The INLD and Congress targetted Haryana government over the implementation of the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna (PMFBY) on the second day of the Haryana Vidhan Sabha Monsoon session on Monday.
Both parties alleged that the scheme was anti-farmer and farmers were being forced to pay premium after taking loans even when they did not want insurance. They walked out on separate occasions as discussion on the issue went on.
Congress Legislature Party leader Kiran Choudhry who initiated the discussion.
“Under the scheme, heat wave, cold wave and frost are not covered as natural calamities for insurance purposes, though these account for huge losses during both kharif and rabi seasons in the state. Why should insurance companies be involved in the distribution of direct subsidy to the farmers? There is a need to make an acre an insurance unit and not a village,” she said, adding that insurance agents will send their own people to assess loss, to the disadvantage of farmers.
Former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda demanded that the government pay the entire amount of premium instead.
Leader of Opposition and INLD leader Abhay Singh Chautala said that the move will benefit insurance companies only. He demanded that farmers who are involved in horticulture should also be compensated. Further, he demanded that the cap that the government has imposed on giving compensation only up to 5 acres should be done away with.
Another INLD MLA Parminder Dhull raised questions over why only private insurance companies were involved and not the government ones.
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said that farmers covered under the scheme would get enhanced insurance compensation ranging between Rs 10,000 and Rs 25,000 per acre as against the prescribed rates fixed between Rs 7500 and Rs 12,000 per acre for damage to the crop. He said that 30 percent of farmers had opted for the insurance cover for this crop season. He said his government was attempting to bring all farmers under the ambit of the scheme.
He clarified that those 70 per cent farmers who have not yet been covered under PMFBY would be provided with compensation ranging between Rs 7,500 and Rs 12,000 on account of damage to crops. He further said the government will implement the scheme for another crop season.
Haryana Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Minister O P Dhankar said that similar provisions were present during the time of the previous governments as well. He said even then the farmers who took loans had to pay premium for insurance.
“It has been decided by the government to start its implementation in respect of traditional crops for which the historical data of actual yields is available so that the assessment of claims is feasible. Based on the experience gained from its implementation, more crops can be covered in the coming years,” he said.
Dhankar said in cases of waterlogging and hailstorm, one acre will be taken as a unit.
Congress MLA stirs controversy
Congress MLA Karan Singh Dalal stirred a controversy during the discussion after he said the Haryana Cabinet must be getting 30 per cent commission, like insurance agents do. This led to a furore in the House. Haryana Chief Minister then said that if Dalal could prove his allegations then action will be taken against the guilty otherwise a privilege motion will be moved against him. Dalal gave his written reply to the Speaker Kanwar Pal which will be discussed on Tuesday.