The Centre has asked the state governments to use latest technology to ensure timely settlement of this year’s insurance claims under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), a senior Agriculture Ministry official said. In the current 2017-18 crop year (July-June), a sum of Rs 19,163.48 crore has been insured by 4.79 crore farmers under the PMFBY. The ministry is still calculating the claims. “With the use of technology, the time to settle claims has reduced to some extent to within two months after receipt of crop yield data from the state governments. However, to ensure timely settlement of claims, we have asked states to adopt all new technology features,” the official said.
The delay in settlement of claims could be due to various reasons. One could be delay in assessing yield loss, while the other reasons may be non-receipt of state share of premium, discrepancy in yield data and unavailability of farmers account details, among others, the official explained. Under the PMFBY, claims are settled on the basis of yield loss assessment at the end of season.
The states have been asked to use remote sensing technology, smartphones and mobile app for quick estimation of crop losses. Already, stakeholders have been integrated on a common crop insurance portal to ensure seamless flow of information and services. Stating that the onus of the successful implementation of PMFBY lies with states, the official said the scheme is optional for states to implement as it decides on the areas and crops to be notified.
It is optional for non-loanee farmers as well. The PMFBY, launched in January 2016, replaces the older schemes to ensure farmers pay less premium and early settlement of the claims. At present, five public and 13 private sector insurance companies are empanelled for implementing the scheme.
Farmers’ premium is kept at 2 per cent for kharif crops and 1.5 per cent for rabi crops, while 5 per cent for horticultural /commercial crops. The balance premium share is borne by the centre and state governments on a 50:50 basis.