- 1. Scientists have developed ‘electronic soil’ to enhance crop growth.
- 2. Prof Ved Prakash Nanda recently died in the US.
- 3. Ravindra Kumar Tyagi has been appointed as the new Chairman and Managing Director of Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (POWERGRID).
- 4. India has become part of the largest radio telescope project in the world.
- 5. Centre will implement the new 'Hit-and-Run Law' after consulting with truckers.
- 6. International Mind-Body Wellness Day 2024: 03 January
- 7. K-SMART (Kerala Solutions for Managing Administrative Reformation and Transformation) has been launched by the Kerala Government.
- 8. Growth in GST revenue declines to a 3-month low level in December.
- 9. Government is planning to end the free movement regime along the international border of Myanmar.
- 10. Gujarat sets World Record for mass Surya Namaskar On January 1, 2024.
- 11. M S Swaminathan Award has been given to Prof B R Kamboj.
- 12. UP stood first in the country in inter-operable criminal justice system for the third consecutive year.
- 13. India launched Single-Window Portal to streamline the imports of Medical Devices.
- 14. Anahat Singh won girls’ under-19 2023 Scottish Junior Open title at Edinburgh.
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Topic: Science and Technology
1. Scientists have developed ‘electronic soil’ to enhance crop growth.
- Researchers have developed a new electronic soil. It will be used for soilless cultivation methods like hydroponics.
- Researchers have found that e-soil helped barley seedlings to grow an average of 50 per cent more.
- The eSoil is made of cellulose. It is a biopolymer mixed with a conductive polymer called PEDOT.
- High voltage has been used before by researchers to stimulate roots.
- The main advantage of eSoil is that it has very low energy consumption and no high-voltage danger.
- As per the study, hydroponics cultivation will have a better growth rate due to electrical stimulation.
- The researchers have not ensured that the e-soil can resolve the problem of food security.
- Hydroponics is the technique of growing plants without soil with the help of a water-based nutrient solution.
- It uses closed systems that recirculate water to make sure each seedling gets exactly the nutrients it needs.
Topic: Personality in News
2. Prof Ved Prakash Nanda recently died in the US.
- Professor Nanda was a prominent member of the Indian diaspora in the USA.
- He was awarded Padma Bhushan in 2018 for contributions to literature and education.
- He was a professor of International Law at the University of Denver, Colorado.
- He was a supporter of strong India-US relations.
- He served as President of the World Jurist Association.
- He also served as honorary Vice President of the American Society of International Law.
- He served on the advisory council of the United States Institute of Human Rights.
Topic: National Appointments
3. Ravindra Kumar Tyagi has been appointed as the new Chairman and Managing Director of Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (POWERGRID).
- He earlier held the position of Director (Operations) within POWERGRID.
- He has over three decades of extensive experience.
- He has also served as the Head of POWERGRID’s North Eastern Region.
- Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (POWERGRID) is one of India's leading Maharatna CPSUs under the Ministry of Power.
- Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd. (PGCIL):
- It is a Maharatna CPSU of the Ministry of Power, Government of India.
- It was incorporated on 23rd October 1989. It is headquartered in Gurgaon.
Topic: Space and IT
4. India has become part of the largest radio telescope project in the world.
- Scientists in India will now be part of the Square Kilometre Array Observatory (SKAO).
- SKAO will function as the world’s largest radio telescope.
- SKAO is not a single telescope. It is an array of thousands of antennas.
- The antennas will be installed in remote radio-quiet locations in South Africa and Australia.
- India has taken part in the development of SKAO since its inception in the 1990s.
- India has taken part through the Pune-based National Centre for Radio Astrophysics (NCRA) and some other institutions.
- SKAO was established as an intergovernmental organisation in 2021.
- Countries are required to sign and ratify the SKAO convention to become members.
- The Government’s approval for joining the project is the first step towards the ratification.
- In its 2023 year-end note, the Department of Atomic Energy announced the approval with a financial sanction of Rs 1,250 crore.
- India was permitted to construct the third node of the US-based Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) in the Hingoli district of Maharashtra.
- The 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded for the first discovery of gravitational waves by the two LIGO detectors still in operation in the United States.
- The SKA will look for gravitational waves. It will be able to see considerably further into the cosmos, over 3,000 trillion kilometres, to examine galaxies and stars in more detail.
- India’s main contribution to the SKA is in the development, and operation of the software that will make the telescope work.
- NCRA operates operates India’s largest network of radio telescopes called the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) near Pune.
- GMRT is the world’s largest and most sensitive radio telescope, which is operating within the 110-1,460 MegaHertz frequency range.
