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SM Current Affairs December 2022 Set 03

SM Current Affairs December 2022 Set 03

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 successmantra.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 DECEMBER. Current Affairs 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 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-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 SAMUDRAYAAN MISSION?

  • According to the Ministry of Earth Science, the Samudrayaan Mission is expected to be realized by the year 2026.

What is Samudrayaan Mission?

  • The mission is aimed at sending three personnel to 6000-meter depth in a vehicle called ‘MATSYA 6000’ for the exploration of deep-sea resources like minerals.
  • ‘MATSYA 6000’ vehicle is being designed and developed by National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), Chennai under Ministry of Earth Sciences. It has an endurance of 12 hours under normal operation and 96 hours in case of emergency for human safety.

 

 

KARNATAKA GOVERNMENT NEW STARTUP POLICY

  • Karnataka’s government has introduced a new startup policy (2022-27) aiming to add around 10,000 startups to the state’s business ecosystem in the next five years, with a focus on high-growth startups.
  • The policy, which was introduced on 22nd December 2022, aims to stimulate the growth of around 25,000 startups in the coming five years, particularly focusing on increasing the number of high-growth startups.
  • The new policy, which has been framed by the Department of Electronics and IT/BT, aims to position Karnataka as the “Champion State” for startups and further increase the number of high-growth startups by 2027.
  • The policy will create an enabling environment for growing startups and make the state an innovation hub. It will also provide a conducive environment and ideal business environment for growth for tech-enabled startups operating outside of Bengaluru.

 

UTTAR PRADESH RENAMED TWO PLACES

  • Stage is all set in Uttar Pradesh to rename two places after the state government got the approval by Union Home Ministry.
  • The Union Home Ministry has given its consent to change the names, a Municipal Council in Gorakhpur and a village in Deoria, both in eastern UP, following recommendations from the state government.
  • The ‘no-objection’ certificates were issued by the Union Home ministry for changing the name of ‘Mundera Bazar' municipal council in Gorakhpur district to ‘Chauri-Chaura’ and that of ‘Telia Afghan’ village in Deoria district to ‘Telia Shukla’.

 

Why did the Mundera Bazar Municipal Council name change?

  • Mundera Bazar Municipal Council will now become Chauri-Chaura Municipal Council to commemorate 100-years of the Chauri-Chaura incident which had taken place on February 4, 1922 in Gorakhpur district. The police under British rule had opened fire on a large group of protesters then participating in the Non-Cooperation Movement called by Mahatma Gandhi.
  • Consequently, the demonstrators had retaliated by setting a police station ablaze killing all of its occupants. The incident led to the death of three civilians and 22 policemen.

 

Why did Telia Afghan village name change?

 

  • As per the local sources in Deoria, Telia Afghan village is already popular as Telia Shukla village under Barhaj tehsil of the eastern UP district.
  • However, in land revenue records, it is registered as Telia Afghan which will now be changed to Telia Shukla.

 

WHAT IS INS ARNALA?

  • The Indian Navy launched the indigenously-built ship INS Arnala at the shipbuilding facility of Larsen & Toubro (L&T) in Chennai’s Kattupalli.
  • Arnala is the first of the 8 anti-submarine warfare shallow water craft (ASW-SWC) that are currently being built by the Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd (GRSE).
  • The vessel made its first contact with the water of the Bay of Bengal during a recently-held launch ceremony in Chennai. The launch ceremony is one of the four important ceremonial occasions associated with a ship’s life.
  • The other three are keel laying, commissioning and decommissioning.

 

About ‘Arnala’ class ships

 

  • The ‘Arnala’ class ships are being built to replace the Indian Navy’s ‘Abhay’ class ASW ships. The contract for building these ASW-SWC ships was signed in 2019 by GRSE and the Union Defence Ministry.

 

5TH SCORPENE CLASS SUBMARINE INS VAGIR

  • Recently, the 5th Scorpene class submarine of Project-75 named INS ‘Vagir’ has been delivered to the Indian Navy today. It is a Kalvari class diesel-electric attack submarine, Yard 11879, which when commissioned will be christened INS Vagir.

 

What is INS Vagir?

  • The first Vagir, a submarine from Russia, was commissioned into the Indian Navy on 3rd December 1973 and was decommissioned on 7th June 2001 after almost three decades of service to the nation.
  • Public shipbuilder Mazagon Dock Ltd (MDL) gave a new incarnation to the submarine with the same name. It is named after the Sand Fish, a deadly deep-sea predator of the Indian Ocean. It is a part of the six Kalvari-class submarines being built in India.

 

WHAT IS AYURSWASTHAYA YOJANA?

  • Ayush Ministry is currently running a Central Sector Scheme titled AYURSWASTHYA Yojana.

 

What is AYURSWASTHYA Yojana?

It has two components:

  • AYUSH and Public Health: To promote AYUSH intervention for community health care.
  • Up-gradation of facilities to Centre of Excellence: To support establishment of advanced/ specialized AYUSH medical health units in reputed AYUSH and Allopathic institutions both in Government and Non-Government sector.
  • Funding: The maximum admissible financial assistance under the Centre of Excellence component of AYURSWASTHYA Yojana, to an organization/institute is Rs.10.00 crores for a maximum period of three years.

