Daily news will speed up the preparation for the Civil Services Examination and it also plays a crucial role to grasp the current affairs topic comprehensively. Here we have covered most of the topics related to various categories including National, International, Sports, Science and Technology, and so on.

 1. Veterans Day

– Indian Armed Forces, celebrating Veteran’s Day on 14 Jan 2021.

– The day was chosen as recognition of the services rendered by the first Commander-in-Chief of Indian Armed Forces, Field Marshal KM Cariappa, OBE who retired on this day in 1953.

– ‘Wreath Laying Ceremonies and Veteran’s Meets’ are being organised in various Military Stations to mark our solidarity towards the Next of Kin (NoK) of our brave hearts and towards our veterans as a mark of respect to their selfless duty and sacrifices towards the Nation.

– Honourable Defense Mantri, Rajnath Singh along with Chief of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat will be attending the Veteran’s Meet at Air Force Station, Bengaluru.

–  NoK, Veterans and representatives of various ex-servicemen organisations will be in attendance.

– Celebrations in the National Capital will begin in the morning with the Wreath Laying Ceremony at National War Memorial. Senior military dignitaries selected serving personnel and many veterans will be paying homage at the National War Memorial.

– This event will be followed by a Veteran’s Meet being organised at Raina Auditorium, APS DhaulaKuan which will be attended by all three  Service Chiefs. Admiral Karambir Singh, Chief of Naval Staff will be the Chief Guest for the event.

– Veterans, representatives of ex-servicemen organisations, senior officials of the Ministry of Defence and three Services involved in the welfare of veterans will be in attendance. Entry is restricted and by invitation only due to COVID restrictions.

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2. Light Combat Aircrafts (LCA) ‘Tejas’

– The Cabinet met under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister in New Delhi on 13 January and has approved procurement of 73 LCA Tejas Mk-1A fighter aircraft and 10 LCA Tejas Mk-1 Trainer aircraft at the cost of Rs. 45,696 Crore along with Design and Development of Infrastructure sanctions worth Rs.1,202 Crore.

– Light Combat Aircraft Mk-1A variant is an indigenously designed,  developed and manufactured state-of-the-art modern 4+ generation fighter aircraft.

– This aircraft is equipped with critical operational capabilities of Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Radar, Beyond Visual Range (BVR) Missile, Electronic Warfare (EW) Suite and Air to Air Refuelling (AAR) would be a potent platform to meet the operational requirements of Indian Air Force, IAF.

– t is the first “Buy (Indian-Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured)” category procurement of combat aircraft with an indigenous content of 50% which will progressively reach 60% by the end of the programme.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 12 January, 2021

3. Republic Day Parade

– School children from four Delhi schools and Folk artists from East Zonal Cultural Centre, Kolkata  will take part in the cultural programme during the Republic Day Parade to be held at Rajpath on January 26, 2021

–  Ministry of Defence and Directorate of Education, Government of NCT of Delhi have selected 401 students and artists – 271 girls and 131 boys – from DTEA Senior Secondary Schools, Delhi; Mount Abu Public School, Rohini, Delhi; Vidya Bharti School, Rohini, Delhi; Government Girls Senior Secondary School, B-2, Yamuna Vihar, Delhi and Eastern Zonal  Cultural Centre, Kolkata.

– AATMA Nirbhar Bharat: Vision for a Self Reliant India is the theme of Mount Abu Public School, Delhi and Vidya Bharti School,  Delhi in which  38 boys and 54 girls will participate.

– 102 students of Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Delhi will present a programme on the theme “ Hum Fit  Toh India Fit” inspired by the Fit India Movement launched by Prime Minister  Narendra Modi on National Sports Day on 29th August 2019.

– 127 children from DTEA Senior Secondary Schools, Delhi will showcase folk dances of Tamil Nadu in their traditional attires.

– 80 folk artists of Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre, Kolkata will present the folk dance Bajasal from  Kalahandi, Odisha.

– The number of participating children and folk artists have been cut down to 400 this year, compared to more than 600 last year, in view of the Covid-19 restrictions.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 11 January, 2021

4. D Prakash Rao

– The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has expressed grief over the demise of  Shri D Prakash Rao.

– n a tweet, the Prime Minister said, “Saddened by the demise of Shri D Prakash Rao. The outstanding work that has been done will continue motivating people. He rightly saw education as a vital means to empowerment. I recall my meeting with him in Cuttack a few years ago. Condolences to his family and admirers. Om Shanti”.

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5. India at United Nations Security Council (UNSC)

– India, for the eighth time, has entered the United Nations Security Council (UNSC)as a non-permanent member recently. It will stay on the council for two years i.e 2021-22.

– India has served seven times in the UN Security Council.

– During 1950-51, India, as President of UNSC, presided over the adoption of resolutions calling for the cessation of hostilities during the Korean War and for assistance to the Republic of Korea.

– In 1967-68, India co-sponsored Resolution 238 extending the mandate of the UN mission in Cyprus.

– During1972-73, India pushed strongly for admission of Bangladesh into the UN.

– During 1977-78, India was a strong voice for Africa in the UNSC and spoke against apartheid and for Namibia’s independence in 1978.

– During 1984-85, India was a leading voice in UNSC for resolution of conflicts in the Middle East, especially Palestine and Lebanon.

– In 1991-92, participated in the first-ever summit-level meeting of the UNSC and spoke on its role in the maintenance of peace and security.

– In 2011-2012, India was a strong voice for developing world, peacekeeping, counter-terrorism and Africa. The first statement on Syria was during India’s Presidency at the UNSC.

– During the 2011-12 term, India chaired the UNSC 1373 Committee concerning Counter-Terrorism, the 1566 Working Group concerning a threat to international peace and security by terrorist acts, and Security Council 751/1907 Committee concerning Somalia and Eritrea.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 9 January, 2021

6. Five Years of Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana

– Recently, the flagship crop insurance scheme of the Government of India – the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) – has completed five years of its launch.

– PMFBY was launched on 13th January 2016.

The scheme was conceived as a milestone initiative to provide a comprehensive risk solution at the lowest uniform premium across the country for farmers.

– Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) provides a comprehensive insurance cover against the failure of the crop thus helping in stabilising the income of the farmers.

– All food & oilseed crops and annual commercial/horticultural crops for which past yield data is available.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 8 January, 2021

– The prescribed premium is 2% to be paid by farmers for all Kharif crops and 1.5% for all rabi crops. In the case of annual commercial and horticultural crops, the premium is 5%.

– Premium cost over and above the farmer share was equally subsidized by States and GoI. However, GoI shared 90% of the premium subsidy for the North Eastern States to promote the uptake in the region.

– The scheme was compulsory for loanee farmers availing Crop Loan/Kisan Credit Card (KCC) account for notified crops and voluntary for others.

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Daily news will speed up the preparation for the Civil Services Examination and it also plays a crucial role to grasp the current affairs topic comprehensively. Here we have covered most of the topics related to various categories including National, International, Sports, Science and Technology, and so on.

 1. Single Window Clearance System Web Portal

– Union Home Minister Shri Amit Shah inaugurated ‘Single Window Clearance System Web Portal’ in Coal Mining sector; also handed over the Charter of letters to the successful bidders in the country’s first Commercial Coal Mining Auction.

– Coal Sector has crossed an important milestone towards fulfilling the dream of Aatmanirbhar Bharat under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

– Coal Sector would play a very important role in achieving the target of a five trillion dollar economy by 2022.

– Commercial coal mining auctions will now facilitate Small and Medium Industries to receive coal supplies easily.

– In 2014, Government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi made many changes and today with full transparency in the Coal Sector, equal opportunities are available for all.

– 19 successful bidders allotted mines under the country’s first Commercial Coal Mining Auction; this will provide an estimated revenue of about Rs 6,500 crore to States every year and also create more than 70,000 jobs.

– Commercial Coal Mining Auction process will open the way for development in Central and Eastern tribal areas of the country.

– Rs. 46,000 crore District Mineral Development Fund created for people living near mines; has led to the development of tribal, Dalit, backward and poor people living in these areas.

– Government made several policy changes, taking important decisions in many sectors including Agriculture, Education, Space, Economy and Fertilizers; this scheme launched is also a part of this policy.

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2. First direct flight between Kalaburagi to Tirupati flagged off under UDAN

– Taking another step in boosting the regional aerial connectivity in India, Star Air commenced the direct daily flight operations from Kalaburagi, Karnataka to Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh under the RCS-UDAN (Regional Connectivity Scheme – Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) of Government of India.

– Attesting the dual objectives of the UDAN scheme; making air travel affordable for the people & simultaneously enhance its coverage in the country, 305 UDAN routes & 53 airports including 5 heliports and 2 Water Aerodromes have been operationalized till date.

– Inaugurated under the UDAN scheme, Kalaburagi airport recently completed a successful 1 year of service. The airport has become the fastest growing airport in the country.

– More than 1000 flights have ferried more than 43,000 people from the airport. To celebrate the hard work, commitment, and perseverance of the involved professionals, the officials of the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) and Airport Authority of India (AAI) were present at the route launch.

–  Tirupati city, also called as the ‘Spiritual Capital of Andra Pradesh’, is home to the most famous and auspicious Sri Venkateshwara Swamy Temple popularly called ‘Tirupati Balaji Temple’ which has its name in the most-visited shrine across the globe.

– The temple attracts 50,000 to 100,000 devotees every day. Apart from the Tirupati Balaji temple, the place is also famous for other historical temples, Sri Venkateshwara National Park, Deer Park, Tirupati, & Talakona Waterfalls, Tirupati.

– The century-old temples in Tirupati are one of the first choices of the pilgrims of the country. Moreover, the Tirumala Hills in Tirupati is the second oldest rock mountain hills in the world.

– Due to the unavailability of any direct transportation mode between these two cities, people had to travel either by road or had to opt for a rail journey combined with a road trip, which took more than 12 hours by road & more than 20 hours by train & bus to cover the entire journey of 630 km.

