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GANGA, THE MOTHER IN A CURSE
The World Wildlife Fund in March
listed the Ganges among the
world’s 10 most endangered
rivers. In India, the river provides
more than 500 million people with
water for drinking and farming.
More than 100 cities and
countless villages are situated
along the 1,568-mile river, which
stretches from the foothills of the
Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal,
and few of them have sewage
treatment plants. But recent
reports by scientists say the
Ganges is under greater threat
from water pollution & even
greater from global warming.
According to a U.N. climate
report, the Himalayan glaciers
that are the sources of the Ganges
could disappear by 2030 as
temperatures rise. The shrinking
glaciers also threaten Asia’s supply
of fresh water. The immediate
effect of glacier recession is a
short-lived surplus of water. But

eventually the supply runs out,
and experts predict that the
Ganges eventually will become a
seasonal river, largely dependent
on monsoon rains.
Arrangement at the Central
Level
The river cleaning program was
started with Ganga Action
Plan(GAP) in 1985 under the
aegis of GPD established under
the Ministry of Environment &
Forest. A CGA under the
chairmanship of the PM was
constituted to finalise the policy
framework and to oversee the
implementation of GAP. The
Chief Ministers of the concerned
States, Union Ministers and
Secretaries of the concerned
Central Ministries and Experts
were its members. The GAP was
later extended to GAP II in 1993
and was broad-based in the form
of NRCP in 1995. The GAP II
was merged with NRCP in

December 1996. Since then a
single scheme of NRCP is under
implementation as a Centrally
Sponsored Scheme. The CGA
was renamed as National River
Conservation Authority (NRCA)
with a larger mandate to cover all
the programmes supported by the
NRCD.
National Ganga River Basin
Authority
To face this challenge the Central
Government by a notification on
20th February,2009, has set up
the ‘National Ganga River Basin
Authority’ (NGRBA) as an
empowered planning, financing,
monitoring and coordinating
authority for the Ganga River, to
ensure effective abatement of
pollution and conservation of the
river Ganga by adopting a holistic
approach with the river basin as
the unit of planning .The Authority
will perform its function under the
Chairmanship of the Prime
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a new institutional mechanism in the form of National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) will spearhead river conservation efforts at the national level. Uttarakhand. Salient Features of the New Approach River Basin will be the unit of planning and management.. it will concentrate on Gangamain stem. During the finalization of the respective State Plans. The NGRBA will ensure minimum ecological flow in the Ganga by regulating water abstraction and by promoting water storage projects.PORTAL. The States may take up steps for comprehensive management of the river in the State through their respective State River Conservation Authorities. The pollution abatement activities will be taken up through the existing implementation mechanisms in the States and also through Special WWW. Bihar. The Boards will need to be strengthened for better enforcement and surveillance of polluting industries located on the banks of the rivers. the States should make adequate provisions in their budgets for meeting O&M expenditure. It has as its members. user charges. sustainable access and other issues relevant to river ecology and management. Implementation will be by the State Agencies and Urban Local Bodies. The Authority may co-opt one or more Chief Ministers from any of the States having major tributaries of the river Ganga. The objective of the NGRBA is to ensure effective abatement of pollution and conservation of the river Ganga by adopting a river basin approach for comprehensive planning and management. Role of State Government under NGRBA The State government will be at the forefront. Jharkhand and West Bengal. NGRBA will take appropriate measures in cooperation with the States to regulate water abstraction for maintaining minimum ecological flows in the river.UPSC. The NGRBA would draw upon professional expertise within and outside the Government for advice on techno-economic issues. turtles. Attention would also be paid to the restoration of living parts of the river ecosystem for its holistic treatment to enable conservation of species like dolphin .UPSCPORTAL Current Affairs : http://upscportal. minimum ecological flows. The technical and administrative support to NGRBA shall be provided by the Ministry of Environment & Forests. among others. Key Functions of the NGRBA The NGRBA would be responsible for addressing the problem of pollution in Ganga in a bolistic and comprehensive manner. The NGRBA will not only be regulatory body but will also have developmental role in terms of planning & monitoring of the river conservation activities and ensuring that necessary resources are available. and to maintain minimum ecological flows in the river Ganga with the aim of ensuring water quality and environmentally sustainable development. for abatement of pollution in the rivers and for proper O&M of the assets created. This is an internationally accepted strategy for integrated management of rivers. the Chief Ministers of the States through which Ganga flows viz. Compliance of the environmental norms by industries discharging wastewater directly into the river is under the purview of the State Pollution Control Boards. Accordingly. The minimum ecological flows for the entire Ganga will be determined through modeling exercises.. including from the financial institutions. . Funds thus raised may be utilized for infrastructure development including sewage works. etc. levies. fishes and other native and endangered species in the river. The NGRBA would work for maintaining the water quality of the river Ganga upto the acceptable standards. This will include water quality.COM Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) at the pollution hotspots. the Union Ministers concerned. cess. The States will therefore have to introduce policies which may attract private sector investments. Implementation will be at the level of State Government/ ULBs. To begin with . The NGRBA will plan and monitor programmes for cleaning of Ganga and its tributaries. The public funds for the capital and recurring costs may not be sufficient to meet the demand. The State Government/ ULBs are expected to generate resources through taxes.com/civilservices/current-affairs Minister. Uttar Pradesh.

