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Current Affairs 2020

The value of Current Affairs in Civil Service Examinations is enormous. This is the most critical part of both Prelims and Mains Exam. Aspirants should study in depth to understand the significance of current affairs for the Union Public Service Commission. In fact, all the questions in Civil Service Exams are framed around current affairs. Questions are not asked directly for current news and information in the exam. Questions are framed by combining current affairs with practical knowledge. The primary motive behind this type of strategy is to check the ability of correlation a candidate can make to the fact.

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Why current affairs is more important in Civil Service Exam?

Success in Prelims and Mains Exam is directly related to an aspirant’s awareness in current affairs. Preparation of current affairs for UPSC is the key to unlock the exam. It requires practice and revision in a well-connected manner... In such a scenario the preparation of current affairs topics related to India and the world is an important part of your preparations. The students have to be aware of the happening in India and around the world as this portion is an integral part of the general studies paper.

In order to make you ready for the challenges of the Current Affairs preparation, we are covering the current affairs topics on a regular basis. Our current topics are categorised in such a way that it includes; political affairs, current news, science news, general knowledge, government's scheme and policies and international affairs.

We provide you comprehensive topics of preparation that covers not only India's current scenario but also international events. We also cover Indian news headlines and other important international events under the current affairs segment.

For the very purpose of getting you ready for the challenge that is current news and views in India, we are covering the current affairs 2020 on a regular basis. Our hot topics are categorised such that they include political affairs, current news, science news, general knowledge, current government affairs and international affairs. Only studying India's current scenario or political affairs is not sufficient as you have to cover international events and affairs along with the Indian news space, as well as important and current events in the field of science and sports.


Current Affairs January 5 to January 11

Arts

Zo Kutpui Festival: It is a festival which is being organized by the Mizoram government. The festival will be organised in at least 10 states across India and countries such as US, Myanmar and Bangladesh.

The first edition of the festival will start on January 9 in Vanghmun in Tripura and will be held over three days. Then It will move to other states which have significant Mizo population. The festival will witness various cultural programmes and traditional songs from different Mizo tribes from Mizoram and other northeastern states. The Mizoram Government, by conducting such festival aims to unify the Mizo population in the country and also across the world.

Mizoram: It is a state in northeastern India, with Aizawl as its capital city. The name is derived from "Mizo", the name of the native inhabitants, and "Ram", which means land, and thus Mizoram means "land of the Mizos". It shares borders with Assam, Manipur, and Tripura. After several negotiations of peace, in 1987, the Rajiv Gandhi Government signed the Mizoram Peace Accord establishing peace in the region. It was formed on 20 February 1987. The Mizos are tribal people and their population is spread between Myanmar in the east to Bangladesh in the west and found in Manipur, Tripura, and Mizoram across India. There are 12 major Mizo clans that have been identified which includes Lusei people, Lushai hills people, Chin people, Pawi-Lusei, Tlau, Khiangte, Hualngo among others. The Governor and Chief Minister of Mizoram is P. S. Sreedharan Pillai and Zoramthanga respectively.

AYDMS Awards: It is an acronym for Antarrashtriya Yoga Diwas Media Samman Awards. The AYDMS award consists of a medal, plaque, trophy, and a citation. A jury panel consisting of 6 members selected the winners for the award. This jury was headed by Justice C. K. Prasad who is the Chairman, Press Council of India. The Ministry had instituted the award in June last year to mark the contribution of media in spreading the message of Yoga.

On January 7, 2020, for the first time, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MoIB) Shri Prakash Javadekar conferred “Antarrashtriya Yoga Diwas Media Samman”(AYDMS) to 30 media houses in New Delhi. The main aim behind presenting this award is to bring positivity and acknowledge the role of media in the outreach of Yoga in the world.

The awards are to be provided in three categories. 11 awards were conferred under the Best Media Coverage category of Yoga Day in Newspapers, 8 awards were presented under the category of “Best Media Coverage of Yoga on Television and 11 awards were given under the category “Best Media Coverage of Yoga in Radio.

Epiphany festival: It is a Christian feast day that celebrates the revelation of God incarnate as Jesus Christ. It is sometimes called Three Kings' Day to mark the visit of the Magi (meaning the Three Wise Men or Three Kings) to the Infant Jesus (Christ from his nativity until age 12). This day is also celebrated to commemorate the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River. It is celebrated on January 6 by a number of Christian sects, including Roman Catholics, and on January 19 by some Eastern Orthodox churches. It is among the three oldest and major festival days in Christianity. The two others being Christmas and Easter. In the West, the duration between December 25 and January 6 is known as the Twelve Days of Christmas.

Recently, the Epiphany festival was celebrated in parts of India, such as Goa and Kerala. This celebration is Goa is known by its Portuguese name ‘Festa dos Reis’ and in parts of Kerala by its Syriac name ‘Denha’.

Economics

RBI: It refers to Reserve Bank of India. The RBI is India's central bank, which controls the issue and supply of the Indian rupee. RBI is the regulator of entire Banking in India. RBI plays an important part in the Development Strategy of the Government of India. It regulates commercial banks and non-banking finance companies working in India. It serves as the leader of the banking system and the money market. It was founded on 1 April 1935 in Kolkata. It is headquartered in Mumbai. The 25th Governor of RBI is Shaktikant Das.

Recently, on 9th january 2020 The RBI amended the Know Your Customer (KYC) norms for banks and other lending institutions. RBI, under the new amendments in KYC norms allows these lending institutions to use video-based Customer Identification Process (V-CIP).

The V-CIP is consent based alternate method of establishing the customer’s identity and for customer onboarding from remote areas while leveraging the digital channels for the Customer Identification Process (CIP) by Regulated Entities (REs). It also provides comfortability to banks and other regulated entities while holding to the RBI’s Know Your Customer (KYC) norms. The video files recorded as V-CIP are required to be stored bearing the date and time stamp while ensuring the safety and security of the video files.

RBI has advised banks to capture clear image of PAN card produced by the customer during the Customer Identification Process (CIP) and has also advised the banks and other regulated entities to record the customer’s location (Geotagging) to ensure the customer’s physical presence in India.

Reserve Bank of India (RBI): The Reserve Bank of India on Friday unveiled the five year (2019-24) National Strategy for Financial Inclusion (NSFI). The NSFI has been formulated by RBI under the aegis of Financial Inclusion Advisory Committee (FIAC). The report has been ratified by the Financial Stability Development Council (FSDC).

According to the official report, the NSFI 2019-2024 sets forth the vision and key objectives of the financial inclusion policies in India to help expand and sustain the financial inclusion process at the national level through a broad convergence of action involving all the stakeholders in the financial sector. The financial inclusion is a key driver of growth and poverty alleviation world over. Access to formal finance can boost job creation, reduce vulnerability to economic shocks and increase investments in human capital.

It also aims to include all, particularly poor and underprivileged class, under formal access to finance which is a key goal of the government of India. As per the reports, the 6 pillars which is a part of strategic objectives to achieve the aim of financial inclusion are:

Universal Access to Financial Services

Providing basic bouquet of financial services

Access to livelihood and Skill Development

Financial Literacy and Education

Customer Protection and Grievance Redressal

Effective Co-ordination

RBBG scheme: It stands for residential builder finance with buyer guarantee’ (RBBG) scheme. Recently, the State Bank of India announced the RBBG scheme with an aim to increasing residential sales and improving homebuyers’ confidence. The SBI will issue a guarantee for completion of select residential projects to customers who have availed home loans from it.

Initially, the scheme will focus on housing projects that are affordable and priced up to 2.50 crore rupees in 10 cities. The bank, under this scheme will give guarantee until the project gets the occupation certificate (OC).

2nd National GST Conference: The 2nd edition of National GST Conference of the Commissioners of State Tax and Chief Commissioners of Central Tax held under the chairmanship of Revenue Secretary of Ministry of Finance, Dr. Ajay Bhushan Pandey. It was held on 7 January 2020.

The conference was held to take necessary action to streamline the GST (Goods and Service Tax) system and also to plug revenue leakages. The meeting included measures to curb fraudulent refund claims, linking foreign exchange remittances with IGST refund, investigation of fraudulent Input Tax Credit (ITC) cases by the IT Department and a single bank account for foreign remittance receipt. The committee for taking measure will come out with detailed Standard Operating Procedure within a week, which may be implemented across the country by January end.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will be signed among the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) and the GST Network to exchange data through application program interface, from CBDT to GSTN and CBIC and vice-versa to be shared quarterly instead of being shared on a yearly basis.

All the chief commissioners of the Central Tax Zones, State Commissioners of State Taxes, Directors General (DG) of CBIC, members of CBIC, Chairman of CBDT and other officials were present in the conference.

The 1st National GST Conference of Commissioners of State Tax and Chief Commissioners/Director Generals of Central Tax was held on 25th November 2019. It was also held under the chairmanship of the Union Revenue Secretary Dr Ajay Bhushan Pandey, in New Delhi.

Defence

ill be manufactured by the Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited (IRRPL) at Korwa in Uttar Pradesh. IRRPL is a joint project of the Ordnance Factory of India and the Russia establishment. Indo-Russia Ordinance Factory was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Amethi, Uttar Pradesh in 2019.

AT present, the Indian army is using indigenous INSAS (Indian National Small Arms System) rifles. The indigenous INSAS rifles of the Indian Army will be replaced with AK-203 assault rifles.

AK_203: The AK-203 is a modernized 200 series AK-103 variant and one of the modern derivatives of the Russian AK-Pattern series of assault rifles. The 200 series are technically based on the AK-100 family and the more expensive AK-12 rifle family

CISF: It refers to the Central Industrial Security Force. CISF is an armed force of the Union established under an Act of Parliament, “Central Industrial Security Force Act, 1968 (50 of 1968)”. It was converted into armed force under an amendment to the act in 1983. In the year 1969, the strength of the force established with the help of 3129 personnel, was increased to 1,39,620 as of 01.07.2014. CISF has 10 reserve battalions, 08 training institutes and 39 other organizations. The Force is operated under Union Ministry of Home Affairs. Rajesh Ranjan is the Director-General of CISF.

The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) will observe 2020 as the ‘year of mobility’. The year 2020 will have a special focus on the creation of more residential units and implementation of various welfare measures for the troops.

In 2020, the CISF will aim not only at creating an infrastructure for their families but also aim at focusing on sports and physical fitness leveraging modern gadgetry.

It is very essential to equip the forces with modern instruments as the force plays a major role in the security system of the country. They guard civil airports, nuclear power stations, mines, thermal power stations in the private domain as well. They also play a major role in disaster management.

GOCO Model: It refers to Government Owned Contractor Operated Model. The GOCO Model was recommended by Lt. Gen. DB Shekatkar (Retd.) committee. The Model aims to enhance combat capability and re-balancing defense expenditure. As per the committee's recommendations, the government has decided to disband two advance base workshops, one static workshop and four ordnance depots and eight ABWs are recommended to be corporatized on the GOCO model. The 8 ABWs that are identified by the army are located in Delhi, Allahabad, Agra, Kankinara of West Bengal, Jabalpur of Madhya Pradesh, and Meerut of Uttar Pradesh, Kirkee near Pune and Bengaluru.

Indian Army has begun its work on the GOCO (Government Owned Contractor Operated) Model. The Army has also started evaluating the GOCO model for Army Base Workshops (ABW) to drive “higher operational efficiencies”. A Request For Information (RFI) was issued by the Army to shortlist service providers with experience in warehousing, logistics and supply chain management for Central Ordnance Depot (COD), Kanpur.

Milan 2020: Milan stands for Multilateral Naval Exercise. The MILAN series of biennial exercises commenced in 1995. It was conducted at Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANCat Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC) for the first time on the mainland at Eastern Naval Command (ENC). The main aim of this exercise is to increase the scope and complexity of the exercise. The government pursues cooperation, including the Indian Ocean Region, through structured interactions.

The Indian Navy will host military drill ‘Milan 2020’ at Visakhapatnam in March 2020. The event will witness the participation of several countries. The theme of the exercise is "Synergy Across the Seas". The importance of the exercise is that Government of India (GoI) will pursue cooperation initiatives with friendly foreign countries, including in Indian Ocean Region (IOR). The areas of cooperation include training, capacity building, marine domain awareness, hydrography, operational exercise, technical assistance.

41 nations from South Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa and Europe that share defense cooperation with India have been invited for the drill. The countries that have been invited are Indonesia, France, Thailand, Malaysia, Mozambique, Sudan, Israel, Qatar, Australia, Somalia, Kenya, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Mauritius, Vietnam, Myanmar, New Zealand, USA, Tanzania, Comoros, Maldives, Brunei, Philippines, Japan, UK, Cambodia, Singapore, South Korea, South Africa, Kuwait, Iran, Madagascar, Bangladesh, Russia, Djibouti, Eritrea, Bahrain, UAE and Seychelles.

Environment

MECOS: It refers to Marine Ecosystems-Challenges and Opportunities. The 3rd international symposium on MECOS-3 is to be held in Kochi, Kerala from 7th to 10th January 2020. MECOS-3 symposium is conducted by the Marine Biological association of India (MBAI). The meeting will be held at the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute in Kochi.

Eminent marine scientists, oceanographers, fisheries researchers and marine biotechnologists from across the globe are expected to participate in the third international symposium on marine ecosystems – challenges and opportunities (MECOS-3). The symposium will serve as a platform to hold discussions on a range of topics, including the impact of the climate crisis on marine ecosystems and the unusual warming of the Arabian Sea, depletion of resources, marine pollution and acidification of ocean among other problems. The symposium is aimed at reviewing the concerns involved in the marine ecosystem and formulating strategies for the better and sustainable utilization of marine wealth by enhancing livelihood options. The meet will also focus on the UN’s sustainable development goal-14 (life under water), development of small-scale fisheries, recent developments in aquaculture, eco-labeling and green fishing technologies.

On the occasion, the 3rd Dr S Jones memorial prize, instituted by the MBAI for outstanding contributions in marine biology and fisheries, will be presented to Dr T Balasubramanian, Vice Chancellor of Chettinad University in Chennai.

The giant Rafflesia tuan-mudae: It is a fleshy red flower with white blister-like spots on its enormous petals. The flowers bloom will only last about one week before it will wither and rot. It was named Rafflesia after British colonialist Sir Stamford Raffles who spotted one in Indonesia in the early 19th Century. The parasitic bloom is sometimes referred to as corpse flower because it mimics the stench of rotting meat to attract insects. The species grows in several Southeast Asian countries, including the Philippines where a 100 centimeter specimen was recorded.

Indonesian conservationists just found one of the world's largest flowers the giant Rafflesia tuan-mudae blooming in an Indonesian jungle which came in at a whopping 111 centimeters (3.6 foot) in diameter. This Rafflesia flower is bigger than the previous record of 107 centimeters on a bloom also found in the jungles of West Sumatra several years ago.

Indonesia's Amorphophallus titanum, a phallus-shaped flower that can reach heights of up to three meters (10 feet) also has this noxious smell.

Great Salt Lake city: Rare salt formations have been documented for the first time on the shores of the Great Salt Lake, and they could yield insights about salt structures found on Mars before they disappear for good. The tiny crystals have built up over the last several months, eventually creating flat terraces stacked atop one another like the travertine rimstone and dam terraces at Yellowstone's Mammoth Hot Springs. About 4 mounds are growing up to 3 feet (1 meter) tall and several yards wide at the Great Salt Lake Beach.

The reason for the formation is because water levels at the largest natural lake west of the Mississippi have been lowered due to drought and water diversion, exposing more shoreline. It is happening throughout the American West as growing population puts more demand on scarce water resources.

Along the high-salinity waters Great Salt Lake, the expanded shoreline means there are more places where water can bubble up to the surface from warm, sulfate-rich springs. When it hits the cold air, a mineral called Glauber's salt, or mirabilite, separates out.

Fukushima: It is a place in Japan where nearly 10 years ago due to the deadly earthquake and tsunami there was a terrifying nuclear meltdown. The authorities had evacuated the local population and set up an ‘exclusion zone’ around the plant due to the high levels of radiation just like Chernobyl in 1986.

University of Georgia researchers have found that nearly a decade after the nuclear accident in Japan's Fukushima, wildlife populations are abundant in areas void of human life. No evidence of radiation impacting mammal or bird communities has been found.

The study that was published in the Journal of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, reports that more than 20 species, including wild boar, Japanese hare, macaques, pheasant, fox and the raccoon dog – a relative of the fox – are alive and well in various areas of the landscape. Photographic data was gathered from 106 camera sites from three zones for 120 days

Tropical Storm Dorian: Hurricane Dorian was the 4th named storm, second hurricane, and first major hurricane of the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season. Dorian formed on August 24, 2019 from a tropical wave in the Central Atlantic and gradually strengthened as it moved toward the Lesser Antilles, becoming a hurricane on August 28.

Hurricanes like Durian are formed when once a hurricane makes landfall, the sea level rise created by global warming can exacerbate its effects by amplifying storm surge. A hurricane's strong winds will push water toward the shore, causing extreme flooding in a relatively short time.

Recently, The Governor of the US territory of Puerto Rico declared a state of emergency on Tuesday after a powerful 6.4 magnitude earthquake killed at least one person in the south of the island and caused widespread damage. As per the National Hurricane Center (NHC), up to 15cm (6in) of rain could fall in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, where swells along coastlines could cause "life-threatening surf and rip current conditions. President Donald Trump has approved an emergency declaration. The move authorizes US federal agencies to provide assistance and co-ordinate disaster relief.Arts and Culture

Indian Policy

APEDA:It is an acronym for Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority. APEDA is an apex body under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India and is responsible for the export promotion of agricultural products. It is mandated with the responsibility of promotion and development of the export of its scheduled products. It was formed in 1986 and it’s headquartered in New Delhi.