– Now, people can opt for a direct flight and cover this long-distance journey in just 70 mins.

– The airline, Star Air was awarded the Kalaburagi – Tirupati route under the RCS-UDAN-3 bidding process last year.

– The airline will be operating three weekly flights on the route and will deploy its 50-seater Embraer-145 luxury aircraft. With the flag-off, there are now 24 routes under the ambit of RCS-UDAN for Star Air.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 11 January, 2021

3. Professor Shashikumar Chitre

The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has expressed grief over the demise of Professor Shashikumar Chitre.

– In a tweet, the Prime Minister said, “Saddened to hear of the demise of Professor Shashikumar Chitre. He will be remembered for his work in astrophysics and subjects like solar physics, gravitational lensing and science education. His valuable work will continue inspiring students in the times to come. Om Shanti.”

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 9 January, 2021

4. ‘National Energy Conservation awards 2020’

– Relentless and continuous efforts to provide clean and green transportation to all its stakeholders and commuters has resulted in Indian Railway bagging 13 awards in three prestigious categories of National Energy Conservation Awards (NECA) for the year 2020, organized by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), Ministry of Power.

– Western Railway has been awarded the First Prize, Eastern Railway has been awarded the Second prize, North Eastern Railway & South Central Railway has been awarded Certificate of Merit in the Transport Category.

– In Building Category, Divisional Railway Manager’s offices at Bhavnagar and Rajkot have won the first and second prize respectively.

– Electrical Department, DRM Office, North Eastern Railway has been awarded Certificate of Merit.

– In Railway workshops subcategory, Diesel Loco Shed, South Central Railway, Vijayawada has bagged the First prize, Kanchrapara Workshop, Eastern Railway, North 24 Parganas has won the second prize.

– The certificate of Merit has been awarded to Mechanical Workshop, North Eastern Railway, Izzatnagar, Central Railway Workshop, Mysore, Mechanical Workshop, Dibrugarh, North East Frontier Railway and Central Workshop, Ponmalai, Southern Railway, Tiruchchirappalli.

– These awards have been given to Indian Railways’ zones and workshops for significant improvements in energy conservation by adopting various measures to promote energy efficiency.

– Indian Railways is committed to improving performance towards energy efficiency and clean environment in the coming years.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 8 January, 2021

5. Management Effectiveness Evaluation (MEE)

– Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar released Management Effectiveness Evaluation (MEE) of 146 National Park and Wildlife Sanctuaries in the Country.

– At present, India has a network of 903 Protected Areas in the country covering about 5% of the total geographic area of the country.

– In order to assess the efficacy of Protected Areas, evaluation of management effectiveness is required.

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– According to Prakash Javadekar, what other countries could not achieve, India has achieved and today has thriving biodiversity. “70% of the global tiger population, 70% of Asiatic lions and more than 60% of leopards population in India is a certificate of India’s thriving biodiversity, as these big cats sit at the top of the food chain and their growing numbers show the well being of the whole ecosystem.”

– He also announced that from this year onwards 10 best National Parks, 5 coastal and Marine parks and top five Zoos in the country will be ranked and awarded every year.

– Management Effectiveness Evaluation (MEE) of Protected Areas (PAs) has emerged as a key tool for PA managers and is increasingly being used by governments and international bodies to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the protected area management systems.

– The results of the present assessment are encouraging with an overall mean MEE score of 62.01% which is higher than the global mean of 56%.

– With this round of evaluation, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change(MoEFCC) successfully completed one full cycle of evaluating all terrestrial National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries of the country from 2006 to 2019.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 7 January, 2021

– MEE is a very important document that provides valuable guidance on various aspects of wildlife and protected area expand MEE of Marine Protected Areas.

– A new framework for MEE of Marine Protected Areas has been also jointly prepared by WII and MoEF&CC and it will be very useful document to implement.

– The Environment Minister also launched the Management Effectiveness Evaluation of Indian Zoos (MEE-ZOO) framework which proposes guidelines, criteria and indicators for the evaluation of zoos of the country through Management Effectiveness Evaluation Process (MEE-ZOO) in a manner which is discrete, holistic and independent.

– The assessment criteria and indicators look beyond the traditional concepts, include issues of animal welfare, husbandry and sustainability of resources and finance.

IAS Prelims Mock-Test 2021 – Set 88, 11 January

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Daily news will speed up the preparation for the Civil Services Examination and it also plays a crucial role to grasp the current affairs topic comprehensively. Here we have covered most of the topics related to various categories including National, International, Sports, Science and Technology, and so on.

 1. 51st International Film Festival of India

The 51st Edition of Asia’s oldest and India’s biggest festival, The International Film Festival of India (IFFI) which is to be held in Goa from 16th January to 24th January 2021, has announced a line-up of programmes that will be showcased on the OTT platform during the festival.

– Taking into account the ongoing Pandemic, International Film Festival of India is holding its first-ever ‘hybrid’ Film festival. This year IFFI will organize a few of its events on the OTT platform for its audience.

– The Country in Focus for the 51st IFFI is Bangladesh.

– The Country in Focus is a special segment that recognizes the cinematic excellence and contributions of the country. This section at the 51st IFFI will showcase four films namely,

  1. Jibondhuli by TanvirMokammel
  2. Meghmallar by Zahidur Rahim Anjan
  3. Under Construction by Rubaiyat Hossain
  4. Sincerely Yours, Dhaka

About IFFI:

– The International Film Festival of India (IFFI), founded in 1952, is one of the most significant film festivals in Asia.

– Held annually, currently, in the state of Goa, the festival aims at providing a common platform for the cinemas of the world to project the excellence of the film art; contributing to the understanding and appreciation of film cultures of different nations in the context of their social and cultural ethos, and promoting friendship and cooperation among people of the world.

– The festival is conducted jointly by the Directorate of Film Festivals (under Ministry of Information and Broadcasting) and the state Government of Goa.

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2. COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout

The Centre has been proactively carrying activities towards preparing for the nationwide roll-out of COVID-19 vaccine in close collaboration with States/UTs and all stakeholders.

– The Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) today held a VC with administrators from States and UTs on the CoWIN software which forms the backbone of the last-mile vaccine administration.

– The meeting was chaired by Shri Ram Sewak Sharma, Chairman of Empowered Group on Technology and Data Management to combat COVID-19 and member, National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration of COVID-19.

– The meeting was attended by the State Principal Secretaries, NHM Mission Directors, and State Immunisation officers and senior officers of the Health Ministry.

– During the meeting the feedback of the States/UTs on the Co-WIN software and its operational use, emanating from the dry runs, was discussed in detail.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 9 January, 2021

3. MoRTH notifies rules for facilitating the renewal of an International driving licence while travelling abroad

– The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has issued a  notification on 7th Jan 2021  to facilitate the issuance of International Driving Permit (IDP) for Indian citizens whose IDP has expired while they are abroad.

– There was no mechanism for its renewal while citizens were abroad and their IDP had expired.

– Now, with this amendment, it is proposed that Indian citizens can apply for renewal through the Indian Embassies / Missions abroad, from where these applications would move to the VAHAN portal in India, to be considered by the respective RTOs. IDP would be couriered to the citizen at his/her address abroad by the respective RTOs.

– This notification also removes the conditions of a Medical Certificate and a valid visa at the time of making the request for the IDP in India.

– The idea is that a  citizen who has a valid driving licence should not have a requirement for another medical certificate.

– Further, there are countries where the Visa is issued on arrival or Visa is issued at the last moment: in such cases,  VISA is not available when applying for the IDP in India before travel. Hence,   IDP application can be made without VISA now.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 8 January, 2021

4. India-Mongolia Relations

– Recently, India and Mongolia have reviewed bilateral cooperation in hydrocarbons and steel sectors.

– India reiterated its commitment to timely completion of the Mongol Refinery Project, the country’s 1st oil refinery.

– The greenfield Mongol Refinery Project is being built under a Line of Credit from the Government of India. It is expected to cut some of Mongolia’s fuel import dependence.

– The Project came in the backdrop of Mongolia, which has large uranium deposits signing an agreement for civil nuclear cooperation with India in 2009 and China unfolding its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

– India is opposed to the BRI, which seeks to invest about USD 8 trillion in infrastructure projects across Asia, Europe and Africa, as it says the initiative lures countries into debt traps and does not respect sovereignty or address environmental concerns.

– India welcomed the keenness of Mongolian companies in supplying coking coal to the Indian steel industry. According to a recent report, India will overtake China as the largest importer of coking coal by 2025.

– India expressed its willingness to further share its expertise in the oil and gas sector including capacity building in accordance with the developmental priorities of Mongolia.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 7 January, 2021

5. Bird Flu in the several States of India

New Bird flu (avian influenza) cases have been confirmed in Gujarat recently, in addition to Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana where the disease has already been confirmed.

– Several states, which have been reporting deaths of birds, including crows and migratory species, are scrambling to have samples tested for the virus.

– Bird flu or avian influenza is the name used to describe a viral infection that is reported mostly in birds, but has the potential to affect humans and other animals.

– More than a dozen types of bird flu have been identified, including the two strains that have most recently infected humans namely H5N1 and H7N9. When bird flu does strike humans, it can be deadly.

– Outbreaks of bird flu have occurred in Asia, Africa, North America and parts of Europe. The virus was first reported in geese in China in 1996.

– Bird flu occurs naturally in wild waterfowl and can spread into domestic poultry, such as chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese.

– The H5N1 virus can jump species and infect humans from the infected bird.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 5 January, 2021

6. NCAVES India Forum 2021

– Natural Capital Accounting and Valuation of the Ecosystem Services (NCAVES) India Forum-2021 is being organised by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI).

– India is one of the five countries taking part in this project – the other countries being Brazil, China, South Africa and Mexico.

About the NCAVES Project

– The Natural Capital Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services (NCAVES) project seeks to advance the theory and practice of environmental and ecosystem accounting in Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa.

