What are the recommendations of the Niti Aayog task force on Biomass management?

Published: March 29, 2018

Niti Ayog had constituted a task force on Biomass management under the CII-NITI Aayog Cleaner Air-Better Life initiative. The CII-NITI Aayog Cleaner Air-Better Life initiative was started in November, 2016, when Delhi was badly hit by smog during Diwali.
The report has stressed on managing the air-quality of the Indo-Gangetic plain as a whole, rather than dealing with the National Capital Territory of Delhi as a separate geographical entity. The rationale behind this is that the entire plain witnesses high air pollution levels every winter.
A K Mehta, Convener, Special Task Force on Biomass Management has mentioned that while funding for equipment and in-situ and ex-situ utilisation of crop-residue are needed to avert episodic Delhi’s air pollution, a massive change in the mindset of farmers is absolutely essential.  The following are the recommendations the taskforce has touched upon:

  • Provision of financial support to farmers and rewards to Panchayats to ensure zero-burning on fields
  • In-situ use of crop-residue for mulching
  • Utilisation of crop residue in bio-ethanol, biochar, briquettes, pellets, etc.  The reports evaluates the cost-effectiveness of each solution proposed
  • Provision of storage facilities in the form of warehouses and better farm equipment which could be shared among farmers.

The primary push for the current year would be identification of the most economic solution that would help to reduce pollution.  In addition to technical solutions for the problem of paddy straw burning, the report explains the need for strengthening of state level remote sensing to keep a track on crop burning cases.

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