Current Affair of December 2021

National

1. The Uttarakhand Government recently withdrew the Char Dham Devasthanam Management Act. The act was withdrawn due to the protests from priests and other stakeholders of Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the major shrines. The Char Dham Shrine Management Act was legislated by the Uttarakhand State Assembly in 2019.

2. The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship launched a pilot project to revive the Namda craft of Kashmir. The project was launched under the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana 3.0. It is to be implemented in twenty five batches. These 25 batches are to be trained in three cycles. Each training cycle will run for three and a half month.

3. In the aftermath of security forces' killing of 14 civilians in Mon district of Nagaland, the National People's Party MP Agatha Sangma asked in Lok Sabha to repeal the draconian Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act. The Chief Minister of Nagaland, Neiphiu Rio, also demanded to repeal the AFSPA.

4. Project RE – HAB is Reducing Elephant Human – Attacks using Bees. It was recently launched in Assam. The Project RE – HAB creates "bee fences". The honey bees in these fences' thwart elephant attacks in human habitations. They dissuade the elephants without harming them. It is highly cost – effective as compared to erecting fences or digging trenches.

5. The carcass of an endangered Bryde's whale was found near the border of Puri and Ganjam districts of Odisha, recently. It was a 48-foot-long female whale, buried near the shore. Exact cause of the death will be known only after getting post-mortem report.

6. The Union Minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey recently replied to question in Lok Sabha that the Government of India has amended the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011. This was done to protect the interests of the consumers in the country.

7. Chennai is all set to adopt innovative water management strategies and transform into a sponge city to curb the urban flooding. Sponge city concept seeks to make urban areas more permeable, have more open spaces to store rainwater as well to allow it to percolate to aquifers.

8. The Reserve Bank of India recently released its report on "State Finances: A Study of Budgets of 2021 – 22". According to the report, the combined debt – to – GDP ratio of states is to remain at 31% till March 2022. This is worrying as the set target was 20%.

9. The Judges Bill was introduced by The Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju in Lok Sabha. The bill intends to amend the High Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Act and Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Condition of Service) Act. The bill seeks to bring clarity whether the SC and HC judges are entitled to get additional pension on attaining a certain age.

10. Recently, the Lok Sabha has passed the Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill, 2021. The bill aims to provide for regulation of ART (Assisted Reproduction Technology). ART is used to treat infertility. In ART, the eggs are removed from woman's body, mixed with sperm to form embryos.

11. The Dam Safety Bill was introduced in Rajya Sabha. The bill aims to inspect, survey, maintain and operate dams in the country. Because most of the dams are more than 100 years old. The bill constitutes two national bodies. They are National Committee on Dam Safety and National Dam Safety Authority.

12. A camera trap set up at Buxa Tiger Reserve (BTR) in Alipurduar district of West Bengal have captured a sight of Royal Bengal Tiger, that the region has not witnessed in more than two decades. After confirming the Tiger sighting, field director of the Buxa Reserve, Buddharaj Shewa, informed that 70 more trap cameras have been planned to set up, in addition to 150 already in place.

13. On 9 December, 2021, Google India announced the results for its Year in Search 2021 and has recapped the top search trends of 2021 in India. The list notes about what Indians searched for most throughout the year across news, entertainment, sports, and other categories.

14. The Rajya Sabha passed the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (Amendment) Bill, 2021, on 9 December, 2021. Under this bill, six more institutes of pharmaceutical education and research, other than an institute at Mohali, will be accorded the status of institute of national importance.

15. On 9 December, 2021, Madhya Pradesh government issued notification to implement the police Commissionerate system in Bhopal and Indore. With the announcement made by Home Minister of MP, Narottam Mishra, both the cities will now get police commissioners of ADG rank.

16. On 10 December, 2021, Central government noted in Lok Sabha that there is no proposal under its consideration to do away with the sedition law. As per a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha, Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju stated that, on 31 May, 2021 Supreme Court in its order on a writ petition had observed that "ambit & parameters of provisions of Sections 124A, 505 and 153A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860 requires interpretation, especially with respect to right of electronic & print media to communicate news".

17. Recently, a controversy has erupted in Kerala on the reappointment of Gopinath Ravindran as Vice Chancellor of Kannur University. Governor of Kerala Arif Mohammed Khan stated that, he approved the decision against his better judgement as Chancellor.

18. On 11 December, 2021, Union Home Minister Amit Shah laid the foundation stone of Umiya Mata Temple as well as its premises at Umiya Campus in Sola in Ahmedabad. He also inaugurated several developmental projects including a railway bridge.

19. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to inaugurate the Rs. 9,802 crore Saryu Canal National project in Balrampur district of Uttar Pradesh on 11 December. The Saryu Canal project is the biggest in Uttar Pradesh. It will benefit some 25-30 lakh farmers across nine eastern UP districts namely, Bahraich, Gonda, Basti, Shravasti, Balrampur, Sant Kabir Nagar, Siddharthnagar, Gorakhpur and Maharajganj.

20. On 13 December, 2021, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the Kashi Vishwanath Corridor in Varanasi. This project was a long pending dream of PM for creating an easily accessible pathway between Kashi Vishwanath Temple and banks of Ganga River.

21. On 13 December, 2021, Lok Sabha passed the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Amendment) Bill, 2021. It was a unusual amendment on just a sentence which alters numbering of the provisions. 2021 Bill amends the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985.

22. Parliament passed the "High Court and Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Amendment Bill, 2021" on 13 December, 2021. Bill was passed with the Rajya Sabha returning it to the Lok Sabha following the discussion. Bill was returned to Lok Sabha since it was a money bill.

23. Chief Minister of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal, launched the 'Dilli ki Yogshala' programme on 13 December, 2021. The programme was launched at Delhi Secretariat for providing free of cost yoga classes to the people in the national capital. Under the Yogshala programme, at least 20000 people in Delhi will practice Yoga, at the current capacity of 400 yoga instructors.

24. On 14 December, 2021, Ladakh received its first ever FM radio station in the capital city Leh. The first-ever Top FM radio in Leh was launched by Advisor of Ladakh, Umang Narula. The frequency for Leh & Kargil will be 91.1 FM. It will cover 50 kilometres aerial distance in radius.

25. India has invited the five central Asian countries namely Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, as the chief guest for Republic Day celebrations, 2022. This is for the first-time that representatives of all five Central Asian countries would be guest at the Republic Day celebrations.

26. On 14 December, 2021, Supreme Court observed that fundamental rights are guaranteed to every citizen irrespective of vocation and directed the central government to start the process of issuing voter ID, Aadhaar and ration cards to sex workers.

27. On 15 December, 2021, forest officials rescued a barn owl in Supaul district of Bihar, in a rate sighting. The Barn owl is usually native to the US, the UK and other parts of Europe. It is rarely seen in the Indian subcontinent.

28. On 15 December, 2021, the Union Cabinet approved the proposal of increasing marriage age for women from 18 years to 21 years. This proposal was approved a year after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced this in August 2020, during the Independence Day address.

29. Union government is likely to introduce 'The Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021' in Lok Sabha, in order to link Aadhaar with electoral roll. Election Laws (Amendment) Bill 2021 will allow electoral registration officers to ask for Aadhaar number of people who want to register as voters, once passed. They will ask for Aadhaar number to establish the identity.

30. Telangana Government has issued a revised guidelines for curbing child labour menace, in line with the rules formulated by Centre. State government seeks to take strict action against those who employ or force children below 14 years to work.

31. World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) published its report on "Rule Violations", recently. Number of offenders in India and increased in 2019, making India among top-three of world's biggest doping violators. Bodybuilding, weightlifting and athletics have contributed majorly to India's embarrassing record.

32. A rare variety of Assam tea called Manohari Gold Tea set a record, as it was auctioned at a record price of Rs. 99,999 per kg. Manohari Gold Tea created history by breaking its own record. Manohari Gold Tea is produced by Manohari Tea Estate. It is produced in upper Dibrugarh district of Assam.