– The project has been jointly implemented by the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Secretariat of the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD).

– It aims to assist the five participating partner countries, to advance the knowledge agenda on environmental-economic accounting, in particular ecosystem accounting.

– The project will have a duration until the end of 2021.

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7. Demand For Autonomy in Assam

There has been a demand for implementation of Article 244A for the creation of an autonomous state within Assam.

– The appeal to the Centre has been for the creation of an autonomous State for the Karbi Anglong region. This has been a demand since 1986.

– The districts are currently governed by two autonomous councils Karbi Anglong and North Cachar hills.

  1. China holds third South Asia multilateral meet

– China has held its third multilateral dialogue with countries from South Asia to take forward closer cooperation on fighting COVID-19.

– It also strives to coordinate their economic agendas, reflecting a new approach in Beijing’s outreach to the region.

– The third dialogue, held virtually on January 6, brought together every country in the region barring India, Bhutan and the Maldives. It was aimed at “anti-epidemic cooperation and poverty reduction cooperation”.

About South Asia multilateral meet

– All three dialogues have been attended by Pakistan and Nepal, which are emerging as two lynchpins in China’s regional strategy.

– The 1stt such meeting was convened by China in July, and was attended by Pakistan, Nepal and Afghanistan.

– The 2nd meet was held in November by a five-member grouping attended by China, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

– The 3rd and recent January 6 meeting was attended by all five countries that have taken part in these dialogues namely Pakistan, Nepal, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

IAS Prelims Mock-Test 2021 – Set 87, 9 January

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Daily news will speed up the preparation for the Civil Services Examination and it also plays a crucial role to grasp the current affairs topic comprehensively. Here we have covered most of the topics related to various categories including National, International, Sports, Science and Technology, and so on.

  1. NCC cadets to participate in Republic Day Parade

– Lt Gen Tarun Kumar Aich, Director General, National Cadet Corps has said that the NCC is committed to grooming the youth as responsible citizens, who would contribute immensely in nation-building.

– While speaking to the media in New Delhi on 08 January 2021, the Director-General said 2 contingents of NCC cadets, one each of boys and girls, will participate in the Republic Day Parade on 26 January.

– These cadets will be selected from amongst those who are participating in the Republic Day Camp, RDC-2021, which commenced at the Cariappa Parade Ground, Delhi Cantt on 04 Jan 2021.

– A total of 1000 Cadets, including 380 girl cadets, drawn from all 28 States and 09 Union Territories of the country, are participating in this one month long Camp.

– He said the aim of the Republic Day Camp, is to provide the participating cadets, exposure to the rich culture and traditions of our nation through a number of cultural events, that take place in the run-up to the Republic Day and the Prime Minister’s visit to NCC Camp for PM’s Rally on 28 Jan 2021.

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2. Columbia Asia Hospitals Private Limited

– The Competition Commission of India (CCI) approves acquisition of 100% shareholding of the Columbia Asia Hospitals Private Limited by Manipal Health Enterprises Private Limited.

– Manipal Health Enterprises Private Limited (Acquirer/MHEPL) is a part of Manipal Educational and Medical Group, operating a network of hospitals, providing multi-speciality care.

– Its focus is to develop an affordable, high quality healthcare framework through its multi-speciality and tertiary care delivery spectrum and further extend it to homecare. MHEPL is not engaged in any business activity outside India, except in Malaysia.

– Columbia Asia Hospitals Private Limited (Target/CAHPL) is a private healthcare company providing high quality, affordable, accessible health care and began its operations in India in 2005.

– AHPL operates a chain of eleven multi-speciality hospitals and one teleradiology business.

– CAHPL is not engaged in any business activities outside India. However, it is a part of International Columbia US LLC, an international healthcare group, which operates a chain of modern hospitals across India, China and Africa.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 8 January, 2021

3. Natural Capital Accounting and Valuation of the Ecosystem Services (NCAVES) India Forum-2021

– NCAVES India Forum 2021 is being organised by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI).

– NCAVES Project, funded by EU, has been jointly implemented by the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Secretariat of the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD).

–  India is one of the five countries taking part in this project – the other countries being Brazil, China, South Africa and Mexico.

–  In India, the NCAVES project is being implemented by the MoSPI in close collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) and the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC).

– MoSPI has coordinated with all the stakeholders through a consultative process by setting in place a mechanism for linking the diverse stakeholders concerned – namely producers and the policymakers using the environmental accounts.

– The participation in the project has helped MOSPI commence the compilation of the Environment Accounts as per the UN-SEEA framework and release environmental accounts in its publication “EnviStats India” on an annual basis since 2018.

– Several of these accounts are closely related to the social and economic attributes, making them a useful tool for the Policy.

– Another feather to the cap under the NCAVES project is the development of the India-EVL Tool which is essentially a look-up tool giving a snapshot of the values of various ecosystem services in the different states of the country, based on about 80 studies conducted across the country.

– An additional benefit of this tool is that it provides a critical view of the literature that is available and the applicability of estimates spatially across India according to bio-geographical areas.

– A web portal www.ncavesindiaforum.in has been designed for the purpose of registration, participation and to function as a repository for the environment-related information.

– On the first day of the event, the Hon’ble Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation and Ministry of Planning, Rao Inderjit Singh will highlight the various government initiatives taken up for improving the environment data ecosystem.

– In addition, the first day will witness the participation of Ambassador of the EU Delegation to India and representatives from various national and international organisations, including Director, UNSD, Director UNEP, Director, UNESCAP, Director World Bank and Chairperson, UN Committee of Experts on Environment Economic Accounting.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 7 January, 2021

4. Dharmendra Pradhan interacts with Ministers of Mongolia

– Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas & Steel Dharmendra Pradhan, through video conference interacted with H.E Mr. L. Oyun-Erdene, MP, Minister and Chief Cabinet Secretary of Mongolia and Co-Chair of the India-Mongolia Joint Committee on Cooperation and H.E Mr G.Yondon, Minister of Mines and Heavy Industry.

– Bilateral cooperation in hydrocarbons and steel sectors were comprehensively reviewed in the meetings.

– Shri Pradhan conveyed deep appreciation to H.E Oyun-Erdene and H.E Yondon for their support in facilitating approvals for expeditious implementation of the greenfield Mongol Refinery Project, built under a Line of Credit from Government of India, and also for their commitment in setting up a pipeline to transport crude to the refinery being built in Sainshand.

– He also sought their cooperation in completing this pipeline well before the commissioning of the Refinery project.

– Shri Pradhan also welcomed the keenness of Mongolian companies in supplying coking coal to the Indian steel industry and agreed to advance cooperation for mutual benefit. “We look forward to substantial partnerships with Mongolian companies in the areas of minerals, coal and steel”, he added.

– The Minister, on behalf of Government of India, reiterated India’s commitment to timely completion of the Mongol Refinery Project, the country’s 1st oil refinery.

– He expressed willingness to further share India’s expertise in the oil and gas sector including capacity building in accordance with the developmental priorities of Mongolia.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 5 January, 2021

5. Seventh Trade Policy Review of India at the WTO

– The second and final session of India’s seventh Trade Policy Review (TPR) concluded on 8th January 2021, at the World Trade Organization in Geneva.

– The TPR is an important mechanism under the WTO’s monitoring function in which member countries’ trade and related policies are examined by the WTO with an aim to contribute towards improved adherence to WTO rules while providing constructive feedback to the Member under review.

– India’s official delegation for the TPR was headed by the Commerce Secretary, Dr. Anup Wadhawan. In his closing statement to the WTO Membership, the Commerce Secretary effectively responded to the issues raised by the Members during the First Session of India’s TPR held on 6th January 2021, while appreciating the importance placed by the WTO Members on India’s role and contribution to world trade, as well as to the multilateral trading system.

– This can be gauged by more than 1050 questions asked during this exercise as well as 53 interventions made by the Member countries in the TPR meetings.

– The Commerce Secretary highlighted that reform is a continuous and ongoing process, and the Government of India is deeply committed to pursuing this path to make India an attractive trade and investment partner for the world.

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6. Digital Calendar and Diary of Government of India

– Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar on 8 January, 2021 launched the Digital Calendar and Diary of Government of India.

– In a ceremony held at National Media Center, Shri Javadekar, with the click of a button unveiled the Android and iOS mobile applications of the calendar and diary.

– The Minister expressed happiness that the Government calendar that has adorned the walls in the past will now adorn mobile phones. Highlighting the features of the app Javadekar said “the app was free and will be available in 11 languages from 15th January, 2021.

– The app will do away with the need for a new calendar every year”. He further added “each month will carry a theme and an accompanying message and will feature one famous Indian personality. The app will also inform people about the timeline of the launch of various government programmes so far”.

– Speaking on the diary feature of the app the Minister said: “because of the diary feature the calendar is more advanced, more feature-laden and easier compared to other digital calendar apps”.

– The Digital Calendar of Government of India is in line with Prime Minister’s vision of “Digital India” and can be accessed at the click of a button on any smartphone.

– The App is available for download on both Google Play Store and the iOS App Store.

– The app has been designed and developed by Bureau of Outreach and Communication, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in collaboration with National Informatics Centre (NIC).

– The application is currently available in Hindi and English language and will be soon made available in 11 other Indian regional languages.

– While the earlier physical version of Government of India Calendar had a reach up to the Panchayat level in the country, the digital avatar of the calendar in form of this app will be available to anyone across the world.

The Government of India Calendar application contains the following features:

– Latest information on various schemes, events and publications of Government of India

– Official holidays and various important dates.

– Inspirational and motivational messages from great personalities of our nation.

– Provision for taking notes digitally which will be stored with cutting edge security and privacy measures

– Provision for scheduling of meetings and setting reminders for important tasks and events.

