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The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) under the Ministry of Jal Shakti and National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) organized an IDEAthon on “The future of River Management’ to explore how the COVID-19 crisis can shape River Management strategies for the future.

The IDEAthon examined how the social angle of rivers can be leveraged on to address other crises.

COVID-19 crisis has thrown up some positive developments:

  • One of these is the visible improvement in the natural environment.
  • Rivers have become cleaner.
  • The air has become fresher.
  • There has been a significant drop in GHG emissions.
  • Animals and birds are returning to and enjoying their habitats.
  • Purely from a river management point of view, in India there has been a noticeable improvement in the water quality of the Ganga and Yamuna in the last few weeks.
  • Sighting of the Gangetic Dolphin is more frequent during lockdown in Ganga and its tributaries.

National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG)

  • National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) was registered as a society on 12th August 2011 under the Societies Registration Act 1860.
  • The government had set up the Clean Ganga Fund in 2014 – Using the funded money to finance NMCG (National Mission for Clean Ganga 2011), cleaning the river, setting up Waste Treatment Plants, Conservation of river biodiversity and related R&D projects.
  • In October 2016, National Ganga Council has replaced National Ganga River Basin Authority(NGRBA) which was constituted under the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act (EPA), 1986.
  • NMCG is the implementation wing of National Council for Rejuvenation, Protection and Management of River Ganga (referred as National Ganga Council).
  • The NMCG now has the status of an Authority and its key focus would be maintaining required ecological flows in the Ganga, abate pollution through planning, financing and execution of programmes including that of –
    • Augmentation of Sewerage Infrastructure
    • Catchment Area Treatment
    • Protection of Floodplains
    • Creating Public Awareness
  • The Union Cabinet has recently approved changes allowing the National Mission for Clean Ganga to fine those responsible for polluting the river, which was vested solely with the Central Pollution Control Board earlier. The power to fine the polluters is derived from the Environment Protection Act.
  • It has a two-tier management structure and comprises of Governing Council and Executive Committee, both of the tiers are headed by the Director General (DG), NMCG.
  • Similar to structure at national level, State Programme Management Groups (SPMGs) acts as implementing arm of State Ganga Committees. This structure attempts to bring all stakeholders on one platform to take a holistic approach towards the task of Ganga cleaning and rejuvenation.

Ganga River System

  • The Ganga river system outspreads in India, Tibet (China), Nepal and Bangladesh.
  • It is the largest river basin in India and accounts for about one-fourth of the total area of the country.
  • It covers states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar, West Bengal, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh and Union Territory of Delhi.
Ganges River and tributaries sources Gangotri Delta Bay of Bengal Yamuna Gange River Basin
  • The river basin is bounded by the Himalayas on the north, by the Aravalli on the west, by the Vindhyas and Chhotanagpur plateau on the south and by the Brahmaputra Ridge on the East.
  • The Ganga rises from the Gangotri glacier near Gomukh in Uttarkashi district of the state of Uttarakhand.
  • The Ganga river drains into the Bay of Bengal before forming a very huge delta.
December 2023