Crop insurers still to clear claims of 25 lakh farmers

By Times Of India on 08 Jun 2018 | read
MUMBAI: Insurance firms owe 25 lakh farmers in the state a sum of Rs 800 crore under the Prime Minister’s crop insurance scheme, despite chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’s directives that all claims should be settled before June 7.

Fadnavis had called a meeting of the insurers last week after TOI’s report which said only 7% of the nearly Rs 2,300 crore claims due had been paid by May 10. After the meeting, claims worth around Rs1,500 crore have been settled, officials said. “The claims of 20 lakh farmers have been settled, but another 25 lakh are pending,” said an official from the agriculture department.

As many as 81.6 lakh farmers had participated in the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) in the state. Of these, nearly 45 lakh farmers or 55% were estimated to be beneficiaries. Usually insurance payments start rolling out by March.

TOI’s report on May 27 had said there was unrest among the state’s farmers over the delayed payments since they needed money to buy farm inputs for the kharif season. Insurance companies said they were struggling with delays by banks in uploading data and bank account details to the National Crop Insurance Portal which was being used this year to process applications to the scheme. This year, insurance firms have been asked to credit the claims directly to the accounts of beneficiaries.

Fadnavis told insurance companies at the meeting to implement the Centre’s directive to credit banks with money in case there were technical problems in accessing or matching farmer’s data and bank details.

The insurance firms told TOI that while payments had speeded up after the directive, errors in data continued to be amajor hurdle. “It will take at least two weeks to clear sums worth hundreds of crores,” said a senior official at a public sector insurance firm. He said erroneous data resulted in bank transfers of money not going through.