– Accessibility features for visually impaired Divyangjans in coming days fulfilling the goal of Prime Minister’s “Accessible India”/”Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan”.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 4 January, 2021

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Daily news will speed up the preparation for the Civil Services Examination and it also plays a crucial role to grasp the current affairs topic comprehensively. Here we have covered most of the topics related to various categories including National, International, Sports, Science and Technology, and so on.

1. NCLT approves NHPC’s Resolution Plan for Jalpower Corporation Limited

– National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), Hyderabad bench approved NHPC’s Resolution Plan for taking over Jalpower Corporation Limited (JPCL) as going concerned vide its order dated 24.12.2020 and uploaded the same on its website on 07.01.2021.

– JPCL was executing 120 MW Rangit Stage-IV Hydroelectric Project in Sikkim. The Company is currently undergoing Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process (“CIRP”) which was initiated on April 09, 2019 vide order of Hon’ble NCLT.

– NHPC Ltd., a PSU under Ministry of Power, had submitted its Resolution Plan and was declared the successful resolution applicant by Committee of Creditors (CoC) on 24.01.2020. CoC approved Resolution Plan was filed by Resolution Professional with Hon’ble NCLT Hyderabad Bench on 28.01.2020.

– NHPCwill make an upfront payment of Rs. 165 Crore and the cost of the project is considered as Rs.943.20 Crore.

– Jalpower Corporation Limited is the second company after LancoTeesta Hydro Power Ltd (LTHPL) to be acquired through the NCLT process by NHPC.

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2. Sports Minister Shri Kiren Rijiju inaugurates 162-bed hostel at Dr. Karni Singh Shooting Range

– Union Sports Minister of State Shri Kiren Rijiju inaugurated a residential hostel in the premises of the Dr. Karni Singh Shooting Range. It will be a 162 bedded air-conditioned hostel with attached washroom facility.

– There will also be an air-conditioned dining area and facilities for sports-specific diet and a separate recreation area for boys and girls. The facility has been created at a cost of Rs. 12.26 crores.

– Kiren Rijiju said, “Our athletes represent the country at the Olympics, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, they must have a standard of living where basic facilities are provided.”

– The Sports Minister also announced that all hostels must be of at least 3-star standard in terms of food, hospitality and cleanliness with the facility management being done by an expert agency.

– He added that going forward there should be a separate girls hostel and separate boys hostel. “Shooting being a priority sport, we have to take all the necessary steps for the shooters.”

– With the creation of this hostel facility, it will be a major boost for the Indian shooters training at the facility who have previously been staying at accommodation outside the shooting range.

– The hostel will enable the shooters to now only take a short walk down to their respective rifle, pistol and shotgun ranges.

– Moreover with the creation of this facility, it will not only benefit the core group of senior shooters but also the shooters who are part of the TOPS Development group and the Khelo India scheme and NCOE shooters.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 7 January, 2021

3. Eligibility criteria of 75 % in Class 12th relaxed for IIT admissions this year

– Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ announced that eligibility criteria of scoring a minimum 75% in Class 12th have been relaxed for taking admission in IITs this year.

–  He further informed that JEE (Advanced) – 2021 will be held as a computer-based test on 3rd July 2021. This year JEE (Advanced) will be conducted by IIT Kharagpur.

4. Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia appointed as Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court

– The President of India, in the exercise of the power conferred by clause (1) of Article 217 of the Constitution of India, appointed Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia, Judge of the Uttarakhand High Court, as Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court.

– Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia,was enrolled as an Advocate on July 07, 1986 and practiced in the Allahabad and Uttarakhand High Courts in Civil, Constitutional, Service, and Labour matters and has specialized in Service and Constitutional matters.

– He was appointed as Permanent Judge of the Uttarakhand High Court on November l , 2008.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 5 January, 2021

5. PM to Inaugurate Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention 2021

– Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) Convention is the flagship event of the Ministry of External Affairs and provides an important platform to engage and connect with the overseas Indians.

– In view of the sentiments of our vibrant diaspora community, the 16th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention, is being organized on 9th January 2021, despite the ongoing Covid pandemic.

– The Convention will be held in a virtual format, as were the PBD Conferences held recently in the run-up to the Convention. The theme of 16th PBD Convention 2021 is “Contributing to Aatmanirbhar Bharat”.

– PBD Convention will have three segments. The PBD Convention will be inaugurated by Shri Narendra Modi, Hon’ble Prime Minister of India and will feature a keynote address by the Chief Guest, H.E. Mr. Chandrikapersad Santokhi, Hon’ble President of the Republic of Suriname.

– The winners of the online Bharat ko Janiye Quiz for the youth will also be announced.

– The Inaugural session will be followed by the two Plenary sessions.

– The first Plenary on Role of Diaspora in Aatmanirbhar Bharat, will feature addresses by External Affairs Minister and Commerce and Industry Minister.

– The second Plenary on Facing Post Covid Challenges – Scenario in Health, Economy, Social and International Relations, will be addressed by Minister of Health and Minister of State for External Affairs. Both Plenaries will feature panel discussions inviting eminent diaspora experts.

– The finale would be the Valedictory Session where the Hon’ble Rashtrapatiji will deliver his Valedictory address to mark the occasion of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas.

– The names of the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awardees for 2020-21 will also be announced. Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards are conferred to select Indian diaspora members to recognize their achievements and honour their contributions to various fields, both in India and abroad.

– The Youth PBD will also be celebrated virtually on the theme “Bringing together Young Achievers from India and Indian Diaspora” on 8 January 2021, and will be anchored by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.

– The Special Guest for the event is H.E. Ms. Priyanca Radhakrishnan, Minister for Community& Voluntary Sector of New Zealand.

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6. Helping Hand to Sri Lanka

– An India-funded free ambulance service is playing a vital role in Sri Lanka’s Covid-19 response.

– India provided a grant of 7.56 million USD for the Suwa Seriya [vehicle or journey for good health] service which was launched in 2016, on a pilot basis. Later, this was extended throughout the country with additional grants from India.

– India also helped with Capacity Building: Training and refresher programmes for Sri Lankan emergency medical technicians which further generated employment for the local population.

– It is India’s second-largest grant project to Sri Lanka after the housing project of more than 60,000 houses, with a nearly 400 million USD grant.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 4 January, 2021

7. Air Pollution and Pregnancy Losses: Lancet Report

– According to a recent study poor air quality is associated with a considerable proportion of pregnancy loss in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.

– It is the first study to estimate the effect of air pollution on pregnancy loss across the region.

– They created a model to examine how exposure to PM 2.5 increased women’s risk of pregnancy loss, calculating risk for each 10 µg/m³ increased in PM 2.5 after adjusting for maternal age, temperature and humidity, seasonal variation, and long-term trends in pregnancy loss.

– Each increase in 10 µg/m³ was estimated to increase a mother’s risk of pregnancy loss by 3%.

– The increase in risk was greater for mothers from rural areas or those who became pregnant at an older age, compared to younger mothers from urban areas.

– Of the pregnancy loss cases, 77% were from India, 12% from Pakistan, and 11% from Bangladesh.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 29 December, 2020

8. Longitudinal Ageing Study of India

– Recently, the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has released the Longitudinal Ageing Study of India (LASI) Wave-1 Report on the virtual platform.

– LASI is a full-scale national survey of scientific investigation of the health, economic, and social determinants and consequences of population ageing in India. It was commissioned in 2016.

– It is India’s first and the world’s largest-ever survey that provides a longitudinal database for designing policies and programmes for the older population in the broad domains of social, health, and economic well-being.

– The National Programme for Health Care of Elderly, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has undertaken the Longitudinal Ageing Study of India, through International Institute for Population Sciences, (IIPS), Mumbai in collaboration with Harvard School of Public Health, University of Southern California, USA, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and National Institute on Ageing.

– The first national wave of the LASI (Wave 1) covered a baseline sample of 72,250 individuals aged 45 and above and their spouses, including elderly persons aged 60 and above and oldest-old persons aged 75 and above from all States and Union Territories (UTs) of India (excluding Sikkim).

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 26 December, 2020

Findings are:

In the 2011 census, the 60+ population accounted for 8.6% of India’s population, accounting for 103 million elderly people.

Growing at around 3% annually, the number of elderly people will rise to 319 million in 2050.

75% of elderly people suffer from one or the other chronic disease. 40% of the elderly people have one or the other disability and 20% have issues related to mental health.

The self-reported prevalence of diagnosed cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) is 28% among older adults aged 45 and above.

The prevalence of multi-morbidity conditions among the elderly age 60 and above is much higher in the states/UTs of Kerala (52%), Chandigarh (41%), Lakshadweep (40%), Goa (39%) and Andaman & Nicobar Islands (38%). The prevalence of single morbidity and multi-morbidity conditions increases with age.

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Daily news will speed up the preparation for the Civil Services Examination and it also plays a crucial role to grasp the current affairs topic comprehensively. Here we have covered most of the topics related to various categories including National, International, Sports, Science and Technology, and so on.

 1. Seventh Trade Policy Review of India at the WTO begins

– India’s seventh Trade Policy Review (TPR) began on Wednesday, 6th January 2021, at the World Trade Organization in Geneva.

– The TPR is an important mechanism under the WTO’s monitoring function and involves a comprehensive peer-review of the Member’s national trade policies. India’s last TPR took place in 2015.

– India’s official delegation for the TPR is headed by the Commerce Secretary, Dr. Anup Wadhawan.

–  In his opening statement to the WTO Membership on the occasion, Commerce Secretary emphasized that this TPR is taking place at a time when the world is witnessing unprecedented health and economic crisis.

– He highlighted the far-reaching efforts made by India to effectively address the health and economic challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, including the Aatma Nirbhar Bharat initiative.

India has advocated a short-term package of effective measures at the WTO that includes

– A temporary waiver of certain TRIPS provisions to increase manufacturing capacity and ensure timely and affordable availability of new diagnostics,

– Therapeutics and vaccines for COVID-19;

– A permanent solution for Public Stockholding (PSH) for food security purposes to address food security concern; and a multilateral initiative that provides for easier access to medical services under mode-4 to facilitate easier cross-border movement of health care professionals.

