Highlighting the considerable reduction in crop residue burning incidents in 2018, Dr. Trilochan Mohapatra, Secretary, Department of Agricultural Research & Education (DARE) & Director General, ICAR said that India has demonstrated through coordinated public and private efforts such challenges can be addressed effectively. While addressing media in New Delhi on august 13 , Dr. Mohapatra added that through the various efforts under the Central Sector Scheme on ‘Promotion of Agricultural Mechanization for In-Situ Management of Crop Residue in the State of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh & NCT of Delhi’ the paddy residue burning events have reduced by 15% and 41% in 2018 as compared to that in 2017 and 2016, respectively in all these States as per the satellite data. The Secretary also added that more than 4500 villages in Punjab and Haryana was declared as Zero Stubble Burning Villages during 2018 as not a single crop burning incident was reported from these villages during the year.
Dr. Mohapatra stated that the Central Sector Scheme 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 crore, the happy seeder/zero tillage technology was adopted in 8 lakh hectares of land in the North- Western States of India. Under the scheme, financial assistance @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 establishment of Custom Hiring Centres of in-situ crop residue management machinery is @ 80% of the project cost.