33. On 17 December, 2021, World Health Organisation (WHO) gave approval for emergency use of Covovax vaccine for Children. WHO listed the Covovax as ninth COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use. This move is aimed at increasing the access to vaccination across lower-income countries.

34. The Tamil Nadu government declared Tamil Thai Vaazhthu, as the State Song on 17 December, 2021. Tamil Thai Vaazhthu is a prayer song sung in praise of Mother Tamil. It is a 55-second song and is sung at the beginning of functions across all government offices, educational institutions, public sector undertakings and similar public events, on the line of national anthem.

35. Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Goa on 19 December, to attend Goa Liberation Day celebrations. Events were held at Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Stadium in Goa. On the occasion, Prime Minister felicitated the freedom fighters and veterans of 'Operation Vijay'.

36. On 20 December, 2021, Chief Minister of Odisha Naveen Patnaik inaugurated T-Setu over River Mahanadi. T-Setu is Odisha's longest bridge, constructed over Mahanadi River in Cuttack district. It is a 3.4 km long and 7.5 metre wide bridge. Bridge connects Gopinathpur in Badamba, Baideswar in Banki to Singhanath Pitha, which is located in the middle of Mahanadi River.

37. Karnataka Government has announced to give 1 per cent reservation to transgenders in Police. Reservation will be given to them across all the ranks in police department. This move will help in changing the perception towards transgenders. It will bring them into mainstream and remove all the prejudices against them in society.

38. On 20 December, 2021, Delhi Cabinet approved to set up Delhi Teachers University. The university will offer a four-year integrated teacher education programme after Class 12. In the programme, BA & B.Ed, BSc & B.Ed, and BCom & B.Ed courses will be incorporated.

39. Punjab Cabinet, chaired by Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, has approved to set up "State General Category Commission" for unreserved classes. The Commission will safeguard interests of unreserved classes and help in effective implementation of several welfare schemes.

40. According to National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), in 2021 India reported the death of around 126 tigers. Recently, a tiger was found dead in Chhindwara, Madhya Pradesh, taking toll to 44 in MP in 2021. NTCA is investigating the cause of the recent death of Tiger in Madhya Pradesh.

41. On 21 December, 2021, Rajya Sabha passed The Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021, by voice vote. The bill enables for linking electoral roll data with the Aadhaar ecosystem. A Parliamentary Standing Committee presented a report on demands of grants of Law Ministry, in Rajya Sabha on 6 March, 2021.

42. On 22 December, 2021, Maharashtra State Home Minister, Dilip Walse Patil presented a report on Shakti Bill in the State Assembly. Report was prepared by a joint committee, which held 13 meetings. Committee submitted the amendments to the original Bill, which was sent to the joint committee in budget session. Bill is likely to be passed in winter session 2021.

43. On 23 December, 2021, "Karnataka Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Bill, 2021" was passed in the Assembly. The bill is popularly known as anti-conversion bill. The bill is being opposed, tagging it as "anti-people", "inhuman", "unconstitutional", "anti poor" and "draconian". Bill was passed by a voice vote.

44. On 23 December, 2021, India's Education Ministry issued an advisory on education technology (edtech) platforms, stating that some firms are targeting families by getting their consent on Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) mandate or activating auto-debit feature.

45. The 97th edition of the World Sangeet Tansen Festival was started in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh on 25 December, 2021. World Sangeet Tansen Festival is a five-day festival, that started from 25 December and will conclude on 30 December, 2021. The stage of the festival has been constructed on the theme of "Siddhanath temple" which is situated in Omkareshwar.

46. On 25 December, 2021, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that children aged 15-18 years will get covid-19 vaccination from 3 January, 2022. He also announced a 'precautionary' or third dose for healthcare and frontline workers. The third dose will be administered from January 10.

47. Central Government has notified the Consumer Protection (Direct Selling) Rules, 2021. As per new rules, Grievance redressal officer will have to acknowledge the receipt of any consumer complaint within 48 working hours of receipt of the complaint.

48. On 26 December, 2021, Union Government constituted a high-level committee to look into withdrawal of AFSPA from Nagaland, in the aftermath of killing of six civilians in an Army ambush on 4 December, 2021. The five-member committee is chaired by a Secretary-level officer.

49. As the Covid-19 positivity rate in Delhi is increasing, there is a strong likelihood that Graded Response Action Plan will come into force. On 26 December, 2021 the positivity rate was at 0.55%. Under the colour-coded action plan, the level of restrictions in markets, offices, industries, and public transport will be determined on the basis of Covid-19 test positivity rate, new active cases and occupancy of oxygen beds in hospitals.

50. On 27 December, 2021, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay down the foundation of Renukaji Dam Project in Himachal Pradesh. It is a Rs. 6,700 crore project on the Giri river in Sirmaur district. The project, once completed, is likely to generate 200 million units of energy in a surface power house which have the installed capacity of 40 MW.

51. According to Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), India will regain sixth position from France in 2022 and become the third-largest economy in 2031. Earlier it was predicted that, India will become the third-largest economy in 2030. In its annual World Economic League Table, the CEBR also predicted that China will overtake the United Sates in 2030.

52. Ratings agency ICRA revised its Indian GDP growth estimate, recently. According to ICRA's estimate, there was an upward growth of 7.9 % in the second quarter of financial year 2021-22. An increase in government spending in September resulted to an upgrade of GDP growth estimate in the second quarter.

53. The Indian government and Saudi Arabian Government have finalised an air bubble agreement, to allow all eligible travellers to travel between both the countries. The air bubble agreement will allow flights between the two countries, starting from 1 January, 2022.

54. The State of Telangana has become India's first state to complete 100 per cent 1st dose Covid-19 vaccination. This milestone was achieved with the efforts of all health workers, including the ASHA workers and ANMs to doctors. Telangana has vaccinated 2.77 crore citizens with the first dose.

55. On 28 December, 2021, the Maharashtra Legislative Council passed the "Maharashtra Public University Act, 2016 (Third Amendment) Bill". The act is being opposed over its provision to include LGBTQIA community members on University Boards. The amended act comprises of a provision for "Board of Equal opportunity".

56. India cleared two more covid vaccines and one pill on 28 December, 2021. The two vaccines, Corbevax and Covovax, were approved by drug regulator Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO). Anti-viral drug Molnupiravir was also approved. It can be used only in an emergency situation.

57. On 29 December, 2021, government released the "Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievement (ARIIA) 2021" award list was released. Top position was achieved by IIT Madras. It topped the ranking as the most innovative educational institute in India in technical category.

58. On 30 December, 2021, Central government declared entire Nagaland as a "disturbed area" for six more months, under the AFSPA Act. This declaration will be in effect, starting from 30 December, 2021. Government has also termed the state's condition as "disturbed and dangerous".

International

1. The government of United Arab Emirates (UAE) is set to implement a new four-and-a-half-day work week on 1 January, 2022. United Arab Emirates has become the first country in the world to implement a national work week which is shorter than five-day week across the world.

2. India recently joined the G20 Troika. The G20 Troika is made of Indonesia, India and Italy. That is Troika is made of the current presidency, Indonesia; the previous presidency Italy and the incoming presidency which is India. Troika means a group of three people working together. It is an English word.

3. The US Congress recently passed a stop gap bill to avert government shutdown. The bill extended the funding through mid – February. The bill is usually passed so that the US Government does not run out of money. The bill was passed to overcome brinkmanship over vaccine mandates. Brinkmanship is the practice of pursuing dangerous policy limits of safety before stopping.

4. The SpaceX recently launched fifty satellites. These satellites are to join the Starlink mega constellation. The satellites were launched on Falcon 9 rocket. SpaceX launched 48 Starlink satellites and two Earth Observation satellites called Blacksky Global. The Blacksky Global is building a satellite constellation which is capable of providing images of any part of the earth. It is a constellation of 60 satellites.

5. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has signed 14 billion Euros of agreement with France for 80 Rafale warplanes. This is the biggest international order ever made for the Rafale jets. UAE and France recently inked a 17 billion Euros deal. Under the deal, UAE is to buy 80 Rafale jets and 12 Caracal military transport helicopters.

6. India and UAE launched the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement in September 2021. The countries are to hold the third round of negotiations. It covers negotiation on trade and services, investment and other economic partnerships. It also includes competition, cooperation and Intellectual Property Rights.

7. On 6 December, 2021, Hong Kong implemented its new 'Zero Covid Policy'. With the implementation of new rules, travellers from the United States will be subject to highest tier of quarantine measures in semi-autonomous city, having some of the strictest anti-Covid policies worldwide.

8. On 7 December, 2021, NASA launched its new Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD) from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. LCRD is the first-ever laser communications system of NASA. It will help NASA in test optical communication in space. Presently, most of the NASA spacecraft use radio frequency communications to send data.

9. On 8 December, 2021. Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison announced that, Australia will not send officials to February's Winter Olympics in Beijing. With this move, Australia has joined an US diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics Games.

10. In South America, a New Species of Bird named Flatbill flycatchers have been discovered. Flatbill flycatcher are members of genus Rhynchocyclusin exclusively New World family Tyrannidae. Four known species in this genus are distributed across southern Mexico to north-eastern Bolivia, Brazil and eastern Venezuela.

11. Kyhytysuka sachicarum is a new marine reptile species discovered by an international team of researchers. It is an extinct species. It was discovered from fossils found in central Columbia. Earlier scientists believed that it belonged to Platypterygius genus. Recently, it was discovered that it is a different species. And thus it is now named as Kyhytysuka sachicarum.

12. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has appointment Catherine Russell as the head of UN children's agency UNICEF. Catherine Russell is an assistant to US President Joe Biden. She also heads the White House Office of Presidential Personnel. From 2013-2017, she has also served as the State Department's ambassador-at-large, for global women's issues.

13. The US Government recently announced the boycott of Olympics 2022. The Olympics 2022 is to be held in Beijing. The US cited that "China's human rights ATTROCITIES" is the main reason for its boycott. The US has named the boycott as "Diplomatic Boycott".

14. Western Allies namely, the United States, Australia and Japan have announced to jointly fund the construction of an undersea cable in the Pacific Ocean. The undersea cable in the pacific will be used to boost internet access in three small Pacific countries, since the Western allies seek to counter increasing Chinese influence in this region.

15. On 12 December, 2021, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett started the first official visit by an Israeli leader to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on order to strengthen Gulf ties at a time of heightened regional tension, as global powers try to revive nuclear deal with Iran.

16. Indian government has signed an air bubble agreement with Australia, under which all eligible passengers will be allowed to travel between both the countries. A bilateral air bubble is a mechanism, under which countries resume flights with preconditions during Covid-19 pandemic.

17. On 14 December, 2021 India, Iran and Uzbekistan held talks on joint use of the Chabahar Port. They also underlined the importance role played by the port in enhancing regional connectivity. During the meeting, the three countries discussed further development of transportation corridor across the port.

18. At the World Trade Organisation (WTO), India has lost the dispute over subsidies of sugar exports with the dispute settlement panel. The dispute settlement panel ruled against India, on a complaint filed by Brazil, Australia and Guatemala. However, this ruling will not come into effect immediately because, India will file an appeal against this report.

19. Intergovernmental Committee for Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage decided, in its 16th session, to inscribed 'Durga Puja in Kolkata' on the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. 16th session of UNESCO is being held, starting from 13 December, 2021. It will conclude on 18 December, 2021.

20. Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved India and Poland treaty on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters on 15 December, 2021. This treaty is aimed at enhancing capability and effectiveness of India as well as Poland in investigation and prosecution of crimes through mutual legal assistance. It will also include crimes related to terrorism.

21. Recently, a scientific paper revealed that, NASA's Parker Solar Probe successfully entered the Sun's Corona on 28 April, 2021. Corona is the outermost layer of Sun's atmosphere. Here, strong magnetic fields bind plasma as well prevent turbulent solar winds from escaping.

22. Russia released a draft agreement it proposed to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) on security measures for both the sides. The document notes that, Russia and NATO shall not strengthen their security individually, including in the framework of military alliances of coalitions and international organisations at the expense of security of others.

23. On 16 December, 2021, Typhoon Rai hit the south-eastern part of the Philippines, bringing heavy rains and flooding causing displacement of thousands over a large area. Rai typhoon was the 15th major weather disturbance that hit the country in year 2021. It intensified rapidly and classified as a super typhoon, with sustained winds of 120 miles per hour. It had the gusts of up to 168 miles per hour.

24. On 19 December, 2021, A leftist millennial Gabriel Boric was elected as next President of Chile. He was elected as President, after a campaign against a free-market firebrand likened to former US President Donald Trump. Gabriel won with 56 per cent of the votes.

25. On 20 December, 2021, a Japanese billionaire, his producer and a Russian cosmonaut returned to Earth safely, after spending 12 days on the International Space Station. Fashion tycoon Yusaku Maezawa, his producer Yozo Hirano along with a Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin landed softly in a Russian Soyuz capsule in the steppes of Kazakhstan.

26. The World Economic Forum (WEF) has decided to defer its annual meeting in Davos, because of continued uncertainty over the Omicron variant of coronavirus. The high-powered meeting was scheduled for 17-21 January, 2022. It draws leading figures from business, politics and diplomacy.

27. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is set to provide USD 350 million loan for improving access to urban services across India. ADB will also extend support to ULBs, particularly in select low-income states for implementing policy reforms, preparing investment plans, as well as providing recommendations on cross-cutting issues such as gender equality, climate change, social inclusion and environmental & social safeguards assessment.

28. On 19 December, 2021, United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced to end the censorship in cinematic releases. UAE administration decided to end censorship, in a bid to attract foreigners. As per latest announcement, government will not cut sensitive scenes which offend the Islamic sentiments.

29. A 66-million-year-old dinosaur embryo was discovered in Ganzhou in southern China. The embryo is believed to be a toothless theropod dinosaur, or oviraptorosaur. It has been named Baby Yingliang. The discovery of embryo has also provided researchers a greater understanding of the link between dinosaurs and modern birds.

30. On 20 December, 2021, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved world's first injectable medication for reducing the risk of acquiring HIV. Apretude is an injectable drug. Its generic name is "cabotegravir extended-release injectable suspension".

31. On 20 December, 2021, China's Standing Committee of National People's Congress (NPC) started to review a draft amendment to "Law on Protection of Rights & Interests of Women". Amendment was proposed amid increasing number of sexual harassment & domestic violence cases and a yearlong #MeToo movement.

32. On 22 December, 2021, US health regulators authorized the first pill (a drug by Pfizer) against Covid-19. People will be able to take Pfizer drug at home, in a bid to head off the worst effects of covid-19. Pfizer drug was approved amid the rising new infections due to Omicron variant, rising hospitalization and deaths in United States.

33. China conducted a nuclear fusion experiment, for advancing its "artificial sun". The Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) heating system was kicked off by Hefei Institute of Physical Science in December 2021. EAST heating system experiment was conducted with the aim of making artificial sun or auxiliary heating system 'hotter and more durable'.

34. Oldest university of Hong Kong launched an overnight operation on 23 December, 2021 to dismantle a statue that commemorates people killed in Beijing's Tiananmen Square in latest blow to academic freedoms. "Pillar of Shame" are a series of 8-metre (26-feet) high statues, constructed by Jens Galschiot.

