by | Oct 1, 2023

Punjab Submits Action Plans to Reduce Stubble Burning, CAQM Reviews Preparedness

The Punjab government is taking significant steps to reduce paddy stubble burning incidents during the current harvesting season. They have submitted State Action Plans and District-wise Action Plans to the Commission for Air Quality Management in NCR & Adjoining Areas (CAQM). The goal is to achieve a more than 50% reduction in stubble burning compared to 2022 and eliminate farm fires in six districts.

Key Aspects:

Aspect Details
Reduction Target Over 50% reduction in paddy stubble burning incidents in 2023 compared to 2022.
Districts Targeted for Elimination Six districts in the state of Punjab include Hoshiarpur, Malerkotla, Pathankot, Rupnagar, SAS Nagar (Mohali), and SBS Nagar.
Paddy Straw Generation (2023) Approximately 20 Million Tonnes (MT), including 3.3 MT of Basmati straw.
CRM Machines in Punjab 1,17,672 CRM Machines, with plans to procure over 23,000 more in 2023.
CRM Machine Utilization 23,792 Custom Hiring Centers (CHCs) established for optimal utilization.
In-situ and Ex-situ Management Planned management of approximately 11.5 MT in-situ and about 4.67 MT ex-situ.
Paddy Straw Usage Utilization as cattle fodder and in various industrial and energy projects.
Ex-situ Usage Various facilities such as briquetting and pelleting plants, bio-ethanol production units, biomass-based power generation facilities, compressed biogas (CBG) plants, and cardboard factories, among others, are in operation.
Bio Decomposer Application Planned application in 8,000 acres of paddy area.
Awareness Campaigns Various awareness activities to reduce residue burning, including painting, advertisements, hoardings, educational programs, and recognition of progressive farmers.
Previous Year’s Hotspots Five districts with the most crop burning incidents in 2022: Sangrur, Bathinda, Firozpur, Muktasar, and Moga.
Commission’s Actions Four meetings held to review action plans and issue statutory directions for implementation.
Expected Results in 2023 Anticipated substantial reduction in paddy stubble burning cases.


Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) Overview:


CAQM was established to address severe air quality issues in the National Capital Region (NCR) and adjoining areas. It was formed in response to growing concerns about air pollution, particularly during the winter months when the region experiences high levels of smog and hazardous air quality.

Features and Background:

  • CAQM is a specialized body tasked with monitoring, regulating, and managing air quality in the NCR and neighboring regions.
  • It was set up as a direct response to the need for coordinated action to combat air pollution, which often crosses state boundaries and requires collaborative efforts.
  • The Commission’s establishment demonstrates the recognition of air quality as a critical public health and environmental concern.

Role and Functions:

CAQM plays a crucial role in mitigating air pollution and improving air quality. Its functions include:

  1. Monitoring and Assessment: Regular monitoring of air quality to provide data and insights into pollution levels.
  2. Formulation of Action Plans: Developing comprehensive action plans to reduce air pollution and stubble burning.
  3. Coordination: Coordinating efforts between various government departments, agencies, and states to combat air pollution.
  4. Enforcement: Issuing statutory directions and regulations to ensure compliance with air quality standards.
  5. Awareness and Education: Conducting awareness campaigns to educate the public about air quality issues.
  6. Policy Recommendations: Making policy recommendations to address long-term air quality challenges.


CAQM consists of key stakeholders, and its composition typically includes:

  • Chairperson: A senior official or expert in environmental management.
  • Representatives from States: Officials from the affected states, including Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan.
  • Central Government Representatives: Officials from various central government ministries and departments, such as the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
  • Experts and Scientists: Specialists in fields related to air quality, environmental science, and public health.
  • Environmental NGOs: Representatives from non-governmental organisations working on environmental issues.
  • Technical and Administrative Staff: Personnel responsible for the day-to-day operations and management of CAQM.

The composition is designed to ensure a multi-pronged approach to addressing air quality challenges, with input from government, experts, and civil society.

CAQM is a specialised commission established to combat air pollution in the NCR and adjoining areas. It has a significant role in monitoring, regulating, and managing air quality, with a diverse composition of stakeholders to facilitate coordinated efforts in addressing this critical issue.

Source: PIB

Commemorating the Battle of Haifa: India and Israel Pay Tribute

Every year on September 23rd, India and Israel come together to commemorate the Battle of Haifa. This solemn occasion pays homage to the bravery of Indian soldiers who played a crucial role in capturing the city during World War I. Haifa Day, as it is known, has become a symbol of India’s historical contributions and its strengthening relations with Israel.

