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Current Affairs 2023

National Clean Air Programme: A Comprehensive Approach to Air Pollution - UPSC Current Affairs

The National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) is a long-term, time-bound strategy launched by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in January 2019. It aims for a 20-30% reduction in particulate matter concentrations by 2024, with 122 non-attainment cities identified across the country. The program includes measures such as strengthening the monitoring network, reducing emissions, and increasing public awareness, with collaborative efforts between central and state governments and local bodies.

Jan 11, 2023

2 min read

The National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) is a comprehensive approach to tackling the air pollution problem across India. It was launched by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) in January 2019 as a long-term, time-bound, national level strategy that features:




1. Achieving 20% to 30% reduction target in Particulate Matter concentrations by 2024 where 2017 is kept as the base year for the comparison of concentration.


2. Identification of 122 non-attainment cities across the country based on the 2014-2018 Air Quality data. Non-Attainment Cities are the cities which do not meet the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.


3. Preparation of the city-specific action plans including measures to strengthen the monitoring network, reduce vehicular/industrial emissions, increase public awareness.


4. Implementation of the city-specific action plans to be regularly monitored by Committees at Central and State level namely Steering Committee, Monitoring Committee and Implementation Committee.


5. Facilitating collaborative, multi-scale and cross-sectoral coordination between the relevant central ministries, state governments and local bodies.


6. Establishing a right mix with the existing policies and programmes.


7. Increasing number of monitoring stations in the country including rural monitoring stations, technology support.


8. Emphasis on awareness and capacity building initiatives.


9. Setting up of certification agencies for monitoring equipment, source apportionment studies, emphasis on enforcement, specific sectoral interventions etc.


The National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) are standards for ambient air quality set by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981. The NAAQS contain 12 pollutants, including Sulphur dioxide (SO2), Nitrogen dioxide (NO2), particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5), Ozone, Lead, Carbon monoxide (CO), Arsenic, Nickel, Benzene, Ammonia, and Benzopyrene. These standards are used to evaluate the air quality in the non-attainment cities under the NCAP.

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