35. On 22 December, 2021, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) passed a resolution unanimously to permit exemptions in sanctions against the Taliban. The exemptions seek to facilitate delivery of humanitarian aid to Afghanistan. It covers urgent humanitarian assistance and other activities, to support basic human needs in Afghanistan.

36. The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) of Australia, recently spotted a rare pink handfish near Tasmanian coast, after 22 years. The fish was last spotted in 1999. The Taman Fracture Marine Park is known for its deep fracture inside the earth's crust, allowing scientists to explore marine life up to the depths of 4,000 meters.

37. On 25 December, Indian Naval Ship (INS) Kesari reached Port of Maputo, Mozambique carrying 500 tonnes of food aid as part of SAGAR Mission, which is dubbed as "Security and Growth for All in the Region" Mission. 500 tonnes of food aid were shipped to support the efforts of Government of Mozambique to tackle the challenges of ongoing drought and covid-19 pandemic.

38. Sri Lanka is soon going to ink the long-dragging deal with India for jointly develop the 'Trincomalee oil tank farm'. Trincomalee oil tank farm deal is a coveted project, that has remained controversial since long time. India and Sri Lanka have been negotiating this project for 16 months.

39. The Economic Intelligence Unit recently released Cost of Living Index 2021. According to the report, Tel Aviv of Israel is the most expensive city in the world. Tel Aviv is the world's most expensive cities. It was followed by Paris in second place and Singapore in third place.

40. Researchers in China have developed a machine which can charge people with crimes by using artificial intelligence. This is world's first developed. The AI prosecutor have the capability to file a charge with more than 97 percent accuracy. It will file a charge on the basis of verbal description of the case.

41. Ever since Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih was elected to office, an 'India Out' campaign has cropped up within the country. The campaign has mostly cropped on social media, for over the last three. It is led by government critics. The critics accuse Maldives President government of "allowing Indian boots on the ground". It comprises the sovereignty of the island nation.

42. On 27 December, 2021, a new Chinese Earth observation satellite named "Ziyuan-1 02E" was launched into space by China. The satellite was launched for exploring natural resources. It also launched a smaller satellite, which will be used for teaching geography at a school in Beijing.

43. The International Day of Epidemic Preparedness is observed on 27 December, every year in a bid to raise public awareness on epidemics on all levels and prepare for future outbreaks. United Nations and the World Health Organisation (WHO) had declared 27 December as International Day for Epidemic Preparedness in the light that, major infectious diseases and epidemics have devastating effects on human lives.

44. Iran has launched a rocket with a satellite carrier bearing three devices into space, on 30 December, 2021. Information on when this launch happened or what devices the carrier brought into space was not clear. However, a Defense Ministry spokesman identified the rocket as "Simorgh, or Phoenix", that sent up the three devices into space at 470 kilometers.

45. On 31 December, 2021, World's longest Metro Line was opened in China's Shanghai Province. With this inauguration, Shanghai uphold its rank as the city with the largest Metro network worldwide. The city opened two new metro lines – Line 14 and Phase One of Line 18.

46. Recently, 30 white rhinos were transferred from South Africa to Rwanda, onboard a Boeing 747 chartered plane. They were transferred in light of increasing threat of illegal poaching. It was the largest single transfer of white rhinos ever. White Rhinoceros are also known as square-lipped rhinoceros while their scientific name is Ceratotherium simum.

47. Recently, Chinese citizens lashed out against Elon Musk's space programme, after China complained that its space station had to take evasive action in order to avoid collision with satellites launched by Musk's Starlink programme.

Defence

1. The 22nd President's Standard Award was presented to the 22nd Missile Vessel of the Indian Navy. During the 1971 India–Pakistan War, the vessel bombed the Karachi port and sunk Pakistani ships. It is being awarded in 2021 as this year marks the 50 years of successful deployment of the squadron.

2. The Exercise Ekuverin is a joint military exercise held between India and Maldives. It is held between the armies of India and Maldives. Ekuverin means "Friends" in Dhivehi language. It is an Indo – Aryan language. It is spoken in India, Lakshadweep and Maldives.

3. The India–Russia 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue was held in New Delhi in December 2021. It was held by the defence ministers and external affairs ministers of the two countries. This is the first 2+2 Dialogue held between India and Russia. During the dialogue the countries discussed the ongoing situation in Afghanistan.

4. On 7 December, 2021, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) tested the "vertical launch-short range surface-to-air missile", successfully. Missile was test fired from integrated test range in Chandipur, off the Odisha coast. Its launch was conducted from a vertical launcher towards an electronic target at a very low altitude.

5. On 8 December, 2021, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) informed in Rajya Sabha that there was no official nomenclature such as martyrs. Minister of State for Home, Nityanand Rai, in a written reply to the question of 'whether Government has any plan regarding the status of martyr', said there is no such official nomenclature.

6. On 13 December, 2021 India successfully launched Supersonic Missile Assisted Release of Torpedo System (SMART) from Abdul Kalam Island, off the Odisha coast. During the mission, full range capability of the missile was successfully demonstrated. SMART system has been designed for enhancing anti-submarine warfare capability far beyond the conventional range of torpedo.

7. On 18 December, 2021 the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully tested the new generation nuclear capable ballistic missile 'Agni P'. Agni P was launched from Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam island off the coast of Odisha. Trajectory and parameters of the missile was tracked and monitored by several telemetry, electro-optical stations, radar, and down range ships positioned along eastern coast.

8. The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) demonstrated the Controlled Aerial Delivery System on 19 December, 2021. Flight demonstration of Controlled Aerial Delivery System was demonstrated by Aerial Delivery Research and Development Establishment (ADRDE).

9. On 19 December, 2021, Indian Navy conducted the first sea trials for Indian Navy's indigenously built stealth destroyer called Mormugao, in the Arabian Sea. The maiden sea voyage of the warship has been built under the project P-15B. Its development coincides with the 60th anniversary of liberation of Goa from Portuguese rule.

10. On 21 December, 2021, first batch of Indigenous Armoured Engineer Reconnaissance vehicles were inducted into the Indian Army. These next-generation vehicles were inducted into the Corps of Engineers in the Army at an event in Pune. Indigenous Armoured Engineer Reconnaissance vehicle has been designed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

11. On 22 December, 2021, the first successful test flight of short-range surface-to-surface Pralay missile was conducted. Pralay ballistic missile was flight-tested from Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Island off the coast of Odisha. Missile followed the desired quasi-ballistic trajectory and reached to the designated target with high-degree accuracy. Thus, validated the control, guidance and mission algorithms.

12. The Indian Army launched a contemporary messaging application named, ASIGMA, which is dubbed as "Army Secure IndiGeneous Messaging Application". It will replace the AWAN (Army Wide Area Network) messaging application. AWAN has been in service for last 15 years.

13. India's first indigenously built missile corvettes, INS Khukri (P49), was decommissioned after 32 years of service at Visakhapatnam on 24 December, 2021. During the decommissioning ceremony, the national flag, the decommissioning pennant and naval ensign were lowered at sunset.

14. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated the Brahmos Aerospace Cruise Missile Manufacturing Unit in Lucknow, on 26 December, 2021. On the occasion, defence minister reiterated that Russia was India's strategic partner. He also supported the nuclear and other military deterrents of India to prevent external threats in India.

15. The Indian Army recently established the "Quantum Laboratory" at Mhow in Madhya Pradesh, highlighting its steady and significant strides in emerging technology domains. The Quantum Laboratory was established with the help of National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS).

Business, Economy & Banking

1. The Government of India recently formed an Economically Weaker Section (EWS) review panel. The panel will look in to the criteria of 10% reservation for the economically weaker section in government jobs and educational institutions. The panel will review the criteria determining the EWS category.

2. Ministry of Rural Development of Government of India (MoRD) and Flipkart has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihood Mission (DAY-NRLM). MoU between ministry & Flipkart will help in empowering local businesses and self-help groups (SHGs) by bringing them into the e-commerce fold.

