Current Affairs | National | International | SSC | UPSC - 26th December 2023

National News 

1.President Draupadi Murmu Gives Assent To Three Criminal Code Bills 

  • On December 25, President Draupadi Murmu granted her assent to three groundbreaking criminal code bills, marking a significant shift in India’s legal landscape. 
  • These bills, namely the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, and the Bharatiya Sakshya Act, received parliamentary approval and are poised to replace the age-old Indian Penal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure, and the Indian Evidence Act of 1872. 
  • The trio of bills aims to redefine various offenses and their corresponding punishments. Notably, the legislation provides a clear definition of terrorism and introduces a novel section titled “Offences Against the State.” Strikingly, it abolishes sedition as a crime, replacing it with a more contemporary framework. 

2.PM Celebrates 1 Crore Ayushman Cards In Viksit Bharat Sankalp Yatra 

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his delight as the issuance of one crore Ayushman cards marked a significant achievement during the ongoing Viksit Bharat Sankalp Yatra (VBSY) across the country. 
  • Under the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (#PMJAY), these cards offer free treatment of up to Rs 5 lakh per annum per family at empanelled hospitals nationwide. 
  • Health and Family Welfare Minister Mansukh Mandaviya disclosed that India has achieved a commendable landmark, with 1,02,23,619 Ayushman cards created during the Viksit Bharat Sankalp Yatra. This achievement not only signifies the strength of the country’s health infrastructure but also propels healthcare excellence in India. 

3.India To Acquire Five Lithium Blocks In Argentina 

  • In a significant development, India is poised to secure exploration and development rights for five lithium blocks in Argentina, marking its second international foray into critical minerals after a partnership with Australia in 2022. 
  • The Indian government plans to invest around Rs 200 crore over the next five years for exploration, signaling a strategic commitment to securing a domestic supply of critical minerals. The proposal is awaiting approval from the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs.
  • Argentina, holding 21% of the world’s lithium reserves concentrated in the Lithium Triangle, is a key partner for India. The salt-lake lithium extraction method employed in Argentina proves economically favorable, contributing significantly to production. 

4.NIIF Plans To Invest Up To Rs 675 Crore Bhogapuram airport 

  • National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) is planning to invest up to Rs 675 crore on the upcoming greenfield international airport at Bhogapuram in Andhra Pradesh, which is being developed by the GMR group. 
  • This marks NIIF’s second airport investment, after the GMR Goa International Airport Ltd, which operates Manohar International Airport in Goa. 
  • GMR Airports Ltd (GAL) — a subsidiary of GMR Airports Infrastructure Ltd (GAIL) — and NIIF have entered into binding agreements for the NIIF to invest up to Rs 6.75 billion (Rs 675 crore) in GMR Visakhapatnam International Airport Ltd (GVIAL). 
  • GVIAL — a special purpose vehicle to develop and operate the Bhogapuram International Airport — was in 2020 awarded the concession to develop and operate the Bhogapuram International Airport (BIA) to the north of Visakhapatnam under a 40-year design-build-finance-operate-and-transfer model. 

5.Digi Yatra, facial recognition tech, implemented at 13 Indian airports 

  • To save time of passengers during security check at airports, Government is continuously making efforts by increasing security equipment, security manpower and using advance technologies. 
  • Digi Yatra, which provides for seamless and hassle-free experience for passengers at airports through biometric-based travel using Facial Recognition Technology has also been implemented at 13 airports and other airports will be covered in phased manner. 
  • This information was given by the Minister of State in the Ministry of Civil Aviation Gen. (Dr) V. K. Singh (Retd) in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha. 

6.Chhattisgarh transfers outstanding paddy bonus to 12 lakh farmers 

  • The Vishnu Deo Sai-led BJP government of Chhattisgarh on Monday transferred the outstanding bonus to nearly 12 lakh paddy farmers, pending from two years of the party's last stint in power [2013-18]. 
  • In 2018, the non-payment of the said bonus was seen as a pivotal factor that broke the BJP's sequence of State election victories in the predominantly rural State. Attempting a course correction, the party had highlighted it as a key poll promise in the run up to last month's polls. 
  • After assuming power, it was one of the first announcements made by Mr. Sai, with his Cabinet choosing December 25, the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, as the date for crediting the amount to the beneficiary farmers. 
  • "We had promised the farmers of Chhattisgarh that as soon as the government is formed in Chhattisgarh, we will give the outstanding bonus of two years to the farmers. I am very happy to tell you that today we have transferred ₹3,716 crore to more than 12 lakh farmers of Chhattisgarh. 
  • The money has reached all the banks where farmers have accounts," said Mr. Sai at a bonus amount distribution ceremony organized in the village Bendri of Abhanpur, on the outskirts of Raipur city. 

