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Maharashtra Govt Appoints Private Insurer to Implement PMFBY in Akola District

The appointment of HDFC Ergo General Insurance Company marks a fresh start in the implementation of the 'Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana' in Akola district.

Shivam Dwivedi
Maharashtra Govt Appoints Private Insurer to Implement PMFBY in Akola District (Photo Source: Pixabay)
Maharashtra Govt Appoints Private Insurer to Implement PMFBY in Akola District (Photo Source: Pixabay)

The administration has recently announced the appointment of a new private insurer to oversee the implementation of the 'Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana' in Maharashtra's Akola district. This decision comes after complaints were lodged against the previous insurer, ICICI Lombard insurance company, regarding fraudulent activities. The agriculture department appointed HDFC Ergo General Insurance Company for the upcoming year, 2023-24.

The allegations against ICICI Lombard stemmed from a case registered on March 21 at Khadan police station in Akola. Ten representatives of the company were accused of fabricating panchnama reports (survey forms), forging signatures of agriculture department officials, and under-reporting crop losses caused by unseasonal rains and other natural factors. It is believed that these activities led to a misappropriation of funds, resulting in a loss of Rs 3.95 crore for the farmers.

ICICI Lombard had been entrusted with the responsibility of implementing the 'Pradhan Mantri Crop Insurance Scheme' for the kharif season 2022-23 in Akola district. The scheme requires the presence of an agriculture department official, the affected farmer, and a representative from the insurance company during the assessment of crop damage. The panchnama report, which is considered admissible, requires the signatures of all participants.

During the previous kharif season, over 3 lakh farmers collectively paid a premium of Rs 24.24 crore for the insurance coverage. It is important to note that the actual premium paid to the insurer was higher, as the government covers a significant portion of the cost. However, farmers alleged that the insurance payout from ICICI Lombard was inadequate compared to the actual losses suffered, and the affected area was underreported.

In light of these issues, Collector Nima Arora recommended that ICICI Lombard be blacklisted in the district. Additionally, the Shiv Sena (UBT) party staged protests across the district, with party workers allegedly ransacking the office of ICICI Lombard in Murtijapur. Furthermore, Arvind Sawant, a member of parliament from the party, wrote a letter to the Union agriculture minister highlighting the alleged malpractices of the company.

Apart from the appointment of the new insurer, Collector Arora confirmed that the state government has approved 25% of the previous year's claim amount. However, a decision regarding the remaining amount is pending at the central level. The authorities are taking steps to ensure that farmers receive the necessary support and that fraudulent practices are addressed appropriately.

It is hoped that the new insurer will prioritize the welfare of farmers and carry out their duties with transparency and integrity. The government remains committed to safeguarding the interests of farmers and providing them with the necessary support to overcome challenges in the agricultural sector.

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