Sunita Narains reports that in Jammu, litchi was flowering—much earlier and out of season. This is because winter had not come and it was warmer than usual. But now as the chill has set in, the flowers are falling and there will be no fruit this summer, fear horticulturists. In Bihar, standing wheat crops were hit last fortnight by unseasonal hail and bitter cold that came after days of warmer-than-usual temperatures. Without asking questions Let’s leave for the moment the questions why these extreme weather events are happening in our world with greater frequency and intensity. Let’s discuss what we need to do.
The key problem is estimating the crop damage and then paying for the claim without fuss and delay. In PMFBY the insurance unit is now a village, as against the revenue administrative unit of a block in the previous scheme. A block covers a large area with sub-regional variations in weather events. Therefore, if it rains heavily in a few villages but not across the block, then farmers would not be able to claim damage without evidence to show this anomaly. This, when weather stations to record such an anomaly remain grossly inadequate.
The question also is: who is really the subject of insurance? Is it the farmer or is it the banker?