In a statement APEDA on 5th January 2020 announced that eight states namely Maharashtra, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Nagaland, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Punjab and Karnataka have finalized their action plan for Agriculture Export Policy (AEP) with an aim to double export as well as the income of the farmer. APEDA has been adopting a focused approach for ensuring greater involvement of the state governments for effective implementation of Agri Export Policy (AEP). The AEP was approved by the Union Cabinet in 2018.

To ensure effective implementation of Aep, APEDA held a series of meetings with state government officials and other stakeholders for preparation of state action plan which included all essential components like production clusters, capacity building, infrastructure and logistics and research and development and budget requirements for the implementation of AEP. State level monitoring committees have been formed in many of the states and cluster visits have been made by APEDA nodal officers to several product clusters. The product clusters selected are Jalandhar,(Potato), Sangli,(Grapes), Salem, (Poultry products), Theni, (Banana), Chittoor, (Mango), Indore, (Onion), Jodhpur, (Isabgol) and Chikkaballapur, (Rose Onion).

The states have setup a market intelligence cell in APEDA that reports the activity of e-market intelligence comprising of detailed market analysis, international trade issues, current scenario of the interest to Indian exporters in important markets and statistical information.

APEDA has signed a MoU with the National Cooperative Development Corporation to include co-operatives for their active role in AEP. It has also set up a ‘Farmer Connect Portal’ on its website to provide a platform for Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) and Farmer Producer Companies (FPCs) to interact with exporters. Over 800 FPOs have been registered on the portal already. The policy aims to double agricultural exports from 30 billion USD to 60 billion USD by 2022.

India and UK: The Union Cabinet chaired by the PM Narendra Modi approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between India and the United Kingdom on 8 January 2020 for enabling self-sufficiency for Indian railways. It was signed by the Ministry of Railways with Department for International Development and the Government of the United Kingdom on December 2, 2019. Under the agreement, the two nations agreed to jointly work towards adopting energy efficiency practices, enabling Fuel efficiency.

The objective of the MoU is to integrate renewable energy into electricity grid of railways. Workshops trainings and technological exchanges on emerging technologies on renewable energy will be conducted with the help of the UK Government. It will also aid in deploying Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure.

India and Sweden: The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, apprised of the Agreement on cooperation in polar science between the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), India and Ministry of Education and Research, Sweden. The agreement was signed on 2nd December 2019 during the visit of Their Majesties of the Kingdom of Sweden to India.

India and Sweden are signatories to the Antarctic Treaty and Protocol to the Antarctic Treaty on Environmental Protection. Sweden, one of the eight Arctic states is a member state in the Arctic Council while India has the observer status in the Arctic Council.AS both the nations has a vigorous scientific program in the Polar Regions, both in Arctic and Antarctic so the collaboration between India and Sweden will enable the sharing of expertise between them.

India and BMGF: The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its ex-post-facto approval on the Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) between Department of Health & Family Welfare (DOHFW), Government of India and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) on cooperation in the field of Health. The agreement was signed in November, 2019 during the visit of Mr. Bill Gates, Co-Chair and Trustee of BMGF to Delhi. The BMGF agreed to work with the Ministry to strengthen health sector of the country.

The MoC aims to reduce child mortality, morbidity, maternal mortality and neonatal mortality, reduce burden of diseases such as Lymphatic Filariasis, Visceral Leishmaniasis and TB, improve quality of family planning methods, and to strengthen health systems, including aspects such as budget utilization, management and skills of human resources for health, digital health, strengthening supply chains and monitoring systems.

A Program Action Committee (PAC) is to be set up to further elaborate the details of cooperation and to oversee the implementation of this Memorandum of Cooperation.

India and France: The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval for the ratification of Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement between India and France. The Agreement was signed in March, 2018 during the State Visit of the French President to India and it is valid for 7 years and incorporates provisions for auto-renewal.

The agreement not only aims to foster the mobility of students, researchers, academics, and skilled professionals between the countries but also strengthen cooperation on issues including human trafficking and irregular migration.

The Agreement marks India's expanded multi-faceted relationship and confidence with France.

India-Mongolia: On January 8, 2020, the Union Cabinet chaired by PM Modi approved the agreement between India and Mongolia to explore outer space for civilian and peaceful purposes. The agreement was signed on September 20, 2019 in New Delhi during the state visit of President of Mongolia to India.

This Agreement shall enable cooperation in the potential fields such as, space science, technology and applications including remote sensing of the earth, satellite communication and satellite based navigation, Space science and planetary exploration, use of spacecraft and space systems and ground system, and application of space technology.

Under the agreement, there is a plan to set up a Joint Working Group, drawing members from Department of Space (DOS) and Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and Communications and Information Technology Authority of the Government of Mongolia. The joint working group will chalk out the plan of action and the means of implementing the agreement.

Indian polity

FTSCs: It refers to Fast Track Special Courts. FTSCs were established in Indian in the year 2000 with an aim to clear the long pending Sessions and other lower judicial cases. Under the direction of the Supreme Court of India in Suo Moto Writ Petition (Criminal) number 01/2019 dated 25.07.2019, 389 courts out of 1023 courts, have been set up exclusively for POSCO Act. Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2018 was also enacted for more stringent provisions relating to sexual offences.

The Central Government has started a Scheme to set up 1023 Fast Track Special Courts (FTSCs) across the country. FTSCs is being setup under the National Mission for Safety of Women (NMSW) scheme. It is being setup to clear the cases under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

According to the Law Ministry, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Chandigarh, Haryana Maharashtra, Manipur, NCT of Delhi, Nagaland, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, UT of Chandigarh, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh have agreed to setup FTSCs. Mizoram, Sikkim, Meghalaya, UTs of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh and Puducherry are yet to join. Currently, there are 581 fast track courts in the country that are functional.

Cabinet: The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has been apprised of information about the amendments moved to the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019 as passed by the Rajya Sabha.

The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was approved by the Cabinet in its meeting held on 24th June, 2019 for re-introduction in the Lok Sabha. The amended Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was passed by the Parliament on August 5, 2019 after being passed by both Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha.

Amendments will ensure concurrence of the State Governments while formulating National Transport Policy and making schemes for national, multimodal and inter-state transportation of goods and passengers by the Central Government.

International

JCPOA: It refers to Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. It is commonly known as Iran nuclear deal or Iran deal. It is an agreement on the Iranian nuclear program reached in Vienna on July 14, 2015, between Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council—China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States—plus Germany) together with the European Union. JCPOA began with the adoption of the Joint Plan of Action in November 2013 and after twenty months of negotiations and final agreement on April 2015; in July 2015 Iran and the P5+1 confirmed agreement on the plan along with the "Roadmap Agreement" between Iran and the IAEA.

On 5 January 2020, after the Baghdad Airport Airstrike that targeted and killed Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, Iran declared that it is withdrawing from the JCPOA deal completely but would continue to coordinate with the IAEA, leaving open the possibility of resuming compliance.

World Hindi Day: It is celebrated globally every year on 10th January. The day is celebrated to promote the use of Hindi language worldwide and also to present Hindi as an international language. Hindi is the 4th most spoken language of the world. Various constitutional provisions like Article 120, Article 210, Article 343, Article 344 and Articles from 348 to 351 are aimed at the promotion of Hindi. The World Hindi Day was observed first time in 2006. The 1st World Hindi Conference was inaugurated by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in Nagpur on January 10, 1975.

Hindi Divas which is celebrated in India is different from World Hindi Day as Hindi Divas is celebrated on 14th September. It was on this day that Hindi was recognized as an official language of India.

British Parliament: The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the UK Parliament, British Parliament or Westminster Parliament. The British Parliament is bicameral but has three parts, consisting of the Sovereign (Queen-in-Parliament), the House of Lords, and the House of Commons (the primary chamber). The two houses meet in the Palace of Westminster in the City of Westminster, one of the inner boroughs of the capital city, London. House of Lords of the United Kingdom is its Upper House.

Britain's parliament has finally approved Boris Johnson's Brexit deal allowing it to become the first country to leave the European Union by the end of this month. The approval has ended years of arguments that toppled two governments and divided a nation. Withdrawal Agreement Bill was passed by lawmakers by 330-231 votes. The bill will now be tabled in the House of Lords.

Croatia: Croatia, officially the Republic of Croatia, is a country at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, on the Adriatic Sea. It borders Slovenia to the northwest, Hungary to the northeast, Serbia to the east, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro to the southeast, sharing a maritime border with Italy. The capital of Croatia is Zagreb and the currency used here in Croatian Kuna.

Former Prime Minister of Croatia, Zoran Milanovic, has recently won the presidential election on 09 January 2020. He belongs Social Democratic Party(SDP). He defeated centre-right incumbent Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, who was the first female president of Croatia.

Spain: It is a continental European territory . It is situated on the Iberian Peninsula. Spain is the sixth largest country in Europe and the fifth in the European Union. The capital of Spain is Madrid. Spanish is its official language and the currency used here is Euro.

The Parliament of Spain has confirmed that Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez is the Prime Minister of the country. Mr. Sanchez won 167 votes in the 350-seat Assembly compared to 165 votes against Catalan and Basque separatist MPs. He will hold the office for another term at the helm of the country's first-ever coalition government since its return to democracy in the 1970s.

He is planning to form the first coalition government in Spain since the country returned to democracy following the death of longtime dictator Francisco Franco in 1975.

Pentagon: The Pentagon is the headquarters building of Department of Defense of the United States . As a symbol of the U.S. military, the phrase The Pentagon is also often used as a metonym for the Department of Defense and its leadership.

The Pentagon on Monday distanced itself from President Donald Trump’s assertions that he would bomb Iranian cultural sites despite international prohibitions on such attacks. The split between the president and his Pentagon chief came amid heightened tensions with Tehran following a U.S. drone strike that killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force. Mark Esper said the US military will "follow the laws of armed conflict" and the said rules prohibit targeting cultural sites.

Sri Lanka: It is officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is an island country in South Asia, located in the Indian Ocean to the southwest of the Bay of Bengal and to the southeast of the Arabian Sea. The Capital of Sri Lanka is Colombo. The currency used here is Sri Lankan rupee.

Recently, in Sri Lanka, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) today urged President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to take steps to fully settle the Tamil National issue and continue with the process initiated by the former government to draft a new constitution. TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran asserted that Tamil minorities are ready and willing to settle the national question on the basis of a united, undivided, and indivisible country that recognizes the diversity and equality of its different people.

The 13th amendment was brought up as part of Indo-Sri Lanka accord in 1987 and provincial councils were set up as part of devolution of powers, to meet the aspirations of Tamil minorities.

National

CAIT: It refers to Confederation of All India Traders. CAIT organised a three-day National Traders Convention at Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi on 06 January 2020. The convention was inaugurated by the Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. The aim of this convention will be to discuss role of trading community in achieving 5 trillion dollar economy goal. The conclave will deliberate upon various core issues concerning traders, taxation structure including "onslaught of e-commerce companies on retail trade by their mal-practices and violation of FDI policy. Thousands of traders from all over the country are attending the three-day convention of CAIT. At the inauguration, the Union Defense Minister Rajnath Singh appreciating the contribution of traders in national economy. He also declared that the Union Government is committed to protect the traders from onslaught of e-commerce companies like Amazon and Flipkart and to promote ease of doing business. He assured the traders that whoever big may be will not be allowed under any circumstances to violate the FDI policy and law.

IGGL: It is the acronym of the Indradhanush Gas Grid Limited. IGCL is a joint venture company of five central public sector enterprises, namely Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL), Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), Oil India and Numaligarh Refinery Ltd (NRL), Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) and Oil India Limited IL). The joint venture was incorporated in August 2018 to develop and operate a natural gas pipeline grid in the North-East.

The Union Government has approved Viability Gap Funding (VGF) worth Rs 5559 crores to set up a 1656 Km long Indradhanush Natural Gas Pipeline Grid project in the North East. The project was approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on January 8, 2020. The amount will be used to set up Natural Gas Pipeline Grid connecting 8 North Eastern states. The North Eastern states include Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Tripura and Nagaland. This is the second such funding approved by the Union Government for a gas pipeline project. Indradhanush Gas Grid project is expected to provide natural gas to different types of customers and also reduce the dependence on liquid fuels.

The Natural Gas Pipeline Grid project is a significant step towards achieving the central government’s Hydrocarbon Vision 2030 for the North-East.

Pravasi Bharatiya Divas: The Pravasi Bharatiya Diva (PBD) is celebrated on the 9th of January every year. It is celebrated on 9th January because on this day in 1915 Mahatma Gandhi returned from South Africa and led freedom struggle of India. The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas convention was established in 2003 and is being celebrated since then. The event is organized by the Ministry of External Affairs every year on this day. The day was widely celebrated in Singapore in 2018 by the Government of India and in Varanasi in 2019.

This year the 16th edition of Pravasi Bhartiya Divas is celebrated across the country. The day is celebrated every year to mark the contribution of the overseas Indian community in the development of India. The conventions aim to provide a platform to the Non-resident Indians (NRIs) community to engage with the Indian government and promote unity among Indian Diaspora living abroad.

on this occasion, the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman is being presented to honor exceptional NRIs (Non-Resident Indians) or PIOs (Person of Indian Origin), who have made a significant contribution in supporting, promoting and building India’s links overseas. The award is presented by the President of India.

Infosys Prize 2019: The Infosys Science Foundation (ISF) conferred Infosys Prize 2019 to 6 winners. The prestigious award was presented by Bharat Ratna & Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science 1998 winner, Prof. Amartya Kumar Sen on Tuesday, 7th January 2020 at Bengaluru. The event was attended by academicians and scientists along with trustees of the Infosys Science Foundation.

The prize was first awarded in the year 2008. Since then the awards ceremony has been organized annually and funded by the Infosys Science Foundation (ISF) for outstanding achievement across six different fields. The winners of the 2019 award are:-

* Anand Pandian (Professor, Johns Hopk Engineering and Computer Science) for Social Science.

* Sunita Sarawagi (Institute Chair Professor, IIT Bombay) for Engineering and Computer Science

* Manjula Reddy (Chief Scientist, CSIR Hyderabad) for Life Science.

* Manu Devadevan (Assitant Professor, IIT Mandi) for Humanities

* Siddhartha Mishra (Professor, ETH Zurich) for Mathematical Science

* Govindasamy Mugesh (Professor, IISc Bengaluru) for Physical Science.

Infosys Prize: The Infosys Prize is an annual award given to scientists, researchers, engineers and social scientists of Indian Origin (not necessarily born in India) by the Infosys Science Foundation and ranks among the highest monetary awards in India to recognize research. The prize for each category includes a pure gold medal, a citation and prize money of USD 100,000.

National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal: Union Minister for Home Affairs Amit Shah dedicated National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal to the Nation today. He also inaugurated a state-of-the-art-centre for Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C) in the event. This state-of-the-art Centre is located in New Delhi.

National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal: National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal www.cybercrime.gov.in portal was launched on August 30,2019. It is a citizen-centric initiative that will enable citizens to report cyber-crimes online through the portal. All the cyber-crime related complaints will be accessed by the concerned law enforcement agencies in the States and Union Territories for taking action as per law.

Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C): The scheme was approved in October 2018 at an estimated cost of around 416 crore rupees to deal with all types of cyber-crimes in a comprehensive and coordinated manner.

It has seven components of 14C are - National Cyber Crime Threat Analytics Unit, National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal, National Cyber Crime Training Centre, Cyber Crime Ecosystem Management Unit, National Cyber Crime Research and Innovation Centre, National Cyber Crime Forensic Laboratory Ecosystem and Platform for Joint Cyber Crime Investigation Team.

At the initiative of Home Ministry, 15 States and UTs have given their consent to set up Regional Cyber Crime Coordination Centre.

People In News

Manilal Doctor: His real name was Manilal Maganlal Shaw. His surname, Doctor, was derived from his father's profession. He was a British Indian barrister and politician, who travelled to numerous countries of the British Empire, including Fiji, Mauritius and Aden, providing legal assistance to the local ethnic Indian population. He was born on 28 July 1881 in Vadodara, Gujarat. He founded an organization named Indian Imperial Association.

He graduated with LLB in 1903 and MA in 1904 from Bombay University. He then went to London as a student of Bar-at-Law in 1905 where he became an active member of the Home Rule Society and made regular contributions to the 'Indian Sociologist'. At the India House he came into contact with other Indian freedom fighters. In 1906, Manilal met M.K. Gandhi, who had become aware of the plight of the Indians in Mauritius. Gandhi was troubled by both the treatment of the Indian laborers and their lack of organization in demanding their rights as citizens of the British Empire. In response to his visit, he sent Manilal Doctor to Mauritius to assist the laborers in improving their social and political situation.

Mauritius: Manilal arrived in Mauritius on 11 October 1907 and began work as a barrister. He organised the Indian community in the Mauritius which consisted of indentured and non-indentured workers. He founded Hindustani newspaper there and also helped establish the Arya Samaj in Mauritius. 11 October is celebrated as Manilal Day in Mauritius.

Fiji: Manilal arrived in Suva, FIJI on 27 August 1912. He emerged as the leader of the Indian community in Fiji. The Indian Settler’ newspaper was setup by him. He also helped set up the Indian Imperial Association.

Recently, January 8 was observed as the death anniversary of Manilal Doctor who was a close associate of Mahatma Gandhi and is also known for his efforts towards helping abolish the indentured labour system.

Rajiv Rai Bhatnagar: He is the former Director-General (DG) of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). 1983 batch IPS officer Rajiv Rai Bhatnagar belongs to Uttar Pradesh cadre. He will lead the three lakh-strong CRPF at a time when the force has suffered reverses in the theatre of Naxal violence and is dealing with mounting protests in Jammu and Kashmir.

He has been appointed as the third Advisor to the Lieutenant Governor of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. The other two Advisors are KK Sharma and Farooq Khan who were appointed on 14 November 2019. The current Lieutenant Governor of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is Girish Chandra Murmu.

