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SM Current Affairs December 2022 Set 01

SM Current Affairs December 2022 Set 01

Neelesh Singh 10 MIN

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 success mantra.in work tirelessly to create this magazine and bring it to you with a great sense of gratitude.

The PRAVAHINI December-2022 eBook covers the current events that happened in the month of October. Current Affair is a crucial component of any competitive exams including CLAT, AILET, DU-LLB, HM, CAT, IAS, PCS, SSC, CUET, Banking, MBA and various other competitive examinations.

Current Affairs play a 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-2022 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]

 

 

 

NATIONAL AFFAIRS

WHAT IS A NATIONAL BAMBOO MISSION?

Recently, the Ministry of Agriculture has formed an Advisory Group for streamlining the development of the Bamboo sector under the restructured National Bamboo Mission (NBM).

What is the National Bamboo Mission?

  • The restructured National Bamboo Mission (NBM) was launched during 2018-19 as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS).
  • NBM mainly focuses on the development of the complete value chain of Bamboo sector to link growers with consumers starting from planting material, plantation, creation of facilities for collection, aggregation, processing, marketing, micro, small & medium enterprises, skilled manpower and brand building initiative in a cluster approach mode.
  • Objective: To increase the area under bamboo plantation in non-forest Government and private lands to supplement farm income and contribute towards resilience to climate change.
  • Nodal Ministry: The Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare.

STATUS OF WOMEN IN JUDICIARY

  • Recently, the Supreme Court has recently appointed a female all-woman bench for the third time in its history. The first time the Supreme Court had an all-woman bench was in 2013, and the second occasion came in 2018.

What is the State of Women in Judiciary?

  • During the last 70 years, no significant attempt has been made to provide adequate representation for women in the High Courts or Supreme Court. There have been only 11 women judges on the Supreme Court since its inception, and no women Chief Justices.
  • Just 83 of the 680 judges in the high courts are women. Only 30% of subordinate judges are female.

Why is High Women's Representation Important?

  • The presence of women as judges and lawyers, will substantially improve the justice delivery system. Women bring to the law a different perspective, one that is built upon their experience. They also have a more nuanced understanding of the differing impacts that certain laws may have on men and women.
  • Women judges enhance the legitimacy of courts, sending a powerful signal that they are open and accessible to those who seek recourse to justice. The judiciary must be better represented by women in order to take a balanced and empathic approach to cases surrounding sexual violence.

KIRIT PARIKH COMMITTEE REPORT ON GAS PRICING

  • The Kirit Parikh panel recently submitted a report on gas pricing, recommending complete pricing freedom from January 1, 2026.

What are the key recommendations of the panel?

  • The committee recommended that India should have completely free and market-determined pricing of natural gas extracted from legacy fields, which account for over 70 per cent of the total natural gas produced in India.
  • The panel recommended linking the price of gas produced from legacy fields to imported crude oil prices rather than benchmarking them to gas rates in global markets. The arrived rates will be subject to a floor and ceiling.
  • The panel recommended a price band of 4 to 6.50 USD per unit for gas from the old legacy field. This means that the state producers ONGC and Oil India Limited will be paid a price linked to imported oil but will have a minimum or floor price of 4 USD per million British thermal unit (mmBtu) and a ceiling price of 6.5 USD per mmBtu.
  • A fixed band of pricing will create predictable pricing for producers and moderate pricing of CNG and piped cooking gas.
  • The panel also recommended increasing the ceiling rate for the gas from legacy fields by 0.5 per mm BTU.
  • It recommended market-determined pricing for gas produced from legacy fields by January 1, 2027. It did not recommend any changes in the existing pricing formula for fields in difficult geology like KG-D6 of Reliance Industries.

AMENDMENTS IN PREVENTION OF MONEY LAUNDERING ACT

  • In its recent amendment, the Central Government listed 15 government bodies that are required to share information with the Enforcement Directorate under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The list was amended in accordance with Section 66 of the PMLA.
  • The government entities that were recently included to share information with the Enforcement Directorate are:
  • National Investigation Agency (NIA)
  • Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO)
  • State Police
  • Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT)
  • Ministry of External Affairs (MEA)
  • National Intelligence Grid
  • Central Vigilance Commission (CVC)
  • Defence Intelligence Agency
  • National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO)
  • Military Intelligence
  • Wildlife Crime Control Bureau
  • Competition Commission of India (CCI)
  • Under Section 66 of the Act, 15 entities are bound to disclose and share case information to the ED if the investigation falls under its jurisdiction. The information shared can be used by the Enforcement Directorate to file a case under the PMLA when it deems fit.

WHAT IS 2AFRICA PEARLS?

  • Bharti Airtel and Meta have decided to jointly invest in a global connectivity infrastructure project that would extend the 2Africa Pearls (a subsea cable) to India.
  • The 2Africa Pearls is one of the largest subsea cable systems in the world. Its purpose is to provide faster internet connectivity to over 3 billion people by connecting Africa, Europe, and Asia.
  • When this 37,000-km-long subsea cable was launched in 2020, it connected 23 countries. In 2021, the tech giant Meta announced a new segment of 2Africa Pearls in collaboration with regional partners.
  • The extension project seeks to cover landing locations in Oman, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Iraq, Pakistan, India, and Saudi Arabia.
  • The extension will increase the total length of the 2 Africa cable system to more than 45,000 km, making it the world’s longest subsea cable system. In its entirety, this subsea cable will significantly increase connectivity within and outside Africa.

WHAT IS VIZHINJAM PORT PROJECT?

  • Recently, Adani Group approached the Kerala High Court requesting the security cover of central forces in its port construction site in Vizhinjam which was marred by violent protests by the Fishermen.

What is the Vizhinjam Port Project?

