Cleaning Ganga : Important Topics for UPSC Exams


Cleaning Ganga

The government of India is intended to expedite the process of cleaning river Ganga in mission mode. Prime Minister launched Namami Gange, which involve cleaning of Ghats, ridding the river of biological contaminants, improving rural sanitation and promoting afforestation in the river basin.  The NMCG has a ₹20,000-crore, centrally-funded, non-lapsable corpus and consists of nearly 288 projects.

 River Ganga flows through five states of India. The states include Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal. Around 80% of the pollutants in Ganga is due to untreated sewerage and 20% is because of industrial pollutants from tanneries in Kanpur and paper mills in UP.

Slow Progress :

  • The CAG report titled "Performance Audit of the rejuvenation of river Ganga" revealed the deficiency in financial management, planning, implementation and monitoring. The report stated that the government failed to achieve 100% target of "Open defecation Free" villages in the river basin area.
  • Only 35 of the proposed 86 sewerage treatment plants (STP) have been completed. The report noted that this meant unusually high level of fecal coliform in the water.
  • An amount of Rs. 20, 601 crores had been sanctioned under the program for 193 projects. Only 20% of this amount was actually spent. 
  • The river flow has decreased because dams have been built on its tributaries like Alaknanda, Mandakini and Bhagirathi, in the upper reach. Another reason for this is that water is diverted towards Delhi at Haridwar and exploitation of ground water in river basin for irrigation  by building lift canals continues to be unabated. 
  • Recently National Green Tribunal (NGT) pulled up the government for its insufficient efforts and declared the flow between Haridwar and Unnao unfit for drinking and bathing. 

Way Forward :

It is a high time that the government should take a comprehensive look at the interconnection between policies such as subsidies, electricity consumption, power use patterns, industrial development and urbanization plans. All of this takes creativity, innovation, discipline, transparency and strong leadership. The cleanup of the Thames in London and Rhine in Europe suggest that it is possible. The Ganga's water will ultimately depends on the actions of millions of Indians who depends on it for nutrition, electricity and spiritual fulfilment.  

Multiple Choice Question

Q. Which of the following is true regarding National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG)?
a. NMCG is the implementing agency is the implementation wing of National Council for Rejuvenation, protection and management of river Ganga.
b. It was established in 2015 as a registered society under Societies Registration Act, 1860.
1. only a
2. only b
3. Both a and b
4. Neither a nor b
Answer- 1 (only a).

Hint- NMCG was established in 2011 as a registered society. 

There is a chance of a question related to cleaning Ganga in GS paper 2. The format may be--
Q. Discuss the Namami Gange and National Mission for Ganga (NMCG) programs and causes of mixed results from the previous schemes. What quantum leaps can help preserve the river Ganga better than incremental inputs?
Hint- This question has been asked in UPSC Mains 2015 examination. Here we have to inclined towards solution more than problems. Start with the Namami Gange project and then switch towards the problems river Ganga face in different states and then talk about solution. 

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