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Current Affairs -27th December 2022

1 ) Ministry of power Signs MoU with DRDO for Implementing Early Warning System

Ministry of Power signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for implementation of Early Warning System (EWS) for vulnerable hydro power projects, especially those that are located in upper reaches of Hilly regions. The MoU was signed by Alok Kumar, Secretary, Ministry of Power and Dr Samir V Kamat, Secretary, Department of Defence (R&D) & Chairman, DRDO.

Key points:

• The Ministry of Power and DRDO will jointly work towards developing suitable mitigation measures against avalanches, landslides, glaciers, glacial lakes and other geo-hazards.
• Under the partnership, the expertise of DRDO will be utilised in developing a comprehensive Early Warning System in hilly regions.
• Separate and specific tasks will be formulated between DRDO and respective project developers in agreement with broad understanding.

2 ) 10th Edition of the North East Festival begins in Delhi

10th Edition of the North East Festival began 2022 (from 23rd -26th December 2022) was held at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi, Delhi, to promote the culture and tourism of the region. Narayan Rane, Minister of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), inaugurated the 4-day Festival at the stadium in Delhi. The festival aims to promote the diverse life, culture, traditions and tourism of the North East region.

Key points:

• The origin of the North East Festival 1st came up in the year 2013-2014 when there were a lot of racial assaults committed against residents of North East India in Delhi.
• North East Festival Delhi launched its inaugural event in 2013.
• The first 7 editions of the festival were organised from 2013 to 2019 respectively at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (IGNCA), Janpath, New Delhi, Delhi.
• The last 2 editions were held in Guwahati, Assam, virtually due to the spike in COVID cases in Delhi

3 ) NMCG Executive Committee Approves projects for Developing Sewerage Infrastructure in Ganga Basin

National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) Executive Committee approved 12 projects worth around Rs 2,700 crore for developing sewerage infrastructure in the Ganga basin – Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, with special focus on tributaries of Ganga. The projects were approved during the 46th meeting of the Executive Committee(EC) of NMCG organised under the chairmanship of G. Asok Kumar, Director General, NMCG on 23rd December 2022.

Key points:

Himansu Badoni, Executive Director (Projects), NMCG, D.P. Mathuria, Executive Director (Finance), NMCG, S.P. Vashishtha, Executive Director, (Admin), NMCG, Bhaskar Dasgupta, Executive Director (Finance), NMCG, Mrs. Richa Misra, Joint Secretary and Financial Advisor, Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Ministry of Jal Shakti, representation from states and senior officials of NMCG were also present during the meeting.

4 ) Ujjwala Scheme: Rs 200 Subsidy per Cylinder to be Extended One More Year

The 2023-2024 Union Budget is set to extended the Rs 200 per cooking gas cylinder subsidy for 12 cylinders per year under Ujjwala Scheme for one more fiscal year. The budget may also extended the Ujjwala scheme beyond March 2023 to take domestic cooking gas to uncovered areas in states and attain the goal of 100% Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) coverage.

Key points:

• Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana – PMUY (Ujjwala scheme) was first launched on 1st May 2016 in Ballia, Uttar Pradesh by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
• The scheme was introduced by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG) as its flagship scheme.
• The objective of PMUY is to ensure that cooking fuel like LPG is available to the rural and deprived households which uses traditional cooking fuels such as firewood, coal, cow-dung cakes etc.
• The scheme aimed to release 8 Crore LPG connections to the deprived households by March 2022. The target was achieved on 7th December 2019. Ujjwala 2.0 was launched on 10 August 2021 with an aim to reach the households missed out in the first phase.
• In May 2021, the government of India announced a Rs 200 subsidy of 12 cylinders per year to 90 million beneficiaries of the Ujjwala Scheme for FY23.

5 ) Botanical Gardens failed to conserve threatened plants despite Rs 48 crore budget: CAG report

According to the “Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India for the year ended March 2021” (Financial Year 2020-2021) released on 23rd December 2022, Assistance to Botanic Garden (ABG) scheme of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) with a budget of over Rs 48.07 crore was ineffective in conserving threatened and endemic plants in India. The ABG scheme was implemented through the Botanical Survey of India (BSI).

Key points:

• The Assistance to Botanic Garden (ABG) scheme was introduced in 1992 to promote ex-situ conservation and propagation of threatened and endemic plants through a network of Botanic Gardens (BGs) and Centres of ex-situ conservation.
• The original guidelines of the ABG scheme were issued in July 2007 and was subsequently revised in May 2013.
• The scheme envisioned a network of Botanic gardens/botanic sections was envisioned in popular horticulture or thematic gardens across India and cover 40% of the civil districts of India by end of the 12th 5-year plan.

6 ) SEBI expands Committees on Cyber Security and Information System

Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) expanded its High Powered Steering Committee on Cyber Security (HPSC-CS) and Information Systems Security Committee (ISSC) to strengthen cyber security frameworks and cyber resilience requirements.

