Crop insurance: companies start paying, 30 lakhs of state farmers have benefited

After repeated follow-ups by the Office of the Agriculture Commissioner, insurance companies implementing the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) have started paying crop loss claims in the state. At the end of this week, claims amounting to Rs 1,770 crore were transferred to the accounts of 29.92 lakh farmers in the state. The remaining amount would be transferred within the next seven days, Agriculture Commissioner Dheeraj Kumar said.

The monsoon in Maharashtra has been patchy with long dry phases in July and August. However, after August, the monsoon resumed vigorously and excessive rains were reported in September-October. The agriculture commissioner’s office had received a total of 47.61 lakh crop loss claims for both mid-season adversity as well as a localized calamity. The total claims stood at Rs 2,750 crore.

The complaints, which were raised both online and offline by the farmers, were not dealt with promptly despite the farmers’ follow-up. State Agriculture Minister Dadasaheb Bhuse had ensured prompt payment as farmers in many districts reported total loss of crops due to unusual rains.

Repeated follow-ups by the agriculture commissioner’s office, including threats of action, have prompted insurance companies to start their payment schedule from this week. As of Friday, 29.92 lakh recipients have been paid Rs 1,770 crore. The remaining amount is expected to be paid within the next seven days.

PMFBY enables farmers to insure their crops against losses due to extreme weather events. Farmers pay a small portion of the premium while central and state governments take the maximum portion. Farmers must register claims online or offline for losses, after which claims are paid directly to their accounts.

PMFBY has become popular with farmers, with registrations being regular, although the program is optional for most farmers. Registrations have been high in Marathwada and Vidarbha, where crop losses due to extreme weather events are high.

However, the program has drawn strong criticism from various quarters, with farmer leaders raising their arms against the companies for not processing claims on time.

Kumar, in his capacity as commissioner, reported this, threatening to sue companies that did not meet the payment schedule. In the case of some companies, the agriculture commissioner’s office had even pointed out the poor payment history despite the fact that the government and farmers’ share of the premium was received on time.

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