Say No to Stubble Burning: India’s Innovative Approach to Crop Residue

Indian government has recently updated the crop residue management guidelines for Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Delhi, aiming to address stubble burning, reduce air pollution, and promote sustainable agriculture.  

The revised guidelines include the establishment of techno-commercial pilot projects for the paddy straw supply chain through bilateral agreements between beneficiaries (Farmers, rural entrepreneurs, cooperative societies of farmers, FPOs, Panchayats) and industries utilizing paddy straw. This initiative will supplement existing in-situ options for managing paddy straw. Over a three-year implementation period, around 1.5 million tonnes of surplus paddy straw will be collected, instead of being burned in fields. To facilitate this, 333 biomass collection depots with a capacity of 4,500 tonnes will be built in the four states.  

This initiative is expected to generate employment opportunities equivalent to about 900,000 man-days. Additionally, the establishment of the paddy straw supply chain is expected to attract investments in the biomass sector, specifically in biofuel and energy production. Financial assistance will be provided for machinery and equipment. The industry and beneficiaries can jointly finance the working capital, or it can be sourced from the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF), NABARD, or other financial institutions. 

The project cost will be supported jointly by the central and state governments (65%), with the industry contributing 25% as the primary promoter. The farmers or aggregators, who will directly benefit from the project, will contribute the remaining 10%. The funds will be allocated for essential machinery like higher HP tractors, cutters, tedders, balers, rakers, loaders, grabbers, and telehandlers required for the establishment of the paddy straw supply chain. 

Storage of the collected paddy straw will be arranged by the beneficiaries based on the guidance of the end-use industry. State governments will approve project proposals through the project sanctioning committee. 

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