Daily Current Affairs and GK | 8 December 2023

By Priyanka Chaudhary | Last Modified: 08 Dec 2023 17:35 PM IST

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Topic: Infrastructure and Energy

1. World's largest concentrated solar power project inaugurated by Dubai amid COP28.

  • The fourth phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park has been inaugurated by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
  • This marks the launch of the world's largest Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) project.
  • Built at an investment of AED15.78 billion, the 950 MW project utilises three hybrid technologies.
  • The three hybrid technologies used are 600 MW from a parabolic basin complex, 100 MW from a CSP tower, and 250 MW from photovoltaic solar panels.
  • According to Guinness World Records, the project includes the world's tallest solar tower at 263.126 meters and the largest thermal energy storage capacity with a capacity of 5,907 megawatt hours.
  • The project covers 44 square kilometers and consists of 70,000 heliostats that track the movement of the Sun.
  • The Molten Salt Receiver (MSR) on top of a solar power tower is an important element that converts solar radiation into thermal energy.
  • It will provide the benefits of clean energy to approximately 320,000 residences and reduce carbon emissions by approximately 1.6 million tonnes annually.
  • The MSR consists of over 1,000 thin tubes that enable the sun's rays to be absorbed and transferred to the molten salt within these tubes.
  • Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park is instrumental in achieving the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 and the Dubai Net Zero Carbon Emission Strategy 2050 with a current capacity of 2,627MW.

World's largest concentrated solar power project

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

2. Mera Gaon, Meri Dharohar Project launched by the Culture Ministry.

  • Under the Mera Gaon, Meri Dharohar (MGMD) program, the Government of India has decided to prepare mapping and documentation of all villages.
  • Under the Ministry of Culture, the National Cultural Mapping Mission is run in coordination with the Indira Gandhi National Center for the Arts (IGNCA).
  • On July 27, 2023, a web portal on MGMD has also been launched.
  • The MGMD program seeks to compile comprehensive information detailing the life, history, and ethos of Indian villages and make it available to virtual and real-time visitors.
  • The primary objective of the program is to make this wealth of information accessible to both virtual and real-time visitors, promoting a deeper understanding and appreciation of India's diverse cultural roots.
  • Under MGMD, information is collected under seven broad categories given below:
    • Arts and Crafts Village
    • Ecologically Oriented Village
    • Scholastic Village linked with Textual and Scriptural Traditions of India
    • Epic Village linked with Ramayana, Mahabharata, and/or Puranic legends and oral epics
    • Historical Village linked with Local and National History
    • Architectural Heritage Village

Mera Gaon, Meri Dharohar Project

(Source: DD News)

Topic: Defence

3. A successful training launch of a short-range ballistic missile, 'Agni-1' was conducted.

  • On December 07, the training launch of short-range ballistic missile ‘Agni-1’ was successfully conducted from APJ Abdul Kalam Island, Odisha.
  • Agni-1 is a proven missile system with high precision.
  • Under the aegis of Strategic Forces Command, the user training launch conducted successfully met all operational and technical parameters.
  • The last time, the missile was successfully tested from the same base on June 1.
  • In October 2022, India had successfully test-fired a new generation of ballistic missiles–'Agni Prime' from off the coast of Odisha.

Topic: Infrastructure and Energy

4. The assistance of Rs 100 crore per year is being provided by India to the International Solar Alliance for 2022–23, 2023–24, and 2024–25.

  • This assistance is being provided to help energy transition, especially in developing and emerging economies.
  • Paragraph 38(v) of the G20 New Delhi Leaders' Declaration states that G20 members will pursue and encourage efforts to triple renewable energy capacity globally through existing targets and policies.
  • This also includes demonstrating equal ambition with respect to other zero and low-emission technologies, including reduction and removal technologies, in line with national circumstances by 2030.
  • Several steps and initiatives have been taken by the government to promote and accelerate renewable energy capacity in the country, with a target of achieving 500 GW of installed power capacity from non-fossil sources by 2030.
  • The government is in discussions with countries to cooperate in efforts on multilateral platforms to support energy transition under existing bilateral MoUs/agreements.
  • To support energy transition efforts at the global level, the government of India is also engaging with countries in several other multilateral initiatives, such as QUAD, IPEF, IRENA, COP28, CEM/MI, etc.
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Topic: Indian Polity

5. Lalduhoma will take oath as the Chief Minister of Mizoram.

  • His swearing-in ceremony will be held at Raj Bhawan in Aizawl.
  • Governor Hari Babu Kambhampati will administer the oath to Mr Lalduhoma.
  • Lalduhoma is the leader of the Zoram Nationalist Party, a regional political party in Mizoram.
  • His party won 27 seats in the 40-member Assembly. The ruling Mizo National Front (MNF) got 10 seats while the BJP got 2 seats.
  • Congress could win only a single seat. Congress was once a dominant party in the state. It ruled for about 20 years post Mizoram's statehood.
  • Lalduhoma’s oath-taking would mark the end of almost 40 years long bi-polar politics in Mizoram.
  • The 6-year-old party - the Zoram People’s Movement - is built through a people’s movement echoing “Kalphung Thar”.

