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Multiple states have failed to utilize funds given to control air pollution: Government Data

New Delhi: According to the reports released by the Environment Ministry during the first meeting of the NCAP’s National Apex Committee, it was revealed that several states in India have reportedly failed to utilize the funds provided by the Central Government under the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) to control air pollution in their respective states.

A total of Rs. 375.44 crore was provided under NCAP to 114 cities from 2018-19 to 2020-21, and Rs. 290 crores were allocated to 82 cities for 2021-22. The Centre will further provide Rs. 700 crores for the 2021-26 period. But, according to the data, the utilisation of Rs 375.44 crores given in the past two years has been significantly low by most states, with 22 states under NCAP collectively utilising only 33.53 percent of the amount.

Bihar utilised 77 percent and Chandigarh utilised 82 percent, which were highest utilizing states in the table. Similarly, Uttarakhand used 53 percent, West Bengal 58 percent, Chhattisgarh 21 percent, while Punjab and Uttar Pradesh utilised just 17 percent. Andhra Pradesh with 10 percent utilisation, Assam with 4 percent, Himachal Pradesh with 2 percent, and Jammu & Kashmir with 1 percent were the states on the lowest end in the table.

“These states have about three months to utilise the funds until the next financial year starts. We have decided that the allocation of funds will be performance and city-specific from now on. Funds from states that fail to utilise the funds allocated to them will be provided to cities that are doing well in air pollution control,” said a senior environment ministry official after the meeting.

The National Apex Committee NCAP does not have a legal mandate but aims to achieve a 20 percent to 30 percent reduction in PM 2.5 (respirable pollution particles) concentrations over 2017 levels in over 100 cities by 2024. The ministry said in a statement that the number of cities showing improvement in air quality increased from 86 in 2019 to 96 in 2020.

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