7.Debt debate IMF Sovereign debt risk assessment for India has spurred a sharp reaction 

  • The Finance Ministry, last Friday, issued a statement titled 'Factual position vis-à-vis IMF's Article IV consultations with India'. For context, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), under its Articles of Agreement, holds bilateral discussions with members, usually every year. IMF staffers collect economic and financial information, and discuss policies with top officials, before preparing a report that is discussed by the Fund's executive board. The Ministry statement, four days after the IMF released its latest India consultation details, noted that "certain presumptions have been made taking into account possible scenarios that do not reflect factual position". In particular, the Ministry was referring to an IMF view that adverse shocks could lift India's general government debt to, or beyond 100% of GDP in the medium-term (by 2027-28). The Ministry asserted this was only a worst-case scenario and not a fait accompli, and emphasized that other IMF country reports show much high- er extreme 'worst-case' scenarios, for instance, at 160%, 140% and 200% of GDP, for the U.S., the U.K. and China, respectively. The combined debt of central and State governments stood at 81% of GDP in 2022-23, from 88% in 2020-21. 
  • Under favorable circumstances, the IMF reckons this could even go down to 70% by 2027-28. The shocks faced by India so far in this century were global, and affected the entire world economy, be it the 2008 financial crisis or the pandemic, the Ministry pointed out. Reacting to initial news flashes, it further clarified its statement was not a rebuttal to the IMF but "an effort to arrest misinterpretation or misuse" of its comments to imply that General Government debt would exceed 100% of GDP in the medium term. Semantics experts may argue whether the communiqué was confrontational or clarificatory. 
  • India's Director on the IMF Board had already placed on record reservations about its staff's conclusions on debt risks ["sounds extreme"], and some other aspects of the economy. In the broader picture, IMF staff's perceptions of India's fiscal position have actually improved over the past year. From arguing in 2022 that India's fiscal space is at risk, they now believe sovereign stress risks are moderate. This is in no small part due to the ability of the Centre, whose debt levels were about 57% of GDP last year, to meet fiscal deficit targets in recent times. Reducing debt and spending to stay the course on its commitment to bring the deficit to 4.5% of GDP by 2025-26 from an estimated 5.9% this year, is critical. While reacting to an adverse detail in a report sometimes ends up drawing more attention to it, actions tend to always speak louder than words. 

8.Railway officers to be trained in disaster management; academy, institute to give training 

  • The Ministry of Railways has made training in disaster management mandatory for railway officers. The move comes after an investigation into the devastating Odisha train tragedy, which left about 290 passengers dead and scores injured, revealed that the disaster response could have been faster. 
  • Disaster management has now been incorporated as an integral component of the training module for railway officers at the induction/foundation course level and also included in refresher or mid career training programmes. The National Academy of Indian Railways (NAIR), Vadodara, and the Indian Railway Institute of Disaster Management (IRIDM), Bengaluru, would work together in imparting the comprehensive training programme, railway sources said Monday. 
  • However, with the Railway Board ordering NAIR to hand over all its assets, including buildings and other infrastructure, to the Gati Shakti Vishwavidyalaya (GSV), confusion prevails among the Directors General and Directors of Central Training Institutes (CTIs) on the implementation of the training 
  • "More emphasis on disaster management was laid following the report of the Commissioner of Railway Safety, Eastern Circle, A.M Chowdhary, who probed the Odisha train accident and said in his findings that "the initial response to such a disaster should be faster. Railway Board should review the system of disaster response in the Zonal Railways.” 

