National

Congress slams Centre for reducing govt.’s share in crop insurance scheme

The Congress on Thursday accused the Centre of surreptitiously trying to shut down the crop insurance scheme by reducing the government’s share of premium and putting the burden on farmers.

Speaking at a press conference, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala asserted that the BJP-led government was running the crop insurance scheme ‘only to benefit its crony capitalist friends and their insurance companies’.

“From an earlier cap of 2% on premiums, the farmers will have to have to pay 27% premium as the Centre has reduced its share by half on crop insurance,” Mr. Surjewala said. “Instead of making the scheme more farmer-friendly, the government is shutting it down in a surreptitious manner by making it completely unviable for the farmer,” he contended.

The Congress was reacting to the decision of the Union Cabinet, taken on Wednesday, to reduce the Centre’s share in paying the crop insurance premium from 50% to 25%.

“Yesterday’s decision is a conspiracy of the BJP to shut down the Bima Fasal Yojna (crop insurance scheme). This is the Modi government’s business model of promoting crony capitalism,” the Congress spokesperson alleged.

Former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram slammed the government’s decision on Twitter. “Nothing can be more anti-farmer than the central government’s decision to reduce its contribution to the Crop Insurance Scheme. Making crop insurance voluntary for loanee farmers is another retrograde step,” he tweeted.

The Congress also alleged that out of ₹77,801 crore premium paid on crop insurance schemes so far, insurance companies had made a profit of ₹19,202 crore after paying compensation to the farmers.

“The central government is so broke, they are taking money from the farmers to give to their crony capitalist friends,” Mr. Surjewala contended. “By reducing their own contribution, the BJP has laid most of the burden on the farmer and the State government. Hence, the so called decision to make it ‘voluntary’ is bogus. The farmers will be forced to give up insurance as a result of the huge cost,” he added.

“How will India’s farmers face the consequences of the wrath of nature. These are the questions to be answered and the government has the audacity to say that they have taken the scheme forward. This is shameful,” Mr. Surjewala said.

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 12:37:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/congress-slams-centre-for-reducing-govts-share-in-crop-insurance-scheme/article30873819.ece

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