- 1. Parliament gave its nod to raise the age of the president and members of GSTAT.
- 2. 40th Corps Day has been celebrated by the Judge Advocate General Department.
- 3. Senior IPS officer Maheshwar Dayal took over as Director General of prisons.
- 4. The proposal to build the first Advanced Pediatric Center was approved by the UP cabinet.
- 5. Leif Erikson Lunar Prize presented to ISRO for Chandrayaan-3 Mission.
- 6. The government said the share of agriculture in India's GDP will decline to 15% in fiscal year 2023.
- 7. SAANS Campaign 2023-24 has been launched by Manipur health minister to tackle Pneumonia.
- 8. Sahitya Akademi Award 2023 has been announced by Sahitya Akademi in 24 languages.
- 9. Quality Council of India and Andhra Pradesh signed MoU to transform the agriculture sector.
- 10. Defence ministry signed a deal to buy six high-tech patrol vessels for the Indian Coast Guard.
- 11. The worst flooding in the century occurred in far north Queensland in the wake of Storm Jasper.
- 12. On 18 December, Swarved Mahamandir inaugurated by PM Modi in Uttar Pradesh.
- 13. Government allowed additional borrowing of Rs 60,000 crore to 22 states for the National Pension Scheme.
- 14. Airport Authority of India wins men's team title at the 75th Inter State-Inter Zonal Badminton Championships.
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Topic: Indian Economy
1. Parliament gave its nod to raise the age of the president and members of GSTAT.
- A bill to increase the age limit of the president and member of the GST Appellate Tribunals to 70 years and 67 years, respectively has been approved by the Parliament.
- At present, the age limit for the president is 67 years and for members is 65 years.
- Rajya Sabha returned the Central Goods and Services Tax (Second Amendment) Bill, 2023, to Lok Sabha without any changes.
- Lok Sabha cleared the Goods and Services Tax (Second Amendment) Bill, 2023.
- The bill also aligned the provisions of the Central GST Act in line with the Tribunal Reforms Act, 2021.
- Goods and Services Tax Appellate Tribunal (GSTAT):
- It is a forum of the second appeal in GST laws and the first common forum of dispute resolution between the Centre and States.
- GST Appellate Tribunal ensures uniformity in the redressal of disputes arising under GST.
- The National Bench of the Appellate Tribunal is situated in New Delhi.
- GSTAT is presided by the President and consists of one Technical Member (Centre) and one Technical Member (State).
Topic: Important Days
2. 40th Corps Day has been celebrated by the Judge Advocate General Department.
- The Judge Advocate General (JAG) Department, the judicial and legal wing of the Army celebrated its 40th Corps Day on 21st December.
- On this day in 1949, the Bill for the Army Act was introduced in the Parliament.
- The Judge Advocate General (JAG) Department deals with military-related disciplinary cases and litigation.
- The Judge Advocate General is the legal advisor to the Chief of Army Staff in matters related to military, martial (in its fighting service aspect) and international law.
- It also assists the Adjutant General in matters related to discipline involving the application of military law.
- This department is actively involved in assisting all ranks in observing Human Rights and the rule of law.
(Source: News on AIR)
Topic: National News
3. Senior IPS officer Maheshwar Dayal took over as Director General of prisons.
- On 18 December, senior IPS officer and Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Maheshwar Dayal took charge as Director General of Prisons and Correctional Services.
- He has been appointed in place of Amresh Pujari.
- Amresh Pujari has been posted as DGP/Chief Vigilance Officer in Tamil Nadu Newsprint and Papers Limited (TNPL).
- Maheshwar Dayal had served as Superintendent of Police (SP) in Virudhunagar, Nilgiris, and Nagapattinam districts and as Deputy Commissioner of Police in Tirunelveli, Tiruchi, and Gurgaon, Haryana.
- He was also the Commandant of the Tamil Nadu Special Police, Tihar Battalion, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Central Industrial Security Force, and Bureau of Civil Aviation.
- Before becoming ADGP, he also served as Inspector General of Police (IG) Economic Offenses of Tamil Nadu Police, IG Anti-Naxal Commando Force, GoI, IG Anti-Naxal Operations, CRPF, Ranchi.
Topic: State News/ Uttar Pradesh
4. The proposal to build the first Advanced Pediatric Center was approved by the UP cabinet.
- On December 19, the Uttar Pradesh Cabinet gave its approval to set up the state's first advanced pediatric medical center at PGI, Lucknow.
- The center will have various pediatricians to treat all diseases related to children.
- This facility is not currently available in any institute or medical college in the state.
- This project is estimated to cost Rs 199 crore 10 lakh 52 thousand.
- Currently, 40% of the state's population consists of children and adolescents aged 0-18 years.
- The Advanced Pediatric Center consisting of over 20 departments and 6 units equipped with 575 beds will be set up at SGPGI.
- The center will be established in two phases.