  • It is a Rs 7,525 crore port, being built under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model with Adani Ports Private Limited at Vizhinjam near Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.
  • It was laid in December 2015 and has since missed its completion deadline. The port is to have 30 berths, and will be able to handle giant “megamax” container ships.
  • Significance: It is believed that the ultramodern port, located close to major international shipping routes, will boost India’s economy and its location is also of strategic importance.
  • The port is expected to compete with Colombo, Singapore, and Dubai for a share of trans-shipment traffic.

WHAT IS MAHAPARINIRVAN DIWAS?

  • Recently, the Prime Minister paid homage to Babasaheb Ambedkar on Mahaparinirvan Diwas and recalled his exemplary service to our nation.

 

What is Mahaparinirvan Diwas?

  • Parinirvana, regarded as one of the major principles as well as goals of Buddhism, is a Sanskrit term which means release or freedom after death. As per the Buddhist text Mahaparinibbana Sutta, the death of Lord Buddha at the age of 80 is considered as the original Mahaparinirvan.
  • 6th December is observed to commemorate the unfathomable contribution to society given by Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar and his achievements. Owing to Ambedkar’s status as a Buddhist leader, his death anniversary is referred to as Mahaparinirvan Diwas.

Who was Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar?

  • Babasaheb Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar was a social reformer, jurist, economist, author, polyglot (knowing or using several languages) orator, a scholar, and thinker of comparative religions.
  • Contributions: He led the Mahad Satyagraha in March 1927 against Hindus who were opposing the decision of the Municipal Board.
  • He participated in all three Round Table Conferences. In 1932, Dr. Ambedkar signed the Poona pact with Mahatma Gandhi, which abandoned the idea of separate electorates for the depressed classes (Communal Award).
  • However, the seats reserved for the depressed classes were increased from 71 to 147 in provincial legislatures and to 18% of the total in the Central Legislature.

NATIONAL TELEMEDICINE SERVICE OF INDIA: E-SANJEEVANI

  • Recently, National telemedicine service of India, eSanjeevani achieved 8 crore teleconsultations. It surpassed records by registering 1 cr. consultations in approximately 5 weeks.

What is eSanjeevani?

  • It is a national doctor to doctor telemedicine service that strives to provide an alternative to the conventional physical consultations via digital platform.
  • eSanjeevani is a cohesive part of Ayushman Bharat Digital Health Mission (ABDHM), and more than 45,000 ABHA IDs have been generated via E-Sanjevani application.
  • Leading ten states for usage of this platform are: Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Telangana and Gujarat.

 

AAP TO BECOME NATIONAL PARTY OF INDIA

  • The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has scored enough votes in Gujarat in the recent elections to get the “national party” status.
  • A national party is a political party having national presence, as opposed to regional parties, whose presence is restricted to a specific region or a state.
  • National parties include those that are the biggest in India (BJP and Congress) as well as smaller parties that do not necessarily have a lot of national political influence (communist parties).
  • The ECI has provided technical criteria for a party to be recognized as a national party. A political party may lose or gain the status based on its fulfillment of the following criteria:
  • The party is “recognized” in at least four states; or Its candidates polled at least 6 per cent of total valid votes in any of the four or more states in the last Lok Sabha or State Assembly elections and has at least 4 MPs in the last Lok Sabha polls; or If the party has won at least 2 percent of the total seats in the Lok Sabha from at least 3 states.

RAJYA SABHA WELCOMED ITS NEW CHAIRMAN

  • Recently, Rajya Sabha (RS) welcomed its new Chairman, Jagdeep Dhankhar.
  • The Vice-President is the ex-officio chairman of the Rajya Sabha. The Vice-President as Chairman of the Rajya Sabha is the unchallenged guardian of the eminence and dignity of the House.

Constitutional Provisions:

  • Article 64: The Vice-President shall be ex officio Chairman of the Council of States and shall not hold any other office of profit.
  • Article 89 of the Constitution provides provision for the Chairman (Vice-President of India) and the Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.

Power and Functions:

  • The Chairman of the Rajya Sabha is empowered to adjourn the House or to suspend its sitting in the event of the absence of quorum.
  • The 10th Schedule of the Constitution empowers the Chairman to determine the question as to disqualification of a member of the Rajya Sabha on the ground of defection; The Chairman's consent is needed to raise a question of breach of privilege in the House.
  • Parliamentary Committees, regardless of whether set up by the Chairman or by the House, work under the direction of the Chairman.

INDIA'S 1ST SURETY BONDS INSURANCE PRODUCTS

  • The Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways is set to launch India’s first-ever surety bonds insurance product for highway contractors on December 19 this year.
  • This comes two years after the union ministry directed the Insurance Regulatory and Developmental Authority of India (IRDAI) to explore the feasibility of surety bonds.
  • Surety bond is a three-way agreement between the principal, surety and obligee. The surety is a company that provides the financial guarantee to the obligee (usually a government entity) that the principal (business owner) will fulfill their obligations.
  • A principal’s obligations mean complying with state laws and regulations concerning specific business licenses, or meeting the terms of a construction contract, depending on the type of surety bond.
  • If the principal fails to comply with the obligations, the obligee can file a claim against the bond to recover any damages or losses incurred.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

WHAT IS WASSENAAR ARRANGEMENT?

  • Recently, on 26th annual plenary of the Wassenaar Arrangement in Vienna, Ireland handed over the chairmanship to India and India will officially assume the chairmanship from 1st January, 2023.

What is Wassenaar Arrangement?

