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An agricultural worker setting fire to crop residue on the outskirts of Mohali.File photo  

The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has informed the Supreme Court that incidents of stubble burning in the three States neighbouring Delhi and the National Capital Region have come down by 41% since 2016.

The Centre claimed that stubble burning has seen a reduction of 11%, 29.5% and 24.5% in 2018 in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, respectively, when compared to 2017.

In an affidavit, the Union Ministry said after the 2018 Budget, special central schemes, having a total outlay of Rs. 1151.8 crore, have been rolled out to tackle air pollution and for in-situ management of crop residue and promotion of agriculture mechanisation.

The machines to manage crop residue would be disbursed among individual farmers for 50% subsidy and 80% discount would be given for setting up of custom hiring centres for these machines.

For the year 2018-19, the Centre has already disbursed 100% of its share of funds with Rs. 269.38 crore for Punjab, Rs. 137.84 crore for Haryana, Rs. 148.6 crore for Uttar Pradesh and Rs. 28.51 crore to Central agencies.

The affidavit said 33,075 pieces of crop residue control machinery have been distributed to Punjab, 11,941 to Haryana and 18,706 to Uttar Pradesh.

Machinery sanctioned for distribution in 2019 to these States are 24,214, 14,677 and 7,418 to Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, respectively.

Incentive schemes to achieve zero stubble burning have been introduced at the pradhan, gram panchayat and village levels.

A high-level task force is working to manage air pollution in the national capital, the Ministry said.

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