- 1. Union Cabinet approved a MoU between India and Saudi Arabia on cooperation in the field of Digitization and Electronic Manufacturing.
- 2. BCCI retired the iconic No. 7 jersey in honour of MS Dhoni.
- 3. India-United States Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Dialogue held in New Delhi.
- 4. Vijay Diwas 2023: December 16
- 5. The MoUs between the United States of America and the Republic of India have been approved by the Union Cabinet.
- 6. Leander Paes and Vijay Amritraj have been inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
- 7. DRDO has conducted a flight trial of 'Autonomous Flying Wing Technology Demonstrator'.
- 8. The DGCA granted an aerodrome licence for the Ayodhya Airport.
- 9. India’s exports declined by 2.83 per cent to USD 33.90 billion in November.
- 10. Iran abolished visa requirements for citizens of 33 countries.
- 11. A Statement of Intent (SoI) signed between the NITI Aayog and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
- 12. Indian Women's Cricket team created a history by scoring 410 runs on the first days.
- 13. Raksha Rajya Mantri Ajay Bhatt flagged in ‘Mission Antarctica’ on 13 December.
- 14. Global summit on ‘Liveable Cities of Tomorrow’ was organised in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
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Topic: MoUs /Agreements
1. Union Cabinet approved a MoU between India and Saudi Arabia on cooperation in the field of Digitization and Electronic Manufacturing.
- The Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) was signed on 18th August 2023 between the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology of India and the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology of Saudi Arabia.
- The main aim of the MoU is to enhance collaboration in the fields of Digitization, Electronic Manufacturing, e-governance, smart infrastructure, e-health and e-education.
- They also agreed to cooperate in research in digital innovation and the use of emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), Robots, Cloud Computing, Blockchain, etc.
- Memorandum of Cooperation will also create a framework for cooperation in the field of digitization and electronic manufacturing.
- MoC will also promote ways of innovative training and development.
- Union Cabinet also approved the MoU between India and Italy on Cooperation in the field of Industrial Property Rights.
- It will support enterprises, especially start-ups and SMEs in accessing and participating in the national and international IPR systems.
2. BCCI retired the iconic No. 7 jersey in honour of MS Dhoni.
- The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has decided to retire jersey No.7 in honour of MS Dhoni for his contribution to Indian Cricket.
- MS Dhoni captained the Indian team that won the ICC Men's T20 World Cup in 2007, the ICC Men's ODI World Cup in 2011, and the ICC Champions Trophy in 2013.
- Dhoni becomes the second Indian to get this honour.
- Earlier, BCCI had also retired Sachin Tendulkar's number 10 jersey.
- The tradition of retiring jerseys is followed in many games including football and basketball.
- Chicago Bulls retired the famous number 23 jersey in honour of Michael Jordan.
- As per the guidelines of the International Cricket Council (ICC), players can choose any number between 1 and 100 for their jerseys.
3. India-United States Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Dialogue held in New Delhi.
- On 13 November, the Dialogue was organized to address illicit finance risk across both countries. The Finance Ministry hosted this dialogue.
- The meeting took place between Revenue Secretary Sanjay Malhotra and the US Treasury under Secretary of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson.
- This dialogue is an effective platform for India and the US to share approaches and best practices in addressing illicit finance risks in the international financial system.
- The Forum discussed each country's efforts to increase transparency in beneficial ownership, including the implementation of beneficial ownership registries and tools to improve data quality.
- India and the US have agreed to pursue opportunities to enhance coordination and cooperation bilaterally and multilaterally within the Financial Action Task Force.
- This is an important step towards combating money laundering and other financial crimes, as it allows authorities to monitor the flow of money and identify those who are ultimately responsible for those crimes.
- Both agreed to pursue opportunities to enhance coordination and cooperation bilaterally and multilaterally, including working together within the FATF.
Topic: Important Days
4. Vijay Diwas 2023: December 16
- Every year on 16 December, Vijay Diwas is celebrated to commemorate the victory of the Indian Army over Pakistan during the 1971 war.
- This year, the 52nd anniversary of the 1971 war and Indo-Bangladesh friendship is being celebrated.
- On 16 December 1971, the independence of East Pakistan, and Bangladesh was created as a new nation.
- The war began when Pakistan carried out airstrikes on 11 Indian airbases on 3 December 1971.
