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Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP)

Topics Covered:

  1. Conservation related issues.

Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP)


What to study?

For Prelims and mains: GRAP- features, need for and significance.


Context: Soon, some stricter measures to fight air pollution will come into force in Delhi’s neighbourhood, as part of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP).


As per the plan:

Measures aimed at stopping the use of diesel generator sets will extend beyond Delhi to the NCR, where many areas see regular power cuts.

Measures will be incremental. As pollution rises, and it is expected to as winter approaches, more measures will come into play depending on the air quality.


What is GRAP?

Approved by the Supreme Court in 2016.

It works only as an emergency measure.

As such, the plan does not include action by various state governments to be taken throughout the year to tackle industrial, vehicular and combustion emissions.

When the air quality shifts from poor to very poor, the measures listed have to be followed since the plan is incremental in nature.


Has it been helpful?

  1. It has created a step-by-step plan for the entire Delhi-NCR region and getting on board several agencies including pollution control boards, industrial area authorities, municipal corporations, regional officials of the India Meteorological Department, and others.
  2. It has been successful in fixing accountability and deadlines. For each action to be taken under a particular air quality category, executing agencies are clearly marked.
  3. Coordination among as many as 13 agencies from four states is simplified to a degree because of the clear demarcation of responsibilities.
  4. Three major policy decisions that can be credited to EPCA and GRAP are the closure of the thermal power plant at Badarpur, bringing BS-VI fuel to Delhi before the deadline set initially, and the ban on Pet coke as a fuel in Delhi NCR.


Overview of the plan:

  1. The plan requires action and coordination among 13 different agencies in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan (NCR areas).
  2. At the head of the table is the EPCA, mandated by the Supreme Court.
  3. Before the imposition of any measures, EPCA holds a meeting with representatives from all NCR states, and a call is taken on which actions has to be made applicable in which town.


Measures announced:

Severe+ or Emergency- (PM 2.5 over 300 µg/cubic metre or PM10 over 500 µg/cu. m. for 48+ hours):

  1. Stop entry of trucks into Delhi (except essential commodities).
  2. Stop construction work.
  3. Introduce odd/even scheme for private vehicles and minimise exemptions.
  4. Task Force to decide any additional steps including shutting of schools.


Severe- (PM 2.5 over 250 µg/cu. m. or PM10 over 430 µg/cu. m.):

  1. Close brick kilns, hot mix plants, stone crushers.
  2. Maximise power generation from natural gas to reduce generation from coal.
  3. Encourage public transport, with differential rates.
  4. More frequent mechanised cleaning of road and sprinkling of water.


Very Poor- (PM2.5 121-250 µg/cu. m. or PM10 351-430 µg/cu. m.):

  1. Stop use of diesel generator sets.
  2. Enhance parking fee by 3-4 times.
  3. Increase bus and Metro services.
  4. Apartment owners to discourage burning fires in winter by providing electric heaters during winter.
  5. Advisories to people with respiratory and cardiac conditions to restrict outdoor movement.


Moderate to poor- (PM2.5 61-120 µg/cu. m. or PM10 101-350 µg/cu. m.):

  1. Heavy fines for garbage burning.
  2. Close/enforce pollution control regulations in brick kilns and industries.
  3. Mechanised sweeping on roads with heavy traffic and water sprinkling.
  4. Strictly enforce ban on firecrackers.


Way ahead:

One criticism of the EPCA as well as GRAP has been the focus on Delhi. While other states have managed to delay several measures, citing lack of resources, Delhi has always been the first one to have stringent measures enforced.

For GRAP as well as EPCA, the next challenge is to extend the measures to other states effectively.


Sources: Indian Express.