1 Government extended Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana for five years
The government has extended the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana for another five years from January 1, 2024 . Under this scheme, five kilograms of food grains are given free of cost to more than 81 crore poor people in the country. Antyodaya families are provided 35 kg of food grains free of cost every month . Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Singh Thakur said after the Union Cabinet meeting in New Delhi that with this historic decision, this scheme will be included among the largest social welfare schemes in the world . Its objective is to ensure food and nutrition security at an estimated cost of Rs 11 lakh 80 thousand crore for five years. The Union Cabinet has also approved the Central Scheme to provide drones to women self-help groups . Shri Thakur said that under this scheme , drones will be provided to 15 thousand selected self-help groups during 2023-24 to 2025-26, which will be used to rent them to farmers for agriculture related services . A plan expenditure of Rs 1,261 crore has been allocated for this scheme.
2 President of India inaugurates centenary year celebrations of Kaivalya Dham
The President of India, Smt. Draupadi Murmu inaugurated a National Conference on the theme ‘ Integrating Yoga in the School Education System – Expressing Thoughts ‘ in Lonavala , Maharashtra . The event was organized by Kaivalyadham Sansthan as a part of its centenary year celebrations . The President said that Yoga Day is celebrated every year in most parts of the country since 2015 . The President referred to the United Nations resolution which states that Yoga is a holistic approach to health and wellness and is beneficial for the health of the entire world community. He said that with the aim of making the benefits of Yoga reach the young generation, Indian knowledge tradition has been given an important place in the National Education Policy 2020 . President Draupadi Murmu said that Swami Kuvalayananda gave great importance to the promotion of yoga education in schools. He expressed confidence that Kuvalaya Vidya Niketan, a school run by Kaivalyadham Sansthan, will set an example and inspire other schools as well. He expressed his belief that Kaivalya Dham is an effective confluence of yoga, tradition and science.
3 Union Cabinet approves continuation of Fast Track Special Court for another three years
The Union Cabinet has approved the continuation of the Fast Track Special Court for another three years. The scheme will now continue till 31 March 2026 with an amount of more than Rs 1952 crore . The Centre’s share will be given from the Nirbhaya Fund . This scheme was launched in 2019 . The special court has been created to deliver speedy justice, provide immediate relief to victims and strengthen the preventive framework for sexual offenders. The scheme reflects the country’s commitment to eliminate sexual crimes and violence against women as well as substantially reduce the pendency of rape and POCSO Act cases. It also aims to ensure speedy access to justice for victims of sexual crimes through better facilities and speedy trials.
4 Union Cabinet approves Prime Minister’s Tribal Justice Campaign
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the Pradhan Mantri Tribal Justice Maha Abhiyan (PM Janman) with a total outlay of Rs 24,104 crore (Central share: Rs 15,336 crore and State share: Rs 8,768 crore). Under this, the focus will be on 11 important areas through related ministries . The Prime Minister had announced this campaign from Khunti on the occasion of Tribal Pride Day . Pradhan Mantri PVTG Vikas Mission will be launched to improve the socio-economic conditions of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) . An announcement about this was made in the Budget Speech 2023-24. It will provide basic amenities like safe housing, clean drinking water and sanitation, better access to education, health and nutrition, road and telecom connectivity and sustainable livelihood opportunities to PVTG families and settlements. An amount of Rs 15,000 crore will be made available to implement the mission over the next three years under the Development Action Plan for Scheduled Tribes (DAPST).
5 United National Liberation Front of Manipur signs peace accord with central and state government
In a historic development, the Government of India and the Government of Manipur signed a peace accord with the valley-based Manipur ‘s oldest armed group, the United National Liberation Front (UNLF), in New Delhi. The UNLF was formed in 1964 and operates both within and outside Indian territory. This agreement is expected to usher in a new era of peace in the entire North-East, especially Manipur . Political agreements have been finalized with several ethnic armed groups in the Northeast as part of the Government of India’s conflict resolution initiative, marking the first time that Valley-based Manipuri armed groups have shunned violence and returned to the mainstream and are committed to the Constitution of India and the country. Have agreed to respect the law. This agreement will not only end the conflict between the UNLF and the security forces, which has claimed precious lives on both sides for over half a century, but will also provide an opportunity to address the long-standing concerns of the community. The return of UNLF to the mainstream will also encourage other valley-based armed groups to participate in the peace process in the times to come.