3. The air passengers can use a face scan as their boarding pass from 2022. The first airports to roll out the facility are Kolkata, Pune, Varanasi and Vijayawada. The NEC Corporation Private Limited has been chosen by the Airport Authority of India to implement the project.

4. Agro – Climatic Zone is a land that is suitable for growing particular type of crop. It is essential to delineate the land in the country into agro – climatic zones for sustainable agricultural production. There are 15 agro – climatic zones in India. They are western Himalayas, eastern Himalayas, lower gangetic plains, middle gangetic plains, upper gangetic plains, trans gangetic plains, eastern plateau and hills, central plateau and hills, western plateau and hills, southern plateau and hills, east coast plains and hills, west coast plains and hills, Gujarat Plains and Hills, western dry region and islands.

5. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi is to inaugurate Delhi – Dehradun corridor along with several other projects. The corridor will reduce the distance between the two cities from 248 km to 180 km.

6. The North Eastern States Roads Investment Programme was launched in 2011. It aims to build 433 km long roads in six north eastern states. They were Manipur, Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura and Sikkim. The project should be completed by August 2022. Around 36 lakh people are benefitted from the programme.

7. On 6 December, 2021, Union Cabinet approved the Ken-Betwa River interlinking project, ahead of elections to major North Indian states. Ken-Betwa River Interlinking project is worth Rs. 44,605 crore project. This project promises to address the issue of water scarcity in Bundelkhand region, spreading across Madhya Pradesh (MP) and Uttar Pradesh (UP).

8. Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced its bi-monthly policy statement on 8 December, 2021. In its policy statement, RBI has maintained status quo on key rates for the ninth consecutive time. RBI continues to maintain its ‘Accommodative' stance and the five members of MPC have voted in favour of the same.

9. On 9 December, 2021, Ministry of Labour and Employment told the Rajya Sabha that; a Global Pension Index that placed pension system of India towards bottom of the list was not prepared on the basis of reliable comparable international data. The Global Pension Index Report was published in 2021 and has ranked India at 40th place, out of 43 countries for its pension system.

10. Union power minister, R K Singh, approved 23 new inter-state transmission system projects of worth Rs. 15,893 crore. Out of 23 ISTS project, 13 projects are having an estimated cost of Rs. 14,766 crore. These projects will be developed under Tariff Based Competitive Bidding (TBCB).

11. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to inaugurate the Rs. 9,802 crore Saryu Canal National project in Balrampur district of Uttar Pradesh on 11 December. The Saryu Canal project is the biggest in Uttar Pradesh. It will benefit some 25-30 lakh farmers across nine eastern UP districts namely, Bahraich, Gonda, Basti, Shravasti, Balrampur, Sant Kabir Nagar, Siddharthnagar, Gorakhpur and Maharajganj.

12. The NITI Aayog has planned to establish 1000 Atal Tinkering Laboratories in Jammu and Kashmir. Out of 1000 Atal Tinkering Laboratories, 187 will be established by the end of the financial year 2021-22. Out of 187 ATLs, 31 are being established across government schools of J&K while 50 will be established in several educational institutions like KVs, JNVs and Private schools.

13. NITI Aayog in association with the Convergence Energy Service Limited (CESL) & World Resources Institute, India launched the "e-Sawaari India Electric Bus Coalition" (e-Sawari India e-Bus Coalition). This coalition is also supported by Transformative Urban Mobility Initiative (TUMI).

14. As per Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Rameshwar Teli, funds disbursed under Atmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana (ABRY) amounts to 11 percent of Rs. 2,612 crores of Rs. 22,810, which was targeted to be spent till 31 March, 2024. Atmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana was rolled out during the covid-19 pandemic for generating jobs.

15. On 14 December, 2021, the Asian Development Bank released its Asian Development Outlook Report and reduced its growth forecasts for developing Asia for year 2021. This move came in line with the uncertainty that new Omicron coronavirus variant has brought. ADB now sees 2021 gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 7.0% for developing Asia, as opposed to 7.1% forecast.

16. Bank of Baroda (BoB) has launched a wearable payment solution called "bob World Wave". Bob World Wave was launched for digital banking payments. This technology is witnessing the rise of tremendous interest worldwide and lenders are using this opportunity for adopting more convenient and cashless digital payments systems.

17. At the World Trade Organisation (WTO), India has lost the dispute over subsidies of sugar exports with the dispute settlement panel. The dispute settlement panel ruled against India, on a complaint filed by Brazil, Australia, and Guatemala. However, this ruling will not come into effect immediately because, India will file an appeal against this report.

18. Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has brought non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) under the ambit of prompt corrective action (PCA) framework. Under the PCA framework, NBFCs will face restrictions when parameters such as capital adequacy ratio, non-performing assets, and Tier 1 capital will fall below the stipulated levels.

19. State-run NTPC Ltd has awarded India's first green hydrogen microgrid project in Andhra Pradesh. The project has been awarded at the Simhadri plant of NTPC Ltd. in Andhra Pradesh. NTPC will involve in "Standalone Fuel-cell based Microgrid along with hydrogen production using electrolyzer" project at NTPC Simhadri.

20. On 15 December, 2021, Union Cabinet approved an incentive scheme of worth Rs. 1,300 crore for promoting RuPay Debit Cards and low-value BHIM-UPI transactions. Under the scheme, low value BHIM-UPI transactions of up to Rs. 2,000 will be promoted in India.

21. On 16 December, 2021, Union Minister for Rural Development & Panchayati Raj, Giriraj Singh, launched MIS (Management Information System) portal to ranking of States/UTs in Land Acquisition Projects. With the launch of this portal, states/UTs will be ranked in Land Acquisition Projects under RFCTLARR Act, 2013, which is dubbed as "Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013".

22. Recently, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) fined US e-commerce giant, Amazon with Rs. 200 crore. CCI has also suspended the 2019 Amazon deal with Future Coupons, a unit of Future Retail Ltd. Amazon was fined for concealing facts while obtaining approval for this deal.

23. On the Index on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy, West Bengal has topped the chart in the large states category. Index has divided states into four categories: large states, small states, North East and Union Territories. The report on 'Index on Foundational Literacy & Numeracy' has been prepared by 'Institute for Competitiveness'. It was released by chairman of Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM), Bibek Debroy.

24. As per brokerage houses, proposal by SEBI to treat all orders emanating from application programming interface (API) as algorithmic or algo order might hamper the growth of such trading in India. Algo trading refers to any order which is generated using automated execution logic.

25. Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) launched the Unified Logistics Interface Platform's (ULIP) Hackathon called 'LogiXtics' for crowdsourcing more ideas for the benefit of logistics industry. ULIP is designed for enhancing efficiency and reducing logistics cost across India. This objective will be reduced by creating a transparent platform which will provide real time information to all the stakeholders and remove all asymmetry information.

26. On 20 December, 2021, Chief Minister of Odisha Naveen Patnaik inaugurated T-Setu over River Mahanadi. T-Setu is Odisha's longest bridge, constructed over Mahanadi River in Cuttack district. It is a 3.4 km long and 7.5 metre wide bridge. Bridge connects Gopinathpur in Badamba, Baideswar in Banki to Singhanath Pitha, which is located in the middle of Mahanadi River.

27. On 20 December, 2021, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) approved the acquisition of Air India, Air India SATS Airport and Air India Express by Talace, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Sons. Currently, Air India is wholly owned by the government.

28. Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology notified a semiconductor policy in order to boost the electronics manufacturing ecosystem in India. The semiconductor policy was cleared by Cabinet recently, in line with the National Policy on Electronics 2019 (NPE 2019).

