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Introduction

The National Clean Ganga Mission (NMCG) is a flagship programme developed by the National Council for the Rejuvenation, Protection and Management of the Ganga River, also known as the National Ganga Council. It is registered as a society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860. It came into existence on August 12th 2011 and is supported by the State Level Program Management Groups (SPMGs) in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal. The Government of India established this body to encourage a coordinated effort by the listed states to tackle the contamination of the Ganga River by offering financial and technological assistance.

River Ganga is considered as one of the sacred rivers in India. She is prayed to as a Goddess who gives Mukthi or Salvation to humankind. Over the years, she has been polluted by industrial effluents, ceremonial waste and domestic sewage. The government took cognisance of the fact that River Ganga needs to be given utmost priority to make her clean and fresh again. Thus was born the National Ganga Council. NMCG is the implementation wing of this body and works towards Rejuvenation, Protection and Management of River Ganga.

Key Objectives of National Clean Ganga Mission (NMCG)

The vision for Ganga Rejuvenation is to restore the integrity of the river, by achieving “Aviral Dhara” (Continuous Flow), “Nirmal Dhara” (Unpolluted Flow) and ensuring geological and ecological integrity.

NMCG works towards ensuring a successful reduction of contamination and revitalization of the Ganga River by implementing a river basin strategy that encourages cross-sectoral cooperation for holistic planning and maintenance. It also ensures minimum biological flows into the Ganga River with a view to maintaining water quality and ecologically responsible growth.

Here are some key objectives of the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG)

  • The project entails rehabilitating and boosting existing STPs and immediate short-term action to reduce pollution at the exit points on the riverfront in order to control the inflow of sewage.
  • To preserve the consistency of the water cycle without altering the fluctuations of the natural season.
  • Restore and control surface and groundwater supply.
  • Regenerate and preserve the natural flora of the city.
  • To preserve and invigorate the aquatic biodiversity and the riparian biodiversity of the Ganga river basin.
  • Enable the public to engage in the process of protecting, rejuvenating and maintaining the water.

Functioning of the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG)

The Environmental Protection Act calls for a five-tier system at national, state and district level to take steps to eliminate, monitor and mitigate acid pollution in the Ganga River and ensure a consistent and sufficient flow of water to reinvigorate the Ganga River.

  • National Ganga Council under chairmanship of Hon’ble Prime Minister of India. 
  • Empowered Task Force (ETF) on river Ganga under chairmanship of Hon’ble Union Minister of Jal Shakti (Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation).
  • National Mission for Clean Ganga(NMCG)
  • State Ganga Committees
  • District Ganga Committees in every specified district abutting river Ganga and its tributaries in the states.

Major functions of the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG)

In order to achieve this vision, the NMCG shall engage in the key following functions:

  • Execution of the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) work program
  • Integration of the National Ganga River Basin Project supported by the World Bank
  • Supervise and manage the execution of projects approved by the Government of India under NGRBA
  • To perform some additional research or duties as may be delegated by MoWR, RD & GJ in the context of restoration of the Ganga River
  • Lay out regulations and procedures for the conduct of NMCG affairs and contribute or revise, vary or amend them as and when required
  • Grant or accept financial aid, loan securities or properties of any kind, and undertake and approve the management of any endowment trust, fund or gift that is not incompatible with the objectives of the NMCG.
  • Take all such action and take any other action that might seem appropriate or relevant to the accomplishment of the goals of the NGRBA.

Steps Takes to Clean River Ganga by the NMCG

Even before the establishment of the National Ganga Council, steps have been taken towards the rejuvenation of River Ganga. Some of them are:

  • Ganga Action Plan: It was announced by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry in 1985. This can be considered the first River Action Plan to improve the quality of Ganga water through the interposing, digression and treatment of domestic wastewater. The plan was designed to prevent harmful industrial chemical waste from entering the river.
  • National River Conservation Plan: This is an extension of the Ganga Action Plan aimed at covering all the major rivers in India.
  • National River Ganga Basin Authority (NRGBA): The National River Ganga Basin Authority, under the supervision of the Prime Minister of India, was created by the Central Government in 2009 pursuant to Section 3 of the Environmental Protection Act, 1986. The Ganga was declared the 'National River' of India.
  • A Government clean-up initiative was launched in 2010 to prevent untreated municipal sewage or industrial runoff from entering the river.
  • Ganga Manthan – A national conference was organized in 2014 to address problems and potential approaches for river cleaning. The operation was coordinated by the National Clean Ganga Project.
  • In 2014, the Clean Ganga Fund was also set up to clean up the Ganga River, set up sewage treatment plants, protect the ecology of the river and improve public infrastructure (such as Ghat renovation, research and development and creative projects). Its budget would also be used to support the National Clean Ganga Group (NMCG).
  • In 2017, the National Green Tribunal prohibited the disposal of any waste in Ganga.

Namami Gange Programme

'Namami Gange Project' is an ambitious development plan, authorized by the Union Government as a Flagship Initiative in June 2014 with a budget of Rs. 20,000 Crore to accomplish the twin goals of successful pollution management, restoration and reinvigoration of the Ganga River.

Its execution has been divided into Entry-Level Activities (for direct visible impact), Medium-Term Activities (to be enforced within 5 years) and Long-Term Activities (to be put into effect within 10 years).

The key principles of the Namami Gange program are:

  • Sewage Treatment Infrastructure
  • River-Surface Cleaning
  • Afforestation
  • Industrial Effluent Monitoring
  • River-Front Development
  • Biodiversity
  • Public Awareness
  • Ganga Gram

FAQs on National Mission for Clean Ganga

1. When was the National Mission for Clean Ganga launched?

October 2016. The NMCG was created in October 2016 under the River Ganga Authorities Order of 2016.

2. Does the NMCG receive technical support from overseas?

Yes, several countries like the United Kingdom, Finland, Israel, Germany and Australia have been providing technical support for the project, for the rejuvenation of River Ganga.

3. Is the NMCG a statutory body?

No. It is created under the River Ganga - Rejuvenation, Protection and Management Order.

4. Which is the longest river in India?

River Ganga is the longest river in India and it flows for a distance of 2510 kms originating from the Gangotri glaciers in the Himalayas.

5. What is the Ganga Quest?

It is an online quiz organised by the NMCG. It is conducted in Hindi and English. It aims to promote awareness about the Namami Gange programme and is open to anyone over the age of ten.

End Note

National Clean Ganga Project is committed to leveraging the best available expertise and services in the world for the rejuvenation of Ganga. Clean Ganga has become a popular draw for several foreign countries with experience in river rejuvenation. Many countries including Australia, United Kingdom, Germany, Finland, Israel etc. are interested in working with India on the rejuvenation of Ganga. Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) were signed with various Central Ministries viz.- Ministry of Human Resource Development, Ministry of Rural Development, Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Shipping, Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Ayush, Ministry of Petroleum, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Ministry of Drinking Water & Sanitation and Ministry of Agriculture for synergizing the Government schemes.

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