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Read the most important current affairs of 29 December 2023. Today Current Affairs covers the headlines on Bateshwar’s Intra-District Chopper Service, Praja Palana Program, First Woman Director General of CISF.
Top 20 Current Affairs and News Headlines of 29 December 2023
1.Women Make Up About 49% Of Ayushman Cards: Health Ministry
- Data released by the Health Ministry reveals a significant contribution by women to the scheme’s success, with approximately 49% of the total Ayushman cards created attributed to them.
- Women’s participation extends beyond obtaining Ayushman cards. The data highlights that approximately 48% of total authorized hospital admissions under AB PM-JAY are for women.
- The Ayushman cards, a cornerstone of AB PM-JAY, offer health coverage of ₹5 lakhs per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization. Lauded as the largest publicly funded health assurance scheme globally, it encompasses a wide beneficiary base, covering 55 crore individuals from 12 crore families, according to government figures.
2.Ex-Cricketer Ambati Rayudu Joins Jagan Mohan Reddy’s Party
- Former Indian cricketer Ambati Rayudu embarked on a new journey on Thursday as he officially joined the Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party (YSRCP) led by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy.
- Ambati Rayudu, known for his contributions to Indian cricket and his role in the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the Indian Premier League (IPL), recently announced his retirement after CSK’s victory in 2023.
- For the YSR Congress Party, Ambati Rayudu’s entry holds the potential to attract young voters, given his representation of Andhra Pradesh and India on the international cricket stage.
3.Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act Amended to Incorporate OBC Reservation
- The Administrative Council (AC), chaired by Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, recently approved crucial changes to the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act, 1989. The amendments focus on incorporating a definition of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) within the Act to facilitate their reservation in grassroots democratic institutions.
- The proposed changes aim to enhance the effectiveness of the J&K Panchayati Raj Act, 1989. The focus is on ensuring transparency in the functioning of PRIs, aligning the Act constitutionally, and maintaining consistency with practices in other states where OBC reservation is provided alongside Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
4.Uttar Pradesh to Implement Green Hydrogen Policy to Promote Clean Energy
- Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh: In a push towards clean energy and tackling climate change, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has directed officials to implement the state’s Green Hydrogen Policy-2023.
- This policy aims to incentivize and boost the production and utilization of green hydrogen, a promising alternative to fossil fuels.
- The policy will focus on promoting green hydrogen production for diverse applications, including:
- Ammonia production: Green hydrogen can be combined with nitrogen to create sustainable ammonia for fertilizers and other industrial uses.
- Transportation: Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles offer a cleaner alternative to traditional gasoline-powered vehicles.
- Power generation: Green hydrogen can be used in fuel cells to generate electricity without emissions.
5.UP CM Yogi Adityanath Inaugurates Bateshwar’s Intra-District Chopper Service
- In a significant development aimed at boosting tourism and infrastructure in the state of Uttar Pradesh, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath inaugurated the state’s first intra-district helicopter service in Bateshwar.
- Positioned just 65 km from Agra city, this helipad will serve as the departure point for flights connecting Bateshwar to Goverdhan in Mathura. The meticulous planning and preparation include the provision of a heliport service, further emphasizing the commitment to promoting tourism in the state.
- This event is part of a broader celebration marking the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The chief minister paid tribute to former prime minster Atal bihari Vajpayee and said Atal Ji was the ‘Ajat Shatru’ of politics.
6.Praja Palana Program Launched By Telangana Govt To Address Citizens’ Needs
- Telangana Deputy Chief Minister Bhatti Vikramarka Mallu recently inaugurated the Government’s Praja Palana programme in Ibrahimpatnam.
- The Praja Palana programme is designed to gather comprehensive information about the needs of the residents, creating a detailed database at the grassroots level.
- The initiative involves the collection of applications from individuals, enabling the government to identify potential beneficiaries of the six guarantees promised by the Congress during the run-up to the assembly elections.
7.Government Initiatives to Boost Local EV Manufacturing
- The government is actively engaged in discussions with both domestic and international stakeholders to formulate a policy aimed at enhancing local manufacturing of electric vehicles (EVs).
- A senior government official emphasized the ongoing talks with various countries, including Italy and Korea, and stressed the policy’s inclusivity for both domestic and foreign car manufacturers.
- While no specific timeline has been set for the proposed EV policy, the government is navigating diverse interests to ensure a comprehensive and balanced approach.
