Image credit: TERI

NCAP was launched in 2019 and is currently being implemented in 132 cities that have failed to meet national ambient air quality requirements for five years in a row.

Instead of focusing on over 100 cities as part of the National Clean Air Program (NCAP), Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav said that because different cities have different factors that contribute to air pollution, the government will now focus on reducing pollution across air sheds to achieve long-term results.

For years, air pollution specialists have urged the government to focus on reducing air pollution throughout the whole airshed rather than focusing on specific cities and towns.

While chairing the inaugural meeting of the National Apex Committee under the National Clean Air Programme on Friday, Yadav stated that the number of cities with improved air quality increased from 86 in 2019 to 96 in 2020.

The National Clean Air Program was initiated in 2019 and is now being implemented in 132 cities that have failed to fulfil the national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) over the past five years. Among the 132, there are 124 cities with populations of more than 34 million people. There are another eight million-plus cities that are eligible for performance-based grants under the scheme. The national-level action plan, state-level action plans, and city-level action plans of the targeted 132 cities are all part of the NCAP.

According to Yadav, the Centre has so far released Rs 375.44 crore for initiatives aimed at improving air quality in non-attainment cities between 2019–20 and 2020–21, and Rs. 290 crore has been allocated to 82 cities for 2021–22.

NCAP has a budget of Rs 700 crore for the years 2021–2026. In addition, the 15th Finance Commission has allocated Rs 4,400 crore in special grants to 42 million-plus cities and metropolitan agglomerations for 2020–21. For the years 2021-2022 to 2025-26, Rs 12,139 crore has been set aside to improve air quality in 42 cities.


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