The government has decided to use 1.75 lakh Common Service Centres (CSC) and post offices in a big way to encourage more non-loanee farmers to take up crop insurance schemes such as PMFBY in 2017-18 crop year beginning July. At present, it is mandatory for loanee farmers to take the crop insurance policy. The government wants both loanee and non-loanee to take advantage of Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) as well as weather-based crop insurance scheme. CSCs, set up under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, till now were being utilised for booking railway tickets, providing Aadhaar numbers and passport applications. "Non-loanee farmers who have taken the crop insurance policy at present are only 22 per cent. We want to achieve 40 -50 per cent.
We have decided to use multiple platforms to reach out to them," a senior government official told PTI.The existing platforms -- banks, insurance companies and cooperatives -- are not sufficient for the last mile connectivity to non-loanee farmers, he said. Moreover, banks are not that keen to sell crop insurance policies to non-loanee farmers, while insurance companies and cooperatives have limited reach in villages. "So, we have decided to use CSC infrastructure and post offices. There are 1.75 lakh CSCs which can be used for collection and uploading of crop insurance documents at a nominal rate," the official said. Insurance regulator IRDA has already given permission to agents and intermediaries to access the CSC portal for crop insurance. This is being tested at present, he said. The government has empanelled 13 insurance companies for 2017-18 crop year (July-June) to sell crop insurance policies -- PMFBY and WBCIS. More insurance companies are enrolled to provide competition in the market.