Agri Business

Participation of marginal farmers in crop insurance scheme declines

Radheshyam Jadhav Pune | Updated on June 15, 2021

However, the number of OBC farmers opting for PMFBY has substantially gone up

The participation of marginal farmers and those belonging to the general category has declined in the Central government’s Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) in the last three years. At the same time, the number of OBC farmers opting for PMFBY has substantially gone up.

The data available with the Ministry of Agriculture’s PMFBY website show that out of total farmers in the group of marginal, small and other farmers who opted for crop insurance in the Kharif season, the number of marginal farmers has declined from 18.08 per cent in 2018 to 16.55 per cent in 2020.

Small farmers

For Rabi season, it has gone down from 19.18 per cent to 17.39 per cent during the same period. The number of small farmers comprises a major chunk of farmers opting for the insurance scheme. For both Kharif and Rabi seasons, participation of small farmers in the scheme is above 60 per cent. Participation of small farmers in the scheme has gone up during two cropping seasons.

According to the Agricultural Census, marginal farmers are those who hold land below 1 hectare while small farmers are those who have land holding between 1 and 2 hectare.

Small and marginal holdings (below two hectares) constitute 86.21 per cent of the total landholdings. Marginal, small and medium landholdings constitute the major share of the cultivated area while large land holdings account for only 9 per cent of the total operational area.

In the group of SC, ST, general and OBC category the percentage of general category farmers participating in the scheme has steadily declined from 45 per cent in 2018 to 35.50 per cent in 2020 for Kharif and from 51.94 per cent to 41.79 per cent for Rabi.

But the number of OBC farmers opting for PMFBY has gone up from 41.73 per cent in 2018 to 49.15 per cent in 2020 for Kharif and from 37.84 per cent to 47.39 per cent for Rabi season during the same period.

The percentage of SC and ST farmers has remained below 9 per cent for Rabi and Kharif between 2018 and 2020. Male farmers dominate the chart of the insurance scheme. Not surprisingly even as women toil in fields, ownership remains with men. But there is a small ray of hope. According to the tenth Agricultural Census, the percentage of landholders who are women has increased from 12.79 per cent in 2010-11 to 13.87 per cent in 2015-16.


Claims paid

The government launched the PMFBY in 2016 with the aim to strengthen risk coverage of crops for farmers. Premium cost over and above the farmer share is equally subsidised by the States and Centre. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, the average sum insured per hectare has increased from ₹15,100 during the pre-PMFBY Schemes to ₹40,700 under PMFBY. The scheme covers over 5.5 crore farmer applications year on year. To date, claims worth ₹90,000 crore have already been paid out under the scheme “Even during Covid-19 lockdown period nearly 70 lakh farmers benefited and claims worth ₹8,741.30 crore were transferred to the beneficiaries,” according to the Ministry data released in January 2021.

Published on June 14, 2021

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