The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)’s work on crop residue management to curb air pollution received the Global Development Award 2021 under the Most Innovative Development Programme Theme 2: Community-driven Climate-related Disaster Risk Reduction in Rural Areas. The award recognised the work for “a promising approach to impact the life of local communities in a holistic way while addressing climate change impacts.” The award has been instituted by the Global Development Network (GDN), a public international organization which supports high quality, policy-oriented, social science research in developing and transition countries.
Crop residue burning in the north-western states of India is recognised as a major factor contributing to the poor quality of air in the region, which worsens starting October and remains poor almost throughout the winter months in this region.
In 2017-18, the CII partnered with the NITI Aayog to research the issue of air pollution, and once crop residue burning was identified as a contributing factor, devised a roadmap to reduce residue burning. The CII Foundation subsequently launched a field project in Punjab in 2018.
Given the magnitude of the problem as well the many dimensions to it, CII brought together diverse stakeholders form industry, agriculture universities and farmers to work together, adopting a multi-stakeholder approach. Some of the key stakeholders include Apraava Energy, Birlasoft, SIAM, PTC Financial Services, Fidelity, GAIL, ONGC, Cummins and SBI Cards, who helped support viability gap funding to enable procurement of requisite farm machinery. Field partners such as GBDSGNS Foundation, Doctors for You and the Guru Nanak National College Trust along with farmer co-operatives, helped build awareness and garner support for the crop residue management programme. In partnership with Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana; Department of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare of Punjab and Haryana a large number of technical training and awareness sessions. CII Foundation has built a network of over 100 youth volunteers who are playing key role in farmer to farmer learning and awareness building.
The CII Foundation has expanded the geographic footprint of the initiative from 19 villages in 2018, to 105 villages in 2019, to 172 villages in 2020, to 250 villages in the current season. It covers 2,13,000 acres and 45,000 farmers.
The efforts have yielded meaningful results. According to Impact Assessment Study conducted by CII, 87% farm area in the program villages witnessed significant reduction in biomass burning by 2020. Total 339.6 thousand tonnes of rice straw was avoided from burning in 2020, resulting in savings of an estimated 1.58 thousand tonne PM10, 1.44 thousand tonne PM2.5, 2.3 thousand tonne gaseous pollutants, which are also precursors to fine or ultrafine particles, 0.3 million tonnes GHGs and 160.7 tonnes Black Carbon.
CII’s crop residue management initiative has successfully demonstrated that viable alternatives to crop residue burning can have a significant impact and can be scaled up to create greater impact. CII is now expanding the Programme in existing districts and entering new districts to help improve the quality of air in the region.
To know more visit http://ciifoundation.in
Farmer videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x65JvI478Vg
27 October 2021