Reducing crop insurance scheme funds anti-farmer: PC

Nothing more anti-farmer than reducing contribution to Crop Insurance Scheme: P Chidambaram

"Another example of the BJP government's shortsightedness and misplaced priorities," former Finance Minister P Chidambaram charged.

Congress on Thursday slammed Modi government's decision to make the crop insurance scheme voluntary for farmers, accusing it of “surreptitiously” shutting down it down by reducing its share in the payment of premium.

“Making crop insurance voluntary for loanee farmers is another retrograde step,” former Finance Minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram said here.

Congress slammed the decision of the Union Cabinet to revamp the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) and Restructured Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme and limiting the central subsidy for premium rates of up to 30% for non-irrigated areas and 25% for irrigated areas.

“Nothing can be more anti-farmer than the central government’s decision to reduce its contribution to the Crop Insurance Scheme,” Chidambaram said.

Addressing a press conference here, Congress chief spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala also claimed that the crop insurance scheme unveiled by Modi in 2016 (PMFBY) was designed to benefit private insurance companies and not the farmers.

“Between 2016-17 and 2018-19 insurance companies collected Rs 77,801 crore as premium for the crop insurance scheme and reported a profit of Rs 19,202 crore,” Surjewala said here.

Surjewala alleged the Centre's claims of the scheme being voluntary was only a “farce” and the burden of the premium amount would now come on the poor farmer, who would chose not to opt for insurance.

“The attitude of the BJP government is completely anti-farmer. In one way or the other, the party wants to weaken the farmers and fill the pockets of their capitalist friends with their share of money,” he said.

“The scheme itself is being shut down surreptitiously, leaving the farmer to face the wrath of nature,” the Congress leader said, slamming Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar for claiming the revamp of the scheme as a “step forward”.

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