(Environment & Ecology)General Studies Paper 1General Studies Paper 3 (Geography of India & World)
Question:- 94. Discuss the issue of stubble burning in India. What are the steps that have been taken by the government to address the menace of stubble burning? Answer in 150 words
Oct 18, 2022


Stubble burning is a process of setting on fire the straw stubble, left after the harvesting of grains like paddy, wheat, etc. It is usually required in areas that use the combined harvesting method which leaves crop residue behind. Burning crop residue is a crime under Section 188 of the IPC and under the Air and Pollution Control Act of 1981. However, it is a common practice across North West India in October and November, around the withdrawal of South-West monsoon.



For farmers, burning the residue becomes the easiest way of disposing it owing to lack of time, equipment and awareness. But, this practice contributes immensely to the grave winter air pollution in the national capital. In fact, stubble burning has created a massive public health crisis – its fumes pollute swathes of northern India and endanger the health of hundreds of millions of people. Hence, it leads to an annual public health crisis year after year.



In the past several years central and state governments have taken several measures to cast down the number of stubble burning incidents happening every year. Some of them have been listed as follows:

  1. 1.In-situ Crop Residue Management- Supported by CRM Scheme of Ministry of Agriculture for the activities – CRM machines procurement, setting up of Custom Hiring Centers, high yield and short duration paddy varieties, staggering of harvesting schedule, extensive use of bio-decomposer by IARI.
  2. 2.Ex-situ Crop Residue Management- Alternative usage of paddy straw viz. Biomass Power Projects, Co-firing in Thermal Power Plants, Feed stock for 2G Ethanol plants, Feed stock in Compressed Biogas plant, fuel in industrial boilers, WTE plants, packaging materials etc.
  3. 3.Prohibition of stubble / crop residue burning.
  4. 4.Effective monitoring / enforcement.
  5. 5.Schemes to reduce the generation of paddy straw.
  6. 6.Standard protocol for recording and monitoring of fire counts.
  7. 7.The government, from time to time bans the burning of the fields and fines farmers who were still practicing it.
  8. 8.The Commission on Air Quality Management in NCR and Adjoining Areas (CAQM) has developed a framework and action plan for effective prevention and control of Stubble Burning.



The initiatives of government to prevent stubble burning have moved ahead from banning and punishing the farmers. The above listed steps  hold immense potential to stop stubble burning in the long run.