- 1. Supreme Court upheld environmental clearance and notification for change in land use for the Central Vista Project.
- 2. Alexander Ellis appointed as new British High Commissioner to India.
- 3. $105 million project signed to improve waterways in West Bengal.
- 4. Government’s UJALA and SLNP programmes completed six years.
- 5. Swasth Vayu developed by medical professionals at CSIR-IGIB and aerospace scientists at CSIR-NAL, received regulatory approval.
- 6. UK PM Boris Johnson’s visit to India cancelled.
- 7. Government has launched Toycathon 2021 to promote manufacturing of indigenous toys.
- 8. ‘Udyog Manthan’ will be organized from January 4 to March 2.
- 9. A joint study group constituted on the issue of increasing ammoniacal nitrogen in River Yamuna.
- 10. Indian Railways launched a Freight Business Development Portal.
- 11. DRDO and Maharashtra Metro Rail Corporation signed an MoU for the deployment of bio-digester Mk-II technology.
Topic: National News
1. Supreme Court upheld environmental clearance and notification for change in land use for the Central Vista Project.
- Supreme Court has upheld its verdict on the environmental clearance and notification for change in land use for the Central Vista Project.
- SC clarified in its verdict that the environmental clearance given by the Ministry of Environment is valid.
- Supreme Court has directed to install smog towers near the construction site for the Central Vista project.
- SC said that the construction work of the project would begin only after the approval of the heritage conservation committee.
- Prime Minister had laid the foundation stone of new Parliament building on 7 December.
- New Parliament House building:
- It will be developed under the Central Vista project.
- This new Parliament building will be triangular in shape, spread over 64,500 square meters, and have a seating capacity of 1,244 MPs.
- It will be constructed by Tata Projects Limited and has been designed by the HCP Designs firm of Gujarat.
- It is expected to be completed by 2022.
2. Alexander Ellis appointed as new British High Commissioner to India.
- Alexander Ellis has been appointed as the British high commissioner to India.
- He has replaced Philip Barton.
- He has served on various positions including Deputy National security adviser of the United Kingdom and ambassador of Britain to Portugal.
- United Kingdom:
- It is a group of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland nations.
- It is located in northwestern Europe.
- Boris Johnson is the current Prime minister of the United Kingdom.
- Its capital is London and the currency is Pound sterling.
Topic: Infrastructure and Energy
3. $105 million project signed to improve waterways in West Bengal.
- $105 million project has been signed by Government of India, Government of West Bengal and World Bank to improve inland waterways in West Bengal.
- The project is named West Bengal Inland Water Transport, Logistics and Spatial Development Project.
- The project will make passenger and freight movement across the Hooghly River easier. It will also have other benefits, such as improved accessibility in Kolkata Metropolitan Area.
- It will cover the five most populous districts of southern West Bengal. Over 80% of freight and passenger traffic crosses the Hooghly River through bridges in Kolkata.
- Currently, West Bengal’s existing ferry system caters to less than 2% of passenger traffic and a small portion of freight movement.
- The maturity period of $105 million loan from International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) is 17 years. This includes a grace period of 7 years.
- Hooghly River:
- It is a distributary of the river Ganga. Kolkata is located on its bank. It is also known as Kati-Ganga.
- Ganga gets divided into Padma and Hooghly near Giria, Murshidabad district of West Bengal.
- Mayurakashi, Damodar, Haldi are some rivers that drain into Hooghly.
Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives
4. Government’s UJALA and SLNP programmes completed six years.
- The government’s Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA) and Street Lighting National Programme (SLNP) have completed six years.
- They were launched by PM Modi on January 5, 2015. The government has provided some facts about achievements under two programmes. They are given in simple and easy manner in the next table.
Achievements under Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA)
Number of LED bulbs and LED tube lights distributed by EESL under UJALA
More than 36.69 crore & 72 lakh
Estimated energy savings GHG emission reduction due to distribution of LEDs
47.65 billion KWh per year & 38.59 million tonnes CO2 per year
Number of energy efficient fans distributed under UJALA
More than 23 lakh
Achievements under Street Lighting National Programme (SLNP)
Number of LED streetlights installed under SLNP
Estimated energy savings and GHG emissions reduction due to installed LED streetlights
7.67 billion kWh per year & 5.29 million tonnes CO2 per year
- SLNP had won CIO 100 award in 2019. UJALA and SLNP programmes have won other awards as given below.
- South Asia Procurement Innovation Award (SAPIA) 2017
- Global Solid State Lighting (SSL) award of excellence for the transformational contribution to the LED sector
- Award for High Impact Program for Energy Efficiency – CII National Award for Excellence in Energy Management 2020
- Award of excellence at the 10th Elets knowledge exchange summit and awards 2020
- EESL plans to bring in INR 8,000 crore worth investment by 2024 by covering entire rural India.
- Both UJALA and SLNP are being implemented by Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL).
- EESL is a joint venture of NTPC Limited, Power Finance Corporation, REC Limited and POWERGRID. It comes under the Ministry of Power.
Topic: New Developments
5. Swasth Vayu developed by medical professionals at CSIR-IGIB and aerospace scientists at CSIR-NAL, received regulatory approval.
- Swasth Vayu, a Non-invasive Ventilator indigenously designed and developed by medical professionals at CSIR-IGIB and aerospace scientists at CSIR-NAL, has received regulatory approval.
