CII Foundation


Climate Change Resilience - Project

Ongoing Project
Crop Residue Management Initiative

Air quality in various pockets across north India has declined rapidly over the last decade.  In various cities areas, such as Delhi NCR, where emissions from different anthropogenic sources - transport, housing, industrial activities etc. are increasingly becoming high, air pollution becomes severe during winter. Burning of crop residues, practiced widely in North Western states, contributes to the episodic rise of pollution in the region. Burning of farm stubble is a poor agricultural practice which impacts soil health as well. With agriculture practices becoming more and more intensive in the region, there is sharp decline in soil health. Poor soil health is directly linked to high requirement for farm inputs and squeezing out farmers’ income margins.

Key Facts

  • Delhi NCR and other cities such as Patiala, Agra, Lucknow etc. feature amongst world’s 20 most polluted cities (WHO, 2018)
  • Crop residue burning adds to the pollution surge in pre-winter and winter months 
  • 38 million tons of paddy straw is burnt annually in Punjab, Haryana, UP and Rajasthan.
  • Soil quality worth Rs. 200 crores is lost annually
  • High health related expenses due to air quality decline

 Crop Residue Burning – Root Causes

  • Little time gap (15 to 20 days) between Rice Harvesting & Wheat Cropping cycles
  • Rice straw is high in Silica content, so not used as fodder
  • Farm equipment required for better management of straw such as Happy Seeder are expensive.
  • Value chain and commercial use of straw not well developed


Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), through CII Foundation, has taken up the task of galvanising action to deal with the issue of air pollution.

The Task Force for Biomass Management, working with a multi-collaborative approach, has highlighted the need for a multi-pronged strategy for managing straw, including awareness building, up scaling of technology, financial support, rewards and recognition and regulatory control. Slew of technological interventions recommended by the Task Force include in-situ treatment of straw through mulching, and, ex-situ treatment through facilitating commercial use of straw. The Task Force observed that treating straw outside the field are commercially viable but market linkages are not well established. Adoption of sustainable practices has been low due to lack of awareness and lack of evidence of success


CII in collaboration with NITI Aayog launched the “Cleaner Air Better Life” initiative in November 2016, under which four Task Forces were constituted to study the various aspects of the issue. The initiative was anchored by CII-ITC Centre of Excellence for Sustainable (CESD). The reports on biomass management, clean fuel and clean transportation, were released by Mr. Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog in New Delhi on 26 February 2018. Click here for more details on the initiative.


CII Foundation Project Implementation
CII is supporting farmers in adopting suitable solutions to the problem of crop residue burning in Patiala and Ludhiana districts, covering about 16000 acres of land across 19 villages to go stubble burning free. The project is rolled out in sync with the district level regulatory framework, technology adoption roadmap and pollution monitoring system.

CII has partnered with Punjab Agricultural University and Punjab Pollution Control Board for technical know-how. The initiative is supported by ReNew Power, Cummins, Birlasoft, and ONGC. For project implementation in Patiala, CII has partnered with SIAM.

1.Behavior Change interventions

  • Campaigning for farmer awareness building
  • Developing participatory village action plan and its implementation


2.Adoption of tools, technologies and entrepreneurial ventures for processing of farm straw 

  • In situ management of straw
    • Deployment of Happy Seeder and other tools and technologies through entrepreneurs and farmer groups 
    • Technology Demonstrations
    • Data aggregation for linking farmers with entrepreneurs
    • Business plan for sustained use of tools and machineries
  • Ex situ management of straw
    • Initiation of village level and small scale ex situ ventures on a pilot basis
    • Improving the straw value chain and facilitating linkage with nearby commercial units to enhance commercial procurement of straw

3.Sustainable cropping systems

  • Farm level demonstrations and Farmer's Field Schools


4.Monitoring and verification

  • Technology based monitoring of stubble burning -through government infrastructure
  • Participatory monitoring of village level action 


Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Society for Indian Automobile Association organised a Project Launch Event on 17 Oct at village Jasso Majra, Patiala to mark the beginning of a project both organisation have initiated to mitigate crop residue burning, which is a major cause of air pollution and degradation of soil quality. With the efforts of CII and SIAM, 1500 farmers belonging to three Cooperative Societies, namely, Jasso Majra, Bhorey and Mallewar Farmer Multipurpose Cooperative Societies have come together and have pledged to make the entire village cluster, of 7000 acres of farmland to go stubble burning free. Read more.


To mark the beginning of its initiative in Ludhiana, CII organized a project launch event on 16 October 2018 in Boparai Khurd village in Ludhiana bringing together farmer groups, key Government officials, industry members and institutional partners. CII Foundation is implementing the project in five villages, namely Boparai Khurd, Sivian, Rajgarh, Dhurkot, and Shajapur; with support from ReNew Power and Cummins. CII Foundation, with field support from GBDSGNS Foundation, is building awareness among farmers and providing financial support to farmer groups for procurement and use of required farm machines. Read more.


Read the full media coverage Here


The Process

  • Active engagement of over 3000 farmers, 3 Farmer Producer Organizations, and 4 Cooperative Societies
  • Procurement and deployment of 73 machines
  • Trainings and demonstrations by scientists and experts
  • In situ solutions for post-harvest management of straw
  • Two implementation strategies – Machinery Support and Financial Incentives

The Result

  • 80% farmers adopted alternate methods of crop residue management for the first time and made 12,000 acres of land 100% stubble burning free

The Impact

  • Reduced local air pollution
  • Reduced water requirement by 50% and weedicide application by 70%



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.


We encourage financial support for scaling up the initiative in the coming years.


Join us in our endeavour for Cleaner Air, Better Life.

For more details, please contact

Chandrakant Pradhan at

Kuldeep Sengar at

Neha Yadav at


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