Kharif 2021: Clouds hover over Prime Minister’s crop insurance scheme

Clouds of uncertainty are hovering over the implementation of the government’s flagship crop insurance scheme Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bimal Yojana (PMFBY) for the Kharif 2021 season. Many states of the country have opted out of the scheme. Many states could not stick to the deadline even after extending the deadline several times.

Already, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Bihar have opted out of the scheme citing high cost of premium subsidy. Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu did not finalize the premium till July 25. Whereas, as per the PMFBY guidelines, the premium rates should have been fixed by April. The Center has extended the deadline to complete the enrollment of farmers for Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra to July 31 and July 23, respectively. Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir may be given time till July 31 to complete their nominations.

Sowing was done on July 23 at about 67 per cent of the normal Kharif.
The premium to be paid by farmers under PMFBY has been fixed at 1.5% of the sum insured for Rabi crops and 2% for Kharif crops, while it is 5% for cash crops. The remaining premium is shared equally between the Center and the states. Several states have demanded that their share in premium subsidy be capped at 30%.

The Center usually accepts requests from states if insurance companies give their consent for extension of enrollment date.
Most states last year had signed three-year contracts with fixed premiums to insurance companies. However, states like Maharashtra and Rajasthan insisted on a separate plan.

Six states are planning to launch their own schemes on the lines of West Bengal and Bihar, while some other states are discussing plans to waive off part of the premium paid by farmers. Such changes have become a regular feature that contribute to delays in meeting deadlines.

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