– A comprehensive report issued by the WTO Secretariat on the occasion, chronicling all major trade and economic initiatives that India took over the last five years, acknowledged India’s strong economic growth at 7.4% during the period under review and made a positive note of India’s reform efforts during this period.

– The Report noted that strong economic growth led to an improvement in socio-economic indicators, such as per-capita income and life expectancy in India.

– The Secretariat report also commended India for liberalizing its FDI policy, ratifying the Trade Facilitation Agreement and implementing several trade-facilitation measures during the period under review.

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2. Avian Influenza

– In view of the outbreaks of Avian Influenza in migratory birds, wild and domestic crow and poultry in certain States of the country, a control room has been set up in room no 190 A, KrishiBhawan (Tel no. 011-23382354) in Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying, New Delhi.

– It is done to strategies coordinate and facilitates State Government with regard to outbreak management, disease control and containment as envisaged in the Action Plan on Preparedness, Control and Containment of Avian Influenza, 2015.

– Avian Influenza (AI) viruses have been circulating worldwide for centuries with four known major outbreaks recorded in the last century. India notified the first outbreak of avian influenza in 2006.

– Infection in humans is not yet reported in India though the disease is zoonotic.

– There is no direct evidence that AI viruses can be transmitted to humans via the consumption of contaminated poultry products. Implementing management practices that incorporate biosecurity principles, personal hygiene, and cleaning and disinfection protocols, as well as cooking and processing standards, are effective means of controlling the spread of the AI viruses.

– In India, the disease spreads mainly by migratory birds coming into India during winter months i.e. from September – October to February – March. The secondary spread by human handling (through fomites) cannot be ruled out.

– Avian Influenza spread in villages of Thalavady South, Thakazhi, Pallipad, Karuvattaindistrict of Alappuzha and village of Neendoor in the district of Kottayam, Kerala.

– As per the report received, a total of 5 RRTs have been deployed in above-said 4 epicentres of the district of Alappuzha and 8 RRTs at epicentre Neendoorin district of Kottayam for culling.

– A total of 17326 birds (9066 in Pallipad, 8260 in Karuvatta) have been culled and a total of 1570 kg feed have been destroyed in epicentres of the district of Alappuzha.

–  At epicenter in the district of Kottayam 4229 birds have been culled and a total of 8 kg feed and 42 eggs have been destroyed on 6.01.2021

– Further, some samples of crow from Kale Hanumanji Forest Nakka, Jaipur, Rajasthan found positive for H5N8 Avian influenza virus.

– Unusual moralities have been found in 7111 domestic birds in Haryana, 150 wild birds in Madhya Pradesh, 10 crows in Gujarat, 336 migratory birds in Himachal Pradesh.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 5 January, 2021

3. Ministry of Power notifies Norms and Standards for the trading of E-certificate under PAT Cycle II

– The Ministry of Power, Government of India, in consultation with the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) has notified the price of per metric tonne of oil equivalent as INR 18402 only for the year 2018-19, vide G.S.R 779 (E) dated 14th December 2020.

– For the succeeding target years, the price shall be such amount as may be specified by the Central Government, by notification in the Official Gazette. Such price will come into force on the date of their publication in the Official Gazette.

About BEE

– BEE is a statutory body under the Ministry of Power, Government of India. It assists in developing policies and strategies on energy conservation and efficiency with the primary objective of reducing the energy intensity of the Indian economy.

– BEE coordinates with designated consumers, designated agencies of the states, and other related organization to identify and utilize the existing resources and infrastructure, in performing the functions assigned to it under the Energy Conservation Act.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 4 January, 2021

4. India-Germany Leaders’ Video-Teleconference

– Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a video-teleconference with his German counterpart, Federal Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel on 6 January, 2021.

– The Prime Minister appreciated the long-standing role of Chancellor Merkel in providing stable and strong leadership at the European and global stage and thanked her for guiding the growth of the India-Germany Strategic Partnership.

– The two leaders discussed key issues of mutual importance including the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, bilateral ties, regional and global issues, particularly India-EU relations.

– The Prime Minister briefed Chancellor Merkel on the developments in India with regard to vaccine development and assured Chancellor Merkel of India’s commitment to deploy its capacities for the benefit of the world.

– The Prime Minister welcomed Germany’s decision to join the International Solar Alliance (ISA), and expressed his desire to further strengthen cooperation with Germany under the platform of Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI).

– Noting that this year marks the 70th anniversary of setting up of bilateral relations between India and Germany and 20th anniversary of the Strategic Partnership, the two leaders agreed to hold the sixth Inter-Governmental Consultations (IGC) at an early date in 2021 and to set an ambitious agenda for the same.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 29 December, 2020

5. Government approves advisory for management of Human-Wildlife Conflict across the country

The Standing Committee of National Board of Wildlife(SC-NBWL) in its 60th meeting held on 05th January has approved the advisory for management of Human-Wildlife Conflict(HWC) in the country.

– The advisory makes important prescriptions for the States/ Union Territories for dealing with Human-Wildlife conflict situations and seeks expedited inter-departmental coordinated and effective actions.

– The advisory envisages empowering gram panchayats in dealing with the problematic wild animals as per the section 11 (1) (b) of Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.

– Utilising add-on coverage under the Pradhan MantriFasalBimaYojna for crop compensation against crop damage due to HWC and augmenting fodder and water sources within the forest areas are some key steps envisaged to reduce HWC. Payment of a portion of ex-gratia as interim relief within 24 hours of the incident to the victim/family.

– The advisory also envisages prescribing inter-departmental committees at local/state level, adoption of early warning systems, creation of barriers, dedicated circle wise Control Rooms with toll-free hotline numbers which could be operated on 24X7 basis, Identification of hotspots and formulation and implementation of special plans for improved stall-fed farm animal etc.

– Some of the other important approvals took place during the meeting are the inclusion of Caracal, a medium-size wild cat found in some parts of Rajasthan and Gujarat, into the list of critically endangered species for taking up conservation efforts with financial support under Centrally sponsored Scheme-Development of Wildlife Habitat.

– Now, there are 22 wildlife species under-recovery programme for critically endangered species.

– The Standing Committee also recommended the construction of a causeway across Jampannavagu to Muthapur of Govindaraopet and between Jampannavagu to Motlagudem in Mulugu District of Telangana with certain mitigation measures.

– It also recommended the proposal for Tinaighat-Castlerock-Caranzol Railway doubling of South Western Railways, Karnataka with certain mitigation measures as advised by the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun.

– The other decisions taken at the meeting are the construction of a bridge and canal with an aim to augment the water supply and irrigation facilities in villages Madharwa, Thakurapur, Jamdhara and Sugaon in Balrampur District of Uttar Pradesh under the National SaryuNaharPariyojna with certain mitigation measures and the construction of Integrated Bus Terminus cum Commercial complex in Vashi, Navi Mumbai in Thane district with certain mitigation measures.

– The redeveloped facility will pave way for 17 bus bays and approximately 3,300 bus trips shall be operational, which will greatly benefit in the transportation of people in and around Mumbai.

About The National Board for Wildlife (NBWL)

– It is constituted by the Central Government under Section 5 A of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 (WLPA).

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6. 5th National STI Policy

– Draft 5th National STI Policy guided by self-reliance vision to position India among top 3 scientific superpowers.

– Proposals in draft STIP will help create an end to end science, technology and innovation ecosystem according to the Professor Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, DST.

– The new policy, STIP, will revolve around the core principles of being decentralized, evidence-informed, bottom-up, experts-driven, and inclusive as per Dr. Akhilesh Gupta, Head STIP Secretariat and Adviser DST.

– The aim of draft STIP will be to create an end to end science, technology and innovation ecosystem, which is inclusive and brings equal benefits to all stakeholders in the process.

– The 5th National Science Technology and Innovation Policy finalized and available for public consultation is guided by the broad vision of achieving technological self-reliance and positioning India among the top three scientific superpowers in the decade to come, to attract, nurture, strengthen and retain critical human capital through ‘people-centric’ science technology and Innovation Ecosystem.

– The policy drafted through a4 track process of consultation aims to bring about profound changes through short, medium, and long-term mission mode projects by building a nurtured ecosystem that promotes translational as well as foundational research and innovation among both individuals and organizations in alignment with global standards.

– The objective of the draft policy is to identify and address the strengths and weaknesses of the Indian STI ecosystem to catalyse the socio-economic development of the country and also make the Indian STI ecosystem globally competitive.

– It also aims to foster, develop, and nurture a robust system for evidence and stakeholder-driven STI planning, information, evaluation, and policy research in India.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 26 December, 2020

7. Solidarity and Stability Deal

– Recently, Gulf states signed a ‘solidarity and stability’ deal at the 41st Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit held in Al Ula, Saudi Arabia.

– Members of the GCC signed a deal in Al­Ula, Saudi Arabia to remove all the sanctions over Qatar and re-open their land, sea and air borders to Qatar.

– Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE are the members of GCC.

– To unite efforts to promote the Gulf region and to confront challenges that surround them, especially the threats posed by the Iranian regime’s nuclear and ballistic missile programme and its plans for sabotage and destruction.

– In June 2017, Saudi Arabia and its allies, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt severed ties with Qatar and imposed a naval, air and land blockade on the country.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 25 December, 2020

8. Yakshagana

– Recently a Yakshagana artiste died while performing on stage.

– Yakshagana is a traditional theatre form of Karnataka.

– It is a temple art form that depicts mythological stories and Puranas.

– It is performed with massive headgears, elaborate facial make-up and vibrant costumes and ornaments.

– Usually recited in Kannada, it is also performed in Malayalam as well as Tulu (the dialect of south Karnataka).

– It is performed with percussion instruments like chenda, maddalam, jagatta or chengila (cymbals) and chakratala or elathalam (small cymbals).

