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Aadhaar mandatory for crop insurance schemes in Maharashtra

The insurance scheme is applicable to food grain and horticulture sectors

A farmer harvests cotton in his field at Rangpurda village in Gujarat

The Maharashtra government has made Aadhaar mandatory to farmers for availing crop insurance schemes from the next Kharif season.

"From the next Kharif season starting in June, farmers will have to produce their Aadhaar number to avail crop insurance schemes," an official communication from the state Agriculture Department said.

The insurance scheme is applicable to food grain and horticulture sectors, it added.

As most of the farmers have bank account either in cooperative or public sector bank, they will now have to link it with the Aadhaar number before June this year.

"Maharashtra government has already covered over 90 per cent of its population under Aadhaar. Once the linking part is over, there will be no need for any documentation from farmers' side. Some district central cooperative banks in the state have not yet complied with the KYC guidelines. However, through Aadhaar linking, it will be achieved and farmers will get the insurance amount in their bank once the claims are settled," the communication further stated.

Talking about the move, an official from the agriculture department said, "The decision to make Aadhaar (UID) number mandatory for crop insurance schemes is set to impact at least 66 lakh farmers from Maharashtra."

"As many as 66 lakh farmers out of the 1.09 crore registered ones with Maharashtra government have availed the crop insurance scheme in the 2016 kharif season. As many as 11 lakh farmers in the last Kharif season have claimed crop damage and insurance companies have disbursed Rs 1,650 crore," the official said.

When asked about the reason behind the move, a senior official from the Agriculture Commissionerate said, "Some farmers were found misusing the crop insurance scheme in the last few years. Some of them availed crop insurance for the same crop from multiple bank accounts. There is no provision to cross check whether the same farmer has paid insurance premium through different accounts and availed the benefits. Once Aadhaar is linked, no farmer can pay multiple premiums.