Fourteen Indian cities, including urban and rural locations, were chosen for the present study across India, with unhealthy air quality based on National Air Quality Index (NAQI > 100). However, it was found that NAQI values over the locations are driven by the
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Fourteen Indian cities, including urban and rural locations, were chosen for the present study across India, with unhealthy air quality based on National Air Quality Index (NAQI > 100). However, it was found that NAQI values over the locations are driven by the undifferentiated mass concentration of particulate matter (PM, both PM
) than other criteria pollutants. The PM
concentration during the winter violated the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) of India by two to five times at six urban locations, with the mean daily PM
concentration averaged over the month; the the largest being at Patna (353 µg m
) during the winter and lowest at Bengaluru (27 µg m
) during the summer. The analysis of chemical species, in general, indicated NO
, CO) as having a 25% to 70% (16% to 50%, 16% to 85%) increase in concentration from the summer to winter, which is adequately reflected in higher fuzzy scores during the winter. Thus, to provide a realistic approach to air quality management, the present study focuses on identifying priority-based locations requiring immediate mitigation measures by developing a Prioritized Clean Air Assessment Tool (PCAT). The tool utilizes a fuzzy-based algorithm to incorporate the cumulative effect of all six criteria pollutants, taking into consideration the severity of their expected health implications. Using PCAT, Delhi and Varanasi cities are identified for prioritized mitigation considering the NAAQS of India, unlike all cities (except Bengaluru) during the winter and nine out of fourteen cities during the summer, considering the NAQI. Using more stringent WHO guideline values in PCAT, six cities out of fourteen were identified requiring immediate mitigation during the winter and summer months; locations such as Solapur and Patna are identified to need season-specific mitigation measures during the summer and winter, respectively. The tool is simplistic, user-friendly, and quickly evaluates multiple locations simultaneously to provide priority sites.