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6 contributed to establishing the wheat–rice cycle in the region. Here, the impact of government policies should also be mentioned. In 1965, the Indian government established the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) and the Food Cooperation of India (FCI). These two organizations played critical roles in determining the prices of wheat and India. The CACP recommended a Minimum Support Price (MSP) and FCI procured rice and wheat from farmers at the MSP. The FCI’s purchases of rice and wheat from northwestern India, including the Punjab, were prioritized over those from other regions (Sugimoto and Usami, 2014). Thanks to this policy, Punjabi farmers were able to profit from rice and wheat production without the risk of a price collapse. Thus, the practice of double cropping of rice and wheat took root, and Punjab’s grain production steadily increased. In 2014–2015, Punjab produced 24.2 percent of the nation’s rice and 41.5 percent of the nation’s wheat and contributed 8.63 million 10.21 million tons of wheat to the national food grain pool in 2010–2011 (Vatta and Budhiraja, 2021). Punjab was considered a successful example of the Green Revolution and came to be known as the “breadbasket” of India. However, overly intensive agricultural practices were beginning to cause irreversible environmental damage. In particular, it is widely known that the expansion of cultivated land and the increased number of tube wells have lowered the groundwater table in the Punjab region. Rice production requires much more water than wheat production. Since canal irrigation alone was not enough to water the expanding farmland, farmers began to install tube wells on their own. The development of tube wells rice in tons of rice and Fig. 2 Circumstances of the stubble burning problem. S. HAYASHIDA was also related to the government’s electricity policy. The tube wells was supported by government policies of rural electrification and subsidies for agricultural electricity (Sato, 2021), which were then followed by the provision of free electricity from 1997 (Sarkar and Das, 2014). Expansion of tube well irrigation was an important factor in the establishment of the current rice–wheat double-cropping system in Punjab (Vatta and Budhiraja, 2021; Sato, 2021). As a result, the groundwater level has been declining year by year, despite various discussions and recommendations on groundwater conservation (e.g., Kumar et al., 2005). introduction of Furthermore, the bias toward the double cropping of rice and wheat has resulted in the loss of certain soil nutrients. There is also a link between the declining groundwater table and soil degradation. Percolated groundwater is high in salinity and prone to causing salt damage to crops. In addition, the lowering of the groundwater table causes physical compaction of the soil, further degrading it. Thus, intensive agriculture with a heavy bias toward rice and wheat has been causing serious soil degradation. Because of this, it has been noted as early as the 1970s that yields have reached a ceiling and not increased, despite massive fertilizer inputs (Grace et al., 2003; Samra et al., 2003). On the other hand, a survey by Singh et al., (2011) clarified that many farmers were adhering to the wheat and rice system for the time being. Given the current market system and the state of farming technology, this practice appeared to be the most reliable to them in the short term. The lack of marketing infrastructure for crops other than wheat and rice may also help explain the preference for the wheat–rice cropping pattern and the

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