  • The Wassenaar Arrangement is a voluntary export control regime. The Arrangement, formally established in July 1996, has 42 members who exchange information on transfers of conventional weapons and dual-use goods and technologies. Dual-use refers to the ability of a good or technology to be used for multiple purposes - usually peaceful and military.
  • Wassenaar Arrangement’s Secretariat is in Vienna, Austria.
  • Members: It has 42 member states comprising mostly NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) and EU states.
  • Participating States are required to report their arms transfers and transfers/denials of certain dual-use goods and technologies to destinations outside the Arrangement on a six-monthly basis.
  • India became a member of the Arrangement in 2017.

Objectives:

  • The group works by regularly exchanging information in respect of technology, both conventional and nuclear-capable, that is sold to, or denied to countries outside the grouping.
  • This is done through maintenance and updating of detailed lists of chemicals, technologies, processes and products that are considered militarily significant.

UN RECOMMENDATIONS ON GREAT BARRIER REEF

  • A UN panel recommended the listing of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef as a world heritage site that is “in danger”.
  • The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s biggest coral reef ecosystem, having over 2,900 individual reefs, 900 islands and an area covering some 344,400 square kilometers. It is situated off the coast of Australia’s Queensland.
  • It is one of the world’s largest biodiversity hotspots and largest carbon sinks. It is supporting some 64,000 jobs and provides a large amount of revenue for the Australian economy.

Why is the Great Barrier Reef in danger?

  • The Great Barrier Reef is significantly affected by the climate crisis. It is adversely impacted by frequent bleaching events, including the four that occurred over the last 7 years and the first during this year’s La Nina phenomenon, which is typically the time when temperature becomes cooler.
  • Coral bleaching occurs when the water temperature increases, causing the corals to expel the colorful algae living in their tissues and turn white.
  • While corals can survive bleaching events, their growth becomes stunted and their reproduction is affected. Frequent bleaching has made many reefs sterile. Their resilience has been affected because of climate change and the degraded water quality.

AUSTRALIA-INDIA CENTRE FOR ENERGY (AICE)

  • The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras and Australian Universities are collaborating to launch the Australia-India Centre for Energy (AICE) to work on the 2030 SDGs.

What is Australia-India Centre for Energy (AICE)?

  • The Australia-India Centre for Energy (AICE) is a virtual center that will promote collaboration among universities, research institutes and industry from India and Australia in the energy domain. It will be launched during the two-day Energy Summit 2022 that will be hosted by IIT Madras in December 2022.
  • The main objective of this center is to deepen bilateral collaboration between India and Australia in the energy sector through transformative research, technology development and deployment.
  • It aims to become a leading bilateral platform on SDG 7 and other related SDGs for academics, industries and government agencies to engage in science, technology, economics, policy and governance.
  • The collaboration under the AICE will be led by IIT Madras and Deakin University in Australia. The two institutes will be coordinating and driving the engagement among the partners and external stakeholders. The initiative will help promote collaboration between government entities, funding agencies and individual researchers in India and Australia.

INDIA & GERMANY RELATIONSHIP

  • Recently, the External Affairs Minister of India met with the Foreign Minister of Germany in New Delhi.
  • Germany’s minister’s visit coincided with the launch of an “oil price cap” plan by the G7 and European Union countries to withdraw shipping and insurance services to countries that buy Russian oil above the price of USD 60 a barrel.

What are the Key Highlights of the Meeting?

  • India and Germany signed a Comprehensive Partnership on Migration and Mobility meant to ease travel for research, study and work for people in both countries.
  • It would be the “basis for a more contemporary partnership” to relations. The two sides held talks on bilateral issues, including Germany’s assistance to India on renewable energy and energy transitions, as well as international issues such as their IndoPacific strategy, and spoke about China, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

What is the Oil Price Cap by the G7?

  • It is a plan by the G7 with the European Union and Australia to impose the price cap on Russian crude oil shipments, pegged at USD 60 to a barrel for now.
  • The price cap is essentially aimed at preventing firms in signatory nations from extending shipping, insurance, brokering and other services to Russian crude oil shipments that are sold at any value above the designated per-barrel price i.e., USD 60 per barrel.

GLOBAL TECHNOLOGY SUMMIT 2022

  • The 7th edition of the Global Technology Summit (GTS) was held from November 29 to December 1 in New Delhi.
  • The Global Technology Summit is India’s flagship annual event on geotechnology that brings together industry experts, policymakers, scientists and other key stakeholders from across the world to discuss technology and changing geopolitics.
  • Its main purpose is to develop new ways to address various concerns of all parties without hindering technological growth and new ideas. The inaugural edition of the summit was held in 2016.

About the Global Technology Summit 2022

  • The seventh edition of Global Technology Summit was held this year in hybrid form It was co-hosted by the Ministry of External Affairs and Carnegie India.
  • The theme for the 2022 edition of GTS is “Geopolitics of Technology”. It focused on the impact of the weaponization of technology amid geopolitical disruptions like data disruption and inaccessibility, supply chain disruptions, semiconductor shortages and the race to lead on data-related technologies.
  • With India taking up the G20 presidency, the Global Technology Summit seeks to explore the present status of international alliances and emerging technologies and their impact on geopolitics.

NSA MEETING WITH CENTRAL ASIAN NATIONS

  • The National Security Advisor (NSA) of India, for the first time, hosted a special meeting with his counterparts from Central Asian countries - Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
  • Earlier in January 2022, the Prime Minister of India hosted the first India-Central Asia Summit in virtual format.

What are the Key Highlights about the Meetings of NSAs?

  • 30th Anniversary: This was the first time that NSAs of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan were in Delhi for a high-level security meeting.
  • The meeting coincides with the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between India and the Central Asian countries.
  • Afghanistan the Centre of Talks: The focus was mainly on the security situation in Afghanistan and the threat of terrorism originating from the country under the Taliban.
  • Deliberations over Chabahar: The NSAs supported India’s proposal to include Chabahar port within the framework of the INSTC (International North-South Transport Corridor) connecting Iran to Russia via Central Asia.

