Ganga basin, largest and most important river basin in India, sustaining 45% of population, has been in devastating in terms of quality of water and level of flow.
Hence to rejuvenate the River and its basin, Namami Gange was launched in 2014- 15 with assured funding of Rs 20,000 crores which is implemented by National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) and backed by Ganga River Basin Management Plan.
The river centric, basin-based approach for comprehensive rejuvenation has four broad categories:
Improving flow and ecology (Aviral Ganga): E-flow; wetland mapping and conservation; Floodplain Protection; Sustainable Agriculture; Afforestation and Biodiversity Conservation; Small River Rejuvenation
Strengthening People-River connect (Jan Ganga): River front, ghat and Crematoria; Community Engagement; Ganga Run; Ganga Amantran (Rafting Expedition), Ganga Utsav, Ganga Quest
Research, knowledge management (Gyan Ganga): Water quality monitoring; High Resolution Mapping of Ganga; Aquifer Mapping and Spring Rejuvenation; Cultural Mapping and Climate Scenario Mapping, Microbial Diversity, Urban River Management Plan
NMCG has been established as an authority under EP Act, 1986 the Government of India which also created empowered institutions, and laid down fundamental principles with a comprehensive framework for river rejuvenation in the Basin.
It integrates rivers, tributaries, wetlands, flood plains, springs, and small rivers as a single system.
The Integrated Institutional Framework for this is as follows:
National Ganga Council (headed by PM)
Empowered Task Force
National Mission for Clean ganga
State Ganga Committee
District Ganga Committee (Headed by DM)
A total of 156 sewerage infrastructure projects has been sanctioned to create 4856 MLD treatment capacity in the Ganga basin.
It has introduced PPP for sewerage infrastructure for the first time in India, through Hybrid Annuity Mode (HAM) with 40% of capex being paid during construction and 60% with interest by 15-year annuity with separate payment for operation & maintenance (O&M). HAM is now also accepted by NITI Aayog and states outside the Ganga basin.
This model has brought a paradigm shift from payment for construction to Performance Linked Payments.
The ‘One City One Operator’ approach to improve governance has been also introduced.
Major drains falling into Ganga have been intercepted and diverted to STPs.
Annual inspection of grossly polluting industries by expert institutions, online monitoring, process improvement, Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) helped in checking industrial pollution.
The Notification of Ecological flow for the Ganga was made in October 2018.
It includes Demarcation and protection of floodplains; protection &conservation of wetlands and small river rejuvenation projects.
Sustainable Agriculture is also being promoted through organic farming, eco-agriculture, and medicinal plantation, and improving water use efficiency.
Demand-side management, Rainwater harvesting, aquifer mapping, and recharge are in progress. Afforestation along Ganga as per the scientific plan by FRI is a model for similar work for 13 more rivers.
A comprehensive programme for fisheries and Biodiversity Conservation including Gangetic Dolphin through baseline survey, habitat and species improvement, and community involvement in the biodiversity hotspot of Ganga has been launched.
Jan Bhagidari with dedicated cadres of Ganga saviors is central to this mission. Various innovative public outreach activities such as Ganga Quest quiz, rafting expeditions, Ganga run, Ganga Utsav, etc. are conducted throughout the year that transform the programme as a Jan Andolan.
Centre for Ganga Management & study has been set up at IIT Kanpur
Scientific mapping of different aspects viz. mapping of springs, microbial diversity, fisheries, biodiversity, Heli survey for aquifers help in evidence-based decisions are being done.
The cultural mapping for natural, built and intangible heritage has potential for the development of tourism.
A new paradigm for planning for River Cities to mainstream river health in urban planning and a national framework for reuse of treated wastewater are being formulated.
NamamiGange is now leading to the development of Arth Ganga model linking the economic development of the Ganga Basin with ecological improvement and Ganga Rejuvenation.