 

 

PLAN TITLED '[email protected]: VISION FOR AMRUTKAL'

 

  • The central government has unveiled a plan for the conservation of Asiatic lions in Gir, a region in Gujarat. Titled “[email protected]: Vision for Amrutkal” the plan is part of Project Lion and aims to secure and restore habitats to manage the growing lion population.
  • It also aims to generate livelihoods for local communities, establish a global hub of knowledge on big cat disease diagnostics and treatment, and promote inclusive biodiversity conservation.
  • The main objectives of Project Lion are to secure and restore habitats for the management of the growing lion population, scale up livelihood generation and participation of local communities, establish a global hub of knowledge on big cat disease diagnostics and treatment, and create inclusive biodiversity conservation through the project initiative.

 

Comparison to Project Tiger

 

  • Project Lion is being implemented in the Gir landscape in Gujarat, which is the last remaining habitat of Asiatic lions.
  • In contrast, Project Tiger is being implemented in 53 tiger reserves across the country. Both projects aim to ensure the overall conservation of the ecosystems inhabited by these flagship species.

 

WHAT IS PROJECT VAANI?

  • Project Vaani will be implemented jointly by the Indian Institute of Sciences (IISc), ARTPARK (AI and Robotics Technology Park), and Google to gather speech data from across India for the creation of an AI-based language model that can understand diverse Indian languages and dialects.
  • Under Project Vaani, diverse languages used across India will be mapped by collecting speech sets of around 1 million people from 773 districts over 3 years.
  • The estimated cost of this project is around 30 to 40 million USD. It is part of the Bengaluru-based IISc and Artpark’s Bhasha AI project that includes RESPIN (Recognizing Speech in Indian languages) and SYSPIN (Synthesizing Speech in Indian languages).
  • The project would involve IISc and Google recording around 1.5 lakh hours of speech, part of which will be transcribed in local scripts.
  • This project uses a district-anchored approach, which involves recording local speeches by randomly selecting over 1,000 people from each district.

 

WHAT IS AMRIT BHARAT STATION SCHEME?

  • The Union Ministry of Railways has launched a new scheme called Amrit Bharat Station Scheme to modernize railway stations across India.
  • The Amrit Bharat Station Scheme has several broad objectives. These are:
  • The preparation and implementation of master plans for railway stations to enhance the facilities beyond the minimum essential amenities and creating roof plazas and city centers at the station premises in the long-term.
  • Meet the needs of all stakeholders based on the funding availability and inter-se priority. The scheme will cater to the upgradation and replacement of existing amenities as well as the introduction of new amenities
  • It will cover stations that have undergone detailed techno-economic feasibility studies. However, the roof plazas in these stations will not be constructed in the near term as reallocation of structures and utilities is given higher priority.

 

 

WHAT IS THE 'PRASHAD SCHEME'?

  • Recently, the President of India laid the foundation stone for the project ‘Development of Pilgrimage Facilities at Bhadrachalam Group of Temples’ in Telangana.
  • Another project named 'Development of Pilgrimage and Heritage Infrastructure at Rudreshwara (Ramappa) Temple' was also laid later on.
  • Both these projects have been approved under the PRASHAD Scheme of the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India.

 

What is PRASHAD Scheme?

  • The ‘National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Augmentation Drive’ (PRASAD) was launched by the Ministry of Tourism in the year 2014-15 with the objective of holistic development of identified pilgrimage destinations.
  • The name of the scheme was changed from PRASAD to “National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Heritage Augmentation Drive (PRASHAD)” in October 2017.
  • After the discontinuation of the HRIDAY scheme of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, the development of Heritage destinations was included in the PRASAD Scheme, changing it to PRASHAD.

 

MANGDECHHU HYDROELECTRIC POWER PROJECT

  • The 720 Megawatts Mangdechhu Hydroelectric Power Project, which was implemented with the assistance from India, was recently handed over to the Druk Green Power Corporation (DGPC) in Bhutan. With this handing over, the two countries have successfully completed four mega hydroelectric power projects.
  • The 720 MW Mangdechhu Hydroelectric Power Project was jointly inaugurated by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bhutanese counterpart Lotay Tshering in 2019.
  • The Indian Government provided the financial and technical assistance for the construction of this hydroelectric project. The commissioning of this hydroelectric power project has increased the electrical power generation capacity of Bhutan by 44 per cent and it is currently at 2,326 Mega Watts.
  • The project has generated more than 9,000 million units of energy since the commissioning, bringing down 2.4 million tonnes of carbon emissions each year.

 

14-KM ANGUL-BALRAM RAIL LINK

  • The 14 km-long Angul-Balram rail link was inaugurated recently.
  • The Angul-Balram rail link was constructed by the Mahanadi Coal Railway Limited (MCRL). It was constructed at a total cost of Rs.300 crore. This rail link is the first phase of the 68 km-long inner corridor called Angul-Balram-Putugadia-Jarapada-Tentuloi.
  • It has increased the MCL’s capacity to dispatch coal by 10 additional rakes each day. It is expected to boost the daily dispatch of coal to consumers by around 40,000 tonnes.
  • Angul-Balram-Putugadia-Jarapada-Tentuloi – is being constructed in two phases, with the Angul-Balram rail link being the first phase. The second phase would involve the construction of the 54-km-long Balram-Putugadia-Jarapada-Tentuloi rail link.
  • This rail link will be constructed by the IRCON International Ltd at a total cost of Rs.1,700 crore.The 64-km long rail link will cater to the Talcher coalfields in Odisha’s Angul district.

 

DELHI HIGH COURT'S VERDICT ON TRADEMARK

  • The Delhi High Court granted an interim injunction in favor of Hamdard Laboratories in its plea against Sadar Laboratories Private Limited for infringing its registered trademark.
  • The Court has restrained the manufacture and sale of sweet beverage concentrate 'Sharbat Dil Afza' during the pendency of a lawsuit for alleged trademark infringement by Hamdard Dawakhana which sells 'Rooh Afza'.