- India won the war against Pakistan after fighting for 13 days.
- Pakistani Army Chief General Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi surrendered along with his soldiers while kneeling before the Indian forces.
- During the historic war of 1971 between Pakistan and India, Indira Gandhi was the Prime Minister of India.
- Vijay Diwas is also celebrated in Bangladesh as 'Bijoy Dibos' or Bangladesh Liberation Day.
Topic: MoUs and Agreements
5. The MoUs between the United States of America and the Republic of India have been approved by the Union Cabinet.
- The draft MoU has been signed to enhance innovation ecosystems through an innovation handshake.
- The 5th India-US Commerce Dialogue was held on 10 March 2023 during the visit of US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo between 8-10 March.
- The meeting resumed commercial dialogue with a strategic focus on advancing an inclusive digital economy and facilitating post-pandemic economic recovery, particularly in the context of SMEs and start-ups, etc.
- This included the launch of a new Working Group on Talent, Innovation, and Inclusive Growth (TIIG) under commercial negotiations.
- Efforts to establish an "innovation handshake" were welcomed in a joint statement issued by President Biden and Prime Minister Modi in June 2023.
- It will connect the energetic startup ecosystems of both sides, address specific regulatory barriers to collaboration, and promote increased innovation and employment opportunities, particularly in the area of critical and emerging technologies (CETs).
- A G2G MoU was signed between India and the US on Innovation Handshake on November 14, 2023, in San Francisco, USA to formalize cooperation and implement guidance under the Innovation Handshake.
- The scope of cooperation will include a series of India-US Innovation Handshake events, roundtables with the private sector, hackathons and “Open Innovation” events, information sharing, and other activities.
- The MOU laid the groundwork for two Innovation Handshake programs to be held in India and the United States in early 2024.
- It also includes an investment platform, which aims to help American and Indian startup companies bring their innovative ideas and products to market.
- These include organizing a "hackathon" in Silicon Valley, where American and Indian startups will put forward ideas and technologies to help tackle global economic challenges.
6. Leander Paes and Vijay Amritraj have been inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
- On December 14, Indian tennis legends Vijay Amritraj and Leander Paes created history by becoming the first Asian men to be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
- This historic achievement makes India the 28th country to be represented in this prestigious institution.
- Leander Paes, 18-time Grand Slam champion in doubles and mixed doubles, has earned his place in the player category.
- One of the greatest doubles players in history, Leander Paes achieved the No. 1 ranking in doubles and won 8 doubles titles and 10 mixed doubles titles.
- He represented India in various prestigious events, including the Olympics, Grand Slam, and Davis Cup, for three decades. Paes also won an Olympic bronze in singles in 1996.
- Vijay Amritraj has been honoured in the Contributor category, which is evaluated every two years.
- Vijay Amritraj, a successful broadcaster and promoter after his illustrious sporting career, has used his platform to popularize tennis in India and across Asia.
- Well-known tennis journalist and historian Richard Evans has been included in the same category as Vijay Amritraj.
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7. DRDO has conducted a flight trial of 'Autonomous Flying Wing Technology Demonstrator'.
- It is an indigenous high-speed flying-wing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).
- The flight trial was conducted from the Aeronautical Test Range of Chitradurga in Karnataka.
- With this, India has become one of the select few nations that have become proficient with flying wing technology.
- DRDO’s Aeronautical Development Establishment has designed and developed this UAV.
- The maiden flight of this aircraft was demonstrated in July 2022.
Topic: Infrastructure and Energy
8. The DGCA granted an aerodrome licence for the Ayodhya Airport.
- Ayodhya Airport will see its inaugural flight on December 30.
- It has been developed by the Airports Authority of India at a cost of ₹350 crore.
- The airport is called Maryada Purshottam Shri Ram International Airport.
- The airport runway is appropriate for narrowbody aircraft, including the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 series.
- Additionally, it has an instrument landing system installed, enabling aircraft operations in low visibility and at night.
- IndiGo has announced that its Delhi-Ayodhya flight scheduled for December 30 will be the inaugural flight to the airport.
- Regular commercial flights will begin from January 6. It will also connect the Ayodhya with Ahmedabad from January 11.
- The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal to declare Surat Airport as an International Airport.
- Surat Airport is located in Magdalla. It is the second busiest airport in Gujarat after Ahmedabad.
