National Mission for Clean Ganga

National Mission for Clean Ganga


Established on August 12, 2011, the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) was formally recognized as a society in accordance with the Societies Registration Act, 1860.

Functioning as the operational entity of the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA), constituted under the Environment (Protection) Act (EPA), 1986, the NMCG played a pivotal role in the implementation of Ganga rejuvenation initiatives.

In 2016, the NGRBA underwent dissolution, giving way to the establishment of the National Council for Rejuvenation, Protection, and Management of River Ganga. This transition marked a shift in the organizational framework while maintaining the focus on the comprehensive rejuvenation, protection, and effective management of the River Ganga.

Objective of the mission

The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), instituted by the Government of India and headquartered at Delhi's Vigyan Bhavan, is dedicated to mitigating pollution in the Ganga River. The mission focuses on implementing pollution reduction measures, including the interception, diversion, and treatment of wastewater from open drains. Its objectives are outlined as follows:

  • Pollution Reduction Interventions:
      1. Implementing strategies like bioremediation, in-situ treatment, and advanced technologies.
      2. Establishing Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) and Effluent Treatment Plants (ETPs) for effective pollution control.
  • Rehabilitation of Existing Infrastructure:
      1. Enhancing and rehabilitating existing STPs.
      2. Implementing short-term measures to address pollution at exit points along the riverfront, preventing sewage inflow.
  • Maintaining Natural Water Flow:
      1. Ensuring the uninterrupted flow of water while preserving natural seasonal variations.
  • Restoration and Preservation of Water Resources:
      1. Restoring and maintaining both surface flow and groundwater to sustain the ecological balance.
  • Vegetation Conservation:
      1. Regenerating and preserving natural vegetation within the Ganga basin area.
  • Biodiversity Conservation:
      1. Conserving and regenerating aquatic and riparian biodiversity within the Ganga basin.
  • Public Participation:
    1. Encouraging public involvement in the protection, rejuvenation, and management processes of the Ganga River.

Organizational structure

The legislative framework envisions a structured approach at the national, state, and district levels to address environmental pollution in the Ganga River. The organizational hierarchy is delineated as follows:

  • National Ganga Council:
      1. Positioned at the apex, it is chaired by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, serving as the highest decision-making body for Ganga-related matters.
  • Empowered Task Force (ETF) on river Ganga:
      1. Operating under the leadership of the Hon’ble Union Minister of Jal Shakti (Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation), the ETF holds a pivotal role in strategizing and implementing initiatives for Ganga rejuvenation.
  • National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG):
      1. As a key operational entity, NMCG is tasked with executing pollution prevention, control, and abatement measures. It plays a central role in the practical implementation of Ganga rejuvenation projects.
  • State Ganga Committees:
      1. Positioned at the state level, these committees work in tandem with the National Ganga Council, ETF, and NMCG to ensure effective coordination and implementation of Ganga conservation strategies within their respective states.
  • District Ganga Committees:
    1. Established at the district level, these committees are specifically designated for districts abutting the Ganga River and its tributaries. They play a crucial role in the localized implementation of measures for the prevention, control, and abatement of environmental pollution in the Ganga River basin.

This structured five-tier organizational framework is designed to facilitate a comprehensive and coordinated approach to address the multifaceted challenges associated with environmental pollution in the Ganga River.

Initiatives for implementation of the mission

Several noteworthy initiatives were undertaken before the inception of the Clean Ganga Mission, with a focus on reducing pollution and rejuvenating the Ganga River. Key initiatives by the Government of India pre-dating the mission include:

  • Ganga Action Plan (1985):
      1. Launched by the Ministry of Environment & Forests in 1985, this was the inaugural River Action Plan aimed at enhancing water quality. It employed strategies such as the interception, diversion, and treatment of domestic sewage to curb the entry of toxic and industrial chemical wastes into the river.
  • National River Conservation Plan:
      1. An extension of the Ganga Action Plan, this broader conservation plan aimed to encompass all major rivers in India. It sought to implement measures for the improvement of water quality and environmental conditions across the nation's river systems.
  • National River Ganga Basin Authority (NRGBA) - 2009:
      1. Formed under Section-3 of the Environment Protection Act, 1986, and overseen by the Prime Minister of India, the NRGBA was established in 2009. It designated the Ganga as the 'National River' of India, consolidating authority for river conservation efforts.
  • Government Clean-up Campaign (2010):
    1. In 2010, the government initiated a comprehensive clean-up campaign to prevent the inflow of untreated municipal sewage and industrial runoff into the Ganga. This campaign marked a proactive step towards mitigating pollution and preserving the ecological integrity of the river.