Samiya Naseem: She is a 37 year old of Indian Origin. She was born in US while her father Khalid Naseem was born and brought up in Gorakhpur’s Gita Press area. She is an arts graduate from Simmons College, Washington and In 2004 she got a degree of Juries doctor from George Washington University of Law School. She studied International Human Rights Law and Refugee Law in Oxford. She is a member of New York State Bar.

She has recently been appointed as the judge of Chicago by the US Attorney General William Barr. She will soon take the charge. She practiced law in Chicago before becoming a Judge. She had taken oath of office at the law department of Chicago on Dec 20, 2019.

Jasbinder Bilan: She is a school teacher who writes in her spare time. She was born in a stable in the foothills of the Himalayas. She shared an incredible bond with her grandmother which was an inspiration for the book Asha & the Spirit Bird. In 2017, she entered her manuscript for The Times Children’s Fiction Competition for unpublished writers. She was selected for a publishing deal and the novel came out in February 2019.

Recently, the India-born author Jasbinder Bilan bagged a coveted Costa children’s book award for her debut novel 'Asha and the Spirit Bird'. The story set in the Himalayan territory of her Indian roots and inspired by the special childhood bond with her grandmother. Her book was shortlisted from 144 entries alongside ‘Crossfire’ by Malorie Blackman,’In the shadow of Heroes’ by Nicholas Bowling and ‘Furious Thing’ by Jenny Downham. Bilan will receive 5,000 pounds for the award, 

Sucheta Satish: She is a 13 year old girl of an Indian origin and currently based in Dubai. She can sing in 120 languages and is known as Dubai Indian High School's nightingale.

She has won the 100 Global Child Prodigy Award in Delhi. She was awarded for singing in most languages during one concert and the longest live singing concert by a child. The award ceremony was held in Ashok Hotel, Delhi.

Global Child Prodigy Award: Global Child Prodigy Award is a platform to showcase the talent of children in music, art, dancing, writing, acting, modeling, science, sports etc. The award is supported by Dr APJ Abdul Kalam International Foundation and Oscar Award-winning music producer AR Rahman among others.

Muppavarapu Venkaiah Naidu National Award: The National Award for Excellence was instituted by the Muppavarapu Foundation, while the one for Social Service was launched by the Swarna Bharat Trust, in Hyderabad. The award carried a cash prize of Rs.5 lakh and citation.

The first recipients of Muppavarapu Venkaiah Naidu National Award for Excellence and Muppavarapu National Award for Social Service were awarded to Famous Agricultural Scientist Prof. M S Swaminathan and Dr. Gutta Muniratnam respectively.

Prof. M.S. Swaminathan was awarded for his significant contributions in the field of agriculture. Dr. G Muniratnam was awarded for his extraordinary contribution to improving the quality of people's lives through social service.

Places In News

Kochi: It is a major port city on the south-west coast of India bordering the Laccadive Sea. It has been a port since 1341 when a flood carved out its harbor and opened it to Arab, Chinese and European merchants. It is part of the district of Ernakulam in the state of Kerala and is often referred to as Ernakulam. Kochi is the most densely populated city in Kerala

It is in Kochi that the Global Investors Meet 'ASCEND 2020' is being organized by the Industries Department of the state government.

In the meeting, the government will highlight a Kochi-to-Palakkad integrated manufacturing cluster, a Rs.131 crore Defense Park at 60 acres in Ottapalam of Palakkad district and an electronic hardware park in Ernakulam district among 18 mega projects the state government.

On the occasion, The Government of Kerala state will highlight the 18 mega projects in the meet, The projects that will be showcased are Kochi-to-Palakkad integrated manufacturing cluster, integrated solid-waste management systems in Thiruvananthapuram, an electronic hardware park in Ernakulam district, Thrissur and Malappuram, a medium density fibreboard plant in Perumbavoor and a defense park at Ottappalam, and many other projects.

The meeting will also highlight the Invest Kerala Portal: “invest.kerala.gov.in” The portal is a single-window facilitator for easy investment promotion under its Ease of doing business initiatives.

Maharashtra: It is a state in the western peninsular region of India occupying a substantial portion of the Deccan Plateau. It is best known for its fast-paced capital, Mumbai which was formerly called Bombay. This sprawling metropolis is the seat of the Bollywood film industry. Maharashtra was formed in 1 May 1960. The Chief Minister of Maharashtra is Uddhav Thackeray and the Governor is Bhagat Singh Koshyari.

Journalists' Day was celebrated on 6 January 2020 in the memory of late thespian journalist Balshashtri Jambhekar. The day is observed every year in Maharashtra.

Balshastri Jambhekar: He is also known as The Father of Marathi Journalism for his efforts in starting journalism in Marathi language with the first newspaper in the language named 'Darpan' in the early days of British Rule in India. The newspaper Darpan was born out of this patriotism and social awareness. The first newspaper in the Marathi language was published on 6 January 1832. The release date also marks his birth anniversary. He was born on 6 January 1812 in Pombhurle in Devgad taluka in the Konkan region of Maharashtra. He dealt with the issues of widow re-marriage in his newspaper and he even fought to develop a scientific set of minds in the masses of uneducated India. He died on 18 May 1846.

Delhi: It is the capital city of India and is regarded as the heart of the nation. Delhi is of great historical significance as an important commercial, transport, and cultural hub, as well as the political centre of India. The Chief Minister of Delhi is Arvind Kejriwal.

Recently, Union Home Minister Shri Amit Shah laid the Foundation Stone of the 'Delhi Cycle Walk' project at Tughlakabad, New Delhi. The main aim of this project is to make the city most walkable and environment friendly. This cycle walk will cover abundant forests, dense residential areas and workplaces in close proximity to the city.

Uttar Pradesh: It is a state in northern India. It is the most populous state in India as well as the most populous country subdivision in the world. It was created on 1 April 1937 as the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh during British rule, and was renamed Uttar Pradesh in 1950. The Governor and Chief Minister of UP is Anandiben Patel and Yogi Adityanath respectively.

Recently, the 2nd phase of Mission Indradhanush 2.0 rolled out at block level in 35 districts of Uttar Pradesh. The aim of the program launched by central government in 2017 is to achieve 90% vaccination coverage in children of less than 2 years in state. The program seeks to prevent 8 diseases under the mission.

Under the program the immunization activity will be in 4 rounds over 7 working days excluding the Regular immunization days, Sundays and holidays. About 66 thousand sessions will be organized for vaccination of more than 5.5 lakh children and around 1.3 lakh pregnant women of state. The focus of immunization is on urban, underserved population and tribal areas. Intensified Mission Indradhanush will be conducted till March 2020.

Gujarat: It is India's westernmost state and is bordered by Rajasthan to the northeast, Daman and Diu to the south, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Maharashtra to the southeast, Madhya Pradesh to the east, and the Arabian Sea and the Pakistani province of Sindh to the west. Its capital city is Gandhinagar, while its largest city is Ahmedabad. The Governor and Chief Minister of Gujarat is Acharya Devvrat and Vijay Rupani respectively.

VSCIC: It is an acronym for Vikram Sarabhai Children Innovation Center. Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani announced that the State will set up the Vikram Sarabhai Children Innovation Center (VSCIC) in the state. The announcement was made at the Children’s Innovation Festival (CIF) held at Swarnim Sankul in Gandhinagar. The centre will be set up through a joint partnership between the Gujarat University and UNICEF to offer children with a platform to realize their innovation potential.

The main aim of VSCIC is to identify, nurture and promote innovative abilities of children in the state. The centre will work towards identifying children with ideas and then nurture and support them. The festival was exclusively organized for the school-going children up to 18 years old. The CIF is being organized by Gujarat University Start-ups and Entrepreneurship Council (GUSEC). GUSEC is an incubation centre created by Gujarat University in collaboration with UNICEF.

West Bengal: West Bengal is a state in eastern India, between the Himalayas and the Bay of Bengal. Its capital, Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), retains architectural and cultural remnants of its past as an East India Company trading post and capital of the British Raj. It is India's fourth-most populous state. Jagdeep Dhankhar is the governor of West Bengal and Mamta Banerjee is the Chef Minster of West Bengal.

The 4th 2020 edition of ‘Buxa Bird Festival’ began on Monday in Buxa National Park in Alipurduar district of West Bengal. Over 50 birdwatchers from across India and abroad have registered in the festival. More than 300 rare species including the Sultan Tit, Greater Spotted Eagle and Great Hornbill visit the national park during this time of the year. Buxa is a heaven for bird enthusiasts who watch and click photographs of the migratory birds. These migratory birds come from colder regions in the northern hemisphere.

Ahmadabad: Ahmadabad, in western India, is the largest city in the state of Gujarat and it is the former capital of the state. The Sabarmati River runs through its center. Mahatma Gandhi established Gandhi Ashram on the bank of river Sabarmati and selected Ahmadabad as his "Karmabhumi". Ahmadabad has been selected as one of the hundred Indian cities to be developed as a smart city under Government of India's flagship Smart Cities Mission. In July 2017, the Historic City of Ahmadabad or Old Ahmadabad, was declared as India's first UNESCO World Heritage

The 31st International Kite Festival has been launched at Sabarmati river front in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. This festival is being hosted since 1989. Chief Minister Vijay Rupani inaugurated the colourful kite festival. It will continue till 14th Jan- Makarsankranti- the festival of Kites in different parts of state.A large number of kite artists from across the world are participating in this event. The festival is also taking place at nine other places across the state including Statue of Unity-Kevadiya, Surat and Vadodara.

Himachal Pradesh: Himachal Pradesh is a northern Indian state in the western Himalayas. It is a mountainous state. It provides water to both the Indus and Ganges basins. Himachal Pradesh was declared as a Union Territory in 1 November 1956 and it became a full fledged state of the Republic of India on January 25, 1971. The Governor and Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh is Jai Ram Thakur and Bandaru Dattatraya respectively.

Recently, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur launched a portal “Himachal MyGov” portal and “CM App”. With the launch the state has become the eleventh state in India to have this facility. The portal aims to strengthen public participation in the governance process. With the help of portal, public will be able to communicate their views, suggestions, feedback as well discontentment to the state government. This will help the government to formulate policies and programs and make them more effective and result oriented. This unique platform also aims to enhance citizen partnership with the State Government and vice-versa. MyGov Himachal Portal and Chief Minister App would bring the administration closer to people and ensure a two-way communication between the government and the people.

Kolkata: It was previously known as Calcutta. It is the capital city of West Bengal. It is the seventh most populous city. It is the second largest city in India after Mumbai. It was established as an East India Company trading post. It was India's capital under the British Raj from 1773–1911.

Recently, Kolkata Police started the 3rd edition of ‘Sukanya‘ project. The project aims to provide self-defense training to girls studying in schools and colleges in the city. The third batch of ‘Sukanya’ started at 100 city-based schools and colleges situated in Kolkata Police jurisdiction. Sukanya project which is an initiative of the Kolkata Police’s Community Policing Wing is to provide self-defense training to girl students of city-based schools, colleges and universities. The initiative is funded by Women and Child Development and Social Welfare Department of the state government.

Andra Pradesh: It is one of the 29 states of India, situated in the south-eastern part of the country. It is the eight-largest state in India. The Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act, 2014 states that Hyderabad is common capital of both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh states for a period of time not exceeding 10 years. Amaravati is a proposed and planned capital city of Andhra Pradesh. The Governor and Chief Minister of Andra Pradesh are Biswabhusan Harichandan and YS Jagan Mohan Reddy respectively.

On January 9, 2020, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy launched Amma Vodi Scheme in Chittoor. Amma Vodi can be translated as 'mother's lap' in Telugu. It is one of the nine flagship programmes called Navratanalu of the Government of Andra Pradesh. The scheme will be implemented from January 26, 2020 (Republic Day). The Amma Vodi scheme is one of its first kind scheme in the country, which seeks to bring significant changes in the education system of Andhra Pradesh. The State Government has allocated Rs 6318 crores under the scheme.

The scheme aims to support low-income families in educating their children. Under the scheme, an amount of 15000 per annum will be given to these students belonging to Below Poverty Line provided there should be 75% attendance at school. The amount will be transferred directly into the bank accounts of the beneficiaries in January every year.

Science and Technology

US Space Force: The United States Space Force is the space operations service branch of the U.S. Armed Forces. It is one of the eight U.S. uniformed services. It is the sixth branch of the U.S. military, and the youngest as well as the first new armed service since the establishment of the independent U.S. Air Force in 1947. It was founded on 20 December 2019 and its Commander-in Chief is President Donald Trump. It is headquartered in the Pentagon, Arlington County, Virginia, United States.

The President of United States Donald Trump has signed the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act which authorizes the establishment of US Space Force. The Space Force would be part of the Department of the Air Force. The launch of the Space Force which will be led by Air Force General Jay Raymond will be funded initially an amount of $40m for its first year.

HSFC: It is an acronym for Human Space Flight Centre. HSFC is a body under ISRO to coordinate Indian Human Spaceflight Programme. The HSFC was formally announced in January 2019. Currently it works from a temporary place at the ISRO headquarters in Bengaluru, Karnataka.

Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has proposed 2,700-crore master plan to create top infrastructure that will house its young Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC) which will become the single-stop consolidating infrastructure and activities related to space travelers. This was announced by ISRO Chairman and Secretary, Department of Space K Sivan on 6 January 2020. This astronaut hub will be established Challakere, Chitradurga district of Karnataka. The expensive facility for training astronauts will be established on 400 acres of land. After establishing the centre, everything connected with events and planning of the Human Spaceflight Programme (HSP) will be moved to the Challakere campus. The facility is expected to become operational in 3 years. Challakere is also known as Science City and houses ISRO facilities and those of the Defence Research and Development Organisation’s Advanced Aeronautical Test Range, the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre and the Indian Institute of Science.

The main aim of ISRO is to establish a self-contained training facility here and bring all the features that are provided by Russia and begin training astronauts within the country as India is all set to send its first manned mission Gaganyaan into space. ISRO In July 2019 had signed a deal with Russia’s Glavkosmos, a subsidiary of the state-run Roscosmos State Corporation to help with training and provide support in conducting medical examinations of the astronauts. At present, India is paying a huge sum to Russia for the training of the first set of four astronaut candidates for the first Gaganyaan mission of 2022. Currently, HSP work is split across various centres like Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in Thiruvananthapuram and the U.R. Rao Satellite Centre in Bengaluru.

Goldilocks Zone: It is a Zone that refers to the habitable zone around a star where the temperature is just right which is not too hot and not too cold for liquid water to exist on an planet. Scientists are always looking for planets in the Goldilocks Zone to hone in their search for Earth-like planets that could contain life.

For the first time, American space agency NASA's planet-hunter satellite Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has discovered an Earth-sized world within the habitable range of stars, which could allow the presence of liquid water. The newfound exoplanet named "TOI 700 d", is relatively close to Earth- only 100 light-years away. This new found exoplanet has become a good place for the scientists for their follow-up observations by other instruments.

TESS: It refers to Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite. It is NASA's planet hunter satellite. It was designed and launched specifically to find Earth-sized planets orbiting nearby stars. It was launched in April 2018. The satellite hunts for planets using the "transit method," looking for telltale dips in stellar brightness caused by orbiting worlds crossing stars' faces from the satellite's perspective.

As per the reports of astronomers, based on Kepler space mission data in November 2013, there could be as many as 40 billion Earth-sized planets orbiting in the habitable zones of Sun-like stars and red dwarfs in the Milky Way, 11 billion of which may be orbiting Sun-like stars. Kelper is NASA's space telescope.

Dwarf galaxies: A dwarf galaxy is a small galaxy composed of about 100 million up to several billion stars, a small number compared to the Milky Way's 200–400 billion stars.

Recently, astronomers have found massive blackholes near the Dwarf galaxies. These black holes are more than 100 times smaller than our own Milky Way and are apparently 400,000 times the mass of our Sun. The scientists by studying these black holes and the differences of the black holes in the larger and smaller galaxies are hoping to know about the evolution of Black holes from the earlier times.

DFI: It refers to the Drone Federation of India. The DFI is an association of UAV industry players that acts as a central agency for drone powered businesses and operations across the country. It is a non-profit industry-led body that promotes and strives towards building a safer and scalable Drone industry in India.

The DFI on Monday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Amazon Web Services (AWS) with an aim to boost India's drone ecosystem. As per the MoU, AWS will become the preferred partner for providing cloud service to drone companies. DFI will also establish a drone innovation and operations hub in the country to support drone-based innovation using AWS cloud services. The hub will work towards helping drone companies to develop their applications and stay up to date in evolving technologies.

Drosophilia: Drosophilia is a genus of flies, belonging to the family Drosophilidae, whose members are often called "small fruit flies" or pomace flies, vinegar flies, or wine flies, a reference to the characteristic of many species to linger around overripe or rotting fruit. This fruit-fly Drosophila melanogaster is widely used in scientific and medical research. As these flies genetically bear a strong resemblance with human genes as per the studies of experts it has been extensively studied for over a century as a model organism for genetic investigations. It also has many characteristics which make it an ideal organism for the study of animal development and behavior, neurobiology, and human genetic diseases and conditions. Its importance for human health was recognised more recently by the award of the Nobel prize for medicine in 1995, for work on the genetic control of early embryonic development

Recently, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) organized the 5th Asia Pacific Drosophila Research Conference in Pune, Maharashtra. The conference is held twice a year. Two Nobel laureates, Eric Wieschaus and Michael Rosbash, renowned for their work in development biology and chronobiology respectively, will be among the 100 international and 330 Indian participants in this five-day conference. The event is the largest meet of Drosophila researchers in the whole world. The main objective if this event is to promote interaction between the Drosophila researchers in the region of Asia-Pacific and also act as a common platform to link the Asia-Pacific researchers with other parts of the world.

