The Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna (PMFBY), which the NDA government showcases as the shield against all risks faced by farmers, has failed to be universal because there is a need for a comprehensive crop and income insurance scheme covering income and yield risks for all farmers and all crops.
All India Kisan Sabha joint secretary Vijoo Krishnan said on Tuesday that farmer suicides had continued nationwide for more than two decades since the neo-liberal economic policies were put in place.
“However, the ruling classes have sought to underplay the unprecedented human tragedy and linked the plight of farmers to the weather. What Prime Minister Narendra Modi is proposing is to insure farmers from the vagaries of nature. What is actually required is to insure them from the adversities created by deliberate government policies,” he said.
He said the PMFBY continued the mandatory covering of loanee farmers. Non-loanee farmers, tenant farmers and share-croppers were likely to remain outside its ambit. “Dalits and Adivasis, socially and economically oppressed, will also be excluded from the scheme. To be truly inclusive, the Central and State governments must subsidise the entire premium for the poor, small and marginal farmers, tenant farmers, share-croppers as well as Adivasi and dalit farmers,” he said. The central committee of the All India Kisan Sabha met in Delhi and discussed the situation. Mr. Krishnan said members felt that trade liberalisation and free trade agreements exposed farmers to the volatility in world markets. An uncontrolled increase in input prices, coupled with a fall in the prices of farm goods, had become a regular phenomenon. MSP did not cover production cost, he pointed out.