 

What is the Court’s Verdict?

  • The court said Rooh Afza served as the source identifier for Hamdard for over a century and has acquired immense goodwill and it was essential to ensure that the competitors keep a safe distance from the mark.
  • It is not difficult to conceive that a person who looks at the label of 'DIL AFZA' may recall the label of 'ROOH AFZA' as the word 'AFZA' is common and the meaning of the words 'ROOH' and 'DIL', when translated in English, are commonly used in conjunction.
  • Both the products have the "same deep red color and texture" and "structure of the bottles is not materially different" and thus opined that the "commercial impression of the impugned trademark is deceptively similar to the appellants' trademark".

 

What is a Trademark?

 

  • A trademark is a sign capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one enterprise from those of other enterprises. Trademarks are protected by Intellectual Property Rights (IPR).
  • In India, trademarks are governed by the Trade Marks Act 1999, which was amended in 2010. It legally differentiates a product or service from all others of its kind and recognizes the source company's ownership of the brand.

 

1ST STATE TO PASS THE LOKAYUKTA BILL, 2022

  • Maharashtra assembly has passed the Lokayukta Bill 2022, which brings the chief minister and council of ministers under the ambit of the anti-corruption ombudsman.
  • The bill was passed without discussion as the opposition had staged a walkout over the alleged scam in the Teachers Entrance Test.

 

About the bill:

  • According to the Bill, the Lokayukta will have to seek the approval of the assembly before initiating any inquiry against the chief minister and bringing a motion before the session of the house.
  • According to the provisions of the Bill, such a proposal would require the approval of at least two-thirds of the total members of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly.
  • The Bill also states that the Lokayukta will not investigate cases involving allegations of corruption against the Chief Minister, which are related to internal security or public order.

 

WHAT IS NATIONAL TOURISM POLICY?

  • Parliamentary committees have concluded that drafting a National Tourism Policy will not lead to the development of the tourism industry in the country.
  • The committee has suggested fast-tracking the creation of a National Tourism Council on the lines of the GST council to directly make recommendations to the Central and State governments on various issues of the tourism sector and its stakeholders.

 

What are the Concerns raised by the Committee?

  • Inclusion in the Concurrent List: The committee also sought to know the steps taken by the Tourism Ministry regarding its earlier recommendation of including tourism in the concurrent list.
  • Industry Status to Hospitality Projects: It also sought to know why some 20 States were yet to accord industry status to hospitality projects and asked the Ministry whether anything in this regard has been conveyed by these States to the Centre.

 

WHAT IS TRIPLE TEST SURVEY FOR RESERVATION?

  • The Allahabad High Court had ordered the Uttar Pradesh Government to conduct urban local body elections without the OBC reservations as the “triple test” requirement for the quota has not been fulfilled. The state government has recently constituted a commission to conduct the tripe test survey in the urban local bodies.
  • The Supreme Court put forth the triple test in the case Vikas Kishanrao Gawali vs. State of Maharashtra and others on March 2, 2021. It involves the government implementing three tasks to finalize the reservation to the OBCs in the local bodies.

 

These tasks are:

  • Constitute a dedicated commission to conduct a rigorous empirical study into the nature and implications of the backwardness in local bodies to specify the proportion of reservation required in local bodies based on the commission’s recommendations.
  • To ensure that the reservations for SCs, STs and OBCs together do not surpass the aggregate of 50 percent of the total seats.

 

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

 

SCOTLAND & SPAIN NEW GENDER REFORM LAWS

  • Scotland and Spain have recently passed gender reform laws to make it easier for individuals to change their legally registered gender without requiring any medical supervision.

 

About Spain’s Gender Recognition Reform Bill

  • The new Spanish law requires minors aged 12 and 13 years to receive the judge’s authorization to change their gender. Those minors aged between 14 and 16 years will have to be accompanied by their parents or legal guardians.
  • Up until now, Spanish transgender people are required to be diagnosed with gender dysphoria, which refers to the psychological condition of not feeling a match between one’s biological sex and gender identity.
  • Under the new legislation, any individual applying for a Gender Recognition Certificate must have lived full-time in the declared identity for 3 months (6 months in case they are aging between 16 and 17 years).
  • Previously, the individual was required to have lived full-time in the declared identity for 2 years. In some cases, the individuals were mandated to provide proof that they have been living for two years as the gender they identified with or provide records showing they have taken the hormones.
  • The Bill has lowered the minimum eligibility age from 18 years to 16 years of age. It proposes a 3-month “reflection period” during which time the applicants can change their minds.

 

Scotland’s Gender Recognition Reform Bill

  • The passing of the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) bill makes Scotland the first country in the United Kingdom to approve the self-identification process for changing gender.
  • It makes it easier for people as young as 16 years of age, to change their legally recognized gender. It also has similar features as that of Spain’s Gender Recognition Reform Bill.

 

WHAT IS UKRAINE'S 10-POINT PEACE PLAN?

 

  • As the deadliest conflict in Europe since World War II enters its 11th month, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has outlined a 10-point peace plan to end the war with Russia.
  • With Russian President Vladimir Putin expressing his willingness to come to the negotiating table, Zelenskyy’s plan focuses on various key areas, including nuclear and energy security, food security, the release of prisoners of war and deported persons, the implementation of the UN Charter and the restoration of territorial integrity, the withdrawal of Russian troops and the end of hostilities, justice and reparations, and counteracting ecocide.

