India’s Action to Protect the Ozone Layer


The gradual thinning of earth’s ozone layer in the upper atmosphere caused by the release of chemical compounds from human activities and adverse impact of UV rays on various components of the environment was confirmed by scientists during 1974. The first international action was initiated in March 1977 and experts from 32 countries met in Washington DC to adopt the ‘World Plan of Action on the Ozone Layer’. ‘Assessment of Ozone Depletion and its Impact’ published in 1978 initiated, inter alia, precautionary measures including reduction in release of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in future years from the base year 1975. Subsequently, based on strong evidences and with the support of global leaders in the Conference of the Plenipotentiaries—the Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer in March 1985 was adopted. Known thereafter as the Vienna Convention the framework comprised 21 Articles and 2 Annexes, which were broadly based on the precautionary approach and the principle of common but differentiated responsibility. Subsequently, on September 16, 1987, the Conference of the Plenipotentiaries in Montreal, Canada, in the presence of the representatives of 55 countries and 6 observer nations that included India, adopted the final Act of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the
Ozone Layer.

The  Protocol provided direction on control measures, helped balance developed and developing countries and built innovative provisions for control measures in future through amendments. It also provided for adjustments, trade restrictions, concessions to developing countries, scientific  guidance to future controls, and provisions for means of implementation and operational aspects. The Montreal Protocol was further strengthened by controlling additional ozone-depleting substances (ODS) and putting in place a scheduled phasing out process based on the scientific information on ozone depletion and the projection of its recovery. The amendment and adjustment to the Protocol was adopted through consensus by the Meeting of Parties (MoP) as per the procedure outlined.

The Montreal Protocol was amended and adjusted in 1990,1992,1997 and 1999. The parties considering the ozone depleting potential and the global warming potential of hydrofluororcarbon (HCFCs) adopted an adjustment for accelerated phase out schedules of HCFCs in 2007. The Kigali Amendment (2016) extended controls to phase down the production and consumption of HCFCs adopted by industries in moving away from ODS.

The Protocol includes provisions related to control measures (Article 2), calculation of control levels (Article 3), control of trade with non-parties (Article 4), special situation of developing countries (Article 5), reporting of data (Article 7), non-compliance (Article 8), technical assistance (Article 10), as well as other aspects for the Guidance of Parties. Under the ambit of above mentioned provision of global governance of ozone layer protection, all countries ratifying the Convention, Protocol and its Amendments need to comply with the provisions.

India’s concerns at International Forum

The Indian government contributed to the preparatory stage during negotiation, and subsequently adopted the Protocol in 1987. India stands for the precautionary approach and highlights that the necessity of technical and economic supports for enabling participation by developing countries. India intends to protect its interests in financial mechanisms, technology transfer and research for alternatives, which can be seen from various statements made during the   Meeting of Parties over the years. Significantly, in 1992 the then Minister of Environment and Forests, in the Meeting of the Parties in Copenhagen  said  “Denial of funds for research for alternatives would amount to protection of commercial and not environmental issues” (Nath, 1995).

The Environment Protection under the Constitutional Framework of India

The Constitution of India, vide the 42nd Amendment (1974)  provisions for  Art 48-A—Directive Principles, ‘State to protect environment’ and  Art 51-A—fundamental duty of citizen to protect the environment, making it our responsibility to protect and improve the environment. The preamble to our Constitution ensures a socialist pattern of living and accords dignity to every individual. A decent standard of living and a pollution free environment is therefore inherent in the Constitution of India. The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 defines environment as that ‘including water, air and land and the interrelationship which exists among and between air, water and land and human beings, other living creatures, plants, micro-organism and property’. Article 51-A (g) says, ‘It shall be duty of every citizen of India to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife and to have compassion for living creatures’. Article 48-A of our Constitution outlines, ‘the State shall endeavour to protect and improve the environment and safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country’.

India’s Actions for Compliance

The nation became Party to Vienna Convention for protection of ozone layer in June, 1991. Further, considering its position under Article 5 Para 1 and eligibility for financial and technical support—including transfer of technology to enable compliance; and, realising that the control measures of phasing out calculated level of the ODS (CFCs and halons) of less than 0.3 kg per capita was without any additional burden—decided to become party to the Montreal Protocol and its London Amendment on September 17, 1992. India also ratified the Copenhagen, Montreal and Beijing Amendments on March 3, 2003 after examining the impact on India’s industries. India however, is yet to ratify the 2016 Kigali Amendment, which came into force in January 2019.

India prepared a Country Programme (CP) to phase-out ODS in 1993 taking into consideration production and consumption of ODS’s projected growth till 2010. The objective was to phase out ODS without undue economic burden on the consumers and the equipment manufacturing industry. It was also an opportunity to access the Protocol’s financial mechanism (Country Programme, 1993). The other objectives of the CP  were to minimise economic dislocation as a result of conversion to non-ODS technology, maximise indigenous production,  provide preference to one time replacement, promote decentralised management and minimise obsolescence.

