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SM Current Affairs DECEMBER 2021 Set 03, Current Affairs Notes By Success Mantra Coaching Institute GTB Nagar Delhi

SM Current Affairs DECEMBER 2021 Set 03

Diksha Sharma 15 MINUTES

PREFACE

It gives us great pleasure to release the monthly edition of the PRAVAHINI - Monthly e-Compendium & Weekly e-Periodicals of Current Affairs. The magazine’s members have shown considerable cooperation as well as devotion. We at successmantra.in work tirelessly to create this magazine and bring it to you with a great sense of gratitude.

The PRAVAHINI December-2021 eBook covers the current events that happened in the month of December. Current Affairs is a crucial component of any competitive exams including CLAT, AILET, DU-LLB, HM, CAT, IAS, PCS, SSC, Banking, MBA and various other competitive examinations.

Current Affairs play the bigger role in many competitive and government exams. It holds the power of making or breaking your chance of success. Therefore, the candidates should cover the Current Affairs thoroughly and smartly.

The PRAVAHINI December-2021 eBook is divided into different sections keeping in mind the need of various exams. The sections covered namely International, National, Economy, Ecology and Environment, Science & Technology, Legal Affairs, Sports, States News Makers and few others.

We would also be pleased to receive any suggestion that could assist us with the upcoming editions.

Success Mantra (GTB Nagar, Delhi)
Website: www.successmantra.in
Mail Id: [email protected]

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. National Affairs
2. International Affairs
3. Economic Affairs
4. Appointments
5. Awards And Honors
6. Important Dates & Sports
7. Reports And Indexes
8. Science & Technology
9. Miscellaneous



NATIONAL AFFAIRS

PM MODI LAUNCHED SEVERAL PROJECTS IN GOA

 On the occasion of Goa Liberation Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated and laid the foundation stone of several development projects worth over 650 crores rupees in Goa.

 He felicitated freedom fighters and veterans of ‘Operation Vijay’ at the function. He appreciated Chief Minister Pramod Sawant for keeping the pace of development up in the state.

 Some of the major projects Modi will inaugurate are

• The re-development of Aguada Fort Jail Museum at a cost of over Rs 28 crore.
• A super specialty block at the Goa Medical College and Hospital, which has been constructed at a cost of over Rs 380 crores.
• The New South Goa District Hospital, built at a cost of around Rs 220 crore.
• The Aviation Skill Development Center at the upcoming Mopa Airport, built at a cost of around Rs 8.5 crore.
• A gas-insulated substation at Davorlim-Navelim, Margao, was constructed at a cost of around Rs 16 crores.

PM MODI LAID FOUNDATION STONE OF GANGA EXPRESSWAY

 Prime Minister Narendra Modi has laid the foundation stone of Ganga Expressway in Shahjahanpur, Uttar Pradesh.

 PM Modi also addressed a rally at Railway Ground, Rouza on the occasion. After completion of work, it will become the longest expressway of Uttar Pradesh.

 It will connect the western and eastern regions of the state. It starts near the Bijauli village in Meerut. It will extend till near the Judapur Dandu village in Prayagraj.

 About the Ganga Expressway: Ganga Expressway is a 594 Km long Expressway. It will be built at a cost of over Rs 36,200 crore.

 It passes through Meerut, Hapur, Bulandshahr, Amroha, Sambhal, Budaun, Shahjahanpur, Hardoi, Unnao, Rae Bareli, Pratapgarh and Prayagraj districts.

 A 35 Km long airstrip for emergency take-off and landing of Air Force planes will also be constructed on the Expressway in Shahjahanpur.

PM MODI LAY FOUNDATION OF RENUKAJI DAM PROJECT

 On December 27, 2021, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay down the foundation of Renukaji Dam Project in Himachal Pradesh.

 It is a Rs 6,700-crore project on the Giri river in Sirmaur district. The project, once completed, is likely to generate 200 million units of energy in a surface power house which has the installed capacity of 40 MW. Storage capacity of the dam will be 498 million cubic meters.

 It will fulfill around 40 per cent of the drinking water requirement of Delhi.

 Construction of the dam has been pending since the last three decades. It will finally take shape following cooperation on behalf of six states named Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand.

 The Prime Minister will also lay the foundation of development projects worth Rs 11,281 crore in Himachal Pradesh. He will also preside over the second ground-breaking ceremony of Himachal Pradesh’s Global Investors’ Meet.

 Global Investors’ meet is likely to give a boost to investments in the region with the development of projects worth around Rs 28,000 crore.

 Renuka dam project: Renuka dam project has been conceived on Giri river, as a storage project. Giri river is a tributary of the Yamuna.

 The project is being conceived in Sirmaur district of Himachal Pradesh. It envisages making a dam of 148-meter height, which will supply water to Delhi and other basin states.

 The dam will also generate a power of 40 MW. 90% of the cost of the irrigation or drinking water component will be provided by the central government while 10% will be provided by the rest of the basin States.

KARNATAKA GOVT. PASSED ANTI-CONVERSION BILL

 Karnataka legislative assembly passed the controversial anti-conversion bill on December 23, 2021 amid long debates. The bill seeks to curb illegal religious conversions.

 What does Karnataka’s anti-conversion Bill propose?

 The Karnataka Right to Freedom of Religion Bill, 2021 prohibits conversion from one religion to another by misrepresentation, force, fraud, allurement or marriage.

 The bill exempts those who reconvert into their immediate previous religion as it will not be deemed to be conversion under the Act.

 Under the bill's provisions, marriages conducted with the intention of conversion will be deemed null and void.

 The bill also provides that family members or any other person related to the individual getting converted can file a complaint against it.

 The bill seeks compensation worth Rs 5 lakh for victims of conversion by the persons attempting the conversion and double punishment for repeat offenses.

 The bill makes the offense of conversion cognizable and non-bailable. The bill proposes jail terms of up to 3-5 years and a fine of Rs 25,000 for those found guilty of converting people from the general category.

 Further, it proposes a jail term of 3-10 years and a fine of Rs 50,000-1 lakh for those converting minors, women or persons from SC/ST communities.

