Namami Gange
January 01, 2016
Comments 15 Comments

It's my destiny to serve Maa Ganga’ said PM Modi when he was elected in May 2014 to Parliament from Varanasi, situated on the banks of Ganga in Uttar Pradesh.

The River Ganga is important not only for its cultural and spiritual significance but also because it hosts more than 40% of the country’s population. Addressing the Indian community at Madison Square Garden in New York in 2014, the Prime Minister had said, “If we are able to clean it, it will be a huge help for the 40 per cent population of the country. So, cleaning the Ganges is also an economic agenda.”

To translate this vision, the Government launched an integrated Ganga conservation mission called ‘Namami Gange’ to arrest the pollution of Ganga River and revive the river. The Union Cabinet approved the action plan proposed by Centre to spend Rs 20,000 Crores till 2019-2020 on cleaning the river, increasing the budget by four-fold and with 100% central share – a central sector scheme.

Recognizing the multi-sectoral, multi-dimensional and multi-stakeholder nature of the Ganga Rejuvenation challenge, efforts have been made to improve the inter-ministerial, and centre-state coordination with increased involvement in preparation of action plan and increased monitoring at central and state levels.

The implementation of the program has been divided into entry-level activities (for immediate visible impact), medium term activities (to be implemented within 5 years of time frame), and, long-term activities (to be implemented within 10 years).


Entry-level activities includes river surface cleaning to address the floating solid wastes; rural sanitation to arrest the pollution (solid & liquid) entering through rural sewage drains and construction of toilets; renovation, modernization, & construction of crematoria that prevents the disposal of un-burnt/ partially burnt bodies in the river; repair, modernization & construction of ghats to improvise the human-river connect.

Medium-term activities will focus on arresting the municipal and industrial pollution entering into the river. To address the pollution through municipal sewage, 2500 MLD additional treatment capacity is to be created in next 5 years. Major financial reforms are underway to make the program efficient, accountable, and sustainable in the long term. Hybrid Annuity based Public Private Partnership model for project implementation is currently being considered by the Cabinet. If approved, Special Purpose Vehicle will manage concessionaires in all major cities, market will be developed for treated water, and long term sustainability of assets will be assured.

For managing the industrial pollution, efforts have been initiated to improvise the compliance through better enforcement. Grossly Polluting Industries located along Ganga have been directed to reduce the effluent quality & volume or implement zero-liquid discharge. Action plan for the implementation of these directions by Pollution Control Boards are already prepared and timelines have been assigned for each category of industry with detailed consultations. All the industries have to install real-time on-line effluent monitoring stations.

Apart from these activities, biodiversity conservation, afforestation, and water quality monitoring are also being taken up under the program. Programmes for conservation of key iconic species such as Golden Mahaseer, Dolphins, Ghariyals, Turtles, Otters, etc. have been already initiated. Similarly, under ‘NamamiGange’ 30,000 hectares of land will be afforested for increased recharge of the aquifers, reduced erosion, and improved health of river ecosystem. The afforestation programme is set to begin in 2016. Also, comprehensive water quality monitoring will be done with installation of 113 real-time water quality monitoring stations.

Under the long-term, providing adequate flow to the river is envisioned through determination of e-flow, increased water-use efficiency, and improved efficiency of surface irrigation.

It is worth mentioning that cleaning river Ganga is extremely complex due to its socio-economic & cultural importance and yet, exploitation for various uses. Never in the world such a complex program has been implemented and will require participation across sectors and each and every citizen of the country. There are various ways in which each one of us can contribute to the cause of cleaning river Ganga:

  • Contribution of funds: Restoring the quality of a river with the length and population as large as that of Ganga requires huge investments. Government has already increased the budget by four-fold but still may not be enough to the requirements. Clean Ganga Fund has been established that provides a platform to all for contributing funds to clean river Ganga.
  • Reduce, Reuse and Recovery: Majority of us do not realize that used water and filth of our homes can end up in the rivers if not disposed properly. Sewerage infrastructure is already being constructed by the Government but citizens can reduce the usage of water and generation of waste. Reusing and Recovery of used water and organic waste & plastics can greatly benefit the program.

 Let us all join hands to save our national river Ganga which is a symbol of our civilization and is an epitome of our culture and heritage!


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Empowering our Farmers
September 26, 2016
Comments 41

Empowering our Farmers

The NDA Government under PM Narendra Modi has put unprecedented focus on agriculture. Numerous initiatives to improve productivity, safeguard farmers and augment their incomes and improve their overall well-being have been taken in the past two years. The steps taken by the Government are helping the farmers in a multitude of ways; from easy availability of fertilizers to improving irrigation facilities, from crop insurance scheme to easy access to credit, from scientific help to better price for their produce. PM Modi has also given a call to double farmers’ incomes by 2022 by multi-modal interventions.

