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Published: 22nd Dec, 2023

Polity and Governance (GS-II)

Solar-electric boat Barracuda launched

Taking ahead the cause of eco-friendly maritime transportation, ‘Barracuda’, mentioned to be India’s fastest solar-electric boat, was launched at the yard of Navalt Solar and Electric Boats, located off Aroor in Alappuzha.

About:

  • Named after the swift, long fish, Barracuda was designed by Navalt and can be deployed even in the rough seas as a workboat to ferry up to 12 passengers and
  • The 14-metre-long, 4.4-metre-wide vessel can attain a top speed of 5 knots (23 kmph) and has a range of seven hours on a single charge.
  • It has twin 50 kW electric motors, a marine-grade LFP battery, and 6 kW solar powers, epitomising efficient and clean energy usage.
  • It is engineered to navigate through waves as tall as four metres and operates without noise, vibration and air pollution.
  • It won the world’s best start-up award in the mobility and transportation category at the Berlin Start-up Energy Transition Awards 2023.
  • The firm that operates from Kochi has also received various prestigious awards, including the GustaveTrouve Awards twice.

Polity and Governance (GS-II)

Mahalakshmi Scheme

In Telangana, around 450,000 autos operate, with 200,000 in Hyderabad and Secunderabad. Approximately 600,000 individuals depend on autorickshaws for their livelihood, both directly and indirectly.

About:

  • Under Mahalakshmi Scheme, women can show any identity proof of local domicile and avail of free rides in around 7,292 bus services run by TSRTC. According to TSRTC estimates, around 40 lakh passengers ply on buses daily, out of which at least 30% are are women.
  • Auto drivers are protesting across Telangana demanding that the government provide an alternate livelihood for them.

Security (GS-III)

Tax Inspectors without Borders (TIWB)

Tax Inspectors without Borders (TIWB), a joint initiative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Why in news?

  • Recently it launched a programme in Saint Lucia in December, 2023.
  • India has been chosen as the Partner Administration and will provide Tax Experts for this programme.
  • Aim is to aid in strengthening its tax administration by transferring technical knowledge and skills to its tax administration, and through sharing of best practices.
  • The focus of the programme will be on effective use of automatic exchange of information under the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) framework.
  • The objective of the TIWB Initiative is to enable sharing of tax audit knowledge and skills with tax administrations in developing countries through a targeted, real time "learning by doing" approach

Economy (GS-III)

GelephuSmartcity Project

Bhutan King JigmeKhesarNamgyelWangchuck speaks during the National Day celebration about the upcoming mega project a ‘Point of inflection’ and ‘transformation’ for Bhutan and South Asia.

About the Project:

  • Bhutan plans to build a massive “international city” in an area of over 1,000 sq. km. on its border with Assam under the project as an “economic corridor connecting South Asia with Southeast Asia via India’s northeastern States”.
  • Also, the first India-Bhutan railway line to Gelephu, which would also connect with roadways and border trading and crossing points into Assam and West Bengal, and over time which will give Bhutan access to Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, and Singapore.

The Location:

  • Gelephu, India- Bhutan crossing at Gelephu is important tourist place.
  • Roughly 41 km from Kajalgaon, the headquarter of Chirang, 50 km from Bongaigaon, and 340 km from Siliguri.

Economy (GS-III)

Disinflation

As per RBI’s report named “State of the Economy”, the pace of global growth may slow further in 2024 while disinflation at varying pace in different geographies may pave the way for interest rate reductions.

 

What is Disinflation?

  • Disinflation is a temporary slowing of the pace of price inflation.
  • The term is used to describe occasions when the inflation rate has reduced marginally over the short term.

 

How it is different from Inflation?

Inflation:

  • Inflation is the rate at which prices for goods and services rise.
  • Inflation is sometimes classified into three types: demand-pull inflation, cost-push inflation, and built-in inflation.
  • Unlike inflation and deflation, which refer to the direction of prices, disinflation refers to the rate of change in the rate of inflation.
  • A healthy amount of disinflation is necessary since it prevents the economy from overheating.

Miscellaneous

Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace

Music conductor Daniel Barenboim and peace activist Ali Abu Awwad were jointly awarded the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development 2023 for promoting amity among the Israeli and Palestinian people.

About the Award:

  • The Indira Gandhi Peace Prize is an annual prestigious award.
  • It has been named after former Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi.
  • It is being conferred every year since 1986 by Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust.
  • It consists of a monetary award of `25 lakh along with a citation.

Srivaikuntam

Srivaikuntamreceives record rainfall, highest in Tamil Nadu.

About -

  • With intense rainfall pounding the district on Sunday, Srivaikuntam of Thoothukudi received 479 mm, the highest rainfall ever recorded in the plains of Tamil Nadu.
  • Following heavy inflow of more than 15,000 cusecs of water into dams in Papanasam, Servalaru and Manimutharu in Tirunelveli.

Reasons for High Rainfall

  • The 2023 rainfall caused by the cyclonic circulation is rather higher than any rains ever received in the plains in the state.

Previous Records

  • The rains have surpassed the rainfall records of November 1992, which was previously considered the highest rain received in the century.
  • The November 1992 rainfalls flooded the river Thamirabarani, following 965 mm of rains at Kakachi in Manjolai hills, where the river originates.

Red Sea

The United States spearheads a multinational effort to protect maritime trade in the Red Sea, responding to heightened threats from Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthis, who have conducted missile and drone attacks.

About:

  • An inlet of the Indian Ocean between Africa and Asia. One of the most saline bodies of water in the world.
  • Bordering Countries: Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Sudan, Eritrea and Djibouti.
  • Connected to the Indian Ocean in south through the Bab el Mandeb strait and the Gulf of Aden.
  • In the north are the Sinai Peninsula, the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Gulf of Suez (leading to the Suez Canal).
  • Occupies a part of Great Rift Valley (Afro-Arabian Rift Valley).

Wisent (European Wild Bison)

The Ukraine war may impede efforts to save Europe's last megafauna, caution researchers in a new study.

About the Species:

  • The wisent roamed across Europe in large herds at the end of the last ice age.
  • By 1927, almost a decade after World War I, it became extinct in the wild, with only about 60 individuals remaining in captivity.
  • Rapid environmental change and hunting by humans were the main drivers of the wisent’s extirpation across Europe.
  • The European bison is a priority species for conservation because it serves an important role as an ecosystem engineer, restoring grassland habitat.

Geography:

  • The European Wisent, also known as the European Bison, primarily inhabits forested areas in Eastern Europe, including countries like Poland, Belarus, Russia, Lithuania, and Ukraine.
  • They may also be found in controlled environments in various parts of Europe as part of conservation and reintroduction efforts.

Black Pelicans(Pelecanusniger)

National Green Tribunal (NGT) seeks biodiversity loss report, State roping-in national institutes like National Centre for Coastal Research (NCCR) and National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) for intermediate and long-term remedial.

About the Species:

  • The Black Pelican, Pelecanusniger is an aquatic bird that belongs to the Pelecaniformes order. It is one of many birds located in Devonshire.
  • The Black Pelican is a large water bird that is known for its characteristic dark plumage - a departure from the common lighter coloured plumage of most other Pelican species.
  • Despite its name, the Pelican's feathers appear to be more of a dark purple to dark indigo colour tone.

Found In:

  • In India, pelicans breed in Nelapattu, Koonthankulam and KokkaBellur.
  • Kolleru Bird Sanctuary is located in the state of Andhra Pradesh between Krishna and Godavari deltas.
  • The lake is one of the largest freshwater lakes in India and listed under the Ramsar Convention wetland of international importance.
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