The National Plan for Conservation of Aquatic Ecosystems (NPCA) was launched in 2013 by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) with the aim of holistically conserving and restoring wetlands, including lakes. It focuses on enhancing water quality, improving biodiversity and promoting the integration of wetlands into developmental programs.
- Scheme Name: National Plan for Conservation of Aquatic Ecosystems (NPCA) Scheme
- Launch year: 2013
- Scheme Fund Allocated: Varies based on proposals from State Governments
- Type of Government Scheme: Central Government
- Sponsored/Sector Scheme: Centrally Sponsored Scheme – Cost sharing basis
Features of National Plan for Conservation of Aquatic Ecosystems (NPCA) Scheme
- Merging of National Wetlands Conservation Programme (NWCP) and National Lake Conservation Plan (NLCP): The NPCA combines the efforts and resources of the NWCP and NLCP, consolidating their objectives and strategies. This integration allows for a more cohesive and comprehensive approach to wetland conservation and management.
- Central assistance based on Integrated Management Plans: The NPCA provides central assistance to State Governments based on the proposals received for Integrated Management Plans. State Governments can submit their plans outlining the conservation, restoration and sustainable management measures for wetlands within their jurisdictions. The implementing agency, the Wetlands Division of MoEF&CC, reviews these proposals and provides financial and technical support to implement the approved plans.
- 4-pronged approach: The NPCA adopts a multi-dimensional approach to achieve its goals:
- Wetland Brief Document – Developing baseline information : This involves gathering and analyzing essential data about wetlands, including their ecological characteristics, threats and conservation status. The baseline information serves as a foundation for effective planning and decision-making.
- Wetland Health Card – Rapid assessment of wetlands condition : The NPCA focuses on conducting quick assessments of wetland conditions using a standardized framework. The Wetland Health Card provides an overview of the ecological health of wetlands, helping to identify priority areas for conservation and restoration efforts.
- Wetlands Mitras – Stakeholder platforms to enable collaborative and participatory management: The scheme promotes the establishment of platforms that facilitate active engagement and collaboration among various stakeholders, including government agencies, local communities, NGOs and experts. These platforms, known as Wetlands Mitras, foster participatory management and knowledge exchange.
- Wetland Integrated Management Plan – Management planning addressing wetlands’ biodiversity and ecosystem services, values and threats: The NPCA emphasizes the development and implementation of integrated management plans for wetlands. These plans encompass strategies to conserve and restore wetlands’ biodiversity, and ecosystem services, and address the challenges and threats they face. The plans provide a roadmap for effective and sustainable wetland management.
Latest News about the Scheme
Under the NPCA Scheme, The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has sanctioned the assistance from the Central Government for conservation of 165 wetlands across the country, including 42 Ramsar sites.
- Development of policy guidelines for the conservation and sustainable management of wetlands.
- Promotion and strengthening of conservation efforts for prioritized wetlands.
- Facilitation of a national inventory and information decision support system for wetland management.
- Capacity building for wetland managers and stakeholders.
- Strengthening of international commitments related to wetlands.
The scheme’s effectiveness may vary depending on the specific circumstances and resources available in different states or regions.
The National Plan for Conservation of Aquatic Ecosystems (NPCA) aims to ensure the holistic conservation and restoration of wetlands, lakes and their associated ecosystems. By promoting integrated management plans, capacity development and research, the scheme contributes to enhancing water quality, biodiversity and sustainable development in India.