The government had set a target of covering 50 percent of gross cropped area under crop insurance scheme by FY19.
The number of farmers covered under the Prime Minister Narendra Modi's flagship crop insurance scheme has declined by nearly 20 percent, according to figures released by the government on Tuesday.
A Mint report stated that only 4.79 crore farmers were covered under the prime minister’s crop insurance scheme in FY18 compared to 5.75 crore farmers the year before, the government informed the Lok Sabha.
The crop insurance coverage fell among farmers irrespective of whether they had taken a credit. Among loanee farmers, the coverage fell to 350 lakh in 2017-18 from 4.40 crore the year before, whereas the coverage of non-loanee farmers fell marginally to 1.30 crore from 1.40 crore during this period.
Earlier, studies released by Delhi-based think tank Centre for Science and Environment in July 2017 stated that the implementation of the Prime Minister’s crop insurance scheme is has been suffering due problems such as delays in assessment of crop loss and claim settlement, high actuarial premiums charged by insurance companies.
The gross premium collected by insurance companies in FY18 increased by 9.8 percent to Rs 24,352 crore from Rs 22,180 crore the year before, despite a decline in the land holdings over the past year, the government told the Rajya Sabha on March 9.
“The growth rate in agriculture credit fell sharply in the past few years... and due to rising indebtedness and delays in loan repayment by farmers expecting to benefit from loan waivers, it could be that banks are issuing less fresh loans. This could be bringing down the number of loanee accounts and therefore, the (mandatory) crop insurance enrolment numbers,” Himanshu, associate professor of economics at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi told the paper.