Topic: Indian Economy
9. India’s exports declined by 2.83 per cent to USD 33.90 billion in November.
- As per the government’s data, the trade deficit stood at USD 20.58 billion in November.
- In November, India’s exports declined by 2.83 per cent to USD 33.90 billion compared to USD 34.89 billion in 2022.
- During the April-November, exports contracted by 6.51 per cent to USD 278.8 billion.
- In the same period, Import figures have declined by 8.67%, recording $445.15 billion.
- The decrease in imports is mainly due to a decline in oil imports, which decreased from $139.29 billion in April-November 2022-23 to $113.65 billion in the same period.
- Electronics, iron ore, and pharma sectors registered positive growth.
- Coal, coke, pearls, precious and semi-precious stones, and fertiliser sectors have registered contraction.
- The gold imports in November increased by 6.24% to $3.44 billion.
Topic: International News
10. Iran abolished visa requirements for citizens of 33 countries.
- The government of Iran has announced lifting the visa requirements for citizens of 33 countries including India and the Gulf States.
- The main objective of this decision is to boost tourism arrivals and to attract more visitors from different countries of the world.
- After this decision, now total of 45 countries will be able to visit Iran without needing to obtain a visa.
- India currently holds a visa-exemption arrangement with Iran, which is mainly beneficial for Indian diplomats.
- Recently, India has been added to the visa-exemption lists of many countries, including Malaysia, Thailand and Sri Lanka.
- The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries have also approved a Schengen-like visa. It will allow visitors to travel to different Gulf countries on the same visa.
Topic: MoUs and Agreements
11. A Statement of Intent (SoI) signed between the NITI Aayog and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
- This SoI has been signed with the aim of fortifying policy and program frameworks contributing to India's developmental objectives.
- The five-year SoI gives the IFPRI a wide-ranging mandate to collaborate in key areas.
- The SoI includes developing and tracking rural improvement indicators, supporting the design and evaluation of key programs, providing policy analytical tools, and generating evidence on India's agri-food trade in regional and global contexts.
- NITI Aayog is actively guiding India's development programs through periodic monitoring and evaluation with a special focus on agriculture to ensure sustainable and inclusive agricultural and rural reforms.
- IFPRI will provide policy analysis and support to NITI Aayog in mutually identified areas across a broad spectrum of food system reform.
- It will initially focus on agriculture, rural development, trade, and climate change policies in India.
12. Indian Women's Cricket team created a history by scoring 410 runs on the first days.
- Indian women's team made a strong score of 428 runs in the first innings against England on the second day of the one-off Test in Mumbai.
- By the end of play on the first day on 14 December, India had scored a huge score of 410 runs.
- With this huge score, India became the second women's team in 88 years to score 400 runs in a single day of a Test match.
- England had made 431/4 against New Zealand in 1935 at Lancaster Park in Christchurch.
- In addition, the Indian team also surpassed the previous highest record of 400/9 against South Africa in the home Test in 2014.
(Source: News on AIR)
Topic: National News
13. Raksha Rajya Mantri Ajay Bhatt flagged in ‘Mission Antarctica’ on 13 December.
- ‘Mission Antarctica’ was carried out by a team from the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Darjeeling.
- The team hoisted the National Flag of 7500 sq ft weighing 75 kilograms at an altitude of 16, 500 feet.
- It is recorded in the Asia Book of Records and India Book of Records as the biggest Indian National Flag hoisted atop a mountain.
- The team also displayed the Tri-colour over Mount Vinson Peak, which is the highest peak of the South Pole.
- The Raksha Rajya Mantri also witnessed the final display of the 7,500 sq ft National Flag at the Air Force Bal Bharati School in Delhi.
- The first scientific expedition of India to Antarctica was launched in 1981 under the leadership of Dr S Z Qasim.
Topic: Summits/ Conferences/ Meetings
14. Global summit on ‘Liveable Cities of Tomorrow’ was organised in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
- Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel along with Union Minister Kaushal Kishore inaugurated the summit.
- The three-session summit covered issues from designing liveable cities to implementing core concepts such as sustainable financing instruments, digitalisation, measuring liveability, and investable cities.
- This summit was organized as part of the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit (VGGS) 2024.
- City leaders, including mayors, municipal commissioners, academicians, and industry experts attended the summit.
- 15 panelists from different organizations including World Bank and UNICEF and 800 global participants took part in the summit.