Ganga Action Plan - GAP

Ganga Action Plan abbreviated as (GAP) is one of the longest and ambitious government interventions which have significantly influenced policies for controlling water pollution in India. 

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Ganga Action Plan – Background

  1. Water pollution problem, especially of river water, has been rising continuously because of industrialization along the river stretches, open defecation and many other issues.
  2. This problem is manifested in the dire state of Ganga river. Efforts have been made in this regard since 1985 with the launch of the Ganga Action Plan (GAP). 
  3. The idea of cleaning river Ganga was initiated by the Government of India in 1979, however, the Ganga Action Plan could only be initiated in 1985 after a comprehensive survey of the river Ganga by CPCB. Know more on the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) on the linked page.

Ganga Action Plan Overview

  1. Ganga action plan was started in 1986 with the objective of pollution abatement from river Ganga. 
  2. GAP – Ganga Action Plan is a 100% centrally sponsored scheme. Under this plan, the National River Ganga basin authority was established and declared Ganga as a national river of India. Read more on the National River Ganga on the page linked here.
  3. Ganga Action Plan was directed by Rajiv Gandhi. The authority is headed by the prime minister and chief ministers of all the states in which river Ganga flows. 
  4. GAP was divided into two phases. Phase-I started in 1985 and covered the then three states, Uttar Pradesh (UP), Bihar and West Bengal (WB). 
  5. Phase-II of GAP was launched in 1993, which covers seven states that include Uttarakhand, UP, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Delhi and Haryana.
  6. In the second phase, Ganga action plan was created for all these tributaries. The national river conservation plan was started under the same program for the 2nd phase. 
  7. It included tributaries of Ganga as well like Yamuna, Mahananda, Gomti, Damodar. 
  8. The Ministry of Environment and forests (MoEF) was made in charge of the overall design and implementation of GAP. Central Ganga Authority (CGA) came into existence under the Environment Protection Act 1986, headed by the Prime Minister of India.

In 2014 the present government started Namami Gange Mission to ensure clean Ganga. Namami Gange Yojana is implemented by the National Mission for Clean Ganga along with its State Programme Management Groups (SPMGs). Union Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley announced the implementation of Namami Gange on 10 July 2014. 

The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) was implemented by the National Council for Rejuvenation, Protection and Management of River Ganga also known as the National Ganga Council. To know more about the National Ganga Council, refer to the linked page. The NMCG mission was established on 12th August 2011 under the Societies Registration Act,1860 as a registered society. Read in detail about the National Mission for Clean Ganga on the given link. 

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Ganga Action Plan – Objectives

The GAP was aimed at controlling the pollution of the most significant river in a systematic and planned manner. 

  1. The objective, at the time of launching the Ganga Action Plan in 1985, was to improve the water quality of Ganga to acceptable standards by preventing the pollution load from reaching the river.
  2. The Ganga Action Plan gave importance to abate pollution and improve water quality. With the major focus in GAP I on sewage interception and treatment facilities.
  3. It also gave importance to conserve biodiversity, developing an integrated river basin management approach, conducting comprehensive research to further these objectives, and gaining experience for implementing similar river clean-up programs in other polluted rivers in India.
  4. Besides abatement of pollution Ganga action plan had the broad objective of restoration of biodiversity along the course of river Ganga.

FAQ about Ganga Action Plan


What was the need of Ganga Action Plan?

Water pollution problem, especially of river water, has been rising continuously because of industrialization along the river stretches, open defecation and many other issues. Ganga Action Plan was initiated by GoI to improve the water quality of Ganga river basin.

What are the main goals of Ganga Action Plan?

The main objective of Ganga Action Plan are (i)To improve the water quality by Interception, Diversion and treatment of domestic sewage and (ii) Present toxic and industrial chemical wastes from identified grossly polluting units entering in to the river.

Other Related Links

Mekong-Ganga Cooperation (MGC) Major Indian River System
List of important cities on river banks in India Interlinking of Rivers – National River Linking Project

Candidates can refer to the UPSC Mains GS 2 Syllabus, Structure, from the linked article.

Candidates can refer to the Previous Year’s Environment and Ecology Questions in UPSC Mains GS 3, from the linked article.

Candidates should follow the latest developments in Current Affairs related to other government schemes for their UPSC 2023 preparation.

Ganga Action Plan – Question

Consider the following statements.

  1. Ganga action plan started in the year 1986
  2. It is a 100% centrally sponsored program
  3. Yamuna action plan started under the national river conservation plan

Which of the following is/are correct?

A) 1,2 only
B) 2,3 only
C) 1,3 only
D) All of the above

Answer: D

Ganga Action Plan – GAP:- Download PDF Here

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