The 10-point peace plan are as follows:

  • Radiation and Nuclear Safety
  • Food Security
  • Energy Security
  • Release of All Prisoners of War and Deported Persons
  • Implementation of UN Charter and Restoration of Territorial Integrity
  • Withdrawal of Russian Troops and End of Hostilities
  • Justice, War Tribunals, and Reparations
  • Counteracting Ecocide
  • Humanitarian Aid
  • Diplomacy and Dialogue

 

WHAT IS THE WASSENAAR ARRANGEMENT?

  • The Wassenaar Arrangement (WA), a voluntary export control regime that monitors the transfer of conventional weapons and dual-use goods, has announced that India will assume the chairmanship of its plenary for the next year.
  • The 26th annual plenary of the WA, held in Vienna on November 30 and December 1, saw Ireland’s ambassador Eoin O’Leary hand over the chairmanship to India’s ambassador Jaideep Mazumdar, the permanent representative to the UN and international organizations in Vienna. India joined the WA in December 2017 as its 42nd participating state.
  • The Wassenaar Arrangement is a multilateral export control regime that promotes transparency and responsibility in the transfer of conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies through regular exchanges of information among its members.
  • The regime aims to track such transfers and prevent “destabilizing accumulations” of conventional arms and dual-use goods. The WA operates on a consensus basis and its plenary is the main decision-making body.
  • The WA is an elite group of countries that subscribe to arms export controls, similar to the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the Missile Technology Control Regime.
  • It was established in 1996 to succeed the Cold War-era Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls and is named after Wassenaar, a suburb of The Hague where the agreement to start such multilateral cooperation was reached in 1995.

 

WTO MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE IN ABU DHABI

  • The next World Trade Organization ministerial conference will be held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates in February 2024, the global trade watch dogs confirmed in a statement.
  • The UAE and Cameroon were both vying to host the event and came to an informal agreement for Abu Dhabi to host the first one and Cameroon to do the next, trade sources said.
  • For the UAE, hosting the meeting is part of its own push to position itself as a global hub for business amid growing competition in the Middle East. It has been rolling out bilateral trade deals with fast-growing markets since the pandemic. Next year the Gulf Arab state will host COP28, the UN’s Climate Change conference.
  • Key Priorities of MC13: The top priority for the WTO’s 13th ministerial conference, known as MC13, will be reaching an agreement to reform the trade body’s hobbled dispute settlement system and modernizing its 27-year-old rulebook.
  • Most nations want to restore the WTO’s appellate body — a sort of supreme court for trade — which the US crippled in 2019, citing systemic problems with the way its members settle trade disputes.

 

SRI LANKA & RUSSIA TO BE AGREE TO UTILIZE INDIAN RUPEE

  • In order to facilitate international trade, Sri Lanka has agreed to utilize the Indian Rupee (INR). It occurs shortly after the Indian government announced it was looking into ways to include nations who are particularly short on dollars in the Indian rupee trade settlement process.
  • According to reports, banks in Sri Lanka have set up special accounts for trading in INR dubbed Special Vostro rupee accounts, or SVRA. Additionally, the SAARC region’s neighboring island country has asked RBI to support and encourage trade as well as tourism.
  • Sri Lanka has been dealing with a severe economic crisis and a shortage of dollars for almost a year. The island nation will receive much-needed liquidity support if the Indian rupee is recognised as legal tender. People in Sri Lanka can now hold USD 10,000 (Rs 8,26,823) in real form thanks to the establishment of Vostro accounts.
  • Additionally, Sri Lankans and Indians can transact internationally without using US dollars by using Indian rupees instead.

 

JAPAN'S NEW POLICY FOR PROMOTING CARBON NEUTRALITY

  • Japan has adopted a new policy promoting greater use of nuclear energy to secure a stable power supply and reduce carbon emissions, reversing its previous plan to phase out nuclear energy by 2030.
  • The new policy calls for the maximum use of existing nuclear reactors by restarting as many as possible and extending the operating life of old reactors beyond their 60-year limit, as well as developing next-generation reactors to replace them.
  • The Economy and Industry Ministry has drafted a plan to allow extensions every 10 years for reactors after 30 years of operation, and to permit utilities to subtract offline periods in calculating reactors’ operational life beyond the 60-year limit.
  • The plan was approved by the Nuclear Regulation Authority, paving the way for the new policy to be adopted.

 

VEER GUARDIAN EXERCISE 2023 B/W INDIA & JAPAN

  • The Veer Guardian 2023 Exercise is going to be held from January 16 to 26 next year.
  • Veer Guardian 23 will be the first-ever bilateral combat air exercise between India and Japan. This 10-day exercise will be held between the Indian Air Force and the Japanese Air Self Defence Force (JASDF) at Japan’s Hyakuri air base and Iruma air base.
  • The Indian side is represented by a contingent of around 150 personnel who will be transported by two C-17 transport aircraft. It will include 1 IL-78 mid-air refueller and 4 Su-30MKI fighters from No. 220 squadron, which comes under the Western Air Command.
  • The Japanese side will field 4 F-15s and 4 F-2 fighter jets for this bilateral exercise.

 

URBAN 20 (U-20) EVENT TO BE HOSTED BY AHMEDABAD

  • The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs is organizing the Urban 20 (U20) event during India’s G20 presidency from December 01, 2022 to November 30, 2023.
  • The U20 provides a platform for cities from G20 countries to discuss important issues of urban development, including climate change, social inclusion, sustainable mobility, affordable housing, and financing of urban infrastructure, and propose collective solutions.
  • On December 19, 2022, Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel unveiled the logo, website, and social media handles of Urban 20.
  • Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs, Hardeep S. Puri participated in the event virtually, along with officials from the Government of India, Gujarat, and Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, as well as representatives from C40 and UCLG (United Cities and Local Governments).

