1. NITI Aayog Releases SDG India Index and Dashboard 2019
- Government think tank the NITI Aayog has Aayog has released the 2nd edition of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) India Index and dashboard for the year 2019 in New Delhi.
- The Index comprehensively documents the progress made by India’s States and Union Territories towards achieving the 2030 SDG targets.
- According to the SDG India Index, India’s composite score has improved from 57 in 2018 to 60 in 2019.
- India is the first country in the world with a government-led, sub-national measure of progress on Sustainable Development Goals.
- The SDG India Index has been developed in collaboration with the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI), United Nations in India, and Global Green Growth Institute.
- Kerala achieved the first rank in the composite SDG Index with a score of 70, followed by Himachal Pradesh at 69. Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Tamil Nadu ranked at the third position with the score of 67.
- While Bihar is at the bottom of Niti Aayog’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) India Index.
- The SDG Index was launched by NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Dr Rajiv Kumar.
- The CEO of NITI Aayog is Amitabh Kant.
2. India's Second Spaceport to be in Tamil Nadu's Thoothukdi: ISRO Chief
- On January 1, 2020, Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) chief K Sivan announced that India's second spaceport for launching small satellites will be established in Tamil Nadu's Thoothukudi district.
- The country's first spaceport is at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, about 90 km northeast of Chennai.
- Thoothukudi is about 600 km southeast of Chennai.
- The new location is ideal for launching smaller satellites of less than 500 kg in the sun-synchronous orbit.
- The space agency will outsource the making of the small satellites to the private industry.
- K Sivan also announced that the government has approved Chandrayaan-3 and work on this project have already started. The Gaganyaan and Chandrayaan-3 missions will be launched in 2020.
3. 10,000 cameras to be used for 2020 lion census in Gujarat
- The Wildlife Institute of India (WII) will conduct the Asiatic Lion Census in May 2020. The Institute will use 10,000 cameras to conduct the census.
- Around 8,000-10,000 cameras will be used to carry out the 2020 lion census in Gujarat, the last abode of the Asiatic lion.
- The 2015 lion census had counted 523 lions in the state. The number is expected to have risen phenomenally the population may have crossed the 1,000-mark.
- The government will adopt the National Tiger Conservation Authority(NTCA)’s technology for the lion census.
- The entire census area is to be divided into a 3-km grid. Officers will collect hair, nails, teeth, etc.
- The collection process is to be carried out using scientific methods laid out by NTCA. Around 1,000 to 2,000 officers are to be employed.
- In the second phase, 10,000 cameras are to be used to capture the lions.
- The Asiatic Lions in Gujarat are restricted to Gir National Park in the state. The lions are listed as “Endangered” in the IUCN Red List.
4. Swachh Survekshan League 2020: Indore tops again
- Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs announced the results of Swachh Survekshan League 2020, for first and second Quarters.
- Around 4,372 cities participated in the league. It is a cleanliness survey that helps in competitive federalism.
- Among 10 Lakh plus population category, Indore secured first place in both the quarters.
- Madhya Pradesh Capital Bhopal got the second and Surat in Gujarat third spot in first Quarter.
- In the second quarter, Rajkot in Gujarat was at the 2nd spot while Navi Mumbai at third.
- In one Lakh to 10 Lakh population category, Jamshedpur in Jharkhand got the 1st spot in both quarters.
- New Delhi Municipal Council and Khargone in Madhya Pradesh got the second and third spots in the first quarter in this category. Chandrapur in Maharashtra and Khargone got the second and third spots in Quarter 2 in one to ten lakh population categories.
5. VK Yadav re-appointed as Railway Board Chairman
- The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the re-employment of V K Yadav as the Chairman of Railway Board for a period of one year.
- Yadav had taken over as Railway Board Chairman from Ashwani Lohani, who had retired from the post in December 2018.
- Yadav had earlier held the post of General Manager of South Central Railway (SCR).
- He is an electrical engineer and belongs to the 1980 batch of the Indian Railway Service of Electrical Engineers.