JAPAN, ITALY & UK TO DEVELOP 6TH GEN. FIGHTER JETS

  • Japan has announced that it will jointly develop its next-generation fighter jet with the United Kingdom and Italy as it looks to expand defense cooperation beyond its traditional ally, the United States. The Mitsubishi F-X fighter jet will replace the aging fleet of F-2s that Japan previously developed with the United States.
  • The nations will merge their current plans for development of next-generation planes – the F-X and Britain’s Tempest, a successor to the Eurofighter Typhoon – to produce the new combat aircraft for deployment in 2035.
  • The deal will give Japan greater support in countering China’s growing assertiveness and allow Britain a bigger presence in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • The announcement came after Prime Minister Fumio Kishida set spending targets aimed at building up Japan’s military capability, including a huge boost in defense spending over the next five years.
  • Need of This Move: To counter growing threats from China and North Korea, Japan has been expanding its defense partnerships with countries in the Indo-Pacific, including Australia, with Southeast Asian countries and with Europe.

INDIA AS VOICE OF GLOBAL SOUTH

  • As India assumed the G20 Presidency, the External Affairs Minister of India iterated the country’s role as the “voice of the Global South”, that is otherwise under-represented in global forums.

What is Global North and Global South?

  • Global North’ refers loosely to countries like the US, Canada, Europe, Russia, Australia and New Zealand, while ‘Global South’ includes countries in Asia, Africa and South America.
  • This classification is more accurate as the countries share similarities in terms of wealth, indicators of education and healthcare, etc.
  • Some of the South countries like India and China have emerged economically, in the last few decades. The progress achieved by many Asian countries is also seen as challenging the idea that the North is the ideal.

SA & KENYA ANNOUNCED JUST TRANSITION INITIATIVE

  • South Africa and Kenya have recently announced the Just Transition Initiative to put an end to plastic pollution in an inclusive manner. This announcement came in the aftermath of the historic first Session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) to phase out plastic.

What is Just Transition Initiative?

  • The Just Transition Initiative aims to phase out plastic in an inclusive manner so that the transition does not adversely affect the concerned stakeholders.
  • It aims to create decent jobs for waste-pickers and other workers in the plastic value chain. The just transition means addressing the needs of everyone involved in the plastic value chain, including those employed under the informal and cooperative settings and recognizing their fundamental human dignity and historic contribution.
  • It involves increasing the social and economic opportunities of ending plastic pollution while minimizing and carefully addressing all challenges associated with the shift from plastic usage.

 

 

ECONOMIC AFFAIRS

 

 

RBI UNVEILED ITS LATEST MONETARY POLICY REVIEW

  • Recently, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) unveiled its latest review of the Monetary Policy.
  • RBI said “growth prospects across the world are dampening. Financial markets remain nervous and are characterized by high volatility and price swings.”

What are the Highlights of the Review?

  • GDP Growth Forecast: The MPC slashed its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth estimate to 6.8% for the fiscal year 2022-23, from 7% earlier.
  • This comes a day after the World Bank raised its growth forecast to 6.9% for financial year 2022-23 from a revised 6.5% in October 2022. Real GDP growth is projected at 7.1% for Q1:2023-24 and at 5.9% for Q2.
  • As the data shows, in September 2022, it cut the GDP forecast for the full year but raised the quarterly GDP forecast.

What is Monetary Policy Framework?

  • In May 2016, the RBI Act was amended to provide a legislative mandate to the central bank to operate the country’s monetary policy framework.
  • Objective: The framework aims at setting the policy (repo) rate based on an assessment of the current and evolving macroeconomic situation, and modulation of liquidity conditions to anchor money market rates at or around the repo rate.

NATIONAL SINGLE WINDOW SYSTEM (NSWS)

  • Union Minister of Commerce Piyush Goyal recently announced the Central Government is mulling allowing businesses to use their permanent account number (PAN) as a unique identifier for accessing the national single window system (NSWS) to receive different clearances and approvals from central and state governments.
  • The national single window system (NSWS) is being developed by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) as a one-stop shop for investors to apply for various approvals from central and state governments.
  • It will act as a single online interface that can be used by businesses to identify, seek and track clearances from various government entities.
  • The system will provide the required information for receiving various government permits for setting up and running a business facility. This will ease the process of setting up units for businesses.

 

 

RBI TO LAUNCH RETAIL CBDC PILOT PROJECT

  • After successfully launching the wholesale pilot project for central bank digital currency in November, the RBI commenced the retail CBDC pilot project from December 1.
  • On December 1, the first phase of the retail e-rupee pilot project was launched. It initially covers four cities – Mumbai, New Delhi, Bengaluru, and Bhubaneswar, where customers and merchants can use the digital rupee (e₹-R) or e-rupee to make transactions. Four banks are controlling the launch of the retail e-rupee – SBI, ICICI Bank, Yes Bank and IDFC First Bank.
  • The service will be expanded to include other cities like Ahmedabad, Gangtok, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Indore, Kochi, Lucknow, Patna, and Shimla. Four other banks – Bank of Baroda, Union Bank of India, HDFC Bank, and Kotak Mahindra Bank – will be involved in the pilot launch in these cities.
  • The scope of the pilot project will be expanded gradually to include more banks, users and locations whenever needed.

WORLD BANK FORECASTED INDIA'S GDP FORECAST

  • The World Bank has increased India’s GDP forecast for the current fiscal year from its October estimate of 6.5 per cent to 6.9 per cent.

