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PMFBY: Over 11% Fall in Enrollment of Farmers this scheme

According to provisional data of 19 states (excluding Karnataka), there is over 11% fall in enrollment of farmers under crop insurance during Kharif 2021 from last season’s 1.68 crore.

Ayushi Raina
Agriculture Minister, Narendra Singh Tomar
Agriculture Minister, Narendra Singh Tomar

The discussions with the states will be led by Union Agriculture Secretary, Sanjay Agarwal. According to a source, Agriculture Minister, Narendra Singh Tomar instructed officials in the ministry to make appropriate changes to the scheme after receiving feedback from states during a recent review meeting on PMFBY.

Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Jharkhand, West Bengal, and Bihar have already withdrawn from the scheme, citing the high cost of the premium subsidies. While Punjab never implemented a crop insurance scheme, Bihar, West Bengal, and Andhra Pradesh with farmers paying no premium but receiving a predetermined amount of compensation in case of crop failure.

“The task of claims assessment should be given to independent agencies utilising technology, preferably under the control of the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA),” said Navneet Ravikar, CMD of Leads Connect Services. Claims-to-premium ratios in crop insurance have a direct impact on the premiums charged by insurers in following seasons.

According to preliminary data from 19 states (excluding Karnataka), there is a more than 11% fall in crop insurance enrolment of farmers during Kharif 2021 compared to the previous season's 1.68 crore.

Karnataka is not included since the state's Kharif data for this year has yet to be uploaded to the central portal. Enrollment is down by 2-75% in major producing states such as Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.

Due to the late start of enrolment, Tamil Nadu has witnessed a 75% drop in the number of enrolled farmers, while Madhya Pradesh has seen an 11% drop.

Both of these states joined late after the Centre approved their plans on August 2, and they only got one month to enrol against to the usual April-July period. While Madhya Pradesh implements the 80-110 plan, popularly known as the "Beed formula," Tamil Nadu is doing it under an 80-20 plan.
Except for Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, most other states have experienced a decrease in applications on-year during Kharif 2021. Because the same farmers with multiple landholdings apply individually for each land, the number of applications is always more than the number of farmers. Rajasthan has experienced a more than two and a half times rise in applications on -year as a result of the integration of digitised land records with PMFBY, despite a 2% reduction in the number of farmers enrolled.

The agricultural ministry previously told the parliamentary standing committee on agriculture that majority of these states chose to opt out of the PMFBY due to their financial constraints, and not because the scheme was unpopular among farmers.

Withdrawal/non-implementation of PMFBY by more states in coming years will undermine the exact purpose for why the scheme was launched. The Committee, therefore, recommends the Department to thoroughly investigate the reasons/factors leading to the withdrawal/non-implementation of the PMFBY by Punjab, Bihar, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Telangana, and Jharkhand, and to take appropriate steps so that States continue to implement the Scheme and farmers benefit from it,” the committee said in a report submitted last month.

The 'Beed formula,' also known as the 80-110 plan, circumscribed the insurer's potential losses — the company is not required to accept claims that exceed 110 percent of the gross premium. The insurer shall reimburse to the state government any premium surplus (gross premium minus claims) that exceeds 20% of the gross premium. To insulate the insurer from losses, the state government must bear the cost of any claims that exceed 110 percent of the premium collected. The gross premium and claims/profit of the state government and insurer will be shared at an 80:20 ratio in the 80-20 plan respectively.

Farmers must pay a premium of 1.5% of the insured amount for rabi crops, 2% for Kharif crops, and 5% for cash crops under PMFBY.

The balance premium is divided evenly between the Centre and the states. Many states have requested that their share of the premium subsidy be capped to 30%, while others have insisted that the Centre to bear the entire subsidy.

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