Stubble Burning Current Affairs

CCEA approves Rs 1,151 crore Scheme for in-situ management of crop residue to fight air pollution

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved Rs. 1,151 crore Central Sector Scheme for in-situ management of crop residue in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh and NCT of Delhi.

It will promote agricultural mechanization for next two years (2018-20) to provide cost-effective and eco-friendly solution to farmers to deal with problem of stubble burning that result in raising air pollution levels in Delhi and neighbouring states every winter.

Features of Scheme

Under this scheme, the proceeds from central fund will be used to establish Farm Machinery Banks (FMBs) for Custom Hiring of in-situ crop residue management machinery. Government will provide 80% financial assistance of project cost to cooperative societies of farmers, FPOs, SHGs, registered farmers societies or farmers groups, private entrepreneurs and group of women farmers. It will also provide 50% financial assistance to farmers for procurement of agriculture machinery and equipment for in-situ crop residue management.

Beneficiaries will be identified and selected for establishment of Farm Machinery Bank for Custom Hiring and procurement of machines on individual ownership basis by state nodal department/DLEC. They may tie up with Banks for credit requirements of beneficiaries.

The central fund will also be used to create awareness among farmers about in-situ management of crop residue. The activities will involve mass awareness campaigns through documents, short and long films, radio and TV programmes, demonstration camps at various levels and capacity building programme etc. It will also include advertisement in print media, star campaigning, award for village or gram Panchayat for achieving Zero Straw Burning etc.

Background

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Budget 2018-19 had announced special scheme with 100% Central share to support efforts of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh and NCT of Delhi to address air pollution and to subsidize machinery required for in-situ management of crop residue.

Significance

The scheme is expected to go long way in tackling air pollution issue in NCT of Delhi, as stubble burning which has been identified as one of key problem areas, especially during post-harvest season of October-November when prevailing meteorological condition aggravates the situation further.

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Punjab Government makes super straw management mandatory

Punjab government has made attachment of super straw management system to combine harvester machines mandatory for harvesting paddy (rice) crop  in an attempt to check the dangerous trend of stubble burning. The instructions were issued under section 31 A of the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.

Key Facts

These instructions are aimed at saving the environment from air pollution caused by stubble burning. The owners of combine harvesters desirous of undertaking harvesting of paddy in state will now have to attach super straw management system with the harvester combine.

Now, no harvester combine without functional super straw management system will be allowed to harvest paddy in Punjab. Super straw management system will be attached to self-propelled combine harvesters, which cuts paddy straw into small pieces and spread same. With this method, farmers are not required to burn paddy straw before sowing the next crop.

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