On december 14, 2019 the Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi chaired the 1st meeting of the National Ganga Council (National Council for Rejuvenation, Protection and Management of River Ganga) in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh(UP). The aim of the council was to reinforce the importance of a ‘Ganga-centric’ approach in all departments of the concerned states as well as relevant Central Ministries. The council was responsible for superintendence of pollution prevention and rejuvenation of River Ganga Basin, including Ganga and its tributaries.Govt Initiatives:
i.Rs.20,000 crores allocated: Various initiatives undertaken by the govt like Namami Gange project in 2014 were reiterated. The Central Government, for the 1st time made commitment of Rs. 20,000 crores for the period 2015-20 to the five states( Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, and West Bengal) through which Ganga passes, to ensure adequate and uninterrupted water flows in the river.
- Rs. 7700 crores have already been spent in this regard with the construction of new sewage treatment plants.
ii.Clean Ganga Fund: Clean Ganga Fund (CGF) is an initiative by the govt. to facilitate contributions from individuals, NRIs(Non Resident Indians), corporate entities for funding Ganga rejuvenation projects.
- The PM alone has personally contributed Rs. 16.53 crores to CGF, from the amount realized from auction of the gifts he received since 2014 and the prize money of the Seoul Peace Prize in 2018.
iii.Holistic thinking process on ‘Namami Gange’ project evolving to ‘Arth Ganga’ or a sustainable development model with a focus on economic activities related to Ganga river was discussed.
iv.Digital Dashboard: A digital dashboard will be set up to monitor the work progress and activities from various schemes and initiatives under Namami Gange and Arth Ganga.
- Pm Modi also visited an exhibition on ‘Namami Gange’ interventions and projects at the Chandrashekhar Azad Agriculture University in Kanpur, UP.
- Prior to that, he also paid floral tributes to legendary freedom fighter Chandrashekhar Azad.
- PM visited Atal Ghat and also inspected the completed work of cleaning at Sisamau Nala. Sisamau Nala often referred to as the ‘largest drain in Asia’ was used as a sewage conveyance channel since the 1890s.
National Ganga Council (National Council for Rejuvenation, Protection and Management of River Ganga)
i.Focus: The progress of the work on cleaning river Ganga was reviewed with focus on ‘swachhta’, ‘aviralta’ and ‘nirmalta’.
ii.The council was constituted in 2016 to oversee the cleaning of the Ganga river. It is under the chairmanship of Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi. The council meets at least once a year.
iii.Participants: Union Ministers of various portfolios like Jal Shakti, environment, agriculture & rural development, Health, urban affairs, power, tourism, shipping and Chief Minister(CM) of UPShriYogi Adityanath and Uttarakhand CM Shri Trivendra Singh Rawat, Deputy CM of Bihar Shri Sushil Kumar Modi, Vice Chairman Niti (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog Shri Rajiv Kumar and other senior officials were present.
- Non participant states: West Bengal was not present in the meeting and Jharkhand did not participate due to ongoing elections and the enforcement of Model Code of Conduct (MCC).
About Uttar Pradesh:
Chief minister- Yogi Adityanath.
Governor- Anandiben Patel.
National Parks(NP)- Dudhwa NP.