There will be no crop insurance under the Pradhan Manti Fasal Bima Yojana in Punjab this year.
The last date for the states to enrol under this yojana is tomorrow. However, the state government is not inclined to adopt it. Reason: it does not suit the farmers of the state. The plan, which has been rejected by the state due to what it describes as non-suitability factor, is a politically significant programme of the Modi government.
Taking the plea that the yojana is not acceptable to the state in its existing form, the Centre was approached to make amendments to it. CM Parkash Singh Badal had personally taken up the matter with the PM. Officials of the state also held meetings with their counterparts in the Union Agriculture Ministry. However, the Centre refused to concede to the points raised by the state. Only an assurance was given by the Centre was that it would improve the parameters of the scheme in due course.
Financial Commissioner (Dev) NS Kalsi said, “We again wrote to the Centre last week to address the issues raised by us. But there is no response so far.” He said that the insurance scheme in its existing format was not suitable for farmers of the state. “Owing to this reason, we asked for amendments to it,” he added. As an alternative to the scheme, the state had proposed the creation of a crop compensation fund of the premium, which was to be about Rs 250 crore per annum supposed to be paid by the Centre for crop insurance in the state. However, the Centre did not yield to this plea of the state.
The state government had offered to contribute an equal amount to the compensation fund.
The state had urged that farmers should be asked to give Rs 100 per acre only while remaining amount of premium should be paid by the Centre and a part of it by the state government.
In the existing format, farmers will have to pay Rs 420 per annum for wheat and paddy crops and much more for cash crops such as cotton, sugarcane and vegetables.
Other major issue, on which the Centre did not agree, was that the calculation of the damage to the crops should be made taking into count the production of the crop concerned previous year and not on the basis of the average of past seven years.
Another was raising the indemnity cover to 95 per cent also to cover the damage caused to the crops by pest and insect attack under the scheme.
In fact, most of the damage to the cotton crop was caused by an insect attack last year. The state had to pay Rs 644 crore as compensation to farmers on this count.