CCI APPROVES AIR INDIA ACQUISITION BY TATA

 The Competition Commission of India (CCI) approved Talace, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tata Sons, acquiring Air India Stakes on 20 December.

 Air India is currently entirely owned by the Indian government. Air India and AIXL are principally delivering domestic scheduled air passenger transportation, air cargo transport, and international scheduled air passenger transport.

 Air India SATS Airport Services provides ground handling services at Delhi, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Mangaluru, and Thiruvananthapuram. Bengaluru Airport also provides cargo handling services.

 In October 2021, the Tata Group signed a share purchase deal with the government of India to buy the government's stake in national carriers Air India, Air India Express, and AISATS.

 Following that, Tata Group received a Letter of Intent (LoI). The Tata Group had to meet the agreement's pre-conditions following the SPA before acquiring Air India.

 Under the sale process, Tata Sons' subsidiary Talace emerged as the highest bidder for AIR India.

 CCI: The Competition Commission of India (CCI) is the country's top competition regulator. It is a government-run agency that reports to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.

 It is in charge of enforcing the Competition Act of 2002 to promote competition and prohibit illegal activity. CCI also investigates incidents to see if they hurt competition.

PM MODI INAUGURATED MULTI-PRODUCT PIPELINE PROJECT

 Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated the 356 Km long Bina Refinery (Madhya Pradesh)- POL Terminal at Panki (Kanpur, UP) Multi Product pipeline project ( capacity of 45 million metric tons per annum) with an outlay of Rs 1524 crore (Rs. 1227 crores in UP and Rs. 297 crores in MP).

 The project has been completed and commissioned one month ahead of the approved completion schedule of December 2021 (3 years from PNGRB authorisation) and within the approved cost.

 It will provide for safe and efficient evacuation of products from Bina Refinery and also improve the availability of products in Eastern U.P, Central U.P., Northern Bihar and Southern Uttarakhand.

Some other projects inaugurated by PM Modi:

 PM has also inaugurated the completed section of the Kanpur Metro Rail Project and undertook a metro ride from the IIT metro station to Geeta Nagar.

 The entire length of the Metro Rail Project in Kanpur is 32 Km and is being built at a cost of around ₹11,000 crores. The PM also attended the 54th Convocation Ceremony of IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) Kanpur.

INS KHUKRI DECOMMISSIONED AFTER 32 YRS

 India’s first indigenously built missile corvettes, INS Khukri (P49), was decommissioned after 32 years of service at Visakhapatnam on December 24, 2021.

 During the decommissioning ceremony, the national flag, the decommissioning pennant and naval ensign were lowered at sunset.

 INS Khukri was built by the Mazagon Dock shipbuilders on August 23, 1989. It had the distinction of being part of Western as well as Eastern Fleets.

 In her service to the Indian Navy, the ship was commanded by 28 commanding officers.

 It traversed a distance of more than 6,44,897 nautical miles, equivalent to navigating across the world 30 times or three times the distance between the Moon and the Earth. The ship was affiliated with the Gorkha Brigade of the Indian Army.

 About INS Khukri (F149): INS Khukri was a Type 14 (Blackwood-class) frigate, serving in the Indian Navy.

 The ship was sunk off the coast of Diu in Gujarat in December 1971, by Pakistan's Daphne-class submarine Hangor during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971.

 INS Khukri was the first warship sunk by a submarine since World War II. It is the only warship of the Indian Navy to be lost in war till date.

 INS Khukri (P49): INS Khukri (P49) was named after INS Khukri (F149), which was lost in combat. It was the lead vessel of her class of corvettes, giving service to the Indian Navy.

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT RELATED TO COVID-19 VACCINES

 Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced the Covid-19 vaccine for children and booster doses for Health workers and senior citizens, amid the Omicron scare.

 During his address to the nation, the Prime Minister urged the people to be cautious while celebrating as coronavirus cases are rising in the country due to a highly infectious variant, Omicron.

 Therefore, from the point of view of precaution, the government has decided that a precautionary dose of vaccine will also be started for healthcare and frontline workers. It will start from January 10.

 Key points of the address:

 Children between the age group of 15 to 18 years will be getting the Covid vaccine from January 3, 2022.

 Senior citizens with comorbidities will receive booster doses from January 10, 2022. Citizens above 60 years of age with co-morbidities will also have the option of a precautionary dose of the vaccine on the advice of their doctor.

 Healthcare workers are spending many hours of their day tending to COVID-19 patients even today. So, healthcare and frontline workers will be given another ‘precaution dose’ [booster shot] starting from January 10.”

PM MODI INAUGURATED KANPUR METRO RAIL PROJECT

 On December 28, 2021, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Kanpur to inaugurate the completed section of the Kanpur Metro Rail Project.

 The "Bina-Panki multi-product pipeline project" will also be inaugurated by the Prime Minister.

 Later, he will speak at IIT-54th Kanpur's convocation ceremony. On February 28, 2019, the central government approved the Kanpur Metro Project, which has a budget of more than Rs 11,000 crores and a five-year timeline.

 A €650 million loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) has also been proposed for this project.

 The Bina-Panki project, which spans 356 kilometers, has a capacity of 3.45 million metric tons per year.

 The project stretches from Madhya Pradesh's Bina refinery to Kanpur's Panki. It was constructed at a cost of over Rs 1,500 crore. The refinery will aid in the region's access to petroleum products. Kanpur Metro is a rail-based public transportation system in Kanpur.

 It is currently being built for the city of Kanpur. The project can be expanded to cover the entire Kanpur metropolitan area. RITES completed a feasibility study for this project in June 2015.

 The metro will run for 32 kilometers as part of the project. It will cost Rs 11000 crore to construct.

EXTENSION OF AFSPA IN NAGALAND

 On December 30, 2021, the Central government declared the entire Nagaland as a “disturbed area” for six more months, under the AFSPA Act.

 This declaration will be in effect, starting from December 30, 2021. Government has also termed the state’s condition as “disturbed and dangerous”.