9.UNHCR thanks India for taking care 142 Rohingyas -intercepted in Andaman 

  • The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Monday expressed gratitude to Indian authorities on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands for taking care of 142 Rohingya refugees, whose boat was intercepted by coastal security agencies near Shaheed Dweep a day ago. 
  • "UNHCR thanks the Indian Coast Guard and the authorities for saving desperate human lives. This noble act of humanity brings relief to those in distress," Babar Baloch, spokesperson for Asia and the Pacific, said in a text message. 
  • The boat left from Bangladesh 14 to 15 days ago and was on its way to Indonesia. Those aboard included 47 women and 59 minors. 
  • UNHCR thanks the Indian Coast Guard and the authorities for saving desperate human lives. This noble act of humanity brings relief to those in distress. 
  • On Sunday morning, the Port Blair police control room received a call from the local intelligence about suspicious boat movement near Shaheed Dweep (previously known as Neil Island), and multiple coastal security agencies including the Navy, Coast Guard and Marine Police) swung into action and located it, officials had said. 
  • "There are reports of deaths (referring to dangerous sea routes taken by the Rohingyas in the last couple of years). We express our sadness and re- gret for the lives lost during this ordeal. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees stands ready to extend support as needed to those disembarked," Ba loch said. The boat was towed to Shaheed Dweep by the marine police on Sunday, as it developed some technical snag and was unfit for further journey, police said. All of them were taken to Port Blair and kept in a temporary shelter by the local administration. 

10.Visva-Bharati named the newly discovered bacteria 'Pantoea tagori' after Rabindranath Tagore 

  • A group of researchers from the Department of Botany, VisvaBharati University have discovered a bacteria capable of promoting plant growth and have named it 'Pantoea tagori' after Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore. 
  • These findings were also published in the Indian Journal of Microbiology. On the reasons behind naming it after Tagore, the dam mentioned Tagore's visionary agricultural activities. 
  • Microbiologist Bomba Dam, assistant professor in the university's Department of Botany, who led the research, told PTI that the bacteria have immense potential to revolutionize agricultural practices. 
  • "This is a plant growth-promoting bacteria that will prove to be a game-changer in agriculture. It has shown immense potential to boost the cultivation of paddy, peas and chillies," said Dam from Shantiniketan in West Bengal's Birbhum district. 
  • Talking about the discovery, Dam mentioned his team isolated the bacteria from the soil of Sonajhuri, an area in Santiniketan. "After this we discovered the bacteria in the coal mining area of Jharia in Jharkhand," he said. 

'Pantoa Tagori' 

  • 'Pantoea tagori' efficiently extracts potassium from the soil which enhances plant growth. The substances found in the soil of Jharia coal mines solubilize potassium and phosphorus and fix nitrogen which helps in promoting plant growth. 
  • The bacteria will reduce the use of commercial fertilizers and ultimately help cut costs of agriculture and boost crop yields, the Association of Microbiologists of India (AMI) has officially recognized the discovery. 

11.‘Sanskriti Utsav 2023’ started to enrich the cultural heritage of Uttar Pradesh 

  • 'Sanskriti Utsav 2023' has been started in the state from 25 December to 26 January 2024 to enrich the cultural heritage of Uttar Pradesh and make folk art ubiquitous. 
  • The theme of the culture festival is: Uttar Pradesh Mahotsav: Our Culture-Our Identity. This festival will be organized by the Culture Department of Uttar Pradesh in the entire state. The festival will provide a platform to local artists to showcase their talent and win awards. 
  • These programs will be organized across the state primarily in the spirit of preserving cultural genres like classical, sub-classical, folk theater and folk music. 
  • In this event, folk music prevalent in rural areas will also be given great importance. 
  • Under this event, there will be dance competitions related to Kathak, Bharatnatyam, Odissi, Mohiniyattam and other classical dances. Similarly, in folk dance there will be competitions like Dhobia, Ahirwa, Karma, Shaila, Domkach, Aakhet and in folk drama there will be competitions like Nautanki, Ramlila, Raslila, Swang, Bhagat, Bahurupiya, street drama etc. 
  • In folk singing, competitions will be organized in the categories of Kajri, Chauthi, Jhula, Birha, Alha, Nirgun, folk songs, qawwali and songs under easy music, ghazal, bhajan and patriotic songs. 

