No Central help, Punjab mulls cut in incentive to check farm fires : The Tribune India

No Central help, Punjab mulls cut in incentive to check farm fires

Proposal was to give Rs 2,500/acre | Farmers may end up getting Rs 500

No Central help, Punjab mulls cut  in incentive to check farm fires


Tribune News Service

Ruchika M Khanna

Chandigarh, August 30

Barely a month after the AAP government announced an incentive of Rs 2,500 per acre for not burning crop stubble, farmers may end up receiving only Rs 500 for the environment-friendly practice.

New regulations

  • The government has decided farmers will get subsidy after they have purchased the machinery and uploaded details online; earlier, subsidy was paid to machine manufacturers
  • The state not to give subsidised machines to custom hiring centres (CHCs), which earlier got 80% subsidy; it was under the garb of CHCs that money was siphoned off
  • Cooperative societies can machines at 80% subsidy; farmers will have to engrave in bold the manufacturer’s code, machine code and type of machine on the body of the machine

60,000 applications for subsidised 32,100 in-situ stubble management machines

71,304 farm fires reported between Sept 15-Nov 30, 2021

83,002 stubble-burning incidents in 2020

This is so because the BJP-led Centre has refused to be a part of an AAP government’s proposal for giving subsidy of Rs 1,500 per acre to farmers who do not burn stubble. Even the AAP government in Delhi is reportedly wary of being part of the scheme.

When AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal had announced the scheme on July 27, he had said the Punjab and Delhi Governments would each contribute Rs 500 per acre.

In its proposal sent to the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM), the Punjab Government had said it would ask the Centre to contribute Rs 1,500 to the subsidy. But it has refused.

It seems that the Delhi Government, too, is apprehensive of the scheme, which has been blocked by the Delhi Lt Governor. The Delhi Government is reportedly concerned about drawing flak for subsidising Punjab farmers, while leaving out those from Haryana.

“The proposal to provide farmers with an incentive of Rs 2,500 per acre is unlikely to fructify. The state government alone will contribute its share of Rs 500 to the subsidy amount. Initially, the government was mulling increasing the state’s share of subsidy. Given the state’s finances, it is unlikely that the government could bear any additional financial burden. The Rs 500-per-acre subsidy will cost Rs 365 crore to the exchequer,” a senior government officer said.

The state government, however, is thinking of giving additional subsidy on diesel to be used in stubble management machines. The proposal is still at the drawing board stage, but a part of taxes imposed on retail fuel would be waived for farmers, it has been learnt.

#Environment #farm fires

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