- 1. ADB has ranked WAPCOS among the top consulting services firms in the water and other infrastructure sectors.
- 2. ‘SwasthGarbh’ app has been developed by IIT Roorkee and AIIMS Delhi for pregnant women.
- 3. Road accidents in India have declined by 8.1% in the year 2021 as compared to 2019.
- 4. Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw launched G-20 Digital Innovation Alliance (G-20-DIA) in New Delhi on 28 December 2022.
- 5. First International Beach Festival started by Kerala on 24 December.
- 6. President of India Droupadi Murmu laid the foundation stone for several projects in Telangana.
- 7. An “Online Request Transfer Portal” launched by the Department of Posts for Gramin Dak Sevaks.
- 8. Maharashtra has become the first state to pass the Lokayukta bill 2022 on 28 December.
- 9. Government has released new guidelines for a new ranking system of cities based on financial performance and beautification.
- 10. World-class Kayaking-Canoeing Academy will be established in Tehri, Uttarakhand.
- 11. A book titled “Forks in the Road: My Days at RBI and Beyond” has been written by C. Rangarajan.
- 12. First Gauri Amma Award will be awarded to Dr. Aleida Guevara.
- 13. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the first-ever metro rail in Dhaka in Bangladesh.
- 14. The Election Commission of India has started the process of delimitation of Assembly and Parliamentary Constituencies in Assam.
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Topic: Reports and Indices/Ranking
1. ADB has ranked WAPCOS among the top consulting services firms in the water and other infrastructure sectors.
- Asian Development Bank (ADB) has released a report on Annual procurement.
- In this report, WAPCOS, a Government of India Enterprise under the Ministry of Jal Shakti, has been ranked as a Top amongst Consulting Services Firm in Water and other Infrastructure Sectors.
- In the areas of water resources, power, and infrastructure development, WAPCOS is a top technology-driven engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) firm.
- It has completed consultancy assignments in more than 51 Countries, apart from India.
- ADB has also released a report based on its Members’ Fact Sheet – 2022.
- According to the report, WAPCOS is one of the Top 3 Consultants from India involved in Consulting Services Contracts under ADB Loan, Grant and Technical Assistance Projects in Energy, Transport and Water & other Urban Infrastructure Sectors.
- It is the only Indian Public Sector company in the above categories.
- It is a Mini-Ratna enterprise owned by the Government of India.
- It is involved in engineering consultancy services and construction in the fields of water, power and infrastructure sectors for businesses and communities in India and overseas.
- R.K. Agrawal is the current Chairman-cum-Managing Director of WAPCOS limited.
Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives
2. ‘SwasthGarbh’ app has been developed by IIT Roorkee and AIIMS Delhi for pregnant women.
- 'SwasthGarbh' smartphone app has been developed for providing antenatal care and real-time medical support to pregnant women.
- It will keep a record of every clinical test and ensure timely antenatal care visits.
- It provides instantaneous advice by doctors and is a part of telemedicine in healthcare.
- This app will provide solutions of common problems in pregnancy. It will be very helpful for women in rural areas who do not have easy access to doctors.
- SwasthGarbh Mobile App will help in improving maternal-fetal health.
- It will also help in counselling patients regarding the formulation of birth plans and the management of physiological problems during pregnancy.
- The benefits of 'SwasthGarbh' App have been published in the IEEE Journal of Biomedical and Health Informatics.
- A clinical assessment of 150 patients has demonstrated the utility of the App.
Topic: Reports and Indices
3. Road accidents in India have declined by 8.1% in the year 2021 as compared to 2019.
- The injuries caused by road accidents have also declined by 14.8% according to a recent report by the Road Transport and Highways Ministry.
- The report says that fatalities due to road accidents have increased by 1.9% in 2021 as compared to 2019.
- During 2020, a decrease in accidents, fatalities, and injuries was seen due to the COVID-19 outbreak and the resultant lockdown.
- According to the report, 18 people died every hour in road accidents in India last year.
- The report says that total 4,12,432 road accidents occurred in 2021. These accidents claimed 1,53,972 lives while 3,84,448 people were injured.
- As per the report, young adults in the age group of 18-45 years accounted for over one third of victims in road accident cases in 2021.
- People in the working age group of 18-60 years share 84.5% of total road accident fatalities.