6. Flipkart signed an agreement with MoHUA to support DAY-NULM
- Indian e-commerce company Flipkart has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry to support the ministry’s ‘Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana - National Urban Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NULM)’.
- Under the MoU Flipkart will sell the products made by women self-help groups under Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Urban Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NULM) on the e-commerce platform.
- The e-commerce company will collaborate with state missions to establish the 'Flipkart Samarth programme' in 22 states in India.
- DAY-NULM consists of 44 lakh women across the country which aims to make women financially independent.
- The government is likely to sign MoU with Amazon on January 7, 2020, for the same purpose.
Banking and Economy
7. RBI launched ‘MANI’ App for visually challenged to Identify currency Denomination
- The Reserve Bank of India has launched the ‘MANI’ application for visually impaired people to identify the denomination of the new currency notes that were launched after demonetization. The full form of ‘MANI’ is the “Mobile Aided Note Identifier”.
- The visually challenged people can identify the denomination of a currency note by using the mobile app “MANI”. The application also works offline once installed.
- MANI application scans currency notes using camera and gives audio output in Hindi and English.
- There were challenges faced by visually challenged in identifying these notes. Hence, the application has been launched to help visually aided in easily identifying the notes. However, the application does not detect genuine or counterfeit notes.
8. India may overtake Germany to become the fourth-largest economy by 2026
- The report titled 'World Economic League Table 2020' was released by the UK-based Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR).
- According to the report, India is expected to become the fourth-largest economy by 2026 and the third-largest by 2034.
- The CEBR report states that India would surpass Germany to become the fourth-largest economy by 2026 and further topple Japan in 2034 to become the third-largest economy.
- Today, India is the fifth-largest economy in the World after the US (20.49 trillion USD), China (13.41 trillion USD), Japan (4.97 trillion USD) and Germany (4 trillion USD).
- India has decisively overtaken both France and the UK to become the world's fifth-largest economy in 2019
9. Rabi Crop Sowing increase by 36 lakh hectares
- On 31st December 2019, the Ministry of Agriculture announced that the sowing area of rabi crops has increased by 36 lakh hectares.
- This is mainly due to the improvement in soil moisture in Rabi growing states.
- The total area under Rabi crops was 536 hectares last year and this has increased to 571 hectares. Of these, wheat has been sown in 297 lakh hectares, rice has been sown in 14 lakh hectares, coarse cereals in 46 lakh hectares and oilseeds in 74 lakh hectares.
10. Andhra Pradesh Government plans to deliver sand at doorsteps
- The Andhra Pradesh government is planning to introduce door-delivery of sand from January 2, 2020.
- As a pilot project, it is to be started from in Krishna district on an experimental basis and then extend it.
- Under this initiative, the AP government will deliver sand at doorsteps and collect transportation charges from the customers.
- In order to make the initiative successful, the Andhra Pradesh Mineral Development Corporation will stock 15 lakh tons of sand per month for the next four months.
- At present, the demand for sand in the state is 80,000 tonnes a day. The step will help address issues of sand scarcity and sand mafia.
11. Kerala becomes the first state to pass anti-CAA resolution
- On 31st December 2019, the Kerala Government has passed a resolution to roll back the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) that was passed during this winter session of Parliament.
- According to the Kerala Government, the CAA act contradicts the basic principles of the Constitution.
- According to the Government of Kerala, the act was against secularism and has triggered widespread protests in the country. The act also dented India’s image among the international community
- The Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 was passed in December 2019. The act amended the Citizenship act passed in 1955. It allows Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Christians, and Parsi religious minorities to gain Indian citizenship.
12. Palau the first country to ban reef-bleaching toxic sunscreen
- The Pacific nation of Palau has become the first country in the world to ban sunscreen that is harmful to corals and sea life.
- From January 1, sunscreen that includes ingredients like oxybenzone and octinoxate is no longer allowed to be worn or sold in the Palau.
- The compounds are commonly used in sunscreen formulas as they absorb ultraviolet A rays.
- The pristine islands, which have a combined population of about 20000, are a famed diving location, and their lagoon is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site.