These initiatives laid the groundwork for subsequent missions and campaigns, paving the way for the comprehensive Clean Ganga Mission with a sustained focus on Ganga rejuvenation and environmental conservation.

What is Namami Gange?

Namami Gange, a crucial initiative, is executed by the National Mission for Clean Ganga in collaboration with its State Programme Management Groups (SPMGs). The announcement of Namami Gange took place on July 10, 2014, by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

Established as a comprehensive conservation mission, Namami Gange boasts a substantial budget of Rs. 20,000 crore. The primary objectives revolve around the reduction of pollution in the Ganga River and the conservation and rejuvenation of its riverbanks. The National Ganga Clean Mission (Namami Gange) unfolds in distinct phases, with each phase targeting specific aspects of the comprehensive river rejuvenation endeavor:

This flagship program, spearheaded by the Union Government, focuses on key pillars, including:

  • Sewerage Treatment Infrastructure & Industrial Effluent Monitoring: Implementing robust sewerage treatment infrastructure and monitoring industrial effluents to mitigate pollution.
  • Development of River-Front and River-Surface Cleaning: Undertaking initiatives for the development of river-front areas and implementing effective cleaning strategies for the river surface.
  • Bio-Diversity and Afforestation: Emphasizing the importance of biodiversity preservation and undertaking afforestation projects to enhance ecological balance.
  • Public Awareness: Engaging in extensive public awareness campaigns to educate and involve the community in the mission's objectives.

Namami Gange is a pioneering effort, reflecting the government's commitment to the holistic conservation and restoration of the Ganga River, encompassing a multi-faceted approach for sustainable results.

1st Phase (Valid until December 2021):

  • Funding: The initial phase has received a substantial amount of Rs. 4,535 crore from the World Bank.
  • Objective: Primarily focused on the National Ganga River Basin, this phase seeks to address pollution and conservation concerns.

2nd Phase:

  • Hybrid Annuity Projects: This phase entails the utilization of funds for three new 'Hybrid Annuity Projects' located in Agra, Meerut, and Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh, specifically targeting tributaries of the Ganga.
  • DBOT Projects: An allocation of Rs. 1,209 crore is designated for ongoing 'Design, Build, Operate and Transfer' (DBOT) projects in Buxar, Munger, and Begusarai in Bihar.
  • Cleaning Projects: This phase extends its reach to encompass spillover projects from the inaugural phase of the mission. It also includes cleaning initiatives in tributaries such as the Yamuna and Kali rivers.
  • Other Initiatives: Encompassing various facets, the second phase involves institutional development, strategies to enhance investment resilience during emergencies like the Covid-19 pandemic, performance-based incentives for Urban Local Bodies, and comprehensive communication and management programs.

These meticulously planned phases exemplify the holistic approach of Namami Gange, aiming not only for immediate remediation but also sustainable and resilient strategies for the future.

Challenges Faced by NMCG:

  • Poor Governance: Inadequate monitoring and supervision have resulted in suboptimal utilization of allocated funds for programs under NMCG.
  • Violation of e-Flow Norms: Central Water Commission reports reveal that four out of eleven hydropower projects in the upper Ganga tributaries are violating ecological flow norms, disrupting the river's natural flow.
  • Pollution: The involvement of five states along the Ganga's mainstream has led to widespread pollution, with industrial contributions from tanneries in Kanpur and various facilities in the Kosi, Ramganga, and Kali river catchments.
  • Illegal Construction:
    1. Rampant and unauthorized construction near river beds poses a significant obstacle to the Ganga cleanup efforts.

Way Forward 

The Government of India's Namami Gange Programme has injected vitality into Ganga rejuvenation efforts, with a focus on cleaning tributaries and critical sewage infrastructure development in pollution hotspots.

  • Strengthening Institutions: The funding acquired, including World Bank loans, will fortify institutions essential for managing the vast Ganga Basin.
  • Strategic Blueprint: Successful implementation requires a strategic blueprint encompassing rigorous monitoring, widespread awareness campaigns, effective utilization of digital media, and biodiversity conservation in the Ganga.


While the National Clean Ganga Mission faces substantial challenges, the concerted efforts under the Namami Gange Programme and strategic funding from international bodies present a promising trajectory. Addressing governance issues, ensuring compliance with ecological norms, and combating pollution and illegal construction require a collaborative and multifaceted approach. The commitment to a strategic blueprint, inclusive of monitoring, awareness, digital media utilization, and biodiversity conservation, can pave the way for a cleaner and rejuvenated Ganga. The mission's success hinges on sustained dedication and a holistic approach to overcome the multifaceted challenges posed by the complex Ganga Basin.

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