Topic: National News
5. Centre will implement the new 'Hit-and-Run Law' after consulting with truckers.
- Truck drivers' associations called off their nationwide protest against the new penal provisions in the Bharatiya Nyay Sanhita (BNS) regarding hit-and-run cases.
- The Home Ministry said this after discussions with representatives of the All India Motor Transport Congress on January 2, the second day of the strike.
- The new law provided that if drivers cause a serious road accident by negligent driving and run away without informing the police or any administrative officer, they can face imprisonment of up to 10 years or a fine of Rs 7 lakh.
- During the discussion, the Center clarified that the new laws and provisions regarding hit-and-run cases have not yet come into force in the newly launched BNS.
- The decision to implement hit-and-run cases will be taken only after consultation with the All India Motor Transport Congress.
- The strike, originally scheduled to last three days, was launched by truck, bus, and tanker drivers in protest against tougher jail and fine rules under the new penal code for hit-and-run cases.
Topic: Important Days
6. International Mind-Body Wellness Day 2024: 03 January
- Every year on January 3, International Mind-Body Wellness Day is celebrated.
- International Mind-Body Wellness Day is an occasion dedicated to the harmonious coexistence of physical and mental health.
- The day promotes self-care, mindfulness, and holistic health practices among people around the world,
- The connection between our mind, body, and spirit is vital to our well-being.
- The theme of International Mind-Body Wellness Day 2024 is "Holistic Wellness: Mind, Body, and Soul".
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Topic: State News/Kerala
7. K-SMART (Kerala Solutions for Managing Administrative Reformation and Transformation) has been launched by the Kerala Government.
- K-SMART will bring all services of the local self-government institutions on a unified digital platform.
- K-SMART application has been developed by the Information Kerala Mission of the state IT department.
- Initially, it will be operational in corporations and municipalities. Gradually, it will be launched in gram panchayats.
- At the project's launch, Kerala's chief minister stated that this is the first time a department's whole service offering has been made public in the nation via a digital platform.
- K-SMART would be a huge help to expatriates who wish to use local government agencies' services without physically going to their offices.
- Building permits will be granted to applicants promptly under the digital initiative.
Topic: Indian Economy
8. Growth in GST revenue declines to a 3-month low level in December.
- The gross GST revenue collection in December 2023 stood at 1,64,882 crore rupees.
- This was about 1.8% lower than the amount collected in November 2023 (₹1.68 lakh crore).
- GST receipts in November 2023 marked the third highest monthly receipts since GST was launched in July 2017.
- December 2023 marks the seventh successive month of ₹1.60 lakh crore-plus GST receipts.
- Year-on-year GST revenue growth slowed to a 3-month low of 10.3%.
- The revenues from domestic transactions in December 2023 are 13% higher than the revenues from domestic transactions in December 2022. Domestic transactions here include the import of services.
- The average monthly gross GST collections in the first nine months of 2023-24 stood at ₹1.66 lakh crore. This stood at ₹1.49 lakh crore a year earlier.
- December 2023 marks the 7th month so far this year with collections exceeding ₹1.60 lakh crore.
- In the April-December 2023 period, gross GST collection saw a 12% y-o-y growth.
- During this period, gross GST collection reached ₹14.97 lakh crore.
- In the same period of the last year, gross GST collection stood at ₹13.40 lakh crore.
- Thirteen States recorded revenue growth of 13% or more. Thirteen percent was the national average growth for domestic revenues.
- Arunachal Pradesh, Haryana, Goa, the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir and Tamil Nadu were the leading states.
- Manipur recorded a 21% decline in November’s GST collections. It recorded a 9% rise in December. Sikkim recorded a 13% contraction in revenues.
- Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh saw just 1% growth. Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala and Uttar Pradesh are other States that recorded slower GST revenue growth than the national average.
Topic: India and its Neighbours
9. Government is planning to end the free movement regime along the international border of Myanmar.
- The main objective of this step is to end the misuse of the Free Movement Regime. Insurgent groups use it to carry out attacks on the Indian side and flee towards Myanmar.
- The Free Movement Regime (FMR) along the border of Myanmar allows people residing on either side to enter 16 km into each other territory without a visa.
- The government is planning to start tendering an advanced smart fencing system for the entire India-Myanmar border. The fencing will be completed in 4.5 years.
- India’s four states: Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland, and Arunachal Pradesh share a border with Myanmar.
- Under the FMR, a citizen of India or a citizen of Myanmar who is a resident of any area within 16 km can cross the border with a one-year validity pass and can stay up to two weeks.
- The FMR was implemented in 2018 as part of the government’s Act East policy.
