The Karnataka High Court on Monday directed the State government to give wide publicity to the crop insurance scheme, Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna in the State so that families of those farmers, who have died by suicide, may avail it [Akhanda Karnataka Raitha Sangha v. Union of India].
A Division Bench headed by Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka further said that if any farmer is deprived of the said scheme, then he has right to approach the District Level Grievance Redressal Committee.
“In the minutes of the meeting, firstly the farmers for whose benefit scheme is made may not made aware of the Clause number 26 (Publicity and Awareness) of the scheme. We direct state to give wide publicity to crop insurance scheme and to the fact that any farmer is deprived the said scheme, he has right to approach the commiitee. Steps shall be taken to give wide publicity in terms of clause 26, regarding the availability of crop insurance scheme,” the order said.
The Court was hearing a petition moved by Akhanda Karnataka Raitha Sangha highlighting the growing number farmer suicides in Karnataka’s Shahapur Taluk. The plea sought directions to be issued to the authorities to immediately disburse the crop insurance loss compensation to the insured farmers in Shahapur taluk, Yadgir district for the 2016 monsoon season and thereafter.
During the hearing, the Court went through an affidavit submitted by Brijesh Kumar, Commissioner for Agriculture and Director General, Environmental Management and Policy Research Institute.
However, the Court noted that the said affidavit did not disclose compliance with the disbursal of compensation under the government scheme to eligible families.
The Court also noted that only one meeting had been held by State Level Grievance Committee under the scheme.
With regard to the District Level Grievance Redressal Committee meetings, the Court noted that in the district of Yadgir, only one meeting was held.
No inquiry had been made in the village to ascertain whether there were any farmers who were denied benefit of crop insurance scheme, the Court added.
“The committee must remember that due to illiteracy, poverty or otherwise, individual farmers may not be able to submit their applications. We, therefore, direct the district committee at Yadgir to consider representations of farmers, if made,” the Court directed.
This apart, the Court also directed the State to report compliance with clauses 35 (Role & Responsibilities of Various Agencies) and 36 (National Crop Insurance Portal for administration of Crop Insurance Program) of the crop insurance schemes.
The matter will be next heard on April 21.