National Plan for Conservation of Aquatic Ecosystems (NPCA)
The Wetlands Division of MoEFCC is currently implementing a centrally sponsored scheme namely, National Plan for Conservation of Aquatic Ecosystems (NPCA) for conservation and management of wetlands in the country on cost sharing basis between Central Government and respective State/UT Governments. The scheme aims at holistic conservation and restoration of wetlands for achieving the desired water quality enhancement, besides improvement in biodiversity and ecosystems. It aims to promote mainstreaming of wetlands in developmental programming with States by supporting formulation and implementation of integrated management plans, capacity development and research.
Various activities covered are interception, diversion and treatment of wastewater, shoreline protection, lake front development, in-situ cleaning i.e. de-silting & de-weeding, storm water management, bioremediation, catchment area treatment, lake beautification, survey & demarcation, bio-fencing, fisheries development, weed control, biodiversity conservation education and awareness creation and community participation. NPCA Guidelines have been released to facilitate implementation of NPCA by outlining the different steps to be undertaken for preparing and submitting plans before implementation. The Guidelines are intended to streamline the details required for development of institutional mechanism as national as well as state levels and optimize project reports and proposals.
The Ministry had undertaken ‘Wetlands Rejuvenation’ programme within the framework of 169 transformative ideas of Government of India i.e. “Start work on Restoration & Rejuvenation of at least 100 major wetlands across the country”. In the first cycle of the programme, 130 wetlands were selected in consultation with State Governments. Regional workshops were held in all parts of the country by the Ministry supported by a network of knowledge partners to impart technical support to the wetlands managers in implementing the programme. In the 100 days’ implementation period, collation of baseline information and rapid assessment of wetlands condition led to zeroing down to a list of 33 wetlands needing urgent attention.
The programme was structured around a four- pronged approach:
1. Developing baseline information – Wetland Brief Document
2. Rapid assessment of wetlands condition – Wetland Health Card
3. Stakeholder platforms to enable collaborative and participatory management – Wetlands Mitras
4. Management planning addressing wetlands’ biodiversity and ecosystem services, values and threats – Wetland Integrated Management Plan
In continuation to the first cycle, the ‘Wetlands Rejuvenation’ programme is being scaled up to 1,000 wetlands, reaching out to all districts of the country. The lessons learnt from the first cycle of the programme are planned to be addressed in the second cycle.