The Agriculture Ministry said on Tuesday that there has been nearly 12 per cent reduction in stubble burning incidents compared to the same period in 2018, with 31,402 such incidents detected, of which Punjab accounts for a maximum of 25,366 cases.
With stubble burning in states neighbouring Delhi seen to be a major cause of rise in air pollution in the national capital, Ministry for Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare said that steps had been taken for adopting mechanised crop residue management.
The release said that according to ICAR's Creams Laboratory latest bulletin of November 4, there has been "a reduction of 12.01 per cent in incidents of stubble burning compared to the same period in 2018."
It said Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab recorded a reduction of 48.2 per cent, 11.7 per cent and 8.7 per cent respectively this year till date.
"Total 31,402 burning events were detected in the three states between October 1, 2019 and November 3, 2019 which are distributed as 25366, 4414 and 1622 in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh respectively," the release said.
It said that on directions from Prime Minister's Office in 2017 with regard to the pollution caused in Delhi NCR due to stubble burning, a high-level committee was set up under Secretary (Department of Agriculture Research and Education) which recommended adopting mechanised crop residue management.
The Ministry formulated a scheme which was included in the 2018-19 budget. The Central Sector Scheme, 'Promotion of Agricultural Mechanisation for in-situ Management of Crop Residue in the State of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and NCT of Delhi' was launched with a total outgo of Rs 1151.80 crore from 2018-19 to 2019-20 to tackle air pollution.
It entailed subsidising machinery required for in-situ management of crop residue in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and NCT of Delhi.
Under the scheme, financial assistance of 50 per cent of the cost is provided to the farmers for the purchase of in-situ crop residue management machines on an individual ownership basis. The financial assistance for the establishment of Custom Hiring Centres of in-situ crop residue management machinery is 80 per cent of the project cost.
The release said that in 2018-19, Rs 269.38 crore, Rs 137.84 crore and Rs 148.60 crore 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 Centres (CHCs) and undertaking Information, Education and Communication (IEC) activities.
During 2019-20, Rs 273.80 crore, Rs 192.06 crore and Rs 105.29 crore have also been released so far to the three state governments respectively.
The release said that with this financial assistance, 29,488 machines have been acquired of which 10,379 machines were directly given to farmers and 19,109 machines given to CHCs.