 

INDIA, AUS ECONOMIC COOPERATION & TRADE AGREEMENT

  • India, Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement comes into force from 29 December.
  • India and Australia signed the Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) on the 2nd of April 2022.
  • ECTA is the first trade agreement of India with a developed country after more than a decade. The agreement encompasses cooperation across the entire gamut of bilateral economic and commercial relations between the two friendly countries.
  • Significance of This Trade Agreement: Under this trade agreement, Indian exports will benefit from preferential zero-duty market access in Australia for 100 per cent of its tariff lines.
  • It will benefit India’s labor-intensive sectors such as gems and jewelry, textiles, leather, furniture, food and agricultural products, engineering products, and medical devices.

 

ECONOMIC AFFAIRS

 

INDIA'S OIL DEPENDENCY ON OTHER NATIONS

  • Russia has for the second month in a row remained India's top oil supplier in November 2022 surpassing traditional sellers Iraq and Saudi Arabia.
  • Russia now makes up for 22% of India’s total crude imports, ahead of Iraq’s 20.5% and Saudi Arabia’s 16%.
  • The European Union ban on imports of Russia's seaborne oil from 5th December has driven Russia to seek alternative markets, mainly in Asia, for about 1 million barrels per day.

 

What is the Current Scenario of India’s Oil Import/Consumption?

  • India is the world's third-largest oil consumer at around 5 million barrels a day, behind the US and China. The oil demand is growing at 3-4% a year in the country.
  • By this estimate, in a decade, India could be consuming about 7 million barrels a day. According to the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC), India imported 212.2 million tonnes of crude oil in 2021-22, up from 196.5 million tonnes in the previous year.
  • For April 2022-23, the oil import dependence was around 86.4% against 85.9% in the corresponding year-ago period.

 

SAMARTH SCHEME OF TEXTILE MINISTRY

  • Under the SAMARTH Scheme of the Textile Ministry, more than 13,235 artisans have been trained in the last three years.

 

What is the Samarth Scheme all about?

  • Samarth (Scheme for Capacity Building In Textile Sector) is a flagship skill development scheme approved in continuation to the Integrated Skill Development Scheme for 12th Five Year Plan (FYP), Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs.
  • The office of the Development Commissioner (Handicrafts) is implementing the SAMARTH to provide skill training to handicraft artisans under the component ‘Skill Development in Handicrafts Sector’ of National Handicrafts Development Programme (NHDP).
  • Objectives: To provide demand-driven, placement-oriented skilling programmes to incentivize the efforts of the industry in creating jobs in the organized textile and related sectors to promote skilling and skill up-gradation in the traditional sectors through respective sectoral divisions/organizations of the Ministry of Textile.

 

CARBON BORDER ADJUSTMENT MECHANISM

  • The European Union (EU) member states and parliamentarians announced a landmark reform within the bloc’s carbon market on December 18, 2022. This reform serves as the central plank in the EU’s ambitions to reduce carbon emissions and invest in climate-friendly technologies.
  • The deal includes provisions such as accelerated emission cuts, phase-out of free allowances to industries, fuel emissions from the building and road transport sectors, and much more.
  • The initiative that stands out the most is the carbon border tax, which marks itself as the world’s first major move aimed at making the economy carbon-neutral by 2050.
  • The Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM), also known as the carbon border tax, adds a pollution price on certain imports to the EU.

 

What Is The Carbon Border Tax?

 

  • A carbon border tax (CBT) is a duty placed on imports based on the amount of carbon emission that results from the production of the product in question.
  • It places a conscious price on carbon as a measure to discourage emissions. However, from a trade-related perspective, many have argued that it would affect production and exports.

 

CEBR PREDICTED INDIA'S ECONOMIC GROWTH

  • In its annual ‘World Economic League Table’, the London-based Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) predicted that India will become the third economic superpower by 2037.
  • The “World Economic League Table” is an annual publication of the CEBR. This report tracks the macroeconomic trends at the global and national levels. It presents economic forecasts for 191 countries until 2037. The latest edition of the report had warned of an imminent global recession.

 

What are the key findings of the World Economic League Table?

  • Over the next five years, India’s GDP growth is expected to average 6.4 percent each year. After this, the GDP is expected to grow at an average of 6.5 percent in the subsequent 9 years.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a devastating impact on the Indian economy in absolute terms, with India witnessing the third-highest number of deaths caused by the coronavirus.
  • This has caused a significant decline in the economic growth, with the output contracting by 6.6 percent in 2020-21.

 

GROSS NON-PERFORMING ASSETS (GNPA RATIO)

  • As per the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the Gross Non-Performing Assets (GNPA) ratio, which declined to a seven-year low of 5% in September 2022, is expected to improve further to 4.9% by September 2023.
  • However, if the macroeconomic environment worsens to a medium or severe stress scenario, the GNPA ratio may rise to 5.8% and 7.8%, respectively.

 

What are the Other Observations?

  • The ratio of GNPA to gross advances stood at 5.9% in March 2022. As of September 2022, the Net Non-Performing Assets (NNPA) ratio stood at a ten-year low of 1.3%, wherein the Private Sector Banks (PVBs’) NNPA ratio was below 1%.
  • GNPA ratios of Public Sector Banks (PSBs) may rise from 6.5% in September 2022 to 9.4% in September 2023, whereas it would go up from 3.3% to 5.8% for PVBs and from 2.5% to 4.1% for Foreign Banks (FBs), under the severe stress scenario.

