Newdelhi:24/11/22:Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare is open to taking pro-farmer changes in Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) in response to the recent climate crisis and rapid technological advances.
Secretary, Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Shri Manoj Ahuja said, since farming is exposed directly to such climatic catastrophes, it is important and critical to protect the vulnerable farming community of the country from the vagaries of nature. As a result, demand for crop insurance is likely to increase and therefore we need much more emphasis on crop and other forms of rural/agricultural insurance products to provide sufficient insurance protection to the farmers in India.
Shri Ahuja pointed out that after the introduction of PMFBY in 2016, the scheme brought in comprehensive coverage of all the crops and perils, from the pre-sowing to post harvest period which was not included in previous schemes of National Agricultural Insurance Scheme(NAIS) and Modified NAIS. He said, several new fundamental features were also added during its revision in 2018, such as increasing the crop loss intimation period for farmers from 48 hours to 72 hours, keeping in mind that damage signatures disappear or are lost in case of localized calamities after 72 hours. Similarly, post its revamp in 2020, the scheme added voluntary enrolment and inclusion of add on cover for wildlife attack, to make the scheme even more farmer friendly.
Shri Ahuja said, in era of Rapid Innovations, Digitisation and Technology are playing a significant role in scaling up the reach and operations of PMFBY with precision agriculture. Union of agri-tech and rural insurance can be the magic formula for financial inclusion, enabling a trust in the scheme. Recently introduced Weather Information and Network Data Systems (WINDS), Yield Estimation System based on Technology (YES-Tech), Collection of Real Time Observations and Photographs of Crops (CROPIC) are some of the key steps taken under the scheme to bring in more efficiency and transparency. To address farmer grievances in real time, an integrated help line system is under beta testing in Chhattisgarh.
Dwelling in detail about the contribution of Centre and State in the premium, Shri Ahuja pointed out that in the last 6 years, only Rs 25,186 crores have been paid by farmers wherein Rs 1,25,662 crores have been paid to the farmers against their claims, with Central and State Governments bearing most of the premium under the scheme. It is to be noted that the acceptability of the scheme has increased amongst the farmers in last 6 years, with share of non-loanee farmers, marginalized farmers and small farmers increasing by 282% since the initiation of the scheme in 2016, the Secretary added.
It may be recalled that in 2022, several reports of excess rainfall came from Maharashtra, Haryana and Punjab while Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand reported deficit rainfall, eventually damaging crops like paddy, pulses and oilseeds. Of late, instances of such uncertainties – thunderstorms, cyclones, droughts, heat waves, lightening, floods and landslides have also increased, occurring almost every day in India in the first 9 months of 2022, as reported in several Science and Environment Dailies and Journals.