- 1. Government approved projects worth Rs 2700 crore for developing sewerage infrastructure in the Ganga basin.
- 2. Digitally capturing of attendance of workers under MGNREGA will become universal from 1 January.
- 3. Bulandshahr Prison awarded a five-star rating from FSSAI for food quality.
- 4. A star is named after former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
- 5. NTPC signed an MoU with Tecnimont to explore the possibility to develop Green Methanol Production.
- 6. Nikhat Zareen and Lovlina Borgohain won gold medals at the 6th Elite Women's Boxing National Championship 2022 in Bhopal.
- 7. IIT Kanpur has developed an artificial heart.
- 8. India will become the third-largest economy by 2035 according to the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR).
- 9. Dharmadam becomes the first complete library constituency in India.
- 10. Railway is planning to modernise 1,000 small stations under Amrit Bharat Station Scheme.
- 11. Garuda Aerospace became the first drone company in India to receive RTPO and Type Certification.
- 12. Bomb cyclone hits the United States and Canada.
- 13. Spain has passed new transgender law.
- 14. PM Modi will flag off West Bengal's first Vande Bharat Express on December 30.
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Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives
1. Government approved projects worth Rs 2700 crore for developing sewerage infrastructure in the Ganga basin.
- Out of the total approved projects, 12 projects have been approved for developing the sewerage infrastructure in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal.
- The approvals for projects have been given in the 46th meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG).
- In Bihar, one project each for Daudnagar and Motihari towns has been approved at estimated costs of Rs. 42.25 and 149.15 crore respectively
- In UP, 3 projects approved, out of which one is for the development of sewerage infrastructure in Prayagraj.
- In West Bengal, a project for the rejuvenation of River Adi Ganga has been approved at an estimated cost of Rs. 653.67 crore.
- A project for the construction of 5 STPs in Dhanbad has been approved with a cost of Rs 808.33 crore. This project is for pollution abatement in River Damodar.
- Afforestation Programmes for the year 2022-23 for Uttarakhand and Bihar have been also approved with an estimated cost of Rs. 42.80 crore.
- The main objective of the afforestation program is to create an enabling environment for climate resilient and sustainable ecosystem management with a community participatory approach.
- Another project titled 'Scientific exploration of floral diversity near the Ganga river banks for ethnobotanical purposes along with their conservation and economic development of the region via skill development programs' has been also approved for five states.
Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives
2. Digitally capturing of attendance of workers under MGNREGA will become universal from 1 January.
- The government made digital capturing of the attendance of workers universal under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) from 1 January 2023.
- It will ensure more transparency, accountability, efficiency and monitoring, and weed out corruptions reported in the process of implementation of MGNREGS.
- In May 2021, the government had started a pilot project to capture attendance via a mobile application, the National Mobile Monitoring System (NMMS).
- The government had made mandatory the capturing of attendance via the app for all worksites with 20 or more workers from 16 May, 2022.
- Now, the government has issued an order that digitally capturing of attendance is now mandatory for all worksites.
- The directive has been issued based on many complaints and loopholes pointed out by users of the pilot app-based project.
- Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act 2005 (MGNREGA):
- It was passed by Parliament on 23rd August 2005. It came into force on 2 February 2006.
- In October 2009, National Rural Employment Guarantee Act 2005 was amended and its name was changed from NREGA to MGNREGA.
- Under MGNREGA, there is a provision to provide at least 100 days of guaranteed wage employment in a financial year to every rural household.
Topic: State News/ Uttar Pradesh
3. Bulandshahr Prison awarded a five-star rating from FSSAI for food quality.
- Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) awarded a five-star rating and the tag 'Eat Right Campus' to Bulandshahr prison of Uttar Pradesh.
- The FSSAI team inspected the food quality, storage and hygiene of the kitchen and gave 'Excellent' remark.
- According to the release, jail authorities and prisoners worked extensively for beautification, cleanliness, and food security.
- The staff also uses clean aprons, full-sleeve gloves, and caps for cooking.
- Bulandshahr Jail is the second jail from Uttar Pradesh to get this tag after Farrukhabad Jail.
Topic: Personality in News
4. A star is named after former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
- On 25 December, the Aurangabad unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) named a star after the 'Bharat RATNA' recipient, Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
- It is named on the occasion of the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, which has been marked as 'Good Governance Day' across the country.
- The name of the star is Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
- The distance of this star from Earth is 392.01 light years and is the closest star to the Sun.
- On December 25, 2022, the star with the coordinates 14 05 25.3 -60 28 51.9 has been registered in the International Space Registry.
- Vajpayee ji was the Prime Minister of India from 16 May 1996 to 1 June 1996 and again from 19 March 1998 to 22 May 2004.
- He also served as India's External Affairs Minister in the cabinet of Prime Minister Moraji Desai from 1977 to 1979.
