Odisha farmers face payment delay in PM's crop insurance scheme
Odisha farmers have been hit by non-payment of their claims under the Centre’s flagship crop insurance scheme, Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana.
Even after several pleas from them, the insurance companies are yet to settle dues of the farmers amounting to Rs 616 crore under the scheme for 2021 Kharif. Lakhs of farmers have been affected because of non-release of their insurance claims by the companies.
The issue was raised by the state government when reports came in about how the insurance companies have made a hefty profit of Rs 40,000 crores in the country in just five years following implementation of the scheme in 2016-15.
The Odisha government on Monday took up the issue of non-payment of insurance money by the companies to the farmers with the Centre. It also cited that because of non-payment of insurance dues, incidents of farmers’ unrest have been reported in many parts of the state, particularly in western Odisha, officials said.
Raising the issue with the Centre, Odisha food supplies and consumer welfare minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak in a letter to the Union minister for agriculture and farmers welfare Narendra Singh Tomar, said: “The estimated claim for the said insurance season (Kharif season of
2021) is about Rs 1,364 crore out of which claims to the tune of Rs 748 crore have been settled so far.
“It has come to the notice of the state government that in many cases the notified insurance company raised objections regarding the conduct of CCE (Crop Cutting Experiment) and held up the claims.”
Nayak also cited how the Kharif season of 2021 was fraught with many natural calamities affecting many crops especially paddy which is the major crop of the state and accounts for nearly 98 per cent of the area insured.
“The objections raised by the insurance companies have been duly compiled yet the claims have not been settled which has led to farmers unrest in many places and likely to affect the enrolment process for Kharif 22 which is under way,” he said.
The Odisha government also reminded the Centre that it is one of the first states to implement the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana and has been continuing with the programme since Kharif 2016 even though many of the neighbouring states have opted out of the scheme.
It also reminded the centre that it was the first state to introduce smart sampling techniques for selection of plots for conduct of crop cutting experiments, second state to integrate State Land Records Portals with National Crop Insurance Portal, special drive taken for capturing of
CCE data using mobile app leading to maximum capturing of such data and constitution of district and block level monitoring committees to oversee programme implementation.
Urging Tomar to take up the settlement of the dues of the farmers, Odisha minister Nayak said: “In view of the above facts, I would request for your personal attention into the matter and issue of suitable directive by the department of the agriculture and farmers welfare, the Government of India to the insurance companies for settlement of claims at the earliest for safeguarding the interests of the farmers.”
State convener Naba Nirama Krushaka Sangathan (a farmers organisation), Seshadev Nanda told The Telegraph, “The insurance scheme is in companies’ interests and not for farmers. The state government should also exert pressure on the insurance companies to clear the dues or not allow them to work in the state.”
Under the scheme, a uniform maximum premium of only two per cent of the sum insured is paid by farmers for all Kharif crops and 1.5 per cent for all Rabi (winter sown) crops.
In case of annual commercial and horticulture crops, the maximum premium to be paid by farmers being limited to 5 per cent.