Under Modi's Crop Insurance Scheme, Companies Owe Farmers a Whopping Rs 2,800 Crore -Kabir Agarwal and Dheeraj Mishra
Claims have remained unpaid even after the stipulated period of two months has long passed.
New Delhi: In January 2016, when the Narendra Modi led government announced the new crop insurance scheme – Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) – it had said that one of the key improvements over previous schemes would be that claims would be settled on time.
However, RTI data received and reviewed by The Wire has revealed that farmers’ claims worth Rs 2,829 crore remain unpaid for the two seasons that the PMFBY has been implemented.
The RTI response of the ministry of agriculture and farmers’ welfare is dated October 10.
“A majority of claims for rabi 2017-18 are yet to be estimated/approved by company,” the ministry noted in its response. Thus, for the 2017-18 season, a majority of the data pertains to Kharif 2017 and the data reflects only 1% of the claims paid for the rabi 2017-18 season.
For the 2016-17 season, claims of Rs 546 crore remain pending. Claims need to be settled within two months of harvest, according to the PMFBY guidelines. Harvest for the 2016-17 season would have ended in May 2017, at the very latest.
For the 2017-18 season, claims worth Rs 2,282 crore remain pending. The data essentially pertains to Kharif 2017-18, as pointed out by the ministry. The harvest for which would have ended in December 2017, at the very latest.
Thus, on the date the RTI was responded to, Rs 2,282 crore remained unpaid more than nine months after the harvest period ended, while the PMFBY guidelines require that claims be settled within two months of harvest.
For the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons, the estimated claims of farmers amounted to Rs 34,441 crore. Insurance companies have paid Rs 31,612 crore, and Rs 2,829 crore remains unpaid.
Major insurance companies including Reliance General Insurance, ICICI Lombard, SBI General Insurance, Agriculture Insurance Company (AIC) of India, New India Assurance company are key players in the crop insurance business.
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