Crop insurance companies reluctant to seven 'loss-making' districts of the state

High Court notice to Central and State Governments.

Credit : The Indian Express

Pune: Apparently, no crop insurance company has been appointed yet in the Aurangabad, Beed, Sangli and four other districts of Maharashtra since the Rabbi season of 2019.  Although the 2019 Kharif was sown despite millions of farmers being deprived of crop insurance, no crop insurance company has been appointed yet as the tender process has been completed.  

These seven districts, which are some of the top crop insurers in the country, have caused losses for thousands of farmers due to this absence of crop insurance since last year, which has led to a considerable increase in suicides among farmers in Beed district.  Aurangabad, Beed, Hingoli districts are drought-prone districts and farmers here are frequently affected by untimely rains, intermittent rains or excess rainfall. Which is why the farmers in these districts had to rely largely on crop insurance schemes.

Vishal Kadam, a local political activist from Marathwada, has filed a petition in the Aurangabad Bench of the Bombay High Court seeking directions from the Center and the state government. The matter was heard by video conferencing.  Advocate Snehal Sharad Jadhav defended the petitioners before a bench of Justices SV Gangapurwala and RG Avachat and directed the Center and the state government to state their case.

Prashant Pawar, State Vice President, (Scheduled Castes) Congress Committee, alleged that while the UPA government had started a crop insurance scheme to curb farmer suicides, the BJP government had privatized it for the benefit of private companies. "Now no company is willing to present tenders for insurance coverage in drought-prone areas like Beed district as their sole purpose is to make a profit. It is the misfortune of the farmers of Beed district that this is being ignored by the central government and the MPs from the district and if needed, we will take to the streets," he said.

“We have not received crop insurance since the rabbi season,” said Vitthal Gharat, a farmer in Beed district, adding, "Currently such insurance covers only the fruit crop. Our demand is for us to receive Kharif crop insurance for cotton, soybean, green gram, gram, urad, millet, sorghum etc. which hasn't been implemented yet. There is no government pressure on private companies. The government is our guardian, but if it is discouraged, then to whom should we ask for approval?" 

Farmer and social activist Datta Prabhale said Beed and other districts have been excluded from the seasonal crop insurance subsidy. The farmers there are very vigilant. They take full advantage of crop insurance. They also report the accompanying damage. Therefore, the companies taking responsibility for these districts are at a loss. "Insurance companies have turned their backs. The government should pay attention and give justice to the farmers," he said.