On the coming Wednesday, more than one crore farmers are going to tune into the speech of Narendra Singh Tomar, the Union Agriculture Minister. The speech will be about the advantages of the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana.
It is expected that the farmers are going to listen to the address of the minister through common service centers (CSCs), gram sabhas, PACS (primary Agri cooperative societies), and FPOs (farmer producer organizations).
In the last week, all the members of Parliament were informed by Narendra Singh Tomar to take part in the program, most likely in the constituency, along with mobilizing the maximum number of farmers for the program. It was also asked to cooperate with the district magistrates who were concerned about the event’s success.
Interactions and topics of discussion with the farmers
It was requested by the center that State Agriculture Ministers stay present during the event where Tomar is going to interact with 3 pre-identified farmer-beneficiaries. The beneficiaries will be from Odisha, Karnataka, and Madhya Pradesh, on the topics associated with PMFBY.
He is also supposed to discuss with the ministers of Maharashtra and Assam the problems associated with KCC (Kisan Credit Card) and a revised insurance scheme for the weather-based crops with the cultivators residing in Himachal Pradesh.
The states such as Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Chhattisgarh have been asked as well to ensure wider farmers’ participation within the program to be cast through CSCs along with several other agencies.
The Managing Direct of CSC SPV, Dinesh Tyagi, said to BusinessLine that the team has been offering multiple services to the farmers such as Fasal Bima, teleconsultations, PM Kisan, and KCC schemes.
Also, the ‘Kisan Bhagidari, Prathamikta Hamari’ campaign introduced by the Agricultural Ministry is going to help them reach the farmers with the blended efforts of the Gram Sabhas and VLEs.
CSC SPV, since 2017 has supported more than 70% of the farmers who have not taken any loan. It is the primary contributor in terms of PMFBY enrollment over the country. More than 50,000 VLEs have been registered with nearly 50 lakh farmers each year under the flagship scheme. Also, CSCs possess a facility for farmers to report loss of crop in 72 hours within 20 implementing regions.
Lower enrolment during the previous Kharif season
Although no concern has been there within the states where the PMFBY lies under the implementation, the Indian government is cautious about the possibility of lower enrollment of Kharif crops as the normal monsoon is forecasted. 1.5 crore farmers got themselves registered in the last Kharif season, which is a straightaway drop of 10.5% from the previous season.
Despite the farmers’ lower enrollment, a spike in the applications of the farmers was there because of the records of lands getting digitized in some of the states. It also got linked with particular schemes. In case a farmer possesses land in two places, the individual need to file separate applications for both of the places because crops and premiums may be distinct in every location.
For example, 30.92 lakh farmers got enrolled in Rajasthan during 2021 Kharif, against 30.45 lakh that occurred in the previous season. However, the applications of the farmers spiked to 1.89 crores in 2021 from 67.2 lakh in Kharif in 2020.
Bigger issues were recently stated by Ritesh Chauhan, the CEO of PMFBY, at a workshop. He talked about the decline in the participation of both state governments and insurance companies.
The states are advised by the center to invite the members of gram panchayats and state government officials from ground-level and related departments, farmer producer organizations, eminent local personalities, and Krishi Vigyan Kendras to the meeting where all the papers on the policy will be offered. Also, the states are requested by the center to make use of this meeting for disseminating information about natural farming and the utility of drone technology in agriculture amongst farmers as per the Krishi Jagran.
The Indian government claims to be coming up with pioneering ideas to change agriculture. This move comes after just months of the largest protest witnessed in India in recent with the draconian farmer bills and their subsequent withdrawal. Whether the government actually cares about farmers or is this meeting just another eyewash, only time will reveal.