Union Ministry for Agriculture & Farmers Welfare has adopted several measures to tackle stubble burning incidents, and as per ICAR’s Creams Laboratory latest bulletin, number 34 dated 4th November 2019, there has been a reduction of 12.01% in incidents of stubble burning compared to the same period in 2018, says a press release from the Press Information Bureau. The release further reads that the States of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab recorded a reduction of 48.2%, 11.7% and 8.7% respectively this year to date. A total of 31,402 burning events were detected in the three states between 1st October 2019 and 3rd November 2019 which are distributed as 25366, 4414 and 1622 in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh respectively, cited the release.
Earlier, as per directions from Prime Minister’s Office in 2017 with regard to the pollution caused in Delhi NCR due to stubble burning in surrounding states, a high-level committee under Secretary (DARE) had been set up. The committee has recommended adopting mechanized crop residue management. As per the recommendations, the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare has formulated a Scheme which was included in the 2018-19 Budget.
The release further reads, “The Central Sector Scheme, ‘Promotion of Agricultural Mechanization for In-Situ Management of Crop Residue in the State of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh & NCT of Delhi’ was launched with a total outgo of Rs 1151.80 Crores for the period from 2018-19 to 2019-20 by the Government of India to tackle air pollution and to subsidize machinery required for in-situ management of crop residue in the States of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and NCT of Delhi.” Within one year of its implementation utilizing an amount of Rs 500 crores, the happy seeder / zero tillage technology was adopted in 8 lakh hectares of land in the North-Western States of India, and under the scheme, financial assistance at 50% of the cost is provided to the farmers for purchase of in-situ crop residue management machines on individual ownership basis.” The financial assistance for the establishment of Custom Hiring Centers for in-situ crop residue management machinery is at 80% of the project cost.
During 2018-19, funds amounting to Rs 269.38 crores, Rs 137.84 crores and Rs 148.60 crores have been released to the Governments of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh respectively, for distribution of in-situ crop residue management machinery to the farmers on subsidy, establishment of Custom Hiring Centers (CHCs) of in-situ crop residue management machinery and undertaking Information, Education and Communication (IEC) activities for creating awareness among farmers. During 2019-20, funds amounting to Rs 273.80 crores, Rs 192.06 crores and Rs 105.29 crores have also been released so far to the Governments of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, respectively. With this financial assistance, 29,488 machines have been acquired. From these 10379 machines were directly given to farmers and 19109 machines were given to CHCs.