- 1. India's first Open Rock Museum inaugurated by Jitendra Singh in Hyderabad.
- 2. Ministry of Home Affairs sets up three-member committee to enquire into security lapses during PM Modi's visit to Punjab.
- 3. Himachal Pradesh CM launches UNNATI portal.
- 4. NHPC Limited signs agreement with Green Energy Development Corporation of Odisha (GEDCOL).
- 5. 24th Conference on e-Governance inaugurated by Jitendra Singh in Hyderabad.
- 6. An MoU approved between India and Turkmenistan on Disaster Management Cooperation.
- 7. CCEA approves the scheme on Green Energy Corridor (GEC) Phase-II for Intra-State Transmission System (InSTS).
- 8. Cabinet approved MoU signing with Nepal for a bridge over Mahakali River at Dharchula.
- 9. EC increased expenditure limit for candidates contesting Lok Sabha, Assembly polls.
- 10. 19th meeting of National Tiger Conservation Authority held on 5 January.
- 11. ICMR approves India-made first kit to detect Omicron.
- 12. Atul Keshap appointed as President of US-India Business Council.
- 13. Government re-appointed Vijay Paul Sharma as Chairman of CACP.
- 14. SBI, ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank will remain D-SIBs: RBI.
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Topic: National News
1. India's first Open Rock Museum inaugurated by Jitendra Singh in Hyderabad.
- Dr. Jitender Singh, Union Minister of State for Science and Technology, has inaugurated the first open rock museum on the CSIR-National Geophysical Research Institute campus (NGRI) in Hyderabad.
- The Open Rock Museum displays 35 various types of rocks from all around India, ranging in age from 3.3 billion years to roughly 55 million years.
- These rocks also represent the earth's deepest portion, which is up to 175 kilometers below the surface.
- The stones have been brought from Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Jammu and Kashmir, and other states.
Topic: Committees/ Commissions/Taskforces
2. Ministry of Home Affairs sets up three-member committee to enquire into security lapses during PM Modi's visit to Punjab.
- Ministry of Home Affairs has set up a three-member committee to enquire into security lapses during PM Modi's Punjab visit.
- The committee has three members. It will be led by Sudhir Kumar Saxena, Secretary (Security), Cabinet Secretariat.
- The committee includes Balbir Singh, Joint Director, Intelligence Bureau (IB) and S. Suresh, Inspector General (IG), Special Protection Group (SPG) as members.
- The committee has been advised to submit the report as soon as possible.
- Special Protection Group (SPG):
- It was raised in 1985. It provides proximate security to the Prime Minister of India, former Prime Minister and their immediate family members.
- Arun Kumar Sinha is its current Director. Its motto is "Shauryam Samarpanam Surakshanam" (i.e. bravery, devotion and protection).
Topic: State News/Himachal Pradesh
3. Himachal Pradesh CM launches UNNATI portal.
- Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur has launched UNNATI portal.
- He also launched a website and mobile app of HP State Industrial Development Corporation (HPSIDC).
- UNNATI portal will enable the users to work in collaboration with others and focus on individual projects.
- In addition to real-time collaboration, it will allow users to share and work on documents together from any place and any time.
- An MoU was also signed between HPSIDC and Steel Authority of India in presence of the Chief Minister.
- Himachal Pradesh:
- It is a state in north India that shares borders with Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, Haryana, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, and Tibet.
- It is located in the western Himalayas. It has 12 districts grouped into three divisions- Kangra, Mandi, and Shimla.
- Summer capital of Himachal Pradesh is Shimla and the winter capital is Dharamshala.
- Rajendra Arlekar is the current Governor of Himachal Pradesh and Chief Minister is Jai Ram Thakur.
- Lok Sabha seats: 4, Rajya Sabha seats: 3
4. NHPC Limited signs agreement with Green Energy Development Corporation of Odisha (GEDCOL).
- NHPC Limited (National Hydroelectric Power Corporation) has signed an agreement with Green Energy Development Corporation of Odisha (GEDCOL).
- Under the agreement, 500 megawatts (MW) floating solar projects will be developed on different water bodies in the state.
- Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the agreement was signed between NHPC and GEDCOL in July 2020.
- In the first stage, about 300 MW floating solar capacity will be installed in the reservoir of Rengali hydro electricity project.
- NTPC has already commissioned a floating solar PV project of 25 MW capacity on the reservoir of its Simhadri thermal station in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh.
- Rengali dam is located in Odisha. It is built across the Brahmani River.
- NHPC Limited is a Scheduled ‘A’ Mini Ratna Public Sector Enterprise incorporated in 1975 and headquartered in Faridabad, Haryana.
