Daily Current Affairs and GK | 21 December 2023

By Priyanka Chaudhary | Last Modified: 21 Dec 2023 17:09 PM IST

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Current Affairs

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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.

40th Corps Day

(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.

Topic: Defence

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.

Topic: Geography

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.

Topic: Sports

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.
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