Daily GK Update: 25th December 2019

PM Modi launches Atal Jal Yojana aimed at improving groundwater level

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday urged farmers to opt for less water intensive crops and irrigation methods that will help conserve water, as he launched the Atal Jal Yojana, aimed at improving groundwater level in seven states.
  • Speaking at the launch of the scheme, he said by forming the Jal Shakti Ministry, his government has tried to free the subject of water from a compartmentalised approach to a more comprehensive and holistic one.

Source: The Economic Times

NITI Aayog to launch SDG India Index & Dashboard 2019–20

  • NITI Aayog announced today that it will launch the second edition of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) India Index, which documents the progress made by India’s States and Union Territories towards implementing the 2030 SDG targets, on 30 December at NITI Aayog, New Delhi.
  • The SDG India Index and Dashboard 2019-20 have been developed in collaboration with the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI), the United Nations in India, and the Global Green Growth Institute. It will be launched by Dr Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog, in the presence of Members Dr Ramesh Chand, Dr VK Paul and Dr VK Saraswat; CEO Amitabh Kant; UN Resident Coordinator, Renata Lok-Dessallien; MoSPI Secretary and Chief Statistician of India, Pravin Srivastava; and NITI Aayog Adviser (SDGs) Sanyukta Samaddar.

Source: The Economic Times

Cabinet approves transfer of administrative control of Brahmaputra Cracker and Polymer

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the transfer of administrative control of Brahmaputra Cracker and Polymer Limited (BCPL), the Central Public Sector Undertaking implementing the Assam Gas Cracker Project (AGCP) from Department of Chemicals & Petrochemicals to Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas.

 Source: Press Information Bureau

Cabinet approves Rs 3,941.35 cr for updating National Population Register

  • The Union Cabinet on Tuesday approved over Rs 3,941.35 crore for updating the National Population Register, officials said. Earlier, officials had quoted the census funds figure as that of the NPR. The updating exercise is to commence from April next year.
  • The NPR is a list of “usual residents” of the country. A “usual resident” is defined for the purposes of NPR as a person who has resided in a local area for the past six months or more or a person who intends to reside in that area for the next six months or more.
  • The data for National Population Register was collected in 2010 along with the house-listing phase of Census of India 2011.

Source: Business Standard

Cabinet approves pact between India and Brazil on bio-energy cooperation

  • The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, today gave its approval for signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Brazil on bio-energy Cooperation.
  • Brazil is currently the world’s second-largest producer and consumer of biofuels and biofuels and bioelectricity accounted for 18 per cent of Brazil’s energy mix.
    “India also has a strong focus in the area of bio-fuels and has set a target to achieve 20 per cent blending of ethanol in petrol and 5 per cent blending of biodiesel in diesel by 2030 with the announcement of new policy on Biofuels in 2018,” the government said in a statement.

Source: Energyworld.com

CDRI, Cipla collaborate to develop drugs

  • Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-Central Drug Research Institute (CSIR-CDRI) have signed an agreement for collaboration to jointly develop new drugs for treating various medical conditions and repurposing of drugs for India and global markets with Cipla Ltd.
  • “This is a great moment for CSIR-CDRI, the premiere drug development and research institute of the country to establish collaboration for the affordable healthcare programme and repurposing of drugs not only for India but also for the global markets in collaboration and active participation from Cipla. In my view, this is one of the unique efforts of a government institution and of a pharmaceutical industry which de novo generated from this soil and spread all over the world for the affordable healthcare for human beings” said Tapas K Kundu, director, CDRI.

Source: Down to Earth

India-Swiss air service pact to be amended, Cabinet nod to signing protocol

The Cabinet on Tuesday approved signing of the protocol to amend the air services agreement between India and Switzerland, which will allow more number of airlines to start flight operations between the two countries.
“It will provide enabling environment for enhanced and seamless connectivity while providing commercial opportunities to the carriers of both the sides ensuring greater safety and security,” said a government press release. The release added that under the amendments, multiple airlines would be allowed to conduct operations between the two countries. Till date, only two airlines were permitted.

Source: Business Standard

Govt announces India’s first Chief of Defence Staff to bring better synergy between forces

  • Government has approved the creation of the post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS). The officer to be appointed as Chief of Defence Staff will be a four-star General and will also head the Department of Military Affairs, announced Union minister Prakash Javadekar.
  • Javadekar added, “CDS will have all powers of a secretary-level officer. The files need not go through defence secretary and the CDS will be empowered to send to it directly to the defence minister.”
  • Sources previously told India Today TV that among the priority areas for the new Chief of Defence Staff would be better utilisation of funds and more efficiency when it comes to procurement as well as better synergy between the Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force.

Source: India Today

Delhi cabinet approves electric vehicles policy to control pollution

  • Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced that the Delhi Cabinet has passed the Electric Vehicle Policy to tackle air pollution. Kejriwal said that the government will give subsidies to promote e-vehicles. He said that an electric vehicle board will be formed to implement this policy.
  • Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that the objective of this policy is to make Delhi the capital of electric vehicles in India.

Source: Jagran Josh

Strategic Tunnel under Rohtang Pass Named After Former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee

  • The government on Wednesday named the strategic tunnel under Rohtang Pass in Himachal Pradesh after former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in a tribute to him on his 95th birth anniversary.
  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said the government has fulfilled a long-pending demand to name the tunnel after the former prime minister. Singh said the construction of the Rs 4,000-crore tunnel will be completed by 2020.

Source: News18

Indian scientists from NPL develop ink to stop counterfeit currency notes, fake passports

  • Researchers from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) National Physical Laboratory (NPL) have developed an ink that may help in combating the problem of counterfeiting of currency notes, fake printing of passports, and pharmaceuticals. The ink is based on a single excitable dual emissive luminescent pigment. This new security feature of the ink is suitable for printing of valuable products for protection against duplicity.
  • The formulation is based on the unexplored combinatory concept of the fluorescence and phosphorescence phenomena. Both fluorescence and phosphorescence are spontaneous emissions of electromagnetic radiation. The glow of fluorescence stops right after the source of excitatory radiation is switched off, but phosphorescence afterglow continues for a duration ranging from fractions of a second to hours.

Source: Indus Dictum