To what extent the Pradhanmantri Fasal Bima Yojana has addressed the shortcomings of the previous crop insurance models? Discuss critically.
Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) is the new crop damage insurance scheme that has been approved by the Union Cabinet in January 2016. It will replace the existing two crop insurance schemes National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (NAIS) and Modified NAIS.
The new scheme is different from earlier schemes on the account of following:
It is open to all farmers but not mandatory to anyone. It is optional for loanee as well as non-loanee farmers.
It has so far lowest premium. The existing premium rate varies between 2.5% and 3.5% for kharif crops and 1.5% for rabi crops.
This scheme provides full coverage of insurance. While NAIS had full coverage, it was capped in the modified-NAIS scheme.
It also covers the localized risks such as hailstorm, landslide, inundation etc. Earlier schemesdid not cover inundation.
It provides post harvest coverage. The NAIS did not cover while the modified NAIS covered only coastal regions.
Thus, new crop insurance scheme has the potential to deal with the vagaries of nature on Indian farming.
However, there is a flipside to this scheme. The scheme will increase the financial burden on the government and necessary budget allocations should be made. Some states like Punjab may face financial constraints in encouraging famers to take up crop insurance. The scheme does not cover risks faced by Northern farmers such as pest attacks and farm price fluctuations. The scheme also does not address the demand of famers to cover the risks and losses inflicted by wild animals like elephants and wild boars.
Besides, losses from nuclear risks, riots, malicious damage, theft, and act of enmity, are all categorised under ‘exclusions’ in the new scheme.