12.Modi to honor valeur, martyrdom of Sahibzadas today 

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will participate in a programme on Tuesday to pay homage to the contrape and martyrdern of the son of Gurne Gedded Singh, the fourth and last Sikh guru. 
  • The Union government has organized many parts operative programmes across the country to mark the day which has been named "Veer Baal Divas", A digital exhibition detailing the life story and sacrifice lee of the Sahibzaded (martyred sons of Guru Gobind Singh) will also be displayed in schools and childcare institutions across the country.
  • Mr. Modi will participate in the special programme at Bharat Mandapam in New Delhi and will flag off a march-past by youth. 
  • The programmes being organized by the government will focus on informing and educating the citizens, especially the young children, about the story of the exemplary courage of the 'Sahibzadas. 
  • There are numerous online competitions such as Interactive quizzes which are being organized through MYBharat and My govt provide. 
  • A film on Veer Baal in var will also be screened nationwide, an official statement said. 
  • The Prime Minister on january 9, 2012), протска the observation of "Veer Baat Divas, to mark the martyrdom of Guru Go bind Singer's sons Sahibza das Baba Zonavar Singh and Baba Patch Singh \
  • On the first Veer Baal Divas in 2022, Mr. Modi said It would remind the nation that age did not matter when it came to extrеmе valor and sacrifice. 
  • "Veer Baal Divas will tell us what is India and its identity and every year, Veer Bal Divas will inspire us to recognise our past and make our future, This will also remind everyone about the strength of our young generation", he said. 

13.PM gives cheques All of 224 cr. to clear mill workers' dues 

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday praised the Madhya Pradesh government led by Chief Minister Mohan Yadav for resolving the issues of workers of Indore's Hukumchand Mill, as he presided over an event to hand over cheques worth ₹224 crore in pending dues to the workers. 
  • Addressing the 'Mazdooron Ka Hit Mazdooron ka Samarpiť event held in Indore through videoconferencing, Mr. Modi said that it was his government's priority to honor the poor and the laborers. 
  • He further said that it was a matter of joy that the event was being held on December 25, the birth anniversary of former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee, which is celebrated as the Good Governance Day. 
  • Dues worth 464 crore are to be paid to workers of the Hukumchand Mill, which was shut in 1991, without proper notice to the employees. The workers then fought a 32-year- long legal battle to get their outstanding dues, including gratuity and other liabilities, from the company. 
  • While cheques worth 224 crore were given to the official liquidator and the heads of the mill's labor unions, ₹218 crore will be directly transferred to the bank accounts of the workers or their families. The remaining amount in- cludes other liabilities of the mill, a government official said. 
  • The move by the State government is expected to benefit more than 4,800 workers and their families. 
  • Countering the Congress's demand of a caste based census, Mr. Modi reiterated that the four largest and most important castles for him are the "poor, youth, women and farmers". "The M.P. The government has taken significant steps to change the lives of the poor. Our priority is to honor the laborers and the deprived," he said. 
  • The PM also virtually laid the foundation stone for projects and development works worth more than 400 crore, including a 60 MW solar power plant in Jalood. 

14.Carry on, doctor Doctors must not fear prosecution unless gross negligence is proven 

  • The proverbial slip between the cup and lip was in evidence when the Union Home Minister's assurance on the floor of the Lok Sabha was at variance with the actual amendment on punishment for doctors in cases of death due to negligence. Amit Shah initially said: "If someone died due to medical negligence by doctors it was treated as culpable homicide not amounting to murder. I am bringing an amendment today. Doctors have been exempted from punishment [under this section]. The Indian Medical Association [IMA] had requested us [for the exemption]." The amended Bharatiya Nyaya (Second) Sanhita Bill, 2023, passed since, however did not provide that blanket exemption to doctors. Instead, the amended Section 106(1) specifies that a registered medical practitioner (RMP) shall be punished with imprisonment up to two years and a fine. In effect, the punishment for doctors as specified under Section 304(A) of the Indian Penal Code that the BNSS replaces, has been retained. With the IMA still thanking the government despite the status quo situation, a deft look behind the scenes reveals that a draft Bill submitted to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the issue, actually suggested a seven-year imprisonment term for death due to negligence in case of an RMP. The IMA then submit- ted to the Standing Committee that there was no mens rea or criminal intent in the relationship between the patient and the doctor, and thus the increased punishment was not justified. The committee then reduced the imprisonment to five years, which finally rested at two years, as the law was passed. 