29. NITI Aayog and United Nations World Food Programme (UN WFP) have agreed to diversify the food basket. Both the organisation signed a Statement of Intent on 20 December, 2021. Partnership between NITI Aayog and UN WFP focuses to mainstream the millets and support India in taking a lead internationally in knowledge exchange amid the recognition of 2023 as an International Year of Millets.

30. Several political parties and citizen outfits like K-Rail SilverLine Viruddha Janakeeya Samiti have been protesting against the "Kerala's SilverLine project". MPs have signed petition against the project stating that, there was "astronomical scam in the making" and it will pull the state further into debt.

31. Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari launched India's first "Intelligent Transport System" on Eastern Peripheral Expressway at Dasna, Ghaziabad. This system was developed in a bid to minimize traffic woes and enhance safety of commuters.

32. On 23 December, 2021, the ministry of corporate affairs proposed 'amendments to Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC)' to speed up the rescue of distressed companies which are ending up in bankruptcy tribunals. Ministry suggested ways for faster admission of cases in tribunals to initiate the bankruptcy process as well as for faster adoption of revival plans stitched together by stakeholders.

33. Reserve Bank of India (RBI) recently extended the deadline for complying with the card information storage rules by another six months. Deadline was extended because merchants and payments companies expressed their inability to comply with the 31 December deadline.

34. On 25 December, 2021, Central government issued "Good Governance Index 2020-21". The index has been prepared by Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG). Gujarat, Maharashtra and Goa have topped the list. Gujarat registered an increase of 12% while Goa registered around 25% increase on indicators recorded by these states as compared to 2019.

35. On 27 December, 2021, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay down the foundation of Renukaji Dam Project in Himachal Pradesh. It is a Rs. 6,700 crore project on the Giri river in Sirmaur district. The project, once completed, is likely to generate 200 million units of energy in a surface power house which have the installed capacity of 40 MW.

36. On 27 December, 2021, the NITI Aayog released its fourth Health Index. The fourth round of Index took into account the period 2019-20 as reference year. NITI Aayog prepared this report in collaboration with the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare as well as with the technical assistance from the World Bank.

37. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to visit Kanpur on 28 December, 2021 and inaugurate the completed section of Kanpur Metro Rail Project. Prime Minister will also inaugurate "Bina-Panki multi-product pipeline project". Later, he will address the 54th convocation ceremony of IIT-Kanpur.

38. Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways issued guidelines for Flex-Fuel Vehicles and Flex-Fuel Strong Hybrid Electric Vehicles. As per guidelines, the Automatic Manufacturers in India have been asked to start manufacturing Flex Fuel Vehicles (FFV) and Flex Fuel Strong Hybrid Electric Vehicles (FFV-SHEVs).

39. State of Tamil Nadu has released its "New Policy for Women 2021" on 29 December, 2021. This policy will be implemented for more than five years. New policy provides for martial arts training for school and college girls. It talks about 50 more person-days for all single-headed household and women-headed households under MGNREGS.

40. NITI Aayog's Atal Innovation Mission released compendium of innovations on 29 December, 2021. The compendium focuses on agriculture featuring 70 start-ups as well as on collection of 41 innovations in technology. Both the books are celebration of success stories of young innovators of India.

41. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) released its Financial Stability Report on 29 December, 2021. According to the report, stress tests have revealed that gross non-performing assets (GNPAs) of banks is likely to jump from 6.9 percent in September 2021 to 8.1 percent in September 2022 under the baseline scenario.

42. On 30 December, 2021 Insurance regulator IRDAI has identified the state-owned LIC, GIC and New India Assurance Co. Ltd as Domestic Systemically Important Insurers (D-SIIs) for 2021-22, in continuation. D-SIIs are insurers of such size, market importance, and domestically & globally inter-connected, whose failure or distress will result into significant dislocation in domestic financial system.

43. Information Technology Minister, Ashwini Vaishnaw, launched India Semiconductor Mission on 29 December, 2021. Under the scheme, interested companies which seeks to tap the Rs. 76,000 crore incentives earmarked by Central government for developing semiconductors and displaying manufacturing ecosystem in India will be able to start applying for it from 1 January, 2022.

Science & Technology

1. The astronomers recently found GJ 367b, a small planet that is circling a dim red dwarf star. The star is 31 light years away from the sun. The GJ 367b is a rocky planet. It is 70% the size of the earth. And it is 55% the mass of the earth. This makes GJ 367b one of the lightest known exoplanets.

2. The INSACOG (Indian SARS CoV–2 Genomics Consortium) recently suggested a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose. The advise is for people above 40 years of age. The advise comes to neutralize the Omicron risks in the country. The Omicron is a COVID-19 variant that was recently identified in South Africa. It was declared as "Variant of Concern" by the World Health Organisation. According to INSACOG, it is difficult to detect the presence of the variant in earlier stages of its entry in the country.

3. ZyCov – D is the second indigenous vaccine next to COVAXIN. The unique feature of ZyCov – D is that it is needle – less vaccine. At first, the ZyCov – D vaccine is to be launched in seven states. They are Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Punjab, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh.

4. The National Blockchain Strategy was recently proposed by the Ministry of Electronics and IT. The strategy has adopted multi – institutional approach. It involves NIC (National Informatics Centre), C – DAC (Centre for Development of Advanced Computing) and NICSI (National Informatics Centre services Inc) for offering blockchain as service.

5. The Imaging X – Ray Polarimetry Explorer is called IXPE. It is a NASA Space Observatory. It has three identical telescopes that measure the polarization of cosmic X – Rays. The Mission studies the exotic astronomical objects. It maps the magnetic fields of neutron stars, black holes, pulsars, magnetars, supernoval remnants, quasars and active nuclear galactic nuclei.

6. Yutu – 2 is a Chinese lunar rover that was launched to the moon in Chang'e 4 mission. It was launched in 2018 and it landed on the moon in 2019. Recently, the rover spotted a cube – shaped mystery hut on the far side of the moon. The Yutu – 2 rover found a cube shaped object in the far side of the moon. A likely explanation for the object is that it can be a larger boulder that was excavated by an impact event.

7. Comet A1 Leonard is a long period comet. It was discovered by GJ Leonard in January 2021. It was the first comet to be discovered in 2021. The comet will pass near the earth on 18 December, 2021. It reached naked eye visibility in December 2021. It is to make its closest approach to the sun in January 2022.

8. On 7 December, 2021, NASA launched its new Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD) from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. LCRD is the first-ever laser communications system of NASA. It will help NASA in test optical communication in space.

9. NITI Aayog in association with the Convergence Energy Service Limited (CESL) & World Resources Institute, India launched the "e-Sawaari India Electric Bus Coalition" (e-Sawari India e-Bus Coalition). This coalition is also supported by Transformative Urban Mobility Initiative (TUMI).

10. 12 December, 2021 marked the launch date of first amateur radio satellite called OSCAR 1, which stands for "Orbiting Satellites Carrying Amateur Radio". OSCAR 1 is the first amateur radio satellite launched by Project OSCAR. It was launched into low Earth orbit on 12 December, 1961.

11. On 13 December, 2021 India successfully launched Supersonic Missile Assisted Release of Torpedo System (SMART) from Abdul Kalam Island, off the Odisha coast. During the mission, full range capability of the missile was successfully demonstrated. SMART system has been designed for enhancing anti-submarine warfare capability far beyond the conventional range of torpedo.

12. Researchers from IIT Delhi's Kusuma School of Biological Sciences have developed an RT-PCR based test, that can detect Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 in 90 minutes. The test is based on detecting specific mutations, which are present in Omicron variant while absent in other circulating variants of SARS-CoV-2.

13. Solar Hamam, a locally designed and branded heating system is gaining popularity across the villages of Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Solar Haman is aimed at providing clean energy solutions to households across mountainous regions. It seeks to conserve forests, free women from collecting fuel wood and mitigate carbon emission.