 

DEPRECIATION OF INDIAN RUPEE

  • The Indian Rupee depreciated by around 10% against the US dollar and the rupee was the worst-performing Asian currency in 2022.
  • This decline was mainly on account of appreciation in the US currency on safe haven appeal amid fears of recession and inflation across many parts of the world and Russia-Ukraine war.

 

How did the Rupee perform in 2022?

  • During the year, the rupee fell to a lifetime low of 83.2 against the dollar. Compared to rupee, depreciation of other Asian currencies was to a lesser extent.
  • During the year, the Chinese Yuan, Philippine Peso and Indonesian Rupiah fell around 9%. South Korean Won and Malaysian Ringgit declined by nearly 7% and 6%, respectively
  • However, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) heavily intervened in the forex market to defend rupee. Since the beginning of 2022, the country’s foreign exchange reserves have fallen by USD 70 billion. It stood at USD 562.81 billion as of 23rd December 2022.
  • Reserves have witnessed a bit of erosion but the central bank is now starting to again build up its reserves and that would act as a buffer in times of uncertainty.

 

IMPORTANT DAYS AND DATES

NATIONAL FARMER’S DAY OBSERVED ON 23RD DECEMBER

  • December 23 is observed as Farmers’ Day or Kisan Diwas across India. Farmers are the backbone of our economy and to honor their hardship, this day was coined by the government of India in 2001.
  • This day also marks the birth anniversary of the ‘Champion of Indian Peasants’ and the fifth Prime Minister of India, Chaudhary Charan Singh.
  • The day aims to spread awareness of the contributions of farmers to the socioeconomic development of the nation.
  • It also recognises the efforts of the former Prime Minister who helped in uplifting the farmers in the country, introducing the Debt Redemption Bill and Land Holding Act.

 

History of National Farmers Day

  • As mentioned above the history of the day is related to the birth anniversary of the fifth Prime Minister of the nation Choudhary Charan Singh.
  • He served the nation for a very short period from July 28, 1979 to January 14, 1980 but made marvelous contributions for the farmers in his short tenure.
  • He introduced and implemented various schemes for the betterment of farmers and wrote several books highlighting the problems faced by the farmers of the nation along with giving the solution of the same.

 

NATIONAL CONSUMER DAY OBSERVED ON 24TH DECEMBER

  • Every year on December 24, India observes the National Consumer Day or Bharatiya Grahak Diwas. This day is used to make all consumers aware of their powers and rights.
  • This day was made under the Consumer Protection Act, which came to power in 1986 to create awareness and save consumers from market exploitation like defective products or expensive pricing.
  • Notably: World Consumer Rights Day is celebrated on March 15 every year. The day marks an opportunity to urge that all consumers’ rights be recognised and safeguarded, as well as to protest market abuses and social injustices that jeopardize those rights.

 

The major objectives of the Consumer Protection Act 1986 are:

  • Rights to protect against the marketing of goods and services which are hazardous to life and property
  • Rights to be informed about the quality, quantity, price and purity of the goods and services, to avoid unfair trade practices
  • Rights to be assured of the access to a variety of goods and services at competitive prices
  • Rights to seek redressal against unfair trade practices or restrictive trade practices
  • Rights to consumer education.
  • 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.

 

NATIONAL MATHEMATICS DAY: 22ND DECEMBER

  • National Mathematics Day is celebrated on December 22 across the nation every year. The National Mathematics Day is marked to recognise and celebrate the works of Srinivasa Ramanujan.
  • Srinivasa Ramanujan, the Indian mathematical genius, was born on this day in 1887. This year the nation celebrates the 135th birth anniversary of Ramanujan.
  • The main objective behind the celebration of National Mathematics Day is to make people aware of the development of mathematics and its importance in the growth of humanity.

 

National Mathematics Day: History

  • The day was announced on 26 February 2012 by the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to mark the 125th anniversary of the birth of the Indian mathematical genius Srinivasa Ramanujan (22 Dec 1887- 26 Apr 1920).
  • 2012 was also observed as the National Mathematics Year. Ramanujan had a wealth of ideas that have transformed and reshaped 20th-century mathematics. These ideas continue to shape the mathematics of the 21st century.

 

REPORTS & INDEXES

 

COAL 2022: ANALYSIS AND FORECAST TO 2025

  • On December 16, the International Energy Agency (IEA) released the report “Coal 2022: Analysis and Forecast to 2025”.
  • Since the year 2011, the IEA’s Coal Market Report has been published every December. It is the global benchmark for coal demand, supply and trade forecasts.
  • The Coal 2022 report provides a comprehensive analysis of the current trends in coal demand, supply, trade, costs, and prices amid growing concerns about the energy crisis and geopolitical tensions. It also provides coal-related predictions for the year 2025 by region and by coal grade.
  • Coal is currently central to climate and energy-related discussions as it is the largest energy source in the world for electricity generation and the production of iron, steel, and cement.
  • It is also the single largest source of GHG emissions. The current energy crisis has forced several countries to increase their dependence on coal despite its contribution to the climate crisis.

 

REPORT TITLED '2022 IN NINE CHARTS' BY WORLD BANK

  • The report titled “2022 in Nine Charts” was released recently by the World Bank.

 

What are the key findings of the “2022 in Nine Charts” report?

