The government has introduced revised guidelines for crop residue management, focusing on the efficient ex-situ management of paddy straw generated in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Delhi. Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare has issued a press release on the same on 1st July, 2023.
Under the revised guidelines, techno-commercial pilot projects for the Paddy Straw Supply Chain will be established through bilateral agreements between beneficiaries/aggregators, such as farmers, rural entrepreneurs, cooperative societies of farmers, farmers’ producer organizations (FPOs), and panchayats, and industries that utilize paddy straw.
The government will provide financial assistance for the capital cost of machinery and equipment, while the working capital can be financed jointly by the industry and beneficiaries or through the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF), NABARD Financial, or financing from financial institutions by the beneficiaries. The beneficiaries will arrange and prepare land for the storage of collected paddy straw, guided by the end-use industry.
Financial assistance in the form of project proposals will be extended for machines and equipment necessary for establishing the paddy straw supply chain, including higher horsepower tractors, cutters, tedders, medium to large balers, rakers, loaders, grabbers, and telehandlers.
State governments will approve these projects through a project sanctioning committee. The government, jointly by the central and state governments, will provide financial support of 65% of the project cost, while the industry will contribute 25% and act as the primary consumer of the collected feedstock. The remaining 10% will be contributed by farmers, groups of farmers, rural entrepreneurs, cooperative societies of farmers, FPOs, or panchayats, who will be the direct beneficiaries of the project.
The interventions are expected to yield several positive outcomes:
- The initiative will complement in-situ options for paddy straw management.
- Over the course of three years, approximately 1.5 million metric tonnes of surplus paddy straw, which would have otherwise been burnt in fields, will be collected.
- About 333 biomass collection depots, with a capacity of 4,500 metric tonnes each, will be established in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh.
- Air pollution caused by stubble burning will be significantly reduced.
- The interventions will create employment opportunities equivalent to approximately 900,000 man-days.
- The establishment of a robust paddy straw supply chain will facilitate its availability for various end uses, such as power generation, heat generation, bio-CNG, etc., by power/bio-CNG/bio-ethanol producers.
- The supply chain establishment will attract new investments in the biomass-to-biofuel and energy sectors.