Daily Answer Writing And Mentorship Program


Q: To what extent the National Clean Air Program (NCAP) addressed the issue of pollution India.  (10 Marks, 150 Words)

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Article 21 of Indian constitution declares Right to Life as a fundamental right, which includes clean and
pollution free environment (M.C. Mehta v. Union of India). In pursuance of the objective, The NCPA was started as
pollution control initiative in Jan 2019, with objective to:


  • Ensure implementation of prevention, control, and abatement measures of air pollution.
  • Improve the monitoring network.
  • Enhance public awareness regarding air pollution and capacity building measures.

Steps taken under NCAP to tackle the air pollution:

  • Improve air quality in 131 cities in 24 States/UTs by engaging all stakeholders.
    · Targeted approach by setting good practice of air pollution reduction targets – The programme envisages to achieve reductions up to 40% Particulate Matter10 (PM 10) concentrations by 2025-26.
    · More comprehensive Action Points with detailed indicators to enhance the potential impacts.
    · Health on Board: by supporting for health impact studies.
    · Collaborative approach: Bringing Citizens, scientific community, private sector, and government together.

Performance so far:

  • As per NCAP Report, there has been marginal or no improvement in air pollution levels in 32 cities since 2019.
    · As per Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA), only 38 of the 131 cities achieved their annual pollution reduction targets.
    · Only 180 stations have been installed instead of 1500 stations over the last four years.

Key Reasons for dismal performance:

  • Absence of legal backing: Thus, unable to take action/impose penalty in case of violation.
    · Absence of compliance mechanism: Lack of well-trained personnel for inspection makes implementation difficult.
    · Data related hurdles: Due to substandard monitoring stations; lack of appropriate methodology to leverage real-time data.
    · Urban-Rural Disparity in terms of air quality monitoring: Only a small section of country’s population is being monitored effectively.
    · Absence of robust fiscal and funding strategy: Only Rs 300 crores has been allocated, which is very little for the magnitude of challenge.

There is need for legal backing, appropriate funding, better data collection & analysis etc. to make NCAP more effective and to achieve the goal of reducing particulate matter levels in 132 cities by 20-30% by 2024.