International News 

15.Angola Announces Departure From OPEC 

  • Angola, a significant oil-producing nation, has declared its decision to exit the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) with effect from January 1, 2024. 
  • This move follows the footsteps of Ecuador in 2020 and Qatar in 2019, reflecting a trend of nations with relatively small oil output distancing themselves from the influential oil-exporting organization. 
  • Angola became a member of OPEC in 2007, contributing approximately 1.1 million barrels per day to the global oil market. Since its entry into OPEC, Angola actively participated in the organization’s efforts to manage the oil market, collaborating with other member nations and non-members within the OPEC+ group 

State News 

16.UP To Build India’s First AI City In Lucknow 

  • In a groundbreaking move, Uttar Pradesh, India’s largest state, is set to establish the country’s first AI city in Lucknow. 
  • This initiative aims to create a thriving hub for artificial intelligence, integrating cutting-edge technology, research centers, and educational institutions to foster innovation and nurture the workforce of the future. 
  • According to a report by Grand View Research, the global AI market size reached $137 billion in 2022 and is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 37.3% from 2023 to 2030. Uttar Pradesh’s move to build an AI city aligns with the escalating global significance of artificial intelligence.  

17.Manipur Initiates SAANS Campaign 2023-24 For Pneumonia Prevention 

  • In a significant move aimed at addressing childhood pneumonia, Dr. Sapam Ranjan Singh, the State Health and Family Welfare Minister of Manipur, recently inaugurated the SAANS Campaign 2023-24 in Imphal. SAANS, which stands for Social Awareness and Action to Neutralize Pneumonia, is an annual campaign implemented in states and Union Territories. The primary objective of SAANS is to accelerate action against childhood pneumonia, a leading cause of child mortality. 
  • SAANS will initiate a public awareness campaign to educate communities about effective pneumonia prevention strategies. This includes promoting practices such as breastfeeding, age-appropriate supplemental feeding, and vaccination. 

18.Bihar Police To Launch ‘Mission Investigation@75 Days’ From January 1, 2024 

  • The Bihar Police has announced the implementation of ‘Mission Investigation@75 Days,’ aiming to streamline and expedite the criminal justice process in the state. Starting from January 1 next year, investigators will be mandated to complete the investigation of cases within 75 days of the registration of First Information Reports (FIRs). 
  • The initiative aims to ensure that investigations, including the filing of chargesheets, are concluded within 75 days of the registration of FIRs. 

19.Vasudev Devnani Elected As The Speaker Of Rajasthan Assembly 

  • The 16th Rajasthan Assembly witnessed a significant development as Vasudev Devnani, a seasoned BJP MLA with five terms under his belt, was unanimously elected as the Speaker. 
  • The motion for his appointment was moved by Chief Minister Bhajan Lal Sharma and seconded by Congress leader and Tonk MLA Sachin Pilot, reflecting a rare unity between the ruling party and the opposition. 
  • Devnani’s appointment brings caste diversity to the government, following the selection of Chief Minister Bhajan Lal Sharma (Brahmin) and two Deputy CMs (Rajput and Scheduled Caste). 

20.Khelo India Youth Games 2023 Set To Be Held In Tamil Nadu 

  • The Khelo India Youth Games, a pinnacle in India’s sporting landscape, is set to kick off its 2023 edition on January 19, 2024, in Tamil Nadu. 
  • The southern state has proudly been chosen as the host, and the Games will unfold across four vibrant cities: Chennai, Madurai, Trichy, and Coimbatore. 
  • Organized by the Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu in collaboration with the Sports Authority of India and various National Sports Federations (NSF), this event is a crucial platform for nurturing the nation’s young sports talent. 
  • In a historic move, Squash is being introduced in the Khelo India Youth Games for the first time since its inception in 2018. This inclusion further diversifies the range of sports and provides a broader platform for athletes to showcase their prowess. 

21.Bihar government launches ‘Punaura Dham Project’ 

  • A Rs 72 crore project has recently been approved by the Bihar state government to develop the birthplace of Goddess Sita at Punaura Dham, a temple complex located in Sitamarhi district, as a major tourist destination. 
  • Punaura Dham is considered to be the birthplace of Goddess Sita, the wife of Lord Shri Ram and revered in Hindu religion. The initiative aims to promote the culture and heritage of Mithila, the region where Mother Sita was born and brought up. 
  • Punaura Dham has been included in the Ramayana Circuit of the Centre. Mithila is also called Mahala, and is mentioned in the revenue records of the then United Province (United Provinces) of Bihar, Bengal and Orissa. 
  • According to the Ramayana written by Valmiki, Sita descended from a pond when King Janak, the ruler of Mithila, was plowing the land. 
  • He accepted her as his daughter and named her 'Sita', which means "bay" in Sanskrit. He also named her Janaki, which means "daughter of Janaka". 


