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Now, Haryana Farmers Left in Lurch as 29,000 PMFBY Applications Rejected

Private insurance providers under the Central scheme have repeatedly fallen short of settling claims of farmers.

Representational use only.Image Courtesy: PTI

In another case of faltering responsibilities, the application forms for crop insurance of nearly 29,000 farmers from Hisar district in Haryana, under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), have been returned by Reliance General Insurance on one pretext or the other, leaving the applicants high and dry.

According to a report by The Tribune, nearly 41,000 farmers had applied for the insurance of their Kharif crops like cotton, bajra and guar by depositing their share of the premium. The last date was August 31.

Farm activist Anil Kumar told the newspaper that the farmers had uploaded documents using the services of Common Service Centres. “No objection was raised then. On September 22, the firm returned a large number of applications, all related to cotton crop which suffered considerable damage due to recent rain in the district.”

Among the reasons mentioned were insured area mismatch and missing land record, crop sowing certificate or tenant declaration.

The Ministry of Agriculture introduced a Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS), PMFBY, around five years ago to provide comprehensive crop insurance for farmers. Insurance under PMFBY is a precondition for farmers to take crop loans. Over the last five years, as a result of procedural hurdles in the settlement of claims, the coverage of the scheme has declined. For example, over the 5-year time span, the number of farmers covered has come down by 29% during Kharif and 33% during Rabi.

The insurance companies paid only Rs 87,320 crore to the farmers against the latter’s claims totalling Rs 92,954 crore. About 90% of the CPSE insurance companies have settled most claims, often incurring losses, whereas it is the private insurance companies that have fallen short of settling claims, profiting from the scheme by 60-70%.

In another blow to farmers of the district, a preliminary survey conducted by the state agriculture department has indicated that cotton crop grown over nearly 39,000 hectare land had suffered over 50% damage due to the recent heavy rain. Further, 76% of guar crop has been damaged on 5,784 hectares. It is being cultivated on 18,970 hectares. Bajra, which is being cultivated on 1,900 hectare, has suffered 76% damage on 800 hectares. In such a situation, it is expected that many more farmers will rush to apply for insurance claims in the coming days.

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