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National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG)

By Amigos IAS

Why is it in the news?

  • The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) has been granted enhanced powers for effective pollution abatement in the Ganga River and its tributaries.

 More about the news

  • NMCG issued a notification amending the River Ganga (Rejuvenation, Protection, and Management) Authorities Order, 2016.
  • New powers granted to NMCG, allowing it to permit the discharge of treated sewage conforming to norms under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
  • Emphasis on exploring direct reuse options for treated sewage, such as agricultural and industrial use, before allowing discharge.
  • The move is designed to ensure more water enters rivers. For example, treated sewage water from Delhi’s Okhla Sewage Treatment plant may be released into Yamuna, increasing the river’s flow.
About National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG)

·       Registered as a society on August 12, 2011, under the Societies Registration Act 1860.

·       Initially acted as the implementation arm of the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA).

·       NGRBA was dissolved in 2016, leading to the constitution of the National Ganga Council.

·       Under the Ministry of Jal Shakti.

·       Focus on effective abatement of pollution and the rejuvenation of the river Ganga, adopting a river basin approach.

·       Aim is to maintain minimum ecological flows in the river Ganga to ensure water quality and environmentally sustainable development.

Five-Tier Structure

·       National Ganga Council (Chaired by the Prime Minister).

·       Empowered Task Force (ETF) on river Ganga (Chaired by the Union Minister of Jal Shakti).

·       National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG).

·       State Ganga Committees.

·       District Ganga Committees.

Management Structure

·       Two-tier structure consisting of a Governing Council and an Executive Committee, both headed by the Director General of NMCG.

 

Challenges Facing NMCG

  • Inadequate allocation of funds despite being a ₹20,000 crore mission. States often depend on central funds, causing delays and uncertainties in project implementation.
  • Outdated sewage treatment plants that require upgrades, leading to untreated sewage flowing into the river.
  • Limited monitoring and data collection with insufficient coverage of real-time water quality monitoring systems.
  • Cultural practices, such as idol immersion and washing clothes in the river, contribute to pollution.
  • Untreated industrial effluents from factories continue to pollute the river.
  • Unsustainable riverbed sand mining practices that can damage the riverbed and disrupt ecological balance.
  • A fragmented institutional framework with multiple agencies at central, state, and local levels involved, leading to coordination and accountability issues.

Measures to be taken

  • Streamlining land acquisition for Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) to address delays in commissioning.
  • Revision of Detailed Project Reports to clarify the roles of various stakeholders and responsibilities.
  • Development of a water quality index for effective communication about river-water quality.

Way Forward

  • Continuous efforts needed to address challenges, innovative solutions, and increased public participation are crucial for the mission’s long-term success.
  • The NMCG has made progress in setting up wastewater treatment plants, increasing public awareness, and promoting riverfront development.

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