The Central Government approved the Namami Gange Programme in June 2014 with a budget outlay of Rs.20,000 Crore to achieve the objectives of successful pollution abatement, restoration, and rejuvenation of the National River Ganga.
The implementation of the program has been split into entry-level activities Immediate (for visible impact), Medium-term activities (to be implemented within 5 years of time frame), and Long-term activities (to be implemented within 10 years).
Biodiversity conservation, afforestation, and water quality monitoring are also being taken up under the programme.
River Ganga- The Lifeline of India
The Ganga is India’s longest river, flowing 1,569 miles (2,525 kilometers) from the Himalayan Mountains to the Bay of Bengal. The river has the world’s second-highest water discharge, and its basin is the world’s most densely populated because it hosts more than 40% of the country’s population.
Since ancient times, the Himalayas, where the river Ganga originates has been an abode of spiritual thinkers Great urban old cities such as Varanasi and Pataliputra thrived along the banks of the River Ganga.
Many renowned travellers of the medieval era such as Ibn Batuta and Jean-Baptiste Tavernier wrote exclusively about the Ganga in their travel accounts.
The River Ganga along with its many tributaries have provided Indian civilization with physical and spiritual sustenance for millennia.
Throughout the ages, Indians have worshipped the mighty river Ganga as a Holy entity and as the flow of divinity as ‘’ MOTHER GANGA’’.
The River is extremely significant to India’s Hindu population for religious purposes in addition to supplying drinking water and irrigating fields.
Pollution the biggest threat to River Ganga
Despite its religious significance and everyday importance to the people of India, the River is one of the world’s most polluted rivers. As a result of India’s rapid development, the Ganga is polluted by both human and industrial waste as well as religious activities.
“Ganga rejuvenation is a continuous task, which is why we have to encourage public participation,” Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Jal Shakti Minister, said at the Ganga Utsav 2020, recalling how Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for Aviral and Nirmal Ganga has become a mass movement.
He stressed the importance of festivals like Ganga Utsav in encouraging public participation and emphasized that Ganga rejuvenation is not only government’s work but involves constant public engagement and dialogue.
Ganga River Basin Management Plan
Seven Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are working on a comprehensive Ganga River Basin Management Plan. (Kanpur, Delhi, Madras, Bombay, Kharagpur, Guwahati, and Roorkee). The Plan is being built to restore the Ganga ecosystem’s wholesomeness and improve its ecological health while taking into account the problem of competing water uses in the river basin.
The National Ganga River Basin Projects (NGRBP) of the NMCG, which are sponsored by the World Bank, are currently focusing on five major states on the Ganga’s main stem, namely-Uttarakhand,Uttar Pradesh,Bihar,Jharkhand, West Bengal.
The Namami Gange Programme has approved 310 projects for various activities at a total cost of Rs.28,790 crore, such as sewerage infrastructure, ghats and crematoria, riverfront development, river surface cleaning, institutional development, biodiversity conservation, afforestation, and rural sanitation. 116 of the 310 projects have been completed, with the remaining projects in the pipeline.
Technology interweaved with Finance and Investments
The world is experiencing a technological revolution, particularly in the aftermath of the pandemic. For assisting the river rejuvenation program, the IWIS( India water Impact Summit) platform offered highly innovative concepts and a structure for implementation.