Daily Current Affairs for 17th September 2022

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Varanasi: first-ever SCO Tourism and Cultural Capital

GS Paper 1 & 2: Art and Culture, Regional grouping

Important for

Prelims exam: SCO Tourism and Cultural Capital

Why in news

The city of Varanasi has been nominated as the first-ever SCO Tourism and Cultural Capital during the period 2022-2023 at the 22nd Meeting of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Council of Heads of State in Samarkand, Uzbekistan

The regulations for nomination of the SCO Tourism and Cultural Capital were adopted at the Dushanbe SCO Summit in 2021 with an objective of promoting cooperation between the SCO Member States in the field of culture and tourism.

Aim of this title

The title aims to promote people-to-people contacts and tourism among the member states. India will chair SCO from September 2022 to September 2023. SCO will rotate the title of ‘Cultural and Tourism Capital’ among the member states.

What does the title mean?

  • Every year, a city having cultural heritage from the member country that takes over the rotating Presidency of the organisation will be bestowed with the title.
  • The title will help in promoting the cultural values of the city and add to values- economic, social, and more.
  • People-to-people cooperation is an important area under the SCO framework and member states are very proactive and positive and implemented a large number of cooperation in cultures.
  • The new initiative came into force after the Samarkand summit on September 15-16, 2022.
  • India has taken over the Presidency and will host the next Heads of the State summit.


  • The nomination of Varanasi as the first ever SCO Tourism and Cultural Capital will promote tourism, cultural and humanitarian exchanges between India and the SCO member Countries.
  • It also underlines India’s ancient civilizational links with Member States of SCO, especially the Central Asian Republics.
  • Under the framework of this major cultural outreach program, a number of events will be hosted in Varanasi during 2022-23, for which guests will be invited to participate from SCO Member States.
    • These events are expected to attract Indologists, scholars, authors, musicians and artists, photojournalists, travel bloggers and other invited guests.

PM Modi at SCO summit

GS Paper 2: Regional groupings, Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s Interests

Important for

Prelims exam: Structure and functions of SCO

Mains exam: Significance of SCO for India

Why in news

PM Modi attended the meeting of the SCO Heads of State Council organised in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.

Key highlights from SCO summit

At SCO, PM Modi talked about the constructive role SCO can play in the post-COVID era, particularly in furthering economic recovery and strengthening supply chains.

  • Resilient Supply Chain:
    • SCO member countries contribute about 30 percent of global GDP, and 40 per cent of the world’s population also lives in SCO countries.
    • The role of SCO becomes extremely important when the world is undergoing the challenges of economic recovery after the pandemic.
    • The pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine crisis caused multiple obstacles in global supply chains, resulting in an unprecedented energy and food crisis.
    • PM Modi advised that SCO should try to establish a “resilient” and “diversified” supply chain that would require better connectivity.
  • Food Security:
    • One of the major challenges that the world faces today, includes ensuring the food security of citizens.
    • At the Summit, the Indian PM suggested one possible solution to this problem which is to promote the cultivation and consumption of millets.
    • Apart from being a traditional food, Millets are known to be a nutritious and low-cost alternative to dealing with the food crisis.
    • The PM also suggested that the Council should consider organizing a ‘Millet Food Festival’ under the SCO, as the year 2023 will be celebrated as the UN International Year of Millets.
  • Traditional Medicine:
    • PM elaborated on the coming of the world’s first ‘WHO Global Centre for Traditional Medicine’ which was inaugurated in Gujarat in April 2022.
    • This will be WHO’s first and only global centre for traditional medicine.
    • PM emphasised that SCO must increase cooperation on traditional medicine among SCO countries
      • India will take the initiative for a new SCO Working Group on Traditional Medicine for this.
  • People centric development:
    • Prime minister highlighted the strong startup ecosystem in India and asked the leaders to focus on a people-centric development model.
    • India is supporting innovation in every sector. Today there are more than 70,000 start-ups and over 100 unicorns in India.
  • India as a manufacturing hub:
    • As the world is overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic and several disruptions occurred in the global supply chain because of the COVID and Ukraine crisis.
    • India is transforming Itself into a manufacturing hub.

Note: To know more about meeting of the SCO Heads of State Council refer the DNA of 16 september, 2022

Revised definition of Small Companies

GS Paper 3: Mobilization of resources, Growth and Development

Important for

Prelims exam: Definition of small companies

Mains exam: Government’s initiative to promote ease of doing business

Why in news

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs has revised the threshold for paid up capital of “small companies to facilitate ‘Ease of Doing Business’ and reduce the compliance burden on “small companies”.

