• The Institute for Competitiveness released the annual 2022 Social Progress Index (SPI) which was published by Social Progress Imperative. India secured a global rank of 110 with score of 60.19 in Tier 4 countries.
• The index is topped by Norway with a score of 90.74 in Tier-1 countries i.e. high income countries.
• The SPI 2022 for States and Districts made by the Institute for Competitiveness and Social Progress Imperative was submitted to Economic Advisory Council- Prime Minister (EAC-PM).
• It was released by Bibek Debroy, Chairman, EAC-PM on December 20, 2022 at New Delhi, Delhi in presence of above mentioned authors.
• Puducherry got the highest SPI score of 65.99 due to its remarkable performance across components like personal freedom and choice, shelter, and water and sanitation.
According to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), 3 new Cultural Sites in India have been added to the provisional list of United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage sites. They are as follows:
1.Sun Temple, Modhera, Gujarat and its adjoining monuments
2.Vadnagar – A multi-layered Historic town, Gujarat, which is also the birthplace of Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi
3.Rock-cut Sculptures and Reliefs of the Unakoti, Unakoti Range, Unakoti District, Tripura
• With this addition, India currently has 52 sites on the UNESCO Tentative List.
• So far in 2022, 6 Indian sites have been included to the tentative list.
• There are 40 sites in India that have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Ministry of Ayush (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy) issued a notification regarding the status of the centres of excellence scheme ‘AYURSWASTHYA Yojana‘. The information was given by Minister of Ayush Sarbananda Sonowal in a written reply in Rajya Sabha.
• Financial aid is provided to eligible individual organisations and institutions under the AYURSWASTHYA Yojana’s CoE component to construct and improve their facilities and/or conduct AYUSH-related research and development. Objectives of the CoE component of AYURSWASTHYA Yojana:
• To support the establishment of an advanced or specialized AYUSH medical health unit.
• To support creative proposals for the establishment and upgradation of both functions and facilities of reputed institutions to strengthen the competencies of AYUSH professionals at the national and international levels.
• To support creative ideas for prestigious organizations with established structures and infrastructure that want to work for AYUSH systems to the level of CoE.
Union Minister of Steel, Jyotiraditya Scindia launched India’s first Green Steel Brand, “KALYANI FeRRESTA” in New Delhi. This was manufactured by a Pune-based Steel company, Kalyani group by using renewable energy resources, leaving zero carbon footprints in the environment. India is presently leading the countries which have
committed to achieving carbon neutrality, with ongoing green .steel manufacturing
•Government of India (GoI) is promoting green steel manufacturing and has framed the National Steel Policy to achieve zero carbon emissions by the steel industry.
•The policy makes it mandatory for steelmakers to dedicate a certain percentage of their production lines for making green steel and also encourages its usage in government projects, as a promotion towards the use of the product.
• GoI sought to decarbonise the steel industry by encouraging enhanced use of renewable sources of energy, application of resource-efficient materials, further expansion of scrap usage, possible use of green hydrogen as a furnace fuel in the future and exploration of carbon capture utilisation and storage.
According to the UI Green Metric World University Rankings 2022 released by The Universitas Indonesia (UI) on 12th December 2022, the Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE), Manipal(town within Udupi), Karnataka is ranked No. 1 in India and 121st worldwide for being the most sustainable university.
• MAHE is followed by Mangalore University, Mangaluru, Karnataka, and S R M University (Institute of Science and Technology) Chengalpattu, Tamil Nadu are ranked 2nd & 3rd in India.
• Wageningen University & Research of Netherlands topped the list followed by the United Kingdom(UK)’s Nottingham Trent University and the University Nottingham in 2nd and 3rd place respectively.
Switzerland-based E2S Power, a leading developer of thermal energy storage solutions, and India Power Corporation Limited (IPCL), one of the leading power utilities in India, have signed an agreement for a 250 kilowatt-hour (kWh) pilot thermal energy storage unit to be operated in India. The Pilot unit was engineered, built, and tested at the E2S Power facility in less than 9 months. The pilot thermal energy storage unit passed the Factory Acceptance Tests and is to be delivered in the 1st quarter of 2023. This is the 1st step to implementing the E2S solution globally
• This partnership will help in transforming thermal power assets into clean energy storage facilities, making a significant contribution to the growth of India’s renewable energy sector.
• It is because the solution can be implemented quickly to provide urgently needed energy storage while using most of the infrastructure in thermal power plants being retired and safeguarding jobs.
• Long Duration Energy Storage System (LDESS) is the ideal solution given the fast-increasing production of renewable energy in the overall energy mix.
• It will also provide a solution for meeting the requirement of flexibilization of Thermal Power Plants.
• Through this partnership, E2S Power expects to cater for an estimated demand of 10 GW of Long Duration Energy Storage Systems (LDESS) within the next 8-10 years.
• IPCL and E2S Power will work jointly with major companies in India’s power and renewable energy sectors to identify, evaluate and offer optimized integrated thermal energy solutions for existing plants and facilities being phased out.
• A reliable power system faces new challenges and opportunities in operating and maintaining the evolving power generation mix and growing demand.
Indian Actor and Bollywood superstar, Shah Rukh Khan(57 years old) has become the only Indian to be named on the 50 Greatest Actors Of All Time List of Empire Magazine, a British monthly film magazine.
• Shah Rukh Khan made his film debut with the commercially successful Deewana (1992). His career lasted for over 4 decades
with unbroken hits.
• Shah Rukh Khan’s notable works include, “Devdas”, “My Name Is Khan”, “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai”, “Jab Tak Hai Jaan” and “Swades”.
• The list also features Hollywood giants like Denzel Washington, Tom Hanks, Anthony Marlon Brando, Meryl Streep, Jack Nicholson and many others.
Fifth Scorpene-class conventional submarine, “Vagir”, of “Project 75”, Kalvari Class submarines, Yard 11879, was delivered to the Indian Navy by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) Mumbai, Maharashtra. It will be commissioned into the Indian Navy in January 2023 as “Indian Naval Ship (INS) Vagir,” a fully combat-worthy submarine capable of operation in all modes and deployment regimes.
•Six Scorpene-class submarines are to be built indigenously under Project-75.
• The first submarine, “INS Kalvari,” was commissioned in December 2017, followed by 2nd submarine “INS Khanderi“ in September 2019, 3rd submarine “INS Karanj” in March 2021, and 4th submarine “INS Vela” in November 2021.
• Vagir was launched into the water on November 12, 2020, and began sea trials on February 1, 2022
Indian Navy launched the Indian Naval Ship (INS) “Arnala,” the first of eight indigenously built Anti-Submarine Warfare Shallow Water Craft (ASW-SWC) [Yard 3029], at shipbuilding facility of Larsen & Toubro (L&T) in Kattupalli, Chennai, Tamil Nadu. It is built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd. (GRSE), Kolkata, West Bengal.
• The ship’s name, “Arnala,” honours the strategic maritime significance that Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj bestowed on the island of Arnala, which is situated about 13 kilometres north of Vasai, Maharashtra.
• “INS Arnala” had its maiden contact with Bay of Bengal water during a launch ceremony presided over by Rasika Chaube, Financial Adviser (Defence Services) of the Ministry of Defence (MoD).