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Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Farmers want to pull out of crop insurance scheme

Deepender Deswal

Tribune News Service

Hisar, July 28

A farmer from Mandi Kalan village of Jind was in shock after reading a message about deduction of Rs 17,963 from his bank account for crop insurance premium. This was despite the fact that Hari Kishan had given it in writing to the bank that he was not interested in getting his crops insured under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY).

Hari Kishan’s son Ashok Kumar said on July 23, his father had submitted it to the bank in writing that he wanted to opt out of the insurance scheme. However, the bank officials insisted that he gave an affidavit on a Rs 50 stamp paper in this regard. “I refused to give an affidavit, as there is no provision to this effect. I had given a self-declaration to the bank with my signatures on it, and had also got a certified copy of my written statement,” Kishan said.

“Earlier, banks would deduct the insurance premium on their own from the accounts of loanee farmers. However, I have never got any benefit of the insurance scheme despite having faced losses in the past,” he said, adding that they had paid a total of over Rs 35,000 as insurance premium after the start of the scheme four years ago.

Deepak Sharma, an official of ICICI’s Uchana branch, which deducted the premium amount from the farmer’s account, said a loanee farmer had to submit an affidavit on a Rs 50 stamp paper if he wanted to discontinue the scheme. “I had asked the farmer to submit the affidavit, but he refused to do so. We had no option, but to deduct the premium amount as per the bank’s policy,” he said, adding that the self-declaration form was not admissible.

“If any farmer stakes claim for compensation under the crop insurance at the time of disbursal, how will I justify omission of his name? Therefore, we need an affidavit as a proof to this effect,” he said.

Another farmer of Chhatar village in Jind, Mandeep, said: “I had taken a loan on four acres, but the bank deducted Rs 19,000 from my account today. I want to discontinue with the crop insurance scheme, but the bank officials told me to furnish an affidavit to this effect. Later, when I submitted the affidavit on Monday, the bank official told me it was too late.”

The farmers have been protesting against the hike in the premium amount, especially for cotton crop. They stated the insurance firm had fixed a premium of Rs 4,077 per acre for the crop in Jind district.

from The Tribune

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