Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has been implementing National Plan for Conservation of Aquatic Ecosystems (NPCA) for conservation of lakes and wetlands. It was formulated in 2015 by merging of the National Lake Conservation Plan (NCLP) and the National Wetlands Conservation Programme (NCWP).

National Lake Conservation Programme (NLCP) was Implemented by MoEF since 2001 to address pollution issues in urban lakes. The major objectives of this scheme includes encouraging and assisting state government for sustainable management and conservation of lakes. The funding pattern includes 100% financial assistance for Dal lake project in J&K, 90:10 for NE States, and 70:30 for the other states. Admissible components include prevention of pollution, in-situ lake cleaning, catchment area treatment, lake front development, etc.

National Wetlands Conservation Programme (NCWP) was implemented since 1986. The total 115 wetlands in 24 states and 2 UTs identified for
conservation and management. Under this scheme, the funding pattern includes 100% financial assistance as annual grants to State Governments for MAP implementation. The admissible components include catchment area treatment, de-siltation, pollution abatement, afforestation, fisheries,
public participation, research & development on lakes and wetlands etc.

In February, 2013, after consultation with States & other stakeholders on strengthening institutional mechanism and programme implementation, NLCP and NWCP was merged to avoid overlap and promote better synergies and to ensure conservation works, an integrated scheme NCPA was proposed with the objective of conserving aquatics ecosystem (Lakes and wetlands) through implementation of sustainable conservation plans and governed with uniform policy and guidelines.

The principle objectives of the new scheme is conservation and restoration of lakes and wetlands for achieving desired water quality enhancement besides improvement in biodiversity and ecosystem through an integrated and multidisciplinary approach with common regulatory framework. The scheme would contribute to reduction of pollution loads and improvement in biodiversity as also goods and services provided by these water bodies to the stakeholders.

Besides implementation of comprehensive management action plan, the new scheme shall also cover in its scope, the Inventorization and information system on lakes and wetlands, National level directive on criteria for lakes and wetlands, regulatory framework (revisiting  Wetlands- Conservation and Management Rules, 2017), capacity building at state government and local body level, evaluation, reporting etc.

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