Current Affairs 16-20 Dec 2023

Daily Current Capsules

16,17,18,19 and 20 December 2023

Logistics Ease Across Different State (LEADS) 2023

  • Union Minister of Commerce & Industry released the “Logistics Ease Across Different State (LEADS) 2023” report

Know! about LEADS

  • LEADS is giving insights to States and UTs for further revolutionary reform in logistics sector
  • The report serves as a guide for stakeholders in the Logistics Sector by providing strategic insights
  • LEADS was conceived on the lines of Logistics Performance Index of World Bank in 2018 and has evolved over time.
  • While the LPI relies entirely on perception-based surveys, LEADS incorporates both perception as well as objectivity thereby enhancing the robustness and comprehensiveness of this exercise.
  • The 5th edition of the LEADS annual exercise – LEADS 2023 report, provides insights into improvement of logistics performance at State/UT level.
  • It highlights an enhanced overall stakeholder perception and impact of various reforms, across States and UTs.
  • This report, signalling a positive shiftin States’ performance across the key pillars – Logistics Infrastructure, Logistics Services and Operating and Regulatory Environment, empowers the State/UT Governments by providing region specific insights for informed decision making and comprehensive growth.
  • This report is based on a pan-India primary survey, conducted between May and July 2023, covering over 7,300 responses across 36 States/UTs.

Performance Highlights from LEADS 2023:

Coastal Group

  • Achievers: Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu
  • Fast Movers: Kerala, Maharashtra
  • Aspirers: Goa, Odisha, West Bengal

Landlocked Group

  • Achievers: Haryana, Punjab, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh
  • Fast Movers: Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand
  • Aspirers: Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand

North-East Group

  • Achievers: Assam, Sikkim, Tripura
  • Fast Movers: Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland
  • Aspirers: Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram

Union Territories

  • Achievers: Chandigarh, Delhi
  • Fast Movers: Andaman & Nicobar, Lakshadweep, Puducherry
  • Aspirers: Daman & Diu/ Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh

UKMTO portal

  • Indian Navy’s Mission Deployed platforms responded swiftly to a maritime incident in Arabian Sea involving hijacking of Malta Flagged Vessel MV Ruen.
  • The vessel, with 18 crew onboard, had sent a Mayday message on UKMTO portal, PM 14 Dec 23, indicating boarding by approx six unknown personnel.

United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) is a Royal Navy capability with the principal purpose of providing an information conduit between military which (includes/security forces) and the wider international maritime trade.

Kakrapar Atomic Power Project

  • The Unit 4 of Kakrapar Atomic Power Project (KAPP 4 – 700 MW) achieved the important milestone of Criticality (start of controlled fission chain reaction) for the first time on December 17, 2023 (Sunday)
  • The criticality was achieved after meeting all the stipulations of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), which had issued clearance after a rigorous review of safety of the plant systems.
  • KAPP-4 is the second in the series of sixteen indigenous Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWR) of 700 MW each being set up in the country.
  • KAPP 3&4 (2X700 MW) are located at Kakrapar in Surat district of Gujarat, adjacent to the existing reactors KAPS 1&2 (2X220 MW).
  • These indigenous PHWRs have advanced safety features and are among the safest reactors in the world.
  • NPCIL presently operates 23 reactors with a total capacity of 7480 MW and has nine units (including KAPP-4) with a capacity of 7500 MW under construction.

A controlled chain reaction refers to a chain reaction whose rate of fission is controlled and thus the generated energy is also controlled. A controlled chain reaction allows for fission to occur in a self-regenerating manner while limiting the amount of energy produced to a sufficient but safe level.

DPIIT in alliance with World Bank hosts “Alleviating Heat stress by Enhancing production of Affordable cooling Devices (AHEAD)” Consultation Workshop

  • The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce and Industry in alliance with the World Bank, with support of the Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEFCC), and the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) successfully hosted the “Alleviating Heat stress by Enhancing production of Affordable cooling Devices (AHEAD)” consultation workshop
  • This landmark event, drawing over 100 industry and other stakeholders, marks a pivotal step towards fortifying India against intensifying heat waves through sustainable and affordable cooling solutions.
  • This was the first-ever industry-led workshop that recognized cooling as an important climate adaptation issue.
  • The workshop recognized explicitly the need for cost-effective, domestically-led technologies for ensuring affordability that will cater to the large India population that will require cooling.
  • The workshop also emphasized India’s commitment to climate mitigation and its goal to emerge as a global leader in sustainable and affordable cooling technologies.

