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Would Dispur still call itself pro-farmer?

Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, May 16: Unfortunately, Assam has failed to exploit to the hilt – as is expected of a responsible government – the few Central government schemes meant for the farmers of the State, thus eventually depriving many of them of the benefits of such schemes.
The figures are disconcerting: merely 3.63 per cent of farmers in the State have been able to insure their crops under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), just 8.49 per cent of farmers have got loans under Kishan Credit Cards (KCC), and not a single farmer has got Soil Health Card (SHC) in the fiscal 2017-18, all of which bears testimony to the abysmally dismal performance of the department in the farm sector.
According to Krishi Bhawan sources, only 1,14,081 of the 31,38,554 farmers of the State have insured their crops under the PMFBY in both kharif and rabi seasons in fiscals 2016-17 and 2017-18. The percentage of farmers insuring their crops is just 3.63 per cent. According to 2011 census, the total number of farmers in the State is 31,38,554. When asked for the reason behind such a fewer number of farmers insuring their crops in a State where crops are often damaged by floods, pests etc, sources blamed it on the department and insurance agencies for their failure to bring about awareness.
Ditto is the case with farmers availing loans from banks under KCC. Only 2,66,615 farmers – which comes to 8.49 per cent – of the State had availed bank loans amounting to Rs 1022.7838 crore under KCC till December 2017. It is the State-level bank committee that selects farm loan beneficiaries under KCC in the State. The department and banks do not seem to work in sync with each other.
Whenever it is bombarded with queries, the department keeps feeding the media of the ‘exact statistics’ on KCC loans, but more often than not the department also seems to take the lame excuse that the banks concerned have not fed them with the latest figures.
In cycle II of issuance of SHCs in the State in 2017-18, not a single farmer got SHG despite the department having set a target of 2,70,484 cards for printing and distribution. In cycle I in 2015-16 and 2016-17, the department had set a target of 13,00,901 cards for printing and distribution. However, the department could issue such cards to only 9,35,430 farmers. One of the reasons behind such pathetic performance in this scheme, according to the sources, is lack of manpower and machines.

About the author

Ankur Kalita