TS farmers face double whammy: Heavy rainfall and no crop insurance

HYDERABAD: Crops on five lakh acres were damaged in 25 districts due to unseasonal rains that lashed the state in the last three days, but farmers have no recourse because the state government has stopped implementing the Prime Minister Fasal Bima Yojana scheme (PMFBY) in the last three years, beginning with kharif 2020.

After the scrapping of PMFBY, the state government is entirely depending on the Centre for funds to extend input subsidies to farmers under the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF). However, the Centre released Rs 13 crore under the NDRF last year, when the state experienced high rains and crop loss. The state government, after scrapping the PMFBY, promised to implement its own crop insurance plan, which has yet to materialise after three years. Telangana has effectively had no crop insurance policy since 2018, when the state government refused to release its share of the premium amount to insurance companies under the PMFBY scheme even after the Centre released its share. This forced insurance companies to stop settlements and claims until the state government released its share.

Finally, when a few farmers took the matter to the High Court, the state government released its share in 2020. Following this, farmers were compensated for crop losses caused by heavy rains between 2018 and 2020. The unseasonal rains dealt a blow to the farmers in undivided Warangal, Khammam, Rangareddy, Karimnagar, Nalgonda, Medak, Nizamabad and Adilabad districts. As many as 25 districts from these eight undivided districts suffered huge losses as per the preliminary estimates on crop loss done by the agriculture department.

Paddy, maize, pulses, chilli, horticulture, mango and vegetable crops suffered losses due to heavy rains in the last three days. States such as West Bengal implemented their own insurance plans after scrapping the PMFBY. Andhra Pradesh, which also left the PMFBY in 2019, later rejoined it in 2022. Farmers unions in Telangana want the state government to either introduce its own crop insurance scheme like West Bengal or rejoin PMFBY like AP.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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