 National Culture Fund (NCF) – Parliament Winter Session Highlights

  • National Culture Fund (NCF) was set up as a Trust in 1996 under the Charitable Endowment Act, 1890 with a view to mobilize extra resources through Public-Private Partnership (PPP) towards promoting, protecting & preserving India’s Cultural Heritage (Tangible and intangible).
  • Further, Government has recently launched a programme titled ‘Adopt a Heritage Programme 2.0’ with an objective to encourage Public Private Partnership for providing basic tourist amenities e.g., washrooms, drinking water, pathways, benches, etc. for enhancing visitors’ experience at Centrally Protected Monuments.

SATHEE (Self-Assessment, Test and Help for Entrance Examination) portal  – Parliament Winter Session Highlights

  • The Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Education in collaboration with IIT Kanpur has started SATHEE (Self-Assessment, Test and Help for Entrance Examination) portal   to provide quality education to every student who intend to participate in competitive Education such as JEE, NEET and various State level Engineering and other Examinations.
  • Ministry of Education has written to all State/UTs to inform educators and students about this facility which can be used for competitive examinations preparation and for knowledge enhancement.
  • To support students preparing for JEE and other engineering examinations, a 45 days crash course of JEE has been launched on 21st November 2023 curated by IIT toppers, academicians, and subject experts.
  • This crash course is available in 5 language including English. All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) has developed AI based translation tools.
  • This tool supports 22 Indian languages. Several workshops/Seminars have been organized in institutions/colleges to create awareness about this tool and its utility.

National Geoscience Data Repository Portal

  • Ministry of Mines is  to launch the National Geoscience Data Repository (NGDR) Portal
  • NGDR is a comprehensive online platform for accessing, sharing, and analyzing geospatial information across the nation.
  • The NGDR initiative, spearheaded by the Geological Survey of India (GSI) and Bhaskarachaya Institute of Space Applications and Geoinformatics (BISAG-N) represents a significant leap forward in democratizing critical geoscience data, empowering stakeholders across industries and academia with unprecedented access to invaluable resources.

Know! about Geological Survey of India

  • The Geological Survey of India (GSI) was set up in 1851 primarily to find coal deposits for the Railways.
  • Over the years, GSI has not only grown into a repository of geo-science information required in various fields in the country but has also attained the status of a geo-scientific organisation of international repute.
  • Its main functions relate to creating and updating of national geoscientific information and mineral resource assessment.
  • These objectives are achieved through ground surveys, air-borne and marine surveys, mineral prospecting and investigations, multi-disciplinary geoscientific, geo-technical, geo-environmental, and natural hazards studies, glaciology, seismo-tectonic study and carrying out fundamental research.

Know! about BISAG-N

  • Bhaskaracharya National Institute for Space Applications and Geo-informatics [BISAG (N)] is an Autonomous Scientific Society registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 under the MeitY, Government of India to undertake technology development & management, research & development, facilitate National & International cooperation, capacity building and support technology transfer & entrepreneurship development in area of geo-spatial technology.
  • BISAG has implemented GIS and geo-spatial technologies for major Ministries and almost all States.