  • It has a rich and ancient history, dating back to the Vedic period (1500–500 BCE), when it was one of the 16 Mahajanapadas of India. Mithila, which is also known as Tirhut or Tirabhukti. After the IndoNepal Treaty of 1816, Janakpur became a part of Nepal. 
  • The main language of Mithila is Maithili which belongs to the IndoAryan family. Mithila painting is famous for its unique style, which is known as Madhubani or Mithila painting, 
  • Mithila Makhana or Makhana (Botanical name: Euryale ferox Salisb) is a special variety of aquatic Makhana cultivated in Mithila region of Bihar and Nepal. It also has the status of GI (Geographical Indication) tag. 

Defence News 

22.Initial assessment of Chem Pluto indicates a drone attack, says Navy 

  • Merchant vessel Chem Pluto that was hit by a projectile reaches Mumbai on Monday and the preliminary assessment of the area of attack and the debris found on the ship by the explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) team point towards a drone attack, the Navy said. 
  • "However, further forensic and technical analysis will be required to establish the vector of attack, including type and amount of explosive used," the Navy said in a statement. A joint investigation by various agencies has commenced on completion of the analysis by the Navy's EOD. 
  • Pointing to the seriousness of the incident, an official with knowledge of the matter said the nature of attack was of serious concern and if the impact was elsewhere, it could have resulted in a huge explosion on the ship. The vessel reached Mumbai and was anchored safely at outer anchorage off Mumbai at 3.30 p.m. for initial inspection. m.v. Chem Pluto, with 22 crew members (21 Indians and one Vietnamese national) was located around 217 nautical miles from the Porbandar coast in the Arabian Sea when it was hit on Saturday. 
  • The ship has been cleared for further operation by her company-in- charge at Mumbai. 
  •  The ship is scheduled to undergo mandatory checks by the various inspecting authorities before undertaking ship-to-ship (STS) transfer of cargo, the Navy said. This is likely to be followed by docking and repairs of the damaged portion. 
  • Meanwhile, both the Navy and the Coast Guard have stepped up patrolling in the general area. Considering the recent spate of attacks in the Arabian Sea, the Navy has deployed guided missile destroyers INS Mormugao, INS Kochi, and INS Kolkata in various areas "to maintain a deterrent presence", it stated. 
  • Long-range maritime reconnaissance P8I aircraft are also being regularly tasked to maintain domain awareness. 

Business News 

23.SGBS Unnati Foundation becomes the first entity to be listed on the Social Stock Exchange 

  • Recently SGBS Unnati Foundation (SUF) became the first entity to be listed on the Social Stock Exchange (SSE). SUF is a non-profit organization (NPO) formed in 2011 that has trained over 45,000 youth. 
  • The entity had raised ₹1.8 crore from Zerodha, NABARD, Govind Iyer and Ashish Kacholia during its fundraising period between October 30 and November 22. On listing, Zero Coupon Zero Principal (ZCZP) instruments of face value of ₹1 each will be credited to the demat accounts of the respective donors. 
  • It will not be traded but will be credited to their accounts. The value of the equipment to the donor will be zero at the end of one year when the SUF project is completed. 
  • SEBI Board has recently approved halving the minimum issue size of ZCZP by NPOs on SSE from Rs 1 crore to Rs 50 lakh. The minimum application size will be reduced from ₹2 lakh to ₹10,000 to enable wider participation. 

Social Stock Exchange (SSE) 

  • Social Stock Exchange (SSE) was introduced in the Union Budget 2019-20 with the objective of listing social enterprises, voluntary and welfare organizations and providing a platform to raise capital. 
  • It functions under the market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). 
  • SEBI had allowed social enterprises registered on SSE to raise funds through Zero Coupon Zero Principal Bonds (ZCZP). ‘Zero Coupon, Zero Principal’ instruments are not stocks or bonds but instruments for donating capital to NPOs listed on the SSE. 

Economy News 

24.India-ASEAN Trade Pact Undergoes Review For Modernization In February 

  • India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are poised to commence negotiations in February aimed at modernizing their existing free trade agreement (FTA) and addressing the prevailing trade deficit, currently standing at $43.57 billion. 
  • The initiative seeks to revamp the ASEAN India Trade in Goods Agreement (AITGA) by 2025. The negotiations will primarily concentrate on the introduction of product-specific rules and trade remedies, with the overarching goal of enhancing the efficiency of the FTA.
  • Recognizing the need for a comprehensive overhaul, the discussions will delve into critical aspects such as the Rules of Origin (ROO) and the integration of a dedicated chapter on trade remedies to safeguard domestic industries. 

