year under this flagship scheme. CSC has also facility for the farmer to report crop loss within 72 hours in the 20 implementing States.

Lower enrolment

“Though there is no concern in the States where PMFBY is under implementation, the government is worried about a possible lower enrollment this kharif in view of normal monsoon expected,” said an expert. During last kharif season, 1.5 crore farmers had registered — a 10.5 per cent drop from previous season.

Though there was lower enrollment of farmers, there was an increase in farmers’ applications as the land records got digitised in some States and also linked with the scheme. If one farmer has land at two places, he has to file applications separately for both the places as both premium and crop may be different in each location. For instance, in Rajasthan 30.92 lakh farmers got enrolled during kharif 2021, as against 30.45 lakh in the previous season. But, farmers’ applications jumped to 1.89 crore in 2021 from 67.2 lakh in 2020 kharif.

At a recent national level workshop on crop insurance, the PMFBY’s CEO Ritesh Chauhan had flagged two major issues — decline in participation of insurance companies and State governments — that need to be addressed to attract more enrollment of farmers.