No CMD for the Agriculture Insurance Corporation!
Prime Minister’s many welfare schemes: what progress?
There are many of the Modi government welfare schemes that are advertised extensively.
One of the welfare schemes is about the farmers’ crop insurance scheme. Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bhima Yojana. It is a year since the scheme was launched. The new scheme has brought down the premiums considerably. The government has targeted 50 % of farmers in three years.
What is the progress of the scheme in the first year? The old crop insurance schemes introduced in 1999 and 2011 didn’t make any headway. As per official data in 2015, only a fifth of the country’s farm land was under crop insurance!
Anybody surprised? Only those who are innocent would believe official data or even officials and ministers would believe what they say about agriculture. Not we, at this media!
For we know for sure that agriculture doesn’t attract any public attenton, let alone the media. There is no agriculture media worth its name in the country. Anyone who w ventures into the agri media knows how serious is the lacuna! There is a huge DAVP, the Central government agency. Not a single paisa comes to the agri media like ours.
That is all the so-called agri media and publicity are for those who are already entrenched and who cream away the funds. On the PM’s foreign trips, do they care to take farmers representatives on the PM’s special aircraft?
The matter is so serious it is better to leave the matter at this point!
The Prime Minister’s pet crop insurance scheme, it isn’t reported, has not been received well by the farmers associations themselves! Says Kavitha Kurungati, convener of the Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture: The non-loanee farmers are usually tenant farmers or share croppers who also pay huge lease rents. In coastal AP for instance a tenant farmers pays usually Rs.30, 000 per acre per year as lease rent. Tenant farmers in most states don’t have access to institutional credit and since the banks are go to implement the insurance schemes; the tenant farmers are practically ignored. Farmers associations are opposed to banks debiting premiums from farmers’ accounts without the farmers consent. This is another bone of contention.
There are any number of problems, you know?
So much of crop-cutting experiments! Four crop cutting experiments, for 2.5 lakhs and odd gram panchayats! Where is the manpower with revenue depts.?
But we also read that the Agriculture Insurance Corporation (AIS) is also functioning without a full-time head! AIC with 40 percent share in crop insurance. After Joseph Plapapallil left as CMD in March last year. The charge has been transferred twice. RN Dubey held the post till September, says an official inside AIC!
So, here too we have to examine how seriously we are implementing these schemes.
The five most advertised welfare schemes on television for the period from January 1 to August 5 were Swatch Bharat, National Health Mission, Skill India, National Rural Health Mission and Pay Jal Aur Swachata Mantralaya, according to data from Broadcasting and Information ministry. Other government programmes advertised heavily on TV during this period were Save Fuel, International Yoga Day and anti-tobacco campaign. The objective of publishing these schemes is to make the intended beneficiaries aware of the initiatives and befits to reach the people.
A total of 350 crores for 2015 -16 has been published in the newspapers.
In this budget comes some other schemes as well such as Swatch Bharat(Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (Rs.211 crores) Indra Danush(10.3 crores) and PM Fasal Bhima Yojana(crop insurances for farmers(Rs.9.7 crores),Beti Bachao Beti Padhao(Rs.20.5 crores).
Why quote these figures? Now comes the news about the actual working of the farmer’s crop insurance schemes’ working.
The Businessline reports an elaborate account, in our opinion, mostly thankless job, we find as per the Agriculture Ministry press release, it is claimed that the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bhima Yojana had made impressive progress. There is a six-fold increase in the coverage of “non-loanee farmers, from 14.88 lakh in 2015 to over 100lakh in 2016.
There are loane and non-loane farmers. The ones who had not availed of crop insurance.
The figures are not surely dependable given the fact that the Agricultural Insurance Corporation, a central government institution, has covered only 40 per cent of all farmers under the schemes.
Tamil Nadu is the one state after 15 years is the state with lowest number of farmers with a crop insurance cover!