Crop insurance to cover damage by wild animals

NEW DELHI: Farmers facing damage to their crops due to attack by wild animals can now file for claim under the central flagship crop insurance scheme. The participating states will have to notify add-on coverage under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) for such crop loss which can be assessed at individual farm level in a village or panchayat.
The National Board of Wildlife (NBWL) — apex body which takes a call on development projects in and around conservation areas including national parks and sanctuaries —had in its standing committee meeting on January 5 approved an advisory for management of human-wildlife conflict (HWC) in the country, providing for states to utilise “add-on coverage under the PMFBY for crop compensation against crop damage due to HWC”.
Though the agriculture ministry has given this choice to the states to consider providing add–on coverage under PMFBY, all vulnerable states did not opt for the provision.
This even as at least 10 of them invariably report crop damage due to attack by wild animals. “Under the advisory, approved by the NBWL, all 27 participating states of the PMFBY will now have to compulsorily notify the add-on provision,” said an official, referring to the approval of the HWC management advisory, on Wednesday when the central flagship crop insurance scheme completed its five year. Besides adopting area approach for wide-spread calamities like drought, flood etc., which affect large areas, the scheme also envisages coverage of localised risks such as hailstorm, landslide, inundation, natural fire and cloud burst and post-harvest losses due to cyclonic rains, unseasonal rains and hailstorm, which affects comparatively smaller areas/plots and assessment of crop losses is made on individual farm level.
“The scheme is a milestone crop insurance scheme covering full crop cycle against the losses occurring due to non-preventable natural risk. A total of Rs. 90,000 crore (against Rs 19,912 crore of farmers’ share in premium) have been paid as claims to farmers till now. In fact, the scheme was fully operational during the Covid-19 lockdown, distributing claims of over Rs 8,741 crore to 69.70 lakh farmers across India, which is highly commendable,” said agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar while interacting with stakeholders across the country via video conferencing on the occasion of completion of five years of the PMFBY.