The Environment Ministry today came out with a draft national action plan proposing multiple strategies to reduce air pollution.
However, a green body claimed that the draft lacked its earlier set target of bringing down air pollution by 50 percent in five years.
The ministry today put up the draft of the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) on its website and invited comments from various stakeholders by May 17.
The ministry in the draft said the objective of the NCAP is to augment and evolve an effective and a proficient ambient air quality monitoring network across the country to ensure comprehensive and reliable database.
The objective is also to have efficient data dissemination and a public outreach mechanism for timely measures for prevention and mitigation of air pollution, it said in the draft.
Its objectives also include having a feasible management plan for prevention, control and abatement of air pollution.
Under the NCAP, the ministry plans to take a host of measures to bring down air pollution.
These include augmenting the air quality monitoring network, identification of alternative technology for real-time monitoring, setting up of 10 city super network, indoor air pollution monitoring and management and air pollution health impact studies.
Other measures include air quality forecasting system, issuance of notification on dust management, a three-tier mechanism for review, assessment and inspection for implementation and a national emission inventory.
However green activists said it was a "grave concern" that there was absence of absolute pollution reduction targets of 35 percent in three years and 50 percent in five years.
Sunil Dahiya, Senior Campaigner, Greenpeace, India, said that after much anticipation, the ministry has finally uploaded the concept note on the NCAP on its website for public comments.
"The absence of absolute pollution reduction targets of 35 percent in three years and 50 percent in five years is cause of grave concern. In fact this is a big step back.
"Greenpeace India accessed the draft NCAP through RTI, which clearly had 35 percent and 50 percent targets as part of deliberations within the ministry and now when the NCAP is in the public domain for stakeholders comments, the absence of these targets and sectoral based targets is limiting and feeble," he said.
Having a time-line for source apportionment studies and increasing the air quality monitoring network with defined budgets is good, but despite having such time-lines, not having the aim to reduce absolute pollution level in a stipulated time frame will never help achieve breathable air quality, Dahiya said.
Union minister Harsh Vardhan had earlier said the environment ministry hopes to bring down air pollution in around 100 non-attainment cities by 50 percent in the next five years under the NCAP.
Non-attainment cities are those considered to have air quality worse than the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.
"We will strengthen the National Clean Air Programme in around 100 non-attainment cities where parameters (air quality) are not right and requires attention.
"In the coming three years, we hope that through this, we will bring down pollution in these cities by 35 percent and in the next five years by 50 percent," he had told reporters earlier.