Agri Business

Maharashtra to file cases against farm-insurance cos

Rahul Wadke Mumbai | Updated on July 19, 2019 Published on July 19, 2019

Farmers allege crop losses being played down deliberately

The Maharashtra government has decided to file criminal cases against erring agriculture insurance companies in the wake of alleged irregularities in crop insurance schemes.

Under the Prime Minister Fasal Bima Yojana for Kharif 2018-19, the insurance payout was ₹3,500 crore in Maharashtra, while premium paid to insurance companies was ₹4,200 crore.

Last week, at a meeting of farmers and State Government officials in Pune, the issue of irregularities was raised prominently. The farmers had alleged that certain officers of the companies concerned had deliberately played down the level of crop losses, which would benefit the companies. They had also produced evidence, pointing to the culpability of the officers.

Given such serious charges, the Agriculture Minister of Maharashtra, Anil Bonde, has ordered an investigation into the matter. Officers of the State government who are found guilty will face disciplinary action, senior State government officials told BusinessLine.

The investigation process is also gathering momentum due to a protest march by Shiv Sena members on Wednesday against private insurance companies in the Bandra-Kurla Complex area. The protest was over non-payment of crop insurance to farmers. Sena, which shares power with the BJP in Maharashtra, has given an ultimatum of 15 days to clear all pending claims of the farmers.

An industry source said that certain contiguous districts in Maharashtra have similar agro-climatic conditions, but there is a huge difference in the insurance payout. This has upset the the farmers.

The indemnity under Prime Minister Fasal Bima Yojana is 70 per cent, which in layman’s language means that an insurance company covers only 70 per cent of the crop, while the rest remains uninsured. But the farmers and the political parties want the indemnity to be enhanced to 80 or even 90 per cent, which is not acceptable to the insurance companies, the source said.

Published on July 19, 2019

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