8.India Makes First-Ever Rupee Payment for the Purchase of Crude Oil from UAE
- India, the world’s third-largest energy consumer, recently made a significant move by conducting its first-ever payment in rupees for crude oil purchased from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
- This move is seen as part of a broader strategy to diversify oil suppliers, reduce transaction costs, and position the Indian rupee as a viable trade settlement currency.
- The Reserve Bank of India’s decision in July 2022, allowing importers to pay in rupees and exporters to receive payments in the local currency, has set the stage for this initiative.
- The recent agreement with the UAE for rupee settlements is a step towards achieving this goal. The Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) made payments in rupees for one million barrels of crude oil from Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc), marking a historic milestone.
9.RBI Identifies SBI, HDFC Bank, and ICICI Bank as Domestic Systemically Important Banks (D-SIBs)
- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has reaffirmed State Bank of India (SBI), HDFC Bank, and ICICI Bank as Domestic Systemically Important Banks (D-SIBs).
- The heightened D-SIB buffer for SBI and HDFC Bank becomes effective from April 1, 2025. Until March 31, 2025, the applicable D-SIB surcharge for SBI and HDFC Bank remains at 0.60% and 0.20%, respectively.
- Established in 2014, the D-SIB framework mandates the RBI to disclose the names of designated banks annually. The banks are categorized based on their Systemic Importance Scores (SISs) into different buckets, each attracting an additional common equity requirement
10.Tata Power Secures Rajasthan Transmission Project
- Tata Power has emerged victorious in the bid for the Bikaner-III Neemrana-II Transmission project, a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) established by PFC Consulting, a subsidiary of Power Finance Corporation.
- The estimated cost of the project is ₹1,544 crore, with a targeted commissioning period of 24 months from the date of the project SPV transfer.
- The transmission initiative will be executed on a Build-Own-Operate-Transfer (BOOT) basis and is designed to facilitate the evacuation of 7.7 GW of renewable energy from the Bikaner Complex in Rajasthan.
- The project involves the creation of a 340 km transmission corridor, connecting the Bikaner-III pooling station to the Neemrana II substation.
11.AIIB Takes Lead in Rs 2.5k Crore Funding for Mahindra-OTPP’s Green InvIT
- Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is set to spearhead a fundraising round worth Rs 2,500 crore for the Sustainable Energy Infrastructure Investment Trust (InvIT) supported by the Mahindra Group.
- The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is positioned as the lead investor in this substantial funding effort, emphasizing its commitment to supporting sustainable energy infrastructure projects.
- The funding will specifically benefit Mahindra Susten, the renewable energy arm of the Mahindra Group, and collaborate with the Canadian pension fund (OTPP) to bolster their green infrastructure investment trust.
12.Government To Market FCI Rice As Bharat Brand
- In a bid to address the soaring rice inflation, the Government of India is contemplating a strategic move—selling rice under the ‘Bharat’ brand, a proposal that is currently under consideration.
- The Ministry’s attempts to curb retail rice prices by enhancing domestic availability through the Open Market Sale Scheme (OMSS) have faced a lukewarm response.
- Under OMSS, the Food Corporation of India (FCI) has been offering quality rice at a reserve price of ₹29 per kg. However, the program has not yielded the desired results, prompting the government to explore alternative strategies such as selling rice under the ‘Bharat’ brand.
- The government has already ventured into selling essential commodities like wheat flour (atta) and pulses under the ‘Bharat’ brand.
13.RBI Approves ICICI Pru Mutual Fund’s Acquisition of Stakes in Federal Bank, RBL Bank, and Equitas Small Finance Bank
- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has granted approval to ICICI Prudential Asset Management Company Ltd (ICICI AMC) for the acquisition of up to 9.95% stake in Federal Bank.
- The approval, issued on December 28, comes with certain conditions in accordance with the Banking Regulation Act, 1949, and RBI’s Master Direction and Guidelines on Acquisition and Holding of Shares or Voting Rights in Banking Companies dated January 16, 2023.
- Simultaneously, the RBI has also approved ICICI AMC to acquire a 9.95% stake in RBL Bank and Equitas Small Finance Bank.
- Similar to the approval for Federal Bank, these permissions are contingent upon compliance with the relevant provisions outlined in the Banking Regulation Act, 1949, and RBI’s guidelines issued on January 16, 2023.
14.Wardwizard Foods Inks MoU With Gujarat Govt To Expand Operations
- Wardwizard Foods and Beverages Limited recently witnessed a significant surge in its shares, rising by 9.98 per cent, following the company’s collaboration with the government of Gujarat.