The CP was prepared in  collaboration and consultation with all line ministries and departments of the Indian  Government— ministries of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Defence, Home Affairs, Commerce, External Affairs and Agriculture and departments of Industrial Development, Small Scale Industry, Chemical and Petrochemicals, Electronics,Telecommunications and Economic Affairs. Besides, sectoral experts and industry associations—Refrigerant Gas Manufacturing Association, Indian Chemical Manufacturing Association, Aerosol Promotion Council, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Association etc., were also involved in the process.

The phasing out programme was developed for sectors such as aerosol, foam, refrigeration and air conditioning, solvent, halon and small scale and informal sectors (Table 1). The approach of the CP was to address technical concerns and substitutes in all sectors and to provide an institutional framework for support.

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) as the nodal ministry has established an appropriate institutional mechanism by setting up a dedicated Ozone Cell with significant functional autonomy. The Ozone Cell with guidance of the Steering Committee, financial and technical support from the Multilateral Fund through implementing agencies—World Bank,United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation and the United Nations Environment Programme and bilateral agencies of developed countries, prepared ODS phase out projects as per the CP (Ozone Cell).

The Multilateral Fund (MLF) for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol helps developing countries comply with their obligations under the Protocol to phase out the use of ODS. Projects and activities supported by the Fund are implemented by four international implementing agencies. Established in 1990 the MLF is operational since 1991. The MLF is managed by an Executive Committee with equal membership from developed and developing countries (14 members) with its secretariat located in Montreal. The MLF is replenished by developed countries on triennial basis, with developing countries being supported for the incremental cost of the ODS phase out projects.

Fiscal measures

Further, to incentivise the speedy phase out of ODS and to encourage new industries with non ODS technology,  the Indian Government in 1997 granted full exemption from customs and excise duties on capital goods for ODS phase out projects funded or eligible to be funded by MLF. This also covered project submitted for retroactive financing for enterprises that clearly committed to stop using ODS in all future manufacturing operations.

Trade in India

India produces  and exports chloroflorocarbons (CFC11, CFC12 and CFC113), Halon, Carbon tetrachloride (CTC), methylchloroform (MCF) and Hydrochlorflorocarbon (HCFC) 22. To meet the domestic consumption in India, chemicals not produced or insufficiently produced, are imported (Table 2 and 3). In 1995, consistent with the Article 4 of the Protocol, India introduced a licensing system to regulate export and import. It also begun collecting data to determine the production and consumption of ODS  in order to comply with the reporting provision under Article 7 of the Protocol. Industries initially resisted, but later extended cooperation with the condition that a licence be issued for total annual quota of export of ODS and demand based
ODS import.

The production quota system, established in March, 2000, therefore set annual production quotas to enterprises eligible to produce CFCs. For each calendar year, these annual production quotas for four enterprises were  announced by the government. Flexibility was awarded for variable production and enterprises were  allowed to trade or auction the quotas amongst themselves as long as the total quota was maintained.


The Indian government, in order to provide regulatory support to the provisions of the Protocol developed a Comprehensive Ozone Depleting Substances (Regulation and Control)Rules, 2000 under the Environment (Protection)Act,1986. The Rules provide for compulsory registration of ODS and compressor producers, importers, exporters, stockist and sellers. Enterprises which have received financial assistance from MLF for switch over to non-ODS technology need to register the date of completion of their project and declare that the equipment used for ODS has been destroyed. Creation of new capacity or expansion of capacity of manufacturing of ODS has been prohibited and purchasers are required to declare the purpose for which ODS is bought. Rules have been laid out indicating specific phase-out dates for manufacturing products using ODSs, which have been amended based on adjustments of HCFCs phase out schedule adopted in Meeting of Parties in 2007.

Compliance with the Protocol—ODS Production Phase out

India was producing CFC 11, CFC12, CFC 113, Halon 121.1, Halon 130.1, CTC and MCF. Production of 22,588 MT of CFCs  were phased out with effect from August 1, 2008—17 months ahead of the agreed phase-out schedule (MoEF&CC, 2008). However,  the use of pharmaceutical grade CFCs for the manufacturing of metered dose inhalers were allowed as essential use under the Protocol at four manufacturing facilities—SRF Ltd, Gujarat Fluorocarbons Ltd, Navin Fluorine International Ltd and Chemplast Sanmar Ltd. 80 million USD was provided  by the MLF as compensation for the loss of profit due to cessation of CFC production at the four plants. The production of CTC for non-feed stock use was stopped in 2010 with a financial compensation of  25 million USD.

India’s total installed capacity of two halon plants—one for halon-121.1 and the other for halon-130.1 was 500 MT. These plants were dismantled prior to 1996 and were granted 2.3 million USD as compensation. HCFCs are classified as controlled substances under the Montreal Protocol. India produces HCFC-22 —used as refrigerants in air conditioners—while all other HCFCs are imported. There are five HCFC-22 producers, of which four are engaged in production for controlled uses. It may be noted that all HCFC-22 production facilities were capable of producing CFCs and until 2007 the facilities were used for both. As India ceased production of CFCs from 2008, production of HCFC-22 was stepped up partly to cater to the increased domestic demand and also to serve the export market. However, as per the current regulations in India, expansion of production facilities for controlled use of HCFC-22 is prohibited under the ODS Rules, 2000.

