Not a single day passes without media reporting suicides committed by farmers in rural India. Crop failure due to drought, untimely and excessive rains and other weather calamities along with the acute deprivation and unpaid debts are some of the major causes forcing farmers to end their life. There is long history of kisan organizations waging struggles demanding payment of compensation for crop damages. When Prime Minister Narendra Modi introduced the Prime Minister Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), it was widely welcomed. However, the implementation of the crop insurance scheme, instead of providing succour to the distressed farmers, benefited private insurance companies hugely.
Often the insurance companies after receiving claims from farmers take several months and crop seasons to assess the crop loss and pay compensation. Although it is mandatory to use drones and other technological help to complete crop cutting trials for loss assessments, companies delay for months to clear the submitted claims. Having no capital to invest on cultivation, small farmers are pushed into a never- ending debt cycle. Besides, tenant farmers are not eligible to receive bank crop loans, PM Samman aid or insurance compensation. In states like Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, West Bengal and Maharashtra tenant farmers constitute nearly 40 per cent of cultivators.
Dr. Soma Marla