- The MoU serves as a blueprint for Wardwizard’s ambitious plans to expand its operations within the state of Gujarat.
- The company is set to focus on the production of a diverse range of products, including ready-to-eat foods, mayonnaise sauce, frozen foods, and more. This expansion initiative is backed by a substantial investment of Rs 500 crore, signaling a significant commitment to the growth and development of the region’s food industry.
15.GCC Inks Free Trade Deal With South Korea
- The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has taken a significant stride in strengthening economic ties with major Asian partners by signing its second free trade agreement (FTA) this year.
- As part of the newly established FTA, South Korea has committed to removing tariffs on nearly 90% of all items, including critical energy resources such as liquefied natural gas (LNG) and other petroleum products.
- On the other side, the Gulf states will reciprocate by scrapping tariffs on 76.4% of traded products and 4% of traded goods. This mutual reduction in trade barriers aims to stimulate economic activity and create a more conducive environment for bilateral commerce.
- Beyond the South Korea agreement, the GCC has been proactive in advancing its trade agenda. Earlier this year, the bloc signed an FTA with Pakistan, signaling a commitment to diversify its economic partnerships.
16.Nina Singh First Woman CISF Chief Rahul Rasgotra ITBP Chief
- The central government has appointed Nina Singh as the first woman Director General of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), marking a significant milestone in the traditionally male-dominated realm of security forces.
- Currently serving as the Special DG of the CISF, her elevation to the top post is a testament to her exemplary career and leadership skills. This move underscores the government’s commitment to promoting gender diversity in crucial security positions.
- In another key appointment, Rahul Rasgotra, the Special Director of the Intelligence Bureau (IB), has been named the new Director General of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).
17.Mr L P Hemanth K Srinivasulu Receives ‘Man of the Year 2023’ Award from Home Minister Shri Amit Shah
- In a ceremony held on December 28, 2023, Mr. L.P. Hemanth K. Srinivasulu, the newly appointed Director of the Latin America and Caribbean Trade Council, was bestowed with the prestigious “Man of the Year-2023″ award.
- The honor, presented by Shri Amit Shah, the Home Minister of India, serves as a recognition of Mr. Hemanth’s outstanding contributions to trade diplomacy and global economic relations.
- Mr. Hemanth’s journey to the helm of the Latin America and Caribbean Trade Council has been marked by a distinguished career in multinational corporations. Having lent his expertise to renowned entities such as Fannie Mae (USA), Wipro, Tech Mahindra, and ICBC (Canada), he has showcased versatility and leadership prowess in senior roles across various sectors.
Science & Technology News
18.ISRO To Launch India’s First X-Ray Polarimeter Satellite on Jan 1, 2024
- Following the successes of the Chandrayaan-3 and Aditya-L1 missions, ISRO is gearing up for its latest venture – the XPoSat mission.
- Scheduled for launch on January 1, 2024, this mission marks India’s maiden foray into polarimetry, a field crucial for studying black holes and other celestial sources emitting X-rays.
- The mission’s trajectory involves placing XPoSat into a low earth orbit (LEO), a feat to be accomplished by India’s reliable Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).
- ISRO emphasizes the importance of understanding complex emission mechanisms from celestial sources like black holes, neutron stars, active galactic nuclei, and pulsar wind nebulae.
19.Wolfgang Schaeuble, German Political Giant, Passes Away At 81
- Wolfgang Schaeuble, with over 50 years in the German parliament, has passed away at 81, concluding one of Germany’s lengthiest political careers.
- Wolfgang Schauble, born in 1942 in Freiburg, southwest Germany, began his political journey as a tax official in Baden-Württemberg.
- Notably, Schauble played a pivotal role in the reunification of Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, working as a key negotiator in the treaty that laid the legal groundwork for the reunification on October 3, 1990.
- In 2017, after eight years as finance minister, Schauble became the speaker of the German parliament, solidifying his status as an elder statesman. He remained a lawmaker until his death at the age of 81 on Tuesday evening at home.
20.Founding Father of EU’s Single Currency Project Jacques Delors Dies Aged 98
- Jacques Delors, the former European Commission chief and a key figure in the formation of the European Union (EU), has died at the age of 98.
- A prominent French socialist, Delors played a crucial role in shaping the EU during his three-term presidency from January 1985 to the end of 1994.
- His contributions include the completion of the integrated single market, the introduction of the euro, and the development of a common foreign and security policy.
29 December 2023 CURRENT AFFAIRS | ALL EXAMS IMP. CURRENT AFFAIRS | ASHISH GAUTAM SIR