The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, today gave its approval for establishment of the Clean Ganga Fund (CGF).
The following broad activities will be financed from the Fund:
a) Activities outlined under the ‘Namami Gange’ programme for cleaning of river Ganga.
b) Control of non-point pollution from agricultural runoff, human defecation, cattle wallowing, etc.
c) Setting up of waste treatment and disposal plants along the river around the cities.
d) Conservation of the biotic diversity of the river.
e) Community based activities to reduce polluting human interface with the river.
f) Development of public amenities including activities such as Ghat redevelopment.
g) Research and Development and innovative projects.
h) Research and Development projects and innovative projects for new technology and processes for cleaning the river.
i) Independent oversight through intensive monitoring and real time reporting.
j) Any other activity as approved by the Trust.
Considering that the measures taken till now are inadequate and a national effort is required to mobilize resources for improving the condition of the river Ganga, the Government announced the setting up of an Integrated Ganga Conservation Mission called "Namami Gange" and an initial sum of Rs. 2,037 crore has been allocated in the Union Budget 2014-15. The Cabinet has now agreed to set up "Clean Ganga Fund (CGF)" with voluntary contributions from residents of the country and Non-Resident Indian (NRIs) / Person of Indian Origin (PIO) and others to harness their enthusiasm to contribute towards the conservation of the river Ganga. The Fund will have the objective of contributing to the national effort of cleaning of the river Ganga. Domestic donors to the Fund shall be eligible for tax benefits as applicable in the case of the Swachh Bharat Kosh. The Fund would be managed by a Trust to be headed by Finance Minister. The secretariat of the Trust will be set up in Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation under the Mission Director, Clean Ganga.
The Ganga Action Plan was launched on 14th January 1986 with the main objective of pollution abatement, to improve water quality by interception, diversion and treatment of domestic sewage and toxic and industrial chemical wastes present, from identified grossly polluting units entering in to the river. After reviewing the effectiveness of the "Ganga Action Plan", the Government announced the "Mission Clean Ganga" project on 31st December, 2009 with the objective that by 2020, no municipal sewage and industrial waste would be released in the river without treatment, with the total budget of around Rs.15,000 crore. The Government also established the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA), chaired by the Prime Minister, with the objective to ensure effective abatement of pollution and conservation of the river Ganga, by adopting a river basin approach for comprehensive planning and management.
The proposal to set up CGF is to attract private contributions globally for increasing people`s participation in this massive task. As this would also cover NRIs, CGF would also fulfil the Budget announcement in the Regular Budget 2014-15. Considering that the measures taken till now are not adequate and a national effort is required to mobilize resources for improving the condition of the river Ganga, the Government has announced the setting up of an Integrated Ganga Conservation Mission called "Namami Gange".
Considering that there is a need to increase people`s participation from across the country and abroad, it is proposed to set up a "Clean Ganga Fund (CGF)" with voluntary contributions. The main features of CGF are:
i. CGF will have the objective of contributing to the national effort of improving the cleanliness of the river Ganga with the contributions received from the residents of the country, NRIs/ PIO and others.
ii. CGF will be operated through a bank account by a Trust.
iii. Domestic donors to the fund shall be eligible for tax benefits as in the case of "Swachch Bharat Kosh". Foreign donors could get suitable tax exemptions in domestic law, wherever permissible. iv. CGF will explore the possibility of setting up daughter funds in other jurisdictions/countries of high donor interest such as USA, UK, Singapore, UAE, etc. to enable tax benefits to donors in their respective jurisdictions.
v. CGF will be catalytic in nature and will identify and fund specific projects which could be pilot projects, R&D projects, innovative projects or other focused projects. The Fund will define specific and measurable objectives to form the basis for planning, funding, and evaluation.
vi. Broad activities proposed to be financed from CGF include, inter alia, Activities outlined under the `Namami Gange` programme for cleaning of river Ganga; control of non-point pollution from agricultural runoff, human defecation, cattle wallowing etc.; setting up of waste treatment and disposal plants along the river around the cities; conservation of the biotic diversity of the river; community based activities to reduce polluting human interface with the river; Development of public amenities including activities such as Ghat redevelopment; R&D and innovative projects; Research and Development projects and innovative projects for new technology and processes for cleaning Ganga; independent oversight through intensive monitoring and real time reporting; any other activity as approved by Governing Council. This is an indicative list and can be expanded within the overall objective by the Governing Council. The Fund shall not be utilised for activities such as dredging.
vii. CGF will be subject to such audit as required by law as well as audit by any agency determined by Government. CGF would be administered by a Trust to be chaired by Finance Minister and upto 8 members from different fields including NRIs, nominated by the Government. Secretary (Economic Affairs), Secretary (Overseas Indian Affairs), Secretary (Environment, Forest and Climate Changes) and Secretary (Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation) will be members. The CEO of the Fund will be the Member Secretary of the Trust. Two Secretaries from the concerned state governments shall be additional members on a rotation basis. Government may also nominate experts and / or persons of eminence in public life as expert invitees. The Secretariat of the Governing Council shall be set up in Ministry of Water Resources. The Mission Director shall be the CEO of the Fund unless a separate CEO is appointed.
The Governing Council will prepare the norms, procedures, cost norms and operational guidelines for obtaining financing from the Fund, which will be notified by the National Mission for Clean Ganga.