Tatsat Chronicle Magazine

Flimsy Cover: The Inadequacy Of Crop Insurance

The heavy unseasonal rains and hailstorms in March destroyed vast swathes of standing crops that were ripe for harvesting, across India. Even as states collect data to determine the extent of damage, there is pressure on the Central and state governments to ensure adequate compensation for farmers. Records indicate severe limitations of the Centre’s crop insurance scheme, both in terms of coverage and timely payouts
May 3, 2023
Damaged-wheat-in-Haryana-due-to-unseasonal-rains
Lost labour: Under PMFBY farmers are required to notify the relevant authorities within 72 hours of suffering crop damage to get claims under the insurance scheme (Photo: FLICKR)

The untimely rainfall and hailstorms this year have played havoc with rabi or winter crops, especially wheat, that were close to harvesting. There is likely to be a significant depletion in yield. While this may not immediately affect India’s food security, the affected farmers face gloomy prospects. More so the small and marginal farmers, who hold less than one hectare of land and hardly ever manage to make ends meet.

The Central government introduced the yield-based Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) from the kharif or summer 2016 season. It was said that care had been taken to eliminate the shortcomings of previous crop insurance schemes and create trust among farmers on crop insurance.

The new scheme intended to provide financial support to farmers suffering crop loss or damage arising out of natural calamities, adverse weather incidence and to stabilise the income of farmers. Comprehensive risk insurance was also promised under the scheme from pre-harvesting to post-harvest losses.

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