- In the first phase, 310 beds including 12 departments and 4 units will be established.
- These include departments like General Pediatrics, Pediatric Oncology, Pediatric Emergency, Pediatric Critical Care, Pediatric Surgery, Pediatric Gastroenterology, Pediatric Endocrinology, etc.
- Similarly, in the second phase, an additional 9 departments and 2 units will operate in the departments.
Topic: Awards and Prizes
5. Leif Erikson Lunar Prize presented to ISRO for Chandrayaan-3 Mission.
- The Exploration Museum in Iceland's Husavik has awarded ISRO the 2023 Leif Erikson Chandra Prize for its successful Chandrayaan-3 mission.
- The award has been given for the first soft landing of a spacecraft near the Moon's south pole and "ISRO's indomitable spirit in advancing the exploration of the Moon and contributing to the understanding of the celestial mysteries."
- Chandrayaan-3 was India's third mission to the Moon, and the second attempt to make a soft landing on the lunar surface.
- ISRO managed to place the Vikram lander on the lunar surface and land the robotic rover, Pragyan.
- Ambassador B Shyam has received the award on behalf of the space agency.
- Since 2015, the Leif Erikson Prize is an annual award given by the Exploration Museum.
- The award is named after Leif Erikson – a Norse explorer who was believed to be the first European to set foot on the continental Americas, nearly four centuries before the expedition of Christopher Columbus.
Topic: Indian Economy
6. The government said the share of agriculture in India's GDP will decline to 15% in fiscal year 2023.
- The government reported on December 19 that the share of agriculture in India's GDP declined from 35% in 1990–91 to 15% last fiscal year due to rapid growth in the industrial and service sectors.
- The share of agriculture in the total gross value added (GVA) of the economy has declined from 35% in 1990-91 to 15% in 2022-23.
- This decline is not due to the decline in agricultural GVA but due to the rapid expansion in industrial and service sector GVA.
- In terms of growth, the agriculture and allied sectors have registered an average annual growth of 4% during the last five years.
- As far as the global experience is concerned, the share of agriculture in world GDP has also declined over the past decades and has stood at around 4% in recent years.
- PM-Kisan Yojana was launched in 2019.
- It is an income support scheme that provides Rs 6,000 per year in three equal installments.
- Under this, over Rs 2.81 lakh crore has been released to over 11 crore farmers till November 30, 2023.
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Topic: State News/Manipur
7. SAANS Campaign 2023-24 has been launched by Manipur health minister to tackle Pneumonia.
- Social Awareness and Action to Neutralise Pneumonia Successfully (SAANS) Campaign 2023-24 has been launched by the State Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr. Sapam Ranjan Singh in Manipur.
- State Newborn Resource Centre has also been inaugurated at Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences in Imphal.
- The Minister said that Pneumonia is a preventable, treatable disease if precautionary steps are taken up at the right time.
- The Health Department is focusing on spreading awareness to the people because this disease is preventable.
- Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition of the lung. It mainly affects the small air sacs called alveoli. Its symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever and difficulty breathing.
Topic: Awards and Prizes
8. Sahitya Akademi Award 2023 has been announced by Sahitya Akademi in 24 languages.
- 9 books of poetry, 6 novels, 5 short story collections, 3 essays and 1 literary study have won the Sahitya Akademi Awards 2023.
- Tamil author Rajasekaran has won the award for his novel Neervazhi Padooum.
- Telugu writer Patanjali Sastry has won the award for his short story collection.
- Malayalam litterateur EV Ramakrishnan has won award for his literary study Malayala Novelinte Deshakalangal.
- Vijay Verma in Dogri, Vinod Joshi in Gujarati, and Ashutosh Parida in Odia won the award for their poetry collections.
- Pranavjyoti Deka in Assamese, Nandeswar Daimary in Bodo, and Taraceen Baskey in Santali are the authors chosen for their short stories.
- Sanjeev has won the Sahitya Akademi Award for his Hindi novel Mujhe Pahachaano.
- Neelam Saran Gour has won the award for her English Novel Requiem in Raga Janki.
- The award presentation function will be held on 12th March, 2024.
- The award will be presented in the form of a casket containing an engraved copper plaque, a shawl, and one lakh rupees.
- Sahitya Akademi Award:
- It was established in 1954. It is given by Sahitya Akademi.
- It is awarded for outstanding literary works published in 24 languages (22 official languages mentioned in the eighth schedule and Rajasthani and English).
Topic: MoUs /Agreements
9. Quality Council of India and Andhra Pradesh signed MoU to transform the agriculture sector.
- The Quality Council of India (QCI) and the Andhra Pradesh government have entered into an MoU to bring transformation in the agriculture sector.
- The QCI will provide extensive technical support to agriculture and allied sectors.
- As per the agreement, the QCI will lend its expertise in developing and designing a robust conformity assessment framework for the State’s agriculture sector.