25.Disinvestment Set To Miss FY24 Target, Raises Over Rs 4 Trillion In A Decade 

  • As the specter of impending general elections looms, the government’s privatization endeavors have slowed, opting for caution in the face of potential accusations of selling off national assets. 
  • The ambitious disinvestment target for the current fiscal year is likely to be missed, with major plans, including Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL), Shipping Corporation of India (SCI), and CONCOR, pushed to the backburner. Analysts suggest that substantive privatization may only resume after the April/May elections. 

Appointment News 

26.SEBI Gives Nod To Appoint Pramod Agrawal As BSE Chairman 

  • The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has given its nod to the appointment of Pramod Agrawal, the former Chief of Coal India, as the Chairman of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE). 
  • This regulatory approval paves the way for Agrawal to assume his role on the Governing Board of BSE, effective from January 17, 2024. The move comes as the term of the current Chairman, SS Mundra, concludes on January 16, 2024. 
  • Agrawal is an alumnus of the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), with a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from IIT Mumbai. He furthered his education with a Master’s degree in Design Engineering from IIT Delhi, showcasing a strong academic foundation in engineering. 

Important Day News 

27.Veer Bal Diwas 2023 

  • Since 9th January 2022, the day of the Prakash Purab of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the Hon. Prime Minister had announced that 26th December would be observed as ‘Veer Bal Diwas’, to mark the martyrdom of sons of Sri Guru Gobind Singh – Sahibzadas Baba Zorawar Singh Ji and Baba Fateh Singh Ji. 
  • Veer Bal Diwas is a day of remembrance and homage to the “Sahibzadas,” symbolizing the resilience and devotion to Sikhism. This day is a solemn occasion to pay tribute to the immense sacrifices made by Sahibzada Zorawar Singh and Sahibzada Fateh Singh. 

Award News 

28.Professor Laredj wins UAE's Great Arab Minds Award in Arts and Literature 

  • Professor Vassini Laredj has won the United Arab Emirates (UAE) 'Great Arab Minds Award' (GAM) in the field of literature and arts. The Great Arab Minds Award is also known as the 'Arab Nobel'. 
  • Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, has congratulated the various winners of the Great Arab Minds Award. 
  • GAM Awards are given for outstanding achievements in six important areas. These fields are natural sciences, engineering and technology, literature and arts, architecture and design, economics and medicine. 
  • These awards are given to individuals who have made significant contributions in these fields for their impact on Arab society and human progress. 

Award Winner 

  • GAM Literature and Arts Award: Algerian Professor Vassini Laredj. 
  • GAM Natural Sciences Award: Lebanese scientist Niven Khashab. 
  • GAM Engineering Technology Award: Professor Fadil Adib of Lebanon. 
  • GAM Medical Award: Saudi Dr. Hani Najm. 
  • GAM Economics Award – Mohammed El-Erian 
  • GAM Architecture and Design - Professor Lina Ghotmeh 

29.Sumit Antil and Sheetal Devi won the Best Male and Female Athlete [Disabled] awards respectively 

  • Javelin thrower Sumit Antil and archer Sheetal Devi won the prestigious Best Male and Best Female Athlete awards at the first Divyang Sports Awards. The first Divyang Sports Award has been instituted for the first time in the country exclusively for Divyang athletes. 
  • Sumit Antil was born on 6 July 1998 in Khewra, Sonipat, Haryana, India. He won gold medals in the men's javelin throw F64 category at the 2020 Summer Paralympics and the 2023 World Para Athletics Championships. He holds the current world record with a throw of 73.29 meters at the 2022 Asian Para Games in Hangzhou. 
  • Sheetal Devi is an armless para archer from Loidhar village in Kishtwar district of Jammu and Kashmir. Sheetal Devi had won two gold and one silver medal in the Asian Para Games held in Hangzhou, China. He has been chosen the best young athlete of the year 2023. She has recently been selected for the Arjuna Award 2023. 