Topic: State News/ Gujarat
10. Gujarat sets World Record for mass Surya Namaskar On January 1, 2024.
- In Gujarat, around 50,000 people participated in a collective Surya Namaskar event at 108 locations.
- This event was attended by Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel and Minister of State for Sports Harsh Sanghvi.
- A state-level Mass Surya Namaskar program has been organized by the Gujarat State Yoga Board at the Surya Mandir Modhera in the Mehsana district.
- This is India's first record of 2024 in the Guinness World Records.
- Surya Namaskar is a practice in yoga as an exercise incorporating a flow sequence of some twelve linked asanas.
Topic: Awards and Prizes
11. M S Swaminathan Award has been given to Prof B R Kamboj.
- Prof. B.R. Kamboj is the Vice Chancellor of the Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University.
- He has been honoured with this prestigious award in recognition of his contributions as a scientist and extension specialist in the field of agronomy.
- Karnataka Governor Thawar Chand Gehlot presented him with the award.
- The award ceremony took place at the International Conference on 'One Health One World' organized at Rajmata Vijayaraje Scindia Agricultural University in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh.
- Professor BR Kamboj is well aware of the common problems, needs, and socio-economic conditions of farmers.
- The agricultural recommendations derived by Professor Kamboj from his research work and collaborative extension activities with the University scientists have consistently proven to be highly beneficial to the farmers.
- Professor Kamboj has published about 300 research papers and articles in national and international journals, books, and technical journals.
- M.S. Swaminathan Award:
- M.S. Swaminathan Award was instituted in 2004.
- The award aims to recognize the lifetime contribution of eminent individuals who have made a global impact in the field of agriculture, including food security and the sustainability of agriculture in India.
- The first award was presented to Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Norman E. Borlaug by the then President of India, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, on March 15, 2005.
- The previous M S Swaminathan Award was presented to Dr. Surinder (Suri) M. Sehgal, Founder of SM Sehgal Foundation (India) and Sehgal Foundation (USA), on 19 August 2023.
Topic: Reports and Indices/ Rankings
12. UP stood first in the country in inter-operable criminal justice system for the third consecutive year.
- Uttar Pradesh has stood first for the third consecutive year in registering the highest entry rate on the Inter-Operable Criminal Justice System (ICJS) platform.
- The Directorate of Prosecution Uttar Pradesh has so far registered 1,56,22,514 entries on the ICJS platform.
- Madhya Pradesh is at second place with 35,04,828 entries and Bihar is at third place with 16,65,107 entries.
- ICJS platform has been conceptualized by the e-Committee of the Supreme Court and implemented by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
- Notably, the ICJS platform facilitates the seamless transfer of data and information between various pillars of the criminal justice system across the country.
- In these, data related to crimes and criminals is exchanged between courts, police, prisons, and forensic science laboratories through a single window system.
- Through ICJS, records of FIR, case number, jail ID, and everything from registering FIR against suspects to sending the culprits to jail are maintained.
- Additionally, details of court cases, trials, judgments, prosecution, and forensic information can be accessed by courts, police, prisons, and forensic science laboratories through a single platform.
Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives
13. India launched Single-Window Portal to streamline the imports of Medical Devices.
- India has launched National Single Window System (NSWS) to streamline the imports of Medical Devices. It has been designed by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).
- It will be ‘one-stop-shop’ portal for importing medical devices in India.
- It will facilitates applications for the certificate of registration and licences to manufacture or import medical devices for various purposes like clinical investigations, tests, evaluations, demonstrations, or training.
- This portal will act as as a one-stop shop for all the approvals required by the investor and facilitates ease of doing business.
- The NSWS portal will be distinct from the existing SUGAM portal and the cdscomdonline portal.
- It will help investors to identify, apply, track and obtain approvals needed before starting any business operations in India.
- The annual demand for medical devices in India is around $12 billion. Out of which India import around $7.6 billion worth of medical devices.
14. Anahat Singh won girls’ under-19 2023 Scottish Junior Open title at Edinburgh.
- Indian teenager Anahat Singh bagged the girls’ under-19 title at the 2023 Scottish Junior Open squash held in Edinburgh.
- She defeated Robyn McAlpine in the final by 11-6, 11-1, and 11-5.
- Anahat Singh dominated the game with the exceptional skills and fierce determination.
- Subhash Choudhary won the boy’s title by defeating Shiven Agarwal by 5-11, 11-4, 6-11, 11-8 and 11-5 in the final.
- Meanwhile, Shresht Iyer defeated Shreyansh Jah in an all Indian boy’s U13 final.
- Divyanshi Jain finished as runner-up in the girl’s U11 category.
(Source: News on AIR)