According to Union Government there has been a 41% reduction in stubble burning incidents in 2018 as compared to 2016. Recently, Secretary of Department of Agricultural Research and Education and Director General, ICAR Dr. Trilochan Mohapatra highlighted considerable reduction in crop residue burning incidents in 2018 through various government efforts under Central Sector Scheme (CSS) on ‘Promotion of Agricultural Mechanization for In-Situ Management of Crop Residue in the State of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh & NCT of Delhi’.
Key Features of Scheme
Area Coverage: This Central Sector Scheme was launched by Union Government for period from 2018-19 to 2019-20 to tackle air pollution and to subsidize machinery required for in-situ management of crop residue in States of Punjab, Haryana, UP and NCT of Delhi.
Fund Utilization: The scheme had a total of Rs.1151.80 Crores. Within 1 year of its implementation and utilizing an amount of Rs.500 crore, Happy Seeder (which is a tractor-mounted device has the capability to cut and lift the previous crop (ex- rice straw) and sow a new (wheat) crop in its place) or Zero Tillage Technology was adopted in 8 lakh hectares of land in North- Western States of India. Under the scheme, financial assistance @50% of cost is provided to farmers for purchase of in-situ crop residue management machines on individual ownership basis and financial assistance @ 80% of project cost is provided for establishment of Custom Hiring Centres of in-situ crop residue management machinery.
Data Gathered: Under the scheme paddy residue burning events have reduced by 15% and 41% in 2018 as compared to that in 2017 and 2016, respectively in state of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh (UP) & NCT of Delhi as per satellite data.
Achievement: More than 4500 villages of Punjab and Haryana were declared as Zero Stubble Burning Villages during 2018 as not a single crop burning incident was reported from these villages.
During 2018-19, funds were released to state governments of Punjab, Haryana and UP, for distribution of in-situ crop residue management machinery to farmers on subsidy, establishing Custom Hiring Centres (CHCs) of in-situ crop residue management machinery as well as for creating awareness among farmers by undertaking Information, Education and Communication (IEC) activities.
Implementing Agency: Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) is implementing scheme by 60 Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) of Punjab (22), Haryana (14), NCT of Delhi (1) and UP (23).
Awareness campaigns and Kisan Mela: Awareness campaigns were conducted all across States by organizing 1000s of demonstrations, putting up hoardings, banners and wall paintings. Neary 700 awareness programs at village levels, 200 Kisan Ghostis and Field days, 86 Kisan Melas and 250 schools and colleges were sensitized in collaboration with State departments and agricultural universities.
During 1 year period over 2 lakh stakeholders were sensitized, more than 400 hands-on training were organized and 18,000 farmers, tractor owner and machine operators were trained.
Other Government Initiatives:
In addition to above Scheme, separate funds are being allocated to States for crop residue management under Sub-Mission on Agriculture Mechanization by Department of Agriculture Cooperation and Farmers Welfare under Ministry of Agriculture and farmers Welfare.
State Governments have also been directed that for demonstration of straw management machinery at farmers’ fields an amount of Rs.4000/ Hectare shall be used from funds available for demonstration of machines under Sub-Mission on Agricultural Mechanization.