  • Global Poverty: At the end of 2022, the world is experiencing the “steepest slowdown” since 1970. Currently, 685 million people are living in extreme poverty. This makes 2022 the second-worst year for poverty reduction in the past 20 years after the year 2020.
  • Debt Crisis: In the last one year, the debt crises have exacerbated in the developed countries. Currently, 60 percent of the world’s poorest countries are either in debt distress or at risk of it. Private players are having a significant influence on the countries’ debt situation.
  • Energy Crisis: The global progress towards achieving universal access to affordable energy by 2030 has slowed down because of the shocks in the energy market in the first half of 2022. Currently, 733 million people do not have access to electricity. By the end of this decade, over 670 million people will remain without access to electricity.
  • Learning Poverty: The progress made in learning poverty since the year 2000 has been reversed, especially in low and middle-income countries. According to the World Bank’s report, of every 100 children in low and middle-income countries, 60 are “learning deprived” and 10 are deprived of schools.

 

SOCIAL PROGRESS INDEX 2022 RELEASED

Social Progress Index 2022 was released recently.

  • The Social Progress Index (SPI) for States and Districts, released recently by the Institute for Competitiveness and Social Progress Imperative, ranks states and districts based on the SPI scores under 6 tiers of social progress.
  • The six tiers of social progress are Tier 1: Very High Social Progress; Tier 2: High Social Progress; Tier 3: Upper Middle Social Progress; Tier 4: Lower Middle Social Progress; Tier 5: Low Social Progress and Tier 6: Very Low Social Progress.

 

How is the SPI score assessed?

  • The states and districts are assessed based on 12 components across 3 critical dimensions of social progress i.e., Basic Human Needs, Foundations of Well-Being, and Opportunity. It uses 89 indicators at the state level and 49 indicators at the district level.

 

 

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

ARMED FORCES SET TO PROCURE PRALAY BALLISTIC MISSILE

  • As the conflicts in the border region with China increase, the Indian armed forces are now set to procure the ‘Pralay’ ballistic missile that can hit the target from 150 to 500 km.
  • Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) had successfully conducted the maiden flight test of the indigenously developed surface-to-surface missile ‘Pralay’, from Dr A P J Abdul Kalam Island off the coast of Odisha in December 2021.
  • About Pralay Capabilities: “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.
  • All the sub-systems performed satisfactorily. All the sensors deployed near the impact point across the eastern coast, including the down range ships, tracked the missile trajectory and captured all the events,” the statement read.
  • The Pralay missiles combined with the BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles would be the longest-range tactical weapon system in the defense forces as the long-range strategic weapons are controlled by the strategic forces command.
  • The missile can help the troops to completely destroy or take out enemy air defense sites or similar high-value targets.
  • Pralay’ is powered with a solid propellant rocket motor and many new technologies. The missile has a range of 150-500 kilometers and can be launched from a mobile launcher. The missile guidance system includes a state-of-the-art navigation system and integrated avionics.

 

5TH SCORPENE CLASS SUBMARINE INS VAGIR

  • Recently, the 5th Scorpene class submarine of Project-75 named INS ‘Vagir’ has been delivered to the Indian Navy today. It is a Kalvari class diesel-electric attack submarine, Yard 11879, which when commissioned will be christened INS Vagir.

 

What is INS Vagir?

  • The first Vagir, a submarine from Russia, was commissioned into the Indian Navy on 3rd December 1973 and was decommissioned on 7th June 2001 after almost three decades of service to the nation.
  • Public shipbuilder Mazagon Dock Ltd (MDL) gave a new incarnation to the submarine with the same name. It is named after the Sand Fish, a deadly deep-sea predator of the Indian Ocean. It is a part of the six Kalvari-class submarines being built in India.

 

INDIA'S MAIDEN HUMAN SPACE FLIGHT MISSION

  • The Government has said, the country’s maiden human space flight mission, Gaganyaan, is targeted to be launched in the fourth quarter of 2024.
  • Science & Technology Minister, Dr. Jitendra Singh said, in view of the paramount importance of crew safety, two uncrewed flights are scheduled, before the final human space flight- ‘H1 mission’, to demonstrate the performance of the crew escape system and parachute-based deceleration system for different flight conditions.

 

Gaganyaan Mission:

 

  • Aim: Gaganyaan is an Indian crewed orbital spacecraft that is intended to send 3 astronauts to space for a minimum of seven days by 2022 (delayed due to COVID-19).

 

  • Launched by: ISRO’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle GSLV Mk III (3 stages heavy-lift vehicle)

 

MISCELLANEOUS

 

WHAT IS SAND BATTERIES?

  • Sand batteries can store a significant extent of thermal energy and can aid Clean Energy Solutions.
  • Finland has installed the world’s first fully working "sand battery" in its town called Kankaanpaa capable of storing green power for months at a time. The batteries can also solve the issue of year-round supply.

 

What is a Sand Battery?

  • A “sand battery” is a high temperature thermal energy storage that uses sand or sand-like materials as its storage medium. It stores energy in sand as heat. Sand is a very effective medium for retaining heat over a long period, storing power for months at a time.
  • Its main purpose is to work as a high-power and high-capacity reservoir for excess wind and solar energy. The energy is stored as heat, which can be used to heat homes, or to provide hot steam and high temperature process heat to industries that are often fossil-fuel dependent.
  • The sand battery helps to ambitiously upscale renewables production by ensuring there’s always a way to benefit from clean energy, even if the surplus is massive.

 

LIQUOR BAN IN INDIA

  • A recent hooch tragedy in Bihar claimed many lives and left several others critically ill and blind.

 

What is the Background of Liquor Ban in India?

