Crop insurance row: Majority claims of districts settled, says Agri Minister to Odisha CM

Out of nine disputed districts, Rs 723 crores is the total payable claim out of which Rs 622 crores has been settled. 

Bhubaneswar: After Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan wrote to the Centre regarding farmers claiming low insurance pay out due to alleged malpractices in Bargarh district of Odisha, Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar has written to the State government stating that the Government of India (GoI) has prompt action in this regard after the matter was first brought up a few months back.

Tomar, however, has raised questions on the Odisha government’s handling of the issue. In a letter to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik dated 16.11.2022, he wrote that may farmers in drought-affected areas were yet to their insurance dues despite follow up by the State government and the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) formed under the Ministry. He informed that that the GoI had introduced Revamped Operational Guidelines (ROG) from Kharif 2020 to ensure rights of farmers are protected and they get eligible claims in a timely manner. Each stakeholder’s roles and responsibilities had been defined in a clear manner including floating bids for Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), allocating cluster of districts to Insurance Companies (IC) and agreement of premium rates which vests with the State Government. It was further decided that the responsibility of conducting transparent Crop Cutting Experiments (CCE) through the CCE app also rests with the State government.

A well-defined procedure was also put in place to resolve yield data disputes wherein a State-level TAC was provisioned so that the dispute is first settled at State level. The case would be brought before the Central TAC only in case of non-resolution at the first-level.

The letter mentioned that the issue of disputed claims of kharif-21 in some insurance units in Odisha was first brought  to GoI’s notice by the State Government in July this year. The GoI in response had advised the State Government to follow the due procedure and was informed that cases of some insurance units were resolved at the STAC level but remaining 189 cases remained unresolved and were filed for higher appeal before the Central -level TAC.

“The GoI had taken prompt action and advised State authorities to get it examined by STAC since it was observed that the STAC was not constituted by the State despite it being part of the guidelines since 2020. Also the GoI put up the matter before the TAC as soon as the appeals against STAC order were received and the matter was taken to its logical conclusion,” Tomar wrote, further informing that after due follow up, majority of claims in disputed sitricts have been settled at the TAC and complete settlement is expected by this week. Out of nine disputed districts, Rs 723 crores is the total payable claim out of which Rs 622 crores has been settled.

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