International Monitoring Station (IMS) Day

  • The Wireless Planning & Coordination Wing (WPC) and Wireless Monitoring Organisation (WMO) proudly celebrate the International Monitoring Station (IMS) Day on December 19, 2023.
  • This occasion marks a milestone in the history of wireless monitoring and spectrum management in India, highlighting the tireless dedication of personnel in ensuring interference-free spectrum for public telecom services and wireless users across the Nation.
  • The Wireless Monitoring Organisation (WMO), established in 1952, acts as the vigilant eye and ear of the WPC, boasting a network of monitoring stations strategically located across India.
  • Comprising one International Satellite Monitoring Earth Station (ISMES), five International Monitoring Stations (IMSs), and 22 Wireless Monitoring Stations (WMSs), the WMO conducts crucial spectrum monitoring, measurements and inspection duties for efficient radio frequency spectrum management and Geo-Stationary Orbit.
  • The WMO is the field unit of WPC Wing tasked with ensuring interference free radio-communication services in India, whereas WPC holds the responsibility of spectrum engineering, planning and licensing.

Know! about Wireless Planning & Coordination Wing (WPC): 

  • The Wireless Planning & Coordination Wing (WPC), functioning within the Ministry of Communications, Government of India, holds the responsibility for spectrum engineering and management.
  • It issues licenses, devises national frequency allocation plans, collaborates with National and International organizations to enhance spectrum policies, and supervises the effective utilization of radio frequency spectrum across the country.

Know! about Wireless Monitoring Organisation (WMO)

  • The Wireless Monitoring Organisation (WMO) is a field unit of the WPC Wing, tasked with monitoring wireless transmissions, providing interference free radio-communication services and aiding spectrum monitoring, enforcement & management activities through strategically located monitoring stations across India.

Smart India Hackathon (SIH)

  • Prime Minister of India interacted with the participants of the Grand Finale of Smart India Hackathon 2023

Know! about SIH

  • Smart India Hackathon (SIH) is a nationwide initiative by the innovation cell of the ministry of education
  • Smart India Hackathon (SIH) provides students a platform to solve the pressing problems of Ministries and Departments of the Government, industries and other organizations.
  • Launched in 2017, Smart India Hackathon has gained massive popularity among young innovators.
  • In the last five editions, innovative solutions have emerged in different domains and stand out as established startups.
  • This year, the Grand Finale of SIH is being held from 19th to 23rd December.
  • Over 12,000 participants and more than 2500 mentors participated in the grand finale scheduled at 48 nodal centers across the country.
  • A total of 1282 teams have been shortlisted this year for the grand finale to provide solutions on various themes including Space Technology, Smart Education, Disaster Management, Robotics and Drones, Heritage and Culture etc.
  • The participating teams tackled and provided solutions for 231 problem statements (176 software and 55 hardware) posted by 51 departments of 25 Union Ministers and State governments.
  • The total prize for Smart India Hackathon 2023 is more than Rs 2 crore, where each winning team will be awarded a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh per problem statement.

Soil Health Management & Soil Health Card Schemes – Parliament Winter Session Highlights

  • The Government of India is implementing Soil Health Management & Soil Health Card Schemes under the National Project on Soil Health & Fertility of National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture since the year 2014-15.
  • Soil health card provides information to farmers on nutrient status of their soil along with recommendations on appropriate dosage of nutrients to be applied for improving soil health and its productivity.
  • So far, 23.58 crore soil health cards have been distributed to farmers.
  • Now, these schemes have been merged as Soil Health & Fertility component of Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY).

INS Shivaji

  • INS Shivaji, the premier Training establishment of the Indian Navy received the original ‘Vir Chakra’ awarded to Late Vice Admiral Benoy Roy Chowdhury
  • The ‘Vir Chakra’ is an Indian wartime military bravery award presented for acts of gallantry on the battlefield, on land or in air or at sea.
  • VAdm Chowdhury is the only technical officer of the Indian Navy, who has been decorated with this prestigious award.


Current Affairs 16-20 Dec 2023 word image 23926 1 jpeg

  • The 8th edition of Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) Conclave of Chiefs (CoC) is being hosted by Royal Thai Navy at Bangkok, Thailand from 19 – 22 Dec 23.

Know! about IONS

  • IONS was conceived by the Indian Navy in 2008 as a forum which seeks to enhance maritime co-operation among Navies of the littoral states of the Indian Ocean Region.
  • IONS provides an open and inclusive platform for discussions on regionally relevant maritime issues that would lead to common understanding on the way ahead.
  • The inaugural edition of IONS was held in Feb 2008 at New Delhi, with Indian Navy as the Chair for two years (2008 – 2010). 
  • India would take over the Chair of IONS (2025-27) during the 9th CoC planned to be conducted in India in end 2025.