otherwise our next generation seldom get a chance to see the river Ganga and they will get to know about this only in stories and text books. The selection of monitoring stations and the results are reviewed by experts from time to time. Under GAP I. the improvement in river water quality can be attributed to diversion of large quantities of sewage in towns like Kanpur. Resultantly. Despite the problems of O&M in UP and Bihar. A working group for preparing on action plan for Dolphin conservation has been constituted. 8 The river stretch from Farrukhabad to Varanasi in general and Kanpur in particular is critical in terms of the availability of the desired minimum flow for dilution purpose. Although the river water quality along Kanpur and Varanasi has improved significantly. Bihar and WB is being carried out regularly at 27 monitoring stations with the help of reputed research institutes and universities. Scientists of Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna University.UPSC. 8 Only 160 out of 425 mld at Kanpur and about 100 out of 160 mld of sewage at Varanasi has been taken up for interception and diversion under GAP I. Dolphin Conservation Dolphin is considered to be one of the major bio-indicators of the ecological health of Ganga. Central Inland Capture Fisheries research Institute. the water quality of Ganga has shown improvement over the pre-GAP period quality in terms of both BOD & DO.UPSCPORTAL Current Affairs : http://upscportal. WWW. and for this we all should also make valiant efforts as a sincere citizen. Amendments in WQM are provided by incorporating need based modifications. it still does not meet the prescribed standard of BOD of 3 mg/l. projects on biomonitoring and bioconservation by having indicator species approach were initiated in the Himalayan segment. Jivaji University. Barrackpur and Patna University are involved in carrying out the bio-monitoring and bioconservation studies. two important parameters to assess the river water quality. the impact of the completed works is not fully visible. The quality of river water quality monitoring leaves much to be desired. This is mainly because: In order to evaluate the results of implementation of the pollution abatement schemes under GAP. as we all know that we Indians treat river Ganges as Goddess & mother. water quality monitoring in the state of UP. only about 35% of the total sewage generated presently in towns along the river has been tackled.COM . the facilities created to tackle the targeted pollution load are not being maintained properly in States like UP and Bihar. However. Garhwal. Allahabad and Varanasi for irrigating the farmlands. we have to make sure that government take all the corrective & preventive measures to make Ganga clean and pure. with the implementation of GAP. Gwalior. On the other hand. mahaseer followed by otters and crocodiles from Hardwar to Kanpur. Accordingly it has been declared as a national aquatic animal. Therefore. major carps from Kanpur to Varanasi and dolphins in the stretch of Bihar have been identified as indicator species for these studies.PORTAL. There is lack of transparency and professionalism in this effort.com/civilservices/current-affairs Measures Taken Impact so far To restore the ecological health and biological wealth of the river.

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