India’s recently released National Clean Air Program (NCAP) in January 2019, provides a roadmap to prevent, control, and reduce unhealthy air pollution. The NCAP, released by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Government of India, aims to meet the prescribed annual average ambient air quality standards at all locations in the country in a stipulated timeframe. Under NCAP, the Government of India is targeting to achieve 20-30% reduction of PM2.5 and PM10 concentration in 5 years until 2024. Although recent policy interventions like notification of sector-specific emission standards, augmentation of air quality monitoring network, banning the burning of biomass and leapfrogging from Bharat Stage Emission Standard (BS) - BSIV to BSVI for vehicles by April 1, 2020 have resulted in marginal improvements in air quality levels, the need for time-bound initiatives at both city and rural level are absolutely essential to combat the problem of air pollution in our country holistically, thus substantiating the need for the NCAP.
NCAP aspires to overcome the deficits of ongoing government initiatives targeted towards air pollution control. It looks towards an integrated approach for combatting air pollution. In the government consultations in May 2018, India and Germany agreed to examine how GIZ can support MoEFCC to align different actions by various stakeholders towards pollution abatement. Taking it forward under the Indo German Development Cooperation, a Study and Expert Funds project on “Support to the National Clean Air Programme” is being implemented by GIZ. Under the SEF project, activities are planned to support MoEFCC and the city of Surat in Gujarat.