Farmers await better insurance cover


Farmers in Karnataka are unable to reap benefits from PMFBY.

Farmers in Karnataka are not able to get benefits from Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) due to lack of proper distribution channels and infrastructure which leads to an increased financial burden on the farmers.

Sharanu, a farmer in Gollahali said that he did not receive the benefits of PMFBY. “The conditions for applying for insurance are many. The amount of insurance we receive is very less compared to our income. The scheme is benefiting insurance companies and not poor farmers like me, it is not useful for farmers at all,” he added.

A recent report shows that the number of beneficiaries of PMFBY has seen a 79 percent decline since 2019 in Karnataka.

The secretariat of the department of agriculture of the government of Karnataka said that they are responsible to issue the grants under PMFBY scheme.

“We issue grants as per the order. The execution of the policy and distribution does not come under our jurisdiction,” she said.

The crop loss due to unseasonal rains leads to a huge loss of farmers as it’s their only source of livelihood. Along with this if crops fail, their supply reduces and demand increases leading to high market prices. A report states that excess rains in October and November last year led to huge crop loss in the state. 

Last year the unseasonal rainfall was received in October when Kharif Crops were ready to harvest and Rabi Crops were sown. Another report shows that Karnataka farmers suffered a loss of almost Rs. 1100 crore due to the rains.

Sanjyot Apte a political science professor explained why the policy is not effective. She said, “Many farmers are not aware of the insurance policy. Around two-thirds of farmers do not know of the scheme. Also, there are many loopholes in policy because of which it is not inclusive.”

 The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare of the central government launched PMFBY in 2016. The scheme aims to provide financial support to farmers suffering crop loss/damage arising out of unforeseen events. The main aim is to protect farmers’ income as agriculture involves many risks. It also aims to provide support to farmers to have a stable income and they continue farming. The scheme  encourages farmers to be innovative and use modern techniques, advanced machinery which will boost their income.

She added that the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report of 2016-2017 listed the problems of the policy but they are not yet fixed.

Arundhati Agate, an economics professor said, “The farmers come under informal sector. Their income depends on the crops they cultivate. So many times if crops fail due to natural calamities like drought or excess rains they suffer losses. They depend on these schemes and when they do not receive the benefits their losses keep increasing.”

She added that the farmers have to pay premium every year for the insurance which is a burden on many small farmers.