Manufacturing HCFCs produce the by-product Trifluoro-methane (HFC 23), which is a  greenhouse gas having  a warming potential 14,800 times more than carbon dioxide. India,  as Party to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), has proactively curbed the emission of HFC 23 by ordering its incineration at the production site. This action curtails the release of HFC 23 equivalent to about 100 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. Under Kyoto Protocol’s clean development mechanism (CDM) these companies are awarded financial benefits.

ODS consumption Phase out

India has successfully phased out the use of 26566.2 ODP tonnes including CFCs, CTC, halons, MCF and HCFCs by August 2018 (Table 5) with a financial support of 194,161,395 USD received from the MLF. This excludes the fiscal incentive provided by the Indian government through exemption duties on capital equipment (MoEF&CC, 2018).

All refrigerators including commercial refrigerators and mobile air conditioning system manufacturers in India use HFC as refrigerants and HCFC as insulating agent such as foam. The switch from CFC 12 to HFC 134a was a global decision taken by automobile manufacturers in developed countries (IPCC/TEAP, 2006). All mobile air conditioner manufacturers in India —car, bus, truck,  ACs  use HFC134a as a cooling gas. In case of trains HCFC 22 is used as a refrigerant.

Godrej is the only refrigerator company in India that uses hydrocarbon  (HC) for refrigerant and as insulating foam. HCs do not harm the ozone layer. Compared to other synthetic refrigerants, their global warming potential is negligible. Gradually several other manufactures have begun adopting HC technology developed under eco-fridge programme supported by the Government of Switzerland and Germany in 1992.

In the early 90s it was recommended that the cost effective HCFCs technology be used as a substitute in the insulation sector to replace CFC11 which was to be phased out by 2010. The foam manufacturers accepted incentives provided by the Indian government, using it to expand the capacity of existing companies in setting up HCFC production facilities, which in turn enhanced its consumption between 1995 and 2010. However, HCFC has to be phased out as per the schedule of the Protocol by January 2040. India, through the implementation of Stage I of HCFCs Phase Out Management Plan (HPMP), has phased out a total of  341.8 ODP tonnes of HCFCs by 2015. India has also implemented the HPMP Stage II to phase out 769.5 ODP tonnes by 2023. Further, the remaining ODP tonnes of HCFCs will be phased out by 2030.

HCFC phase out and climate change

HCFCs are the second generation of fluorine based gases, the original replacements for CFCs. These products are categorised as having medium ozone depletion potential and medium to high global warming potential. Consequently, they are a slightly more environment friendly alternative to CFCs. As HCFCs contribute both to ozone depletion and global warming, the use of HCFCs is being phased out as part of the Montreal Protocol. Thus India is committed to phase out HCFCs.

ODS management in refrigeration and air conditioner  servicing sector

The  refrigerators and air conditioner servicing sectors consume about 30 per cent of the market share. As the possibility of emission at source is more in this sector, technicians were provided appropriate equipment  training through an Indo-Swiss project —Human and Institutional Development in Ecological Refrigerations (HIDECOR) and National CFC Phase out plan (NCCoPP) implemented by GIZ, an agency of Government of Germany.  Currently, the technician training programme is being undertaken by the HPMP Stage I&II. Under HPMP I a total of 11276 technicians have been trained to use efficient equipment that provide leakage free servicing. Training programmes are organised for custom officials as well for controlling illegal trade in ODS. All projects are robustly monitored following a verification protocol. On technical completion third party verification confirms phase out of the given ODS, which in turn is followed by the final disbursement and certification.

As a follow up to the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, India launched  an innovative India Cooling Plan in March, 2019, which provides a perspective for the next 20 years (2018-2038).  Its recommendations address cooling requirements across sectors, encompassing provisions for reduction of cooling demand, aiding the transition of refrigerants from HFC to low/no global warming potential and enhancing energy efficiency with overall net  climate benefit. It has a structured implementation mechanism involving relevant departments and state governments and is expected to yield significant climate benefits.

Way Forward

India has successfully phased out all ODS production and consumption and complied with the controlled schedule of the Protocol through effective enforcement regulatory fiscal measures and timely implementation of all projects approved by MLF. Industries in these sectors, while complying with the control schedule have—with the help of the financial mechanism under the protocol and fiscal measures by Indian government—expanded their business. India has phased out all production and consumption of  ODS including CFCs, CTC and halon as per the schedule. HFC phase out continues and will be completed in 2030. India has also launched the Cooling Action Plan in 2019 to demonstrate its commitment. However, appropriate integration of climate and ozone action and coordinated efforts at national and state level would yield better results towards saving the planet and its life.


Country Programme, 1993. Phase-out of  Ozone Depleting Substances Under the Montreal
Project. Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change,
New Delhi.

Nath K., 1995. India’s National & Global
Environmental Concerns (India’s Environmental Concerns)
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Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, 2008. HCFC Phaseout Management Plan (HPMP Statge I). Available at:

Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, 2018. The Montreal Protocol India’s
Success Story
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Ozone Cell, Ministry of Environment,
Forest and Climate Change (undated).
New Delhi. Available at:

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