National Mission for Clean Ganga

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. This mission was established in 12th August 2011 under the Societies Registration Act,1860 as a registered society. The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) under National Ganga Council is supported by the State level Programme Management Groups (SPMGs) in the state of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Jharkhand, and West Bengal. It is an initiative taken by the Government of India to address the pollution of the river Ganga by providing financial and technical assistance.

National Clean Ganga Mission – Latest Update

  • 5th India Water Impact Summit 2020 was organized from 10th to 15th December virtually. The IWIS Summit 2020 aims to emphasize on holistic management of rivers and water bodies and synchronizing development with river conservation. It focuses on adopting the principle of Arth Ganga in India’s developmental strategy.
  • The World Bank has approved a five-year loan (for the second phase) to the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) or Namami Gange Project worth Rs. 3,000 crore to help stem pollution in the Ganga river basin. So far, 313 projects worth Rs. 25,000 crore have been sanctioned under the mission.

Aspirants would find this article very helpful while preparing for the IAS Exam.

 National Mission for Clean Ganga- image 1

To know more about the National Ganga Council, refer to the linked page.

National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) is an important topic for the IAS Exam. Candidates can also download the notes PDF at the end of this article.

Objectives of National Mission for Clean Ganga

The Government of India organised the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) at Delhi’s Vigyan Bhavan. NMCG focuses on pollution reduction interventions including interception, diversion and the treatment of wastewater that flows through the open drains. It aims to reduce pollution through bioremediation, apt in-situ treatment, pioneering technology, sewage treatment plants (STP) and effluent treatment plants (ETP).

Some of the major objectives of the Nation Mission for Clean Ganga are:

  • The mission incorporates rehabilitating and boosting the existing STPs and instant short-term steps to curb pollution at exit points on the riverfront in order to check the inflow of sewage.
  • To maintain the continuity of the water flow without changing the natural season variations.
  • To restore and maintain the surface flow and groundwater.
  • To regenerate and maintain the natural vegetation of the area.
  • To conserve and regenerate the aquatic biodiversity as well as the riparian biodiversity of the river Ganga basin.
  • To allow participation of the public in the process of protection, rejuvenation and management of the river.

Government schemes are an important part of the UPSC syllabus. Aspirants must be thorough with the objectives and the activities of these major schemes for the IAS exam.

Initiatives towards Clean Ganga

A lot of initiatives were taken before the establishment of the Clean Ganga Mission that targeted towards the reduction of pollution and cleaning of the river Ganga. Some of the major initiatives taken by the Government of India before the implementation of this mission are discussed below:

  • Ganga Action Plan: It was announced in 1985 by the Ministry of Environment & Forests. This was the first River Action Plan that was introduced for the improvement of water quality through interception, diversion and treatment of domestic sewage. The plan aimed in preventing the entry of toxic and industrial chemical wastes to the river.
  • National River Conservation Plan: This conservation plan was developed as an extension for the Ganga Action Plan with an aim to cover all the major rivers of India.
  • National River Ganga Basin Authority (NRGBA): Controlled by the Prime Minister of India, the National River Ganga Basin Authority was formed under Section-3 of the Environment Protection Act, 1986 by the Central Government in 2009. It declared the Ganga as ‘the National River’ of India.
  • A Government clean-up campaign was started in 2010 to prevent the entry of untreated municipal sewage or industrial runoff into the river.

Candidates can refer to the UPSC Mains GS 3 Syllabus, Structure, from the linked article.

What is Namami Gange?

The 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.

This programme was established as a conservation mission with a budget of Rs. 20,000 crore. Namami Gange aims at reducing the pollution of the river Ganga along with the conservation and rejuvenation of the river banks.

It is a flagship programme under the Union Government. The main pillars of the Namami Gange have been discussed below:

  • Sewerage Treatment Infrastructure & Industrial Effluent Monitoring.
  • Development of river-front as well as river-surface cleaning.
  • Bio-Diversity & Afforestation.
  • Public Awareness.

Phases of NCGM

The 1st Phase of Namami Gange: National Ganga Clean Mission has already received Rs. 4,535 crore from the World Bank as part of the first phase (valid until December 2021) of the National Ganga River Basin.

The 2nd Phase:

  • Hybrid Annuity Projects: The loan would fund three new ‘Hybrid Annuity Projects’ in Agra, Meerut, and Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh for the tributaries of the Ganga.
  • DBOT Projects: Rs.1,209 crore is provided for the ongoing DBOT (Design, Build, Operate and Transfer) projects in Buxar, Munger, Begusarai in Bihar.
  • Cleaning Projects: Some of the projects include spillover projects from the first phase of the mission as well as cleaning projects in tributaries such as the Yamuna and Kali rivers.
  • Other Initiatives: It would include institutional development, improving investment resilience to Covid-19 like emergency situations, the performance-based incentive for Urban Local Bodies, and communication and management programs.

National Ganga Council – Replaces NGRBA

National Council for Rejuvenation, Protection and Management of River Ganga, also known as National Ganga Council replaced National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA). NGBRA was dissolved from 7th October, 2016.

World Bank Funding – Building Infrastructure along Tributaries of River Ganga

Under the National Ganga River Basin Project, World Bank has approved funds to the tune of US $ 600 million for development of Infrastructure projects along river Ganga. The loan would be for a period of five years, till December 2026. The first World Bank project had assisted in building important infrastructure for management of Sewage water in 20 hotspots along River Ganges. The most recent funds provided by World Bank will help in building infrastructure along important tributaries of River Ganges like River Yamuna and River Kali.

Collaboration with Germany

India had also joined hands with Germany to rejuvenate Ganga as the country’s Ministry of Water Resources and German International Cooperation (GIZ), owned by the German Federal Government signed an agreement in this regard. In August 2017, Germany officially sealed an aid deal of ₹900 crores during a meeting between its Ambassador to India Dr Martin Ney and Uttarakhand’s chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat. Overall, the EU state has pledged the assistance of 120 million Euros, or ₹100 crores, to the state of Uttarakhand, where the river originates.

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

Challenges Faced by NMCG

  • Poor Governance: due to lack of proper monitoring and supervision there is less utilization of funds allotted under the programs.
  • Violation of e-Flow Norms: According to the Central Water Commission (CWC), 4 of the 11 hydropower projects on the upper reaches of the river Ganga’s tributaries are violating Ganga ecological flow (e-flow) norms which is further interrupting the natural flow of the river.
  • Pollution:
    • Due to the presence of five states (Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar, and West Bengal) on the river’s mainstream, most of the Ganga is polluted.
    • Industrial pollution from tanneries in Kanpur, distilleries, paper, and sugar mills in the Kosi, Ramganga and Kali river catchments are major contributors.
  • Illegal Construction: The problem of illegal and rampant construction near river beds has become a major hurdle in cleaning the river.

Way Forward with National Clean Ganga Mission

  • The Namami Gange Programme of the Government of India has revitalized India’s efforts in Ganga rejuvenation.
  • The current funding would help in cleaning the tributaries of Ganga. The first loan from the World Bank has helped build critical sewage infrastructure in 20 pollution hotspots along the river.
  • The funding will aid the government to strengthen the institutions needed to manage a river basin as large as the Ganga Basin.
  • In order to successfully implement the plan, there is a need for a strategic blueprint that includes strict monitoring, mass awareness campaigns, use of digital media, and conservation of biodiversity in Ganga.

National Mission for Clean Ganga [UPSC Notes]- Download PDF Here

Candidates should follow the latest developments in Current Affairs related to other government schemes for their UPSC 2021 preparation.

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