  • In India, attempts at prohibition have been influenced by the thinking of Mahatma Gandhi, who viewed alcohol consumption more as a disease than a vice. Following India’s independence, Gandhians continued to push for a liquor ban.
  • These efforts led to the inclusion of Article 47 in the Constitution. Several Indian states have enacted bans on alcoholic beverages.
  • For example, Haryana made several attempts at prohibition but was forced to abandon the policy due to the inability to control illicit distillation and bootlegging, which also resulted in many deaths.
  • Prohibition has been in effect in Gujarat since 1st May 1960, but the liquor trade persists through the black market. Bihar’s prohibition, imposed in April 2016, which initially appeared to succeed and yield certain social gains.
  • However, following several deaths from consuming illicit liquor, the policy is increasingly coming under attack. Currently, there are five states (Bihar, Gujarat, Lakshadweep, Nagaland, and Mizoram) with total prohibition and some more with partial prohibition.

 

SECRETARIAT FOR SCIENCE WORKING GROUP OF G20

  • The Bengaluru-based Indian Institute of Science (IISc) has been chosen as the secretariat for Science 20 (S20) – the science working group of the G20 summit.
  • The Science 20 (S20) 2023 will work towards resolving common global-level challenges like poverty.

 

It will focus on three key issues:

  • Universal Holistic Health
  • Clean Energy for Green Future
  • Connecting Science to Society and Culture
  • These three issues will be discussed at the events that will be held in Agartala, Lakshadweep, and Bhopal throughout the year of 2023. In addition to these events, an inaugural conference will be held in Puducherry from January 30 to 31 next year and a summit meeting will be organized in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu.
  • The S20 summit, which will be held in Coimbatore, will bring together all the science ministers from the G20 countries. The theme of the Science 20 (S20) 2023 is ‘Disruptive Science for Innovative and Sustainable Development’.

 

WHAT IS BOMB CYCLONE?

  • An unprecedented bomb cyclone has hit the US and Canada, affecting over millions of people in the region.
  • Bomb cyclone is an extra-tropical weather phenomenon that develops by a process called bombogenesis. It is a pressure system that develops upon contact between a warm air mass or a low pressure air mass and a cold air mass or a high pressure air mass.
  • A low pressure system is said to be a bomb cyclone if its pressure drops by 24 millibars within 24 hours. The pressure gradient between the two air masses causes the winds to intensify.
  • The Earth’s rotation causes the winds to blow in a cyclonic manner. For instance, in the Northern Hemisphere, the winds blow in a counter-clockwise direction due to the Coriolis Effect i.e. deflection caused by the planet’s rotation. Such bomb cyclones lead to heavy snowfall and blizzards. They tend to significantly disrupt every-day life.

 

Storm Elliot

  • The recent Storm Elliott is an example of a bomb cyclone. Elliott developed a low pressure system near North America’s Rocky Mountains on 21st December this year.
  • The bombogenesis was fuelled by the contact between the warm air mass from the Great Lakes region and the cold air mass from the Arctic region, at the Arctic Front. This contact was enabled by an undulation of the Polar Vortex, which brought the Arctic air further down south, into the North American region.

WHAT IS REGENERATIVE FARMING METHODS?

  • Farmers in Madhya Pradesh who follows regenerative farming methods find that they reduce the need for frequent irrigation, which conserves water and energy.

 

What is Regenerative Agriculture?

  • The Green Revolution of the 1960s pulled India from the brink of starvation, but the revolution also made India the world’s biggest extractor of groundwater.
  • According to the UN’s World Water Development Report, 2022, India extracts 251 cubic km or more than a quarter of the world’s groundwater withdrawal each year; 90 % of this water is used for agriculture. Currently, there is severe and widespread deficiency of organic carbon and micronutrients in Indian soils.
  • If agriculture is to continue to feed the country’s undernourished population — 5 million, according to the UN’s State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World, 2022 — and drive its economy, it needs to work in harmony with nature, not against it.
  • Farmers, activists and agricultural research organizations across the world are thus developing methods of chemical-less farming which uses natural inputs and cultivation practices such as crop rotation and diversification, which fall under the wider umbrella of regenerative agriculture.

 

TAMIL NADU LAUNCHED NILGIRI TAHR PROJECT?

  • The state government of Tamil Nadu has launched the Nilgiri Tahr project to conserve the state animal.

 

About Nilgiri Tahr

  • The Nilgiri Tahr is an ungulate that is endemic to the southern portion of the Western and Eastern Ghats in Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
  • It is mainly found in the Nilgiri Hills. It is the state animal of Tamil Nadu. It is the only mountain ungulate in southern India among the 12 species found in India.
  • In the past, the species was found along the entire stretch of the Western Ghats. It is currently spotted only in the small fragmented pockets. Majority of the population is not found in its historic range and the existing ones are struggling to survive due to various challenges.
  • The species has been listed as Endangered in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Due to the numerous threats the ungulate faces, it is protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act of India, 1972.
  • It is currently under the threat of local extinction due to challenges like fragmentation of the habitats, invasion of exotic species, wildfires, over-exploitation of forest resources and the lack of ecological data or understanding.

 

BUTTERFLIES ADAPTATION & EVOLUTION PROCESS

  • A new study has thrown light on many interesting aspects of butterflies’ adaptation and evolution processes.
  • The study was conducted on several species of butterflies and their imitative traits in the Western Ghats in Karnataka.

 

What are the Highlights of the Study?

  • The findings were categorized into three:
  • Model Species: Those that is toxic to predators.
  • Batesian mimicry Species: Those that evolved traits of unpalatable species (poisonous) to avoid predators.
  • Non-mimetic Species: Those that are closely related to Batesian mimics but did not evolve mimicry traits. The unpalatable one is called models and the palatable one is called mimics. Butterflies that have evolved to make use of mimicry evolve faster than the species that don’t make use of mimicry.