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21st December Current Affairs

Urban-20 (U20)

In News:

Under the G20, the presidency of India from December 01, 2022, to November 30, 2023, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs is organizing the Urban 20 event.

About Urban 20:

U20 is an important city diplomacy initiative, which reinforces the role of cities in taking the sustainable agenda forward.

Urban-20 (U20), one of the Engagement Groups of G20, provides a platform for cities from G20 countries to facilitate discussions on various important issues of urban development including climate change, social inclusion, sustainable mobility, and affordable housing, and propose collective solutions.

The U20 2023 Cycle will be chaired by the City of Ahmedabad.

The Urban 20 (U20) is a city diplomacy initiative launched on December 12, 2017, at the One Planet Summit in Paris.

It aims to facilitate lasting engagement between the G20 and cities, raise the profile of urban issues in the G20 agenda, and establish a forum for cities to develop a collective message and perspective to inform G20 negotiations.

C40 Cities (C40) and United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) convene the U20 under the leadership of a Chair city that rotates annually, based in the G20 host country.

Ahmedabad will showcase its unique urban development and climate change initiatives and rich culture and heritage to the participants.

Resonating with India’s G20 theme of ‘वसुधैवकुटुम्बकम् – One Earth, One Family, One Future’, U20 Ahmedabad will emphasize that actions at the city level can drive lasting positive global outcomes underscoring the interconnectedness of the world and our shared future. The effort of this cycle will be to move from ‘intention to action’ and draft a roadmap for closing the gaps between policy and practice to address critical urban issues.

Why focus on urban development:

Today, more than half of the global population lives in cities, and it is estimated that cities will host two-thirds of all people by 2050. Cities also consume over 75% of the world’s energy, generate 75% of related emissions, and they are experiencing the impacts of climate change first-hand.

Priority areas for the Urban 20 event are as follows:

  • Encouraging environmentally responsive behaviour
  • Ensuring water security
  • Accelerating Climate Finance
  • Leveraging ‘local’ potential and identity
  • Reinventing urban governance and planning frameworks
  • Catalyzing digital urban futures

EU’s Carbon Border Tax

(GS-III: Environment and Conservation)

In News:

The European Union (EU) agreed on a preliminary deal for an EU Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) on imported goods such as iron and steel, cement, aluminium, fertilisers, electricity and hydrogen.

The CBAM/ a carbon border tax/ carbon leakage instrument was proposed by the EU in 2021 and will be applicable from October 1, 2023.


According to the standard economic theory of trade, imposing carbon taxes on domestic producers without an adjustment mechanism would certainly cause a shift of production to places where those taxes can be avoided.

About Carbon Border Tax:

A carbon border tax is an import duty based on the amount of carbon emissions produced by the goods in question.

It discourages emissions as a carbon price, and it has an impact on production and exports as a trade-related measure.

Stated goal of CBAM:

To eliminate the difference in carbon price paid by companies subject to the EU’s Emissions Trading System (ETS) and the price paid by companies elsewhere.

Levelling the playing field for EU firms.

To implement stronger emission reduction efforts.

Incentivises non-EU countries to increase their climate ambition.

It will ensure that EU and global climate efforts are not undermined due to the relocation of production which is defined as ‘carbon leakage’.


From an equity perspective, it increases costs in poorer countries, due to the need to remit new taxes, etc.

Such schemes are still rare in most of the world and introducing them will be a major policy challenge for lower-income countries.

For countries reliant on one of the targeted industries – like Mozambique’s aluminium extraction, this could be a major economic shock.

If enacted unilaterally, it is likely to unfairly protect domestic industries from international competition – a practice known as ‘green protectionism.’

BASIC countries have emphasised that carbon border taxes could promote market distortion and worsen the trust deficit among countries.

UNESCO Tentative list

In News:

India adds 3 more sites to @UNESCO’s Tentative List: 01 Vadnagar – A multi-layered historic town, Gujarat; 02 Sun Temple, Modhera and its adjoining monuments; 03 Rock-cut Sculptures and Reliefs of the Unakoti, Unakoti Range, Unakoti District

About Vadnagar:

It is a municipality under the Mehsana district. It is a multi-layered historic town (8th BCE).

It has a large number of historic buildings and hometown of PM Modi

Sun Temple (Modehera):

Dedicated to the sun god, it has exquisite architecture, and sculpture and has a unique position wrt Sun.

It is an example of the Maru-gurjara architectural style (11th CE, under the Solanki dynasty).

About Tentative List:

UNESCO tentative list is an “inventory of those properties”  which each state party intends to consider for nomination. It takes at least a year before it is considered for the final nomination dossier ( as per operational guidelines, 2019 of UNESCO).

Procedure: The country sends the list to UNSECO. The UNESCO then considers whether it should be added to the tentative list. After a year of adding to the tentative list, is sent to World Heritage Centre (WHC) for consideration to be added to the UNESCO World Heritage list India has 52 sites on the Tentative list now.


In News:

AYURSWASTHYA Yojana is run by the Ministry of AYUSH.

About Ayurswasthya Yojana:

Ayurswasthya Yojana is an umbrella scheme that has been developed to roll out authentic classical Ayush interventions for promoting community health care.

It has two components: AYUSH and Public Health (PHI) and Centre of Excellence (CoE)

Under the CoE scheme, financial assistance is provided to eligible individual organizations/institutes for establishing and upgrading their functions & facilities and/or for research & development activities in AYUSH.

The maximum admissible financial assistance under the CoE component, to an organization/institute, is 10.00 crores for a maximum period of three years.

The objectives of the Centre of Excellence component of the AYURSWASTHYA Yojana are as under: –

To support the establishment of advanced/ specialized AYUSH medical health units in reputed AYUSH and Allopathic institutions both in Government and Non-Government sectors.

To support creative and innovative proposals for the establishment and upgradation of functions and facilities of reputed institutions to strengthen competencies of AYUSH professionals in education technology, research & innovation and other fields necessary for the promotion of AYUSH at national as well as international levels.

To support creative and innovative proposals for prestigious organizations which have well-established buildings and infrastructure, and wish to work for AYUSH systems to the level of Centre of Excellence.

Social Progress Index (SPI) for States and Districts

In News:

Social Progress Index (SPI): States and Districts of India prepared by the Institute for Competitiveness and Social Progress Imperative was submitted to Economic Advisory Council- Prime Minister.

About Social Progress Index:

Assesses states and districts based on 12 components across three critical dimensions of social progress – Basic Human Needs, Foundations of well-being, and Opportunity.

Based on the SPI scores, states and districts have been ranked under six tiers of social progress. The tiers are Tier 1: Very High Social Progress; Tier 2: High Social Progress; Tier 3: Upper Middle Social Progress; Tier 4: Lower Middle Social Progress; Tier 5: Low Social Progress; and Tier 6: Very Low Social Progress.

The report also dwells on India’s performance based on Global SPI. In the September 2022 report, India is ranked 110th out of 169 nations.

Report findings:

Puducherry has the highest SPI score of 65.99 in the country, attributable to its remarkable performance across components like Personal Freedom and Choice, Shelter, and Water and Sanitation.

Lakshadweep and Goa closely follow it with scores of 65.89 and 65.53, respectively. Jharkhand and Bihar scored the lowest, 43.95 and 44.47, respectively.

Aizwal (Mizoram), Solan (HP) and Shimla (HP) – top 3 best performing districts.