- The report is titled ‘Road accidents in India-2021’. The report says the number of road accidents in 2021 increased by 12.6% on an average compared to 2020.
- Out of the total 4,12,432 accidents recorded in 2021, 31.2% occurred on National Highways including Expressway, 23.4% occurred on State Highways and 45.4% occurred on other roads.
- A fatal accident causes death of one or more person. Fatal accidents form 34.5% of total accidents during 2021.
- Highest number of road accidents on National Highways in 2021 was recorded in Tamil Nadu.
- Uttar Pradesh recorded the highest number of persons killed in road accidents.
- In 2021, over speeding accounted for 69.6% of the persons killed.
- Two-wheelers accounted for the highest share in accidents and fatalities in 2021.
- As per the report, both road accidents and accident related killings are more a rural phenomenon than an urban phenomenon.
- In 2021, rural area accounted for 69% of road accidents death. Urban area accounted for 31% of accident deaths in India.
- Road accident severity increased from 36 in 2020 to 37.3 in 2021.
- Mizoram recorded the highest accident severity followed by Bihar and Punjab.
- Road accident severity is measured by the number of persons killed per 100 accidents.
- Road Transport and Highways Ministry have formulated a multi-pronged strategy to address the issue of road safety.
Topic: National News
4. Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw launched G-20 Digital Innovation Alliance (G-20-DIA) in New Delhi on 28 December 2022.
- Electronics and Information Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw also launched the Stay Safe Online Campaign in New Delhi on 28 December 2022.
- The aim of G-20-DIA is to recognize and support innovators that have digital solutions for various world economies to reduce the digital divide.
- The aim of the Stay Safe Online Campaign is to sensitise internet users about safe cyber behaviour and cyber hygiene practices.
- The Minister said that the country's stake in providing alternative solutions, ambitions to create core technologies, and inclusive growth will be the three key focus areas throughout its G-20 Presidency.
Topic: Art and Culture
5. First International Beach Festival started by Kerala on 24 December.
- To promote Kasaragod as a tourist destination, the state government has organized the first 'International Beach Festival' near Bekal Fort.
- Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurated the 10-day 'Bekal International Beach Festival' on December 24 at the Bekal beach on Christmas Eve.
- The festival aims to revive the development of the district by showcasing its potential.
- Cultural and musical nights as well as food festivals are part of this festival.
- About five lakh people from all over the world participated in this festival held at three places of Chandragiri, Tejaswini, and Payaswini.
- Bekal Resorts Development Corporation (BRDC) is organizing Bekal International Beach Festival.
- The event will end on January 2.
Topic: State News/ Telangana
6. President of India Droupadi Murmu laid the foundation stone for several projects in Telangana.
- On 28 December, she laid the foundation stone for the project ‘Development of Pilgrimage Facilities at Bhadrachalam Group of Temples’ at Sri Seetha Ramachandra Swamivari Devasthanam, Bhadrachalam in the Bhadradri Kothagudem District.
- She also laid the foundation stone for another project called ‘Development of Pilgrimage and Heritage Infrastructure of UNESCO World Heritage Site at Rudreshwara (Ramappa) Temple’ at Mulugu.
- Both these projects have been approved under the PRASHAD (National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Heritage Augmentation Drive) scheme of the Ministry of Tourism.
- The 'PRASHAD' scheme launched in the year 2014-15 aims at providing integrated infrastructure development to pilgrimage and heritage tourism destinations in the country.
- The President also virtually inaugurated two Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS) in the Komaram Bheem Asifabad and Mahabubabad districts of Telangana.
- Eklavya Model Residential School will be in every block having more than 50% tribal population of Scheduled Tribes and with at least 20,000 tribal persons.
- EMRS aims at providing an upper primary and secondary and senior secondary level of education (Classes VI to XII) to Scheduled Tribe (ST) students in remote areas.
- Bhadrachalam Temple:
- It is said to be more than 350 years old and is closely related to the epic of Ramayana.
- Lord Rama, Goddess Sita, and brother Lakshmana are said to have spent part of their 14 years in exile at Parnasala, a village in the Dandakaranya forest near Bhadrachalam Temple.
- The project for temple has been approved by the Ministry of Tourism at an estimated cost of Rs 41.38 crore.
- Ramappa Temple:
- The Kakatiya rulers built the Ramappa temple of Lord Shiva in 1213 AD.