– The most popular episodes are from the Mahabharata i.e. Draupadi swayamvar, Subhadra vivah, etc. and from Ramayana i.e. Rajyabhishek, Lav-Kush yuddh, etc.

9. Toycathon 2021

– Recently, the government has launched a virtual toy hackathon ‘Toycathon 2021’.

– The Ministry of Education, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Ministry of Textile, Ministry of Commerce and Industries, Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and All India Council for Technical Education.

– The aim is to conceptualize innovative toys based on the Indian value system which will inculcate the positive behaviour and good value among the children.

– And to promote India as a global toy manufacturing hub (Atmanirbhar Abhiyan).

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Daily news will speed up the preparation for the Civil Services Examination and it also plays a crucial role to grasp the current affairs topic comprehensively. Here we have covered most of the topics related to various categories including National, International, Sports, Science and Technology, and so on.

 1. First Khelo India Sports School from North-East

– Union Minister of Youth Affairs & Sports Shri Kiren Rijiju launched the Assam Rifles Public School (ARPS) in Shillong as a Khelo India Sports School on 4 January, 2021.

–  At present, 9 Sports Schools have been approved across the country, out of which 5 are managed by Defence & Para-military forces. In the North-east region, Assam Rifles Public School is the first Sports School announced under Khelo India scheme.

– The Government shall now bear the expenses for Talented Sports Students of the school in terms of lodging, boarding, education expenses, competition exposure, insurance & medical, sports training & support, the salary of coaches & support staff, sports equipment, and more.

– The objective of a Khelo India Sports School is to integrate sports with education and in the process, develop sports in the country and improve the overall profile and outlook of athletes.

– This will also help in the identification and upliftment of talent from North-eastern, rural or tribal areas.

The Assam Rifles Public School was designated as a Khelo India Sports School because of a good track record in academics & sports, adequate boarding & lodging (hostel) facilities, sufficient space to develop sports facilities and inclination to develop Olympic sports under an inter-ministerial partnership between the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and the Ministry of Home Affairs.

– The disciplines finalised for the school are Archery, Athletics and Fencing with total intake strength of 100 athletes (Boys & Girls in equal ratio) for the first year.

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2. ISRO in collaboration with the private sector will boost “Atmanirbhar Bharat”

– Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr. Jitendra Singh stated that ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) in collaboration with the private sector will boost “Atmanirbhar Bharat”.

– In a brief about some recent achievements of ISRO and India’s space programme, Dr. Jitendra Singh gave full credit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi whose personal intervention had made it possible to arrive at the historic decision to open up India’s Space sector for participation by private players.

–  The decision to create Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe) will provide a level playing field for private companies as well as Start-Ups.

– The proposed range of space activities includes Small Satellite Launch Vehicle, Geospatial services, Satellite Constellation, Application products, etc.

– Besides enhancing the capacity and resources of the Space sector, said Dr. Jitendra Singh, increased participation of private players will also discourage the brain-drain of talented Space scientists and experts who were otherwise moving out of India in search of a break.

– He further informed that more than 25 industries have already approached the Department of Space for undertaking space activities as per the guidelines.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 4 January, 2021

3. TRIFOOD Parks

– Trifed Signs MoU with Akhil Bhartiya Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram for Setting up of TRIFOOD Parks in Madhya Pradesh.

– Continuing its mission to improve the livelihoods of the tribals(both forest dwellers and artisans) and work towards tribal empowerment, TRIFED under Ministry of Tribal Affairs has decided to explore a convergence and build a partnership with Akhil Bhartiya Vanvasi Kalyan Kendra, a pioneering organization that has been working for the welfare of tribals in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand since 1952.

– In this regard, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was exchanged between the two organisations on January 3, 2021 to work together for setting up of TRIFOOD Parks in 5 districts in Madhya Pradesh.

– The MoU was signed by Shri Pravir Krishna, MD, TRIFED  and Shri Yogesh Bapat, General Secretary, AkhilBhartiyaVanvasi Ashram in the presence of Shri Durga Das Uikey, Member of Parliament from Betul, Madhya Pradesh.

– TRIFED has been actively exploring convergences with various like-minded organizations to continue the mission to improve tribal livelihoods.

– The two organisations will work together by undertaking various initiatives all aimed at improving the livelihood of tribal people and implementation of the Van DhanYojana through the mobilization of Self Help Groups (SHGs) / VanDhanVikas Kendra (VDVKs) / VPCs / TRIFOOD Parks.

– With TRIFED as the mentoring organization, it has been agreed that VanvasiKalyan Ashram would form new Van DhanKendras in tribal areas by identifying SHGs, organize training, building infrastructure, provide machinery and equipment and other support.

– Among other scopes of activities, Kalyan Ashram will include other areas, viz agriculture, horticulture, floriculture, fisheries, animal husbandry, handlooms, crafts to keep the operations running year-long and make the VanDhan scheme all-inclusive and viable.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 29 December, 2020

4. Republic Day Camp 2021

– Director General (DG) National Cadet Corps (NCC) Lt Gen Tarun Kumar Aich formally inaugurated NCC Republic Day Camp (RDC) – 2021 at Delhi Cantt on 4 January, 2021.

– The inauguration ceremony started with ‘Sarv Dharam Pooja’.

– Around 1,000 cadets, including 380 girl cadets with 500 support staff drawn from 17 State Directorates covering all the States and Union territories of the country are participating in this Camp that will culminate with the Prime Minister’s Rally on January 28, 2021.

– The aim of the Camp is to enhance the self-confidence of cadets, deepen their value systems and provide an exposure to the rich culture and traditions of our nation.

– Lt Gen Aich also asked the cadets to participate wholeheartedly & derive maximum benefits from each activity during the month-long camp, while at the same time following the correct COVID-19 protocols.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 26 December, 2020

5. AtalBihari Vajpayee School of Management and Entrepreneurship

– Union Education Minister of India, ShriRameshPokhriyal ‘Nishank’ laid the foundation stone of the buildings for School of Engineering and Atal Bihari Vajpayee School of Management and Entrepreneurship at Jawaharlal Nehru University today through a virtual program.

– Vice-Chancellor, JNU, Prof. M. Jagdish Kumar, Rector I Prof.Chintamani Mahapatra, Rector II Prof. Satish Chandra Garkoti, Rector III Prof. Rana Pratap Singh and the deans of the new schools, Prof. UnnatPandit and Prof. SatyavratPatnaik were present on the occasion.

– Pokhriyal expressed his delight at the naming the School of Management on the name of late Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who was not only an efficient and visionary Prime Minister of India but an inspiring author too.

– The Minister mentioned that engineering and management education will complement each other and will inspire the youth to become entrepreneurs and self-reliant.

– ShriPokhriyalalso congratulated Prof. M. Jagadesh Kumar for taking the University to new heights of progress and initiating realization of National Education Policy 2020 with new initiatives.

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6. “Atmosphere & Climate Research-Modelling Observing Systems & Services (ACROSS)” scheme

– The scheme was recently reviewed by the Ministry of Earth Sciences.

– ACROSS scheme pertains to the atmospheric science programs of the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES).

– It addresses different aspects of weather and climate services, which includes warnings for cyclone, storm surges, heatwaves, thunderstorms etc.

– Each of these aspects is incorporated as nine sub-schemes under the umbrella scheme “ACROSS” and is implemented in an integrated.

– The scheme will provide improved weather, climate and ocean forecast and services, thereby ensuring the transfer of commensurate benefits to the various services.

– It will also provide a sizable number of scientific and technical staff along with requisite administrative support, thereby generating employment.

– To ensure last-mile connectivity of the weather-based services to the end-user, a large number of agencies like the Krishi Vigyana Kendras of ICAR, Universities and local municipalities are roped in thus generating employment opportunities to many people.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 25 December, 2020

7. Mannathu Padmanabhan

– He was an Indian social reformer and freedom fighter from Kerala.

–  He lived from January 2, 1878 – February 25, 1970.

– He took part in anti-untouchability agitations and advocated opening temples for people of all castes.

– He also participated in the Vaikom Satyagraha.

– He is also known for his founding of the Nair Service Society (NSS).

IAS Prelims Mock-Test 2021 – Set 83, 4 January

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Daily news will speed up the preparation for the Civil Services Examination and it also plays a crucial role to grasp the current affairs topic comprehensively. Here we have covered most of the topics related to various categories including National, International, Sports, Science and Technology, and so on.

 1. PM to dedicate Kochi – Mangaluru Natural Gas Pipeline to the Nation

– Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi will dedicate the Kochi – Mangaluru Natural Gas Pipeline to the nation on 5th January 2021 at 11 AM via video conferencing.

– The event marks an important milestone towards the creation of ‘One Nation One Gas Grid’.

– Governors and Chief Ministers of Karnataka and Kerala, along with Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas will also be present on the occasion.

About the Pipeline

– The 450 km long pipeline has been built by GAIL (India) Ltd.

– It has a transportation capacity of 12 Million Metric Standard Cubic Metres per day, and will carry natural gas from the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Regasification Terminal at Kochi (Kerala) to Mangaluru (Dakshina Kannada district, Karnataka), while passing through Ernakulam, Thrissur, Palakkad, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kannur and Kasaragod districts.

– The total cost of the project was about Rs. 3000 crore and its construction created over 12 lakh man-days of employment.

– Laying of the pipeline was an engineering challenge as the route of the pipeline necessitated it to cross water bodies at more than 100 locations. This was done through a special technique called Horizontal Directional Drilling method.

– The pipeline will supply environment-friendly and affordable fuel in the form of Piped Natural Gas (PNG) to households and Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) to the transportation sector.

– It will also supply Natural Gas to commercial and industrial units across the districts along the pipeline. Consumption of cleaner fuel will help in improving air quality by curbing air pollution.

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2. Prasar Bharati (DD-AIR) records massive digital growth in 2020

– n 2020, Digital channels of Prasar Bharati across DD and Akashvani have registered more than 100% growth, clocking over a Billion Digital Views and over 6 Billion Digital Watch Minutes.

