Agricultural crop residue burning contribute towards the emission of greenhouse gases (CO2, N2O, CH4), air pollutants (CO, NH3, NOx, SO2, NMHC, volatile organic compounds), particulates matter and smoke thereby posing threat to human health. In the present study a state-wise inventory of crop residue burnt in India and the air pollutants emitted was prepared using the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) national inventory preparation guidelines for the year 2008–09. Total amount of residue generated in 2008–09 was 620 Mt out of which ~15.9% residue was burnt on farm. Rice straw contributed 40% of the total residue burnt followed by wheat straw (22%) and sugarcane trash (20%). Burning of crop residues emitted 8.57 Mt of CO, 141.15 Mt of CO2, 0.037 Mt of SOx, 0.23 Mt of NOx, 0.12 Mt of NH3 and 1.46 Mt NMVOC, 0.65 Mt of NMHC, 1.21 Mt of particulate matter for the year 2008–09. The variability of 21.46% in annual emission of air pollutants was observed from 1995 to 2009.