Sports

Leo Carter: He is a left handed batsman from New Zealand. He was part of New Zealand's squad for the 2014 ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup. In June 2018, he was awarded a contract with Canterbury for the 2018–19 season.

New Zealand first-class cricketer Leo Carter has become the seventh batsman in the history of cricket to smash six 6s in an over. He achieved the feat in New Zealand’s domestic T20 tournament Super Smash. Representing Canterbury, he smashed Knight’s bowler Anton Devcich for six 6s in the 16th over of the innings. Carter achieved the feat in New Zealand's domestic T20 tournament Super Smash. While playing for Canterbury, he scored 6 sixes against Northern Knights. He has not only become the 4th batsman to have scored six 6s in an international T20I but also the first New Zealand's batsman .

Other 6 players who have achieved the feat are: Gary Sobers from West Indies, Ravi Shastri and Yuraj Singh both from India, Herschelle Gibbs from South Africa, Ross Whiteley from England and Hazratullah Zazai from Afghanistan. Yuvraj is the only batsman to have scored six 6s in an international T20I. He had done so in the inaugural T20 World Cup against England in 2007.

Khelo India University Games: The first edition of Khelo India University Games was launched on the 6th of January with an aim to promote culture and excellence in competitive sports.

The 1st edition of Khelo India University Games is scheduled to be held at the Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology (KIIT) University in Bhubaneswar, Odisha from February 22 to March 1, 2020. Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik unveiled the logo and jersey of Khelo India University Games.

The event will witness more than 4,000 athletes from 100 Universities across India compete for top honours in 17 different disciplines namely archery, athletics, boxing, fencing, judo, swimming, weight-lifting, wrestling, badminton, basketball, football, hockey, table tennis, tennis, volleyball, rugby and kabaddi will participate in the Khelo India University Games.

Bhubaneswar: Bhubaneswar also known as the Temple City is the capital and largest city of the Indian state of Odisha. It is a centre of economic, educational and cultural importance of East India. Bhubaneshwar has gained the repute of being the Sports Capital of India

Hastings International Chess title: The Hastings International Chess Congress is an annual chess tournament which takes place in Hastings, England, around the turn of the year.

P Magesh Chandran of India has won the title in the 95th edition of the prestigious Hastings International Chess Congress at Hastings in England. France’s Romain Edouard took the second spet. He was the only player to end the tournament a half-point behind Chandran.

Daniele De Rossi: World Cup winner and the Italian legend Daniele De Rossi has announced his retirement from football. He announced his retirement 6 months after joining Argentine giants Boca Juniors. The veteran played only 7 matches for the Buenos Aires side scoring once. De Rossi had spent 18 years at Roma before leaving at the end of last season. He played 117 matches for Italy winning the World Cup in 2006.

63rd National Shooting Championship: The 63rd National shooting championship for rifle and pistol was held at the Madhya Pradesh Shooting Academy in Goregaon, Bhopal.

Indian ace shooter Saurabh Chaudhary has won the men’s 10 metres air pistol gold medal at the 63rd National Shooting Championship in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. UP's 17 year old finished at the top with a 246.4 classy shot. Sarabjot Singh of Haryana came second while world's number two Abhishek Verma settled for bronze in a high-quality final.

7th National Ice Hockey Championship: Ladakh women team has won the 7th National Ice Hockey Championship women trophy. The match was held at the Karzoo Ice Hockey Rink in Ladakh. The Ladakh team scored 2 goals against Delhi in the final match and won the tournament. The tournament was organized by the Ice Hockey Association of India (IHAI) in association with the Ladakh winter sports club. 4 women teams representing Delhi, Chandigarh, Maharashtra, and Ladakh participated in the tournament.

CK Nayudu Lifetime Achievement Award: Krishnamachari Srikkanth and Anjum Chopra will be conferred with the CK Nayudu Lifetime Achievement Award Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) at the BCCI Annual Award function which will be held in Mumbai on 12 January 2020. Srikkanth and Anjum will be conferred with the Lifetime Achievement award for their contributions to Indian cricket.

BCCI Awards: The BCCI Awards are a set of annual cricket awards given by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). The awards recognise and honour the best Indian international and domestic cricketers of the past year. The awards were first given in 2006–07.

3rd Khelo India Youth Games: The third edition of Khelo India Youth Games began in Guwahati with a grand and spectacular opening ceremony. Chief Minister Sarbanand Sonowal inaugurated the games. The games are beong held between 10th and 22nd of this January 2020. 6500 athletes from 37 teams will be participating in the event. 20 national level multidisciplinary grassroots games along with Cycling and Lawn Bowls which are added in this edition will be held in the games.

Current Affairs December 29 to January 4

Arts

Guru Gobind Singh Jayanti 2020: The 353rd birth anniversary of the tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh ji was celebrated on the 2nd of January. It is celebrated as Parkash Utsav Dasveh Patshah which means birth celebration of the 10th Divine Light, or Divine Knowledges. The festival is one of the most widely celebrated event by Sikhs. The festival was celebrated in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh and Bihar with great devotion and enthusiasm. The main function was organized at Takhat Sri Harmandir Sahib Gurdwara, Patna Sahib, the birth place of Guru Gobind Singh, where thousands of pilgrims across the globe are offering prayers. Governor Phagu Chouhan and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar participated prayers On this auspicious day.

Guru Govind Singh: He was born at Patna Sahib in 1666. He was the 10th Sikh guru. He succeeded his father, the 9th Guru Tegh Bahadur ji as leader of Sikhs at the age of just nine. His father was beheaded by the Mughals for not following Islam. Guru Gobind Singh founded Sikh Warrior community called Khalsa in 1699. He lived the life of a saint and inspired millions of Sikhs with his writings that depict the way he led his life. He had strict principles, which he and his followers followed and still follow religiously. The basic norms included not obliging to the prevalent caste system and superstitions. He introduced five Ks in Sikhism. It is called the “Panj Kakar”, They are uncut hair (Kesh), an iron bracelet (kara), a wooden comb (Kangha), cotton undergarment (Kachera) and iron dagger (Kirpan). He is best known for rising against the Mughal rulers and safeguarding the interests of people from the invaders. His two sons were also killed by the Mughals. Before his passing, he asked Sikhs to consider Guru Granth as the primary sacred text. Guru Gobind Singh’s teachings have inspired many. His lifelong battle against the plundering Mughals ensured the survival of Sikhism.

Lai Haraoba: It is a ritual ceremonial festival celebrated by the Manipuri Meitei community since ancient times. It is celebrated to please the Umang Lai, traditional deities of Sanamahism. Umang Lai are the sacred trees that are preserved for the local forest deities. Lai Haraoba is celebrated through oral literature, music, dance and rituals. Several Manipuri martial arts, folk music and dances are also performed during the festival. The festival is especially known for its folk song named ‘Lai Haraoba Ishei’ which is played mainly for the Lai Haraoba festival. Lai Haraoba means merry making of the Gods

Tripura: The 5-day long ritualistic festival Lai Haraoba begins in Agartala which is the capital of Tripura. It is jointly organized by the Department of Information and Cultural Affairs, Government of Tripura, Puthiba Lai Haraoba Committee and Puthiba Welfare & Cultural Society, Agartala. This year’s festival will also feature the participation of a cultural troupe from Manipur

Dhanu Jatra: Dhanu Jatra or Dhanu Yatra is an annual drama-based open air theatrical performance celebrated in Bargarh, Odisha. It is Spread across a 8km radius area around the Bargarh municipality, it is world's largest open air theater. It has its name recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records. It is the world's largest open theatre. The Jatra is based on the mythological story of Lord Krishna and his demon uncle King Kansa. The festival started in 1947-48 to celebrate Indian’s Independence and to symbolize the victory of good over evil.

Odisha: The famous 11 day long Dhanu Jatra began on the 31st December 2019 and will continue till January 10, 2020 at Bargah in western Odisha. The department of Culture of the Government of India accorded the National Festival status to Dhanu Jatra in November 2014.

Economics

eBkray: t is an e-auction platform to enable online auction of attached assets by banks. Finance Minister Sitharaman launched ‘eBkray’ auction platform. The platform provides navigational links to all PSB e-auction sites, property search feature. It also presents single-window access to information on properties up for e-auction, comparison of similar properties, and also contains videos and photographs of the uploaded properties. The e-auction platform is now linked on Indian Banks Auctions Mortgaged Properties Information (IBAPI) portal. IBAPI portal is an initiative of Indian Banks Association under the policy of the Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance was launched to provide a platform to give details of mortgaged properties to be auctioned online by Banks, starting with PSBs. Buyers can search in the IBAPI portal to get properties details and participate in auction process.

India-China Imports: India is set to finalize stricter quality standards for 371 items by March 2020. The move is primarily aimed at curbing imports of non-essential items such as toys, plastic goods, sports items and furniture, especially from China. The proposed rules to be framed by ministries in coordination with the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) will ensure stricter inspection of imports. According to the commerce ministry estimates, non-essential items imports from China amounts to about ₹4 trillion a year.

The proposed rules are aimed at curbing imports from China and narrowing the trade deficit with India’s northern neighbor, the rules will also apply to Indian producers so as to make the regulations World Trade Organization-compliant.

Darjeeling Tea: It consists of some of the worlds costliest stress-busting brews which are grown in the tea gardens of Darjeeling in West Bengal. Recently, Darjeeling tea and White tea had received a GI tag but has fallen back in global prices due to legal and illegal influx of Nepal Tea into the country which is cheaper than Darjeeling Tea. Darjeeling Tea was already suffering due to the impact of climate change, scarcity of skilled labor and high production cost. Now Nepal is stealing the business and glory of the original Darjeeling brew.

GI Tag: It refers to Geographical Indication Tag. It is a tag used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess the qualities or reputation that are due to that origin. The Tag is provided to fetch an identity for the product international market and increase its exports. India enacted Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 under Article 22 of World Trade Organization.

Mani Mobile App: It is an acronym for Mobile Aided Note Identifier Mobile App. It helps the visually challenged people to identify denomination of currency notes.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das and other officials launched ‘MANI’ mobile app on January 1, 2020. The MANI app will work offline also once it is installed. The app is available both on Android and iOS operating systems. The users can scan the notes using the mobile camera and the audio output will give the result in Hindi as well as English.

However, as per the Central Bank the app does not authenticate a note as either genuine or counterfeit.

Environment & Climate

Zambia: It is a landlocked country in southern Africa, with a tropical climate, and consists mostly of high plateaus with some hills and mountains; dissected by river valleys. It is a Sub-Saharan African country sharing boundaries with Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania and Zimbabwe (MTENR, 2002). On its border with Zimbabwe is the famous Victoria Falls also called Mosi-oa-Tunya, or "Smoke That Thunders”. The capital of Zambia is Lusaka. The currency used here is Zambian kwacha. The president of Zambia is Edgar Lungu.

Zambia has been experiencing adverse impacts of climate change. It is facing severe draught conditions due to the dramatic shift in the weather conditions. Around 2 million people are in need of food aid, following two years of poor rains and failed harvests.

Climate change: It occurs when changes in Earth's climate system result in new weather patterns that remain in place for an extended period of time. Climate change caused by human activities that emit greenhouse gases into the air is expected to affect the frequency of extreme weather events such as drought, extreme temperatures, flooding, high winds, and severe storms. Even the cutting down of trees and burning forests result in climate change.

Australia: Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's 6th largest country by total area. Australia is also the world's driest continent. Its capital is Canberra. The currency used here is Australian dollar. The Prime Minister of Australia is Scott Morrison.

The wildfires raging in the Australian states of New South Wales and Victoria began in November 2019, and they continue to pose severe safety and environmental problems. Australian bushfire have caused a great damage to humans, property and wildlife. Dozens of bushfires are raging across large parts of Australia. It has become a real economic threat of the climate emergency. The environmental calamity has been stoked by a combination of extreme winds, record-shattering heat waves, and drought-parched forests and grasslands.

The bushfires have grown so monstrous that they are now generating their own weather in the form of pyro-cumulonimbus clouds—dry thunderstorms and even cyclonic fire-tornadoes, or “firenados in arid regions of southern Australia. These fire generated thunderstorms has been describes as "fire-breathing dragon of clouds" by NASA. According to Ecologists nearly about nearly 500 million mammals, reptiles and birds—including 8,000 koalas—are estimated to have been killed, although the current death toll is impossible to calculate. Different species like koalas, wallabies, Kangaroos, bandicoots, echidnas, possums, wombats, potoroos, and many other species live in that region which is being destroyed by fire. Now the fire seems to have reached the wetlands which will cause destruction of dry eucalyptus forests and even rainforest.

Bushfires: Each year there is a fire season during the Australian summer, with hot, dry weather making it easy for blazes to start and spread. Natural causes are to blame most of the time, like lightning strikes in drought-affected forests.

Hargila: The greater adjutant (Leptoptilos dubius) is a member of the stork family Ciconiidae. This rarest of storks, the Hargila is currently on the brink of extinction due to habitat loss stemming from indiscriminate felling of big trees, poaching, poisoning and dwindling wetlands. In India, eight species of residential storks are found, out of which Greater Adjutant is one of them. Once abundantly distributed in Southeast Asia, this stork is now restricted to a few isolated pockets in Assam and Bihar in India and PrekToal in Cambodia. It is an endangered species. This colonial birds breeds in traditional nesting colonies within thickly populated villages in Assam. It also breeds in tall trees species including Anthocephaluscadamba(Kadam), Artocarpusleukochuwa (Dewa), Pithecellobiummonadephum, BombaxCeiba (Simul), Tamarindusindica (Teteli), Trewianudifera (Bhelkol), Gmelinaarborea (Gomari). It is listed under schedule IV of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

The Assam State Zoo cum Botanical Garden and Aaranyak has jointly attained a landmark achievement by successfully hatching a pair of Greater Adjutant chicks in an artificial platform. The platform is within the zoo enclosure. It is the first ever experiment of its kind.

Palau: Palau officially the Republic of Palau is an archipelago of over 500 islands. It is a part of the Micronesia region in the western Pacific Ocean. The country contains approximately 340 islands, and together with parts of the Federated States of Micronesia, forms the western chain of the Caroline Islands. The capital Ngerulmud is located on the nearby island of Babeldaob, in Melekeok State. Palau shares maritime boundaries with the Philippines, Indonesia, and Micronesia. It is made of large volcanic islands and small coral reefs. Palau is famous for its marine life and renowned for the best diving destinations. The Rock Islands in the Palau is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The tiny Pacific island nation introduced strict environmental measures. Palau has become the first country in the world to ban sun cream to protect corals reefs. The country has banned ‘reef toxic' or coral toxic sunscreens as a common ingredients used in cosmetics including oxybenzone which is very harmful to the corals. The order of the ban was passed in 2018 but it comes into effect from January 1, 2020. The sunscreen creams have been banned because the cream absorbs UV radiations and make corals susceptible to bleaching.

This decision was taken on the basis of a report published in 2017 that informed sunscreen products have harmful chemicals for coral reefs. As per the report published by The Ocean Foundation, about 6 to 14,000 tons of sunscreen is washed into the coral reefs every year.

WII: It is an acronym of Wildlife Institute of India. WII is an autonomous institution under the Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate change(MoFCC), Government of India. It was established in May 1982. WII has a research facility which includes Forensics, Remote Sensing and GIS, Laboratory, Herbarium, and an Electronic Library.

WII is set to conduct the Asiatic Lion Census in May 2020. Around 8,000-10,000 cameras will be used to carry out the 2020 lion census in Gujarat, the last abode of the Asiatic lion in the area spanning 7 districts in Gujarat.

For the first time, the expertise of Wildlife Institute of India will be perused in the census.

The Gujarat forest department conducts lion census every five years in Asiatic Lion Landscape, which includes Gir National Park and Sanctuary. The 2015 lion census had counted 523 lions in the state.

Asiatic Lion: The Asiatic lion is a Panthera leo leo population in India. Its range is restricted to the Gir National Park and environs in the Indian state of Gujarat.

It is listed as its former scientific name Panthera leo persica on the IUCN Red List as Endangered because of its small population size and area of occupancy. It is listed in Schedule-I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972

Indian Policy

Mega Infrastructure Plan: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has unveiled infrastructure projects worth Rs 102 lakh crore rupees that will be implemented in the next five years as a part of the government giving a push to infrastructure development for India.

The massive infrastructure plan is for boosting Indian economic growth by the Government which involves railway project of INR 14 lakh crore, energy project of INR 25 lakh crore and INR of 20 lakh crore projects. The central government has also started a National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) for the first time in India. The Finance Minister released the Report of the Task Force on National Infrastructure Pipeline for 2019-2025. The NIP follows a commitment by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day speech, that more than Rs 100 trillion would be invested in India’s infrastructure over the next five years.

TRAI: It refers to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India. TRAI is an independent regulatory body established by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act 1997 to oversee the telecommunications industry in India. It is headquartered in New Delhi.

TRAI has made amendments to the new regulatory framework for cable and broadcasting services with a view to protect consumer interests. Under this new regulatory framework the cable TV users will be able to access more channels at lower subscription price. It has capped the amount consumers will have to pay monthly for all free to air channels at Rs 160.

The new rules are part of the changes the regulator has made to its 2017 tariff order for broadcasting and cable TV services and they will be effective from 1 March 2020.

NITI Ayog: It is the think tank of the Government of India. (GoI). NITI Aayog has pitched for enactment of the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill, 2017, observing that regulatory bodies that is- the Medical Council of India and the Nursing Council of India have failed to ensure adequate availability and quality of health professionals. So to address the shortage of qualified doctors and bridge gap in medical education, the Ayog has released its Draft "Model Concession Agreement for Setting Up Medical Colleges under Public Private Partnership (PPP)" guideline document to link new or existing private medical colleges with functional district hospital to augment medical seats. A concession agreement has been developed based on international best practices and similar PPP arrangements that are operative in Gujarat and Karnataka.