World Bank’s Latest Forecast

  • The World Bank has raised its forecast for India’s economic growth to 6.9 per cent because of the economy’s resilience while facing external challenges as well as September quarter performance.
  • Previously, it had lowered India’s growth forecast for the current fiscal to 5 per cent from the earlier forecast of 7 per cent.
  • Though the deteriorating external environment will have a significant impact on India’s economic growth, the economy is relatively well positioned to weather global impact compared to most other emerging economies.
  • It is expected to witnessed lower economic growth in 2022-23 when compared with 2021-22 because of several reasons like:
  • Tightening global monetary policy cycle
  • Slowing global economic growth
  • High prices of commodities

 

 

IMPORTANT DATES & DAYS

 

 

WORLD'S AIDS DAY OBSERVED ON 1ST DECEMBER

  • World AIDS Day is observed on 1st December every year all over the world to spread awareness about the disease and remember all those who lost their lives to it.
  • It was founded in 1988 by the World Health Organization (WHO) and was the first ever global health day with a motto of raising public awareness about Acquired ImmunoDeficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
  • Theme for 2022: ‘Equalize’.
  • It encourages people to unite globally to eliminate the disparities and inequities that create barriers to HIV testing, prevention, and access to HIV care.’

INTERNATIONAL CIVIL AVIATION DAY OBSERVED ON 7TH DEC.

  • On December 7, International Civil Aviation Day is observed globally. The aviation industry has made a huge impact on our lives. The day is observed by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), a United Nations (UN) body responsible for maintaining the international standards for aviation safety.

International Civil Aviation Day: Theme

  • ICAO has decided that from now until 2023, the theme of International Civil Aviation Day will be: “Advancing Innovation for Global Aviation Development”. Every five years the ICAO selects a special anniversary theme for the global day.
  • However, for the years between the anniversaries, the UN body selected a theme for four years.

International Civil Aviation Day: History

  • In 1944, 54 nations came together to sign the Convention on International Civil Aviation, also known as the ‘Chicago Convention’. The convention approves the rules of airspace, aircraft registration and safety.
  • It was in 1994, as part of ICAO’s 50th anniversary that International Civil Aviation Day was established keeping in mind that the future development of civil aviation will let the nations and people of the world bond and have friendly ties.
  • The UN General Assembly then urged the governments and other relevant organizations to take relevant measures to celebrate this day.

ARMED FORCES FLAG DAY: DECEMBER 7TH

  • Every year on December 7, India commemorates Armed Forces Flag Day in order to raise donations for the welfare of the Armed Forces Staff. This day is observed to honor Indian soldiers, sailors, and pilots. The day also pays tribute to hundreds of thousands of men who have died protecting the country.
  • On this day, the Indian Armed Units, comprising the Indian Army, Indian Air Force, and Indian Navy, organize a variety of activities to highlight the achievements of our army forces and personnel.
  • The general public participates in the day’s celebrations by signing up as volunteers and assisting with the collection of cash, stickers, and other goods. Many patriotic activities are planned to promote public involvement and to recognise the contributions of the country’s armed services.
  • The money collection is managed by the local branches of the Kendriya Sainik Board in India, which is a subsidiary of the Ministry of Defense.
  • It is overseen by the governing committee, and both official and unauthorized voluntary organizations keep a watch on it.

INTERNATIONAL CHEETAH DAY OBSERVED ON 4TH DECEMBER

  • Every year, International Cheetah Day has been celebrated on 4th December since 2010. Laurie Marker designated the day as International Cheetah Day in remembrance of Khayam, a cheetah she raised from a cub at Wildlife Safari in Winston, Oregon.

What are the Key Facts about Cheetahs?

  • The cheetah is one of the oldest of the big cat species, with ancestors that can be traced back more than five million years to the Miocene era. The cheetah is also the world’s fastest land mammal that lives in Africa and Asia.
  • A majority of the world's 7,000 cheetahs live in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana. Namibia has the world's largest population of cheetahs.
  • The cheetah is the only large carnivore that got completely wiped out from India, mainly due to over-hunting and habitat loss. Eight Cheetahs have been recently reintroduced in India from Namibia to Kuno National Park.

HUMAN RIGHTS DAY TO BE CELEBRATED ON 10TH DEC.

  • Human Rights Day is celebrated across the world on December 10 every year. It marks the day that the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948.
  • Human Rights Day focuses on the fundamental rights and freedoms that people globally are entitled to simply by virtue of being humans.
  • It celebrates and advocates for rights that cut across the distinctions of nationality, gender, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, religion, or any other status.
  • This year marks the 74th anniversary of the adoption of the UDHR and the 72nd Human Rights Day.

Human Rights Day 2022: Theme

  • On December 10, 2023, the world will mark the 75th anniversary of the UDHR. In light of this upcoming milestone, Ahead of this milestone celebration, a year-long campaign will be launched on December 10 this year to showcase the UDHR, emphasizing on its legacy, relevance, and activism. The campaign will be centered on the theme, “Dignity, Freedom, and Justice for All.”

REPORTS AND INDEXES

CLIMATE OPPORTUNITIES IN INDIA'S COOLING SECTOR

  • According to the report ‘Climate Investment Opportunities in India's Cooling Sector’ released by the World Bank Group, investment opportunities in India’s cooling sector through less carbon-intensive technologies could add up to USD 1.6 trillion.

What are the Highlights of the Report?

  • The report analyzed the India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP) launched in 2019 and came up with suggestions for prioritizing the government’s investment opportunities in the cooling sector.
  • The report does not focus on air conditioning because only 40% of Indians will have air conditioning by 2040 — which is currently around 8% — and the rest for whom passive cooling technologies have to be the focus.
  • Investment opportunities across three different sectors — construction, cold chains and refrigerants — have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions significantly and also create nearly 3.7 million jobs.
  • Around 34 million people in the country might lose their jobs because of heat stress and subsequent decline in productivity.
  • The world is already on a path where there would be many more intense heat waves like the one India witnessed in 2022. Heat stress is set to increase drastically in a world on its way to a two-three degree rise in temperatures.

