The Modi Years: Do farmers have better protection against crop losses? -Mridula Chari
Private insurance companies have benefitted more than farmers from the new crop insurance scheme.
Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana was launched to expand crop insurance coverage in India
But coverage has shrunk, despite compulsory enrollment of farmers at the time of taking loans
Private companies retain a larger share of government funds than before
Farmer groups have opposed compulsory enrollment and complained about payment delays.
In its manifesto for the 2014 elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party promised to improve and expand an insurance scheme that buffers farmers against unexpected crop losses. In February 2016, it launched the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana.
The scheme replaced the National Crop Insurance Programme introduced by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government in 2013. Prime Minister Narendra Modi claimed the new scheme would increase farmer protection.
But analysis by independent researcher Kannan Kasturi shows crop insurance coverage shrunk, both in terms of number of farmers insured and area covered. Funds allocated for the scheme have profited private insurance companies more than farmers.
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