Tamil Nadu

Farmers still keen on crop insurance scheme

The Centre’s decision to make voluntary the enrolment of farmers in the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY- Prime Minister’s Crop Insurance Scheme) does not seem to have reduced the farmers’ interest in it.

Against 2.74 lakh farmers, totally covered under the scheme during the 2019 kharif season (which is equivalent to kuruvai season in Tamil Nadu), over 4 lakh were enrolled this time.

As was the case in the previous years, the proportion of non-loanee farmers — those who have not taken crop loans — in the total number of insured farmers, is higher this time as well, compared to loanee agriculturists. Their number has actually gone up this year, as the share of loanee farmers has seen a dip.

Since the scheme was inaugurated in 2016-17, of the total number of insured farmers, agriculturists without loans have constituted almost four-fifths and ones with loans one-fifth. But, as a sequel to the Central government’s move to make the insurance cover optional, the ratio is 89:11.

However, officials of the Agriculture Department have expressed hope that there will not be any change in the total number of insured farmers, which, they expect, will be around 21 lakh. At present, enrolment for the special season is in progress. This will be followed by the season for rabi and other crops.

But it is during the current special season that a major chunk of enrolment is likely to take place. Authorities have drawn up the schedule, crop-wise and district-wise. For example, paddy, farmers in Erode, Karur, Kancheepuram, Tiruvarur, Nagapattinam and Sivaganga districts will have to join the scheme, latest by November 30. For cotton, the last date is November 30 for Dindigul and December 15 for Madurai.

A senior official said that when enrolment begins a few months later for pulses, a substantial number of farmers from Thoothukudi and Virudhunagar would take the cover. With respect to the current special season, apart from the one for rabi, which broadly corresponds to the seasons of samba, thaladi, navarai and pisanam, the State government has roped in IFFCO-Tokio and the Agriculture Insurance Company of India Limited (AICIL), on a co-insurance model. If compensation is higher than the premium paid, the State government will absorb 80% of the difference, with the insurance firms meeting the rest. This arrangement has been made, keeping in mind the interests of the farmers, and the inability of the insurance companies in getting adequate support of re-insurance firms, an official said.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2021 3:35:56 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/farmers-still-keen-on-crop-insurance-scheme/article33120916.ece

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