- On August 16, 2018, he passed away at AIIMS hospital in Delhi.
Topic: MoUs/ Agreements
5. NTPC signed an MoU with Tecnimont to explore the possibility to develop Green Methanol Production.
- NTPC has signed a non-binding MoU with Tecnimont Private Limited, the Indian subsidiary of Italy-based Maier Tecnimont Group.
- This MoU aims to jointly evaluate and explore the possibility of developing a green methanol production facility on a commercial scale at NTPC's project in India.
- This Green Methanol project involves capturing carbon from NTPC's power plants and converting it into green fuel.
- Green methanol can be used as a base material for the chemical industry, as storage of renewable electricity and as a transportation fuel.
- NTPC is the largest power-generating company in the country and supplies a quarter of the total electricity in the country.
- Presently, NTPC has an installed renewable energy capacity of 2,332 MW.
- Overall, the NTPC Group (including joint ventures and subsidiaries) has an installed power generation capacity of 70,254 MW.
6. Nikhat Zareen and Lovlina Borgohain won gold medals at the 6th Elite Women's Boxing National Championship 2022 in Bhopal.
- Nikhat Zareen defeated Anamika of Railways 4-1 in the final of the 50kg category while Lovlina Borgohain beat Arundhati Choudhary of Services 5-0 in the 75kg final.
- In the tournament, Haryana's Manisha (57kg), Saweety Boora (81kg), Railway Sports Promotion Board's (SSCB) Sakshi (52kg), and Madhya Pradesh's Manju Bamboria (66kg) also won gold medals.
- A total of 302 boxers competed in 12 weight categories in the National Women's Boxing Championship that concluded on 26 December.
- The Railways team topped the medal tally with 10 medals - five gold, three silver, and two bronze.
- Madhya Pradesh finished second with one gold, two silver, and five bronze, while Haryana came third with two gold and two bronze.
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Topic: New Development
7. IIT Kanpur has developed an artificial heart.
- This would help people deal with acute cardiac problems. Artificial hearts can be implanted in such serious patients.
- This artificial heart has been developed by IIT Kanpur and cardiologists across the country.
- Trial on animals would start from February 2023 or March 2023.
- Transplantation can be done in humans in the next two years after the success of the trial on animals.
- 80% of equipment and implants are being imported into India from abroad.
- India only manufactures 20% of the equipment and implants inside the country.
- IIT Kanpur Director, Abhay Karandikar, said that there are only 8 doctors per 1000 population in India.
- In January 2022, IIT Kanpur’s School of Medical Research and Technology announced the launch of Hridyantra.
- Hridyantra is a challenge-based programme to develop an advanced artificial heart for patients with end-stage heart failure.
- This advanced artificial heart is also called a Left Ventricular Assist device (LVAD).
Topic: Indian Economy
8. India will become the third-largest economy by 2035 according to the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR).
- In its World Economic League Table, the CEBR said that over the next five years, India's annual GDP growth rate will average 6.4%.
- Growth will average 6.5% in the subsequent nine years according to CEBR, a British consultancy.
- CEBR also said that by 2037, the world’s gross domestic product will be doubled.
- East Asia and the Pacific region will account for over a third of global output by 2037. Europe’s share shrinks to less than a fifth of global output by 2037.
- CEBR said the global economy will face a recession in 2023 mainly due to an increase in interest rates by the central banks to prevent higher inflation.
- In its annual World Economic League Table, CEBR said the global economy surpassed 100 trillion Dollars for the first time in 2022. It said the global economy will stall in 2023.
Topic: State News/ Kerala
9. Dharmadam becomes the first complete library constituency in India.
- Dharmadam is the constituency of Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan. It has become the first constituency to achieve this feat.
- There are a total 138 wards are in the constituency. Earlier, there were no libraries in 63 wards.
- The complete librarianisation of the constituency has become possible with the support of all sections of society.
- The District Library Council and local self-governing bodies actively participated in the mission.
- Committees were formed for implementing the mission. Libraries work as an inspiration in the whole of Kerala through the people’s movement for social development.
- The first public library in India is the State Central Library of Kerala, also known as the Trivandrum Public Library.
- Recently, Jamtara becomes the India's first district with a library in every village.
Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives
10. Railway is planning to modernise 1,000 small stations under Amrit Bharat Station Scheme.
- Railway will identify small stations with potential to be developed as city centres.
- The divisional railway managers will decide the modernisation works in a phased manner.
- A special fund will also be also released from DRMs for this purpose.
- The main aim of the scheme is to enhance facilities at small stations beyond the minimum essential amenities.
- The plan is to select 15 stations in each of the 68 divisions for renovation.
- As per the instruction, the station should also have a second entry station building, and high-level platforms with a length of 600m.
