CHANDIGARH: The Centre has got constructive cooperation from Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh governments on the issue of stubble burning, Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav said on Sunday.
Yadav had held a key meeting last month with the governments of Delhi and its neighbouring states Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan on the action plan to mitigate air pollution caused by stubble burning.
Yadav, who is also the minister for Forest and Climate Change and Labour and Employment, said on the issue of pollution caused by stubble burning, the Centre has got constructive cooperation from these northern states.
He said discussions were held last month over the implementation of action plans by states to mitigate pollution due to agriculture stubble burning, dust, construction and demolition waste, and vehicular pollution.
The minister, while interacting with reporters here, said with technologies available now, there was economic viability of stubble nowadays.
The state-run NTPC had earlier floated a tender to buy farm stubble for use as fuel at power plants, he said.
Some private companies too have come up with good experiments under which stubble or crop residue is turned into manure, said the minister.
Touching upon the issue of machines needed to deal with stubble, Yadav said the Union Agriculture Ministry has given nearly Rs 7,000 crore to these northern states.
Notably, farmers in Punjab, Haryana and some other states set their fields on fire to quickly clear off the crop residue left after harvesting and before cultivating wheat and potato.
Experts have claimed it is one of the main reasons for the spike in pollution in Delhi-NCR at the onset of winters.
The paddy harvesting season is between October 15 and November 15.
In the country's 132 cities, equipment to monitor air quality has been set up, he said.
Replying to a question on climate change, Yadav said it is a global challenge.
India recognises the urgency of strong climate action to stay within the temperature goal of the Paris Agreement, he said.
Yadav also said India has taken many steps on clean energy, energy efficiency and biodiversity.
He said the country has set an ambitious renewable energy target of 450 Gigawatts by 2030.
Earlier, addressing an event at the Shram Bureau (Labour Bureau) Bhavan here, Yadav said following the motto of Mehnat Ko Samman, Adhikar Ek Saman, the Government is focused on the welfare of workers through evidence-based policymaking.
During the event, he mentioned that data on all aspects of labour is crucial and scientifically collected data is the bedrock for any evidence-based policymaking.
With the increasing importance of data in the time to come, coupled with the fact that India is a labour abundant nation, a dedicated organisation for labour and price statistics like the Labour Bureau merits strengthening and full support, said the minister.
The Union Minister further said over the years, the Labour Bureau mandate has increased exponentially which now includes the collection and compilation of data on all possible aspects of labour.
On the occasion, certificates of appreciation were also given to many of the Bureau officials.
The minister also held discussions with the state labour ministers, labour secretaries & commissioners of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh & UTs of Chandigarh, Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh on progress in the registration of unorganised workers on the e-Shram portal and preparedness of the states and UTs on the implementation of various schemes and reforms, an official statement said.
The Minister also visited a special camp for the registration of unorganised workers under e-Shram portal organised by the office of chief labour commissioner (Central) under the Union Ministry of Labour & Employment.
The minister distributed e-Shram cards to unorganised workers and had an interaction with trade union leaders, employers and unorganised workers.
The e-Shram portal was inaugurated on August 26.
The portal is the first-ever national database of unorganised workers including migrant workers and construction workers.
An estimated 38 crore workers are engaged in the unorganized sector and employment (Economic Survey, 2019-20), Yadav said.
As of October 2, 2021, a total of 2,46,57,524 workers have registered on the portal.
Of these almost 55 per cent of the workers are engaged in the agriculture sector followed by almost 15 per cent registration from the workers in the construction sector and six per cent in the apparel industry.