Bengaluru: The Karnataka government’s initiatives to enrol more farmers under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bhima Yojana (PMFBY)—to ensure continued Central assistance to help mitigate the economic impact of deficient rainfalls and resulting crop damage—seems to have paid off as the number of enrolments in the state during the Kharif season has increased from 8.72 lakh in 2015 to 9.44 lakh farmers this year.
Reeling under its second consecutive drought and sixth year of deficient rainfall, Karnataka has declared drought in 139 of the 177 talukas, or administrative units this year.
To increase farmer enrolment in the PMFBY, the state government had started deducting compulsory insurance premiums for almost all crop loans disbursed and has also increased the number of crops during the Kharif season from 25 in 2015 to 40 in 2016.
Karnataka’s growth rate in farmer insurance scheme have been higher compared to other states even though the numbers at the national level fall way short of the ambitious target to cover half of all farmers in the country.
According to the agriculture ministry, during this kharif season, beginning June, 32.6 million farmers enrolled under PMFBY, Mint reported on Tuesday.
The numbers represent a growth of 6.3% in enrolment compared to the 30.7 million farmers who opted for crop insurance the previous year. However, it is significantly lower than the 29.5% rise in coverage in 2015, and 13.4% rise in 2014. Further, data shows only 23.6% of farmers enrolled for PMFBY in 2016, compared to 22.2% in 2015, Mint reported.
The Centre made a budgetary provision of Rs5,501 crore for the PMFBY in 2016-17, up 84% from Rs 2,995 crore spent the year before.
States like Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Rajasthan witnessed far fewer takers for the Central crop insurance scheme, while Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal saw a rise in enrolment, Mint reported.
The government has also introduced 16 crops under the Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme (WBCIS) this year and already has over 1.02 lakh farmers enrolled under this scheme in the Kharif season, data showed.
The state government had started deducting compulsory insurance premiums for almost all loans disbursed, a senior official at the agricultural department had told Mint on 20 October.
To be sure, coffee, sugarcane and tobacco is not covered under crop insurance-that is almost half of the over 78 lakh farm families in the state.
Launched on 13 January, PMFBY has a budgetary provision of Rs17,600 crore. The share between Karnataka and the Centre is a 50:50 agreement—around Rs 675 crore each, Mint reported on 20 October. The state government had disbursed Rs5,396.98 crore in 2015-16 to over 1 million farmers and has a target to disburse Rs11,600 crore worth of crop loans this year.