Govt plans ₹30,000 cr push to expand crop cover portal | Mint
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Business News/ News / India/  Govt plans 30,000 cr push to expand crop cover portal

Govt plans ₹30,000 cr push to expand crop cover portal

The initiative will be driven by the AIDE app, launched in July, to ensure door-to-door enrolment, making crop insurance more accessible and convenient for farmers.


NEW DELHI : The government plans to earmark 30,000 crore to expand the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) portal into a comprehensive platform that will extend insurance coverage beyond crops to include assets such as ponds, tractors, livestock, and palm trees, two officials said.

This initiative will be driven by the AIDE app, launched in July, to ensure door-to-door enrolment, making crop insurance more accessible and convenient for farmers.

Through this app, insurance intermediaries will not only enrol farmers for crop insurance, but also extend coverage to 40 million farmers for non-subsidized schemes.

“We are planning to build a platform. It’s a transition from being a portal to a platform. AIDE app is already there for farmers, through which insurance intermediaries enrol farmers for crop insurance. While they enrol the farmers for a subsidized scheme, which is PMFBY, farmers may also want some of their other rural products that are not subsidized to be covered by insurance. If the portal is converted into a platform, farmers will be able to get insurance coverage for their non-subsidized agricultural assets," one of the two officials said on condition of anonymity.

“Based on the subsidized platform, we will try to get schemes enroled onto our platform where farmers of certain regions will be given choices to opt for other schemes," the official added.

PMFBY, a central government-sponsored crop insurance scheme which integrates all stakeholders on one platform has been revamped with the incorporation of new technological initiatives like YES-Tech, WINDS portal and AIDE app, marking a turning point for crop insurance in India.

Following the restructuring of PMFBY, insured area in 2022-23 rose by 12% as compared to the previous year, reaching more than 49.7 million hectares, and is expected to hit an all-time high 57.5-60 million hectares insured acreage in the 2023-24 Kharif season.

Besides, several states, including Andhra Pradesh re-enlisted in the scheme, while others are planning to re-join due to the universal approach under the restructured PMFBY scheme to cover all farmers in the respective states. After the revamping and the government settling long pending claims of 765 crores since 2018-19 Kharif season, Jharkhand has finally decided to re-enter the scheme from Kharif 2024-25 season. The number of insurers participating has also risen, with 15 taking part in the 2023 tender cycle, compared to 11 in 2020.

“If it turns out the way we are planning, it will help in insurance penetration, and offer a platform to companies to sell. More importantly, we will know what the farmers need," he said.

“If we do it for one or two years, we will come to know what type of insurance farmers in a certain region want. We can build it into a scheme for subsidy. So, it becomes a sandbox under PMFBY to get new schemes by knowing the market demand. It will not be limited to crop insurance, but other insurance requirements and enrolments as well," the official added.

“It will be a sandbox within the existing Fasal Bima Yojana, and allow non-subsidized schemes to come in, as well as judge the demand. It will also allow 40 million farmers in the country to approach the government and tell it the products they wish to have insurance coverage for," the second official said. “It is at a very early stage and is being drafted. Therefore, it will be difficult to comment on exactly how much capex will be required. However, as per the initial discussion, it could be 30,000 crore," the second official said.

Queries to the agriculture and farmer’s welfare ministry remained unanswered till press time.

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Puja Das
Puja Das is a New Delhi based policy reporter covering food, farm, fertiliser, water, and climate policies for Mint. Puja reports on farmers' distress and how the agriculture sector is impacting India's rural economy and policy initiatives to help meet the pledges made at COP27. Puja holds a post-graduation degree in Broadcast Journalism from the Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media, Bangalore.
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Published: 22 Oct 2023, 08:09 PM IST
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