Know! more about IONS

Current Affairs 16-20 Dec 2023 word image 23926 2

  • The ‘Indian Ocean Naval Symposium’ (IONS) is a voluntary initiative that seeks to increase maritime cooperation among navies of the littoral states of the Indian Ocean Region by providing an open and inclusive forum for discussion of regionally relevant maritime issues.
  • There are 36 littoral in the Indian Ocean which have been geographically grouped into the following four sub-regions

NEW SWARNIMA LOAN SCHEME- Parliament Winter Session Highlights

  • The details of the New Swarnima Loan Scheme of National Backward Classes Finance and Development Corporation (NBCFDC) is as follows-


  • Inculcating the spirit of self-dependence among the women of Backward Classes under Term Loan.


  • The women belonging to Backward Classes as notified by the Central/ State Governments from time to time shall be eligible for loan under this scheme.
  • Applicant’s annual family income should be less than Rs.3.00 Lakh.

Salient Features 

  • The target group of the “New Swarnima” scheme of NBCFDC is the women belonging to Backward Classes having annual family income less than Rs.3.00 Lakh.
  • The beneficiary women is not required to invest any amount of her own on the projects up to cost of Rs.2,00,000/-.
  • The rate of interest on the amount of loan is less as compared to the general loan scheme of the Corporation.
  • Maximum Loan Amount – Rs. 2.00 Lakh (per beneficiary)
  • Repayment – Loan is to be repaid in quarterly instalments with maximum 8 years (including the moratorium period of six months on the recovery of principal).

Nasha Mukt Bharat Abhiyaan” (NMBA) – Parliament Winter Session Highlights

  • The Department of Social Justice & Empowerment has signed a MoU with the International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) on 23rd November 2023 at New Delhi for spreading the message of Nasha Mukt Bharat Abhiyaan among the youth, women, students etc.

The main objectives of the MoU are as under:

  1. To create awareness in the community- through on-ground activities & social media
  2. Focus on higher educational institutions, university campuses and schools to make them substance free
  3. Community Outreach & identification of dependent population
  4. Augmentation of counselling and rehabilitation
  5. Focus on mental & physical well being of youth & adolescent
  • The Ministry has developed Navchetna Modules for school students in country under “Nasha Mukt Bharat Abhiyaan” (NMBA).
  • These 9 modules teacher driven training modules (8 modules for students of 6th-11th standard and 1 for parents), will be disseminated and implemented by teachers with the aim to increase awareness and education on life skills and drugs among students in schools.
  • Under “Nasha Mukt Bharat Abhiyaan”, the NAVCHETNA training package is being disseminated and implemented by teachers with the aim to increase awareness and education on life skills and drugs among students in schools.

The key objectives of Navchetna Modules are:

  1. Prevention and delay in the initiation of substance use among school children
  2. Provide linkage support for children in drug use for further screening, counselling support and treatment.
  3. Provide support to families / teachers on early signs of drug use among children and information on support available

Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 (MS Act, 2013) – Parliament Winter Session Highlights

  • As per the “Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 (MS Act, 2013) manual scavenging is a prohibited activity in the country with effect from 6.12.2013.
  • All districts have been requested to either declare themselves free from manual scavenging or upload the data of insanitary latrine and manual scavengers associated with it on the Mobile App “Swachhta Abhiyan”.
  • There is no deadline for districts to declare themselves manual scavenging free.

