“NATIONAL GANGA RIVER BASIN AUTHORITY’ (NGRBA): OBJECTIVES, APPROACH AND FUNCTIONS"
The Central Government has set up the ‘National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA)’ vide gazette notification dated 20.2.2009 as a collaborative institution of Central and State Governments under the Environment (Protection) Act of 1986 for abatement of pollution of River Ganga. The objective of the authority is 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 Apex Body of NGRBA is headed by the Prime Minister for policy decisions and the Standing Committee is headed by the Minister of Finance for periodical review of NGRBA programme implementation. The fast track mechanism for implementations of projects under NGRBA programme was constituted by the Union Cabinet in December, 2009. Creation of a Mission Directorate for Clean Mission Ganga and setting up of Empowered Steering Committee (ESC) for appraisal and approval of projects along with monitoring and coordination amongst various Central Ministries and Centre – State coordination were approved. The NGRBA including the Mission Directorate and other related matters of Ganga Rejuvenation was transferred and allotted to the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation vide 306th amendment in the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961 with effect from 1st August, 2014. Further, NGRBA has been reconstituted in September, 2014 with inclusion of additional four Central Ministries i.e Union Minister of Rural Development, Union Minister for Drinking Water and Sanitation, Union Minister for Shipping and Union Minister of State, Tourism for better coordination to ensure effective abatement of pollution and rejuvenation of the River Ganga.
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Key Features of New Approach
* River basin will be the unit of planning and management. This is an internationally accepted strategy for integrated management of rivers.
* Accordingly, a new institutional mechanism in the form of National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) will spearhead river conservation efforts at the national level. Implementation will be by the State Agencies and Urban Local Bodies
* The new strategy will take into account the competing demands on water and will seek t ensure minimum ecological flows. STPs minimise the pollution load up to discharge standard of BOD of 30mg/litre requiring dilution to achieve river water quality of 3mg/ litre.
* The minimum ecological flows or the entire Ganga will be determined through modelling exercises. NGRBA
* will take appropriate measures to regulate water abstraction for maintaining ecological flows in the river.
Functions of NGRBA
* The NGRBA would be responsible for addressing the problem of pollution in Ganga in a holistic and comprehensive manner. This will include water quality, minimum ecological flows, sustainable access and other issues relevant to river ecology and management.
* 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.
* The NRGBA would work for maintaining the water quality of the river Ganga uptoacceptable standards. The pollution abetment activities will be taken through the existing implementation mechanisms in the State and also through special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs0 at the pollution hotspots.
* The NGRBA will ensure minimum ecological flow in the Ganga by regulating water abstraction and by promoting water storage projects.
* The NGRBA will plan and monitor programmes for cleaning of Ganga and its tributaries. To being with, it will concentrate on Ganga main stream.
* The NGRBA would draw upon professional expertise within and outside the Government for advice on techno-economic issues.
* The technical and administrative support to NGRBA shall be provided by the Ministry of Environment & for advice on techno-economic issues.
* The technical and administrative support to NGRBA shall be provided by the Ministry of Environment & Forests.