The PPP model seeks to ensure high quality and timely provision of services. They will also help in speeding up Government projects and provide better public services.

CACS & e-BCAS projects: It refers to two e-Governance projects. Union Minister for Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri has launched the Biometric enabled Centralized Access Control System (CACS) and ‘e-BCAS Project Training Module’ to enhance security and ease of doing business at airports. These two projects were launched these projects in the presence of senior officials of the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS).

CACS: It refers to Centralized Access Control System. This multi-layered security system encompasses the uniqueness of the Airport Entry Permit (AEP) users, biometric authentication in addition to PIN-based identity verification through contactless smart card technology. The main objective of CACS is to digitize the employee movement process at the airports. The project also aims to facilitate the ease of processing, enhanced security and prevent unauthorized entry into airport and alert authorities to an attempted intrusion or other irregularities for immediate response.

e-BCAS: It is a Training Module which seeks to make all the activities in the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) transparent, user-friendly, efficient and provide an ease of doing business with the stakeholders. The ‘e-BCAS’ project's objective is not only to achieve a paperless office under the e-Governance initiative of Government of India but also assist more than 1.5 lac employees of various stakeholders to migrate from the manual process of training to digital platform.

GoI: It refers to the Government of India. GoI signed MoU with Wal-Mart owned e-commerce firm Flipkart for selling the products made by women self-help groups under the scheme- Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Urban Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NULM) on e-commerce platform. With this MoU, women self-help groups, under DAY-NULM, will be able to sell their products online to customers across the country making them financially independent.

DAY_NULM: It is the abbreviation of Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Urban Livelihoods Mission. DAY-NULM is a scheme where the women work towards reducing urban poverty through strong community institutions, skill training, access to affordable credit for self-employment, support for street vendors resulting in an appreciable improvement in their livelihoods on a sustainable basis, through building strong grassroots level institutions of the poor.

Indian polity

CRPF: It refers to Central Reserve Police Force. The CRPF is India's largest Central Armed Police Force. It functions under the authority of the Ministry of Home Affairs of the Government of India. The CRPF's primary role lies in assisting the State/Union Territories in police operations to maintain law and order and counter insurgency. It came into existence as the Crown Representative's Police on 27 July 1939. After Indian Independence, it became the Central Reserve Police Force on enactment of the CRPF Act on 28 December 1949. It is headquartered in New Delhi. Central Reserve Police Force of India's largest Central Armed Police Force is considered to be the World's largest Paramilitary Force.

CRPF have played a prominent role in combating terror and militancy. CRPF personnel played prominent role in eliminating terror from Punjab and militancy from Tripura in the year 1980 and 1990. The supreme sacrifices made by about 2184 CRPF personnel for internal security duties including at the war theatres with China in October,1959 and with Pakistan at Sardar Post, Kutch in Gujarat in 1965. CRPF bagged 75 bravery medals which is the highest for any force.

Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s commitment for the welfare of paramilitary forces who have made supreme sacrifices for the nation, Union Home Minister Amit Shah laid the foundation stone of the Directorate General Building of CRPF in New Delhi on 30 December 2020. He also launched a new logo, Garud, for those engaged in providing security to the common man and VIPs.

The new building which will be built at a cost of Rs 280 crore will have all modern facilities and green amenities, besides effective control and command system with modern training modules for 3.5 lakh strong force to enhance their operational capability. Home Ministry has not only created 35000 new posts for CRPF but also various initiatives for the welfare of family members of CRPF is also being considered.

PPRTMS: It refers to the Political Parties Registration Tracking Management System. It is an online tracking system which will allow political parties to track their applications for registration with the Election Commission of India (ECI) on a real-time basis.

The salient features of PPRTMS is that the applicant, who is applying for a political party registration from 1st January, 2020 will be able to track the progress of his/her application and will get status updates through SMS and e-mail. The registration of political parties is governed by the provisions of Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.

Under this Section, a party seeking registration has to submit an application to the Commission within a period of 30 days following the date of its formation as per guidelines prescribed by the Election Commission of India. The commission checks whether the party satisfies the criteria governed by section 29A of Representation of People Act, 1951.

The Election Commission of India launched an online tracking system- Political Parties Registration Tracking Management System (PPRTMS). The new guidelines came into effect from January 1, 2020.

Election Commission Of India: It is an autonomous constitutional authority responsible for administering Union and State election processes in India. The body administers elections to the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, State Legislative Assemblies in India, and the offices of the President and Vice President in the country. It was founded in 20 January 1950. It is headquartered in New Delhi.

International

UNGA: It refers to United Nations General Assembly. It is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations, the only one in which all member nations have equal representation, and the main deliberative, policy-making, and representative organ of the UN. It was founded in 1945 in New York, United States.

UNGA has given its approval for a new Russian resolution which will draft a new international treaty to combat cyber-crime which will draft a new international treaty to combat cyber-crime. The Russian-drafted resolution was approved by the 193-member world body by a vote of 79-60 with 33 abstentions. The drafted resolution will comprise of expert committee representing all world regions. It will also elaborate a comprehensive international convention on countering the use of information and communications technologies for criminal purposes.

The UNGA also approved a resolution strongly condemning human rights abuses against Myanmar's Rohingya Muslims and other minorities.

The UNGA resolutions are not legally binding but do reflect world opinion

Guinea-Bissau: Guinea-Bissau officially the Republic of Guinea-Bissau is a tropical country in West Africa. It is known for national parks and wildlife. The forested, sparsely populated Bijagós archipelago is a protected biosphere reserve. Its main island, Bubaque, forms part of the Orango Islands National Park, a habitat for saltwater hippos. Its capital city is Bissau. The currency used here is West African CFA franc.

The opposition leader of West African state of Guinea-Bissau, Umaro Sissoco Embalo has won presidential elections. He defeated his rival Domingos Simoes Pereira, head of the country's ruling party PAIGC. National Electoral Commission (CNE) President Jose Pedro Sambu today announced the result.

WHO: It refers to the World Health Organization. WHO is a specialized agency of the United Nations that is concerned with international public health. It was founded on 7 April 1948. It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. The WHO is a member of the United Nations Development Group.

Year of Nurse and Midwife: WHO has designated the year 2020 as the “Year of Nurse and Midwife” to honor the 200th birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale.

The main objective of WHO is to focus on improving health globally by raising the status and profile of nursing and enabling nurses to maximize their contribution to achieve Universal Health Coverage. The year is being dedicated to the midwifery as well as WHO is also a partner of The State of the World’s Midwifery Campaign.

WHO is leading the development of “World Nursing Report” which is first of its kind. The report is to be launched in 2020. The organization is to launch the reports prior to 73rd session of WHO which is to be held in Geneva in February 2020.

Florence Nightingale: She was an English social reformer and statistician, and the founder of modern nursing. She was born in 12 May 1820 in Florence, Italy. Nightingale came to prominence while serving as a manager and trainer of nurses during the Crimean War, in which she organized camps to take care for wounded soldiers. During the Crimean war, Nightingale gained the nickname "The Lady with the Lamp". Every year on the 12th of December the International Nurse Day is being celebrated in her honor by International Council of Nurses.

The world Braille Day: It is observed annually on 4 January. The day is celebrated since 2019. It is observed to raise awareness of the importance of Braille as a means of communication in the full realization of the human rights for blind and partially sighted people. The day is celebrated to honor the birth anniversary of Louis Braille. He is the inventor of Braille – for people with visual disabilities. Louis Braille: He was born on 4th January 1809 in the town of Coupvray in northern France. He became blind after a childhood accident, and he quickly mastered his new way of living. He created the system we know today as Braille, based on a system of writing developed by Charles Barbier at a tender age of 15.

Braille: It is a tactile writing system used by people who are visually impaired. It is traditionally written with embossed paper. Braille users can read computer screens and other electronic supports using refreshable Braille displays. Braille was invented by Louis Braille.

National

RPF: It refers to Railway Police Force. The RPF has been accorded Group A status by the ministry and renamed It as Indian Railway Protection Force Service (IRPS) by the Indian Railways. The notice of renaming was issued by the Joint Director of Railway Board Amitabh Joshi on 30 December 2019.

IRPF: The Indian Railway Protection Force Service (RPF) is a security force. It was established by the Railway Protection Force Act, 1957. It was enacted by the Indian Parliament for "the better protection and security of railway property". It was founded in 27 July 1872. It is headquartered in New Delhi and its governing body is the Ministry of Railways of India. The motto of the IRPF is “Attaining honor”.

SDG: It refers to Sustainable Development Goals. SDGs also known as the Global Goals were adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.

SDG India Index: The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) India Index is intended to provide a holistic view on the social, economic and environmental status of the country and its States and UTs. The index highlighst data gaps related across SDGs for India to develop its statistical systems at the national and State levels.

NITI Ayog: NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Ayog, the think tank of India released the 2nd edition of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) India Index and dashboard for the year 2019 in New Delhi. The index gives a brief analysis on the progress made by states and union territories(UTs) towards achieving the 2030 SDG targets. Kerala has topped the index with a score of 70.

Kisan Samman Nidhi: It is an initiative by the government of India in which all small and marginal farmers will get up to ₹6,000 per year as minimum income support. It was established on 1 February 2019.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the release of the 3rd installment of Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM Kisan) worth 12,000 crore at a public meeting in Tumkur, Karnataka on January 2, 2019.

He presented the Krishi Karman Awards and Commendation Awards to states at a public meeting. He will also give away Agriculture Minister's Krishi Karman Awards for Progressive Farmers that have recorded good agriculture production in various categories during the previous crop seasons. Fishing equipments and Kisan Credit Cards (KCC) were also distributed by him to selected farmers.

The Prime Minister also handed over certificates to beneficiaries under PM Kisan from eight states and Union Territories (UTs).

PM-Kisan: It refers to The Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi. It is a national scheme to improve the income of small and marginal farmers and to improve farm productivity and ensure better utilization of the resources in the country. It also helps the farmers from the debt-trap of the moneylenders. It was launched for the first time in Telangana as Rythu Bandhu Scheme. After the scheme was a huge success the central government launched the Pm-KISAN Yojana all over the country. Under this scheme amount of Rs 6000 was provided to the farmers annually by directly crediting it in their bank accounts in 4 installments.

Jharkhand: It is a state in eastern India. It was created on 15 November 2000, from what was previously the southern half of Bihar. The capital of Jharkhand is Ranchi. The first Chief Minister of Jharkhand was Babula Marandi.

Hemant Soren: He is the leader of Jharkhand Jharkhand Mukti Morcha. He has taken oath as a Chief Minister of Jharkhand for the 2nd time on 29 December 2019. He has become 11th chief minister of Jharkhand. Governor of Jharkhand Droupadi Murmu has administered the oath of office and secrecy to Hemant Soren, in the presence of senior political leaders and chief ministers from across states. In the just-conducted Assembly elections, the JMM, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Congress alliance defeated the Bharitya Janata Dal(BJP) by 47 seats in the 81 member House. He had also earlier served as the 5th Chief Minister of Jharkhand in 13 July 2013 to 28 December 2014.

Pragati Maidan Metro: The Pragati Maidan Metro is located on the Blue Line of the Delhi Metro. It services the Pragati Maidan Exhibition center and is also the current nearest Metro station to the nearby ITO office area as well as the Supreme Court of India.

The Government of Delhi's naming committee has decided to rename Pragati Maidan Metro station as Supreme Court Metro Station. This was announced in New Delhi during a press conference by the Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi, Manish Sisodia. The naming committee has also decided to rename Mukarba Chowk and its flyover after Kargil war martyr Captain Vikram Batra and Mehrauli – Badarpur Road as Acharya Sri Mahapragya Marg.

People In News

Savitribai Phule: She was an Indian social reformer, educationalist, Writer, Author, Activist and poet from Maharashtra. Her full name was Savitribai Jyotirao Phule. She was born on 3rd January 1831. She is regarded as the first female teacher of India. Along with her husband, Jyotirao Phule, she played an important role in improving women's rights in India. She tirelessly worked and dedicated her life to abolishing gender and caste-based discrimination. She established the first Indian girls' school in Pune at Bhide wada in 1848. She even set up “Balhatya Pratibandhak Griha” that works to prevent female infanticides, killing of pregnant rape victims and widows. Satyashodhak Samaj that supported inter-caste marriages was also founded by her and her husband. She published Kavya Phule in 1854 and Bavan Kashi Subodh Ratnakar in 1892, and also a poem entitled "Go, Get Education" in which she encouraged those who are oppressed to free themselves by obtaining an education. She is regarded as the mother of Indian feminism. A memorial was created for her in 1983 by Pune City Corporation and the University of Pune was named a Savitribai Phule Pune University in 2015 in her honor.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday paid his tributes to Savitribai Phule on her birth anniversary, saying she dedicated her life to social unity, education and women empowerment.

Piyuus Jaiswal: He is a social worker and is associated with various Non-governmental organizations (NGOs). He has been working on women empowerment and new talent for the last four years. He has provided a platform to many Women and new talent who have proved their talent in their respective fields and created a name for themselves. Recently he organized the Indian Achiever's Award ceremony in Surat which was graced by will known celebrities from the field of fashion and films .

Piyuus Jaiswal was awarded the Global Bihar Excellence Award 2019. This award was presented by Rajya Sabha MP and Padma Shri Awardee Dr CP Thakur and Bihar Women Commission president Dilmani Devi in Patna to promote women empowerment. He was conferred the award in recognition of his contribution towards social welfare, women empowerment and introducing new talent in the field of arts and culture. He was also awarded the humanitarian award with the Global Peace Excellence Humanitarian Award 2019 on the occasion of International Human Day and Page 3 Award.

H K Joshi: Her full name is Harjeet Kaur Joshi. She has been appointed as the Chairperson & Managing Director (CMD) by the Shipping Corporation of India. She will also hold the additional charge of the post of Director (Finance) of the company for a period of 3 months with effect from 19 December 2019. Prior to this, she was General Manager (F&A) in Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, Mumbai in the Offshore Engineering Services wherein large mega offshore construction projects are handled.

SCI: It refers to the Shipping Corporation of India. It is a Government of India Public Sector Enterprise. Its headquarters is in Mumbai.

Malavath Poorna: She is an 18 year old is an Indian mountaineer from telangana. She was born into a poor tribal family from Pakala village of Nizamabad district. She joined Telangana Social Welfare Residential Educational Institutions Society for her education. She was trained at the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Darjeeling. She is currently pursuing an undergraduate course at the Minnesota State University as a fellow of the Global Undergraduate Exchange Programme, US.

She has become the first and youngest tribal woman in the world to set foot on the six tallest mountain peaks across six continents. At the age of 13 years she became the world’s youngest girl who scaled Mt. Everest. She has so far scaled Mt. Everest (Asia, 2014), Mt. Kilimanjaro (Africa, 2016), Mt. Elbrus (Europe, 2017), Mt. Aconcagua (South America, 2019), Mt. Cartsnez (Oceania region, 2019) and Mt. Vinson Massif (Antarctica, 2019). She is now gearing up to scale Mt. Denali (North America’s highest mountain peak).She accomplished Mt. Vinson mission with the help of the Telangana government, Transcend Adventures and crowd-funding.

RNP Singh: He is a former officer of the Intelligence Bureau, Government of India. He has also earned the coveted Presidents Police Medal, Indian Police Medal, the Sukriti and Kautilya awards for his distinguished services. A book titled Politics of Opportunism written by him was released by Swaminathan Gurumurthy who is a Noted Economist and Political Analyst at a function in New Delhi. The book throws light on the subject related to rise of regional parties and Centre-States relation.

Gen Bipin Rawat: General Bipin Rawat, PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, YSM, SM, VSM, ADC was born 16 March 1958. He is a four star general and the current Chief of Defense Staff of India. He was from a Gorkha regiment was an alumnus of the St. Edward School, Shimla, the National Defense Academy, Khadakwasla, and the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun.

Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat has been named as India's first Chief of Defense Staff. He was named the Chief of Defense Staff just a day before he was to retire from service after completing a full three-year term as the Chief of Army Staff.

CDS: It refers to Chief of Defense Staff. CDS will be a 4-star General, the principal military advisor to the defense minister, and will head the new Department of Military Affairs. The Chief of Defense Staff will ensure the unity in training, logistics and procurement of the three services. The CDS is the head of the Army, Navy and Air Force and is be a four-star military officer. The CDS is in a position to advise on the matters related to all the three segments of the military. The post of CDS was created due the recommendations made after the Kargil war.

The Defense Ministry had also amended the army, air force and navy rules by bringing in a new clause that allows the CDS to serve upto a maximum age of 65 years. The CDS will administer all tri-services organizations, but their command will be with the Chief of the service which has a predominant role in their functioning.

Places In News

Kerala: It is a state on the southwestern Malabar Coast of India. It was formed on 1 November 1956, following passage of the States Reorganization Act, by combining Malayalam-speaking regions. It is the 23rd largest state in india by area. Its capital is Thiruvananthapuram. The Chief Minister of Kerala is Pinarayi Vijayan and the Governor is Arif Mohammad Khan.

Kerala has become the 1st state in the country to pass a resolution against the Citizenship Amendment Act amid widespread protests across the country. The resolution moved by the Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayee Vijayan was seconded by the Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala. Kerala has also put on hold all the activities in connection with the National Population Register (NPR) considering the anxiety among people that it relates to the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Several other chief ministers of non BJP ruled states including West Bengal, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, Delhi have also announced for not implementing CAA in their states.

Citizenship Amendment Act: The Parliament had passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019 on December 11, 2019. The act had triggered widespread protests across India and created fear of discrimination based on religion.

Andhra Pradesh: It is a state bordering India’s southeastern coast. Major cultural landmarks include Tirumala Venkateswara Temple, an ornate hilltop shrine to Hindu’s Vishnu, in the southern part of the state. The Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act, 2014 states that Hyderabad is common capital of both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh states for a period of time not exceeding 10 years. Telugu is the major and official language of Andhra Pradesh and also one of the classical languages of India.

