National Clean Air Programme (NCAP)

National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) - Background Context

Recently an announcement came from the government for the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP). This is first time to make such efforts in Indian to create framework at national level for Air Quality Management with a reduction target of pollution in given time-frame.

National Clean Air Programme (NCAP)


The initiation will not be notified under the jurisdiction of Environment Protection Act or any other Act. to create a firm decree/instruction or directive with powerful legal backup structure for cities and regions to deploy NCAP in the given timeframe method for projected and effective reduction of pollution.

Highlights of the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP)

  • National Level Target
    • To attain a national-level target, i.e. 20-30% minimisation of PM2.5 and PM10 concentration by between year 2017 and 2024.
  • Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)
    • CPCB will be undertaking to exercise this nation-wide programme in agreement or with section 162 (b) of the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1986.
  • Initial Investment/Budget
    • This establishment of the programme was initiated with starting budget of ₹300 crore (₹30 million) for first 24 months (2 years).
  • Targeting Non-Attainment
    • National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), has targeted 102 non-attainment cities (non-attainment area or region is an area or region regarded to have air quality far worse than the National Ambient Air Quality Standard) across 23 states and Union Territories, selected by the CPCB based on the criteria and information & data of their ambient air quality between year 2011 and 2015. Non-attainment include Mumbai, Delhi, Muzaffarpur, Varanasi, Noida, Bhopal and Kolkata etc.
  • Air Quality Monitoring System
    • As integral part of the NCAP, the Centre Government also has plans to enhance the Air quality monitoring network across country. According to this programme assessment, Indian needs minimum of 4000 monitors in replacement of 101 real-air quality (AQ) monitors
  • NCAP proposes the three-tier-system
    • Real-Time physical data collection.
    • Collected data archival and storage.
    • Action initiation/trigger system in all 102 cities.
  • Tree Plantation
    • The NCAP plan also demands for tree plantation (for obvious reason), research & development on clean-technologies, landscaping of major road system, and rigorous industrial standards.
  • State Level Plan
    • To promote, electric mobility (e-mobility) of two wheeler and rapid buildup of charging infrastructure, rigorous implementation of Bharat Stage-VI, encourage public transportation system and regular audits for polluting industries.
  • Different Committees
    • The national plan demands institute supreme committee immediately under the Environment Minister,
    • The national plan has recommended and put-forwarded setting up a top committee under the supervision and control of the environment minister.
      • Steering Committee (decides on the priorities or alignment of order of business) under-secretary (Environment)
      • Monitoring (Oversee/Observe) Committee under a Joint Secretary.
      • Project Monitoring and Survey committees at the state-level with Scientists, Subject Matter Expert (SME) and Trained Personnel.

Advantages of the programme

NCAP helped to jumpstart the much-awaited and ambitious project of establishing the air pollution minimisation targets. The biggest benefit of such target is that it allows the authoritative committee (governing body) to decide the level of strictness of local and regional actions/moves required for the scheme to be potent (successful) enough to meet the reduction targets.

Need of the hour

  • The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MOEF&CC) as supreme agency and nodal central, has to penetrate the protocols and rulebook of NCAP indicators with each industrial sector and inter-ministerial schemes to ensure their alignment with national air quality targets and projected objectives.
  • Percolation of policies or the flow of scheme protocols from top-to-bottom in not enough, the NCAP while safeguarding the compliance, will also have to make enough room for strict actions that has to be well-build or brawny than the set of common minimum national scheme as specified by NCAP.
  • Understanding the compliance and implementation at every level (local, state and national) is important and thus encouragement, promotion and awareness is required at meet local targets. Data received post implementation (city-wise air quality data) of NCAP will indicate the actual and clear situation of the program and help decide where stronger actions are required.
  • Connecting all the dots. For example: Joining all the Dots with Transparency and Clarity. Consider the example, The principal body of the plan accidentally or intentionally ignored the topics of “Vehicle Pollution” (mobility, transportation, non-motorised transportation, transit-oriented policies. But on the other hand these will have to be
  • NCAP will have to integrate all crucial (important) dots with transparency. For example, in case of automobile pollution, the governing authority of the plan has failed to accommodate mobility, transportation and town planning master data, although luckily, the suggestive (typical) bigger picture of activity at the end has listed public transport, development policies particularly focus on transit, and also the non-motorised transport. But these will have to be provided with comprehensive clarity in development pathways & milestones and consolidate well with the NCAP strategies.
  • NCAP will need to be adaptive, inclusive and variation oriented for selected big and small cities based on their profile & pollution profile, while other strategies may remain same or uniform.

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