CII Foundation


Climate Change Resilience - Project

Ongoing Project
Cleaner Air, Better Life


Crop Residue Management Initiative


Air pollution is causing irreparable damage to the country’s well-being. On an average, citizens of India have their life expectancy cut short by 5.3 years due air pollution. In 2017, around 12.4 lakh deaths were recorded due to air pollution in India. 1800 primary schools were closed temporarily due to poor air quality posing a major health hazard. Moreover, the cost of serious health consequences from particulate pollution is estimated at 3 % of India’s GDP.


In 2016, CII collaborated with NITI Aayog to research and identify key sources of air pollution in Delhi- NCR. Transportation, industries, and domestic sources were the three key sources identified as major sources of pollution. To galvanise action to combat air pollution, three task forces were formed, and action plans were prepared for Biomass Management, Clean Fuel, and Clean Transportation, the reports of which were released in February 2017. Taking the learnings from the Biomass Management report, CII initiated a pilot intervention to manage the crop residues in Punjab.


39 million tonnes of paddy straw is burnt every year in North Western states. Crop Residue Burning, an age-old practice, is not only degrading the environment but also putting a dent in farmers’ return. It negatively impacts the soil health, kills beneficial insects, increases irrigation requirements, and significantly adds on to the already prevalent pollution.


To promote sustainable agricultural practice and mitigate the problem of crop residue burning, CII is implementing the Crop Residue Management Initiative in villages of Punjab and Haryana. CII is creating an ecosystem to engage stakeholders including experts, corporates, state governments and farmer groups to find optimal solutions to the issue of stubble burning.   


Launched in 2018, CII Foundation undertook the pilot intervention in 19 villages and 16000 acres of farmland in Punjab, engaging over 3000 farmers. The impact of the intervention was encouraging. Post the intervention, 80% farmers adopted no stubble burning approach and a total of 12,000 acres of farmland (75% of the total area under paddy in the adopted villages) became free of stubble burning in 2018, compared to 550 acres (3.5% of farmland) in 2017. About 25,000 tonne of rice straw was recycled back into the soil under the project. This not only led to avoidance of environmental impacts on local, regional and global scales but also led to nutrient savings worth more than INR 1 crore and improved farmer"s resilience to adverse impacts of climate change due to water conservation, improved farm biodiversity, and resilience of crops to extreme climatic events.


Encouraged by the inspiring response of pilot intervention, CIIF is expanding the programme in a multi-stakeholder partnership to 100 villages in 2019 across districts of Ludhiana, Barnala, Patiala in Punjab and Rohtak, Sirsa and Fatehabad in Haryana. The initiative is actively supported by Farmer Producer Organizations and Farmer Cooperatives. CII is adopting a multi-pronged approach to make the adopted villages free from the practice of stubble burning through field action, behaviour change communication & mass awareness, and research & knowledge management. 





19 villages in 2 districts of Punjab

100 villages in 6 districts in Punjab and Haryana

16,000 acres of farm area

1,00,000 acres of farm area

3000 farmers

More than 15000 farmers

Expected Impact

· Reduction in local air pollution, irrigation requirements, and chemical application

· Improvement in farm ecology and soil health

· Large-scale adoption of alternate and sustainable farming practices for improved straw management and agriculture, and making it a mass movement 

· Mass Awareness and outreach for sensitising the general public towards the issue at scale

Various models of in-situ machinery including Happy Seeder, Zero Till, Mulcher, MB Plough, Rotavator, etc. have been deployed, with their operations and outcomes closely monitored in the field. An in-depth research and pilot projects are being undertaken on ex-situ management of crop residues. Potential ex-situ solutions like converting straw into biogas, bio-fertilizers, etc. are being piloted in the field. CII is also conducting an in-depth sectoral study of straw value chain including analysis of domestic, agricultural & commercial uses of straw, and potential business models for rural entrepreneurs, SMEs, start-ups, etc. The research will help develop a road map for improving the straw value chain, which at this moment is at a nascent stage.


Implemented with the support of numerous stakeholders, including Punjab Agricultural University, Punjab Pollution Control Board and Department of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare, Government of Punjab, Haryana Agricultural University, Department of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare, Government, of Haryana, the initiative aims to make the adopted villages free from the practice of stubble burning. CII Foundation has partnered with a number of industry players such as Cummins, BPCL, Birlasoft, ONGC, Royal Enfield, ReNew Power, RAU Study Circle, CLP India, PTC India Financial Services, and the industry association Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) to promote ground level action in Punjab and Haryana against the menace of stubble burning that is causing major environmental concern in the region.


CII is organizing a series of field exposure visits to select villages of Ludhiana and Patiala, to delve into the heart of problem, experience the solution, interact with farmers, and bring back hope. The pool of visitors will include professionals, researchers, experts, and students.


You may also volunteer with us to creatively engage with farmers, organizing sensitization drives in villages and, gathering on-ground positive stories to inspire farmers and various stakeholders.


Joi us in our endeavor for Cleaner Air, Better Life. Join the #Karwaan4SwachhHawa.


For more details, get in touch with us at


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