India faced consecutive droughts in 2014-15 and 2015-16. Yet due to the resilience of Indian farmers, agricultural production remained stable and so did supply and inflation. Total foodgrain output in 2015-16 is estimated at 252.23 MT while Total foodgrain output in 2014-15 was 252.02 MT. Ministry of Agriculture has been renamed as Ministry of Agriculture & Farmer Welfare. This reflects a paradigm shift in the vision, which puts farmer first. Allocation for Agriculture and Farmers’ welfare has been increased substantially to Rs 35,984 crore.

The Govt realises that agriculture needs to more predictable, productive and profitable. This needs a multidimensional approach to solving farmers’ problem throughout the entire cycle and hence the Govt has come up with solutions to various issues faced by a farmer.

Pre- sowing:

  1. Soil health Card to help farmers make the right choice.

The Govt has distributed 1.84 Cr. soil health cards. The target is to cover all 14 crore farm holdings & provide soil health card to all farmers.

  1. Fertilisers

Long queues for fertilisers are history now. The Govt is ensuring easy availability of fertilisers for farmers. Prices of fertilisers have also been reduced significantly. 100% Neem coated urea is available in the country. This will improve fertilizer use efficiency by 10 to 15 percent and thereby reduce the consumption of urea fertilizer.

  1. Finance

Govt approved Rs 18,276 crore towards interest subvention of farmer loans. This will ensure that a farmer pays 4% interest for short term crop loans, 7% for post harvest loans, 7% in case of natural calamity, against the market rate of 9%.

During sowing:

  1. Irrigation Facilities

Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana to be implemented in mission mode & 28.5 lakh hectares will be brought under irrigation.  Implementation of 89 irrigation projects under AIBP, which were languishing for a long time, will be fast tracked. A dedicated Long Term Irrigation Fund is being created in NABARD with an initial corpus of about 20,000 crore. 5 lakh farm ponds and dug wells in rain fed areas and 10 lakh compost pits for production of organic manure will be taken up under MGNREGA.

  1. Support & Guidance

Scientific advice in the form of sms and calls have been sent to crores of farmers.

After sowing:

  1. Pradhan Mantri Fasal Beema Yojna

The PMFBY comes with the lowest ever premium rate for farmers. The PMFBY comes with One rate for One crop i.e. Kharif crops: 2 %, Rabi crops: 1.5 %, Horticulture Crops: 5 %. There is no capping on premium rates & no reduction in sum insured, thus ensuring full protection for farmers. Since independence, only around 20% farmers have been covered under insurance till now.  PMFBY targets 50%  coverage in next 3 years.

  1. e-NAM

Agriculture marketing is administered by the States as per their agri-marketing regulations, under which, the State is divided into several market areas. This fragmentation of markets hinders free flow of agri commodities from one market area to another and ends up escalating the prices for the consumers without commensurate benefit to the farmer. e-NAM addresses these challenges by creating a unified market through online trading platform, both, at State and National level and promotes uniformity, streamlining of procedures across the integrated markets, removes information asymmetry between buyers and sellers and promotes real time price discovery, based on actual demand and supply, promotes transparency in auction process, and access to a nationwide market for the farmer, with prices commensurate with quality of his produce and online payment and availability of better quality produce and at more reasonable prices to the consumer.

Apart from the above measures, a multi-pronged approach has been adopted to augment farmers’ income. Efforts are being made to increase in farm income through support to allied activities like fisheries, animal husbandry and dairy products. 850 crore for four dairying projects - ‘Pashudhan Sanjivani’, ‘Nakul Swasthya Patra’, ‘E-Pashudhan Haat’ and National Genomic Centre for indigenous breeds. Rashtriya Gokul Mission launched to conserve and develop indigenous cow breeds. Fish production has increased from 95.72 lakh tones during 2013-14 to 101.64 tonnes during 2014-15 The fish production for 2015-16 is estimated at 107.9 lakh tones. The ‘Saving-cum-Relief’ component provided to fishermen during fishing ban /lean period of three months has been increased to Rs. 1500 per month under Blue Revolution scheme.

There has also been a significant increase in relief provided by Government. For the years 2010-2015, a provision of Rs. 33580.93 crore was made for State Disaster Response Fund. The same has been increased to Rs. 61220 crore for the period 2015-2020. A relief of only Rs. 12516.20 crore was approved between 2010-14 crore to the States affected by drought and hailstorm. The NDA Government in year 2014-15 alone approved an amount of Rs. 9017.998 crore as relief to the States affected by drought and hailstorm. During the year 2015-16, Rs. 13496.57 crore have already been approved for till now.