The Indian government has decided to issue new guidelines to make the national crop insurance scheme - Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) - more efficient.
According to an official of the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, the new guidelines aim to incentivise insurers to improve their PMFBY services. They would cover, for instance, the use of district-level crop cutting data, reports Indian Express.
The changes are being planned at a time when farmers’ enrolment under the scheme saw a decline of 20% in the financial year ended 31 March 2018 (FY2018). In FY2017, number of farmers covered under the PMFBY stood at 57.3m.
The government has indicated that despite the fall in farmers’ enrolment, it would expand coverage to 50%. In FY2017, coverage was at 30%.
Another issue is the timeliness of compensation payments, some of which are stalled because several states have not paid their share of premiums to the scheme.
The central and state governments subsidise premiums under the PMFBY, with farmers who subscribe to the insurance scheme required to pay a small proportion of the premium.