13. Umaro Cissoko Embalo wins Guinea-Bissau presidential election
- In the Guinea-Bissau Umaro Cissoko Embalo has won the presidential election with 53.55 percent of votes.
- This was announced by the National Electoral Commission (CNE) of Guinea-Bissau
- He was the opposition leader also served as prime minister of the country.
- His rival Domingos Simoes Pereira, head of the country's ruling PAIGC party, took 46.45 percent in Sunday's runoff.
14. Nepal's President launches 'Visit Nepal Year 2020' campaign
- President of Nepal Bidya Devi Bhandari launched a much-awaited Visit Nepal Year 2020 campaign amidst a spectacular ceremony held at historic Dasaratha Rangashala in Kathmandu on January 1, 2020.
- The ambitious campaign is aimed to promote tourism in Nepal and attract 2 million tourists during the year 2020.
- Visit Nepal Year 2020 will create a new image of Nepal in the hearts and minds of the world community
- Mythical creature Yeti has been selected as a mascot of the campaign.
- The campaign was also launched in all seven provinces of Nepal.
15. Violence against Children surpassed to 1,70,000: UNICEF Report
- The annual report published by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on December 31, 2019, stated that since 1989, the number of countries experiencing conflicts has increased and the attacks on children have increased as well.
- UNICEF has named the last decade as “Deadly Decade” because as per the report, the number of attacks on children since 2010 has increased to three-fold.
- The world agency responsible for providing humanitarian and developmental aid to children around the world says that in 2018, around 24,000 grave violations were recorded against children and the number has gone up highly to 1,70,000 in 2019.
- This includes abductions, killing, sexual violence, maiming, child recruitment, denial of humanitarian access and attacks in schools and hospitals.
16. 27th National children’s science congress 2019 held in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
- The 27th edition of National Children’s Science Congress (NCSC) 2019 was held in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala from December 27 -31,2019.
- The congress was attended by the Vice President of India M Venkaiah Naidu,
- The theme of the congress was “Science, Technology, and Innovation for a clean, green and healthy nation”
- Jointly organized by Kerala state council for science, technology, and environment (KSCSTE) and Department of Science and Technology, Government of India the congress was inaugurated on by the Chief Minister (CM) of Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan.
Awards and Honours
17. Sanjay Gupta to be honoured with Lokmanya Tilak journalism award
- Sanjay Gupta, the editor-in-chief of 'Jagran', will be honoured with the 'Lokmanya Tilak National Journalism Award' for his contribution to the field of journalism.
- The award, instituted by the Kesari-Maratha Trust, will be conferred on Gupta in Pune on 139th Foundation Day of 'Kesari', the newspaper started by Lokmanya Tilak.
- The award is given to recognize the work of an individual, which he or she has carried out for the larger good of the journalistic field.
- The award aims to promote the courageous and idealistic journalistic practices started by Lokmanya Tilak.
Source: Business Standard
18. IMS and Sum Hospital conferred with Six Sigma Healthcare Excellence Award 2019
- The Institute of Medical Sciences (IMS) and SUM Hospital was adjudged the best medical college of the year and conferred with the Six Sigma Healthcare Excellence Award for 2019.
- Union Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs Anurag Thakur presented the award at a special function held at New Delhi.
- SOA University also won a separate award on the occasion as its founder president Manojranjan Nayak was chosen as the dynamic entrepreneur of the year.
Source: Indian Express
19. Lawn Bowls and Cycling to be included in upcoming Khelo India games
- The Chief Executive Officer Khelo India youth games, Avinash Joshi has announced that lawn bowls and cycling will be included in the 3rd edition of the ‘Khelo India youth games’.
- The 3rd edition of the games is going to start from 10th January 2020 in Guwahati Assam, in which 6500 athletes from 37 teams are expected to take part.
- The two games will be included in the event for the first time.
- The cultural events from Assam, North East and rest of the country will be held from 13th to 15th January.
- The exhibition of indigenous games will also be held. He said a mega inaugural ceremony is being planned at Sarusajai.
Source: News on AIR
'Thought of the day'
"Your limitation—it’s only your imagination."
Read Daily GK Update of the 31st December 2019 here.
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