14. Malta has become the first country in European Union to legalise cannabis at home and for personal use. Under the new law, Malta has allowed people aged 18 and above to have up to seven grams of cannabis. They would also be allowed to grow up to four plants at home.

15. Recently, a scientific paper revealed that, NASA's Parker Solar Probe successfully entered the Sun's Corona on 28 April, 2021. Corona is the outermost layer of Sun's atmosphere. Here, strong magnetic fields bind plasma as well prevent turbulent solar winds from escaping.

16. AYUSH Ministry has released its fresh recommendations for 'Holistic Health and Well Being'. Ministry has highlighted that, recommendations for public on 'holistic health and well-being' focuses on preventive measures & care during 'COVID-19 and Long COVID-19'.

17. Minister of Communication, Ashwini Vaishnaw, recently highlighted that India has started work towards developing the next generation of communication technology, using indigenously developed 6G infrastructure. It is likely to be launch by 2023-end or early 2024.

18. According to Union Minister Jitendra Singh, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is in process of developing a Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) with private participation. The satellite will be launched in first quarter of 2022. SSLV will provide a payload capability of 500 kg to a planar orbit of 500 km.

19. On 17 December, 2021, World Health Organisation (WHO) gave approval for emergency use of Covovax vaccine for Children. WHO listed the Covovax as ninth COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use. This move is aimed at increasing the access to vaccination across lower-income countries.

20. An experiment called "MicroAge" is set to be launched to International Space Station on SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy Space Centre in Florida. MicroAge Experiment will help people in living a longer and healthier life. As the part of this experiment, human cells will be launched to space.

21. NASA released the noises captured by the Juno mission, near Jupiter's moon Ganymede. Juno beamed back data from its flyby across the biggest moon in the Solar System. Data comprising of sounds coming from lunar surface provides a dramatic ride-along into the territory of Ganymede.

22. The Kerala University of Fisheries & Ocean Studies (KUFOS) has been chosen to join a research project under a NASA-ISRO collaborative programme. KUFOS will join the research programme by Space Application Centre of ISRO. NASA and ISRO have been jointly developing a space-borne synthetic aperture radar (NISAR). It will be launched in January 2023.

23. NASA is all set to launch its much-awaited next-generation space telescope mission named "James Webb Space Telescope Mission", as and when weather is clear. It will be launched on Ariane 5 rocket, operated by Arianespace. JWST has been in the works for decades. It has been jointly developed by NASA, Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and the European Space Agency (ESA).

24. The Indian Army launched a contemporary messaging application named, ASIGMA, which is dubbed as "Army Secure IndiGeneous Messaging Application". It will replace the AWAN (Army Wide Area Network) messaging application. AWAN has been in service for last 15 years.

25. Leading telecom service providers are set to roll out the Fifth Generation or 5G telecom services across selected cities in India in 2022. 5G telecom services will be rolled out in cities like Gurugram, Bangalore, Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi, Chandigarh, Ahmadabad, Jamnagar, Hyderabad, Chennai, Pune, Lucknow, and Gandhinagar.

26. On 28 December, 2021, Israeli foodtech firm SavorEat launched a plant-based burger system, that has been personalized to each customer. SavorEat has become one of the first companies to use 3D printing technology on cook food. Usually, vegan burgers from companies such as Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat are frozen and cooked on a grill later.

27. Recently, a team of astronomers used data from the Hubble Space Telescope for discovering the signature of a magnetic field on an Exoplanet. The findings were described in the journal called Nature Astronomy. Such a feature has been seen on an exoplanet, for the first time.

Government Schemes

1. The Andhra Pradesh Government recently released Rs 686 crores for the Vidya Deevena Scheme. This is the third tranche of the scheme. It is an education assistance scheme. The Vidya Deevena Scheme provides scholarships (in terms of fee reimbursements) to students who are not able to pay their college fees.

2. The Government of India is to launch SRESTHA Scheme for the Scheduled Caste students. The scheme will provide quality residential education to the students. The scheme is to be implemented by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. It targets the meritorious students of Scheduled Caste. It will also help to control the drop out of students from courses 9 to 12.

3. Every year, the World Soil Day is celebrated on 5 December. The day is celebrated by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) operating under the United Nations and also by several other international organizations. This year, the World Soil Day is celebrated under the theme: Halt soil salinization, enhance soil production.

4. On 6 December, 2021, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) signed a Memorandum of Understanding. The agreement was signed under the Swachh Bharat Mission Urban 2.0. It was signed to strengthen the waste management sector in the country.

5. The Nai Manzil Scheme was launched by the Ministry of Minority Affairs in 2015. The main objective of the scheme is to equip the minority youth with employable skills. As of December 2021, 6,57,802 minorities received skill development trainings under the scheme.

6. National Commission for Women (NCW) launched a pan-India capacity building programme called "She is a Changemaker" on 7 December, 2021. She is a Changemaker programme was launched for women in Politics. It is a capacity building programme, which will be undertaken in association with region-wise training institutes.

7. Central government has signed two loan agreements for Projects in the state of Uttarakhand and Tamil Nadu. The loan agreement of Rs. 2,074 crore will be used for – affordable housing project in Tamil Nadu and water sanitation programme in Uttarakhand.

8. On 8 December, 2021, Union Cabinet approved the extension of flagship housing-for-all scheme named "Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Gramin (PMAY-G)" till March 2024. Extension of the scheme till March, 2024 ensures that remaining 155.75 lakh households within the target of 2.95 crore houses under PMAY-G will be provided assistance to construct pucca houses with basic amenities in a bid to achieve the objective of 'Housing for All' in rural areas.

9. Chennai is all set to adopt innovative water management strategies and transform into a sponge city to curb the urban flooding. Sponge city concept seeks to make urban areas more permeable, have more open spaces to store rainwater as well to allow it to percolate to aquifers.

10. The NITI Aayog has planned to establish 1000 Atal Tinkering Laboratories in Jammu and Kashmir. Out of 1000 Atal Tinkering Laboratories, 187 will be established by the end of the financial year 2021-22. Out of 187 ATLs, 31 are being established across government schools of J&k while 50 will be established in several educational institutions like KVs, JNVs and Private schools.

11. On 8 December, 2021, the Minister for Women & Child Development, Smriti Irani, noted in Parliament that, State Governments and Union Territories have used only 56% of the total funds released under Poshan Abhiyan or Nutrition Mission in last three years. The central government highlighted that, out of total amount of Rs. 5,312 crore given between financial years 2019 to 2021, Rs. 2,985 crore was used.

12. On 9 December, 2021, Ministry of Labour and Employment told the Rajya Sabha that; a Global Pension Index that placed pension system of India towards bottom of the list was not prepared on the basis of reliable comparable international data. The Global Pension Index Report was published in 2021 and has ranked India at 40th place, out of 43 countries for its pension system.

13. On 10 December, 2021, Minister of state for Health Bharati Pravin Pawar informed in Lok Sabha that, government has made a provision to generate a health ID for every citizen free of cost. As of now, more than 140 million health IDs have been created. Creation of Health IDs is voluntary.

14. As per Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Rameshwar Teli, funds disbursed under Atmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana (ABRY) amounts to 11 percent of Rs. 2,612 crores of Rs. 22,810, which was targeted to be spent till March 31, 2024. Atmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana was rolled out during the covid-19 pandemic for generating jobs.

15. Chief Minister of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal, launched the 'Dilli ki Yogshala' programme on 13 December, 2021. The programme was launched at Delhi Secretariat for providing free of cost yoga classes to the people in the national capital. Yoga classes will start from January 2022.

16. Maharashtra Government is in process to introduce a comprehensive curriculum for Grades I-VIII, in a bid to inculcate climate-consciousness and green values in the next generation. This new curriculum has been developed by the Department of Environment and Climate Change and UNICEF.