What is small company

The Companies Act, 2013 (‘Act’) introduced the concept of small companies to provide advantages for small businesses operating as private limited companies.

Small companies have fewer employees and/or less annual revenue compared to regular-sized companies. In a developing country like India, small companies play a significant role in generating profits and boosting employment. Thus, they are the backbone of the economy.

What is the new revision in definition of Small Company

According to the latest revision, the definition of ‘Small Companies’ has further been revised by increasing the thresholds for paid up Capital from “not exceeding Rs 2 crore” to “not exceeding Rs 4 crore”. Furthermore, the turnover has been increased from “not exceeding Rs 20 crore” to “not exceeding Rs 40 crore”.

Particulars Old Definition Criteria New Definition Criteria
Paid-up share capital Maximum paid-up share capital of Rs.2 crore Maximum paid-up share capital of Rs.4 crore
Turnover Maximum turnover of Rs.20 crore Maximum turnover of Rs.40 crore

Benefits of new Revision

The revised definition for small companies includes the following advantages in terms of compliances –

  • No need to prepare a cash flow statement as part of a financial statement.
  • Advantage of preparing and filing an Abridged Annual Return.
  • Mandatory rotation of the auditor is not required.
  • An Auditor of a small company is not required to report on the adequacy of the internal financial controls and its operating effectiveness in the auditor’s report.
  • Holding of only two board meetings in a year.
  • Annual Return of the company can be signed by the company secretary, or where there is no company secretary, by a director of the company.
  • Lesser penalties for small companies.

World Ozone Day

GS Paper 3: Conservation, Environmental pollution and degradation

Important for

Prelims exam: Ozone layer, ozone day, Global convention for protection of Ozone layer

Mains exam: Global cooperation for ozone layer protection, Impact of Ozone hole on biodiversity

Why in news

World Ozone Day or the International Day for the preservation of the Ozone Layer is observed on the 16th of September.

About Ozone day

  • In 1994, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 16 September the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, commemorating the date of the signing, in 1987, of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer
  • This has been with an aim to raise awareness of the ozone layer’s deterioration and identify potential ways to protect it.
  • The theme of World Ozone Day 2022 is “Montreal Protocol@35: global cooperation protecting life on earth”.

Ozone layer depletion/ Ozone hole

  • The ozone hole is not technically a “hole” where no ozone is present, but is actually a region of exceptionally depleted ozone in the stratosphere over the Antarctic that happens at the beginning of Southern Hemisphere spring (August–October).
  • Chlorofluorocarbons and ozone: The major cause of ozone hole is chemicals called CFCs, short for chlorofluorocarbons.
    • CFCs escape into the atmosphere from refrigeration and propellant devices and processes.
    • In the lower atmosphere, they are so stable that they persist for years, even decades. This long lifetime allows some of the CFCs to eventually reach the stratosphere.
    • In the stratosphere, ultraviolet light breaks the bond holding chlorine atoms (Cl) to the CFC molecule.
    • A free chlorine atom goes on to participate in a series of chemical reactions that both destroy ozone and return the free chlorine atom to the atmosphere unchanged, where it can destroy more and more ozone molecules.
    • The chlorine atoms freed from CFCs do ultimately destroy ozone, but the destruction doesn’t happen immediately. Most of the roaming chlorine that gets separated from CFCs actually becomes part of two chemicals(hydrochloric acid, and chlorine nitrate) that under normal atmospheric conditions are so stable that scientists consider them to be long-term reservoirs for chlorine.
  • Polar stratospheric clouds (PSCs) and ozone: In the long months of polar darkness over Antarctica in the winter, atmospheric conditions are unusual.
    • An endlessly circling whirlpool of stratospheric winds called the polar vortex isolates the air in the center. Because it is completely dark, the air in the vortex gets so cold that clouds form, even though the Antarctic air is extremely thin and dry.
    • Chemical reactions take place that could not take place anywhere else in the atmosphere.
    • These unusual reactions can occur only on the surface of polar stratospheric cloud particles, which may be water, ice, or nitric acid, depending on the temperature.
    • These reactions convert the inactive chlorine reservoir chemicals into more active forms, especially chlorine gas (Cl2).
    • When the sunlight returns to the South Pole in October, UV light rapidly breaks the bond between the two chlorine atoms, releasing free chlorine into the stratosphere, where it takes part in reactions that destroy ozone molecules while regenerating the chlorine (known as a catalytic reaction).
    • A catalytic reaction allows a single chlorine atom to destroy thousands of ozone molecules.
    • Bromine is involved in a second catalytic reaction with chlorine that contributes a large fraction of ozone loss.
    • The ozone hole grows throughout the early spring until temperatures warm and the polar vortex weakens, ending the isolation of the air in the polar vortex.

