Table of Contents
Daily Current Affairs for Government Exams:
Today Current Affairs: 25th December 2019 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc.
- Atal Bhujal Yojana (ATAL JAL).
- Tunnel Under Rohtang Pass To Be Named After Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
- Chief of defence staff.
- Universal Postal Union (UPU).
- Swadesh Darshan scheme.
- India’s First Long Distance CNG Bus.
- Bengal eastern frontier regulation,1873.
- Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019.
- Ministry Of Micro, Small And Medium Enterprises.
- Sustainable Development Goal India Index
- Cabinet approves funds to update National Population Register.
- Hypersonic weapons.
- Other important current affairs.
1. Atal Bhujal Yojana (ATAL JAL):
The Union Cabinet has given its approval for the implementation of the Atal Bhujal Yojana (ATAL JAL).
- It is a Central Sector Scheme
- Its Implementation Period is of 5 years (2020-21 to 2024-25).
- The pattern of funding: Out of the total outlay of Rs. 6000 crore, 50% shall be in the form of World Bank loan, and the remaining 50% shall be through Central Assistance from regular budgetary support. The entire amount shall be passed on to the States as Grants.
- States covered: The scheme aims to improve groundwater management through community participation in identified priority areas in seven States, viz. Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh.
- Implementing body is The Department of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, Ministry of Jal Shakti.
Two major components:
- Institutional Strengthening and Capacity Building for sustainable groundwater management in the States including improving monitoring networks, capacity building, strengthening of Water User Associations, etc.
- Incentivizing the States for achievements in improved groundwater management practices namely, data dissemination, preparation of water security plans, etc.
2. Tunnel Under Rohtang Pass To Be Named After Atal Bihari Vajpayee:
The government will name the strategic tunnel under Rohtang Pass after former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on his birth anniversary on December 25th.
- The 8.8-km-long tunnel is the world’s longest above an altitude of 3,000 meters.
- The tunnel will cut through the Pir Panjal range.
- The tunnel provides a temporary winter link to the outside world not only to residents of Lahaul and Spiti but also to those living in Zanskar Valley of Ladakh.
- The Seri nullah default zone lies inside the tunnel.
3. Chief of Defence Staff:
The Union Cabinet has approved to create the post of Chief of Defence Staff in the rank of a four-star General.
- The Chief of Defence Staff will head the Department of Military Affairs (DMA), to be created within the Ministry of Defence and function as its Secretary.
The following areas will be dealt with by the Department of Military Affairs headed by CDS:
- The Armed Forces of the Union, namely, the Army, the Navy and the Air Force.
- Integrated Headquarters of the Ministry of Defence comprising Army Headquarters, Naval Headquarters, Air Headquarters and Defence Staff Headquarters.
- The Territorial Army.
- Works relating to the Army, the Navy and the Air Force.
- Procurement exclusive to the Services except capital acquisitions, as per prevalent rules and procedures.
The CDS will also be the Permanent Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, and thus will perform the following functions:
- Tri-service agencies/organisations/commands related to Cyber and Space will be under the command of the CDS.
- CDS will be a member of Defence Acquisition Council chaired by Raksha Mantri and Defence Planning Committee chaired by NSA.
- CDS will not exercise any military command, including over the three Service Chiefs, so as to be able to provide impartial advice to the political leadership.
The first proposal for a CDS came from the 2000 Kargil Review Committee (KRC).
4. Universal Postal Union (UPU):
The Union Cabinet has given its approval to the ratification of the Tenth Additional Protocol to the Constitution of the Universal Postal Union (UPU).
What is UPU?
- Established by the Treaty of Bern of 1874.
- It is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN).
- Headquarters are located in Bern, Switzerland.
- The UPU contains four bodies consisting of the Congress, the Council of Administration (CA), the Postal Operations Council (POC) and the International Bureau (IB).
- It also oversees the Telematics and Express Mail Service (EMS) cooperatives. Each member agrees to the same terms for conducting international postal duties.
- It coordinates postal policies among member nations, in addition to the worldwide postal system.
Benefits of ratification for India:
- The approval enables the Postal Administration of India to have the Instrument of Ratification signed with the Director-General of the International Bureau of the Universal Postal Union through diplomatic channels along with the approval of other Acts of the Union.
- It will also enable the Department of Posts to bring out any administrative orders to implement the provisions of the UPU Convention in India.
5. Swadesh Darshan scheme:
The Cabinet approves the release of funds for 10 projects of the Swadesh Darshan Scheme sanctioned in 2018-19.
About Swadesh Darshan Scheme:
- Tourism Ministry launched the scheme in 2015.
- Objective: to develop theme-based tourist circuits in the country. These tourist circuits will be developed on the principles of high tourist value, competitiveness and sustainability in an integrated manner.