 This decision was taken days after the central government constituted a high-level committee for examining the possibility of withdrawal of the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act from Nagaland.

 AFSPA has been operational in Nagaland for decades.

 Central government is of the view that, area comprising the whole of Nagaland is in such disturbed and dangerous condition that use of armed forces to aid the civil power is necessary.

 Central government exercised the powers conferred by Section 3 of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 to declare entire Nagaland as ‘disturbed area’.

Recommendation of the panel

 This decision was taken following the recommendation of a panel, which was set to examine the possibility of withdrawal of the AFSPA.

 Notification to extend AFSPA was issued by additional secretary in the Home Ministry, Piyush Goyal.

 He has been also named as the member secretary in the panel. The Panel is headed by secretary-level officer Vivek Joshi. Panel was set up to ease the rising tension in Nagaland because of the killing of 14 civilians.

AFSPA Act

 The Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958 gives power to the armed forces to maintain public order in “disturbed areas”.

 With this act, armed forces are authorized to use force or even open fire after warning a person found to be in contravention of the law.

 

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

KARL NEHAMMER SWORN IN AS AUSTRIA'S CHANCELLOR

 Karl Nehammer was sworn in as Austria's new chancellor by Alexander Van der Bellen, President of Austria in a ceremony in Hofburg Palace, Vienna, Austria.

 He is succeeding the career diplomat Alexander Schallenberg who took charge as chancellor in October 2021.

 He is the 3rd person to hold the role of Austria’s Chancellor in the last two months. Nehammer, from the ruling conservative Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP), was formerly the country’s interior minister.

 The Vienna-born Nehammer worked in the army for several years. He then started working as a communications adviser before becoming a politician in 2017.

 He was made interior minister in January 2020. While he was in office, Austria experienced its first Islamist terrorist attack, in which four people were killed last November.

SOMALI PM MOHAMMED HUSSEIN ROBLE SUSPENDED

 Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble has been suspended. President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo has suspended the Prime Minister, who is facing allegations of involvement in the theft of land.

 Mohamed Roble accused the President of trying to stage a coup and said he would continue in office. He urged the security forces to take orders from him rather than Mr Farmajo.

 The term of Farmajo officially ended in February but was extended because of disagreements over how to choose a new incumbent.

 Somalia has not had an effective central government since the overthrow of long-serving ruler Siad Barre in 1991.

 The country is marred by disputes between rival politicians and clans. It is also battling an insurgency by al-Shabab, an al-Qaeda affiliate.

WHO IS GABRIEL BORIC?

 Gabriel Boric, leftist lawmaker and former student activist has won Chile's Presidential Elections 2021.

 He beat right-wing candidate Jose Antonio Kast in Chile's presidential runoff with 56 percent votes on December 19, 2021, becoming Chile's youngest President ever.

 The 35-year-old had come to the limelight in 2011 when he had led the student protests demanding better education.

 During his presidential campaign, he had promised to address economic inequality, boost green investment and raise taxes on the rich.

 Chile has one of the world's biggest income gaps, as about one percent of the country's population owns 25 percent of the total wealth.

 Most of the citizens in the country are heavily indebted and have to pay wholly or at least partly for education and healthcare. Pensions are also made up of private savings.

 Gabriel Boric was born in Chile's far south in Punta Arenas. He studied law but never sat for the bar exam. He is unmarried.

 He will be by far Chile's most liberal leader after late President Salvador Allende, whose death in 1973 military coup had resulted in a brutal 17-year dictatorship.

 Boric has promised to produce real change in society by eliminating existing injustices.

SRI-LANKA & INDIA TRINCOMALEE OIL TANK FARM DEAL

 Sri Lanka and India are set to sign a long-awaited agreement to jointly develop the 'Trincomalee oil tank farm.'

 The Trincomalee oil tank farm deal is a much-desired project that has been contentious for a long time.

 This project has been in the works for 16 months between India and Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka's Energy Minister, Udaya Gammanpila, has directed the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) to establish a subsidiary called Trinco Petroleum Terminal Ltd for this purpose.

 President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has given his approval for the establishment of a special purpose vehicle.

 Trincomalee Oil Tank Farm: During World War II, the British built the Trincomalee Oil Tank Farms to serve as a refueling station. It was constructed next to the Trincomalee port, which boasts a beautiful natural harbor.

 The century-old oil tanks, on the other hand, will need to be refurbished to be fit for use again, which will cost millions of dollars.

 The proposal to renovate the oil farm was included in the Indo-Lanka agreement 35 years ago.

 'China Bay' is home to the Trincomalee Oil Tank Farm. It consists of 99 storage tanks, each with a capacity of 12,000 kilolitres, located throughout Lower and Upper Tank Farms.

 Lanka IOC currently operates 15 tanks. For the remaining tanks, a new agreement is being negotiated. The Upper Tank Farm will be developed in collaboration with the Indian Oil Corporation and the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation.

DESMOND TUTU PASSED AWAY

 Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, died on December 27, 2021, at the age of 90.

 Desmond Tutu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in South Africa to end racial discrimination. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1997 and had surgery.

 Tutu was subsequently admitted to the hospital several times for treatment of infections and other ailments. He was the first black Anglican archbishop in South Africa.

 He lobbied for sanctions against White-minority governments using his international profile.

 Between 1996 and 1998, he was the chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The commission's goal was to bring past injustices to light.

 Desmond Tutu was an Anglican bishop and theologian from South Africa. He was well-known as a human rights activist and anti-apartheid activist. Between 1985 and 1986, he served as Bishop of Johannesburg.

 After that, he was named Archbishop of Cape Town. In both cases, he was the first black African to hold the position. He was a man with many layers and opposing tensions.

 He was devoted to preserving African courtesy traditions. In 1984, the Nobel Committee awarded him the Nobel Peace Prize for his role as a "unifying leader figure in the campaign to end apartheid in South Africa."

WEF MEETING DEFERRED OVER OMICRON VARIANT

 Because of the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the Omicron strain of coronavirus, the World Economic Forum (WEF) has chosen to postpone its annual gathering in Davos.

