More awareness will drive crop insurance- IRDA Chairman Dr Subhash Khuntia

Creating awareness among farmers holds the key to expand crop insurance coverage across the country, said Dr Subhash Chandra Kunthia, Chairman, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India.

While inaugurating an Conference on Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, Dr Khuntia advised stakeholders such as the Centre, States and insurers to strengthen the grievance redressal mechanism to make the scheme more effective and expand its coverage.

Dr Khuntia further suggested that the cut-off dates for the insurance schemes should be announced well in advance so that farmers can take advantage of the scheme. Also, the companies should work towards settlement of crop insurance claims within 30 days.

PMFBY is currently being implemented in 27 states and territories and about 18 insurance companies have been empanelled with the Agriculture Ministry to implement the scheme. About 30 per cent of the cropped area is covered by the scheme. The Centre is targeting coverage of 50 per cent by 2020. Dr Khuntia said both Central and State governments should work jointly for effective implementation of PMFBY and provide crop advisories during adverse weather conditions to farmers to reduce the risk and losses. The stakeholders should set up call centre’s to answer the queries of farmers without any delay and have more people on the ground to create awareness about the insurance scheme among the small and medium farmers, he said.

The IRDA chairman also urged the insurance companies to conduct Crop Cutting Experiments (CCE) in a fair and transparent manner, leveraging technologies such as smart phones and remote sensing, among others.