6 Union Minister Smriti Zubin Irani unveils Gender Inclusive Communication Guideline
Union Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Zubin Irani unveiled the Gender Inclusive Communication Guide . Speaking at the unveiling of the guide in New Delhi, he spoke about the need to promote gender-inclusive language . On Prime Minister Narendra Modi ‘s use of the term Divyang for people with special abilities , the Union Minister said it is an important example that should be followed and has helped in preventing stereotypes against the community. Smriti Irani clarified that because of this guide, the language of power has today been embellished with sensitivity and equality.
India to build 10,000 houses in Sri Lanka’s plantation areas as part of Phase 4 of 7 India Housing Project
The Indian High Commission has signed important agreements for the construction of 10,000 houses in the plantation areas of Sri Lanka as part of the fourth phase of the Indian Housing Project . The agreements included the National Housing Development Authority of Sri Lanka -NHDA and the State Engineering Corporation -SEC as implementing agencies . The agreements were signed by Aldos Mathew Punnoose, Counselor for Development Cooperation at the High Commission, and Mr. Ratnasiri Kalupahana and Mr. Kankanmalage Ajanta Janaka on behalf of Sri Lanka. The fourth phase of the project is spread across 11 districts and 6 provinces of Sri Lanka, in line with India’s commitment to build 60,000 houses under the Indian Housing Project . In the initial phase, construction of 46 thousand houses has been successfully completed in the Northern and Eastern provinces. Whereas in the third phase, 4000 houses were constructed in plantation areas, which is almost completed.
8 Mines Ministry launches first tranche of auction of critical and strategic minerals
Union Mines Minister Pralhad Joshi launched the auction of the first part of the critical minerals section in Delhi . Twenty blocks of these important and strategic minerals spread across the country are being auctioned. This is a historic initiative that will boost our economy , enhance national security and support our transition to a clean energy future. These blocks located in Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat include mines of graphite, lithium, molybdenum, nickel, copper and potash . Shri Joshi said that the estimated value of these 20 mineral blocks is Rs 45 thousand crores . More recently, 24 minerals were notified as critical and strategic minerals through an amendment to the MMDR Act on 17 August 2023 . This amendment empowers the Central Government to grant mineral concessions for these minerals so that the Central Government can give priority to the auction of these minerals considering the needs of the country. State governments will also get the revenue collected from these auctions.
9 CERT-In was taken out of RTI purview
The Central Government has recently included Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) in the list of organizations exempted from the Right to Information Act (RTI), 2005 . CERT-In is the national agency under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology responsible for responding to computer security incidents. The move has raised concerns as it limits transparency for an entity crucial in combating cyber threats and raising security awareness. CERT-In plays a vital role in quickly responding to computer security incidents. One of its main objectives is to increase security awareness among common citizens. The agency works under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, reflecting its importance in securing digital infrastructure and addressing cyber security challenges.
10 Tripartite MoUs pave the way for Centers of Excellence (PILOT) to promote geospatial technology, innovation and solutions
India will soon have a Center of Excellence to promote geospatial innovation and research and meet the emerging technology solution needs of the geospatial domain in the country. For the establishment of this Center of Excellence (Pilot), on November 28, 2023, the National Geospatial Program of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) , National Institute of Geo-Informatics and Technology (National Institute of Geo-Informatics) of the Survey of India of Geo-Informatics Science and Technology – NIGST), and Navishkar i-Hub Foundation of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Tirupati was signed. As a pilot, the Center of Excellence (CoE) for Geospatial Innovation and Research aims to address the emerging technology solution needs of the geospatial domain in the country. The Center will support and encourage innovative geospatial technology-based start-ups, industries, Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) that have applications and impact in key sectors of the economy.
11 Assam Government and NDDB sign MoU for overall development of dairy sector
In a significant step aimed at transforming the rural landscape through dairy farming , the Assam government has signed an MoU with the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) . This collaboration will ensure overall development in the dairy sector of the state. Assam Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Minister Atul Bora revealed that the government has set an ambitious target of increasing the daily milk production in the state to 39 lakh litres. Current production is 29 lakh liters per day, and the plan is to process an additional 10 lakh liters per day.