 The high-powered gathering was set to take place from January 17 to 21, 2022. It brings together influential people from business, politics, and diplomacy.

 Instead, the meeting will be conducted in the summer. The summit in 2021 has also been canceled owing to the covid-19 epidemic.

 World Economic Forum: The World Economic Forum (WEF) will host online "State of the World" discussions with world leaders.

 The World Economic Forum (WEF) is a non-governmental and lobbying organization based in Davos, Switzerland. Its headquarters are in the Swiss town of Cologny.

 On January 24, 1971, Klaus Schwab formed the World Economic Forum (WEF). The foundation is primarily supported by its 1,000 corporate members as well as government grants.

 Every year, the World Economic Forum meets in Davos at the end of January. Around 3,000 paying members and invited guests, including business leaders, investors, political leaders, economists, journalists, and celebrities, attend the meeting.

 On global topics, discussions last up to five days and span 500 sessions.

UAE END CENSORSHIP ON CINEMATIC RELEASES

 On December 19, 2021, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced an end to censorship in cinematic releases.

 The UAE administration decided to end censorship, in a bid to attract foreigners. As per latest announcement, the government will not cut sensitive scenes which offend the Islamic sentiments.

 Administration has also introduced a new ‘above 21 years of age’ category for viewers.

 Now, movies will be screened in cinemas as per their international version and their classification will be given on the basis of standards of media content in UAE.

 Significance of the decision

 The decision to end censorship is being interpreted as UAE’s effort to become competitive in the Gulf region and appear broad-minded & liberal to foreigners.

 This step is significant for the country, as it tries to diversify its economy by attracting foreign investment and reducing dependence on oil.

 Earlier, the scenes which showed nudity and other inappropriate content, were removed from the movies in UAE. This sometimes affected the plot of movies.

 Recently, the government of the UAE made changes to the work week in the country. This decision was taken as authorities have been trying to promote the UAE to attract international workers.

 Government also reformed its Islamic legal code. From 2022, weekends in UAE will not be operational.

 

ECONOMIC AFFAIRS

ICRA FORECASTED INDIA'S GDP GROWTH

 Ratings agency ICRA revised its Indian GDP growth estimate, recently.

 According to ICRA’s estimate, there was an upward growth of 7.9 % in the second quarter of financial year 2021-22.

 An increase in government spending in September resulted in an upgrade of GDP growth estimate in the second quarter. As per earlier estimate, real GDP growth for the July-September period was 7.7%.

 GDP of India had surged by over 20% in the first quarter, because of a low base as the first wave of covid-19 pandemic raged.

 As per agency, there was a growth of 8.5%, 7.9% and 3% respectively across industry, services & agriculture and forestry & fishing for the same quarter. RBI’s forecast: On the other hand, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has forecasted a growth of 9.5% for the full financial year 2021-22.

BANK OF BARODA AT NO.1 SPOTS IN DIGITAL PAYMENTS

 Bank of Baroda has announced it has won the #1 position in overall digital transactions amongst large banks for FY20-21.

 The bank showed the exceptional growth of digital payment transactions achievement and was felicitated by the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY), Govt. of India at the Digital Payments Utsav.

 To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Independence of India, MeitY is celebrating “Digital Payments Utsav”.

 As a part of the celebration, the Bank of Baroda has been conferred with 5 DigiDhan awards for FY 2019-20 & 2020-21 in various categories. BoB has been conferred with five DigiDhan awards for FY 2019-20 & 2020-21 in various categories.

• Bank of Baroda Founded: 20 July 1908.
• Bank of Baroda Headquarters: Vadodara, Gujarat.
• Bank of Baroda Managing Director & CEO: Sanjiv Chadha.
• Bank of Baroda Tagline: India’s International Bank.
• Bank of Baroda Amalgamated Banks: Dena Bank & Vijaya Bank in 2019.

WHAT IS RBI'S CARD TOKENIZATION RULE?

 The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) recently extended the deadline for complying with the card information storage rules by another six months.

 Deadline was extended because merchants and payments companies expressed their inability to comply with the December 31 deadline.

 RBI took this decision as industry bodies had requested the central bank to extend the deadline from December 31 highlighting multiple challenges in implementing new guidelines.

 Furthermore, merchants and banks were not prepared to switch to the new system in the specified time.

 What are RBI’s guidelines on Tokenization?

 RBI had issued new guidelines in September 2021. Under the guidelines, merchants will not be able to store customers’ card data in their servers.

 It prohibited merchants from storing customer card details as well as mandated for the adoption of card-on-file (CoF) tokenization as an alternative to card storage.

 The new rule was to be implemented from January 1, 2022. As per RBI’s new directive on tokenization, customers have to enter full card details each time to make payments online.

 Tokenization means replacement of actual card details with an alternate code dubbed as “token”. The token will be unique for a combination of card, token requestor and device.

INDIA TO BECOME 3RD LARGEST ECONOMY IN 2031: CEBR

 The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) from the United Kingdom has predicted that the Indian economy will become the world’s third-largest by the year 2031.

 In the year 2022, India is set to regain its sixth position in World Economic League Table (WELT) from France, as per CEBR.

 In the year 2020, India’s GDP had witnessed a contraction of 7.3% due to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown leading to constraints on economic activity.

 India has witnessed a large scale spread of infections and has the third-highest death toll worldwide, behind US and Brazil.

 However, with the help of emergency aid and prompt measures taken by the Indian government, the country has recovered from the second wave of COVID-19.

 In Global Scenario: The annual league table also predicted that China will overtake the US to be the largest economy in 2030 (two years later than the forecast in 2021). The world economy is set to surpass $100 trillion for the first time in 2022.

 

APPOINTMENTS

ATUL KUMAR GOEL AS MD & CEO OF PNB

 The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has approved the appointment of Atul Kumar Goel, MD & CEO of UCO Bank, as MD & CEO of Punjab National Bank (PNB) with effect from February 1 next year.

 Goel will serve as PNB chief until December 31, 2024, which is his attaining the superannuation age.