– During 2020, NewsOnAir App added more than 2.5 million users with the platform registering over 300 million views with Live Radio streaming featuring over 200 streams being the most popular feature.

– Keeping company with DD National and DD News, in the top 10 digital channels of Prasar Bharati, are Marathi News from DD Sahyadri, Kannada programming on DD Chandana, Bangla News from DD Bangla, and Telugu programming on DD Saptagiri.

– While DD Sports and Akashvani Sports have created a steady digital following with live commentary, Prasar Bharati Archives and DD Kisan have been steady digital performers featuring in top 10.

– Underscoring the substantial digital audience for news from the Northeast, Northeast service of All India Radio News is also in the top 10, and incidentally has crossed the 100k subscriber’s digital milestone.

– Interestingly during 2020, Pakistan accounts for the second-highest digital audience for DD and AIR content after domestic audience from within India, with the United States close behind.

– A dedicated Prasar Bharati YouTube channel for all Sanskrit language content was launched in 2020, wherein all Radio and TV content being produced in the Sanskrit language across DD-AIR nationwide network are uploaded, for easy access to viewers.

– Almost 1500 Radio Plays in different Indian languages are available across DD-AIR Network, which is now being digitised and uploaded on our YouTube channels.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 29 December, 2020

3. Ministry of Tourism: Year End Review 2020

– 68 webinars organized by M/o Tourism till date under Dekho Apna Desh Series; series continue to provide thrust to the rich culture of tourism in India.

– With a viewership of over 3 lakh, Dekho Apna Desh Series gets a huge thumbs up.

– SAATHI initiative launched to assist the hospitality industry to continue to operate safely and instil confidence about the safety of the hotel/unit in view of COVID-19 caused disruptions.

– 34399 accommodation units registered on the NIDHI portal so far.

– ‘Stranded in India’ portal reaches out to thousands of stranded foreign tourists and extends support during COVID-19 lockdown.

– Several important projects under PRASHAD and Swadesh Darshan scheme completed and inaugurated.

– The year 2020 saw varied activities by M/o Tourism to promote the spirit and essence of EBSB.

– Ministry of Tourism organized the “Bharat Parv” at the Gyan Path and Red Fort Ground, Delhi from 26th to 31st January 2020, as a part of the Republic Day Celebrations. The theme of the Bharat Parv was ‘150 Years of Mahatma’ and ‘Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat’.

– The main attractions during Bharat Parv 2020 included the display of Republic Day tableaux, a performance by Armed Forces Band, pavilion by State Governments/UTs and the line Ministries, food stalls, cultural performances, handicraft and handloom stalls, etc.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 26 December, 2020

4. DBT-BIRAC supported indigenously developed DNA Vaccine Candidate by Zydus Cadila

– The Nation’s first indigenously developed DNA vaccine candidate against COVID-19, ZyCoV-D, by M/s Zydus Cadila has been approved by Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI), for the conduct of the Phase III clinical trials.

– The candidate has been supported by the National Biopharma Mission (NBM) under the aegis of BIRAC and the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India.

– Zydus Cadila completed Phase-I/II clinical trials of this DNA Vaccine candidate, in India, in more than 1,000 participants and interim data indicated that the vaccine is safe and immunogenic when three doses were administered intradermally.

– Based on the recommendations of the Subject Expert Committee, which reviewed the interim data, the DCGI has accorded permission for conducting Phase-III clinical trial in 26,000 Indian participants.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 25 December, 2020

5. National Family Health Survey 2019-20

– According to the National Family Health Survey 2019-20, Indian women and children are overwhelmingly anaemic.

– Iron-deficiency and vitamin B12-deficiency anaemia are the two common types of anaemia in India.

– Among women, iron deficiency prevalence is higher than men due to menstrual iron losses and the high iron demands of a growing foetus during pregnancies.

– Lack of millets in the diet due to overdependence on rice and wheat, insufficient consumption of green and leafy vegetables, and dominance of packaged and processed foods which are low in nutrition could be the reasons behind the high prevalence of anaemia in India.

About Anaemia

It is the condition of having lower than a normal number of red blood cells or the quantity of haemoglobin. It can make one feel tired, cold, dizzy, and irritable and short of breath, among other symptoms. A diet which does not contain enough iron, folic acid or vitamin B12 is a common cause of anaemia.

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6. Global Housing Technology Challenge-India (GHTC-India)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone of Light House Projects (LHPs) under Global Housing Technology Challenge-India (GHTC-India) at six sites across six states.

– The LHPs are being constructed at Indore (Madhya Pradesh), Rajkot (Gujarat), Chennai (Tamil Nadu), Ranchi (Jharkhand), Agartala (Tripura) and Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh).

– Lighthouse projects comprise about 1000 houses at each location along with allied infrastructure facilities.

– These projects will demonstrate and deliver ready to live houses at an expedited pace within twelve months, as compared to conventional brick and mortar construction, and will be more economical, sustainable, of high quality and durability.

– These LHPs demonstrate a variety of technologies, including Prefabricated Sandwich Panel System in LHP at Indore, Monolithic Concrete Construction using Tunnel Formwork etc.

About Global Housing Technology Challenge (GHTC)

It was launched in 2019, the challenge is undertaken under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana Urban (PMAY-U). The aim of the project is to fast-track the construction of affordable housing and meet the target of constructing 2 crore houses by 2022.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 24 December, 2020

7. SAHAYAK-NG

– It is India’s first indigenously designed and developed Air Droppable Container.

– It is a GPS aided air dropped container with the capacity to carry a payload of up to 50 kg and can be dropped from a heavy aircraft.

– The successful maiden test was conducted by the DRDO along with the Indian Navy.

8. Eight core sector industries

– The eight-core sector industries include coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertiliser, steel, cement and electricity.

– They comprise nearly 40% of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP).

– The eight Core Industries in decreasing order of their weightage: Refinery Products> Electricity> Steel> Coal> Crude Oil> Natural Gas> Cement> Fertilizers.

IAS Prelims Mock-Test 2020 – Set 81, 26 December

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Daily news will speed up the preparation for the Civil Services Examination and it also plays a crucial role to grasp the current affairs topic comprehensively. Here we have covered most of the topics related to various categories including National, International, Sports, Science and Technology, and so on.

1. Rajasthan becomes 6th State to complete ease of doing business reforms

– Rajasthan has become the 6th State in the country to successfully undertake “Ease of Doing Business” reform stipulated by the Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance.

– Thus, the State has become eligible to mobilise additional financial resources of Rs. 2,731 crore through Open Market Borrowings. Permission for the same was issued by the Department of Expenditure on 24th December, 2020.

– Rajasthan has now joined the five other States namely, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Telangana, who have achieved this feat.

– On completion of reforms facilitating ease of doing business, these six States have been granted additional borrowing permission of Rs.19,459 crore.

About Ease of doing business

– The ease of doing business is an important indicator of the investment-friendly business climate in the country. Improvements in the ease of doing business will enable faster future growth of the state economy.

– Therefore, the Government of India had in May 2020, decided to link grant of additional borrowing permissions to States who undertake the reforms to facilitate ease of doing business.

– So far 10 States have implemented the One Nation One Ration Card System, 6 States have done ease of doing business reforms, and 2 States have done local body reforms.

– Total additional borrowing permission issued so far to the States who have done the reforms stands at Rs.­­­50,253 crore.

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First batch of Indian Institute of Skills

– With the vision of propelling India to the forefront of skill development and job creation under Skill India Mission and to provide an impetus to Skill India programme through private sector participation, the first batch of trainings at the Tata-Indian Institute of Skills, Mumbai was launched at a virtual event on 25 December 2020 by Dr. Mahendra Nath Pandey, Union Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.

– The institute is a joint initiative between Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE), Government of India and Tata Indian Institute of Skills. Formal agreement for setting up institute has been signed between MSDE and TATA IIS on 11th November, 2020.

– The first batch at TATA-Indian Institute of Skills will commence training with two courses in Factory Automation, with duration ranging from1 to 4 weeks, depending upon the pre-qualification profile of the trainee.

– The institute will also offer scholarships to the first 100 students along with attractive fee options during this initial launch phase.  An early bird scholarship scheme of 75% has also been announced for the first 100 students/trainees.

– The primary goal behind setting up the institute is to create an industry-ready workforce as per the evolving demands of the national and global markets. It aspires to be one of the most premier training institutions in the country and will be equipped with world-class vocational training facilities.

– The institute plans to provide training in highly specialized areas such as defense, oil & gas, aerospace, and other emerging businesses to meet industry demands.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 25 December, 2020

3. 27 Highway projects in Assam

– Union Minister for Road Transport, Highways and MSMEs Shri Nitin Gadkari inaugurated and laid the foundation stone for 27 highway projects in Assam on 25 December 2020.

– Chief Minister of the State Shri Sarbanand Sonowal presided over the function.

– These projects carry a road length of nearly 439 kilometers, involving a construction value of Rs. 2,366 crore.

– These projects will ease the transportation of commercial goods within and across the State, will improve connectivity at the borders, enhance employment opportunities, save time and fuel, improve tourism and infra development, and will result in providing connectivity for agricultural produce up to larger markets.

– The Minister also unveiled a life-size bronze statue of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on the birthday of the late leader on 25 December, 2020.

– Shri Gadkari announced enhancement in the NHO amount for Assam from Rs 1,213 crore to Rs 2,578 crore for the current financial year.

– The Minister also announced that construction of Dhuvri-Phoolbari bridge will begin in the coming month. He said a sum of Rs 4,497 crore will be spent on this 19 km bridge

– This will reduce the distance between these two places in Assam and Meghalaya by 203 kms.

– He further informed that the DPR is ready and the tender has been floated for the 6.75 km Majuli bridge, which is part of the 131 km long Majuli project worth Rs 900 crore.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 24 December, 2020

4. Good Governance Day

– Good governance day is celebrated annually on 25 December, the anniversary of the birth of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

– In line with the objectives of boosting transparency and accountability while ensuring ease of living for the citizens, the Directorate of Estates, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs today dedicated to the nation, a new Web Portal and Mobile App, e-Sampada.

