Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday demanded scrapping the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yoajana (PMFBY), a crop insurance scheme, as he termed it as a "big scam". The scheme was meant to benefit insurance companies instead of the farmers, the chief minister alleged.
"The (Pradhan Mantri) Fasal Bima Yojana is a big scam. It is betraying the farmers. Without the farmers' consent, the premium gets deducted from their accounts," Kejriwal told reporters in Israna village of Haryana's Panipat district.
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"Then when it comes to paying compensation to the farmers for crop damage, conditions of this scheme are such that a farmer keeps paying his premiums, but does not get the claim for his crop loss," he said.
"Till the time the crop loss in a village does not cross 70 per cent, an affected farmer will not get compensation, such are the conditions of this scheme," he added.
This scheme should be called the 'BJP Kisan Daka Yojana' (BJP Farmer Loot Scheme), the chief minister said.
"This Fasal Bima Yojana should be scrapped and the premium collected from the farmers returned," he said.
Kejriwal said a 'Kisan Muavaza' (farmer compensation) scheme, like the one introduced by the Delhi government, should be launched if the farmers are to be given relief.
"In Delhi, we give Rs 20,000 per acre for crop damage within three months and a similar scheme should be introduced. Even if one farmer in a village suffers losses, he should be compensated," he said.
He said the compensation should be given directly to the farmers so that they do not have to run after insurance companies.
"Owners of insurance companies are good friends of Modiji and this scheme has been formulated to extend benefit to them," Kejriwal claimed.
The Delhi chief minister, during his visit to Israna met the family a farmer, Surjit, who recently died of a heart attack.
Surjit suffered a heart attack as he was unable to bear the losses he incurred after his crops were damaged due to unseasonal rains and hailstorm, Kejriwal said, as he assured the deceased farmer's family of all help and said he would donate a month's salary, which is around Rs 80,000, and ask his MLAs to do the same.
According to recent media reports which quoted RTI information, the insurance companies have collected premium between Rs 15,000 crore to Rs 20,000 crore under this scheme, whereas the value of claims settled is very low, Kejriwal alleged.
"When the BJP came to power, it promised to waive loans of the farmers. But it has not done so," he said.
If the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) comes to power in Haryana in 2019, it will improve the condition of the state's government schools and hospitals, which are in a bad shape, the Delhi chief minister said.