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National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), Objectives, Administrative Structure and Associated Concerns

National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG): The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) is an ambitious initiative launched by the Government of India with the aim of restoring the ecological balance and purity of the revered river Ganga. The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) is also important for UPSC Prelims Exam and UPSC Mains Exam (GS Paper 2- Various government bodies and their mandate; GS Paper 3- Environment and Ecology).

National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) in News

Recently, HCL Foundation (HCLF) has renewed its partnership with the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) and Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) for another three years to boost native biodiversity in the eco-sensitive regions of Uttarakhand. HCL Foundation (HCLF) delivers the corporate social responsibility (CSR) agenda of leading global technology company HCLTech.

NMCG’s Recent Projects

The Jal Shakti Ministry’s National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) cleared eight projects worth ₹638 crore.

  • The projects include the rejuvenation of river Hindon, a tributary of the Yamuna, stretches of which rank as among the most polluted in the country.
  • This clean-up comprises four projects, worth ₹407.39 crore, approved for pollution abatement in Shamli district, Uttar Pradesh.
  • Once commissioned, the projects will stem the flow of polluted water into the Krishni river, which, as of now, discharges pollution from Shamli district into the Hindon.

About NMCG

The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) is an initiative launched by the Government of India with the objective of cleaning and rejuvenating the river Ganga (also known as the Ganges).

  • With its historical and cultural significance deeply ingrained in the fabric of Indian society, the Ganga holds immense spiritual and economic value.
  • However, over the years, the river has suffered from pollution and degradation, posing serious challenges to its sustainability.
  • In response, NMCG was established to address these concerns and rejuvenate the lifeline of India.
  • The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) is registered as a society under the Societies Registration Act 1860.
  • The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) acts as the implementation arm of the National Ganga Council (which replaced the National Ganga River Basin Authority in 2016).
  • National Ganga Council was constituted in 2016 under the Environment (Protection) Act (EPA),1986, and headed by the Prime Minister of India.

Administrative structure of NMCG

The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) is part of the five-tier governance structure envisaged under the EPA act to ensure a clean river Ganga. They are-

  1. National Ganga Council under the chairmanship of Hon’ble Prime Minister of India.
  2. Empowered Task Force (ETF) on river Ganga under the chairmanship of Hon’ble Union Minister of Jal Shakti
  3. National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG).
  4. State Ganga Committees and
  5. District Ganga Committees in every specified district abutting river Ganga and its tributaries in the states.

NMCG has two wings, both of them headed by Director General, NMCG (an Additional Secretary in Government of India).

  1. Governing Council
  2. Executive Committee: authorized to accord approval for all projects up to Rs.1000 crore.
  • Similar to the structure at the national level, State Program Management Groups (SPMGs) acts as implementing arms of State Ganga Committees.

Key Objectives of NMCG

The primary objective of NMCG is to clean and rejuvenate the river Ganga, ensuring its ecological integrity and providing a clean and uninterrupted flow. The mission aims-

  • To ensure effective abatement of pollution and rejuvenation of the river Ganga by adopting a river basin approach to promote inter-sectoral co-ordination for comprehensive planning and management and
  • To maintain minimum ecological flows in the river Ganga with the aim of ensuring water quality and environmentally sustainable development.

Key function to achieve above objectives

The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) aims to achieve above objectives by implementing comprehensive and sustainable strategies that address pollution sources, promote conservation measures, and enhance the overall quality of the river’s ecosystem. Key functions of the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) are to-

  • Implement the work program of the National Ganga Council (NGC).
  • Implement the World Bank-supported National Ganga River Basin Project.
  • Coordinate and oversee the implementation of projects sanctioned by the Government of India under NGC.
  • Undertake any additional work or functions as may be assigned by MoWR, RD &GJ in the area of conservation of river Ganga.
  • Accept or to provide any grant of money, loan securities, or property of any kind and to undertake and accept the management of any endowment trust, fund or donation not inconsistent with the objectives of NMCG.
  • Take all such action and enter all such actions as may appear necessary or incidental for the achievements of the objectives of the NGC.

Associated concerns

The revival of the Ganga is a complex task that requires concerted efforts from various stakeholders. Some of the key challenges faced by NMCG include ensuring effective coordination among different government agencies, managing industrial and urban pollution, and addressing the socio-economic concerns of communities dependent on the river.

  • Widespread pollution: many cities across the five states are present on the banks of the Ganga river, polluting it indiscriminately. For example-
    • Industrial pollution: from tanneries in Kanpur, distilleries, paper and sugar mills in the Kosi, Ramganga, and Kali-river catchments are major contributors.
    • Untreated Sewerages flow: This brings many types of degradable and non-degradable pollutions from the habitations along the river banks.
  • Illegal Construction: The problem of illegal and rampant construction near river beds led to encroachment of the river banks, obstructing the river flow, and has become a major hurdle in cleaning the river.
  • Violation of ecological- flow (e-flow) of the river: mainly due to unscientific construction of hydropower projects.
    • Central Water Commission (CWC) findings: 4 of the 11 hydropower projects on the upper reaches of the river Ganga’s tributaries are violating Ganga’s e-flow norms which are further interrupting the natural flow of the river
  • Poor Governance: There is less utilization of funds allotted under the programs due to lack of monitoring and super-vison.

Steps needed to ensure clean and rejuvenated Ganga river system

To overcome above challenges, NMCG must continue to collaborate with state governments, local bodies, NGOs, and international organizations to leverage their expertise and resources. Strengthening institutional mechanisms, promoting research and innovation, and adopting a holistic approach towards river basin management will be crucial in achieving long-term sustainability.

  • Building and effectively operation critical Sewerage Treatment Plants (STP): in this context, the World Bank-funded initiative to build sewerage infrastructure in 20 pollution hotspots along the river is noteworthy.
    • The government should prepare a proper plan and ensure effective monitoring of the running STPs to ensure proper treatment of city sewerage before it gets into the rivers.
  • Sensitization and awareness campaign: to make it a ‘Jan Andolan’ so that each and every individual is aware of the importance of clean and e-flow of the rivers in a sustainable future of humankind.
    • In this context, Swachha Bharat Mission (SBM) is a notable step forward.
  • Collaborative approach: Government should further build on the success of the SBM initiative through a collaborative approach with concerned states, civil societies, and other motivated individuals.


The National Mission for Clean Ganga is a commendable endeavor by the Government of India to restore the purity and vitality of the river Ganga. By implementing diverse initiatives encompassing pollution control, infrastructure development, biodiversity conservation, and public participation, NMCG aims to transform the Ganga into a symbol of national pride once again. With sustained efforts and collective responsibility, the dream of a clean and rejuvenated Ganga can be realized, benefiting not only the present generation but also future ones.

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