A farmer tends to his crops amid the lockdown in Navi Mumbai
A farmer tends to his crops amid the lockdown in Navi Mumbai

BHOPAL: Few provisions in the gazette notification for Prime Minister Crop Insurance Scheme (Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana- PMFBY) have deprived lakhs of tribal farmers of its benefit.

The state government’s gazette notification issued on July 14, 2020, included only revenue villages under the scheme. The gazette notification cites Centre’s rules according to which villages that have more than 100 hectare of patwari halka can be included in PMFBY.

Agriculture department officials say PMFBY insurance benefit is given only to those who are included in patwari halkas in gazette notification. Rules of this scheme are framed by union government.

The area of forest villages is usually less than 100 hectares. As a result, 628 forest villages are out of PMFBY benefit list in the state. After this fact came to light, several organisations working for welfare of tribal people in state have started demanding inclusion of forest villages in the scheme. There are 22 tribal dominated districts in the state. Besides, other districts have a fairly large tribal population.

Large numbers of tribals have been doing agriculture in forest villages. Natural calamities cause damage to crops in forest villages as well, according to organisations working for tribal welfare. “Farmers tilling land in one or two hectares of land in revenue villages benefit from the PMFBY but a tribal farmer doing same on more than two hectares of land in forest village is deprived of it. This is irrational,” said Jagan Solanki, coordinator of Jagrut Adivasi Dalit Sangathan.

Several organisations have demanded to know that if 100 hectares of patwari halka can be created by including small majra and tola, then why small villages from forest villages can’t be included to bring area around 100 hectares, so that people engaged in agriculture can benefit from PMFBY. “If government wants it can find a solution in this manner,” organisations stated.

Sehore, Harda forest villages in PMFBY: Agri minister

State agriculture minister Kamal Patel said state government has decided to include forest villages under crop insurance scheme. “Villages of Sehore and Harda have been included under pilot project started by state government. The forest villages with nearby revenue villages have been added. Other forest villages too will be included in the scheme after successful completion of the pilot project,” he added.

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