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Graded Response Action Plan in Delhi

Graded Response Action Plan in Delhi

Tag:GS-3 || Environment || Environment & Ecology || Pollution

What is the issue?

  • Some more stringent measures to combat air pollution will be implemented in Delhi’s neighborhood as part of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) starting October 15, 2019.
  • In this backdrop, here is an overview of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP).

Recent Pollution Control Measures

  • In 2018, a ban was enforced only in Delhi on the use of diesel generator sets. It is being extended to a few NCR cities in the current year (2019).
  • In general, there are many places where regular power cuts are seen.
  • Though, due to inadequate power supply, rural areas are left out of this stringent measure.
  • The steps to be introduced will be
  • As pollution rises, and it is expected to rise as winter approaches, more measures will come into play depending on the air quality.
  • All these steps form part of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) in place in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR) for two years.

What is the Graded Response Action Plan(GRAP)

  • The GRAP was drawn up in 2016 and approved in the same year by the Supreme Court.
  • In 2017, the Center was notified and draws its authority from this note.
  • It was scheduled after several EPCA (Environmental Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority) meetings with officials and experts from the state government.
  • GRAP has institutionalized the measures to be taken in the event of declining air quality.
  • It aims to roll out progressively tougher actions as pollution levels rise, without waiting for an emergency to impose strict measures.

How does GRAP work?

  • The plan is incremental in nature.
  • So, it does not include action by various state governments to be taken throughout the year to tackle emissions.
  • Rather, when the air quality shifts from poor to very poor, the measures listed have to be followed.
  • GRAP speaks about shutting down schools and enforcing the odd-even road-space rationing system when air quality reaches a serious level.
  • The plan requires action and coordination among 13 different agencies in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan (NCR areas).
  • At the top is the EPCA, mandated by the Supreme Court.
  • Before the imposition of any measure, EPCA holds a meeting with representatives from all NCR states.
  • A call is taken on which actions have to be made applicable in which town.

Effectiveness of  GRAP

  • GRAP has been successful in doing two things that had not been done before –
    • Creating a step-by-step plan for the entire Delhi-NCR region.
    • Getting on board several agencies: All pollution control boards, industrial area authorities, municipal corporations, regional officials of IMD and others.
  • GRAP’s greatest success was in setting expectations and deadlines.
  • Executing agencies are clearly marked for each action to be taken under a specific category of air quality.
  • In a region such as Delhi, where a multiplicity of authorities has long been an obstacle to effective governance, this move has made a significant difference.
  • A clear division of roles has enabled cooperation between as many as 13 agencies from four countries.
  • There are three major policy decisions to be credited to EPCA and GRAP.
    • The closure of the thermal power plant at Badarpur.
    • Bringing BS-VI fuel to Delhi before the deadline set initially.
    • The ban on Pet coke as a fuel in Delhi NCR


  • Delhi has been a major concern of the EPCA and the GRAP.
  • Delhi was always the first to implement strict measures.
  • A number of measures have been postponed by other countries, citing a lack of funding.
  • The next obstacle for both the GRAP and the EPCA is to quickly apply the steps to other countries.

Way forward

  • The insistence on Delhi has been one criticism of both the EPCA and GRAP. While several initiatives have been postponed by other states, citing a lack of resources, Delhi has always been the first to have implemented stringent measures.
  • The next challenge for both GRAP and EPCA is to quickly apply the steps to other countries

 Additional Information EPCA

  • The EPCA, headed by retired IAS officer Bhure Lal and including members from the Centre for Science and Environment, was constituted in 1998 by the Supreme Court
  • The initial mandate of the body was to ensure the shift of Delhi’s bus and auto fleet to CNG.
  • The body continues to monitor pollution and assists the Supreme Court in several pollution-related matters.

Mains model questions

  • Some stricter measures to fight air pollution will come into force in Delhi’s neighborhood, as part of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP). Discuss
  • Stricter measures under the Graded Response Action Plan in Delhi-NCR from October 15. How has the plan worked in Delhi so far, what is being extended to NCR towns, and where do other states figure in it?