BRS Fails Farmers on Insurance

No alternative after quitting Central scheme

Hyderabad: The BRS’ failure bringing in its own crop insurance scheme after opting out of the Centre’s Prime Minister Fasal Bima Yojana in 2020, has proved a whammy for farmers have suffering crop losses due to the earlier dry spell, the incessant rainfall in March and the current downpour.

Farmers complained that they receive no aid from the government or insurance companies, citing that they had to move the High Court to get the state government to release funds for damages suffered from 2018-2020.

In July 2022, crops were damaged across 12 lakh acres and in March 2023, crops were damaged on 5 lakh acres due to heavy rains. While the state government, in a first, announced compensation of Rs 10,000 per acre to farmers in March, it was done just for 2.3 lakh acres.

Further, even this amount is yet to reach the affected farmers completely.

The Telangana state government along with those in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Bihar, West Bengal and Gujarat opted out of the PMFBY, but is now the sole state to have failed in bringing in its insurance scheme, even after three years.

After scrapping the PMFBY, the state government is entirely dependent on the Centre for funds to extend input subsidies to farmers under the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF).

Telangana has effectively had no crop insurance policy since 2018, when the state government refused to release its share of the premium to insurance companies under the PMFBY, despite the Centre releasing its share. This forced insurance companies to stop settlements and claims until the state government released its share. It only did so once farmers moved the High Court.

There are about 66 lakh farmers in Telangana. When PMFBY came into force and was implemented in Telangana, in 2015-16, about 10 lakh farmers insured their crops under this scheme.

In 2015-16, about 7.73 lakh farmers insured their crops and got compensation of Rs 441.79 crore for crop loss due to heavy rains.

In 2016-17, about 8.87 lakh farmers insured their crops on 7.33 lakh acres. Nearly 1.34 lakh farmers claimed Rs 111.33 crore in compensation for crop loss.

In 2018-19, 2019-20 and 2020-21, the insurance companies approved claims of Rs 960 crore, but the disbursal was delayed as the state government failed to pay its share of the premium.

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