Atal Vayo Abhyuday Yojana(AVYAY) – Parliament Winter Session Highlights

  • The Umbrella Scheme of Atal Vayo Abhyuday Yojana(AVYAY), being run by the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment, includes components to provide financial security, healthcare, nutrition, shelter, welfare etc. for senior citizens.
  • Under one of such components, namely, the Integrated Programme for Senior Citizens(IPSrC), Grant-in-Aid is given to Implementing Agencies for running and maintenance of Senior Citizens Homes where basic amenities like shelter, food, medical care, entertainment opportunities etc. are provided free of cost to indigent senior citizens.
  • Under Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana(RVY), assisted living devices are distributed free of cost, in camp mode, to senior citizens belonging to the families living below the poverty line or having Rs. 15000/- as monthly income and suffering from age related disabilities.
  • The Elderline: National Helpline for Senior Citizens (NHSC) (Toll-free No. 14567) provides free information, guidance, emotional support and field intervention in cases of abuse and rescues in order to improve the quality of life of senior citizens.
  • The component namely Senior-care Ageing Growth Engine (SAGE) aims to encourage youth to think about the problems of the elderly and come out with innovative ideas for the elderly care and promoting them into start-ups by providing equity support.
  • Under Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS) of the National Social Assistance Programme(NSAP), a fully funded Centrally Sponsored Scheme of the Department of Rural Development, Government of India, monthly pension at the rate of Rs.200/- per month per beneficiary to elderly persons in the age group of 60-79 years belonging to Below Poverty Line(BPL) households, is being paid.
  • The rate of pension is increased to Rs.500/- per month per beneficiary on reaching the age of 80 years.

National Programme for Health Care of the Elderly(NPHCE) – Parliament Winter Session Highlights

  • The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare launched the National Programme for Health Care of the Elderly(NPHCE) in 2010-11 with a view to provide dedicated healthcare services to senior citizens at various level of State Health Care delivery system i.e., at Primary, Secondary and Tertiary health care, including outreach services.
  • The Programme has two components, namely National Health Mission(NHM) i.e., Primary and Secondary care service delivery through District Hospitals(DH), Community Health Centres(CHC), Primary Health Centres(PHC), Sub-Centre/Health & Wellness Centres, and Tertiary Component i.e., these services are being provided though Regional Geriatric Centres(RGCs)
  • Further, Government launched Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana(PMJAY) to cover 10 crore poor and vulnerable families (approx. 50 crore beneficiaries) providing coverage of up to Rs.5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary hospitalization.
  • With the launch of the Ayushman Bharat-PMJAY, the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana(RSBY) and the Senior Citizen Health Insurance Scheme(SCHIS) have been subsumed in it.
  • All enrolled beneficiary families of RSBY and SCHIS are entitled for benefits under the Ayushman Bharat-PMJAY.

Bhoomi Rashi portal – Parliament Winter Session Highlights

  • The objective of Bhoomi Rashi portal is to provide a single point platform for online processing of land acquisition notifications to accelerate highway infrastructure development projects in India and payment of compensation for land acquisition.
  • The portal has been made mandatory for processing all the Land Acquisition (LA) proposals w.e.f. 01.04.2018.
  • All the Land Acquisition notifications are submitted online by the concerned revenue official of the State Government, duly designated as Competent Authority for Land Acquisition (CALA) and after the approval of the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, these are sent online to the Government of India Press through e-Gazette.
  • Compensation for land acquisition is also being paid through Bhoomi Rashi portal.
  • The portal has greatly reduced the time period for publication of notifications and brought in efficiency as well as transparency in the whole process.

Namashudra, Paundra and Rajvanshi – Parliament Winter Session Highlights

  • The National Commission for Scheduled Castes has taken cognizance of granting Scheduled Caste status to the Namashudra, Paundra and Rajvanshi sub-castes of the rehabilitated Bengali society.
  • The people who came from East Pakistan in 1947 were rehabilitated in 18 States by the Government of India since 1960.
  • In 8 states, Namashudra, Paundra and Rajvanshi sub-castes of Bengali society got the status of Scheduled Caste, but in Delhi, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand and Karnataka, they still do not have the status of Scheduled Caste.
  • Uttar Pradesh government has passed a bill in the Assembly to give them Scheduled Caste status. Now it is pending with the Central Government. The Commission will take action under Article 338 of the Constitution of India to grant them Scheduled Caste status.