Key points:

High Powered Steering Committee on Cyber Security (HPSC-CS) This committee has been expanded to 8 members from 6 members. It will continue to be chaired by Navin Kumar Singh, Director General (DG) at National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC).
Information Systems Security Committee (ISSC) SEBI also expanded its panel on Information Systems Security Committee (ISSC) to 7 members which will continue to be chaired by Prof H. Krishnamurthy, IISc, Bengaluru.

7 ) NTPC and Tecnimont sign MOU to develop Green Methanol Production Facility

NTPC Limited (formerly known as National Thermal Power Corporation Limited) has signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Mumbai (Maharashtra) headquartered Tecnimont Private Limited (TCMPL), an Indian Subsidiary of Maire Tecnimont
Group, Italy

Key points:

• The scope of the Green Methanol Project includes capturing the carbon emission from the NTPC Power plants and converting them into green fuel.
• Green Methanol has a wide range of applications, including serving as a base material for the chemical industry, storing renewable electricity, and even as a transportation fuel. It is also considered as a substitute fuel for maritime fuel applications.
• This project along with NTPCs under execution pilot scale Green Methanol project are in line with NTPC’s commitment to sustainability and renewable energy. These will contribute to India’s energy transition.

8 ) Tata Steel & TuTr Hyperloop Join Hands to Develop Hyperloop Technology

Tata Steel and TuTr Hyperloop signed an agreement to jointly work on the development and deployment of hyperloop technology. The partnership seeks to design, develop, and scale up the technology for commercialization that focuses on key challenges of design and materials

Key points:

• The Phase-I work will take place on the 50-metre test track at IIT Madras and subsequently, the work to achieve a 10- km track will be completed in Phase-II and Phase-III involving a consortium of other industry partners from the automotive, construction and engineering sectors.
• Hyperloop is a future option for high-speed, low cost, sustainable transport system for both passengers and cargo, having key elements that includes tubes, pods, propulsion systems, and track.

9 ) Prabhu Chandra Mishra Honoured with Atal Samman Award in NewDelhi

Prabhu Chandra Mishra received the Atal Samman Award (Atal Anveshi Shikhara Samman) during the 9th Atal Samman Samaroh, on the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister (PM) Atal Bihari Vajpayee at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. He was honoured with the award for his excellence in the field of science and research.

Key points:

• He has worked in areas of stem cell and regenerative medicines in infertility, especially when In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) also fails.
• Under his work, diseases such as premature ovarian failure, thin endometrium and Asherman syndrome have shown good results through one’s own body cells.
• He is the president of the international Association of stem cell & regenerative medicine (IASRM) and ace Regenerative Medicine scientist.
• IASRM also conducts training programmes in Regenerative Medicines to create awareness to community and health care providers.
• He has written book on stem cells, name “Stem and Regenerative Medicines in Infertility.

10 ) IIT Guwahati, IIT Bombay & European Universities Partners to build Sensor for Water Quality

Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati and IIT Bombay in collaboration with European
universities work towards building a low-cost technology to check the quality of potable and other water in India.

Key points:

• A core element of the project is a novel water quality sensor that builds on the previous work done at Ecole Polytechnique, Paris, France.
• Further developments have  been made to the sensor during the project by researchers at Université Gustave Eiffel in collaboration with IIT Guwahati and the SME EGM, Sophia Antipolis, France.
• The lotus sensors are expected to meet the needs of the Indian Water Industries since the LOTUS water quality sensor requirements were established after collecting information from Indian water utility owners, operators, end users, and research and development experts.
• This project is in line with the vision of the Jal Jeevan Mission of the government of India and its Makein- India initiative and it shall provide a low-cost water quality monitoring and safe drinking water supply solution to the Indian citizens.
• IIT Guwahati collaborates with Linxens India Private Limited and Hydroscope Technology Private Limited, for the commercial production of the sensor for the Indian market.

11 ) International Day of Epidemic Preparedness 2022 – December 27

United Nations (UN)’s International Day of Epidemic Preparedness is annually observed across the globe on December 27 to raise awareness of the importance of prevention of, preparedness for, and collaboration against epidemics. 27th December 2022 marks the observance of the 3rd International Day of Epidemic Preparedness

Key points:

• The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the resolution A/RES/75/27 on 7th December 2020 and declared December 27 of every year as International Day of Epidemic Preparedness. The 1st International Day of Epidemic Preparedness was observed on 27th December 2020.

12 ) Home Ministry Gives NOC for Name Change of 2 Places in UP

Union Home Ministry gave its consent to change the names of two places in Uttar Pradesh (UP) following recommendations from the UP government.

Key points:

• The ‘No-Objection’ certificates (NOC) were issued by the Home ministry, after taking consent from the Ministry of Railways, Department of Posts and the Survey of India.
• The names were changed for the municipal council ‘Mundera Baazar’ in Gorakhpur district to ‘Chauri- Chaura’ and ‘Telia Afghan’ village in Deoria district to ‘Telia Shukla’.

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