Topic: National News
5. 24th Conference on e-Governance inaugurated by Jitendra Singh in Hyderabad.
- The 24th National Conference on e-Government (NCeG) has been organized in Hyderabad on January 7–8, 2022.
- Dr. Jitendra Singh, the Minister of State for Personnel, has inaugurated the conference, which is being presided by K T Rama Rao, Telangana's Minister of IT, Industries, and Commerce.
- This conference has been conducted by the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG) and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), in collaboration with the Telangana state government.
- The theme of the two-day conference is 'India’s Techade: Digital Governance in a Post Pandemic World’.
- During the conference, 26 e-Governance initiatives at the national, state, and district levels, as well as academic and research institutions and public sector undertakings, will be honoured with National Awards for e-Governance 2021 in six categories.
- These include 12 Gold, 13 Silver, and 1 Jury Award.
Topic: MoUs/ Agreements
6. An MoU approved between India and Turkmenistan on Disaster Management Cooperation.
- The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Turkmenistan on Disaster Management has been approved by the Union Cabinet.
- This decision has been taken in the cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
- The MoU aims to establish a system in which both India and Turkmenistan benefit from each other's disaster management mechanisms, and it will aid in the areas of preparedness, response, and capacity building in the field of disaster management.
- Both countries will collaborate to design, develop, and implement research projects, as well as exchange scientific and technical publications and disseminate disaster management research findings.
- At present, India has signed bilateral/multilateral agreements / MoUs / Joint Declarations of Intent / Memorandums of Collaboration for disaster management cooperation with Switzerland, Russia, SAARC, Germany, Japan, Tajikistan, Mongolia, Bangladesh, and Italy.
Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives
7. CCEA approves the scheme on Green Energy Corridor (GEC) Phase-II for Intra-State Transmission System (InSTS).
- Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved the scheme on Green Energy Corridor (GEC) Phase-II for Intra-State Transmission System (InSTS).
- Total estimated cost of the scheme is Rs 12,031 crore. It will add about 10,750 circuit kilometres of transmission lines.
- It will add around 27,500 Megavolt-Amperes transformation capacity of substations.
- It will help in achieving the target of 450 GW installed renewable energy capacity by 2030.
- It will facilitate grid integration and power evacuation of approximately 20 GW of Renewable Energy (RE) power projects in seven States.
- These states are Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.
- The transmission systems will be created during five years from Financial Year 2021-22 to 2025-26.
- GEC Phase-I is already under implementation in eight states for grid integration and power evacuation of approximately 24 GW of RE power. GEC Phase-I is expected to be completed by 2022.
8. Cabinet approved MoU signing with Nepal for a bridge over Mahakali River at Dharchula.
- Cabinet has approved MoU between India and Nepal for construction of a bridge over Mahakali River at Dharchula.
- Signing of Agreement between India and Spain on cooperation and mutual assistance in Customs Matters has also been approved by Cabinet.
- This agreement will help in making available reliable and quick information and intelligence for prevention and investigation of Customs offenses.
- In India, Dharchula is a hill town located in Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand.
- Mahakali River:
- It is also known as Kali River and Sharda River. It flows along Nepal’s western border with India.
- It has its origin at Kalapani in the Himalayas in Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand.
- It is located in southern Europe. It shares its boundary with France, Portugal, Andorra and Morocco.
- It is part of the Iberian Peninsula. Madrid is the capital of Spain and Euro is the currency of Spain. Its Prime Minister is Pedro Sánchez.
Topic: Indian Polity
9. EC increased expenditure limit for candidates contesting Lok Sabha, Assembly polls.
- Election Commission (EC) has decided to increase the expenditure limit for candidates contesting Lok Sabha, Assembly polls.
- The expenditure limit for candidates contesting Lok Sabha elections has been increased from Rs 70 lakh to Rs 95 lakh.
- For Lok Sabha polls, the revised expenditure limit for candidate of smaller state is Rs 75 lakh.
- The expenditure limit for candidates contesting Assembly polls has been increased from Rs 28 lakh to Rs 40 lakh.
- For assembly polls, a candidate in smaller states can spend maximum Rs 28 lakh.
- The expenditure limit has been increased on the recommendation of a committee formed to study cost factors and other related issues.
- The committee has taken suggestions from political parties, chief electoral officers, and election observers.
- The committee found that the Cost Inflation Index and the number of electors have increased since 2014
- The Cost Inflation Index has increased 32.08% between 2014-15 to 2021-22 while electors have increased from 834 million to 936 million during this period.