NEW ENERGY OUTLOOK REPORT 2022

  • The 2022 New Energy Outlook Report was released by the global, clean energy research provider BloombergNEF. The report analyzed the Net Zero scenarios or pathways that limit global warming to 1.77°C above pre-industrial levels by 2050 with 67 percent assurance.

What are the key findings of the report?

  • The greenhouse gas emissions from developing countries, especially India, are expected to continue to increase until the end of 2030. The emissions will decline in these countries only in the early 2030s.
  • Since emissions in Europe, the United States, Australia and Japan have already peaked in 2022, they are expected to decline rapidly in the following years.
  • In China, the emissions are expected to peak in 2022 and stabilize for a while before they realign with developed countries’ trajectories. Limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C cannot be easily achieved.
  • It is possible to maintain the global temperature increase to 1.77°C if proactive actions are taken. However, investment in the clean energy sector must be three times higher than fossil fuels to achieve the Net Zero Target by 2050.
  • Emissions need to decline by 30 per cent by the end of this decade and overall by 6 per cent a year to 2040. Even then, the energy sector will not be able to reach the desired emission targets unless a revolutionary change takes place.

THE FUTURE OF FOOD & AGRICULTURE: FAO

  • According to the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) new report, The Future of Food and Agriculture — Drivers and triggers for transformation, the world will witness persistent food insecurity if agrifood systems remain the same.
  • This report aims at inspiring strategic thinking and actions to transform agrifood systems towards a sustainable, resilient and inclusive future.

What is the Food and Agriculture Organization?

  • FAO is a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. World Food Day is celebrated every year around the world on 16th October. The day is celebrated to mark the anniversary of the founding of the FAO in 1945.
  • It is one of the UN food aid organizations based in Rome (Italy). Its sister bodies are the World Food Programme and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

Initiatives Taken:

  • Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS).
  • Monitors the Desert Locust situation throughout the world.
  • The Codex Alimentarius Commission or CAC is the body responsible for all matters regarding the implementation of the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme.
  • The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture was adopted by the Thirty-First Session of the Conference of the FAO in 2001.

EIU'S WORLDWIDE COST OF LIVING REPORT

  • The Worldwide Cost of Living 2022 report was released recently by the London-based Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). It compares prices of more than 200 goods and services in 172 countries across the globe.

What are the key findings of the report?

  • The semiannual report found sweeping changes in the living expenses in cities, triggered mainly because of the war in Ukraine.
  • Moscow and St. Petersburg – Russia’s most populous cities – witnessed a drastic increase in the rank of any city in the list. Moscow’s ranking jumped from the 72nd position in 2021 to the 37th position in 2022.
  • Living expenses in many European cities declined despite the global energy crisis because of the weakening of currencies and economies. European cities (Luxembourg, Stockholm, Brussels, Lyon, France and Manchester) accounted for five of the 10 cities that fell the most in the rankings in 2022.
  • Kyiv – the capital of Ukraine – is not in the 2022 list. New York and Singapore have tried to take up the top rank because of high income and a strong US dollar.
  • As many as 22 US cities have moved up in ranking because of rapid increase in Cities like Atlanta, Charlotte, Indianapolis, San Diego, and Boston witnessed a major increase in the cost of living. They are among the top 10 largest such increases recorded worldwide.
  • Tel Aviv, which stood at the top rank in 2021, fell to 3rd position, with Los Angeles and Hong Kong tied to the 4th place.

STATE OF FINANCE FOR NATURE REPORT

  • The State of Finance for Nature report was released by the UNEP along with the Economics of Land Degradation initiative of Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the UNCCD, and the European Commission.
  • It was released 10 days after the conclusion of the COP27 and a week before the start of the UN Conference on Biodiversity (COP15 CBD) in Montreal.

What are the key findings of the report?

  • Various global crises caused by climate change, degradation of biodiversity and land degradation can be addressed only if the financing for nature-based solutions (NbS) is doubled and funding for activities that are contributing to the increase in greenhouse gas emissions is curbed.
  • The current global investment in NbS is 154 billion USD per annum. This needs to be increased to 384 billion USD by 2025.
  • The investments in economic activities that are increasing GHG emissions are 3 to 7 times higher than the investments in NbS. The short-term efforts targeting GDP growth of economies without considering their impact on nature can impose a greater cost on both present and future generations.

FORBES LIST OF WORLD'S 100 MOST POWERFUL WOMEN

  • Amid the unprecedented crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in Europe, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen topped Forbes’ 2022 list of world’s 100 most powerful women.
  • Since 2004, the American business magazine Forbes has published a list of the 100 most powerful women in the world each year. Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel was at the top of the list from 2006 to 2020, except in the year 2010, when US First Lady Michelle Obama took the spot.
  • The list is determined by four main criteria – money, media, impact and spheres of influence. For political leaders, GDP and populations were taken into account. For corporate leaders, revenues and employee counts are considered as well as media mentions and influence.
  • The list is topped by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who is currently representing 27 EU member states and their 450 million constituents. The 100th position is held by Iran’s Mahsa Amini. She is the first to be included in the list posthumously. Amini lost her life in September this year while in the custody of Iran’s morality police.
  • Six Indian women featured on the 2022 list. These include Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Biocon Executive Chairperson Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Nykaa founder Falguni Nayar, HCLTech Chairperson Roshni Nadar Malhotra, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Chairperson Madhabi Puri Buch and Steel Authority Of India Chairperson Soma Mondal.

