Maharashtra to introduce agriculture reform Bill in monsoon session of Assembly

Published : June 10, 2021 17:38 IST

Expanding cities and shrinking farm land. A file picture of a suburb of Pune. Photo: THE HINDU ARCHIVES

A new agriculture reform Bill is to be introduced in the upcoming Monsoon session of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly. The aim “is to protect the interests of farmers”, said Revenue Minister and Congress Legislative Party leader Balasaheb Thorat at a press conference.

Without revealing details, Thorat said, “The three black agricultural laws introduced by the Central government are anti-farmer, anti-commercial. So the Maharashtra government will introduce an agriculture reform Bill that protects the interests of farmers. The Bill will be introduced in the coming monsoon session.”

Thorat, along with Cooperation Minister Balasaheb Patil, Agriculture Minister Dadaji Bhuse, and Minister of State for Agriculture and Cooperation Dr Vishwajit Kadam visited Nationalist Congress Party president Sharad Pawar today and had an hour-long discussion with him.

Crop insurance will also be a part of the Bill. Bhuse said that this year Rs.5,800 crore had been deposited towards crop insurance. Farmers got compensation worth Rs.800 to 1,000 crore. So, private insurers made a profit of close to Rs.5,000 crores. Bhuse said, “We have repeatedly approached the Central government in this regard as it is unjust. I have personally met the Union Agriculture Minister. Even yesterday, the Chief Minister [Uddhav Thackeray] brought this issue to the notice of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi during their meeting in Delhi..”

Bhuse also said, “We are considering a model of limiting the profits of insurance companies. We started this model in Beed district. We succeeded in that. This issue was also discussed with Sharad Pawar. They have given us some suggestions. We told Pawar that the Central government should allow the State to implement the Beed model as soon as possible.”

Beed district in Marathwada is prone to drought and crop loss. In the Beed model, insurance companies reimburse a portion of the premium collected back to the State. The premium for the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) under which crop insurance falls, is collected with the State and Central government bearing the higher financial load, while farmers pay a far lower amount.

The Beed model has been appreciated by farmers but is not popular with insurance companies. Many companies have not responded to tenders floated to implement the scheme

Thorat did not go into details but said that the agriculture reform bill will also include a segment to safeguard cooperative banks.

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