 Goel will replace Mallikarjuna Rao, incumbent MD & CEO of PNB. Rao was given a three-month extension that will end on January 31, 2022.

 Meanwhile, the ACC has appointed Soma Sankara Prasad, currently Deputy Managing Director at State Bank of India, as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer in UCO Bank.

 He will serve as MD & CEO of UCO Bank till the date of attaining the age of superannuation on May 31, 2023.

VIKRAM MISRI APPOINTED AS DEPUTY NSA

 Vikram Misri was appointed as India's new deputy National Security Adviser in the National Security Council Secretariat. Misri is a 1989 batch Indian Foreign Service officer.

 He currently serves as India's Ambassador to China. He was appointed to the post in 2019.

 He will be succeeded by Pradeep Kumar Rawat, who was recently appointed as the next ambassador to China.

 Misri had previously served as private secretary to Prime Ministers Inder Kumar Gujral, Manmohan Singh and Narendra Modi.

 Vikram Misri is an Indian diplomat, who currently serves as the ambassador of India to China. He was also appointed as the Indian ambassador to Spain and Myanmar previously.

 He was born in Srinagar and then got his undergraduate degree in history honors from Hindu College from the Delhi University. He then did MBA at XLRI.

 He later worked for three years in advertising and then joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1989. He served Indian missions in Brussels and Tunis between 1991 and 1996.

 He was appointed as the Private Secretary to Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral in 1997. He held various other posts in the Prime Minister's Office and External Affairs Ministry as well as several Indian missions abroad.

 He was appointed as the private secretary to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2012. He also served as the private secretary to Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he succeeded Manmohan Singh.

 He was appointed as the ambassador to China in 2019. He had held a series of meetings with senior Chinese officials during the 2020–2021 India-China border clash.

PRADEEP RAWAT AS NEW AMBASSADOR TO CHINA

 Diplomat Pradeep Kumar Rawat has been appointed as the next Ambassador of India to China. Rawat (Indian Foreign Services, 1990) is presently the Ambassador of India to the Kingdom of the Netherlands and is expected to take up his new assignment shortly.

 Pradeep Rawat has been serving as the envoy to the Netherlands since January 2021.

 Pradeep Kumar Rawat will replace Vikram Misri as India’s next ambassador to China. Misri completed a close to three-year term earlier in December 2021.

 Pradeep Rawat as India’s next envoy in China will take charge amid the worst phase in relations between the two nations ever since the normalization of ties in the 1980s.

Who is Pradeep Kumar Rawat?

 Indian ambassador to China Pradeep Kumar Rawat has spent the majority of his diplomatic career handling Beijing from New Delhi. From 2014 to 2017, Pradeep Rawat was the Joint Secretary (East Asia).

 From 2017 to 2020, Rawat was posted as the Indian Ambassador to Indonesia.

 Pradeep Rawat joined the Foreign Services in 1990. He chose Mandarin as his foreign language.

 India-China tension and border talks

 The crisis between India and China was triggered along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) because of the transgressions by the Chinese Military starting in April 2020.

 The conflict between India and China is still unresolved and thousands of troops of both sides are still deployed in the areas.

 The border talks between the two nations haven’t made discernible progress. The past understandings on the boundary have now been seen in doubt after more than an 18-month long border crisis.

 The current Indian Ambassador to China Mr. Misri had also called on the Foreign Minister of China Wang Yi on December 6, 2021, before he returned to New Delhi.

HARJINDER SINGH AS CHEF DE MISSION TO BEIJING OLYMPICS

 The Indian Olympic Association of India (IOA) has appointed the Ice Hockey Association of India’s general secretary, Harjinder Singh, as the Chef de Mission of the country’s contingent for the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

 Singh was the Chef de Mission of the Indian contingent for the 23rd Winter Olympic Games too, which was held in Pyeongchang, South Korea in 2018.

 Harjinder Singh is the general secretary of the Ice Hockey Association and has also led the Indian contingent at the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, where India had two representatives – cross-country skier Jagdish Singh, and six-time Olympian luger Shiva Keshavan.

 

AWARDS & HONOURS

MOTHER TERESA MEMORIAL AWARD FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE

 Environmentalist Dr Anil Prakash Joshi, who was conferred upon the Padma Bhushan this year, has been awarded the Mother Teresa Memorial Award for Social Justice 2021.

 Vidyut Mohan, the winner of the Earth shot Prize, and Ridhima Pandey, a young environmental activist from Uttarakhand, were also the recipients of the award.

 The Harmony Foundation identifies a theme each year for the Mother Teresa Memorial Awards and felicitates individuals and organizations who work in the realm of augmenting environmental sustainability.

 The awardees were felicitated by Dr Abraham Mathai, the founder chairman of the foundation.

 Why were these 3 awarded?

 Dr Joshi was given the award for his efforts as a changemaker in the environmental sustainability sector by impacting over 10,000 villages in the Himalayan region through his Himalayan Environmental Studies & Conservation Organization.

 Vidyut was acknowledged for his seminal and ingenious efforts in combating air pollution through his social enterprise Takachar.

 Ridhima, on the other hand, received the award for her spectacular courage, and indomitable spirit as a youth environmental activist who has galvanized national participation to stop climate change.

ALIA BHATT NAMED PETA PERSON OF THE YEAR AWARD

 People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India has named Bollywood star Alia Bhatt its 2021 Person of the Year.

 She is an animal lover and often shares pictures with her pets. This year, Alia Bhatt invested in Phool, the company behind Fleather, which is vegan leather made from discarded temple flowers.

 Her vegan kidswear line, Ed-a-Mamma, also won a 2021 PETA India fashion award for helping to nurture kids’ love for animals and nature.

 Alia also starred in a pro-adoption PETA India campaign to help cats and dogs. She has used her position to call for stronger animal protection laws.

