Lose-lose sit­u­a­tion

The gov­ern­ment claims it has mech­a­nisms, right from com­pen­sa­tion to in­sur­ance, in place to sup­port farm­ers in case of crop loss. But ground re­al­ity dif­fers

Down to Earth - - COVER STORY -

"We rely on our years of ex­pe­ri­ence to de­ter­mine crop loss. In­for­ma­tion pro­vided by our con­tacts in the vil­lages also comes handy"

Nand Kishore, pat­wari, Mathura

As­sess­ment guessed

No sci­en­tific mech­a­nism to as­sess crop loss. Pat­wari, or vil­lage ac­coun­tant, fol­lows an ar­chaic pro­ce­dure laid out in the 11th cen­tury to as­sess the dam­age. Though it re­quires phys­i­cal ver­i­fi­ca­tion of fields, they hardly do it. Dam­age re­port is pre­pared based on pure guess work. Some farm­ers bribe pat­waris to bring crop loss at par with com­pen­sa­tion norms.

Down To Earth's as­sess­ment shows about 50 per cent of ben­e­fi­cia­ries do not fig­ure in pat­wari's list. This flawed data is then sent to Union agri­cul­ture min­istry, which cal­cu­lates com­pen­sa­tion based on the "guess work" of pat­waris.

Mea­gre com­pen­sa­tion

Very few af­fected farm­ers get com­pen­sa­tion for crop loss. Even fewer get it in time to over­come the hard­ship caused by crop fail­ure, or to pay back loans, or in­vest in next sea­son's crops. Those who get it say the amount is mea­gre com­pared to the value of the crop lost. Farm­ers and farm­ers' ac­tivists say even the max­i­mum com­pen­sa­tion amount is 70 per cent less than the mar­ket value of the crop lost. The com­pen­sa­tion amount is fur­ther di­vided if the farm is in the name of more than one per­son.

Farce in in­sur­ance

Only 4 per cent farm­ers have in­sur­ance to cover crop loss risk; of them, 90 per cent buy poli­cies as it's manda­tory for avail­ing loan. The un­will­ing­ness is mostly be­cause set­tle­ment of in­sur­ance claims takes 18-24 months. Small farm­ers find the pre­mium high, and the sum as­sured hard to come by. In case of a calamity, banks di­rectly deduct the loan amount from the com­pen­sa­tion money. Crop loss is cal­cu­lated on the ba­sis of av­er­age loss in­curred in an ad­min­is­tra­tive area, and not by an in­di­vid­ual. This leaves most af­fected farm­ers high and dry.

"The gov­ern­ment should in­crease the com­pen­sa­tion amount to ` 80,000 per hectare"

Dayanand Pu­nia,

"Banks treat in­sur­ance pre­mium as col­lat­eral se­cu­rity to the sanc­tioned credit" S S Raju,

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.