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Government Initiatives to Combat Air Pollution in India

The Ministry regularly evaluates and ranks cities under the "Swachh Vayu Sarvekshan," focusing on 131 cities covered by the National Clean Air Program (NCAP). These rankings are based on measures taken to reduce pollution from solid waste, road dust, construction and demolition waste, vehicular emissions, and industrial emissions, among others.

Ambient air quality is monitored in 518 cities and towns across India. Annexure-I provides details of air quality data from the five cities with the highest PM10 levels recorded in 2022.

To address air pollution in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR), the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) formulated a comprehensive policy in July 2022. This policy outlines sector-specific action plans, targets, timelines, and implementation strategies for agencies in NCR states. The CAQM has issued 78 directions, 11 advisories, and executive orders to various concerned agencies, resulting in overall improvements in air quality levels.

The Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) is another measure implemented based on the Air Quality Index (AQI) to combat air pollution. GRAP mandates emergent preventive/restrictive actions by identified agencies, particularly during winter months when adverse air quality conditions prevail in Delhi.

Annexure-II provides details of steps taken by the Central Government to manage air quality and reduce pollution in Delhi/NCR.

Efforts to mitigate air pollution from crop residue burning in Delhi/NCR, particularly in Punjab, are outlined in Annexure-III. The Ministry has notified rules for imposing environmental compensation for stubble burning incidents. Enforcement actions have been taken, with environmental compensation imposed on offenders in Punjab and Haryana.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare launched a scheme in 2018 to promote agricultural mechanization for in-situ management of crop residue in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Delhi. Financial assistance is provided to farmers for purchasing crop residue management machinery and establishing custom hiring centers. Over Rs. 2440.07 crores have been released under this scheme, leading to the delivery of over 2 lakh crop residue machineries and the establishment of over 39,000 custom hiring centers. In 2022, the scheme was merged with the Sub-Mission on Agricultural Mechanization (SMAM) and subsequently with the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY). 

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