12 Bihar demanded special status from the Center
On November 22, the Cabinet led by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar took a significant step by passing a resolution urging the Center to grant special category status to Bihar . The demand is based on the findings of the “ Bihar Caste-Based Survey, 2022 ”, which shows that almost one-third of Bihar’s population is suffering from poverty . Special category status is a classification given by the Center to aid development of states facing geographical or socio-economic disadvantages. Introduced in 1969 on the recommendation of the Fifth Finance Commission, special category status considers factors such as hilly terrain, low population density, strategic location along international borders, economic and infrastructural backwardness and non-viable state finances before its grant. .
13 The 28th European Union Film Festival of India (EUFF) will be held in Delhi.
The 28th European Union Film Festival (EUFF) will be held in New Delhi from December 1 to 10 . Dedicated to celebrating the rich cultural ties between India and the European Union, the cinematic festival will showcase 28 films in 25 languages from 28 European countries . In a notable move, 18 of the films selected for this year’s festival are directed by women, reflecting the company’s commitment to highlighting and honoring women in cinema. The objective of the festival is to experience and appreciate ‘the art of storytelling from the women’s perspective’.
Barda Wildlife Sanctuary will become the second home of 14 Asiatic lions.
After Gir National Park and Sanctuary, Barda Wildlife Sanctuary (BWLS) is set to become the second home of Asiatic lions . Gujarat Forest Department submitted a proposal to make BWLS the second home of lions as part of “ Project Lion@2047 ”. Project Lion is an initiative launched by the Government of India in 2021 to conserve and protect the Asiatic lion and its habitat. The project aims to address the threats faced by the Asiatic lion population in India, which is found only in the Gir National Park and Sanctuary in Gujarat. The project also aims to create new habitats to increase the distribution of lions and establish a second home for them outside Gir.
15 Rajat Kumar Jain appointed as Chairman of Fino Payments Bank
Mumbai- based Fino Payments Bank recently received approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for the appointment of Rajat Kumar Jain as part-time chairman. The approval is effective from November 24, 2023 to November 01, 2025, marking a significant development for the bank. The move is likely to bring valuable experience and expertise to Fino Payments Bank as it continues to strengthen its digital ecosystem and pursue growth opportunities.
16 Former Indian-origin MP Dave Sharma wins Australian Senate seat
Dave Sharma, who became the first Indian-origin MLA in the Parliament of Australia in 2019 , will return to politics after his victory in the New South Wales Liberal Senate race. Sharma will replace former Foreign Minister Marise Payne after his retirement. Dave Sharma represented the Sydney seat of Wentworth until his defeat in the 2022 election. He defeated former New South Wales (NSW) Minister Andrew Constance. Sharma defeated Constance 251-206 in the final balloting held by New South Wales Liberal Party members on Sunday. Sharma also served as Australia’s Ambassador to Israel from 2013 to 2017.
17 Odisha to host Ultimate Kho Kho Season 2 from December 24
With a successful, exciting and entertaining inaugural season reaching 16.4 crore homes – Ultimate Kho-Kho (UKK) is all set for its grand second edition. The second season is scheduled to start on December 24, 2023 and its final will be played on January 13, 2024 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium in Cuttack , Odisha city . UKK, promoted by Amit Burman in association with the Indian Kho-Kho Federation, is dedicated to reviving and promoting this indigenous game in a more dynamic and attractive manner.
18 Dhanlaxmi Bank Board Director C.K. Gopinathan passes away
Shri C.K., a director on the board of Kerala- based Dhanalakshmi Bank and a notable shareholder . Gopinathan died of a heart attack. In the world of finance, C.K. Gopinathan’s journey began two decades ago. With abundant experience, he has made his mark within the industry in various capacities. Notably, he served as a Director at the Catholic Syrian Bank for almost eight years from September 26, 2008 to July 20, 2016 , and left an indelible impact on the institution. Appointed to the board of Dhanlaxmi Bank in August 2016, Gopinathan brings to the table his extensive knowledge and insights. As one of the major shareholders, holding 7.5 per cent stake till September 2023, he played a key role in the bank’s strategic decisions.