17. On 15 December, 2021, Union Cabinet approved a Rs. 76,000 crore scheme for boosting semiconductor and display manufacturing in India. This scheme was approved in order to position India as a global hub for hi-tech production, as well as to attract large chip makers.

18. On 15 December, 2021, Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved implementation of Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) for 2021-26. Scheme was implemented with an outlay of Rs. 93,068 crore. CCEA approved central support of Rs. 37,454 crore to States.

19. Under the Flagship Gram Ujala Programme, the state-owned CESL has achieved a milestone to distribute 50 lakh LED bulb. This milestone was achieved under the Project Crore of the Gram Ujala Programme. It achieved the milestone of distributing 10 lakh bulbs in a single day, on the occasion of National Energy Conservation Day 2021 in December.

20. Central government approved the issuance of 19th tranche of electoral bonds on 31 December, 2021, ahead of assembly elections in five states. State Bank of India (SBI) has been authorised to issue and encash the bonds through its 29 Authorized Branches.

Awards & Honours

1. The UNESCO recently presented two Heritage Awards to the Nizamuddin Basti Project. The project was awarded for its conservation efforts. It was awarded with the Special Recognition for Sustainable Award and Award of Excellence. The project restored more than 20 historic monuments located around 14th century Sufi Saint Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya.

2. Greater Tipraland is a region in Tripura. Several tribals are demanding to make the region as a separate state. There are 19 notified Scheduled Tribes in Tripura. Among these, 5.92 lakh are Tripuris, 1.88 lakh are Reangs. These three tribal groups are the major tribals in the state.

3. The Paika Rebellion was fought by the Paikas of Khudra in Odisha. It was led by Buxi Jagabandhu Bidyadhara. The rebellion was fought against the British in 1820s. The Union Government of India has recently refused to accept Paika rebellion as the first war of independence. In 2017, the Odisha Government demanded that the Odisha rebellion be declared as the first war of independence. Currently, the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 is called the first war of independence.

4. The National Breed Conservation Award for 2021 was presented, recently. The award has been bagged by "All-India Co-ordinated Research Project (AICRP)" on poultry breeding, Mannuthy, which carried under the Kerala Veterinary and Animal Science University (KVASU).

5. Matua is an uninhabited volcanic island located in the Kuril Islands chain in the Sea of Okhotsk. It is in the northwest Pacific Ocean. Also, the Matua island is 16 km from Golovnin Strait. These islands are located on the Ring of Fire. Recently the Russian Military deployed its defence missile systems called the Bastion systems to the Matua Island.

6. Former chief election commissioner (CEC) of India, Sunil Arora, has joined the board of advisers of the International Institute for Democracy Electoral Assistance (IDEA). Sunil Arora has been selected as he brings rich leadership experience, skills and knowledge to contribute significantly towards working of the international institute.

7. On 8 December, 2021, Indian Air Force Helicopter Mi-17V5 crashed in the Nilgiris, near Coonoor city. This helicopter crash is another addition to the list of accidents involving VVIPs. The helicopter crash has killed Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat, his wife along with 11 members of his personal staff. Reasons for the crash are not yet known.

8. According to annual survey results, released by Indian Institute of Human Brands (IIHB), Chairman of Reliance Industries, Mukesh Ambani and his wife Nita Ambani have topped the list of power couples. Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone were ranked at Number 2. Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma occupied the third place.

9. 56th and 57th Jnanpith Awards were announced recently, for the year 2020 and 2021 respectively. Assamese Poet Nilmani Phookan Jr. and Konkani Novelist Damodar Mauzo have emerged as the winners of 56th and 57th Award respectively. They were selected for their contribution to Indian literature.

10. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has appointment Catherine Russell as the head of UN children's agency UNICEF. Catherine Russell is an assistant to US President Joe Biden. She also heads the White House Office of Presidential Personnel. From 2013-2017, she has also served as the State Department's ambassador-at-large, for global women's issues.

11. 21 years after Lara Dutta won the title of Miss Universe, Harnaaz Sandhu from India has become the new Miss Universe 2021, on 12 December. The 70th Miss Universe 2021 was held in Eilat, Israel. India was represented by Ms. Harnaaz Sandhu. She claimed the Miss Universe crown, siding out Nadia Ferreira from Paraguay and Lalela Mswane from South Africa.

12. On 15 December, 2021, seven times Formula One (F1) champion Lewis Hamilton has received "knighthood" for services to motorsport. He received knighthood, days after he lost at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. He lost out to Red Bull driver Max Verstappen on 12 December, 2021.

13. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been conferred with Bhutan's highest civilian award called Ngadag Pel gi Khorlo on 17 December, 2021. He was conferred with the award on the occasion of Bhutan's National Day. National Day of Bhutan is observed on 17 December.

14. Ullal Veera Rani Abbakka Utsava committee recently decided to present "Veera Rani Abbakka award" during Veera Rani Abbakka festival in December 2021. The award will be presented to a female achiever on 21 December, 2021. The award and prizes comprise of cash and award panels. 21 December also marks the silver jubilee of Veera Rani Abbakka Utsava.

15. The Global Environment and Climate Action Citizen Award was presented in Dubai, on 23 December, 2021. The prestigious Global Environment and Climate Action Citizen Award was presented to Surat's noted industrialist Viral Desai. Viral Desai is popularly known as Greenman, because of his love for the environment.

16. Nobel Peace Prize winner, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, died at the age of 90 on 27 December, 2021. Desmond Tutu won the Nobel Peace Prize for his opposition to racial discrimination in South Africa. In 1997, He was diagnosed with prostate cancer and underwent surgery.

17. On 30 December, 2021, the Sahitya Akademi announced its prestigious "Sahitya Akademi Awards, Yuva Puraskar as well as Bal Sahitya Puraskar" for 2021 in various languages. The Sahitya Akademy Award 2021 was given in 20 Indian languages. Namita Gokhale received it in English for her novel titled 'Things to Leave Behind'.

Sports

1. The Indian Athlete Anju Bobby George has won the Woman of the Year Award from World Athletics. She has won the award for grooming young girls to take up sports. She is a gold medallist in 2005 IAAF World Athletics Finals. She was the first Indian athlete to win bronze medal in long jump at the World Championships in Athletics held in 2013 in Paris.

2. The Davis Cup 2021 was won by Russian Tennis Federation. The Davis Cup finals was held between Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev of Russia. And Daniit Medvedev won the match bringing victory to the Russian Tennis Federation. Andrey Rublev was named the Most Valuable Player.

3. The BWF world Tour 2021 finals was held between PV Sindhu of India and Seyoung of Korea. Seyoung won the cup and Sindhu settled in for a silver medal. In Men's Singles of the BWF World Tour 2021, Viktor Axelsen won the cup. The BWF World Tour is a Grade 2 Badminton tournament series. It is held by the BWF, Badminton World Federation. It is held among the top world ranked players in singles (men and women) and doubles (men, women and mixed).

4. Max Verstappen have won his first "Formula One (F1) world title", leaving behind Lewis Hamilton, at Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Max Emilian Verstappen is a Belgian-Dutch racing driver, who is currently competing in Formula One with Red Bull Racing, under the Dutch flag. He became the youngest driver to compete in Formula One at 2015 Australian Grand Prix.

5. Sports Minister, Anurag Thakur, introduced "Anti-Doping Bill" on 17 December, 2021 in Lok Sabha. The bill seeks to provide statutory framework for the functioning of National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA). Bill empowers NADA to conduct raids and strengthen measures of tackling drug abuse in Indian

6. On 19 December, 2021, Shuttler Kidambi Srikanth became the first Indian man to win a silver medal at BWF World Championships. In the final, he was defeated by Singapore's Loh Kean Yew by 21-15, 22-20. This was the first time that a men's player from Singapore won gold at BWF World Championships.

References:
jagranjosh.com
gktoday.in
business-standard.com

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  1. Somashekhar Bolettin
    7 months ago
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