 Past recipients of PETA India’s Person of the Year Award:

 Dr Shashi Tharoor, for supporting Compassionate Citizen, PETA India’s humane education programme for children, as well as other education on animal protection;

 Former Supreme Court Justice KS Panicker Radhakrishnan, for the landmark judgment against the use of bulls in performances;

 Cricketer Virat Kohli, for calling for the release of an abused elephant and stronger penalties for animal abusers;

 Comedian Kapil Sharma, for encouraging people to adopt dogs;

 Actors John Abraham, Anushka Sharma, Sunny Leone, R Madhavan, Jacqueline Fernandez, Hema Malini, and Sonam Kapoor Ahuja, for helping animals in various ways.

ANNOUNCEMENT OF SAHITYA AKADEMI AWARDS

 Sahitya Akademi announced its prestigious Sahitya Akademi Awards, Yuva Puraskar and Bal Sahitya Puraskar 2021 in various languages.

 According to the board, an engraved copper plate, shawl and an amount of Rs 1 lakh will be given to the main Sahitya Akademi prize winner and an engraved copper plate and an amount of Rs 50,000 each will be given to the Yuva Puraskar and Bal Sahitya Puraskar.

 Sahitya Akademi Award 2021:

 The Sahitya Akademi Award 2021 was given in 20 Indian languages; the winner of Gujarati, Maithili, Manipuri, and Urdu languages will be announced at a later date.

 Seven books of poetry, two novels, five books of short stories, two plays, one book each of biography, autobiography, criticism, and epic poetry have won the Sahitya Akademi Awards 2021.

 Author, Namita Gokhale was awarded for her novel Things to Leave Behind.

• Anuradha Sarma Pujari (Assamese)
• Bratya Basu (Bengali)
• Mwdai Gahai (Bodo)
• Raj Rahi (Dogri)
• Namita Gokhale (English)
• Daya Prakash Sinha (Hindi)
• DS Nagabhushana (Kannada)
• Wali Mohd Aseer Kashtawari (Kashmiri)
• Sanjiv Verenkar (Konkani)
• George Onakkoor (Malayalam)
• Kiran Gurav (Marathi)
• Chhabilal Upadhyaya (Nepali)
• Hrushikesh Mallick (Odia)
• Khalid Hussain (Punjabi)
• Meethesh Nirmohi (Rajasthani)
• Bindeshwari Prasad Mishr “Vinay” (Sanskrit)
• Niranjan Hansda (Santali)
• Arjun Chawla (Sindhi)
• Ambai (Tamil)
• Gorati Venkanna (Telugu)

Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar 2021:

 The Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar 2021 were awarded for 22 Indian languages and the award in Tamil will be declared later, there was no award given in Rajasthani language this year.

 Author Megha Majumdar won the Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar 2021 for her debut book ‘A Burning’, published in 2020.

Bal Sahitya Puraskar 2021:

 The Bal Sahitya Puraskar 2021 was given in 22 Indian languages, no Bal Sahitya Puraskar was given in Gujarati and Punjabi languages this year.

 Anita Vachharajani has been named as the recipient of the Bal Sahitya Puraskar 2021 for the biography “Amrita Sher-Gil: Rebel with a Paintbrush”.

 Hindi writer Devendra Mewari won the award for his play titled “Natak Natak me Vigyan”.

 

IMPORTANT DAYS AND DATES

NATIONAL CONSUMER RIGHTS DAY: 24TH DECEMBER

 National Consumer Rights Day is observed every year on December 24. On this day in 1986, the Consumer Protection Act 1986 received Presidential assent and thus came into force.

 The Act aims to provide consumers with effective safeguards against different types of exploitation, such as defective goods, deficiency in services and unfair trade practices.

 Consumer Protection Act in India guarantees six basic rights to consumers:

• Right to choose the product
• Right to be protected from all kinds of hazardous goods
• Right to be informed about the performance and quality of all products
• Right to be heard in all decision-making processes related to consumer interests
• Right to seek redressal, whenever consumer rights have been infringed
• Right to complete consumer education

World Consumer Rights Day:

 People often get confused between World Consumer Rights Day and National Consumer Rights Day.

 While both have the same purpose, they are observed on different dates. World Consumer Rights Day is celebrated annually on March 15.

 History of National Consumer Rights Day:

 The National Consumer Rights Day was observed for the first time in 1986 under the Consumer Protection Act. It’s different from World Consumer Day, which is celebrated annually on March 15.

 The Consumer Protection Act came into force in 1986. In 2019, the Consumer Protection Act 1986 was revised.

 Later, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution announced the CPA 2019 bill put to effect on July 20, 2020.

GOOD GOVERNANCE DAY: 25TH DECEMBER

 In India, Good Governance Day (Sushasan Divas) is observed annually on 25th December. On this day the nation celebrates the birth anniversary of Bharat Ratna and former-Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

 In keeping with this principle, Good Governance Day has been declared to be a working day for the government.

 Significance of the day: The aim of observing this day is to let the students and citizens of the country know about the duties and responsibilities of the government they need to fulfill.

 Good governance day acts as a reminder to the government about their responsibilities, and the government should be unbiased, transparent, and development-oriented.

 History of the day:

 On 23rd December 2014, former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya were announced to receive the highest civilian award of the nation, Bharat Ratna.

 After the announcement, the newly elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced 25th December to be celebrated and observed as the Good Governance Day.

 About Atal Bihari Vajpayee:

 Atal Bihari Vajpayee served as the Prime Minister of India for three times. His first term was for only 13 days in 1996.

 He served his second term for a period of thirteen months from March 1998 to April 1999 and then a full term from 1999 to 2004. His first entry into parliament was in 1962 through the Rajya Sabha. He was elected to the Lok Sabha seven times. In 2015, Mr Vajpayee was conferred the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award.

 

REPORTS & INDEXES

GOOD GOVERNANCE INDEX 2020-21 RELEASED

 The "Good Governance Index 2020-21" was released by the central government on 25 December.

 The Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances compiled the index (DARPG).

 The top three states are Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Goa. Indicators recorded by these states increased by 12% in Gujarat and around 25% in Goa in comparison to 2019.

 In comparison to the previous year, Uttar Pradesh saw an increase of around 9%. Uttar Pradesh has taken the lead in the commerce and industry sector.

