JAMMU: Thousands of farmers who lost kharif crop due to hailstorm and rainfall will not get compensation under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) as J&K Union Territory has failed to pay its share of premium subsidy for the last one year.
Tribune News Service
Jammu, December 6
Thousands of farmers who lost kharif crop due to hailstorm and rainfall will not get compensation under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) as J&K Union Territory has failed to pay its share of premium subsidy for the last one year.
Much of the paddy and vegetable produce was damaged due to adverse weather conditions in September-November with farmers being left in the lurch by the administration. Sources said the flagship scheme launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2016 and implemented in erstwhile state of J&K in 2017 had faced the indifference of the administration.
After its implementation in J&K, the government paid the premium for rabi and kharif season in 2017, covering mere 1.50 lakh farmers of about 14 lakh cultivators. Later, in 2018, the scheme was extended. But in rabi and kharif season of 2019, when J&K was under Governor’s rule, no premium was paid.
“There is gloom all around as a majority of cultivators lost their paddy crop due to untimely rains. Officials have clearly said none of the farmers are entitled for compensation under the PMFBY. If agriculture is a priority sector for the government, why are farmers in J&K UT not being compensated?” said Tejinder Singh, president, Kisan Union.
Under the scheme, cultivators pay a uniform premium of only 2 per cent for all kharif crops and 1.5 per cent for all rabi crop giving growers insurance against natural calamities, pests and diseases. More than 90 per cent of premium was to be paid by the government.
“Nobody is hearing us. Even under the Back to Village programme, the issue was raised with officials but there are only assurances. Crop loss will have a devastating effect on poor people,” said Baldev Singh, a paddy cultivator in Suchetgarh.
Further, in the absence of Internet, farmers in J&K are unable to use mobile apps like Crop Insurance, Bhuvan Hailstorm and AgriMarket. The scheme proposes mandatory use of remote sensing, smartphones and drones for quick estimation of crop loss to speed up claims, but no progress has been made on the technical front.
Deputy Director, Agriculture Department and nodal officer of the scheme, KK Sharma said, “The tendering process for empanelled insurance companies to make their bid will be started soon.” However, he did not explain the reason for the delay.