Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today termed the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), a crop insurance scheme, as a “big scam” and demanded that it be scrapped.
He alleged that the scheme was meant to benefit insurance companies instead of farmers.
“The (Pradhan Mantri) Fasal Bima Yojana is a big scam. It is betraying the farmers. Without the farmers’ consent, the premium gets deducted from their accounts,” Mr Kejriwal told reporters in Israna village in Panipat district.
“Then when it comes to paying compensation to the farmers for crop damage, conditions of this scheme are such that a farmer keeps paying his premiums, but does not get the claim for his crop loss,” he added.
“Till the time the crop loss in a village does not cross 70 per cent, an affected farmer will not get compensation, such are the conditions of this scheme,” he added.
The Delhi chief minister said this scheme should be called the ‘BJP Kisan Daka Yojana’ (BJP Farmer Loot Scheme).
During his visit to Israna, Mr Kejriwal met the family of a farmer Surjit, who recently died of a heart attack.
He said Surjit suffered a heart attack as he was unable to bear the losses he incurred after his crops were damaged due to unseasonal rains and hailstorm.
He assured the dead farmer’s family of all help and said he would donate a month’s salary, which is around Rs 80,000, and ask his lawmakers to do the same. “This Fasal Bima Yojana should be scrapped and the premium collected from the farmers returned,” he said.
Mr Kejriwal said a ‘Kisan Muavaza’ (farmer compensation) scheme, like the one introduced by the Delhi government, should be launched if farmers are to be given relief.
He said the compensation should be given directly to the farmers so that they do not have to run after insurance companies.
“Owners of insurance companies are good friends of Modiji and this scheme has been formulated to extend benefit to them,” Mr Kejriwal claimed.
According to recent media reports which quoted RTI information, the insurance companies have collected premium between Rs 15,000 crore to Rs 20,000 crore under this scheme, whereas the value of claims settled is very low, he alleged.