 In addition to citizen-centric governance parameters, Uttar Pradesh has improved in the areas of social welfare and development, as well as the judiciary and public safety.

 Twenty states improved their composite 'Good Governance Index (GGI) scores in this year's index. The GGI indicators improved by 3.7 percent in J&K. It had a strong showing in the commerce and industry sector.

 Agriculture and allied sectors, commerce and industry, public infrastructure and utilities, environment, economic governance, and social welfare and development were all strong areas for Goa.

 In comparison to the GGI 2019 performance, Jharkhand saw a 12.6 percent increase. It excelled in seven different areas.

 Rajasthan saw a 1.7 percent increase in growth. Mizoram excelled in commerce and industry, public health, human resource development, and economic governance in this category.

 Among the union territories, Delhi came out on top. Agriculture and related sectors, public infrastructure & utilities, commerce and industry, and social welfare & development all performed well.

 Good Governance Index

 The Good Governance Index 2021 included 58 indicators and ten sectors. GGI is a comprehensive and easy-to-implement framework for assessing the state of governance in states and union territories, as well as ranking states and districts.

 The goal of GGI is to create a tool that can be used uniformly across States and UTs to assess the impact of various interventions undertaken by the Central and State Governments.

NITI AAYOG RELEASED FOURTH STATE HEALTH INDEX

 On December 27, 2021, the NITI Aayog released its fourth Health Index. The fourth round of the Index took into account the period 2019-20 as reference year.

 NITI Aayog prepared this report in collaboration with the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare as well as with the technical assistance from the World Bank.

 According to NITI Aayog’s health index, Kerala has emerged as the top performer with respect to overall health performance among larger states.

 On the other hand, Uttar Pradesh has been ranked the last. However, Uttar Pradesh topped in terms of incremental performance since it registered the highest incremental change in reference year 2019-20 as compared to the base year 2018-19.

 Tamil Nadu emerged as second while Telangana emerged as the third best performers, on health parameters.

 Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra have been ranked among top five. Bihar is the second and Madhya Pradesh is the third worst performer, on health parameters.

 In the smaller states category, Mizoram became the best performer in overall performance and incremental performance.

 Among Union Territories, Delhi and Jammu & Kashmir have been ranked among bottom UTs with respect to overall performance. However, they emerged as leading performers with respect to incremental performance.

 In terms of health performance, Kerala emerged as the best state, for the fourth time.

 Kerala and Tamil Nadu were top two performers with highest reference year (2019-20) index score, in terms of overall performance.

 However, they have been ranked twelfth and eighth in terms of incremental performance.

 Telangana secured the third place in terms of overall performance as well as incremental performance. Rajasthan was the worst performer, in terms of overall performance and incremental performance.

 Among smaller states, Mizoram & Tripura registered strong overall performance. They also showed improvements in incremental performance.

GLOBAL UNICORN INDEX: INDIA AT 3RD SPOT

 Adding 33 “unicorns” in a single year has helped India displace the United Kingdom to be third in the list of countries that are home to such enterprises valued at over $1 billion each.

 The US and China, who occupy the first two ranks, are way ahead, according to the data compiled by Hurun Research Institute.

 The US and China are home to 74 per cent of the unicorn universe. The US added 254 unicorns and now totals 487 companies in the coveted list, while China added 74 to take its tally to 301 start-ups having a valuation of over $1 billion.

 The UK added only 15 unicorns to take its total to 39, and hence got displaced by India.

 Last year: India was placed fourth when it comes to the number of unicorns last year.

 However, the US and northern neighbor China, who occupy the first two ranks, are way ahead, according to the data compiled by Hurun Research Institute.

 

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

WORLD'S LARGEST & MOST POWERFUL SPACE TELESCOPE

 The James Webb Space Telescope, the world's largest and most powerful space telescope, was launched on December 25, 2021 beginning a one-million-mile journey to see 13.5 billion years into the past.

 James Webb Space Telescope Goal: The James Webb Space Telescope will aim to find the first galaxies that formed in the early universe and look through dusty clouds to see stars forming planetary systems.

 The space telescope will be a giant leap forward in the quest to understand the Universe and its origins.

 The powerful space telescope will aim to examine every phase of cosmic history, starting from the first luminous glows after the Big Bang to the formation of galaxies, stars and planets and the evolution of our solar system.

 Mission Objectives

 Find first galaxies formed after Big Bang: The James Webb Space Telescope will be like a powerful time machine with infrared vision that will look back over 13.5 billion years to see the formation of the first stars and galaxies in the early universe.

 Learn how galaxies evolved: Its unprecedented infrared sensitivity will help astronomers compare the faintest, earliest galaxies to today's grand spirals and ellipticals. It will help deepen the understanding of how galaxies assemble over billions of years.

 Observe the formation of stars: The telescope will be able to see right through massive clouds of dust that are opaque to visible-light observatories like Hubble and see how stars and planetary systems are born.

 Look for the potential for life in other planetary systems: The telescope will also be able to tell more about the atmospheres of extrasolar planets. It could even find the building blocks of life elsewhere in the universe.

 James Webb Space Telescope vs Hubble

 The James Webb Space Telescope will aim to replace its 30-year-old predecessor, the Hubble Space Telescope. The Hubble orbits the Earth from 340 miles away, passing in and out of the planet's shadow every 90 minutes.

 The James Webb Telescope is named after James Edwin Webb, who was an American government official who served as Undersecretary of State from 1949–1952. He was appointed as the second administrator of NASA from February 14, 1961, to October 7, 1968. James Webb oversaw NASA during most of its formative decade of the 1960s.

 The James Webb Telescope is expected to be about 100 times more sensitive than the Hubble telescope. It is expected to transform scientists' understanding of the universe.

JAPAN LAUNCHED INMARSAT-6 COMMUNICATION SATELLITE

 Japan has launched Inmarsat-6 F1, a communication satellite, through a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) H-IIA204 rocket from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Center that will enter geostationary orbit, about 22,240 miles (35,790 kilometers) above the earth.