Chief Minister of Mizoram

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Summits/ Conferences/ Meetings

6. UNICEF and India will launch the "Green Rising" initiative at the COP28 Summit in Dubai.

  • UNICEF's Generation Unlimited, in collaboration with India's Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change will launch this initiative.
  • This initiative will be launched to mobilize youth to drive climate action.
  • The "Green Rising India Alliance" and the global "Green Rising" programme are the result of a partnership between UNICEF, Generation Unlimited, and a wide range of youth, public, and business partners.
  • The primary objective is to inspire millions of youth across the globe to actively engage in green activities that address and mitigate the devastating effects of climate change on their local communities.
  • Inspired by the Mission Life movement, the goal of the YuWaah campaign in India is to mobilise young people to spearhead grassroots environmental initiatives.
  • In the first seven days of the COP28, more than 83 billion dollars had been raised.
  • In response to the climate problem, 726 million dollars were promised during COP 28 for help against Loss and Damage.
  • The Green Climate Fund will get 3.5 billion dollars, the Adaptation Fund 133.6 million dollars, and the Least Developed Countries Fund 129.3 million dollars.
  • The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has launched the $30 billion ALTERRA catalytic fund with the goal of raising an additional $250 billion to demonstrate its strong commitment to global climate action.
  • Multilateral Development Banks committed about 22.6 billion dollars, and the World Bank promised an annual increase of 9 billion dollars for 2024 and 2025.

Green Rising initiative at the COP28 Summit in Dubai

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Art and Culture

7. The first Indian Art, Architecture and Design Biennale (IAADB) 2023 inaugurated by PM Modi at Red Fort in Delhi. 

  • PM Modi also inaugurated Aatmanirbhar Bharat Centre for Design at Red Fort and the student Biennale- Samunnati.
  • Every day from December 9 to December 15, a variety of theme-based installations will be on display during the festival, which spans one week.
  • It will also offer channels and chances to grow and work with artists, architects, and designers as part of the changing economy.
  • It also follows important recent events like the Festival of Libraries (August 2023) and the International Museum Expo (May 2023).
  • The PM's plan to create and institutionalise a premier international cultural initiative in the nation is being reflected in the creation of IAADB.
  • In order to enhance the cultural discourse, it is intended to start a comprehensive debate between the general public, collectors, architects, designers, photographers, and other art professionals.

Topic: Indian Polity

8. Narendra Singh Tomar, Prahlad Singh Patel, and Renuka Singh Saruta resigned from the Union Council of Ministers.

  • The resignations of Narendra Singh Tomar, Prahlad Singh Patel, and Renuka Singh Saruta from the Union Council of Ministers were accepted by President Draupadi Murmu with immediate effect.
  • The additional charge of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has been given to Union Minister Arjun Munda, in addition to his existing portfolio of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
  • The charge of the Minister of State for Food Processing Industries has been given to the Minister of State for Agriculture Shobha Karandlaje, in addition to her existing portfolio.
  • Rajiv Chandrashekhar has been given the charge of Minister of State for Jal Shakti, in addition to his existing portfolios.
  • The charge of the Minister of State for Tribal Affairs has been given to Dr. Bharti Praveen Pawar in addition to her existing portfolios.
  • In the recent elections, Mr Tomar and Mr Patel were elected as MLAs in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly, and Ms Saruta was elected as MLA in Chhattisgarh.

Topic: International News

9. India announced to provide an amount of 1 million dollars as relief assistance to Papua New Guinea.

  • This has been announced as immediate relief assistance to Papua New Guinea after the volcanic eruption in Mount Ulawun.
  • Ulawun is the highest mountain in New Britain and the second in the Bismarck Archipelago at 2,334 meters, and is one of the most active volcanoes in Papua New Guinea.
  • India, as a close friend and in solidarity with the people of Papua New Guinea, will provide immediate relief assistance to aid rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts.
  • Since the volcanic eruption of Mount Ulawun on November 20, more than 26,000 people have been evacuated to other places, due to which there is an urgent need for humanitarian relief.
  • India had supported the island nation during the crisis and devastation caused by natural disasters such as the earthquake in 2018 and the volcanic eruption in 2019.
  • Disaster risk reduction and management is a key pillar of India's Indo-Pacific Ocean Initiative (IPOI) announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in November 2019.

