Lawmakers perturbed over states withdrawal from PMFBY
New Delhi: The withdrawal of the states from the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) has caused considerable consternation among lawmakers, who have asked the Centre to initiate suitable steps to reverse this chasm in the larger interest of the farmers.
The Parliamentary Panel on Agriculture has also nudged the Narendra Modi Government to amend PMFBY’s operational guidelines and make them more participatory and favourable to the states instead of penalising them.
In its report tabled in the Monsoon Session of the Parliament, the standing committee of Lok Sabha headed by Parvatagouda Chandanagouda Gaddigoudar has suggested revamping a provision that prohibits a state from participating in the scheme if it fails to release its portion of premium subsidy beyond the stipulated timeline. The other provision for which changes have been sought is linking the subsidy burden with the irrigated areas.
The flagship scheme was launched in April 2016 to include more schemes under crop insurance and make it more affordable to the farmers. While Punjab has sought to remain out of the scheme, Bihar and West Bengal have withdrawn from PMFBY in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Telangana and Jharkhand have not implemented the scheme in 2020.
The report, quoted the government saying “financial constraints of the state governments and low claim ratio during the normal season are major reasons for non-implementation of the Scheme by these States”.
Though most of the states have rolled out their programmes to provide insurance coverage, the committee felt that the withdrawal of the states will defeat the intent of the scheme in the coming years.
“The Committee, therefore, recommend the Department to properly look into the reasons and factors leading to withdrawal or non-implementation of the PMFBY by Punjab, Bihar, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Telangana and Jharkhand and to initiate suitable steps so that States continue to implement the Scheme and farmers reap the benefit of the Scheme,” the report said.
Concerning the opening of the functional office at the tahsil level by the insurance companies implementing PMBY and instances where such companies were unrepresented in several tahsils, the committee recommended uploading details and addresses of functional offices on the National Crop Insurance Portal. Such measures will instil a sense of responsibility and help mitigate farmers’ hardships.
Besides, it has asked the government to initiate action against insurance companies defaulting on payment of claims and ensuring that the process of penalising them is done within a fixed timeframe.
According to the government, insurance companies owe Rs 22, 17, 38, 725 for the crop season up to Rabi 2017-18.
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