Farm insurance scheme suffers from flawed execution: CSE

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 11, 2018

India’s flagship national agricultural insurance programme — Pradhan Mantri Fazal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) — is found seriously wanting in its implementation at ground level, New Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said on Friday.

“PMFBY is a classic case of poor implementation of a good scheme,” said Chandra Bhushan, CSE deputy director, at a meeting here. This is because at the State level, PMFBY vision is diluted and at the district level, its implementation is seriously compromised, he said, releasing an assessment report on the crop insurance scheme, based on field study by CSE researchers in the States like Haryana, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.

Major shortcomings

The CSE study particularly found that there are major shortcomings in crop loss assessment. This is because sample sizes in each village are not large enough to capture of the scale and diversity of crop losses. In many cases, district or block level agricultural department officials do not conduct such sampling on ground and complete the formalities only on paper.

Besides, in many cases, insurance companies did not investigate losses due to a localised calamity and hence, did not pay claims. For example, for kharif 2016, the claim payment to farmers was inordinately delayed till April 2017. Similarly, the claims for kharif 2016 were not paid or were only partly paid in 14 out of 21 States, he said

Moreover, insurance companies charged high actuarial premium rates during kharif 2016 — the all-India rate was approximately 12.55 per cent, which was highest ever. Much higher rates were charged in some States and regions. The average actuarial rate in Gujarat, for instance, was 20.5 per cent, in Rajasthan 19.9 per cent, and in Maharashtra 18.9 per cent, Bhushan pointed out.

According to him, there was no concerted effort by the State government and insurance companies to create awareness on PMFBY among farmers.

Published on July 21, 2017

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