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Tracing the hazy air: progress report on National Clean Air Programme (NCAP)

With India’s infamous air pollution levels gaining traction from the global press and local activists, the Centre, in January 2019, launched the country’s first National Clean Air Programme with an intent to improve the country’s air quality on a war footing. Goals were set on – key amongst them was to reduce PM2.5 levels by 20% to 30% by 2024 relative to 2017 levels in 132 cities. However, three years since the Program was announced, researchers at the Centre for Research and on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) in their report – “The Tracing the Hazy Air: Progress Report on National Clean Air Programme (NCAP)” reveal that progress has been scarce and shoddy. The past two years have been unusual due to the COVID19 pandemic resulting in a halt for industrial and economic activities due to national and regional lockdowns, so a better indicator to track the effectiveness and implementation of NCAP was to track the progress on indicators identified under the programme.