Key Aspects :

Date September 23
Event Haifa Day Commemoration
Battle Battle of Haifa during World War I
Initiatives Haifa Day commemorations began in 2010
Renaming Teen Murti Chowk in India renamed Teen Murti Haifa Chowk
Participants Indian diplomats, Israeli officials, and citizens
Historical Context Part of Sinai and Palestine campaigns
Units Involved 15th Imperial Service Cavalry Brigade
Allied Forces British Empire, Kingdom of Italy, French Third Republic, Arab Revolt
Indian Contribution Seizing control of Haifa and Acre from the Ottoman Empire
Significance Highlights valor of Indian soldiers and strengthens India-Israel relations

Historical Background:

The Battle of Haifa took place during World War I as part of the Sinai and Palestine campaigns. The 15th Imperial Service Cavalry Brigade, with units like the Jodhpur Lancers and Mysore and Hyderabad Lancers, played a pivotal role in capturing Haifa. They fought alongside the British Empire, Italy, France, and the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, and German Empires.


The Battle of Haifa is a testament to the bravery of Indian soldiers and their contributions during World War I. It serves as a historic link between India and Israel, fostering stronger relations. Haifa Day is a moment to remember and honor the sacrifices made by those who fought in a foreign land, exemplifying the enduring bond between the two nations.


India Ageing Report 2023: A Comprehensive Analysis

The “India Ageing Report 2023,” jointly presented by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) India and the International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS), offers a profound examination of India’s ageing population. This report provides a comprehensive overview of the challenges and opportunities posed by the increasing elderly demographic in India.

Key Highlights from the Report:

Aspect Key Findings
Population Growth Anticipates a remarkable 279% increase in the population aged 80 and above between 2022 and 2050.
Demographic Shift By 2046, the elderly population is projected to surpass the population of children aged 0 to 15 years in India.
Elderly Population Share The elderly population in India is expected to constitute more than 20% of the total population by 2050, up from approximately 10% in 2021.
Poverty Among Elderly Shockingly, over 40% of elderly individuals in India belong to the poorest wealth quintile, with more than 18% having no source of income.
Gender Disparities Women tend to have a longer life expectancy than men, with variations across different Indian states.
Sex Ratio Among Elderly The sex ratio among the elderly is rising, indicating longer survival for women.
Gendered Poverty Poverty among the elderly is gendered, with older women more likely to be widowed, living alone, and dependent on family support.

Status of Elderly Population in India:

According to the Population Census 2011, India is home to nearly 104 million elderly individuals. The sex ratio among the elderly fluctuated over the years, reaching 1033 in 2011. The old-age dependency ratio rose from 10.9% in 1961 to 14.2% in 2011.

Challenges Faced by the Elderly Population:

Elderly citizens in India encounter various challenges:

  1. Social Challenges: Neglect by the younger generation due to changing family structures and societal dynamics.
  2. Low Funding: India allocates only 1% of its GDP to pensions, insufficient to cater to the needs of the growing elderly population.
  3. Rural Situation: Older women in rural areas face limited access to healthcare, inadequate infrastructure, and caregiving responsibilities.
  4. Intersectionality: Marginalized elderly women, including those from lower socio-economic backgrounds or minority groups, face compounded challenges.
  5. Ageism and Misogyny: Older women often encounter ageism and misogyny, limiting their opportunities for engagement in various activities.
  6. Health-Related Challenges: Rising health-related expenses and the prevalence of non-communicable diseases contribute to financial difficulties.

Government Schemes for Old Age:

Government Scheme Description and Purpose
National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) Provides non-contributory pensions to elderly individuals, widowed women, and disabled individuals in need of financial assistance.
Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana (PMVVY) An exclusive pension scheme designed for senior citizens aged 60 and above, aimed at providing financial security for the elderly.
Integrated Program for Older Persons (IPOP) Focuses on improving the quality of life for senior citizens by offering essential amenities such as food, shelter, medical care, and opportunities for entertainment and social engagement.
Rashtriya Vayoshree Yojana A central sector scheme, funded by the Senior Citizens’ Welfare Fund, that offers aids and assistive living devices to elderly individuals below the poverty line (BPL) who have age-related disabilities.
SAMPANN Project An online pension processing system for pensioners under the Department of Telecommunications, ensuring direct pension payments into the bank accounts of pensioners and streamlining the pension disbursement process.
SACRED Portal for Elderly Provides a platform for citizens aged 60 and above to register for job opportunities, access information and guidance on various issues, and find work opportunities.
SAGE (Senior Care Ageing Growth Engine) Initiative SAGE is a platform that facilitates access to elderly care products and services offered by credible start-ups.



The Department of Social Justice and Empowerment runs the “Atal Vayo Abhyuday Yojana” with the vision of ensuring that senior citizens lead a healthy, empowered, dignified, and self-reliant life, promoting social and inter-generational bonding.

Atal Vayo Abhyuday Yojana (AVAY):

  • Vision: AVAY envisions creating a society where senior citizens live a healthy, happy, empowered, dignified, and self-reliant life, promoting strong social and inter-generational bonding.

