‘Voluntary’ clause will lead to a decline in buyers of crop insurance in 5 years | lucknow news

LUCKNOW: Despite the Center’s consistent focus on crop insurance, the number of UP farmers choosing ambitious PM Kisan Fasal Bima Yojana (PMKFBY) has declined over the past five years.
According to data from the state Department of Agriculture, the trend applies not only to the Rabi (winter harvest) but also to the Kharif crops, which are much more vulnerable to natural disasters such as less rain or flooding.
Records show that two years after its inception by PM Narendra Modi on January 13, 2016, the program peaked in 2018-19 when more than 61 lakh farmers registered for the program in UP. But in 2019-20, the number of farmers registering under the scheme fell to just 47.21 lakh, a sharp 23% drop. Since then, the numbers have only fallen (see chart).
Senior Agriculture Ministry officials said the grim pattern began to emerge after 2018, when the government abandoned the clause making insurance coverage compulsory for farmers, particularly those who had taken out loans.
“This was done primarily to protect farmers and give them financial security in the event of an emergency,” an official said.
Under the new regime, insurance for farmers was classified as ‘voluntary’.
In fact, all types of damage caused between sowing and harvesting of crops are covered by the scheme.
This included damage from rain, storms, hail, drought and flooding. The idea of ​​the program was also to encourage new farming systems and methods without hesitation, officials said.
At the same time, the scheme promised to maintain farmers’ incomes. This helped the government ensure that people stay in the field of agriculture.
When contacted, Devesh Chaturvedi, another chief secretary (agriculture), said that the state government is running awareness campaigns among farmers regarding the insurance system.
“We hope to contain the fall in the coming months,” he told TOI. Notably, officials said farmers felt relatively safer during the rabi season compared to the kharif, which begins when the monsoon begins.
The data shows that with the exception of 2020-21, which also happened to be the peak of the pandemic, agricultural insurance premiums paid to insurance companies have been steadily declining.
It was Rs 1,501 crore in 2018-19 which fell to Rs 1,309 crore in 2019-20. However, this shot up to Rs. 1,612 crore in 2020-21, after which it declined to Rs. 1,535 crore in 2021-22 and then to Rs. 1,496 crore in 2022-23.

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