By Zishan Amiri
Srinagar, Mar 19: Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), a key insurance scheme initiated by the Government of India (GoI), has failed to insure any farmers in Kashmir compared to over 1.4 lakh insured in Jammu.
A year has passed since it was implemented in J&K.
The scheme has attracted plenty of insurance companies in Jammu, however, as per the Director Agriculture Kashmir, Altaf Aijaz Andrabi, none of the insurance companies has shown interest in investing in the Valley, citing “frequent shutdowns due to continuous conflict” as one of the major reasons.
So far, in Jammu, a total of 1,42,691 farmers have been insured due to the interest shown by “premiere insurance companies like ICICI-Lombard, SBI General Insurance, TATA AIG, Reliance General Insurance and Bajaj Allianz General Insurance”, he said.
“You see, there are often shutdowns here in Kashmir, so the private companies hesitate to come forward and invest. You cannot force the companies to come and invest, right?” said Andrabi, who is also the Mission Director.
“Neither the private nor the government-owned insurance companies are interested.”
Andrabi said the department has raised the issue with the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, and was hopeful of “a positive outcome”.
The scheme, taken up by State Level Coordination Committee on Crop Insurance (SLCCI), was supposed to cover an overall 1.12 lakh hectares of land under paddy, maize, oilseeds, saffron and apple cultivation in Kashmir.
In Jammu, 1.59 lakh hectares of land under paddy, maize, wheat and mango cultivation was supposed to be covered under the scheme.
The insurance is supposed to cover risks to sowing or planting, standing crop, post-harvest losses, and localised calamities – risks of a hailstorm, cloudburst, landslide and inundation, issues that valley farmers face almost every year.
Under the scheme, farmers have to pay a maximum 2 % of the sum insured for Kharief Crops and 1.5% for Rabi Crops as premium