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Central Govt to fast-track Fasal Bima Yojana with new professional team 

millenniumpost , Feb 22, 2018

The government on Wednesday said a professional team will be put in place by next month to fast- track the implementation of Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) and increase the coverage under the scheme to 50 per cent of the gross cropped area in 2018-19.

To address various gaps in PMFBY, the agriculture ministry has modified the guidelines which would be released next fortnight. The current portal has also been upgraded with new features, it added.

PMFBY was launched in 2016 under which farmers pay very nominal premium and get full claim for damages. The scheme is being implemented in 25 states.

"There has been good response to the scheme. The coverage has increased. But there is more to be done. Efforts are being made to ensure more farmers take benefit of the scheme," Minister of State for Agriculture Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said at a Ficci-organised event here.

So far, 30 per cent of the cropped area has been insured but the target is to achieve 50 per cent next year, he said while urging states to cooperate in this endeavour.

Joint secretary in the ministry Ashish Bhutani was of the view that the government's team is too small and a professional management should be in place by March.

Around 20-odd professionals will be hired to ensure that all issues related to PMFBY are addressed comprehensively, he added.

Bhutani further said the guidelines of PMFBY are being modified to ensure all required data and the process to assess the crop damage is done faster and in a transparent manner so that there is no delay in settlement of claims to farmers.

Among the key changes being made to the guidelines, he said insurance companies will be made 'co-observers' to ensure that the crop cutting experiments (CCE) conducted by states to assess the crop damage are done properly.

At present, insurance companies suspect that the CCE data was being fudged. "So, we put in a provision of co-observing the CCEs and the data needs to be shared with companies even while in the process of doing CCE," he added.

Since part of the crop insurance premium is paid equally by both centre and state governments, Bhutani said many states are not releasing their share of premium on time, causing delay in claim settlements. This aspect is also being addressed in the guidelines.

Also, states are not providing the required crop data on time and lack of historical data is jacking up premium in some states. On the other side, insurance companies too are taking "undue time" in claim calculation, which is also causing delay in settlements, he said.

"We will issue the new guidelines on crop insurance in the next 15 days. We have taken comprehensive feedback from all stakeholders including farmers, states, banks, insurance companies. The guidelines address the gaps which were found in the implementation of the scheme," he said.

New technologies will be adopted to capture all data required to assess the crop damage on time. Even startup firms are being engaged for this purpose, he said.

The portal has also been upgraded for seamless communication and data sharing among stakeholders. It will go online next week, he added.



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 Accelerating Agriculture Insurance