Budget 2018: Centre earmarks Rs 10 bn for fixing Delhi-NCR's pollution woes
The severity of Delhi's air pollution woes has earned the issue a place in the Centre's allocations in Budget 2018. According to reports, an amount of Rs 10 billion (1,000 crore) will be allocated under Budget 2018 to combat problems like stubble burning, which has been attributed as a major cause for Delhi's now-notorious air quality.
In an effort to clean up the capital's air, or at least make it more breathable, and end the residents' annual exercise of choking under a blanket of smog, the Centre has decided to earmark Rs 10 billion (1,000 crore) in the upcoming Budget to curb the practice of stubble burning in Delhi's neighbouring states like Punjab and Haryana, the Times of India reported on Thursday
How will the Centre put a stop to stubble burning, an issue that proved to be contentious and saw the Delhi and Punjab governments juggle blame last year, and get farmers to find better ways to dispose of agricultural waste? The answer lies in subsidies for said farmers. The national daily reported that Additional Solicitor General A N S Nadkarni informed a Bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta that the Centre would provide subsidies to farmers to purchase machines like Happy Seeder and Rotavators. These machines are meant to help farmers dispose of farm residue without burning it. According to the report, these machines sow wheat into the soil while simultaneously cutting and lifting rice straw. As a result, the stubble remains in the fields without hampering the sowing of a new crop.
According to recommendations, individual farmers who purchase the machines will receive a subsidy of 50 per cent of the purchase price, the report said. The subsidy will be distributed by means of a direct benefit transfer mechanism. Further, a subsidy of 75 per cent of the machinery's cost will be given to cooperative societies, gram panchayats, and farmer groups, the report added.
Upon being asked by the Bench as to what amount would the Centre spend on such measures, Nadkarni, according to the report, revealed that the total sum would be close to Rs 10 billion (1,000 crore), which would be spent on various schemes to fight air pollution at its source. The report added that Nadkarni informed the Bench that the farmers would receive the machinery by the end of September, before the harvesting of kharif crops.
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