- It is a perfect example of brilliant architecture and is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
- The project for temple has been approved by the Ministry of Tourism with an estimate of Rs 62 crore.
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Topic: Governments Schemes and Initiatives
7. An “Online Request Transfer Portal” launched by the Department of Posts for Gramin Dak Sevaks.
- On 28 December, the portal has been launched by the Director General of Postal Services, Alok Sharma through video conference.
- The entire transfer process from receiving applications, granting permissions, and issuing transfer orders has been made paperless and easy with this portal.
- The Department of Posts has the largest network of post offices in the world.
- Under this, there are more than one lakh 56 thousand post offices in India.
- Out of which more than 1,31,000 Branch Post Offices (BOs) are in rural areas, where postal facilities are provided through Gramin Dak Sevaks (GDS).
- The launch of the Online Request Portal is a major step towards bringing transparency and accountability in governance processes with the help of technology.
- The online process will save time and resources.
- The transfer of more than five thousand Gramin Dak Sevaks was permitted through the online portal.
(Source: News on Air)
Topic: State News/ Maharashtra
8. Maharashtra has become the first state to pass the Lokayukta bill 2022 on 28 December.
- The Chief Minister, ministers, and public representatives have been brought under the ambit of the anti-corruption ombudsman.
- Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said certain conditions have been imposed in the Bill regarding the registration of cases against public representatives.
- The bill, introduced in the lower house on the 26th of December, was passed without any discussion and in the absence of legislators from opposition parties.
- The Bill will replace the Lokayukta Act of 1971 and has provisions for the Prevention of Corruption Act.
- Maharashtra was the first state to establish an anti-corruption body through an act in 1971.
- Since its establishment, the Lokyaktu bills have been criticized for lacking the capacity to investigate the Chief Minister and the council of ministers.
- Maharashtra Lokayukta and Upa-Lokayukta Act, 1971, is currently in force in the state.
- Under the current law, the anti-corruption ombudsman could only recommend that government officials be punished.
- Lokayukta Bill 2022:
- The Lokayukta is the apex anti-corruption ombudsman that holds the power to investigate complaints and corruption allegations against government officials and parliamentarians.
- Maharashtra's new bill empowers the Lokayukta to investigate both the chief minister and the council of ministers.
- Under the new Maharashtra bill, bureaucrats will also come under the purview of the Lokayukta.
- Under the new Bill, the Lokayukta will not only have the power to recommend action based on his probe but will also be able to direct state agencies to conduct further probes.
- The Lokayukta will also have all the powers of a civil court i.e. power to summon government officials.
- The Lokayukta can initiate an inquiry against the Chief Minister with the prior approval of the Legislative Assembly.
- The motion must be placed before an immediate session of the House and passed by a two-thirds majority of the total members of the Assembly before any inquiry can be initiated against the Chief Minister.
- The Lokayukta shall complete a preliminary inquiry into complaints within 90 days and complete the inquiry within six months.
- During the investigation, the Lokayukta cannot reveal the identity of the person being investigated.
- According to the bill, the Lokayukta cannot investigate chief minister corruption charges related to internal security and public order.
- The Lokayukta will need the approval of the Governor to conduct any inquiry against current or former ministers, along with a group of ministers appointed by the Governor.
- Investigating other members of the Legislative Assembly would require approval from the Speaker of the State Legislative Council or the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly.
Topic: Reports and Indices/Ranking
9. Government has released new guidelines for a new ranking system of cities based on financial performance and beautification.
- The new guidelines have been released by the Union Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs, Hardeep Singh Puri on 28 December.
- The Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry will track the financial performance and capacity of cities to improve the performance of urban local bodies.
- City Finance Rankings 2022 aim is to recognise and reward urban local bodies across three financial parameters- resource mobilisation, expenditure performance and fiscal governance systems.
- It will evaluate each participating Urban Local Body on 15 indicators in three financial parameters.
- The cities will be ranked at the national level on the basis of their scores under any one of the following four population categories:
- Above 4 million
- Between 1-4 million
- 100K to 1 million
- Less than 100,000.
- This ranking system will help in identifying the most sustainable and accountable cities.
- All 4500+ Cities/Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) across all States/UTs will be encouraged to participate in the City Finance Ranking 2022.