Other Winner 

  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Murlikant Petkar, India's first Paralympic gold medalist and freestyle swimmer in the year 1972. 
  • Best Coach Award: Renowned parabadminton coach Gaurav Khanna, who has trained names like Pramod Bhagat, Abu Hubaida and Palak Kohli. 
  • Best Academy Award: Gaurav Khanna Excellia Badminton Academy. 
  • Major Dhyan Chand Team of the Year Award: The Indian Blind Chess Team (which won gold and multiple medals at the Hangzhou Para Games) won the Major Dhyan Chand Team of the Year Award. 
  • Most Stylish Athlete – Double Paralympic medalist shooter Singhraj Adhana 
  • Comeback of the Year – Sundar Singh Gurjar for his world record achievement in the F-46 Javelin at the Asian Para Games. 

Books and Authors News 

30.Raghuram Rajan’s New Book ‘Breaking The Mould: Reimagining India’s Economic Future,’ Released 

  • Former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor, Raghuram Rajan, in collaboration with economist Rohit Lamba, has released a groundbreaking book titled ‘Breaking the Mould: Reimagining India’s Economic Future.’ 
  • This latest addition to Rajan’s literary contributions marks a significant exploration into the potential and challenges of India’s economic trajectory. 
  • ‘Breaking the Mould’ seeks to elucidate strategies for accelerating India’s economic development. The authors propose investing in human capital, expanding opportunities in high-skilled services and innovative manufacturing, and transforming India into a hub of ideas and creativity. 

31.Prime Minister Narendra Modi Releases Collected Works Of Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya 

  • On December 25, Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the first series of 11 volumes comprising the collected works of Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya. This significant event took place on the occasion of the 162nd birth anniversary of Pandit Malaviya, the visionary founder of Banaras Hindu University. 
  • The released collection is a bilingual masterpiece, featuring content in both English and Hindi. Spanning approximately 4,000 pages, these volumes meticulously gather the writings and speeches of Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya from various corners of the country. 
  • The esteemed task of publishing these invaluable works was carried out by the Publications Division under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. 

Sports News 

32.India won 7 medals including 2 gold in the classical category in the 25th Asian Youth Chess Championship in UAE 

  • India won two gold, three silver and two bronze medals in the 25th Asian Youth Chess Championship (Classical) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). 
  • Two Indian youngsters Kiana Parihar (Under-8 Girls) and Harsh Suresh (Under-16 Open) won gold medals. 
  • Sharvanika (U-8 Girls), Arit Kapil (U8 Open), and G Tejaswini (U-18 Girls) won silver medals in their respective classical championships, while Aadya Ranganath won a bronze medal in the U-10. 
  • In the girls' category, Sharvanika, who had earlier bagged two gold medals in the U-8 Girls Rapid and U8 Girls Blitz categories at the 25th Asian Youth Festival, emerged as the only player to win medals in all three (Blitz, Classical and Rapid categories). 
  • India earned nine medals, including four gold, at the Asian Youth Rapid Chess Championship on 13 December. Bhagyashree Patil (U-18 girls), Sapriya Ghosh (U-14 girls), A S Sharvanika (U-8 girls) and Muhammad Shayan Ibrahim (U-8 open) won gold medals. 
  • On December 17, three Indian girls—VC Nivedita (U-12 girls), Pratithi Bordoloi (U-10 girls), and A S Sharwanika—secured gold medals for the country at the Asian Blitz Chess Championship. 

33.India Achieve Historic Feat With Maiden Test Victory Over Australia 

  • India Women concluded their first ‘home season’ of Test cricket in 28 years with a historic maiden victory over Australia in a one-off Test match in Mumbai on December 24. 
  • The win marked a significant achievement for the Indian team, capping off a season characterized by exemplary performances with both bat and ball. 
  • India posted 406 in the first innings, recording their highest total ever against Australia in Tests. Despite early breakthroughs, Richa Ghosh and Smriti Mandhana’s partnership secured the meager target of 75 with ease, sealing an eight-wicket win. 

34.South Africa’s Dean Elgar Announces Retirement From International Cricket 

  • Former South Africa captain, Dean Elgar, has decided to bid farewell to international cricket after the upcoming test series against India. Elgar, known for his resilient batting and leadership skills, will play his final test at Newlands in Cape Town, starting January 3. 
  • With over 5,000 runs and 13 centuries in 84 tests, he became South Africa’s eighth-highest scorer in the format. His highest score of 199 against Bangladesh in 2017 stands out as a testament to his batting prowess. 
  • Throughout his career, Elgar showcased resilience and determination, bouncing back from an inauspicious debut against Australia. This announcement marks the conclusion of a 12-year-long test career that has seen significant contributions to South African cricket.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post