April 02, 2023

Compensate for Loss of Crops Due to Unseasonal Rains, Hail Storms in North Indian States: AIKS

The expectation of insurance coverage under PMFBY was a damp squib

THE All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), in a statement issued on March 28, has expressed deep concern over widespread damage to Rabi crops due to unseasonal rains, hails and thunderstorms in many states during past week. Major crops like wheat, mustard, vegetables etc have been damaged by flattening and lodging due to rains, hail storms and high velocity winds as a result of which average yield is bound to fall significantly and also making the harvest operations of the flattened crops even more difficult and expensive.

The extent of damage can be imagined in view of the fact that the crops were at the maturing stage and almost entire investment in terms of input costs had already been incurred by the cultivators.  Farmers and agricultural workers have been rendered totally shattered due to the extensive damage especially in Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Madhya Pradesh etc.  In this context a special note has to be taken of the plight of share croppers and poor tenant farmers who take the land on rent and made to pay the entire amount of rent to the land owner though the crop is damaged.

AIKS vice president Inderjit Singh and state leaders of Haryana have visited affected regions and found the gloom looming large among the people. AIKS shares the agony of affected farmers and demands that the revenue department should undertake intensive surveys in a transparent manner for making fair and objective assessment of the losses and compensate the damage. AIKS takes objection over the impractical conditionalities being prescribed for the affected farmers like uploading of losses on the portal within a specified time limit for claiming the compensation. It is further incumbent upon the government administration to ensure that the private insurance companies honour the claims of the insured farmers under Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana- PMFBY.
But, the expectation on this flagship scheme – PMFBY announced in 2016 by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi with fanfare was a damp squib. A comprehensive crop insurance scheme under public sector with active role of the state governments is the need of the hour. AIKS demands early survey and assessment of the losses and subsequent release of adequate compensation. The sections totally dependent on agriculture like farm labourers should be provided with adequate financial assistance. State governments should launch MNREGA jobs on larger scale to ensure income and livelihood support to the needy people.

AIKS demandsthe government to take a set of steps including waving off the outstanding loans, defer the recovery of power bills, give interest free credit for sowing of next crop, making cheap inputs available etc for mitigating the suffering of farmers. AIKS appeals to the peasantry to come forward in large numbers and put pressure up on the revenue administration to ensure early assessment of the losses and subsequent release of adequate compensation.