- Director General of Health Services had set up an expert committee to evaluate the performance of Swasth Vayu.
- The committee decided that Swastha Vayu may be used on Covid-19 patients in need of oxygen supplementation up to 35%.
- Swasth Vayu is a microcontroller-based precise closed-loop adaptive control system. It has a built-in biocompatible “3D printed manifold and coupler” with HEPA filter.
- HEPA stands for Highly Efficient Particulate Air Filter. Swatha Vayu has been tested for safety, performance and biocompatibility at NABL accredited agency.
- Swastha Vayu has been commercialized with six private companies. CSIR-NAL has received an order from the Delhi Government for the supply of Swastha Vayu machines.
- CSIR-NAL (National Aerospace Laboratories) is in Bangalore. CSIR-IGIB (Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology) is in Delhi.
Topic: National News
6. UK PM Boris Johnson’s visit to India cancelled.
- UK PM Boris Johnson’s visit to India has been cancelled over the COVID-19 crisis in UK.
- Boris Johnson was to be Chief Guest of Republic Day celebrations.
- In December 2020, UK Foreign Sceretary Dominion Raab confirmed Johnson’s visit to India.
- UK appointed Alex Ellis as the new High Commissioner to India.
Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives
7. Government has launched Toycathon 2021 to promote manufacturing of indigenous toys.
- Union Minister of Education and Union Minister of Women and Child Development has launched ‘Toycathon 2021’ for promoting the manufacturing of indigenous toys.
- India import around 80% of its demand for toys. The government is promoting the indigenous toy industry to make India self-reliant in this sector.
- It has been launched under the vision of Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan.
- For the first time in this toy hackathon, school students will give their innovative ideas about the making of toys. It will also focus on the development of innovative toys from local materials.
- The winner of this hackathon will get an award of Rs 50 Lakhs.
- Earlier, Government had launched a Toy Story mission for manufacturing and entrepreneurship in the toy sector.
- Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank is the Union Education Minister and Smriti Zubin Irani is the Union Minister for Textiles and Women & Child Development.
(Source: News on AIR)
Topic: Summits/ Conferences/ Meetings
8. ‘Udyog Manthan’ will be organized from January 4 to March 2.
- ‘Udyog Manthan’ marathon webinars will be organised from January 4 to March 2 by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade for promoting Quality and Productivity in Indian Industry.
- This webinar series will comprise 45 sessions. In each session, discussions will be held by industry experts in a particular sector.
- It will cover the manufacturing and services industries.
- Experts from the fields of industry, testing and standardization bodies will participate in this webinar.
- It will help in promoting the Vision of ‘Vocal for Local’ and ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ initiatives.
- Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT):
- It works under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
- It is responsible for formulating and implementing industrial policy.
- It also formulates and implements FDI policy.
(Source: News on AIR)
Topic: Committees/ Commissions/Taskforces
9. A joint study group constituted on the issue of increasing ammoniacal nitrogen in River Yamuna.
- The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has constituted a study group to suggest solutions for the increased amount of ammoniacal nitrogen in the Yamuna River.
- The joint study group comprises officials from the Delhi Jal Board, Haryana State Pollution Control Board, Delhi Pollution Control Committee, the irrigation and water resources department, Haryana and the irrigation and flood control department, Delhi.
- It will identify hotspots and period of increased levels of ammonia. It will also suggest some long term and short term measures for solving the issue.
- The discharge of untreated sewage from households and Industries could be the main reasons for the increased Ammoniacal Nitrogen.
- Ammoniacal nitrogen:
- It represents the amount of ammonia present in waste products, such as sewage, liquid manure and other liquid organic waste products.
- It can be removed from water by treatment with clays and zeolites.
- The increased amount of Ammoniacal nitrogen can lead to environmental degradation of water bodies.
Topic: National News
10. Indian Railways launched a Freight Business Development Portal.
- Indian Railways has launched a Freight Business Development Portal for promoting the freight business. It will be one-stop solutions for freight customers.
- It is the first dedicated freight portal that will enable freight customers to track their consignments. It will also help customers in finding the nearest terminal and simplify the process of goods transportation.
- The portal is designed to promote ease of doing business and to bring transparency in the transportation of goods.
- The Indian Railways has set a target to get at least a 50% share of the country’s freight traffic by 2030.
- Indian Railways:
- It comes under the Ministry of Railways.
- Indian railways network is fourth-largest in the world by size.
- It was founded on May 8, 1845.
- Currently, it is divided into 18 zones and 70 divisions, with South Coast Railway Zone being the newest zone.
- Suneet Sharma is the current Chairman of the Railway Board.
(Source: News on AIR)
11. DRDO and Maharashtra Metro Rail Corporation signed an MoU for the deployment of bio-digester Mk-II technology.
- An MoU has been signed between DRDO and Maharashtra Metro Rail Corporation for the installation of advanced biodigester Mk-II technology across the Metro Rail Network.
- It is an advanced technology to save water and protect the environment across the Metro Rail Network.
- The biodigester technology has already been installed in coaches of Indian railways. It will also be installed in the houseboats of Srinagar.
- This upgraded version has high bio-degradation efficiency and contains a secondary treatment module.
- Biodigester Mk-II technology:
- It is an indigenous, green and cost-effective sanitation technology developed by the DRDO.
- It uses anaerobic bacteria which consume the human waste material and convert it into water and gas.