- The framework will establish quality standards and ensure adherence to best practices throughout the value chain.
- Quality Council of India will also provide training programmes for stakeholders at all levels.
- It will also empower farmers, cooperatives, industry players, and government officials with the knowledge and skills needed for a quality ecosystem.
- The Quality Council of India will also collaborate with the government institutions and agricultural universities of Andhra Pradesh.
- Quality Council of India (QCI):
- It was established in 1997 by the Government of India.
- It is an apex organisation for establishing and operating the third-party national accreditation system and improving quality across sectors.
10. Defence ministry signed a deal to buy six high-tech patrol vessels for the Indian Coast Guard.
- The defence ministry signed a contract with Mazagon Dockyard Shipbuilders Ltd of ₹1614.89 crores to procure six next-generation offshore patrol vessels.
- The contract has been signed under the buy (Indian-IDDM) category.
- These new next-generation offshore patrol vessels will replace the existing ageing offshore patrol vessels.
- These vessels will help the Indian Coast Guard in search and rescue operations.
- The procurement of these vessels will boost the Coast Guard’s capability and strengthen maritime security.
- These vessels will also a key role in providing humanitarian assistance and maritime pollution response.
- The ships will also have AI (artificial intelligence) capabilities. It will be equipped with multipurpose drones and wirelessly controlled remote water rescue craft lifebuoy.
11. The worst flooding in the century occurred in far north Queensland in the wake of Storm Jasper.
- The deluge caused by the remnants of Tropical Cyclone Jasper has caused the largest flooding in Australia's Far North Queensland (FNQ) in more than a century.
- Jasper made landfall on the FNQ coast last week on December 13, 2023.
- Two rain gauges in Jasper's wake recorded more than 660 millimeters (26 in) of rain in just 12 hours, provisionally breaking the previous all-time state record of 617 mm, set in 1972.
- Persistent rains caused widespread flooding along the FNQ coast.
- The River Barron at Myola witnessed its highest flood levels in more than 100 years.
- The Daintree River exceeded major record flood levels. It hit 15 meters, which is above the 2019 record of 12.6 meters.
- November–April is tropical cyclone season in the northern parts of Australia.
- But during El Nino years, the rainy season gets delayed and starts from January or February.
- A tropical cyclone near Queensland in early December is rare and even rarer in El Niño years.
- According to the declaration by the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) in September 2023, Australia is currently in the grip of an El Nino climate pattern.
- This is the first time since record keeping began in the 1970s that a tropical cyclone has occurred so early in the season in an El Niño year.
Topic: State News/ Uttar Pradesh
12. On 18 December, Swarved Mahamandir inaugurated by PM Modi in Uttar Pradesh.
- The newly constructed Swarved Mahamandir in Umraha, Varanasi is the world's largest meditation center.
- The Prime Minister paid floral tributes at the statue of Maharishi Sadaphal Dev Ji Maharaj and toured the temple premises.
- PM Modi was on a two-day visit to his Lok Sabha constituency, Varanasi.
- For the first time, a real-time AI-based tool was used to translate PM Modi's speech at the Kasi Tamil Sangamam in Varanasi on December 18.
- The PM Modi's speech was translated through 'Bhashini' for those in the audience who understood Tamil.
- 'Bhashini' is an AI-based language translation system that enables people to speak in their own language while talking to speakers of other Indian languages.
Topic: Indian Economy
13. Government allowed additional borrowing of Rs 60,000 crore to 22 states for the National Pension Scheme.
- The Department of Expenditure approved an extra borrowing of Rs 60,876.8 crore to 22 States in 2023-24 for the National Pension Scheme.
- 3 per cent of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) or Rs 8,59,988 crore in absolute terms was fixed as the normal net borrowing ceiling for states in FY24.
- States have been also allowed extra borrowing ceilings equivalent to employer and employee share of contribution of its employees to the NPS.
- The central government has earlier approved additional financial incentives worth Rs 66,413 crore to 12 states for reforms in the power sector.
- Additional borrowing of Rs 39,175 crore was allowed to 12 states in 2021-22 and Rs 27,238 crore to 6 States in 2022-23.
- States have the facility of tapping Rs 1.3 lakh crore 50-year interest-free capex loans facility for FY24.
- Capital expenditure of Rs 91,471.43 crore has been approved for 25 states.
14. Airport Authority of India wins men's team title at the 75th Inter State-Inter Zonal Badminton Championships.
- Airport Authority of India (AAI) defeated Karnataka by 3-0 in the finals.
- Airport Authority of India (AAI) finished runner-up in the women's event.
- Maharashtra won the women’s team title by defeating the Airport Authority of India.
- The prestigious national championship has been organised by the Badminton Association of India (BAI) at the RG Baruah Sports Complex in Assam’s Guwahati.
- The individual events have also started with renowned shuttlers like Badminton World Federation (BWF) world championships bronze medallist Lakshya Sen.