- The "City Beauty Competition" has been designed to evaluate wards and public spaces in cities across five broad pillars -aesthetics, accessibility, amenities, activities and ecology.
- It aims is to conserve the rich heritage of cities and to promote the local economy and improve basic infrastructure.
- The cities have to submit their comments on the guidelines before 15 January.
- At present, municipal revenues in India are around 1percent of the GDP.
10. World-class Kayaking-Canoeing Academy will be established in Tehri, Uttarakhand.
- Union Minister of Power and New & Renewable Energy RK Singh announced that a World-class Kayaking-Canoeing Academy will be set up at Tehri in Uttarakhand.
- He made this announcement at the National Championship "Tehri Water Sports Cup" at Tehri Lake.
- He said that THDC Limited will adopt the game and offer all help to the Uttarakhand government to establish the training centre.
- Tehri Lake has emerged as an adventure tourism destination in Uttarakhand.
- For the first time that a national-level kayaking and canoeing festival is being held jointly by the Indian Olympic Association, Uttarakhand Olympic Association and Uttarakhand Kayaking and Canoeing Association.
- Around 300 athletes from different states are participating in the competition.
- Kayaking is a sport and recreational activity which involves the use of a kayak, a narrowboat with a double-blade paddle to move on water.
- Canoeing is a water sport performed in a small and lightweight boat.
Topic: Books and Authors
11. A book titled “Forks in the Road: My Days at RBI and Beyond” has been written by C. Rangarajan.
- The Penguin Business (Penguin Group) published this book.
- The book is Dr. C. Rangarajan's autobiography.
- He is an economist from India, a former lawmaker, and the 19th governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
- In this book, the senior economist and policymaker recounted his career, beginning with his accidental 1982 entry into the RBI.
- He served as the Deputy Governor of the RBI from 1982 to 1991, and after that served as Governor between 22 December 1992 and 21 December 1997.
- He received the Padma Vibhushan, India's second-highest civilian honour, from the Indian government in 2002.
Topic: Awards and Prizes
12. First Gauri Amma Award will be awarded to Dr. Aleida Guevara.
- Cuban social activist Dr. Aleida Guevara will be awarded the first KR Gauri Amma National Award.
- She has been an advocate of human rights, running two homes for disabled children in Cuba and two more for refugee children with domestic problems.
- She is an active member of the Cuban Medical Mission.
- The KR Gowri Amma Foundation has instituted this award.
- Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will present the award to Dr Aleida on January 5 at Olympia Hall at Chandrasekharan Nair Stadium.
- The prize consists of a statute and a citation besides the sum of $3,000.
Topic: India and its neighbours
13. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the first-ever metro rail in Dhaka in Bangladesh.
- The elevated metro rail Line 6 of 11.73-kilometre length is part of Bangladesh’s Mass Rapid Transit.
- PM Hasina inaugurated the first metro train running between Diabari to Agargaon by unveiling the plaque at Diabari station in the capital.
- To mark this historic occasion, a commemorative banknote of the Taka 50 denomination and a stamp were also issued.
- The launching of the metro rail, together with Padma Setu's inauguration a few months ago, was praised as a crowning achievement by Prime Minister Hasina.
- She reaffirmed her commitment to make Bangladesh a developed nation by 2041.
- Initially, the train will run daily for 4 hours between Uttara and Agargaon stations without any stoppage.
- The metro rail has been constructed by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
Topic: State News/Assam
14. The Election Commission of India has started the process of delimitation of Assembly and Parliamentary Constituencies in Assam.
- The Election Commission of India has taken a decision to initiate the delimitation exercise of Parliamentary and Assembly Constituencies in Assam as per Section 8A of the Representation of the People Act, 1950.
- It directed the Chief Electoral Officer of Assam to raise the matter with the State government to completely ban the creation of new administrative units with effect from 1st January 2023 till delimitation is completed in the state.
- Census figures of 2001 will be used for the readjustment of Assembly and Parliamentary Constituencies in the State.
- Ministry of Law and Justice has requested the Election Commission to conduct the delimitation in Assam.
- The last delimitation of constituencies in Assam was done on the basis of census figures of 1971 by the then Delimitation commission in 1976.
- This was done under the provisions of the Delimitation Act of 1972.
- Section 8A of the Representation of the People Act, 1950 deals with the delimitation of parliamentary and assembly constituencies in the States of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, or Nagaland.