RAMP programme

  • Union Minister for MSME launched three sub-schemes under the aegis of the RAMP programme
  • These are  MSME Green Investment and Financing for Transformation Scheme (MSE GIFT Scheme), MSE Scheme for Promotion and Investment in Circular Economy (MSE SPICE Scheme) MSE Scheme on Online Dispute Resolution for Delayed Payments.
  • The first scheme – The MSME Green Investment and Financing for Transformation Scheme (MSME GIFT Scheme) intends to help MSMEs adopt green technology with interest subvention and credit guarantee support.
  • The MSE Scheme for Promotion and Investment in Circular Economy (MSE SPICE Scheme) is the first ever scheme in the Government to support circular economy projects which will be done through credit subsidy and will lead to realising the dream of MSME sector towards zero emissions by 2070.
  • The MSE Scheme on Online Dispute Resolution for Delayed Payments is a first of its kind scheme to synergise legal support with modern IT tools and Artificial Intelligence to address the incidences of delayed payments for Micro and Small Enterprises.
  • The Ministry is also taking new initiatives under the existing schemes to provide enhanced support to the MSMEs.
  • The Support for Commercialisation of IP Programme (MSME – SCIP Programme) will enable the innovators in the MSME sector to commercialize their IPR.
  • In addition, the ZED Scheme of the Ministry has now been made completely free for women led MSMEs.
  • The government guarantees payment of 100 percent financial support for the certification cost. These two interventions were also launched by the Union Minister .
  • The Ministry exchanged Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) with the implementing agencies SIDBI (for MSME GIFT and MSME SPICE schemes) and with National Informatics Centre Services Inc. (for NICSI) for MSE ODR scheme.

Know! more about RAMP Programme

  • The National MSME Council has been set up by the Ministry to work as an administrative and functional body of the World Bank supported RAMP Programme to oversee inter-Central Ministerial/Departmental co-ordination, Centre State synergies and advise / monitor progress on the reforms mandated in the MSME sector.
  • RAMP Programme  aims at improving access to market and credit, strengthening institutions and governance at the Centre and State, improving Centre-State linkages and partnerships, addressing issues of delayed payments and greening of MSMEs.

National Geoscience Data Repository Portal (NGDR) – Parliament Winter Session Highlights

  • The Ministry of Mines launched the National Geoscience Data Repository Portal (NGDR).
  • The National Geoscience Data Repository(NGDR) has been created, as a part of the National Mineral Exploration Policy, 2016, hosting all baseline and exploration-related geoscientific data in a single GIS platform, to expedite, enhance and facilitate the exploration coverage of the country.
  • The NGDR initiative, spearheaded by Geological Survey of India (GSI) and Bhaskarachaya Institute of Space Applications and Geoinformatics (BISAG-N) represents a significant leap forward in democratizing critical geoscience data, empowering stakeholders across industries and academia with unprecedented access to invaluable resources.
  • The creation of NGDR was conceptualized by the Ministry of Mines (MoM) as part of the National Mineral Exploration Policy (NMEP) 2016.
  • The Geological Survey of India (GSI) was given the responsibility to establish NGDR.
  • The NGDR will make available all geological, geochemical, geophysical and mineral exploration data in public domain on a digital geospatial platform.
  • This will include baseline geoscience data and all mineral exploration information generated by various central and state government agencies and mineral concession holders .
  • The greater goal of this initiative is to increase the investment attractiveness of the mining sector in India.

Next-generation offshore patrol vessels (NGOPVs)

  • The Ministry of Defence has signed a Rs 1,614 crore contract with Mazagon Dockyard Shipbuilders Ltd for the procurement of six next-generation offshore patrol vessels (NGOPVs) for the Indian Coast Guard (ICG).
  • The acquisition aims to enhance the Coast Guard’s maritime security capabilities.
  • The contract, signed under the buy (Indian-IDDM) category, is valued at a total cost of Rs 1,614.89 crore.
  • The NGOPVs will be built by Mazagon Dockyard Shipbuilders Ltd.
  • The six NGOPVs are intended to replace existing aging offshore patrol vessels (four vessels) and augment the Coast Guard’s fleet (two vessels).
  • The NGOPVs are expected to play a critical role in various maritime operations, including surveillance, law enforcement, search and rescue, maritime pollution response, and humanitarian assistance.
  • The offshore patrol vessels will be equipped with multipurpose drones, artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, and wirelessly controlled remote water rescue craft lifebuoy.
  • These advanced features aim to provide greater flexibility and operational advantages.
  • The inclusion of AI capabilities and other advanced equipment is designed to provide the Coast Guard with an operational edge in maritime activities.

