The Maharashtra government intends to bring 70% of farmers under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana to compensate them for crop failure, an official from the state Agriculture Ministry told PTI. Currently, only 30% of farmers are covered under the insurance net. This comes at a time when parts of the state, especially the Marathwada region, are facing acute drought.

Small and marginal farmers who were otherwise left out of the scheme will now be able to benefit from the insurance cover after paying the premium amounts, which the official said had been slashed considerably. Moreover, farmers will have to decide on sowing for the Kharif crop between May 15 to May 21 this year, given the early monsoon forecast, Maharashtra Minister for Agriculture Eknath Khadse said.

According to the India Meteorological Department, the monsoon is likely to reach Mumbai by June 10 and the rest of the state by June 20. The government expects the area under Kharif crop in the season to be 150 lakh hectares, Khadse added.