- The scheme aims to relocate redundant/old buildings in a cost-efficient manner. It will create space for higher priority passenger-related activities.
- These stations will be redeveloped under "Khurda model of redevelopment".
- Khurda station in Odisha was modernised with all contemporary amenities for passengers.
- Modernization of the station includes widening roads, removing unwanted structures, properly designing signages, dedicated pedestrian pathways, etc.
11. Garuda Aerospace became the first drone company in India to receive RTPO and Type Certification.
- RTPO (Remote Pilot Training Organization) and Type Certification approvals have been given by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation for its indigenously designed Kisan drone.
- DGCA Type Certification is given based on quality checks of the drones and is issued after a rigorous testing process.
- In August 2021, the government introduced type certification under the Drone Rules in India.
- Earlier, Union Minister Anurag Singh Thakur flagged off India’s first Drone Skilling and Training Virtual E-Learning Platform at the Chennai manufacturing facility of Garuda Aerospace on 6 December 2022.
- The Made in India "Kisan" drones made by Garuda are designed for agricultural reasons like crop loss reduction, crop health monitoring, yield assessment, and crop loss mitigation.
- After the approvals, the startup is now eligible for an unsecured loan of Rs 10 lakh from the Agri Infrastructure Fund at 5% interest and 50-100% subsidy from the Government.
- The "Kisan" drone, which comes under the 25 kg small category and is priced at Rs 4.50 lakhs, is the most affordable advanced automated Agri drone in India.
- Recently, Garuda Aerospace commenced its $30 million Series A round at a valuation of $250 million.
- Former Indian cricket team captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has invested in it and is also the brand ambassador of the company.
- Recently, MS Dhoni launched a drone named Droni.
- Garuda Aerospace has a fleet of 400 drones across 26 different cities and a well-trained team of over 500 pilots.
12. Bomb cyclone hits the United States and Canada.
- The storm devastated much of the United States and Canada.
- It has been called a "bomb cyclone" by forecasters.
- According to the National Weather Service (NWS), temperatures of -50F (-45C) and -70F are possible to reach in parts of the US.
- Bomb cyclone:
- It is a storm that intensifies very rapidly.
- These occur when air near the Earth's surface rapidly rises in the atmosphere, causing a 24-millibar sudden drop in barometric pressure within 24 hours.
- The lower the pressure, the stronger is the storm.
- This rapidly increases the pressure difference, or gradient, between the two air masses, causing the winds to intensify.
- This process of rapid intensification is called bombogenesis.
- The rotation of the Earth causes a cyclonic effect as the winds blow.
- How is a bomb cyclone different from a hurricane?
- Bomb Cyclone is a quickly forming storm system that forms over midlatitudes where warm and cold air fronts meet, unlike tropical hurricanes, which form over warm ocean waters in late summer.
- Bomb cyclones have cold air and fronts, which is an essential ingredient for it while, cold air rapidly weakens hurricanes.
- Bomb cyclones originate over the northwest Atlantic, northwest Pacific, and sometimes the Mediterranean Sea, while hurricanes form in tropical waters.
Topic: International News
13. Spain has passed new transgender law.
- Spain’s lower house (Congress of Deputies) of Parliament passed a law that permits people over 16 years of age to change their legal gender without any medical supervision.
- The law allows anyone above 16 to change their legally registered gender.
- Under the law, minors aged 12 or 13 will need a judge’s authorization to change their legal gender.
- Minors between 14 and 16 years of age must be accompanied by their parents or legal guardians.
- The law also prohibits conversion therapies to suppress sexual orientation or gender identity.
- The law fixes fines and punishments for attacks on LGBT people.
- It eliminates a ban that prevented lesbian couples from registering their children under both parents’ names.
- The bill has now moved to the Senate for final approval. It will become law within weeks if it is left unchanged.
- Till now, applicants were required to provide documents of hormonal treatment for two years.
- Till now, transgender people also needed a diagnosis with gender dysphoria, a psychological condition in which one’s biological sex does not match gender identity.
- The Scottish parliament is debating a similar bill granting gender self-determination. Some other countries have already adopted similar legislation.
Topic: State News/West Bengal
14. PM Modi will flag off West Bengal's first Vande Bharat Express on December 30.
- The train will run on the Howrah-New Jalpaiguri route six days a week.
- The superfast train will take around 7.5 hours on its run in both directions.
- It will reduce travel time between Kolkata and Siliguri, which is the gateway to the Northeast.
- It will be the first Vande Bharat Express service in West Bengal.
- So far, six Vande Bharat Express trains are running in India.
- They are running between Delhi-Varanasi, Gandhinagar-Mumbai Central, Bilaspur-Nagpur, New Delhi-Andaura, Delhi-Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra, and Chennai-Mysuru.