Pradhan Mantri Anusuchit Jaati Abhyuday Yojana (PM- AJAY) – Parliament Winter Session Highlights

  • Pradhan Mantri Anusuchit Jaati Abhyuday Yojana (PM- AJAY) is a 100% Centrally Sponsored Scheme implemented since 2021-22 as three components, which are as under:-
  1. Development of SC-dominated villages into an ‘Adarsh Gram’ component
  2. ‘Grants-in-aid for District/State-level Projects for socio-economic betterment of SCs’ component
  3. ‘Construction of Hostels in Higher Educational Institutions’ component
  • The total Budget outlay of the scheme for FY 2023-24 is Rs. 2050 crore and the scheme aims to reduce poverty of the SC Communities by generation of additional employment opportunities through skill development, income generation and related infrastructure development.

PM Mega Integrated Textile Region and Apparel (PM MITRA) – Parliament Winter Session Highlights

  • The Government approved setting up of 7 (Seven) PM Mega Integrated Textile Region and Apparel (PM MITRA) Parks in Greenfield/Brownfield sites with world class infrastructure including plug and play facility with an outlay of Rs. 4,445 cr.
  • The Scheme aims to strengthen the Indian textile industry by way of enabling scale of operations, reduce logistics cost by housing entire value chain at one location, attract investment, generate employment and augment export potential.
  • The scheme envisages to develop integrated large scale and modern industrial infrastructure facility for total value-chain of the textile industry for example, spinning, weaving, processing, garmenting, textile manufacturing, processing & printing machinery industry.
  • The Government has finalised 7 sites viz. Tamil Nadu (Virudhnagar), Telangana (Warangal), Gujarat (Navsari), Karnataka (Kalaburagi), Madhya Pradesh (Dhar), Uttar Pradesh (Lucknow) and Maharashtra (Amravati) for setting up PM MITRA Parks.

National Mineral Policy, 2019 – Parliament Winter Session Highlights

  • The National Mineral Policy, 2019 [NMP 2019], states that minerals are valuable natural resources, which are essential raw materials for the core sectors of the economy.
  • NMP 2019 focuses on promoting domestic industry, reducing import dependency, and contributing to the Make in India initiative.
  • NMP 2019 emphasizes on a fair and transparent allocation of mineral resources to ensure equitable distribution of mineral wealth to serve the common good.
  • Mineral Conservation and Development Rules (MCDR), 2017
  • It was framed under Section 18 of MMDR Act, 1957 for the mineral conservation, systematic development of minerals and protection of environment by preventing or controlling any pollution which may be caused by prospecting or mining operations.
  • Adequate emphasis has been given on Sustainable Development in Mining areas in the NMP 2019.
  • India is not a member of Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). However, India has adopted the United Nations Framework Classification (UNFC) to report the mineral resources, status of exploration and feasibility of extractions.

Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI)

  • The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) is a global standard for the good governance of oil, gas and mineral resources. It seeks to address the key governance issues in the extractive sectors.
  • The EITI Standard requires information along the extractive industry value chain from the point of extraction, to how the revenue makes its way through the government and its contribution to the economy.
  • This includes how licenses and contracts are allocated and registered, who the beneficial owners of those operations are, what the fiscal and legal arrangements are, how much is produced, how much is paid, where the revenue is allocated, and its contributions to the economy, including employment.
  • The EITI Standard is implemented in 55 countries around the world. Each of these countries is required to publish an annual EITI Report to disclosing information on: contracts and licenses, production, revenue collection, revenue allocation, and social and economic spending.

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