– The new application provides a single-window for all these services including an allotment for over one lakh government residential accommodations, office space allotment to government organisations in 45 office complexes in 28 cities, booking of 1,176 holiday home rooms and venues like 5, Ashoka Road for social functions etc.

– In its endeavour to provide ‘One Nation, One System’, the erstwhile four websites (gpra.nic.in, eawas.nic.in, estates.gov.in, holidayhomes.nic.in), and two Mobile Apps (m-Awas & m-Ashoka5) of the Directorate of Estates have been integrated into one, which paves the way for all services on the same platform throughout the country.

– The website and mobile app was launched by Shri Hardeep S Puri, Minister of State(I/C) for Housing & Urban Affairs in the presence of Shri Durga Shanker Mishra, Secretary, MoHUA and other senior officials on 25 December 2020.

– The portal provides online facility to users across India to lodge complaints, submit documents and appear for a virtual hearing. It will reduce administrative cost and will save time and resources by reducing visits to Directorate of Estate.

– e-Sampada Mobile App and Chatbot facility has been provided for better user experience. Service level benchmarks and activity log for officials are incorporated to ensure accountability.

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5. Post- Brexit deal

– The UK and European Union have finally agreed to a deal that will define their future relationship.

– Ever since the UK left the EU on 31 January, both sides have been talking about what the new rules should be.

About the deal

The deal contains new rules for how the UK and EU will live, work and trade together.

– No taxes on each other’s goods when they cross borders (known as tariffs).

– No limits on the amount of things which can be traded (known as quotas).

– Tariff-free and quota-free access to one of the world’s biggest markets is the backbone of the Brexit deal and goes beyond the EU’s deals with Canada or Japan.

– There will be mutual recognition of trusted trader programmes. This means UK producers will have to comply with both UK and EU standards.

– There will be no more automatic recognition for doctors, nurses, architects, dentists, pharmacists, vets, engineers. They will now have to seek recognition in the member state they wish to practise in.

– UK nationals no longer have the freedom to work, study, start a business or live in the EU. Visas will be required for stays over 90 days.

– The UK will leave the common fisheries policy.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 23 December, 2020

6. About PASSEX

– A passing exercise is an exercise done between two navies to ensure that the navies are able to communicate and cooperate in times of war or humanitarian relief. Common drills include flashing light drills, semaphore drills, and flag hoist drills.

7. About Visva-Bharati

– It is a public research central university and an Institution of National Importance located in Santiniketan, West Bengal, India.

– It was founded by Rabindranath Tagore who called it Visva-Bharati, which means the communion of the world with India.

– It was declared to be a central university and an institution of national importance by an Act of Parliament in 1951.

IAS Prelims Mock-Test 2020 – Set 80, 25 December

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Daily news will speed up the preparation for the Civil Services Examination and it also plays a crucial role to grasp the current affairs topic comprehensively. Here we have covered most of the topics related to various categories including National, International, Sports, Science and Technology, and so on.

1. TRIFED Signs MoU with MOFPI for the upliftment of Tribal Lives through the implementation of the PM- FME Scheme

– TRIFED under the Ministry of Tribal Affairs has been exploring convergences and partnerships with like-minded organisations to create synergies together with the main aim of furthering tribal empowerment and improving their livelihoods.

– In this regard, TRIFED has started tying up with government departments and other like-minded organisations. One of the departments with whom TRIFED has aligned with is Minister of Food Processing (MoFPI).

– MoFPI is implementing the Prime Minister Formalisation of Micro food processing Enterprises (PM-FME) Scheme, which is a landmark initiative under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan to support micro-level food entrepreneurs, FPOs, SHGs and co-operatives.

– An important component of this scheme is the tribal sub-plan.

– Other than the communique an MOU was also signed between TRIFED and MoFPI to detail the key areas of collaboration. It has been agreed that TRIFED, as the nodal agency working for tribal upliftment would develop a new range of tribal food products, TriFood.

– With the necessary funding under the PM-FME Scheme of MoFPI, the TriFood range of tribal food products would be developed, branded, and packaged by TRIFED.

– It has also been agreed that the SHGs working under the Van DhanYojana would be provided support under the PM-FME Scheme including for handholding, training, capital investment, and working capital.

– TRIFED will identify the eligible SHGs and their members and “Van DhanYojana” groups and their members engaged in food products and create a list with necessary details on their level of operations, type of product, marketing channels, means of production, production facilities, training, etc. and share them with State Government and MoFPI

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2. Science & Technology Media Conclave

– The ‘Science and Technology Media Conclave’ is a prominent event of the India International Science Festival 2020.

– This conclave looks at the soaring emergence of digital media and its various avatars. The power of responsible science communication to cope with disasters such as pandemic was also one of the focal points of discussion at the conclave.

– The inaugural session of the S&T Media Conclave was attended by Science communicators, journalists, scientists and policymakers to discuss various facets of science and media engagement.

– The conclave will emphasize the power of responsible science communication and which can help to fight with ‘infodemic’ arising during the pandemic.

– A Science Media Virtual Exhibition showcasing cover pages of popular science magazines and science newspapers was also inaugurated in this occasion.

– The Traditional Crafts and Artisan Meet and Expo programme aims at showcasing the Indian scientific achievements and innovations for students, young researchers and the general public and to display India’s contribution in the field of S&T and to motivate young scientists to find solutions to the burning issues of our society. CSIR-AMPRI, Bhopal is the Principal Organizing Institute for the event.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 24 December, 2020

About the event

– This is a unique event of this kind. In this event, a National level virtual Meet and Expo are being organised, which emphasize the science behind the traditional Indian Arts and Crafts, their history, technological and policy interventions to improve the quality of handicrafts and the life of the artisans, future prospects, etc.

– The event throws light on implementation and development activities of primitive tribes of the country like Agaria, Bharia, and many more.

– The Expo has live streaming and demonstration for extraction and processing of the fibre, yarn and rope making, handicrafts and other products.

– This program brings together traditional craftsmen and artisans, researchers, scientists, entrepreneurs, cottage industries, self-help-groups, policymakers and students to discuss the improvement in traditional crafts to make them competitive at the global level and augmenting self-reliance (Atmanirbharta).

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 23 December, 2020

3. PM-JAY SEHAT

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch Ayushman Bharat PM-JAY SEHAT to extend coverage to all the residents of the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir on 26th December 2020 via video conferencing.

– The scheme will ensure Universal Health Coverage and focus on providing financial risk protection and ensuring quality and affordable essential health services to all individuals and communities. Union Home Minister and Lieutenant Governor of J&K will also be present on the occasion.

– The Scheme provides free of cost insurance cover to all the residents of the UT of J&K.

– It provides financial cover up to Rs 5 lakh per family on a floater basis to all residents of the UT of J&K. It provides for an operational extension of PM-JAY to 15 lakh (approx) additional families.

– The scheme will operate on insurance mode in convergence with PM-JAY. The benefits of the scheme will be portable across the country.

– The hospitals empanelled under PM-JAY scheme shall provide services under this scheme as well.

About Universal Health Coverage (UHC)

– Universal Health Coverage (UHC) includes the full spectrum of essential, quality health services, from health promotion to prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and palliative care and enables everyone to access the services, protecting people from the financial consequences of paying for health services out of their own pockets and reducing the risk that people will be pushed to poverty.

– The Ayushman Bharat program, with its two pillars – Health and Wellness Centres and Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojna – is envisaged to achieve UHC.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 22 December, 2020

4. Plant-based mock egg

– The innovation of plant-based mock egg by Prof Kavya Dashora, IIT Delhi has secured first prize at Innovate4SDG contest by ‘UNDP (United Nation Development Program) Accelerator Lab India’.The award includes a sum of $5000.

– The development of the mock egg meets the protein needs of the diet-specific, health-conscious, vegan and vegetarian people, claims IIT-Delhi.

– This innovation addresses SDG 2 and 3 (zero hunger and good health and well-being).

About Mock egg

– The mock egg has been developed from very simple farm-based crop proteins, which not only looks and tastes like an egg but also very close in nutritional profile to a poultry egg.

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5. Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020

– These rules serve to “empower” consumers with rights that would allow them to access a continuous supply of quality, reliable electricity.

The following areas are covered under the rules:

– Rights of consumers and Obligations of Distribution licensees;

– Release of new connection and modification in existing connection;

– Metering arrangement;

– Billing and payment;

– Disconnection and reconnection;

– Reliability of supply;

– Consumer as ‘prosumer’;

– Standards of performance of licensee;

– Compensation mechanism;

– Call centre for consumer services;

– Grievance redressal mechanism.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 21 December, 2020

6. ‘Tour of Duty’ recruitment model

– Months after it was first proposed by the Army, India’s defence establishment is actively considering expanding the scope of the ‘Tour of Duty’ model of recruitment to the Air Force and Navy as well.

– There are plans to expand the scheme over the next few years to ensure that close to 40 per cent of the strength of the Army is recruited through it.

– India’s political leadership is keen on the scheme, given its future potential to generate large-scale employment, and is pushing to working out its modalities.

– Currently, the only option apart from regular permanent commission into the armed forces is the Short Service Commission, in which officers are recruited for a period of 14 years. A large number of SSC officers eventually opt for permanent commission, subject to eligibility.

– The Army had, in May, proposed the ‘Tour of Duty’ model of recruitment that would let young individuals voluntarily serve for a temporary period of three years. It will be a voluntary engagement.

– It is for youths who “do not want to make defence services their permanent vocation, but still want to experience the thrill and adventure of military professionalism”.

– The proposal is a shift from the concept of permanent service/job in the Armed Forces, towards ‘internship’/temporary experience for three years.

IAS Prelims Mock-Test 2020 – Set 79, 24 December

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