New Delhi: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the flagship “Namami Gange” programme, which attempts to integrate the efforts to clean up and protect the Ganga river in a comprehensive manner.
“The programme has a budget outlay of Rs 20,000 crore for the next 5 years. This is a significant four-fold increase over the expenditure in the past 30 years,” an official statement issued here said.
Marking a major shift in implementation, the government is focusing on involving people living on the banks of the river to attain sustainable results.
Drawing from the lessons learnt from previous efforts, the programme also focuses on involving the states and grassroots level institutions such as urban local bodies and panchayati raj institutions in implementation, it added.
The statement pointed out that in order to ramp up progress, the Centre will now take over 100 percent funding of various activities under this programme.
Learning from the unsatisfactory results of the earlier Ganga Action Plan, the Centre now plans to provide for operation and maintenance of the assets for a minimum 10 year period, and adopt a PPP/SPV approach for pollution hotspots.
In an attempt to bolster enforcement the Centre also plans to establish a 4-battalion Ganga Eco-Task Force, a Territorial Army unit, apart from mulling a legislation that aims to check pollution and protect the river, the statement said.
“Significantly the approach is underpinned by socio-economic benefits that the programme is expected to deliver in terms of job creation, improved livelihoods and health benefits to the vast population that is dependent on the river,” the statement added.
The cabinet meeting was chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.