To combat farmers’ distress, the state government is exploring the possibility of covering all the farmers in the state under the Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Beema Yojana (PMSBY), which provides accidental death benefit of Rs2 lakh for any person who pays a premium of Rs12 per year.
Prime minister Narendra Modi had launched the scheme last month and the state government, through its agriculture department, is toying with the idea of providing insurance cover to all the farmers in the state under PMSBY. Agriculture minister Eknath Khadse is believed to have discussed the issue with lead bankers.
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis along with finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar and Khadse reportedly held a meeting with the bankers last week and Khadse discussed the possibility of extending this insurance cover to farmers across the state. Even though this would not provide much relief to the families of farmers committing suicide, the scheme has dual advantage of life cover as well as cover for partial disability.
Agriculture commissioner Vikas Deshmukh informed that the state government was now providing crop insurance benefits to farmers. Last kharif season, the agriculture department had provided crop insurance of Rs1,595 crore through his office, Deshmukh said, adding that this scheme was being run through the Agriculture Insurance Company of India, which was a Government of India insurance company. The premium of the crop insurance for the season was Rs176 crore, which was paid by both the Centre and the state government. He made it clear that the Rs12 PMBSY was different from the crop insurance and it would help reduce the agrarian crisis.
Meanwhile, Khadse has asked officials and bank representatives concerned to explore whether the state can subscribe to PMSBY by paying the premium for all the farmers in the state at one go. There are 1.37 crore farmers in the state who can benefit from this scheme.