 It is developed by the London-based company Inmarsat as a part of its next-generation satellite broadband service.

 The satellite is 12,060-pound (5,470 kilograms) and is the first of two ‘I-6’ spacecraft.

 Key Points: Designated H-IIAF45, Inmarsat-6 F1 launch is Japan’s third orbital flight of 2021 and H-IIA’s second mission of the year, marking the 45th flight of the H-IIA vehicle overall.

 It is a dual-payload satellite featuring both L-band (ELERA) and Ka-band (Global Xpress).

 It is the world’s largest and most sophisticated commercial communications satellite ever launched.

 H-IIA is Japan’s longest-serving liquid-fueled rocket (since 2001) and currently the largest rocket operated by MHI for the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

NASA'S JAMES WEBB SPACE TELESCOPE MISSION

 NASA is all set to launch its much-awaited next-generation space telescope mission named “James Webb Space Telescope Mission”, as and when weather is clear.

 It will be launched on Ariane 5 rocket, operated by Arianespace.

About James Webb Space Telescope (JWST or Webb)

 JWST has been in the works for decades. It has been jointly developed by NASA, Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and the European Space Agency (ESA).

 As NASA’s flagship astrophysics mission, it is planned to succeed the Hubble Space Telescope. It will be launched around December 25, 2021 during Ariane flight VA256. The primary mirror of JWST, that is, Optical Telescope Element, comprises 18 hexagonal mirror segments. These segments are made up of gold-plated beryllium.

Purpose of the Mission

 The JWST mission will provide improved infrared resolution and sensitivity as compared to the Hubble Space Telescope.

 It will enable a broad range of investigations in the fields of astronomy & cosmology, including observation of some of the most distant events and objects in space, like formation of the first galaxies and detailed atmospheric characteristics of potentially habitable exoplanets.

INDIA SUCCESSFULLY TEST-FIRED PRALAY MISSILE

 India successfully conducted the maiden flight test of the indigenously-developed, surface-to-surface missile ‘Pralay’ off the Odisha coast.

 The solid-fuel, battlefield missile developed by the Defense Research Development Organization is based on Prithvi Defense Vehicle from the Indian ballistic missile programme.

 The missile, launched from the APJ Abdul Kalam Island.

 About the Missile: The new missile followed the desired quasi ballistic trajectory and reached the designated target with high degree accuracy, validating the control, guidance and mission algorithms.

 With a range of 150 to 500 km, ‘Pralay’ is powered with the solid propellant rocket motor and other new technologies.

 The missile guidance system includes state-of-the-art navigation and integrated avionics.

PSYCHE MISSION LAUNCHED BY NASA

 NASA’s Psyche mission is going to be launched in August 2022. It will be the first launch to explore a giant metal asteroid known as Psyche in the main asteroid belt.

 The asteroid Psyche is in between Mars & Jupiter and is orbiting the Sun. The Psyche mission is one among the two missions of NASA to explore the early Solar System.

 The Lucy mission is another mission to explore Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids in order to study the early Solar System.

NASA’s Psyche mission

 NASA’s Psyche Mission is the first mission that will be launched to explore a unique giant metal asteroid called Psyche.

 The mission is being led by Arizona State University. Mission management, navigation and its operations will be looked upon by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

 Mission was selected as one of the two missions to explore the early Solar System in 2017. Mission will be launched in August 2022 from Kennedy Space Center, Florida and will arrive on the Psyche asteroid in 2026.

 What is the objective of the mission?

 To understand how planets and other bodies separated into layers such as cores, mantles, and crusts.

• To examine an asteroid made of metal.
• To explore early eras of solar system. Italian astronomer Annibale de Gasparis had discovered the Psyche as the 16th asteroid in 1852.

 He named the asteroid after the Goddess of Soul in ancient Greek mythology. It is 210 kilometers in diameter. The asteroid is made up of mostly metallic iron and nickel, similar to Earth’s core.

 

MISCELLANEOUS

1% RESERVATION TO TRANSGENDER IN POLICE

 Karnataka Government has announced to give 1 per cent reservation to transgenders in Police.

 Reservation will be given to them across all the ranks in the police department. This move will help in changing the perception towards transgenders.

 It will bring them into the mainstream and remove all the prejudices against them in society.

 Karnataka police department is also recruiting both men and women by giving them equal opportunities.

 There was reservation for women in the police department, three-four decades back. But now the department aims to reach 25 percent of women in the police force.

 Police in Karnataka were called by different names in different regions such as Thoti, Talwar, Kattubidi, Umbalidhar, Neeruganti etc.


 The foundation for the current police set up was laid after the appointment of the first Inspector General of Police in the state.

 Before that, the State Police had no status, structure and powers. During 1883, Talwars, Thotis, Kavalugararu, Neeragantis, Patela, Amaragararu, Ankamaale, Shyanubhogas etc. used to do policing. Police existed in different variants during the rule of Maharajas of Mysore.

CHINA DRAFT LAW ON PROTECTION OF WOMEN'S RIGHTS

 China's Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) began reviewing a draft amendment to the "Law on Protection of Women's Rights and Interests" on 20 December.

 The amendment was proposed in the wake of an increase in sexual harassment and domestic violence cases, as well as the year-long #MeToo movement.

 The amendment would bring the three-decade-old law protecting women's rights at home and at work up to date and strengthen it.

 For the first time, the proposed legislation includes a specific definition of "discrimination against women."

 It includes detailed descriptions of what constitutes workplace sexual harassment, such as sexually explicit images, inappropriate behavior, or offering benefits in exchange for sex.

 The proposed legislation isn't just for the workplace. It also seeks to protect a woman's rights within a traditional family structure, as well as allowing women to seek compensation following a divorce.

 Employers are no longer allowed to state gender preferences in job ads or ask female applicants about their marital or pregnancy status, thanks to the amendments.

 In the event of a divorce, women will have the right to seek compensation if they believe they have taken on more responsibilities at home.

SM Current Affairs DECEMBER 2021 Set 01, 02, 03 - CLICK HERE