Sand delivery: The YS Jaganmohan Reddy government of Andhra Pradesh is planning to introduce door-delivery of sand from Jan 2, 2020. It will launch a pilot project in Krishna district on an experimental basis. If successful then it will be extended.

Under the new initiative, the government will collect transportation charges from the customers and deliver sand at door steps. In order to make the initiative successful, the AP Mineral Development Corporation will stock 15 lakh tons of sand per month for the next 4 months. The step taken by the government seeks to address issues of sand scarcity and sand mafia.

Andhra Pradesh Disha Act 2019: The Andhra Pradesh Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2019 has been drafted to speed up the trial process for severe crimes committed against women and children. Disha is the name given to the veterinarian who was raped and murdered in Hyderabad which sparked an outrage across country.

The Andhra Pradesh government appointed an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) official Dr Kritika Shukla and Indian Police Service (IPS) official M Deepika, as Special Officers for implementing the Andhra Andra Pradesh Disha Act 2019. The new Act says trial must be completed within 14 working days, thus reducing the total judgment time to 21 working days.

The bill provides for awarding death sentence for rape if there is adequate conclusive evidence. This provision is given by amending Section 376 of Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860.

The AP Disha Act also prescribes life imprisonment for other sexual offences against children and includes Section 354 F and 354 G in IPC.

In cases of harassment of women through social or digital media, the Act states 2 years imprisonment for the first conviction and 4 years for second and subsequent convictions. A new Section 354 E will be added in IPC, 1860 for this purpose. An electronic form called ‘Women & Children Offenders Registry’ will be established, operated and maintained by the AP Government.

To ensure a speedy trial, the state will set up exclusive special courts in all the thirteen districts to deal with cases of offences against women and children including rape, acid attacks, stalking, voyeurism, social media harassment of women, sexual harassment and all cases under POCSO Act.

Study in Gujarat Campaign: It is a campaign launched by the state education department of Gujarat government in order to transform the state into an educational hub at both national and international level.

Under this campaign a high level delegation will hold road shows in western Asian countries during 15th to 22nd January 2020 also hold roadshows in 10 cities of India including Shrinagar. Around 22 private colleges and government universities and 4 colleges are participating in the campaign.

Ahmedabad: It is here that the world’s 2nd tallest statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in the world was unveiled by Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani. It was unveiled at the Sardardham campus near Vaishnodevi Circle in Ahmedabad. The statue is a 50 feet tall bronze statue. It weighs 70 thousand kilograms.

The statue of Sardar Patel has been designed by Padma Bhusan Ram V. Sutar. He is the same sculptor who had designed the Statue of Unity.

UPSRTC: It refers to Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation. Transport minister Ashok Kataria has launched a dedicated women helpline, 'Damini', which is a calling and a WhatsApp service for the safety of women.

The unique number "81142-77777" has been subscribed for the helpline. The helpline is an extension of the 'Nirbhaya Yojana' that aims to ensure safety of women.

Using these helpline women passengers can lodge their complaints by calling the helpline number and by using WhatsApp service. These numbers will be visible inside the buses and bus stations by the 15th of January 2020.

Cyber Safe Women’ initiative: It is joint initiative of the Maharashtra state government, Maharashtra Cyber and Maharashtra police initiative launched by the Maharashtra Government. The initiative was launched commemorating the birth anniversary of Indian Social Reformer Savitribai Phule.

The rising instances of cyber-crime need to be curbed and so the government is looking to take all measures to ensure that women and children do not fall prey to these criminal activities. Under this initiative camps will be held across all the districts of the state regarding cyber safety. The aim of the initiative is to help in educating women about how the web is used by anti-social elements and child predators to commit various types of crimes. The campaign cover cybercrime crimes such as internet phishing, fraud identity on marriage site, cyber bullying, bank fraud, child pornography, photo shuffling, online gaming and false information sites.

Science and Technology

Christina Hammock Koch: She is an American engineer from Livingston, Montana and a NASA astronaut who is onboard the International Space Station (ISS) since 14 March 2019.

Christina Koch creates a record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman, surpassing the earlier record of 288 days in space. By the time she arrives back on Earth in February 2020, she will have spent more than 300 days in space. She has surpassed the earlier record of 288 days in space which was previously established by NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson in 2017. Koch also has set another milestone as part of first all-female spacewalking team in October 2019 which was her 4th spacewalk.

The world record for the single longest mission by any space explorer whether man or woman, is held by cosmonaut Valery Polyakov, who spent 438 consecutive days on board Russia’s former space station Mir from January 1994 to March 1995.

IIT Guwahati: Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati researchers has developed materials that can produce energy from water, on a small scale in household environments to support the decentralization of energy sources.

IIT-G researchers used the nanoscale phenomenon called ‘Electrokinetic streaming potential’ to harvest energy from flowing water on a small length scale including water flowing through household water taps.

To extract power from stagnant water, devices by employing doped graphene flakes fabricated by them.The complementary charge transfer activities of doped graphene flakes based devices generate power just upon dipping in any kind of water source including lake, river or seawater.

A research team led by Dr. Kalyan Raidongia, Department of Chemistry, IIT Guwahati, along with his research team Jumi Deka, Suresh Kumar, Kundan Saha and Hemant Kumar Srivastava worked on this novel research. Their findings were recently published in ACS Applied Nanomaterials.

The generation of energy from water in various forms – river flow, ocean tides, stagnant water, and even raindrops, is now known as “blue energy”. While hydroelectric power from rivers is the traditional form of blue energy, there have been efforts to harness the power of water in other ways in recent years.

Thoothukdi: It is a place in Tamil Nadu where India’s second spaceport for launching small satellites would be located. Thoothukudi is about 600 km southeast of Chennai. ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) chief K Sivan announced it on 1 January 2020. The space center will be established in 2300 acres of land. According to the ISRO chief the new location is ideal for launching smaller satellites of less than 500 kg in the sun-synchronous orbit. The ISRO Chairman also announced that the Government has approved the Chandrayaan–3 mission to the moon, comprising of a lander and a rover. Gaganyaan is to be launched by 2022.

The country's first spaceport is at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, about 90 km northeast of Chennai.

Swarna Jayanti Fellowships: Swaran Jayanti Fellowships are awarded to young and brilliant scientists to pursue research with financial freedom and flexibility.

The Union Ministry of Science and Technology Dr Harsh Vardhan have awarded Swarna Jayanti Fellowships to 14 scientists. The award is conferred to them to pursue basic research in frontier areas of science and technology. The fellowship covers all the requirements for performing the research and includes a fellowship of 25 thousand rupees per month. A research grant of 5 lakh rupees for 5 years is also being provided in addition to their salary.

DRDO: It refers to Defence Research Development Organization. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday dedicated the five Young Scientists Laboratories of Defense Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to the nation at a function held at Aeronautical Development Establishment. It is here that Former President Abdul Kalam had joined DRDO. The labs will give wings to thoughts and action to young scientists.

Sports

World Women’s Rapid Chess Championship 2019: India's youngest woman Grandmaster Koneru Humpy has become the 2019 Women's World Rapid Champion. The championship was held in Moscow, Russia. She defeated China's Lei Tingjie in a Koneru defeated China's Lei Yingjie in the final playoff match. Humpy lost the first tie-break game and then won the second to reach the Armageddon game. China’s Lei Tingjie won the silver and Ekaterina Atalik of Turkey won the bronze. Norway's Magnus Carlsen claimed the men's title. Humpy has become the only second Indian to win gold after Vishwanathan Anand who won it in 2017.

KIYG: It is the abbreviation of Khelo India Youth Games which was formerly known as Khelo India School Games (KISG). It is held annually in January or February. It is the national level multidisciplinary grassroot games in India held for two categories, namely under-17 years school students and under-21 college students. The first edition of the event was held in New Delhi and the second edition was held in Pune, Maharashtra.

The third Khelo India Youth Game is to be held between February 10, 2020 and February 22, 2020 in Guwahati, Assam. Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal launched the torch relay of the Third Khelo India Youth Games.

The opening ceremony of the 3rd KIYG will take place at the Indira Gandhi Stadium in Guwahati on January 10 before the athletes take part in their respective events in full flow.

Chief Executive Officer of the event, Avinash Joshi has announced that lawn bowls and cycling will also be included in the Khelo India for the first time.

IHAI: It refers to Ice Hockey Association of India. IHAI is the national ice hockey championship in India.

The 5th edition of the IHAI National Ice Hockey Championship began in Leh on 2nd January 2020. The tournament will continue up to 7th January 2020 in Karzoo Ice Hockey Rink, Leh, where the Army, Chandigarh, Delhi, Haryana, Maharashtra and home team Ladakh are fighting for the championship in U-20 boys category. Similarly, in Girls category Ladakh, Maharashtra, Delhi and Chandigarh are playing for the championship.

Haryana beat home team Ladakh UT by 5 - 3 goals in Under-20 Boys category. In another tie, Delhi beat Chandigarh by 3 - Nil goals.

Similarly, in single U-20 Girls match played today, Maharashtra registered a victory over Delhi by a big margin of 7 - 1 goal.

CK Nayudu Lifetime Achievement Awards: Former India captain and member of the 1983 World Cup winning team Krishnamachari Srikkanth will be the recipient of this year’s prestigious CK Nayudu Lifetime Award given by the BCCI. Anjum Chopra who is the former Indian woman captain is the co-recipient of the lifetime achievement award for the year 2019.

The BCCI Annual Award function will be held in Mumbai on January 12 where Srikkanth and Anjum will be conferred with the Lifetime Achievement award for their contributions to Indian cricket.

Krishnamachari Srikkanth: Krishnamachari Srikkanth also known as Kris Srikkanth is a former captain of the Indian cricket team and former chairman of the selection committee. He represented Tamil Nadu in the Indian domestic circuit. He is a Right-hand batsman. He represented India between 1981 to 1992. He retired in 1992 after the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand and served as the chairman of the national selection committee.

Anjum Chopra: She played 127 ODIs in which she scored a hundred and 18 fifties. She played 18 T20 Internationals. She was a part of the Indian XI that played in the Women’s World Cup final against Australia in 2005.

Current Affairs December 22 to December 28

Economics

ADB: It refers to Asian Development Bank. ADB and Government of India signed a 490 million dollars loan for public-private partnership (PPP) project to upgrade about 2600 kilometers of state highways and major district roads from single-lane to two-lane widths in Madhya Pradesh. The loan agreement was signed by the Additional Secretary (Fund Bank and ADB) in Department of Economic Affairs in Finance Ministry Sameer Kumar Khare and Country Director of ADB’s India Resident Mission Kenichi Yokoyama. An additional $286 million investment will also be mobilized via private sector participation under PPP modality.

The projest aims to improve rural and peri-urban connectivity in state as well as improve access to markets and better services. It will also develop an e-maintenance system, which can record defects or required maintenance, along with a training program to develop capacity on contract implementation and project finance in the Madhya Pradesh Road Development Corporation.

The project continues ADB's engagement with the state's road sector since 2002. This will open a new partnership by introducing PPP through the hybrid-annuity model (HAM), thereby leveraging government financing and improving sustainability of capital investments.

HAM: It refers to hybrid-annuity model. The HAM is a mix of engineering, procurement, construction, and build-operate-transfer. This passes the responsibility of design, implementation, and operation and maintenance obligations to the private sector, while attracting some private sector financing.

Under the HAM, the government will release 6o% of the total project cost during construction, to be paid to the concessionaire in tranches linked to completion milestones. The remaining 40% is arranged by the concessionaire in the form of equity and commercial debt. After the completion of the project, the government will repay concessionaire’s financial investment over a period of 10 years.

MSME: It refers to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. Bank of Baroda signed an MoU with the Gujarat government to facilitate the flow of credit in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sector. According to the agreement, the credit will be provided to the MSME sector for greenfield projects, startups, women entrepreneurs, and entrepreneurs from backward areas under the Gujarat Single Window Clearance Act 2017 & Ordinance Number 1 of 2019 dated October 24, 2019.The MoU with the Gujarat government is a step forward for MSME entrepreneurs. The MoU would not only speed up the process of the credit off take but also speed up industrial development.

HDFC Bank: HDFC Bank Ltd. is an Indian banking and financial services company headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra. It is India’s largest private sector lender by assets. It is the largest bank in India by market capitalization as of February 2016. It was founded in August 1994 in India.

HDFC Bank has become only the third Indian company to cross $100 billion in market capitalization. It now a rank 110th in the list of world’s most valued firms and is now in league of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), which has a market value of $140.74 billion, and Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. (TCS) that has a market capitalization of $114.60 billion.

SEBI: It refers to Securities and Exchange Board of India. SEBI is responsible for regulating Securities market in India. It was founded in 1988 as a non-statutory body for regulating securities market. Statutory Powers was given to SEBI on 30 January 1992 through Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Act, 1992.

Markets regulator SEBI has signed a bilateral memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Kazakhstan-based Astana Financial Services Authority (AFSA) for mutual co-operation and technical assistance.  The MoU was signed by SEBI Chairman Ajay Tyagi and the acting chief executive officer (CEO) of AFSA Mukhtar Bubeyev.

The objective of the MoU is to strengthen cross border co-operation in area of securities regulation. This would facilitate mutual assistance, contribute towards efficient performance of the supervisory functions, and enable effective enforcement of laws and regulations governing the securities markets.

Environment

Kevadia: It is a place in Gujarat where the Ministry’s Environment Education Division & GEER (Gujarat Ecological Education and Research) Foundation, have jointly organized the 1st Annual Meet of the State Nodal Agencies implementing the National Green Corps (NGC) ‘Ecoclub’ programme of the Ministry of the Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) in Kevadia, Gujarat.

The book ‘Glimpses of Ecoclubs’, a handbook on International Environment Conventions and Programmes & Handbook on Important Days of Environmental significance was also released at the event. Best Ecoclub Award at National level was also awarded to the students of the Ecoclub from Chhattisgarh, Kerala and Telangana who bagged 1st , 2nd  and 3rd spot respectively for their contribution in waste management, resource management, water conservation, biodiversity conservation

NGC: It refers to National Green Corps programme that is a sub part of Environment Education Awareness and Training (EEAT) which is a central sector scheme of the Ministry of the Environment continuing since 1983-84.

It was started in 2001-02 by the Ministry of Environment Forests and Climate Change. The main objective of the programme is to provide opportunities for children to understand the environment and environmental problems through school eco-clubs.

MoEFCC: It refers to Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. It was established 1985. It's headquarters is in New Delhi.

Equador oil spill:  Ecuador activated emergency protocols in the Galapagos Islands to contain the environmental impact of a fuel spill in the Galapagos Islands. This step was taken to reduce the environmental risk after a barge carrying 600 gallons of diesel fuel sank. The accident occurred in a port on San Cristobal Island, the easternmost island in the chain when the crane loading a container onto the barge collapsed and fell destabilizing the ship and caused it to sink.

The Galapagos archipelago is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is home to one of the most fragile ecosystems on the planet.

Buccinatormyia gangnami: It is a name given to a fossilized insect. It is about 110 million years. It looks a lot like a modern wasp or hoverfly. It has a black and yellow 'yellowjacket' pattern and is twice as large as a common house fly.

Russian and South Korean paleontologists discovered 110 million years old ‘Gangnam style’ fly in Jinju City, South Korea. The discovery of this new species of extinct pollinating flies, which lived during the first half of the Cretaceous period, about 110 million years ago, when the angiosperm radiation occurred, has been named as the “Gangnam style” fly as the flies resemble the steps of the popular song. The researchers have deduced from the length of its proboscis that these insects were nectar feeders and probably fed on the world’s first flowers.

Groundwater Groundwater is defined as water that is found beneath the surface of the Earth in conditions of 100% saturation (if it is less than 100 percent saturation, then the water is considered soil moisture).  It represents 99 percent of Earth's available fresh water.

Groundwater Depletion: More than 1,100 scientists, practitioners and experts in ground water and related fields from 92 countries across the world have petitioned and asked the authorities and non-government agencies to act immediately in order to ensure global groundwater sustainability. As 99% of the Earth’s freshwater is groundwater, it is being polluted or the level is depleted in many regions. This can cause a huge impact in the future. So it was time for action to make efforts to save the groundwater.

Locusts: Locusts are a collection of certain species of short-horned grasshoppers in the family Acrididae that have a swarming phase. These insects are usually solitary, but under certain circumstances they become more abundant and change their behavior and habits, becoming gregarious. Locust swarms devastate crops and cause major agricultural damage causing human misery, famine and starvation. They occur in many parts of the world, but today locusts are most destructive in sustenance farming regions of Africa. They are migratory insects.

Locust Invasion: The locusts, locally known as Tiddis have swarmed the northern parts of Gujarat. It has destroyed standing crops of castor, cumin, jatropha, cotton, and potato, and fodder grass in around 20 talukas. Gujarat witnessed such an invasion of locusts after 1993-94. The insects were flying from Pakistan’s  Sindh province and spread in the villages of Gujarat and Rajasthan. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) had issued an alert of a massive locust attack in South Asia covering Pakistan and India. The Locust Warning Organization (LWO) in Jodhpur had also predicted their trajectory across the international border beforehand.

The locusts emerged from Sudan and Eritrea in Africa's Red Sea Coast and travelled through Saudi Arabia and Iran to enter Pakistan. They invaded the Sindh Province in Pakistan and moved towards Gujarat and Rajasthan.

FAO: It refers to UN Food and Agriculture Organization. It is headquartered in Rome. It operates the Desert Locust Information Service (DLIS). It monitors desert locusts all over the world and provides information about locust situation. It even prepares publication and training against such invasion.