- For the upcoming election, the expenditure limit for candidates in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, and Uttarakhand will be Rs 40 Lakh while it will be Rs 28 lakh for candidates in Goa and Manipur.
- Election Commission of India:
- It is an autonomous constitutional body.
- It is responsible for monitoring and administering all the electoral processes of India.
- Sushil Chandra is the current Chief Election Commissioner of India.
Topic: Environment and Ecology
10. 19th meeting of National Tiger Conservation Authority held on 5 January.
- The 19th meeting of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) was organized on 5th January under the chairmanship of Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav.
- During the meeting, the environment minister unveiled the Action Plan for the introduction of Cheetah in India.
- The cheetah has become extinct in India. Wildlife Institute of India and the Wildlife Trust of India will bring around 8-12 cheetahs from South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana to India.
- The Union Minister also released a water atlas comprising maps of all water bodies in tiger bearing areas.
- He also informed that the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change had organized the ‘India for Tigers: A Rally on Wheels’ campaign.
- 14 tiger reserves in India have received accreditation of the Global Conservation Assured Tiger Standards (CA|TS).
- National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA):
- It was established in December 2005 on the recommendation of the Tiger Task Force.
- It has been constituted under the provision of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
- It is a statutory body under the Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change.
Topic: Biotechnology and Diseases
11. ICMR approves India-made first kit to detect Omicron.
- The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has approved a kit named ‘OmiSure’ for detecting the Omicron variant of Covid-19.
- It will be manufactured by Tata Medical and Diagnostics. It is developed by US-based scientific instrumentation company Thermo Fisher.
- It uses the S Gene Target Failure (SGTF) strategy for detecting the Omicron variant.
- The first target of the kit is based on the S-gene dropout or S-gene target failure (SGTF) while the second target is based on the S-gene mutation amplification (SGMA).
- This test kit is compatible with all standard Real-Time PCR Machines. It can also detect other variants of SARS-CoV2 reported so far. This Kit will give results in 130 minutes.
- The Omicron is a variant of the COVID-19 virus. It has emerged due to mutation in the generic structure of the virus.
12. Atul Keshap appointed as President of US-India Business Council.
- Atul Keshap has been appointed as president of the US-India Business Council (USIBC) from 5 January 2022.
- He has taken place of Nisha Biswal, a former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia.
- Atul Keshap previously served as the Chargé d’affaires at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi.
- His expertise and deep global network will help the organization in strengthening the robust relationship between the United States and India.
- Atul Keshap has also previously served as U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Maldives.
- US-India Business Council:
- It aims to encourage private sectors of India and the United States to increase investment flows.
- It was established in 1975 as a professional organization
- It is headquartered in Washington, D.C., United States.
- It represents the top global companies operating across the United States and India.
13. Government re-appointed Vijay Paul Sharma as Chairman of CACP.
- Vijay Paul Sharma has been re-appointed as chairman of Commission for Agricultural Costs & Prices (CACP).
- He left the post in May last year after completion of his five-year tenure. He was first appointed as CACP Chairman in June 2016.
- After the end of Sharma’s tenure, Naveen P Singh, a member of the CACP, took charge as the chairman of the CACP.
- Commission for Agricultural Costs & Prices (CACP):
- It is an attached office of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
- It was earlier named as Agricultural Prices Commission. It came into existence in January 1965.
- It recommends minimum support prices (MSPs) to the government.
Topic: Banking System
14. SBI, ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank will remain D-SIBs: RBI.
- RBI has said that State Bank of India (SBI), ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank will continue to be identified as Domestic Systemically Important Banks (D-SIBs).
- RBI said that these banks continue to be identified as D-SIBs under the same bucketing structure as in the 2020 list of D-SIBs.
- D-SIBs are placed in appropriate buckets by RBI depending upon their Systemic Importance Scores (SISs).
- SBI is placed in the third bucket and it is required to maintain Additional Common Equity Tier 1 (CET1) at 0.60% of its RWAs.
- ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank are placed in the first bucket. They are required to maintain Additional CET1 at 0.20% of their Risk Weighted Assets (RWAs).
- As per RBI, the additional CET1 requirement is in addition to the capital conservation buffer.
- Capital conservation buffer is a buffer capital that banks can use if they incur losses during a stressed period.
- D-SIBs are those banks that are systematically so important that their failure could cause interference in the essential services provided by the banks, thereby, disrupting the economic activities.
- RBI categorizes these banks as important due to their large size, cross-jurisdictional activities, complexity, lack of substitutability, and interconnectedness.