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PM Fasal Bima losing appeal

Number of farmers availing scheme falls by 1.05 cr in Maharashtra, UP, MP, Rajasthan

The much-vaunted Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) is losing its appeal as the number of farmers under the scheme has fallen by 1.05 crore in BJP-ruled States — Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh. The numbers of farmers who had availed the insurance cover stood at 5.7 crores in 2016-17, but it came down to 4.9 crores in 2017-18. Despite the fall in the number of farmers insured and coverage area, the profit of the insurance companies has not fallen. In 2016-17, these companies paid a compensation of Rs 17,902.47 crore and earned a profit of Rs 6,459.64 crore. In 2017-18, they paid over Rs 2,000 crore less in compensation. This made their profits swell to Rs 9,335.62 crore. The outgo in compensation during 2017-18 stood at just Rs 15,710.25 crore. For the 2017-18, as many as 3.73 crore farmers have applied under the PMFBY for the Kharif crops, while 1.52 crore farmers applied for rabi crops. According to a RTI reply by the Ministry of Agriculture, BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh witnessed the maximum fall in the number of beneficiaries, registering a decline of 40.47 lakh in 2017-18, followed by Rajasthan which saw a reduction of 31.25 beneficiaries. Maharashtra registered a decline of 19.47 lakh, from 1.09 crore in 2016-17 to 89.53 lakh in 2017-18. Uttar Pradesh came next, where the numbers dipped by 14.69 lakh, from 37.17 lakh to 22.48 lakh during the time period. The RTI was filed by Jalandhar-based activist PP Kapoor. Officials of the Agriculture Ministry said the scheme suffered a setback from the waiver of farm loans in different States as the farmer who whose loans were waived did not ensure their crops. The number of farmers also declined due to the cumbersome process of settlement of insurance claims. Officials said the time-taking process of physical verification of insured crop is the major reason which deprived the farmers of the benefit from the scheme. In many cases, insurance companies did not investigate losses due to a local calamity,  and therefore, did not pay claims. Another reason for the low claim settlement could be a delay in States releasing their share of the subsidy. As per rules under the PMFBY, farmers need to be paid 12 percent interest by insurance companies for any delay in settlement of claims beyond two months of the prescribed cut-off date, while States will have to pay 12 percent interest for the delay in the release of their share of premium beyond three months. This penalty provisions came into effect on October 1 and will be applicable for all seasons in the future. In Madhya Pradesh, the insurance companies had insured over 71.81 lakh farmers in 2016-17 and earned a profit of Rs 1,862.32 crore. The following year, over 2.90 lakh fewer farmers insured their crops and the profit of these companies plummeted to just Rs 39.21 crore. In Maharashtra, nearly 1.20 crore farmers were insured in 2016-17 and the companies made a profit of Rs 2,424.23 crore for the year. In 2017-18, only about one crore farmers were insured. Yet the companies made a profit of Rs 1617.94 crore. Gujarat was probably the only State where the number of farmers who insured their crops increased during these two years. In 2016-17, the figure was 5.20 lakh but it grew exponentially to over 17.63 lakh the following year. Simultaneously, the profits of the insurers also shot up from Rs 40.07 crore in 2016-17 to Rs 2,222.58 crore in 2017-18. The period also saw the number of farmers insuring their crops and profits of insurers rising in Haryana. While 13.36 lakh farmers had insured their cops in 2016-17, as many as 13.51 lakh got them insured the next year. The profits of the insurance companies rose even more sharply from 71.83 crores to Rs 95 crore in these two years. According to data, the number of beneficiaries under the PMFBY in West Bengal declined from 41.17 lakh in 2016-17 to 39.09 lakh in 2017-18.   The net profit of insurance companies was Rs 321. 26 crore in 2016-17 which is rose to Rs 547.87 crore in 2017-18. In Tamil Nadu, insurance companies incurred Rs 2128 crore in 2016-17.  The number of farmers under the scheme declined from 14.11 lakh in 2016-17 to 13.85 lakh in 2017-18. Despite the decline of farmers, the insurance companies profit stood at Rs 1375 crore in 2017-18. The Ministry, in its replies, also revealed that along with the government-owned Agriculture Insurance Company (AIC) of India, 10 private insurance companies had earned Rs 15,795 crore in profit over a two-year period. In the year 2016-17, AIC alone earned a premium of Rs 7984.56 crore by insuring the crops of 246,83,612 farmers in 21 States. read more posts… Saturday, 24 November 2018 | Rajesh Kumar | New Delhi—  

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