LWO: It refers to Locust Warning Organization. It was established in 1939. It is headquartered in Jodhpur, Rajasthan. It operates under Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). Its responsibility is to monitor and the controlling of the locust situation in Scheduled Desert Areas mainly in Rajasthan and Gujarat, and partly in Punjab and Haryana. 

Indian Policy

FoPL: It stands for Front Of Packet Labeling. It refers to symbols and rating systems, including shelf-tag labels, which are designed to summarize the key nutritional characteristics of food products. Front-of-package labels have been proposed as an approach to help consumers make healthier food choices at the point of purchase. It is also an important policy tool for countries to help consumers to make healthier food choices. India for the first time included FoPL within the draft for Food Safety and Standards (Libeling and Display Regulations), 2019. FoPL seeks to make consumers aware about products that are high in sugar, fat and salt content. It consists of two aspects namely- threshold limit and the way the limit is depicted on packets of processed food. The thresholds are based on World Health Organization norms developed after years of deliberations for countries like India.

Pawan Kumar Agarwal, chief executive of Food Safety Standards Association of India (FSSAI) which is the country’s apex food regulatory has announced that the front of packet labeling will be delinked from its general labeling regulation.

Delinking: It means cutting off or breaking the connection. The decision of delinking the FoPL from labeling regulations was made because the thresholds that the companies follow were not up to Indian Standards. As per the report of Centre for Science and Environment- the 33 foods, 19 fast foods, four different types of wrapped sandwiches, fried chicken, pizza which was tested showed high content of salt and fat in the food items. FASSAI will now set a new threshold for FoPL which needs to be defined across the food categories. 

BCPL: It refers to Brahmaputra Cracker and Polymer Limited. It is a central public sector undertaking. It is implementing the Assam Gas Cracker Project, which is seen as part of the implementation of the Assam peace accord signed on 15 August 1985, with a view to bring socioeconomic development of region and would also give impetus to the development of the northeastern region.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the transfer of administrative control of Brahmaputra Cracker and Polymer (BCPL), the Central Public Sector Undertaking implementing the Assam Gas Cracker Project (AGCP) from Department of Chemicals & Petrochemicals to Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas (MOP&NG).

CCS: It refers to Chief of Defense Staff. The CCS chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the creation of a Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) post that will function as a single point of contact for different branches of armed forces and as the Principal Military Adviser to the Defense Minister on tri-service matters. A report by a high-level committee headed by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, which finalized responsibilities and framework for operation of CDS has also been approved by the CCS. Bipin Rawat at present is the Chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee (CSC) is Chief of Army Staff (CoAS). However, he does not function in capacity of a CDS. The government is likely to appoint the country's first CDS in the next few days

CDS: It refers to Chief of Defence Staff. The cabinet has approved the creation of the post of chief of defence staff. The CDS will be a four-star general who maybe from the Army, the Air Force or the Navy. His salary will be equal to that of the service chief. CDS will head the department of military affairs. The department will be created under Defense Ministry. Described as 'first among equals' among service chiefs, the CDS will be tasked with trimming weapons procurement procedures and integrating operation of the armed forces. It will also serve as the unified military advisor to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defense.

The CDS will not exercise any military command over the three service chiefs. The post will have a fixed term that has yet to be determined. All P-5 nations - the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council - have equivalent posts.

Kargil Review Committee: It is a committee that was set up after Kargil War (1999), to examine lapses in security after war, in which Pakistani soldiers infiltrated into India, occupied key positions in Kargil Mountains and triggered the war. CDS to oversee military was first recommended by the Kargil Review Committee. In a landmark military reform, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 15 announced from the Red Fort that India would have a CDS as head of the tri-services.

Good Governance Day: It is observed on the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. On the occasion of the Good Governance Day, Dr. Jitendra Singh launched the Good Governance Index (GGI) at the event organized by the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions.

GGI: It refers to Good Governance Index. It is a scientifically designed uniform tool across states to assess the status of governance and impact of various interventions and union territories. GGI seeks to provide a reference threshold for future documentation of good governance index. The other objectives of the GGI is also to give quantifiable data,  to compare the state of governance in all states and UTs, enable them to formulate and implement suitable strategies for improving governance & shift to result-oriented approaches.

The ten sectors that the GGI considers are- Agriculture and Allied Sectors, Commerce & Industries, Human Resource Development, Public Health,  Public Infrastructure & Utilities, Economic Governance, Social Welfare & Development, Judicial & Public Security, Environment and Citizen-Centric Governance. The states and UTs are divided into three groups: a). Big States, b). North-East & Hill States and c). UTs.

Tamil Nadu topped in Good Governance Index in the “Big States” category, Himachal Pradesh ranked first In the North East and hill states category, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram and Daman and Diu ranked first in the agricultural ranking and  Delhi, Uttarakhand and Jharkhand ranked first under the category of commerce and industries.

Indian polity

Union Cabinet: The Union Cabinet approved the Atal Bhujal Yojana (ABY) on December 24, 2019. It is a Central Sector Scheme which has a total outlay of 6,000 cr rupees for sustainable management of ground water resources.  This scheme is being implemented in identified states like – Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh. These states have been selected according to the level of groundwater exploitation and degradation. 

ABY: It refers to Atal Bhujal Yojana (Atal Jal). The scheme aims to promote active participation of the communities in various activities such as formation of water user associations, monitoring and disseminating ground  water data, water budgeting, preparation and implementation of gram panchayat-wise water security plans and information, education and communication (IEC) activities related to sustainable ground water management.

Indian Railways: It is one of the world's largest railway network consists of freight, passengers, tourist, Suburban rail systems, toy train and luxury trains. IR has 4,337 operating railway stations, operates on a multi-gauge network of broad, meter and narrow gauges. It was founded on 16 April 1853.

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved a transformational organisational restructuring of the Indian Railways. The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved a transformational organizational restructuring of the Indian Railways. This historic reform seeks to go a long way in achieving Government's vision of making Indian Railways the growth engine of India's vikas yatra.

The reforms include the unification of eight Group A services of the Railways into a Central Service called Indian Railway Management Service (/RMS). It is expected to end departmentalism, promote smooth working and expedite decision-making. Railway Board will be headed by Chairman Railway Board (CRB). The re-organized board will have one Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and four members along with a few independent members.

Assam Cabinet:   The Assam Cabinet has approved to make Assamese language the state language of Assam. This will exclude BTAD (Bodoland Territorial Administrative Districts), Barak Valley and Hill districts of Assam. Assamese language will be made compulsory in all the school of Assam too. The cabinet proposal targets at fulfilling the demands of the Assamese speaking majority in the Brahmaputra Valley in the wake of rising insecurities among the people after the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) was passed in both Houses of the Parliament earlier this month.

Article 345: Article 345 of the Indian Constitution says that subject to provisions of Article 346 and 347, the State Legislature might adopt one or more languages to be used as official languages.

Article 346: As per Article 346, the states are authorized to decide on the language of communications amongst them after the approval of the Central Government.

Article 347: Under this article, special provisions are provided to language spoken in a section of population. The President of India shall assent on the usage of the language is sees it is necessary.

The state cabinet also decided to bring a new bill securing the land rights for the indigenous people. As per the new bill, only indigenous people could sell or buy land from another indigenous citizen.

International

Cuba: Cuba, officially the Republic of Cuba, is a country comprising the island of Cuba as well as Isla de la Juventud and several minor archipelagos. Cuba is located in the northern Caribbean where the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean meet. Its capital city is Havana.

Manuel Marrero Cruz: He has been appointed as Cuba's first PM in more than 40 years. He was appointed by the Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel.

He served as tourism minister from 2004, late in revolutionary hero Fidel Castro’s administration, continuing in the post under Fidel’s brother Raul and the current president, Diaz-Canel. His appointment as the head of government is part of a process of decentralization and generational change from the revolutionary old guard which is aimed at extending and protecting Communist Party rule.

The ECO: It is the name of the new common currency. Recently, 8t West African nations have agreed to change the name of their common currency from ‘CFA franc’ to ‘Eco’ and severed their earlier currency CFA Franc's links to former colonial ruler France. The 8 African countries are nations- Ivory Coast, Mali, Benin, Burkina Faso, Niger, Senegal, Togo, and Guinea-Bissau. All these countries, except Guinea-Bissau, are former French colonies. The announcement was made during the visit by Emmanuel Macron (French President) to Ivory Coast on 21st December 2019. Eco usage will come in to force in 2020. This decision was taken after Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) had urged members to make efforts to establish a common currency.

According to the President of Ivory Coast the changing of the name of the currency will stop any interference of France in relation to the currency of these countries.

Prior to this, all of these nations used 'CFA franc' as their currency. The CFA Franc was initially pegged to the French franc and has been linked to the euro for about two decades.

CFA Franc: It is the name of two currencies, the West African CFA franc, used in eight West African countries, and the Central African CFA franc, used in six Central African countries. Both currencies are guaranteed by the French treasury. The currency was created in 1945 and was seen as sign of interference in its former African colonies even after these countries became independent.

Space Force: It is described as the world's newest war-fighting domain. The launch of the Space Force is the first in more than 70 years. The new military service falls under the US Air Force. It will be funded by an initial 40million Dollar for its first year. It was created in August to handle the US military's space operations. It would comprise of around 16,000 Air Force and civilian personnel. The Space Force will be administered by Secretary of Air Force.

US President Donald trump officially launched the new US military service' Space Force' at an army base near Washington. The US president said that amid grave threats to the national security of the country, American superiority in space was absolutely vital. The Space Force would help in deterring aggression and controlling the ultimate high ground.

The function of the Space Force is not to put troops into orbit but to protect the US assets such as the hundreds of satellites used for communication and surveillance.

WEF: It refers to the World Economic Forum. The WEF is an international organization headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland that brings together its membership on a yearly basis to discuss major issues concerning the world political economy.

3000 Global Leaders are scheduled to meet at 50th World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting in Switzerland's Davos. The event will be held from January 21 to 24 next year. The Geneva-based WEF has selected "stakeholders for a cohesive and sustainable world" as the theme of the meeting. The event is expected to have huge expectations as the UN Global Climate Summit failed to meet the required.

The meet is to be attended by the global leaders from all over the world. It includes Russian President Putin, US President Trump and other leaders of top polluters. However, China, which is one of the top 5 polluters of the world, is to skip the event.

The leaders of countries who are to attend the meeting include India, Norway, Iraq, Switzerland, and Afghanistan among others. Union Ministers Piyush Goyal and Mansukh Mandaivya, ministers and the chief ministers or 3 states along with 100 CEOs will attend the event from India.

Even though the WEF meet does not focus on climate, it will make key decisions considering climate change as one of the factors.

National

India-Swiss air service pact: The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modioy approved the 'Signing of Protocol' to amend the Air Services Agreement between Swiss Federal Council of Switzerland and Indian Government related to air services and to exchange diplomatic notes with Switzerland for bringing the amendments in the air services agreement into force.

The protocol will allow more number of airlines to start flight operations between two countries. Till now only 2 airlines were permitted.

The amendments in the air serviced agreement will enable the designated airlines of India and Switzerland freely to decide reasonable tariff without resorting to anti-competitive and predatory behavior. The agreement also notifies the number of destinations in each country to which flight operations can be conducted by other country's airline. As per the agreement designated airline(s) may also use aircraft leased from other company or airline(s), but lesser not to exercise the rights it doesn’t have.

However, before a country’s airline can operate international flights, a bilateral air services agreement has to be negotiated for deciding as to how many total flights (or seats) each week can be allowed from one nation to another.

The amendment seeks to provide enabling environment for enhanced as well as seamless connectivity and to bring it in tune with developments in civil aviation sector. It will also provide commercial opportunities to carriers of both sides ensuring greater safety and security.

India-China Border Dispute: The India-China border dispute covers 3,488-km-long Line of Actual Control (LAC). China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of southern Tibet, something India fiercely contests.

The Indian and Chinese representatives met in New Delhi for the 22nd time to discuss the border issued between both the countries. The Chinese delegation was led by its Foreign Minister Wang Yi, while National Security Advisor Ajit Doval represented the Indian side. Both the countries agreed to intensify their efforts for an early settlement of the boundary dispute. Also, the countries recognized the importance of improving the level of military and security exchanges and cooperation.

This is the first meeting of the representatives of both India and China since the second informal summit that was held in Chennai between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping.

National Farmers Day: National farmers Day or the Kisan Divas observed every year in India on the 23rd of December to commemorate the birth anniversary of the 5th Prime Minister of India, Choudhary Charan Singh. It was decided by the government of India to celebrate Farmers Day in 2001. It is believed that ‘Zamindari Abolition Bill-1952’ was passed due to Chaudhary Charan Singh’s hard work. The government organizes many programs and debates, seminars on agriculture on this day. the day seeks to promote awareness among the citizens to understand the importance of the contributions of the farmers to the society. Farmers are considered to be the backbone of India's economic development as more than 40% of the total employment in India, is employed in the Agricultural sector. The day is widely celebrated in states such as Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh.

Chaudhary Charan Singh: He served as the Prime Minister of India between 28 July 1979 and 14 January 1980. He is often referred to as the ‘champion of India’s peasants or the leader of the Indian farmers. He was born on 23 December 1902 in a rural peasant Jat family. He entered into politics during the Independence Movement motivated by Gandhiji and he served as a member of Legislative Assembly of the United Provinces elected in 1937. In the post-independence period, he was one of three principal leaders of Congress from Uttar Pradesh. He left the Congress in 1967 and became the first non-Congress chief minister of UP. He passed away in 1987. His memorial in New Delhi is named as Kisan Ghat. Books like the Abolition of Zamindari, India's Poverty and Its Solutions and the Legend Proprietorship were written by him. He introduced many policies to improve the lives of Indian farmers. The National Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) was established during his reign.

National Mathematics Day: The day is observed on 22 December every year to mark the birth anniversary of legendary self-taught Indian mathematician, Srinivasa Ramanujan for his contributions in the field of mathematics. The Union Government headed by the former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh declared 22nd December as the National Mathematical Day on the occassion of the 125th birth anniversary of the great mathematician Srinivasa Iyengar Ramanujan in Chennai in the year 2012. The Indian government had also declared 2012 as the National Mathematical year. The day was celebrated across the country for the first time. The day aims to raise awareness among people about the importance of mathematics for the development of humanity.

Srinivasa Ramanujan: He was born on December 22, 1887, into a Tamil brahmin Iyenger family in Erode, Madras Presidency. He was an Indian mathematician who lived during the British Rule in India. Though he had almost no formal training in pure mathematics, he made substantial contributions to mathematical analysis, number theory, infinite series, and continued fractions, including solutions to mathematical problems then considered unsolvable. His ideas continue to shape mathematics of the 21st century. He is also know for the Hardy-Ramanujan number- ‘1729’, which is the smallest number which can be represented as sum of two different cubes in two different ways. The number wa discovered by both Ramanujan and british Mahemaician G.H. Hardy.

 India celebrated his 131st birth anniversary this year. The theme of the workshop this year was- Indian Contribution during Vedic Period Indian Contribution during Classical period Indian Contribution during the medieval period.

National Consumer Day:  It is observed every year on the 24th of December in India. It is observed on this day because the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 was enacted on this day. The objective of celebrating this day is to make the consumers aware about their rights and responsibilities. The theme this year for National Consumer Day is ' Alternate consumer grievance/dispute redressal'.

People In News

Harsh Vardhan Shringla: He is an Indian diplomat and the current Indian Ambassador to the United States. He previously served as the High Commissioner of India to Bangladesh and Ambassador to Thailand.

He has been chosen as the next Foreign Secretary. He will take charge after Vijay Keshav Gokhale's two-year term ends next month. The appointment has been cleared by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, according to the order by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT).

Monisha Ghosh: She is an Indian-American who has been appointed as the first woman Chief Technology Officer at the US government’s powerful Federal Communications Commission (FCC). She will advise Indian-American Chairman of the FCC Ajit Pai and the agency on technology and engineering issues. She will also  work closely with the Office of Engineering and Technology. Dr Ghosh will take charge on January 13. She replaces Dr Eric Burger.

FCC: It refers to Federal Communications Commission. It was established on 19 June 1934 by Franklin D. Roosevelt. It’s headquartered in Washington, USA. It is an independent agency of the United States government created by statute to regulate interstate communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable.

R. Nagaswamy: He is renowned Indian historian, archaeologist and epigraphist. He served as the founder-director of Tamilnadu Archaeology Department. In 2018 he was awarded India's third highest civilian award Padma Bhushan.

He was honored at the Silver Jubilee International Conference of Art held in Dhaka by Bangladesh Culture Minister K.M. Khalid. He was honored for the contribution of Nagaswamy to art, archaeology, history, and culture. The Silver Jubilee volume of the Journal of Bengal Art was dedicated to him. The art carries articles by international scholars.

Sangita Reddy: She is the Joint Managing Director of Apollo Hospitals Group. She has been appointed as the President of FICCI for 2019-20. She succeeds Sandip Somany, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director, HSIL.

Uday Shanker: He is the President of The Walt Disney Company APAC & Chairman of Star & Disney India. He has been elevated as Senior Vice President of FICCI.

Sanjiv Mehta: He is the Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL). He was appointed as the Vice President of FICCI.

FICCI: It is the abbreviation for Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry. It was established in 1927. It's headquarters in in New Delhi.

Major Anup Mishra: He is Major from the Indian Army. He has developed a bulletproof jacket named ‘Sarvatra,’ which can stop bullets being shot by a sniper rifle. The jacket developed at the College of Military Engineering, Pune. He decided to develop a bulletproof jacket the day he was hit by a stray bullet on his coat during an operation when he was deployment in Jammu and Kashmir. With this technology, India has becomes the only third country in the world to have capacity to build this kind of bullet-proof jacket. Currently he is posted as the instructor at College of Military engineering, Pune, Maharashtra.

Major Anoop Mishra was honored with the prestigious Army Design Bureau (ADB) Excellence Award for developing bulletproof jacket 'Sarvatra' by the 27th Chief of Indian Army General Bipin Rawat.

