Finally, Punjab Govt agrees to join Centre’s crop insurance scheme from next fiscal : The Tribune India

Tribune News Service

Ruchika M. Khanna

Chandigarh, November 13th

After years of rejecting the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, the Aam Aadmi Party government in Punjab will join the center’s crop insurance scheme from next fiscal year.

What has fueled the state government’s change of heart on the issue is two years of consecutive crop losses due to inclement weather and pest infestations on ‘white gold’ cotton, forcing the ruling dispensation to pay Rs 1,500 crore in compensation to rice and cotton farmers.

Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana

  • Under PMFBY, farmers pay 1.5% of the sum insured as a premium for Rabi crops and 2% as a premium for Kharif crops. The compensation bonus is shared between the center and the state government
  • Currently, in the event of crop loss, farmers are being compensated between Rs 2,000 and 12,000 per acre based on the extent of crop loss. The money will be used from the disaster relief fund

Crop losses in Punjab had never exceeded 5 percent until three years ago. But in the last two to three years, crop losses in rice (both Basmati and non-Basmati) and cotton have exceeded 15 percent. “Compensation paid to cotton growers alone (whose crops have been damaged by bollworm or whitefly infestations) in the last two years alone amounts to Rs 700 crore,” state Agriculture Department officials claim.

Gurwinder Singh, state agriculture director, confirmed that the state government is finally committed to the PMFBY, saying intervention studies are being conducted and the government is studying the implementation and impact of the crop insurance program in both Haryana and Madhya Pradesh.

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It can be mentioned that Punjab had objected to the program since the center introduced it, mainly because the program lumped together the irrigated and non-irrigated areas for the compensation decision. In addition, remedial action should only be taken if there is a crop damage of 40 percent. 10-year data assessing normal crop yield was also used to calculate the premium. The state had even developed its own crop insurance system during the previous Congressional administration, but it never took off.

Officials say: “The state government will now compile all data online, using digitized land registers and satellite imagery to assess crop losses.”

Interestingly, many states like Telangana, Gujarat and Bihar, which were also out of the PMFBY, are reportedly keen to join the program starting next fiscal year after the center agreed to introduce a revised program.

#Aam Aadmi Party AAP