- Under the Scheme 15 circuits have been identified for development namely Himalayan Circuit, North East Circuit, Krishna Circuit, Buddhist Circuit and Coastal Circuit, Desert Circuit, Tribal Circuit, Eco Circuit, Wildlife Circuit, Rural Circuit, Spiritual Circuit, Ramayana Circuit, Heritage Circuit, Tirthankar Circuit and Sufi Circuit.
- 100% centrally funded for the project components undertaken for public funding.
A National Steering Committee (NSC)will be constituted with Minister in charge of M/O Tourism as Chairman, to steer the mission objectives and vision of the scheme.
A Mission Directorate headed by the Member Secretary, NSC as a nodal officer will help in the identification of projects in consultation with the States/ UTs governments and other stakeholders.
6. India’s First Long Distance CNG Bus:
Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister unveiled India’s first long-distance Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) bus fitted with CNG cylinders in New Delhi.
- It can travel around one thousand kilometres in a single fill.
- The first long-range interstate CNG bus will ply from Delhi to Dehradun. such type of buses will soon ply between Delhi to Jaipur, Chandigarh and Agra.
- The project has been executed by Indraprastha Gas Limited (IGL), the largest CNG distribution company in the country in partnership with Mahindra & Mahindra, & Agility Fuel Solutions of USA.
- It has been achieved through the pioneering design of Type IV Composite Cylinders in buses, replacing traditional very heavy Type-I Carbon Steel cylinders.
- These cylinders are 70% lighter than the Type – I (all steel) cylinders which are being used in India currently.
7. Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulations.,1873:
Union Cabinet granted Ex-post facto approval to amend the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulations.
- The Union Cabinet gave its ex-post facto approval to the Adaptation of Laws (Amendment) Order, 2019 issued by the President of India under clause (2) of Article 372 of the Constitution to amend the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulations (BEFR), 1873.
- The notification will extend BEFR to the State of Manipur to give its indigenous people protection from the provisions of Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 and make necessary changes in the said Regulation.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, grants citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis, Buddhists and Christians fleeing religious persecution from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh and came to India on or before December 31, 2014.
8. Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019:
The Union Cabinet has approved promulgation of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019 to amend the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016.
- Under the Amendments, the liability of a corporate debtor for an offence committed prior to the commencement of the corporate insolvency resolution process shall cease.
- The corporate debtors will have immunity against offences committed by them prior to the commencement of the resolution process.
- It provides immunity from any action against the property (such as attachment, seizure, or confiscation) of the corporate debtor in relation to such offences.
- Such immunity will be granted if the resolution plan approved by the NCLT results in the change of promoters or management of the corporate debtor.
- However, any person in charge of the corporate debtor, or associated with it, will continue to be held liable for such offences.
9. Ministry Of Micro, Small And Medium Enterprises:
Ministry Of Micro, Small And Medium Enterprises (MSME) has taken many steps during the year for technology advancement, skill development and job creation for the empowerment of MSMEs.
- Under the Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP), 65,312 new micro-enterprises have been set up.
- PMEGP is a major credit-linked subsidy programme being implemented by the Ministry of MSME since 2008-09.
- The President of India, Ram Nath Kovind launched the Solar Charkha Mission in 2018.
- 11 Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) of Solar Charkha Clusters have been approved by the Scheme Steering Committee during the current financial year 2019-20.
- The Government approved for continuation of Credit Linked Capital Subsidy component under Credit Linked Capital Subsidy-Technology Upgradation Scheme (CLCS-TUS) in February 2019.
- Ministry of MSME is implementing Technology Centre Systems Programme (TCSP) at an estimated cost of Rs. 2200 crore, including World Bank Loan assistance of USD 200 million, to establish 15 new Tool Rooms and Technology Development Centres (TCs)
- RBI Expert Committee under U. K. Sinha on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises made 37 major recommendations.
- Khadi has got unique HS code issued by the central government on 4th Nov’19 to categorize its products in export.
10. NITI Aayog to launch Sustainable development goal India Index & Dashboard 2019–20:
NITI Aayog, the policy think tank of Government will launch the second edition of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) India Index and Dashboard 2019–20 on 30 December 2019 at NITI Aayog, New Delhi.
The first edition of SDG India Index was launched in December 2018. It was the first tool developed by any large country to monitor progress towards achieving SDGs at the sub-national level.
About SDG India Index and Dashboard 2019–20:
- The SDG India Index and Dashboard 2019 documents the progress made by India’s States and Union Territories (UTs) towards implementing the 2030 SDG targets.
- Besides indicating where the States and UTs currently are on SDG implementation, the Index and Dashboard also charts distance to be travelled to reach SDG targets.
- It has been developed by Union Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) in collaboration with the United Nations in India, and the Global Green Growth Institute.
