NEW DELHI: Having drawn flak after farmers in Chhattisgarh received compensation cheques of just Rs 7 to Rs 81 following crop loss this year, the Central government is mulling a proposal to fix a minimum value below which no payouts will be issued.
The move comes after the Centre faced a backlash following a large number of farmers in Uttar Pradesh too got compensation cheques of amounts as low as Rs 63.“The government is examining a proposal to ensure that farmers hit by crop loss get compensation adequate enough to address their distress. Instances of farmers getting cheques of Rs 7 and Rs 63 should not be repeated in the events of crop loss due to unseasonal rains, hailstorm or any other cause,” said Ashish Bhutani, joint secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA).
The Akhilesh Yadav-led Uttar Pradesh government issued an order this year that farmers should not get compensation below Rs 1,500, regardless of the extent of damage to their crops.
But such a rule is not part of the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna (PMFBY), which was launched for the Kharif season this year, after addressing various anomalies in previous crop insurance schemes.
“We are studying data on the conclusion of the PMFBY coverage for the Kharif season. Priority is to ensure that insurers should bear the burden of the distress of the farmers in difficult times,” said Bhutani.
According to the functioning of the PMFBY, if there is a damage to 10 per cent of the cropped land, the farmer gets one-tenth of the sum assured. “The government is working with insurers to see that the sum assured taken by the farmers is higher, as the premium to be paid by them is only 1.5 per cent for Rabi and two per cent for Kharif crops,” said an MoA official. The same quantum of land could be insured for higher amounts without financially burdening the farmers.
The government is also employing technology to ensure that real-time data and pictures of crop damage are made available to the insurers. “Farmers can take photographs of the damage and upload them on the website, which can be vetted by local officials in quick time to make the whole process smooth,” added the official.