TIME'S PERSON OF THE YEAR 2022

  • Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky was chosen as the 2022 Person of the Year by the Time Magazine.

What is the Person of the Year?

  • Person of the Year is an annual issue of the Time magazine featuring a person, a group, an idea or an object that had significantly influenced the events of the year. It is chosen by the magazine’s editors.
  • The tradition of choosing the “Person of the Year” began in the year 1927.
  • Notable past winners include German Dictator Adolf Hitler (1938), Russian President Vladimir Putin (2007) and others. Mahatma Gandhi was featured in the 1930 edition. In 2021, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk was named the Person of the Year since he made headlines after buying Twitter.

TIME Person of the Year 2022

  • Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, who gained global recognition after playing a central role in resisting Russian invasion, was named the 2022 Person of the Year. Zelensky’s decision to stay in Kyiv and fight against Russian forces made him famous.
  • He played a major role in increasing the morale of the Ukrainian forces by frequently delivering speeches and appearing on the frontlines.

 

SCIENCE & TECH.

WHAT IS EQUULEUS SPACECRAFT?

  • Japanese Space Agency JAXA recently announced that it had successfully used steam to propel its EQUULEUS spacecraft, which was one of the 10 CubeSats that were launched as part of the Artemis I mission on the maiden flight of the Space Launch System (SLS).
  • EQUilibriUm Lunar-Earth point 6U Spacecraft (EQUULEUS) is a nanosatellite of the 6U CubeSat format that will measure the distribution of plasma surrounding the Earth to help scientists understand the region’s radiation environment.
  • It also carries an instrument called DELPHINUS (DEtection camera for Lunar impact PHenomena IN 6U Spacecraft) for observing Lunar impact flashes and near-Earth asteroids from EML2 (second Earth-Moon Lagrange point).
  • The cubesat is expected to reach the EML2 in approximately one-and-a-half years. To reach the ELM2, it made use of an engine called AQUARIUS (AQUA ResIstojet propUlsion System) that uses water as fuel. It uses waste heat from the communication kit to convert the water into steam that is squirted out to produce trust.
  • The use of AQUARIS enabled the EQUULEUS to reach the EML2 at a low cost. It makes future visits to the spot more economical.

WHAT ARE GAMMA RAY BURSTS?

  • Recently, a rare astronomical event involving a compact binary merger emitting long Gamma Ray Burst (GRB) twinned with a kilonova emission was reported.
  • This never before scientifically accepted or proven combination was also confirmed by India’s largest optical telescope, Devasthal Optical Telescope (DOT).
  • The GRB lasted for over 50 seconds and was identified as GRB211211A. Kilonovae occur when two compact objects, like binary neutron stars or a neutron star and a black hole, collide.

What are Gamma-Ray Bursts?

  • GRBs are massive but extremely bright, high-energy short gamma radiations which get released when massive stars collapse or die in the Universe. They are the most powerful events in the universe, detectable across billions of light-years.
  • A light-year is the distance a beam of light travels in a single Earth year, or 9.5 trillion kilometers. Astronomers classify them as long or short based on whether the event lasts for more or less than two seconds.

WHO WAS JAGADISH CHANDRA BOSE?

  • Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden – India’s largest botanical garden – is currently under threat because of severe land erosion by River Ganga.
  • The Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden was previously known as the Indian Botanic Garden and the Calcutta Botanic Garden. It is situated in West Bengal’s Howrah, near Kolkata.
  • It hosts a wide range of rare plants, with the number of species collections reaching over 12,000 spanning across 109 hectares of land. Hence, this botanical garden is considered to be the “largest man-made Plant Kingdom”.
  • It comes under the control of the Botanical Survey of India (BSI), which comes under the aegis of the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
  • The garden was founded in 1787 by an army officer of East India Company mainly to identify new plants having a commercial value like teak and grow the species for trading purposes.
  • The famous attraction of this botanical garden is The Great Banyan, which is known for being the largest tree in the world. It also hosts a large collection of orchids, bamboos, palms, and plants of the screw pine genus (Pandanus). It houses fauna like Jackal (Canis aureus), Indian mongoose and the Indian Fox (Vulpes bengalensis).

SPACE-TECH INNOVATION NETWORK (SPIN)

  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Social Alpha to establish a SpaceTech Innovation Network (SpIN).
  • Social Alpha is a multistage innovation curation and venture development platform supporting activities concerning science and technology.
  • It supports innovators and entrepreneurs who are involved in the creation of social, economic and environmental impact to address India’s developmental challenges.

What is the SpaceTech Innovation Network?

  • The SpaceTech Innovation Network (SpIN) is India’s first dedicated platform for innovation, curation and venture development of the country’s rapidly growing space entrepreneurial ecosystem. It will mainly focus on supporting space tech entrepreneurs in three different innovation categories.

WHAT ARE AIR BREATHING ENGINES?

  • Recently, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has successfully conducted the hot test of Scramjet Engine, a type of Air Breathing Engine.
  • India is the fourth country to demonstrate the flight testing of a Scramjet Engine.

What are Air Breathing Engines?

  • An air-breathing engine is an engine that takes in air from its surroundings in order to burn fuel. All practical air breathing engines are internal combustion engines that directly heat the air by burning fuel, with the resultant hot gasses used for propulsion via a propulsive nozzle.
  • A continuous stream of air flows through the air-breathing engine. The air is compressed, mixed with fuel, ignited and expelled as the exhaust gas. Thrust produced by a typical air-breathing engine is about eight times greater than its weight.
  • The thrust results from the expulsion of the working gasses from the exhaust nozzle.

 

 

MISCELLANEOUS

WHAT IS DIGI-YATRA?

