India NCAP – Proposed Action Plans Review

India NCAP ReviewUpdated: February, 2021

In April 2018, the environment ministry released a draft of the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP). Its main goal is “to meet the prescribed annual average ambient air quality standards at all locations in the country in a stipulated timeframe.” Given the state of air quality in India, any initiative by the Government of India is a welcome one, especially given the lack of monitoring data in the research space and the lack of enforcement of existing laws to curb emissions. The current NCAP draft is essentially a research programme designed to build institutional and technical capacity of central and the state pollution boards. The timeline of all proposals conclude in less than two years from the start. There is also no mention of a time-bound ambient air quality target to achieve or how. A review of the draft is presented here.

In 2019, full program proposal was released and this includes 122 non-attainment cities, who are required to submit an action plan to reduce their respective air pollution levels in 2024 by at least 20%.

Below is a summary of action plans by state as infographics. This evaluation was conducted jointly with researchers at CEEW (New Delhi, India).


  • The draft NCAP proposal (2018)
  • The final NCAP proposal (2019)
  • City by city approved action plans are available here or here. As of July 2020, 102 action plans are approved.
  • How robust are urban India’s clean air plans? An assessment of 102 plansTechnical review report (2020)
    [Journal article (2020) – National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) for Indian cities: Review and outlook of clean air action plans]
  • Air Pollution Knowledge Assessments (APnA) city program (2017, 2019)
    The program currently covers 60 Indian cities – Agra, Amritsar, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Chandigarh-Ambala-Patiala, Chennai, Coimbatore, Dehra Dun, Indore, Jaipur, Kanpur, Kochi, Ludhiana, Nagpur, Patna, Pune, Raipur-Durg-Bhilai, Ranchi, Varanasi, Agartala, Ahmedabad, Allahabad, Asansol-Durgapur, Aurangabad, Dharwad-Hubli, Dhanbad-Bokaro, Gaya, Guwahati-Dispur, Gwalior, Hyderabad, Jamshedpur, Jodhpur, Kolkata-Howrah, Kota, Lucknow, Madurai, Mumbai, Nashik, Panjim-Vasco-Margao, Puducherry, Rajkot, Shimla, Srinagar, Surat, Thiruvananthapuram, Tiruchirapalli, Vadodara, Vijayawada-Guntur, and Visakhapatnam
    [Browse individual city reports @Repository] [Quick look leaflets]
    [Summary report (2017)] [Summary report (2019)]
    [Summary of monthly concentrations and source contributions by city]
    [Poster of APnA city program]
    [Journal article (2014) – Nature of air pollution, emission sources, and management in Indian cities]
    [Journal article (2019) – Air pollution knowledge assessments for 20 Indian cities]
  • India NCAP ReviewSIM-air Working Paper Series # 40-2021
    Monitoring Ambient Air Quality in Indian City Airsheds
    In this report, we defined (a) the size of NCAP city airsheds (b) the recommended number of ambient air quality monitoring sites in an airshed (c) the operational sampling frequency to support receptor-based source apportionment studies. These resources are necessary for strengthening the monitoring needs of an airshed to track pollution levels, to conduct receptor-model-based source apportionment studies, and to support long-term air quality management plans.
    [Download the full document]
    [Download grid & airshed information by city]
    [Download airshed monitoring needs information]
    [Supplementary Material]
    1. GIS formatted shape file with the grid information of 94 airsheds covering 122 NCAP cities
    2. A summary of monthly variation of meteorological fields (a) near surface temperature (b) near surface wind speeds (c) precipitation and (d) mixing heights for all airsheds
    3. A summary of pros and cons of source apportionment approaches. More on the approaches is also available as a primer
    4. A summary of strengths and limitations of receptor models
    5. Recommended number of ambient air quality monitors at district and state level
    6. Extracts from CPCB (2011) study of source apportionment in six cities. Full report is available here.

Op-Eds on NCAP

  • Our clean air plan is a missed chance (Hindustan Times, Apr 2019)
  • National Clean Air Programme: Good idea but weak mandate (Down to Earth, Jan 2019)
  • Expect No Surprises on Air Pollution This Budget (The WIRE, Jan 2019)
  • The Updated National Clean Air Programme Is Effectively Blind (The WIRE, Sep 2018)
  • The Draft National Clean Air Programme Is Spirited but Lacks Action Points (The WIRE, May, 2018)

Definition of phrases used in this evaluation

Action pointsEach of the interventions to control air pollution discussed in the respective action plans
Institutionalall interventions mentioned as overseeing, planning, proposing, preparing, investigating, identifying, ensuring, strengthening, training, studying, and engaging
Physicalall interventions mentioned as buying, installing, retrofitting, and cleaning
Economicall interventions mentioned as incentivizing and promoting
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List of states, union territories, and cities in NCAP

State/Union TerritoryCity(s)
Andhra PradeshAnantapur, Chitoor, Eluru, Guntur, Kadapa, Kurnool, Nellore, Ongole, Rajahmundry, Srikakulam, Vijayawada, Vishakhapatnam, Vizianagaram
AssamGuwahati, Nagaon, Nalbari, Sibsagar, Silchar
BiharGaya, Muzaffarpur, Patna
ChhattisgarhBhilai, Korba, Raipur
GujaratAhmedabad, Surat, Vadodara
Himachal PradeshBaddi, Damtal, Kala Amb, Nalagarh, Paonta Sahib, Parwanoo, Sunder Nagar
Jammu & KashmirJammu, Srinagar
KarnatakaBengaluru, Devanagere, Gulburga, Hubli-Dharwad
Madhya PradeshBhopal, Dewas, Gwalior, Indore, Sagar, Ujjain
MaharashtraAkola, Amravati, Aurangabad, Badlapur, Chandrapur, Jalgaon, Jalna, Kolhapur, Latur, Mumbai, Nagpur, Nashik, Navi Mumbai, Pune, Sangli, Solapur, Thane, Ulhasnagar
NagalandDimapur, Kohima
OdishaAngul, Balasore, Bhubneshwar, Cuttack, Kalinga Nagar, Rourkela, Talcher
PunjabAmritsar, Dera Bassi, Gobindgarh, Jalandhar, Khanna, Ludhiana, Naya Nangal, Pathankot/Dera Baba, Patiala
RajasthanAlwar, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Kota, Udaipur
Tamil NaduTrichy, Tuticorin
TelanganaHyderabad, Nalgonda, Patencheru, Sangareddy
Uttar PradeshAgra, Allahabad, Anpara, Bareily, Firozabad, Gajraula, Ghaziabad, Jhansi, Kanpur, Khurja, Lucknow, Moradabad, Noida, Raebareli, Varanasi
UttarakhandDehradun, Kashipur, Rishikesh
West BengalAsansol, Barrackpore, Durgapur, Haldia, Howrah, Kolkata, Ranigunj

Summary of action plans by state

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India NCAP Review India NCAP Review India NCAP Review India NCAP Review
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