Topic: Space and IT

10. Gemini, the most powerful AI model, has been revealed by Google.

  • The artificial intelligence model is designed to behave like humans, better than what other models can achieve.
  • The AI model Gemini outperforms other models in tasks like understanding, summarising, reasoning, coding, and planning.
  • Gemini comes in three versions: Pro, Ultra, and Nano.
  • Gemini Ultra is its largest, most capable category, Gemini Pro scales across a wide range of tasks, and Gemini Nano will be used for specific tasks and mobile devices.
  • The Pro version is already available, and the Ultra version will be released in early 2024.
  • As a direct rival of ChatGPT, Google has now integrated the new Gemini Pro with its chatbot Bard.
  • Google’s DeepMind division has developed this large language model (LLM), Gemini.
  • It is designed to compete with, and possibly outperform, other AI systems such as OpenAI's ChatGPT.
  • Gemini Ultra is the first model to outperform human experts on massive multitask language understanding (MMLU).
  • It uses a combination of 57 subjects such as mathematics, physics, history, law, medicine, and ethics to test both world knowledge and problem-solving abilities.

Topic: Environment and Ecology

11. The “Miyawaki” Plantation Method will be used by South Eastern Coalfields Ltd to enhance the green cover.

  • To boost forest cover in the coal belt region of Chhattisgarh, South Eastern Coalfields Limited (SECL), a subsidiary of Coal India Limited, will undertake plantation using this method.
  • The Miyawaki method is being used for the first time in SECL operational areas.
  • The company will use the popular Japanese technology to develop the Miyawaki forest in an area of two hectares in SECL's Gevra area as a pilot project.
  • With an estimated cost of about Rs 4 crores, the project will be implemented in partnership with Chhattisgarh Rajya Van Vikas Nigam (CGRVVN).
  • The company will carry the plantation using Miyawaki technology out over a period of two years, with around 20,000 saplings being planted.
  • The plantation will include big plants such as Bargad, Peepal, Aam, Jamun, etc, medium plants such as Karanj, Amla, Ashok, etc, and small plants such as Kaner, Gudhal, Trikoma, Ber, Anjeer, Nimbu, etc.
  • A Japanese botanist and expert in plant ecology, Mr. Akira Miyawaki pioneered the Miyawaki method of plantation in the 70s.
  • SECL has planted more than three crore saplings since its inception in 1985.
  • In FY 2023-24, the company brought 475 hectares of land under green cover and planted 10.77 lakh saplings, the highest among all subsidiaries of Coal India.
  • Recently, an MoU was signed by the company with Chhattisgarh Rajya Van Vikas Nigam (CGRVVN) and Madhya Pradesh Rajya Van Vikas Nigam (MPRVVN).
  • Under this MoU, the company will undertake plantation for a period of five years from 2023-24 to 2027-28 at an estimated cost of Rs 169 crore and maintain it for four years thereafter.

Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

12. The country-wide multimedia awareness campaign titled “Jago Grahak Jago” is being conducted by the Department of Consumer Affairs.

  • Under this campaign, consumers are made aware of fraud or problems and mechanisms for redressal.
  • These campaigns are run through print media, TV, radio, cinema theatres, websites, hoardings/display boards, etc.
  • The department has also launched a mascot, “Jagruti” to empower consumers and generate awareness about their rights.
  • A three-tier quasi-judicial mechanism has been established under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, commonly known as the 'Consumer Commission'.
  • Consumer Commissions have been established at the District level (District Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission), State level (State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission), and National level (National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission) levels.
  • They have been established to protect consumer rights and provide simple and quick resolution of consumer disputes.
  • Consumer Commissions are empowered to grant relief of a specific nature and to compensate consumers wherever appropriate.
  • Under the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) has been established.
  • CCPA has been established to regulate matters relating to consumer rights violations, unfair trade practices, and false or misleading advertisements that harm the public and consumer interests.
  • A National Consumer Helpline (NCH) has also been set up by the Department of Consumer Affairs to attend to consumer complaints.
  • Section 38 (7) of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 states that every complaint shall be resolved as expeditiously as possible.
  • The complaint shall be decided within a period of three months from the date of receipt of the notice by the opposite party.
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