  • Recently, the government has introduced paperless entry at select airports to make air travel hassle-free.
  • In the first phase, the initiative will be launched at seven airports, starting with three — Delhi, Bengaluru, and Varanasi, followed by four airports namely Hyderabad, Kolkata, Pune, and Vijayawada by March 2023. Subsequently, the technology will be implemented across the country.

What is DigiYatra?

  • DigiYatra envisages that travelers pass through various checkpoints at the airport through paperless and contactless processing, using facial features to establish their identity, which would be linked to the boarding pass.
  • With this technology, the entry of passengers would be automatically processed based on the facial recognition system at all checkpoints – including entry into the airport, security check areas, aircraft boarding, etc.
  • Implementation: The project is being implemented by the DigiYatra Foundation under the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
  • DigiYatra Foundation is a joint-venture company whose shareholders are the Airports Authority of India and Bengaluru Airport, Delhi Airport, Hyderabad Airport, Mumbai Airport and Cochin International Airport.

INDIA & FRANCE PARTNERSHIP ON KAZIRANGA PROJECT

  • India and France are collaborating on the Kaziranga Project.
  • Agence Française de Développement (AFD) of France has committed funding of €80.2 million for a 10-year period, between 2014-2024.

What is the Kaziranga Project?

  • The Kaziranga project is a part of a larger Assam Project on Forest and Biodiversity Conservation (APFBC). The Assam government, with the support of AFD, launched the APFBC in 2012, to restore forest ecosystems, protect wildlife and enhance the livelihood of the forest-dependent communities.
  • The project conceptualized the reforestation of 33,500 hectares of land and the training of 10,000 community members in alternate livelihoods by 2024.

What are Key Facts about Kaziranga National Park?

  • Location: It is located in the State of Assam and covers 42,996 hectares (ha). It is the single largest undisturbed and representative area in the Brahmaputra Valley floodplain.
  • Legal Status: It was declared as a National Park in 1974. It has been declared a tiger reserve since 2007. It has a total tiger reserve area of 1,030 sq km with a core area of 430 sq. km.
  • International Status: It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985. It is recognized as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International.

SEMERU VOLCANO ERUPTED IN INDONESIA'S JAVA ISLANDS

  • Recently, Semeru volcano erupted in Indonesia’s Eastern Java Island.

What is Semeru Volcano?

  • Semeru - also known as "The Great Mountain" - is the highest volcano in Java and one of the most active. It previously erupted in December, 2021. Indonesia, with the maximum number of active volcanoes in the world, is prone to seismic upheaval due to its location on the Pacific’s Ring of Fire.
  • Semeru volcano is also part of the Island arcs formed by the subduction of the Indo-Australian plate below Sunda Plate (part of the Eurasian Plate). The trench formed here is called the Sunda trench whose major section is the Java Trench.

What is the Pacific Ring of Fire?

  • The Ring of Fire, also referred to as the Circum-Pacific Belt, is a path along the Pacific Ocean characterized by active volcanoes and frequent earthquakes. It traces boundaries between several tectonic plates—including the Pacific, Cocos, Indian-Australian, Nazca, North American, and Philippine Plates.

TUNGARESHWAR WILDLIFE SANCTUARY EXEMPTED FROM ESZ

  • On December 1, the Supreme Court exempted Maharashtra’s Tungareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary (TWS) from its June order mandating the creation of a 1 km eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) around all protected areas in India.
  • Tungareshwar wildlife sanctuary or Tungareshwar National Park is situated on a plateau east of Vasai and Virar in Maharashtra’s Palghar district.
  • The wildlife sanctuary has three different types of forests – Dry Deciduous, Moist Deciduous and Semi Evergreen. It has rich biodiversity, with diverse populations of flora and fauna.
  • SC’s ESZ mandate
  • On June 3, 2022, the Supreme Court had directed all protected forest, national park and wildlife sanctuaries across India to have mandatory eco-sensitive zones (ESZ) of a minimum of 1 km starting from their demarcated boundaries.
  • The ESZs are set up around the protected areas as a “shock absorber”. They act as a transition zone from the areas with high protection to those having lesser protection.

'GOBLIN MODE' AS WORD OF THE YEAR: OXFORD DICTIONARY

  • Oxford Dictionaries said that “goblin mode” has been selected by an online vote as its word of the year. It defines the term as “a type of behavior which is unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy, typically in a way that rejects social norms or expectations.” In 2021, the Oxford word of the year was “vax”.
  • Other points to know: “Goblin mode” received 93 percent of the more than 340,000 votes cast, with “Metaverse” coming in second with 4 per cent. The hashtag “I Stand With secured” stood at third position.
  • The voting for the Oxford Word of the Year took place between November 21 and December 2. Meanwhile, Merriam-Webster, an American dictionary publisher, selected “gaslighting” as its word of the year for 2022.
  • According to Merriam-Webster, there was a 1740 per cent rise in “gaslighting” website searches in 2022, and there was “high interest throughout the year.”

WHAT IS CYCLONE MANDOUS?

  • Recently, it has been reported that a cyclone may impact the Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts from 8th December 2022 onwards.

What is Cyclone Mandous?

  • Mandous is a slow-moving cyclone that often absorbs a lot of moisture, carries a humongous amount of rainfall and gains strength in the form of wind speeds.
  • The name has been suggested by the United Arab Emirates. India Meteorological Department’s (IMD) predicted that the storm system may move in the west and northwestward directions and intensify into a depression by the evening of December 6.
  • It may subsequently strengthen further into a cyclone over southwest Bay of Bengal and move towards the Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts by the morning of December 8.

What is a Cyclone?

  • Cyclones are rapid inward air circulation around a low-pressure area. The air circulates in an anticlockwise direction in the Northern hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern hemisphere. Cyclones are usually accompanied by violent storms and bad weather.