Key Welfare Schemes under AVAY:

  1. Integrated Programme for Senior Citizens (IPSrC):
    • Purpose: Provides grants in aid for the running and maintenance of Senior Citizens Homes, Continuous Care Homes, and Mobile Medicare Units.
    • Implementing Agencies: Registered Societies, Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs), Local bodies, and Non-Governmental/Voluntary Organizations.
  2. State Action Plan for Senior Citizens (SAPSrC):
    • Purpose: Each State/UT is expected to frame its own State Action Plans for the welfare of senior citizens, taking into account local considerations.
    • Funding: Funds are released by the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment to the States/UTs for formulation and implementation of their State Action Plans.
  3. Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana (RVY):
    • Purpose: Provides aids and assistive living devices to senior citizens belonging to the BPL category or those earning less than Rs. 15,000/- per month and suffering from age-related disabilities.
    • Devices: Includes walking sticks, elbow crutches, hearing aids, wheelchairs, artificial dentures, spectacles, and more.
    • Implementation: Carried out by the Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation of India (ALIMCO).
  4. Livelihood and Skilling Initiatives for Senior Citizens:
    • Purpose: Supplements the efforts of senior citizens by providing them opportunities to enhance their earning and self-respect.
    • Programs: Includes the SACRED portal and Action Groups Aimed at Social Reconstruction (AGRASR Groups).
    • SACRED Portal: Connects senior citizens with private enterprises for job opportunities.
    • AGRASR Groups: Encourage senior citizens to form Self-Help Groups (SHGs) for constructive engagement.
  5. Promoting Silver Economy:
    • Purpose: Supports innovative solutions for common challenges faced by senior citizens.
    • Support: Selected startups/startup ideas can receive equity support of up to Rs. 1 crore per project, with government equity not exceeding 49%.
  6. Channelizing CSR Funds for Elderly Care:
    • Purpose: Encourages the appropriate use of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds for elderly care projects.
    • Approved Projects: Includes the setting up of old age homes, day care centers, and facilities for senior citizens under Schedule VII of Section 135 of the Companies Act.
  7. National Helpline for Senior Citizen (14567) – Elderline:
    • Purpose: Provides a dedicated helpline to address the grievances of senior citizens across the country through a toll-free number.

Vayoshreshtha Samman:

    • Purpose: Vayoshreshtha Samman is a National Award for Senior Citizens, conferred to outstanding institutions, organizations, and individuals from various categories for their eminent contributions to the welfare of senior citizens.
  • Award Presentation: The Vayoshreshtha Samman Awards are presented annually on October 1st, the International Day for Older Persons, by the Hon’ble President of India.
  • Categories: The awards cover various categories, and the awardees receive a Certificate, a Memento, and, in some categories, a Cash Award.

The initiatives under AVAY and Vayoshreshtha Samman aim to address the diverse needs of senior citizens.

These government schemes are instrumental in providing financial, healthcare, and social support to India’s elderly population, ensuring a better quality of life during their golden years.

Key recommendations from the 2023 India Ageing Report:

Recommendation Description and Purpose
Promote In-Situ Aging Encourage and facilitate aging at home (in-situ aging) whenever possible, allowing elderly individuals to remassssssin within their communities and receive care and support from their families.
Increase Awareness Launch awareness campaigns to inform elderly individuals about government schemes and programs designed to meet their needs, ensuring they have access to the necessary support.
Address Gender-Specific Challenges Create customised policies that cater to the specific obstacles encountered by elderly women, especially those who are widowed and financially reliant, in order to safeguard their welfare and provide necessary assistance.
Focus on Multigenerational Households Advocate for and inspire older adults to embrace the concept of living in households that encompass multiple generations, nurturing improved caregiving and support within families while fortifying intergenerational connections.
Regulate Old Age Homes Enforce regulatory measures to supervise Old Age Homes, guaranteeing the protection of residents’ rights and ensuring their well-being is upheld.
Inclusion in Data Collection Exercises Include relevant questions related to older persons in national data collection exercises, such as the National Sample Survey, the National Family Health Survey, and the Census of India, to gather credible data on issues affecting the elderly.

The policy recommendations aim to address the evolving needs and challenges faced by India’s ageing population, ensuring their well-being, dignity, and active participation in society.

For policymakers, researchers, and organisations striving to meet the evolving needs of India’s ageing population, the “India Ageing Report 2023” is an invaluable resource. It ensures the preservation of their dignity, well-being, and active involvment in society.

Source : Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment , PIB



Written By Vishakha Khatri

My name is Vishakha Khatri. I am an engineering graduate and a civil service aspirant with a passion for spreading knowledge about Indian polity. I believe that understanding our political system is crucial for every citizen, and I am committed to making this information accessible to everyone in my own easy way. Through my experiences in civil service preparation and my unique perspective as an engineering graduate, I hope to inspire and educate others on the importance of Indian polity.

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