In a significant development for the agricultural sector in India, the government has unveiled plans to allocate ₹30,000 crore to enhance the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) portal. The primary objective of this initiative is to transform the PMFBY into a comprehensive platform that will extend insurance coverage beyond crops to include a wide range of agricultural assets, such as ponds, tractors, livestock, and even palm trees.
Extending Coverage to 40 Million Farmers through AIDE app
This ambitious project will be driven by the innovative AIDE app, which was launched in July. The AIDE app aims to ensure door-to-door enrollment, making crop insurance more accessible and convenient for farmers. Additionally, through this app, insurance intermediaries will not only enroll farmers for crop insurance but also extend coverage to 40 million farmers for non-subsidized schemes.
The Transition from Portal to Platform
The PMFBY portal, which primarily dealt with subsidized crop insurance, is evolving into a versatile platform. Farmers will soon have the opportunity to secure insurance coverage for their non-subsidized agricultural assets. This expansion is driven by the understanding that farmers may want additional rural products beyond crops to be covered by insurance. The goal is to empower farmers with the ability to protect their assets comprehensively.
Revamping PMFBY: A Turning Point for Crop Insurance
The Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) has been a central government-sponsored crop insurance scheme that integrates all stakeholders onto a single platform. In recent times, the scheme has undergone significant restructuring, incorporating new technological initiatives like YES-Tech, WINDS portal, and the AIDE app. These technological enhancements mark a turning point for crop insurance in India, making it more efficient and accessible to farmers.
Positive Outcomes of PMFBY Restructuring
Following the restructuring of PMFBY, insured agricultural land increased by 12% in 2022-23 compared to the previous year, covering more than 49.7 million hectares. Experts predict that the insured acreage will reach an all-time high of 57.5-60 million hectares in the 2023-24 Kharif season. This expansion demonstrates the growing acceptance and success of the revamped PMFBY scheme.
States Embrace the Redesigned PMFBY
Several Indian states, including Andhra Pradesh, have re-enlisted in the scheme, while others are planning to rejoin due to the universal approach under the restructured PMFBY scheme, which aims to cover all farmers in the respective states. Jharkhand, for instance, has decided to re-enter the scheme from the Kharif 2024-25 season after the government settled long-pending claims of ₹765 crores dating back to the 2018-19 Kharif season.
A Platform for Farmers and Insurers
The expanded PMFBY platform will not be limited to crop insurance; it will encompass other insurance requirements and enrollments as well. It will serve as a dynamic sandbox under PMFBY, allowing the introduction of new schemes based on market demand. This approach will help the government understand the specific insurance needs of farmers in different regions.