Topic of the Day – National Clean Air Programme

UPSC Exam Preparation: Topic of the Day – National Clean Air Programme

National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) is a medium-term national-level strategy to tackle the increasing air pollution problem across the country in a comprehensive manner.  The overall objective of the programme is to augment and evolve effective ambient air quality monitoring network across the country besides ensuring comprehensive management plan for prevention, control and abatement of air pollution. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) released the details of the Programme.

  • The National Clean Air Programme focuses on collaborative and participatory approach covering all sources of pollution and coordination between relevant Central Ministries, State Governments, local bodies and other stakeholders.
  • In order to ensure the use of new technologies to combat the rising challenge of air pollution in India, a separate component on ‘Technology Assessment Cell’ has been envisaged under NCAP to evaluate the technologies for prevention, control and abatement of air pollution.”
  • It envisions setting up of 1,000 manual air-quality-monitoring stations (a 45% increase from the present number) and 268 automatic stations (triple the current 84 stations).
  • It also, for the first time, plans to set up pollution-monitoring stations in the rural areas.
  • Other measures under the programme include air quality forecasting system, issuance of notification on dust management, a three-tier mechanism for review, assessment and inspection for implementation and a national emission inventory.


  • The government has refrained from specifying the pollution-reduction targets.
  • While recent policy interventions like notification of sector-specific emission standards, augmentation of air quality monitoring network, banning the burning of biomass and leapfrogging from BSIV to BSVI for vehicles by April 1, 2020 have resulted in marginal improvements in air quality levels, the need for time-bound initiatives at both city and rural levels are absolutely essential to combat the problem of air pollution in our country holistically.
  • The absence of pollution reduction targets of 35 per cent in three years and 50 per cent in five years in the draft National Clean Air Program (NCAP) of the Environment Ministry is a cause of grave concern.
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