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Source Name: Birlasoft

Birlasoft's Shodhan 2017-18 Contributes to Improving Air Quality in Delhi NCR by Preventing Crop Burning

Nov 20, 2017   16:28 IST 
New Delhi, Delhi, India
  • Pilot project in two Punjab villages ensures zero crop burning this year

  • Phase I of the project covers 2100 acres of land along with 150 farmers and their families


Birlasoft, part of the CK Birla Group, has contributed to solving the air quality crisis in Delhi NCR through its CSR project Shodhan 2017-18. Shodhan, which means purification in Hindi, is an attempt to arrest the pollution caused by crop burning in the villages in the Delhi NCR region through technology. As part of the pilot project undertaken in two villages of the Patiala region in Punjab - Agethi and Bibipur, the villages had zero-crop burning this year. This project will be expanded to other villages in Punjab over the course of the next one year.


Volunteers from Birlasoft's Shodhan program in Punjab ensured zero crop burning


Over the last few years Delhi NCR, home to over 20 million people, remains under the cover of smog during early winter months of October-November. In fact, this year Delhi NCR has been reeling under smog with poor air quality that has given rise to various health ailments. One probable contributor to the suffocating envelope of smog that settles over the national capital region has been the burning of crop stubble in the villages in the neighbouring States of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. As evident in NASA’s fire map images, Punjab has been the primary contributor to this menace. In fact, research findings had indicated that 20 days of stubble burning by Punjab farmers alone had generated 9000 tons of PM2.5 last year.


Birlasoft's Shodhan volunteers with Punjab farmers after a successful pilot launch


Birlasoft’s CSR initiative, Shodhan 2017-18, was started with an aim to attack this problem and provide a viable solution that can be replicated in villages that record stubble burning. In association with project advisors, Punjab Agriculture University (PAU) and implementation partner, SEED CSR, Birlasoft tried to understand the problem and identified two Punjab villages – Agethi and Bibipur as part of a pilot project. In this phase, Birlasoft covered 1500 acres of land and 150 farmers and their families.


Farmers were indulging in the practice of crop burning because the method is economical and cleans the field completely for sowing of new crops even if it has many harmful effects on the environment. Under Shodhan, farmers of the target village were provided modern farm equipment on subsidized rent during the harvest cycle to make the process of clearing residue and preparing the field for new crop easier and pollution-free, thereby solving the issue of crop burning to a great extent. In a process spread over several months, the company’s CSR project team worked with project partners to organize awareness building sessions with local farmers and their families. Then, farmers were sensitized and trained to use modern farm machinery. Post registration of the beneficiaries, work at ground level started in October. Happy seeder, super SMS, combine Harvester, Bailers, Rotavaters were provided to the beneficiaries in both the villages for the straw management during the harvest cycle to get their land ready for next crop. As a result, farmers in these two villages ensured that no crop burning took place this year.


Commenting on the potential of the program, Mr. Samit Deb, Chief People Officer, Birlasoft, said, “Birlasoft is a responsible corporate that understands that development and sustainability should go hand-in-hand. In our attempt to help solve a problem that has grown to a dangerous magnitude, we have attacked the issue of crop burning where it was believed to be most severe. We believe that there is a lot of potential in this program and with the right partners and support from our peers, we can grow Shodhan to have a wider reach and increased impact in the future.”


Birlasoft employees contributed their effort and time by voluntarily participating in the initiative to ensure that maximum participation and zero stubble burning. 


Implementation Partner: Society for Educational Welfare and Economic Development ‘SEED’, constituted under Societies Act 1860, having its registered office in New Delhi. It offers social development programs in diverse fields including implementation of CSR projects related to Agriculture Development, Community Development, Skill Development, Women Empowerment, WASH, Quality Health and Education across India.


Advisory and Facilitator: Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), an educational institution of national importance that is engaged in the advancement of teaching, research and extension activities in various fields of agriculture and allied sciences having its office at Ferozepur Road, Ludhiana, Punjab.


PAU, being sector experts has agreed to come to an understanding to undertake the project with mutual understanding for Mechanical Solutions for Paddy Straw Management with Zero Burning under Public Private Partner-ship Mode in form of Advisory and Facilitator.


Birlasoft, part of USD 1.6 billion diversified CK Birla Group, enables clients in Manufacturing, Banking and Financial Services, Insurance, and Healthcare industries become competitive in their business by providing value based information technology services. Birlasoft’s portfolio of services includes Enterprise Application Services, Custom Application Services and Specialized services like Testing, Analytics and Mobility. Birlasoft has presence across US, UK, Europe, APAC including India.


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Volunteers from Birlasoft's Shodhan program in Punjab ensured zero crop burning
Volunteers from Birlasoft's Shodhan program in Punjab ensured zero crop burning
Birlasoft's Shodhan volunteers with Punjab farmers after a successful pilot launch
Birlasoft's Shodhan volunteers with Punjab farmers after a successful pilot launch
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