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National Clean Air Programme

22nd December, 2023 Environment

National Clean Air Programme

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  • Funds were allocated for 131 cities under National Clean Air Programme to combat air pollution.

What is the NCAP?

  • The National Clean Air Programme launched in 2019 is a pollution control initiative that was launched by the Ministry of Environment to cut the concentration of coarse (particulate matter of diameter 10 micrometers or less, or PM10) and fine particles (particulate matter of diameter 2.5 micrometers or less, or PM2.5) by at least 20% in the next five years, with 2017 as the base year for comparison.
  • The tentative national level target under NCAP is 20%–30% reduction of particulate matter concentration by 2024.
  • Under NCAP, 122 non-attainment cities have been identified across the country based on the Air Quality data from 2014-2018.


  • Goal of NCAP is to meet the prescribed annual average ambient air quality standards at all locations in the country in a stipulated timeframe.
  • NCAP targets to achieve reduction in Particulate Matter (PM10) levels up to 40% or achievement of national standards (60 microgram/cubic meter) by 2025-26 in targeted 131 cities of 24 States, taking 2017 as the base year for the comparison of concentration.


  • To augment and evolve effective and proficient ambient air quality monitoring network across the country to ensure comprehensive and reliable database
  • To have efficient data dissemination and public outreach mechanism for timely measures for prevention and mitigation of air pollution and for inclusive public participation in both planning and implementation of the programmes and policies of government on air pollution
  • To have feasible management plan for prevention, control and abatement of air pollution.


  • Collaborative, Multi-scale and Cross-Sectoral Coordination between relevant Central Ministries, State Government and local bodies.
  • Focus on no Regret Measures, Participatory and Disciplined approach
  • The NCAP will be a mid-term, five-year action plan with 2019 as the first year.
  • Under NCAP, 131 cities are being targeted for improving air quality. Of these 131 cities, 123 cities (NACs) are identified under NCAP based on non-conforming to national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) consecutively for five years. In addition, million plus cities (MPCs) are also covered, those identified by 15th
  • Finance Commission (XV-FC), for receiving performance based grant for air quality improvement. Out of 42 MPCs, 34 cities are common under NCAP. Thus,
  • 131 cities (NACs and MPCs) are being monitored under the NCAP for improving air quality.

Initiatives under NCAP

  • Augmenting Air Quality Monitoring Network: National air quality monitoring network to be revisited, past data to be analyzed for rationalization of monitored parameters, and monitoring needs be reassessed for augmenting the monitoring network adopting optimum blending of techniques such as manual, continuous, sensor & satellite based techniques.
  • Air Quality Management Plan for 100 Non-Attainment Cities: The city action plans need to be guided by a comprehensive science based approach involving (i) identification of emission sources; (ii) assessment of extent of contribution of these sources; (iii) prioritizing the sources that need to be tackled; (iv) evaluation of various options for controlling the sources with regard to feasibility and economic viability; and (v) formulation of action plans.
  • Indoor Air Pollution Monitoring & Management: It refers to the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of air in the indoor environment within a home, building, or an institution or commercial facility.
  • Air Pollution Health Impact Studies
  • Setting up Air Information Centre
  • Certification system for monitoring instruments
  • Air Quality Forecasting System
  • Extensive Plantation Drive
  • Issuance of Notification on Dust Management (Road dust and C&D)
  • Intensive Awareness, Training and Capacity Building Drive
  • Three tier mechanism for review of monitoring, assessment and inspection for implementation
  • National Emission Inventory: An emission inventory is an accounting of the amount of pollutants discharged into the atmosphere. An emission inventory usually contains the total emissions for one or more specific air pollutants, originating from all source categories in a certain geographical area and within a specified time span, usually a specific year. Emissions and releases to the environment are the starting point of every environmental pollution problem.
  • Network of Technical Institutions: Knowledge Partners Network of highly qualified and experienced academicians, academic administrators and technical institutions in the area of air pollution will be created to provide holistic services for the establishment and operation of policies and programmes of Government of India on air pollution.
  • Technology Assessment Cell :Technology Assessment Cell is being envisaged to evaluate the technologies having significance in reference to prevention, control and abatement of pollution. The cell is expected to focus on both indigenous and international monitoring and abatement technologies. It is also expected to contribute towards evaluating the technology and devising the mechanism of technology transfer under various bilateral and multilateral agreements.
  • International Cooperation including sharing of International Best Practices on Air Pollution
  • Extending source apportionment studies to all non-attainment cities : Source apportionment study, which is primarily based on measurements and tracking down the sources through receptor modelling, helps in identifying the sources and extent of their contribution. Source apportionment studies which have been initiated in six major cities viz. (i) Delhi; (ii) Mumbai; (iii) Chennai; (iv) Bangalore; (v) Pune; and (vi) Kanpur at present is planned to be extended to all 94 non-attainments.
  • Review of ambient air quality standards and emission standards
  • Institutional Framework: An effective institutional framework which basically refers to formal organisational structures is the precondition for the successful implementation of pollution specifically air pollution related intervention tools and therefore needs to be considered in particular.


Q. Air pollution is the top killer today. Discuss the initiatives that have been taken under the National Clean Air Programme.