In the presence of the Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, the representatives of State Pollution Control Boards, Urban Local Bodies and, Institutes of Repute signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on March 26, 2021 for 132 identified cities for implementation of city-specific action plans under National Clean Air Programme (NCAP).
Speaking on the occasion, MoEFCC Minister Shri Prakash Javadekar said that concerted efforts are required by the State Governments. All concerned for improving air quality in the country towards realizing the vision of ‘Swatch Bharat, Swatch Vayu’ and exhorted all to work in mission mode.
“Today’s initiative is in line with the vision of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi of curbing air pollution by 20% in the next 4 years in over 100 cities,” said the Union Environment Minister. He added, “It is not an easy task but a tough challenge which we all need to achieve together.”
What is NCAP?
National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) is a long-term, time-bound, national-level strategy to tackle air pollution problem across the country in a comprehensive manner with targets to achieve a 20% to 30% reduction in Particulate Matter concentrations by 2024 (with 2017 as the base year).
Benefits of NCAP
- Reduction of air pollution will cause a decrease in the cases of medical complications which often arise to the inhabitants of a busy city.
- The introduction of e-buses will be a great step towards the development and structure of cities to go eco-friendly.
- The masses will be conscious and aware of the things going around when the government starts taking steps.
Steps taken by the Government
The minister took the opportunity to urge the States to quickly procure e-buses for public transport purposes sanctioned under the FAME Scheme. Despite the allocation of funds for 6000 e-buses being sanctioned to different cities across the country only 600 buses have been procured and are operational. He said if any city fails to utilize the funds sanctioned for procurement of e-buses the allocation will go to other cities.
The city action plans have been prepared to control specific air pollution sources through multidimensional actions by bringing several implementation agencies together. Expansion of ambient air quality network, source apportionment studies, public awareness, grievance redressal mechanism and sector specific action points are part of these action plans.
For successful implementation, there was a paramount need for cooperation and coordination among State agencies and technical supervision by expert Institutions of Repute. This MoU will facilitate smooth and binding execution of planned actions in time targeted manner. A National Knowledge Network comprising leading air quality specialists has also been constituted as a technical advisory group to support activities under NCAP and guide local Institutes of Repute (IoRs) in conducting air quality researches.