ADB: It refers to the Army Design Bureau. The ADB was set up to work together with industry and academia and develop indigenous solutions for the Indian Army.

Places In News

Sikkim: It a state in northeastern India. It borders Tibet in the north and northeast, Bhutan in the east, Nepal in the west, and West Bengal in the south. Sikkim is also located close to India's Siliguri Corridor near Bangladesh. Sikkim is the least populous and second smallest among the Indian states. India’s highest mountain, 8,586m Kangchenjunga lies in this state. Sikkim is also home to glaciers, alpine meadows and thousands of varieties of wildflowers. Sikkim was the first fully organic state of the country where all farming is carried out without the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.

SIFFCO: It refers to Sikkim Indian Farmers Fertilizer Cooperative Organics. Chief Minister of Sikkim Prem Singh Tamang laid down the foundation stone of two Integrated Processing Units of Sikkim Indian Farmers Fertilizer Cooperative Organics Ltd.(SIFFCO) in Rangpoc East Sikkim. Sikkim IFFCO is a joint a joint venture between the world's largest fertilizer Cooperative, IFFCO and Government of Sikkim. SIFFCO aims to market and produce the organic produce of the country with its main focus on Sikkim and other north-eastern states of India. It will mainly operate in commercial crops that are ginger, turmeric, large cardamom and buckwheat.

Hyderabad: It is the capital of southern India's Telangana state. It is a major center for the technology industry. Its historic sites include Golconda Fort, a former diamond-trading center that was once the Qutb Shahi dynastic capital and the Charminar which is a 16th-century mosque whose 4 arches support towering minarets.

IRCS: It refers to the Indian Red Cross Society. It is a voluntary humanitarian organization to protect human life and health based in India. It is part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, and so shares the Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. It was founded in 1920 by Claude Hill, headquartered in New Delhi.

Mobile app:  President Ram Nath Kovind launched a mobile app of the Indian Red Cross Society, Telangana State Branch at Raj Bhavan, Hyderabad. Telangana Centre for Good Governance developed this app which is accessible in all languages. The developers informed that the access to blood bank and Red Cross membership will become easy with the launching of the mobile app.

Andhra Pradesh: Andhra Pradesh is a state bordering India’s southeastern coast. Major cultural landmarks include Tirumala Venkateswara Temple, an ornate hilltop shrine to Hindu’s Vishnu, in the southern part of the state. It is the seventh-largest state in India. The chief Minister of Andra Pradesh is YS Jaganmohan Reddy and the Governor is Biswa Bhusan Harichanda.

Netanna Nestham: It is a welfare scheme for weavers. The Chief Minister of Andra Pradeesh launched Nethanna Nestham’ scheme at Dharmavaram in Anantapur district. The YSR Netanna Nestham scheme provides an annual incentive of Rs 24,000 for handloom weavers. The aim of the scheme is to help the weavers who have been facing financial crisis and heavy debts.

Tamil Nadu: Tamil Nadu is the tenth largest state in India. The bordering states are Kerala to the west, Karnataka to the north west and Andhra Pradesh to the north. To the east is the Bay of Bengal and the state encircles the union territory of Puducherry. It was formed on 1 November 1956. Its capital is Chennai. The Chief Minister of TAmil Nadu is Edappadi K. Palaniswami

Fisheries and Aquaculture Development Fund:  The First tripartite Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) was signed under Fisheries and Aquaculture Development Fund (FIDF) between the department of Fisheries Government of India, NARBARD and the Government of Tamil Nadu. The agreement was signed for the implementation FIDF.

FIDF: It refers to Fisheries and Aquaculture Development Fund. It was formed in 2018 to boost fish production to achieve the target of producing 15 million tonnnes of fish production by 2020 and 20 million tones by 2022-23 from current production of 11.4 million tones. The FIDF will provide finance to the eligible entities, cooperatives, entrepreneurs and individuals for development of identified fisheries infrastructure. The projects are to be implemented in the southern coasts of Tamil Nadu.

NLEs: It refers to Nodal Loaning entities. The NLEs for the fund are the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) and all scheduled banks. The Fund provides concessional finance under the FIDF to take up investment activities of fisheries development.

NCDC: It is an abbreviation of National Cooperative Development Corporation. It was established by an Act of Parliament in 1963 as a statutory Corporation under Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare.  It has many regional centers to provide financial assistance to Cooperatives or Societies or Federations.

NABARD: It is the acronym for India’s apex development bank, which is the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development. It was set up in 1982 after the recommendation of the Committee to Review Arrangements of Institutional Credit for Agriculture and Rural Development (CRAFICARD)

With headquarters in Mumbai, NABARD has branches across India. It was formed by a special parliamentary act. The main objective of the  organization was the advancement of rural India by enhancing the flow of credit for the upliftment of agriculture as well as the rural non-agricultural sector.

Jammu & Kashmir: It is a union territory of India (until October 31, 2019, a state). It is the northern-most state of India and shares its borders with Himachal Pradesh and Punjab, and the neighbouring countries of Pakistan, China and Afghanistan.

Chillai Kalan: The traditional 40-day period of harshest winter in Kashmir known as ‘Chillai-Kalan’ began on 21 December 2019. It begins with Winter Solstice, It is a period when the chances of snowfall are maximum and most frequent. The weather remains cold during this period as the day temperature also dips drastically, freezing most of the water bodies including the famous Dal Lake. Chillai-Kalan is followed by Chillai-Khurd and Chillai-Bachha. A 20-day long Chillai-Khurd (small cold) starts from January 31 to February 19 and a 10-day long Chillai-Bachha (baby cold) occurs between 20th February and 2nd of March.

Jharkhand: It is a state in eastern India, created on 15 November 2000.  Previously, it was the southern half of Bihar. The state shares its border with the states of Bihar to the north, Uttar Pradesh to the northwest, Chhattisgarh to the west, Odisha to the south and West Bengal to the east. It is also known as the bush land or the land of forests of India. Its capital and sub-capital is Ranch and Dumka respectively. The state is known for its waterfalls, hills and holy places like the Baidyanath Dham, Parasnath and Rajrappa.

Jharkhand Election 2019: The elections took place in five phases between November 30 and December 20. The JMM-Congress-RJD alliance staged massive victory with 47 seats in the 81-member Jharkhand assembly on December 23, 2019. JMM's Hemant Soren is likely to be the next Chief Minister of Jharkhand.

Science and Technology

DRDO: It refers to the Defense Research Development Organization. The DRDO is an agency of the Government of India, charged with the military's research and development, headquartered in New Delhi, India. It was founded in 1958.

The Defense Research Development Organization (DRDO) test fired the Quick Reaction Surface to Air Missile (QRSAM) successfully. The test fire was conducted on 23 December 2019 at the Integrated Test Range, Chandipur, off the Odisha coast.  The QRSAM was flight-tested with full configuration in deployment mode intercepting the target mid-air, meeting the mission objectives. The entire event was monitored by Ground Telemetry Systems, Range Radar Systems and Electro Optical Tracking System.

QRSAM: Quick Reaction Surface to Air Missile System (QRSAM) is a Short Range Surface to Air Missile system designed to protect moving armored columns from aerial attacks. The entire weapon system is configured on highly mobile platforms and is capable of providing air defense on the move. It was developed by DRDO along with Bharat Electronics Limited for the Indian Army.

New Laser Technology: scientists in China have developed a new laser technology that is the 'space junk identification system' that can measure the space junk accurately. The researchers found a new way of using lasers to find space junk in a way similar to how bats use echolocation to track their prey. A unique set of algorithms for the laser ranging telescopes has improved the success rate of space debris detection. Laser ranging technique uses laser reflection from the objects to measure their distance. However, it has proved tricky to exactly pinpoint the swift, small specks of space Junk.

Space Junk: Earth is surrounded by space junk. This junk is formed from fragments of old satellites to exploded spacecraft. The clutter is a potential hazard for current and future spaceflight. Even small pieces of space junk can damage satellites and spacecraft as they whiz around Earth at up to about 17,500 mph. According to NASA uncountable debris is as small as a marble while millions are too small to be traced and some are just paint flecks from spacecraft. Even these very tiny particles have caused damage to the windows of the International Space Station.   

Annular eclipse: An annular solar eclipse happens when the Moon covers the Sun's center, leaving the Sun's visible outer edges to form a “ring of fire” or annulus around the Moon. The ring of fire marks the maximum stage of an annular solar eclipse.

The annular solar eclipse occured in 26 December 2019. The eclipse was witnessed by thousands of people, including children and the aged, especially in northern districts of Kerala, while in some places, due to the clouds, it was not visible. The rare spectacle was first visible at Cheruvathur in Kasaragod, in the state followed by places in Kozhikode and Kannur.

Hundreds of devotees also reached the Ganga Ghat in Uttar Pradesh's Varanasi for a holy dip in the river and offered special prayers on the occasion of solar eclipse.

Russia: Russia, officially the Russian Federation, is a transcontinental country in Eastern Europe and North Asia. Its Capital is Moscow. The currency used there is Russian ruble. The President of Russia is Vladimir Putin.

Russia has deployed its ‘world’s first’ unstoppable hypersonic nuclear weapon. Russia’s defense ministry stated that a new hypersonic weapon with latest strategic missiles of intercontinental range has become operational.

Avangard Hypersonic missile system: It is Russia’s first missile unit equipped with Avangard Hypersonic glide vehicle. It can carry a nuclear weapon of up to 2 megatons. It is designed using new composite materials to withstand temperatures of up to 2,000 Celsius resulting from a flight through the atmosphere at hypersonic speeds. The Avangard is ‘invulnerable to interception’ and can travel at 27 times the speed of sound, before unleashing a two megaton blast more than 100 times as powerful as the bomb which wiped out Hiroshima.

China: China, officially the People's Republic of China, is a country in East Asia and is the world's most populous country. Its capital is Beijing. The currency used there is Renminbi. The President of China is Xi Jinping.

China has successfully launched its largest carrier rocket “Long March-5“carrying the Shijian-20 satellite. The rocket was launched from Wenchang Space Launch Center (WSLC) in south China’s Hainan Province. The rocket is also known as CZ-5. It was China’s third attempt to launch the rocket.

The Shijian-20 satellite is a communication satellite and it was placed into its designated orbit. The satellite will lay the foundation for the development of highly sensitive space probes. It is China’s heaviest and most advanced communications satellite in geosynchronous orbit.

Sports

Weightlifting: Olympic weightlifting, or Olympic-style weightlifting, often simply referred to as weightlifting, is a sport in which the athlete attempts a maximum-weight single lift of a barbell loaded with weight plates. The two competition lifts in order are the snatch and the clean and jerk.

Rakhi Halder: She is an Indian Weight lifter who has created two new national records. She clinched a bronze medal in the women's 64kg weight category at the Qatar International Cup in Doha. The Commonwealth Championship gold medalist obliterated the senior national record in both snatch and total lift with her personal best effort of 218kg (95kg in snatch + 123 kg in clean and jerk). Halder had clinched the gold with a combined effort of 214kg (94kg+120kg) at the Commonwealth Championship in June.

India ended the Olympic qualifying silver level event with three medals. Former world champion Mirabai Chanu had won the gold on the opening day while teenager Jeremy Lalrinnunga had claimed silver in a power-packed performance.

A weightlifter, to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, must compete in at least six tournaments within three six-month periods (November 2018 to April 2020).  Apart from this,the player has to participate in at least six events and in at least one gold and one silver-level event.

Wisden Cricketers' Almanack: It is the most famous sports book in the world, the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack has been published every year since 1864. Wisden 2019 contains coverage of first-class cricket all round the world, and reports on all Test matches, ODIs and T20 internationals. It is based in London, England.

Virat Kohli: He was named as the Wisden cricketers of the decade and also as the captain of the Wisden Test team of the decade. He is only the other Indian to feature in the list which includes Ravichandran Ashwin. Apart from Virat Kohli four other cricketers-Steve Smith and  women’s all-rounder Ellyse Perry from Australia, Dale Steyn and AB de Villiers from South Africa also found their place in the list.

ICC: It refers to the International Cricket Council. ICC recently released the ICC One Day International (ODI) rankings for batsmen.

Virat Kohli is on number one position while Rohit Sharma is number two ODI player. Rohit Sharma broke a 22-year-old record of Sanath Jayasuriya for most runs in a calendar by an opener.

ITF World Champions for 2019: The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has announced that Australia's Ashleigh Barty and Rafael Nadal of Spain have been named 2019 ITF World Champions. Ashleigh Barty and Rafael Nadal were named International Tennis Federation’s (ITF) World Champions in singles for 2019.

Barty is the first Australian to be named ITF Women's World Champion having become the first Australian woman to reach No.1 in the world rankings since Evonne Goolagong Cawley in 1976. She claimed her first Grand Slam title at Roland Garros. She lifted the trophy at the WTA Finals in Shenzen and led Australia to their first Fed Cup by BNP Paribas final since 1993.

The othe winner are:-

Timea Babos (Hungary) and Kristina Mladenovic (France) in Women Doubles

Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah (Colombia) in Men Doubles

Gustavo Fernandez (Argentina) in Men’s Wheelchair

Diede de Groot (Netherland) in Women’s Wheelchair

Dylan Alcott (Australia) in Quad

This awards will be presented at the 2020 ITF world champions 2nd June, in Paris.

Leander Paes: Leander Adrian Paes is an Indian professional tennis player. He has won 8 doubles and 10 mixed doubles Grand Slam titles. He holds a career Grand Slam in men's doubles and mixed doubles, and has achieved the rare men's doubles/mixed doubles double at the 1999 Wimbledon tournament.

The Indian tennis icon Leander Paes announced that 2020 will be his farewell year on the Pro-Circuit, brings down his nearly 3-decade-long professional career in 2020. The 46-year-old has hundreds of trophies including 18 coveted Grand Slam doubles titles.

Arts

Mandu: It is a small city in the state of Madhya Pradesh in India, now best known for a fort built by Baaz Bahadur in memory of his queen Rani Roopmati. Between 1401 and 1561 it was the capital of a Muslim state in the north of India. Mandu is a world-famous picturesque tourist destination located in Dhar district of the Madhya Pradesh.

Mandu Festival:  This festival is the first edition that is being celebrated in Mandu, Madhya Pradesh. It is a five day festival that will be celebrated till January 1 2020. The festival includes cultural, spiritual and adventure events. The fort city is celebrating the idea of 'Khojne mein kho jao'. The festival offers an electic mix of performing arts, art installations, workshops, nature trails, walks, architecture, food and music and much more.  The aim for celebrating this festival is to promote its global tourism destination and its bid to become a world heritage site in UNESCO.

Losar Festival: Losar is a festival in Tibetan Buddhism. It Marks the start of spring and the first day of the lunar calendar. Losar is a popular festival of Arunachal Pradesh. It is celebrated by the people of Monpa Tribe who are said to be inhabitants of Arunachal Pradesh since 500 BC. It is observed by Tibetans, Bhutanese, Tibetan Buddhists and certain ethnic groups in Pakistan, Nepal and India. It is celebrated on the 1st Day of Eleventh Month of Tibetan Calendar correlating to a date in the Gregorian calendar. The celebrations continue for 3 to 9 days. It is also observed in all the Himalayan states of the country in different times. To mark the beginning of New Year, prayer flags are hoisted at important religious places. The celebration includes making symbolic meals and offerings to God and Goddess. Houses are decorated with good luck signs for prosperous New Year and bounty of crops. Losar is also one of the major attractions for tourists in winter season, as the festival coupled with several ritual performances and traditional events.

The new Union territory of India, Ladakh, is celebrating Losar Festival to mark the Ladakhi New Year. Ladakh Buddhist Association in collaboration with the Union Territory Administration is organizing a grand celebration today at Chokanga Vihara in Leh. This festival is celebrated in various parts of Ladakh region.

National Tribal Dance Festival: It is an annual festival celebrated by aborigines and tribal of India. The festival celebrates the dances of Adivasi and tribal people in India as well as their indigenous tribal dance culture. It is held during the month of December. It is organized by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India in collaboration with IGRMS, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.

Raipur: It is the capital city of Chattisgarh. The first edition of National tribal Dance festival has been organized in Raipur. The inaugural function presided over by Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel. More than 1300 participants from 25 states & UTs of the country and six countries are participating in this three-day dance fest. These folk dance teams will present their respective folk art cultures. 43 styles of four different dance forms will be presented by 29 tribal groups. The artists from 6 countries including Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Belarus, Maldives, Thailand and Uganda will also perform at the event.

Andhra Pradesh: Andhra Pradesh is a state bordering India’s southeastern coast. It is the 4th largest State of India. Its capital city is Amravati. It is well known for its rich natural resources, temples and rivers. The state of Andhra also shares a part of the coastal areas of the Bay of Bengal. Telegu is the official language of Andra Pradesh.

ASI: It refers to the Archeological Survey of India. Archaeological Survey of India’s Epigraphy Branch in the Chebrolu village located in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh has recently discovered Sanskrit inscriptions which is believed that is it one of the oldest inscriptions of south India. This discovery predates the evolution of the language by almost 200 years. The inscriptions were spotted by local villagers when they were restoring and repairing local Bheemeshwara temple. As per ASI the recently discovered earliest epigraph is the evidence of the Saptamatrika cult.

Saptramatrikas are 7 female deities worshipped in Hinduism. The inscription is in Sanskrit and in Brahmi characters issued by Satavahana dynasty king Vijaya in 207 A.D. The newly discovered inscriptions records the construction of a Prasada (temple), a mandapa and consecration of images by a person named Kartika on the southern side of the temple of Goddess Saptamatrika at Tambrape. Tambrape is the ancient name of Chebrolou. An inscription in Prakrit language and of Brahmi characters belonging to the 1st century AD was also discovered in this region.

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