Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav on Friday said the government is committed to ensure clean air and healthy life to all residents of the country, and emphasised that fighting air pollution needs to be made a mass movement in coming years.
Speaking at the first meeting of the National Apex Committee under the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), held in hybrid mode, Yadav said since different cities have a different set of factors contributing to air pollution in that region, therefore focusing on the airshed is important.
“Chaired the first meeting of the Apex Committee of the National Clean Air Programme. India has been at the forefront of taking up policy approaches that give paramount importance to conserving ecology. Emphasized that the Clean Air mission needs to become a movement,” he tweeted.
Expressing satisfaction that the number of cities showing better air quality increased to 96 in 2020 from 86 cities in 2019, the minister said the “air quality improvement efforts taken in recent years have shown positive trends in achievement of better air quality, however, a lot needs to be done and the need of the hour is to address the issue of air pollution in a comprehensive manner with the coordination and collaboration of all stakeholders”.
The committee meeting was also attended by Union Minister of State for Environment, Ashwini Kumar Chaubey, Environment Secretary R P Gupta, CPCB chairman Tanmay Kumar and other senior officers of the ministry.
The National Clean Air Programme, launched in 2019, is being implemented in targeted 132 cities, non-conforming to national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) consecutively for five years.
Out of 132, 124 cities include 34 million plus cities (MPCs)/urban agglomerations identified by the 15th Finance Commission (XV-FC).
There are eight other million plus cities covered under XV-FC grant for receiving performance based grants for air quality improvement, which are also covered under the programme.
NCAP focuses on preparation and implementation of national level action plans, state level action plans and city level action plans of the targeted 132 cites.
The Ministry of Environment said under NCAP, Centre level Steering Committee, Monitoring Committee and Implementation Committee have been constituted and periodic review of the implementation progress is conducted.
Seven implementation committee, five monitoring committee and three steering committee meetings have been conducted so far, it said.
“Under NCAP, Rs 375.44 crore has been provided during 2019-20 to 2020-21 for taking up activities for improving the air quality in non-attainment cities and Rs 290 crore allocated to 82 cities for FY 2021-22.
“The programme has Rs 700 crore allocation for 2021-2026. Further, the 15th Finance Commission has provided a special grant of Rs 4,400 crore to 42 million plus cities/urban agglomerations for FY 2020-21. A sum of Rs 12,139 crore has been allocated for improvement in air quality of 42 million plus cities/urban agglomerations for 2021-2022 to 2025-26,” the ministry said.