Global efforts to mitigate Ozone layer depletion

Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer

  • Confirmation of the depletion of the ozone layer prompted the international community to establish a mechanism for cooperation to take action to protect the ozone layer.
  • This was formalised in the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer, which was adopted and signed by 28 countries, on 22 March 1985.
  • In September 1987, this led to the drafting of The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.

Montreal Protocol

  • The principal aim of the Montreal Protocol is to protect the ozone layer by taking measures to control total global production and consumption of substances that deplete it, with the ultimate objective of their elimination on the basis of developments in scientific knowledge and technological information.
  • It is structured around several groups of ozone-depleting substances.
  • The Protocol requires the control of nearly 100 chemicals, in several categories.
  • Attention focused initially on chemicals with higher ozone-depletion potentials including CFCs and halons.
  • The HCFC phase-out schedule was introduced in 1992 for developed and developing countries, the latter with a freeze in 2015, and final phase-out by 2030 in developed countries and 2040 in developing countries.
  • On 16th September 2009, the Vienna Convention and the Montreal Protocol became the first treaties in the history of the United Nations to achieve universal ratification.

Kigali Amendment

  • The Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer reached agreement at their 28th Meeting of the Parties on 15 October 2016 in Kigali, Rwanda to phase-down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

India and Montreal protocol

  • India became Party to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer on March 18, 1991, and the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the Ozone layer on June 19, 1992.
  • In August 2021, government had given its approval for ratification of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the Ozone Layer, which was a major step in the phase down of Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by India.
  • India phased out Chlorofluorocarbons, Carbon tetrachloride, Halons, Methyl Bromide and Methyl Chloroform for controlled uses as on 1 January 2010, in line with the Montreal Protocol schedule.
  • Currently, Hydrochlorofluorocarbons are being phased out as per the accelerated schedule of the Montreal Protocol.
    • Hydrochlorofluorocarbons Phase-out Management Plan (HPMP) Stage – I has been successfully implemented from 2012 to 2016.
    • Hydrochlorofluorocarbons Phase-out Management Plan (HPMP) Stage – II is under implementation from 2017 and will be completed by 2023.
    • Stage III of the HPMP, the last of the HPMPs to phase out remaining HCFCs, will be implemented from 2023 – 2030.
    • The phase-out of HCFCs in all manufacturing sectors, comprising refrigeration and air-conditioning manufacturing sectors, will be completed by 1.1.2025 and the activities relating to the servicing sector will be continued till 2030.
    • India announced a successful phase out of Hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC)-141 b in Jan 2020. Which is a chemical used by foam manufacturing enterprises and one of the most potent ozone depleting chemical after Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).
India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP)

The Indian plan (ICAP) was launched in March 2019 by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change. The ICAP provides a 20-year perspective and outlines actions needed to provide access to sustainable cooling.

The overarching goal of ICAP is to provide sustainable cooling and thermal comfort for all while securing environmental and socio-economic benefits for the society. This will also help in reducing both direct and indirect emissions.

The Plan seeks to

  • Reduce cooling demand across sectors by 20% to 25% by 2037-38,
  • Reduce refrigerant demand by 25% to 30% by 2037-38,
  • Reduce cooling energy requirements by 25% to 40% by 2037-38,
  • Recognise “cooling and related areas” as a thrust area of research under national Science and Technology Programme,
  • Training and certification of 100,000 servicing sector technicians by 2022-23, synergizing with Skill India Mission.

Terms in news

Colour Revolution

In the meeting of the SCO Heads of State Council, Chinese President Xi Jinping warned his Central Asian neighbours that they should be careful about outsiders trying to destabilise their countries with “colour revolutions”.

What is Colour revolution

  • Colour revolution (sometimes coloured revolution) is a term used since around 2004 by worldwide media to describe various anti-regime protest movements and accompanying (attempted or successful) changes of government that took place in post-Soviet Eurasia during the early 21st century, namely countries of the former Soviet Union, the former Yugoslavia, and People’s Republic of China.
  • The term has also been more widely applied to several other revolutions elsewhere, including in the Middle East, the Asia-Pacific region, and South America, dating from the late 1980s to the 2020s.

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