11. Cabinet approves funds to update National Population Register:
Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given in-principal approval to clear budgetary allocation of Rs.8,754.23 crore for conducting Census of India, 2021, a Decennial Census (recurring every 10 years) exercise along with Rs.3,941.35 crore for updating National Population Register (NPR) across the country (barring Assam), which is a list of ‘usual residents’ of India.
Both the exercises will be conducted simultaneously through door-to-door enumeration, with commencing from April 2020 to September 2020.
About National Population Register (NPR):
- The NPR exercise aims to create a comprehensive identity database by collecting biometric and demographic details of every “usual resident” of India.
- It is mandatory for every usual resident of the country to register in NPR.
- A ‘usual resident’ is defined as a person who has resided in an area for the past 6 months or more or a person who intends to reside in that area for the next 6 months or more.
12. Hypersonic Weapons: Russia becomes the first country to deploy it:
President Vladimir Putin said that Russia is the only country in the world that has hypersonic weapons- weapons that travel faster than Mach 5 (~6174kmph) and have the capability to manoeuvre during the entire flight.
- The first unit equipped with the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle is set to go on duty by Dec 2019, while that the air-launched Kinzhal hypersonic missiles already have entered service.
- Avangard has an intercontinental range and can fly in the atmosphere at a speed 20 times the speed of sound.
- Its ability to change both its course and its altitude en route to a target makes it immune to interception by the enemy.
- The Kinzhal, which is carried by MiG-31 fighter jets, entered service with the Russian air force last year.
- The missile flies 10 times faster than the speed of sound, has a range of more than 2,000 kilometres (1,250 miles) and can carry a nuclear or a conventional warhead. It is capable of hitting both land targets and navy ships.
About Mach number:
- Mach Number is the ratio of the speed of the body to the speed of sound in the undisturbed medium through which the body is travelling. E.g. If the body is flying at Mach 3, then its speed is thrice the speed of sound in air (which is 332 m/s or 1195 km/hr).
- It is named in honour of Ernst Mach (1838-1916), a physicist from Austria.
- Types of Aircrafts/missiles based on Mach Number:
- Subsonic (M < 1)
- Transonic (M = 1)
- Supersonic (1 < M < 3)
- High Supersonic (3 < M < 5)
- Hypersonic (M > 5)
- High Hypersonic (M ~ 25)
Other important daily current affairs:
1. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the transfer of administrative control of Brahmaputra Cracker and Polymer Limited (BCPL), the Central Public Sector Undertaking (CPSU) implementing Assam Gas Cracker Project (AGCP) from Department of Chemicals & Petrochemicals (under Union Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers) to Union Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas (MOP&NG).
2. Union Cabinet has given its approval for signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Republic of India and the Federative Republic of Brazil on Bioenergy Cooperation.
3. BABA RAM DASS: Spiritual leader and pioneer of the US psychedelic movement Baba Ram Dass died in Hawaii at the age of 88.
4. The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI) signed an agreement to develop new drugs and repurposing of drugs for India and for global markets. The team research work is also joined by Cipla.
5. Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the signing of Protocol to amend the Agreement between Swiss Federal Council, the highest executive authority of Swiss Confederation and Government of India related to air services, as well as to exchange diplomatic notes with Switzerland for bringing amendments in air services agreement into force. The protocol will allow the number of airlines to start flight operations between the two countries.
6. CM of Delhi Arvind Kejriwal introduced a new policy to make Delhi the capital of Electric vehicles. Under the policy, the government has planned to provide subsidies to electric vehicles. The goal of the policy is to ensure that 25% of new vehicles registered are electric by 2024. Along with electric vehicles, the government also has planned to construct 250 charging stations.
7. The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and National Physical Laboratory (NPL) developed an ink to combat the problem of fake printing of passports and counterfeiting of currency notes. The ink has a new security feature o protecting itself against duplicity.
8. The National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI) and food regulator FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) are jointly organising National Street Food Festival (NSFF) at Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi during 25-29 December 2019. This year is the 11th edition of National Street Food Festival. The theme of 2019’s festival– ‘Healthier Diets’.
9. On 26th December, the annular solar eclipse will be visible in places such as India, Australia, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, and Singapore – when the Moon will eclipse the Sun to form a “ring of fire” in the sky.
What is the annual Solar eclipse?
- Generally, when the new Moon intersects the light of the Sun, it brings a total solar eclipse on Earth.
- But it won’t be the case this time as the Moon is presently quite farther than average from Earth and once it will cross the Sun, a “negative shadow” or what technically called the antumbra will become visible in the form of the ring of fire. This is known as an annular eclipse.
10. Andhra Pradesh CM launched Netanna Nestham welfare scheme for weavers.