[PDF] January 1st, 2024 PIB Current Affairs

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Prime Minister’s Office

PM expresses happiness over successful launch of XPoSat satellite

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, today expressed happiness over the successful launch of XPoSat satellite by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

He extended his best wishes to ISRO scientists along with the space fraternity for taking India to heights.

The Prime Minister posted on X: “A great start to 2024 thanks to our scientists! This launch is wonderful news for the space sector and will enhance India’s prowess in this field. Best wishes to our scientists at ISRO and the entire space fraternity in taking India to unprecedented heights.”

So, What is the XPoSat satellite?

XPoSat is a short name for X-ray Polarimeter Satellite, which is India’s first dedicated scientific satellite for polarisation measurements of X-ray emissions from celestial objects. It was launched on 1 January 2024 by a PSLV rocket from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota. The satellite has a planned mission life of five years.

The main objective of XPoSat is to study the polarisation of intense X-ray sources in space, such as black holes, neutron stars, pulsars, and supernova remnants. Polarisation is a property of light that reveals the orientation of the electric and magnetic fields of the photons. By measuring the polarisation of X-rays, scientists can gain insights into the physical processes and conditions of these extreme astrophysical phenomena.

XPoSat carries two scientific payloads: a Polarimeter Instrument in X-rays (POLIX) and an Orbital Platform Experiment (OPEX). POLIX is the main instrument that will perform the polarisation measurements of X-ray sources in the energy range of 5-30 keV. OPEX is a set of experiments that will test various technologies and materials in the low earth orbit environment.

XPoSat is expected to contribute to the advancement of X-ray astronomy and polarimetry, as well as to the development of space technology and innovation in India. XPoSat is a part of ISRO’s vision to explore the frontiers of space and enhance the scientific and technological capabilities of the country.

PM congratulates Gujarat for setting world record for most people performing Surya Namaskar simultaneously at 108 venues

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, today congratulated Gujarat for setting a Guinness World Record for the most people performing Surya Namaskar simultaneously at 108 venues. 

He also urged everyone to make Surya Namaskar a part of their daily routine due to its immense benefits. 

The Prime Minister posted on X: “Gujarat welcomed 2024 with a remarkable feat – setting a Guinness World Record for the most people performing Surya Namaskar simultaneously at 108 venues! As we all know, the number 108 holds a special significance in our culture. The venues also include the iconic Modhera Sun Temple, where several people joined. This is indeed a true testament to our commitment to Yoga and our cultural heritage. 

I also urge you all to make Surya Namaskar a part of your daily routine. The benefits are immense.”

PM wishes everyone a splendid 2024

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has greeted everyone a splendid 2024.

The Prime Minister posted on X : “Wishing everyone a splendid 2024! May this year bring forth prosperity, peace and wonderful health for all.”

Ministry of Coal

Coal Sector Achieves 10.9% Growth among Eight Core Industries in November 2023

Cumulative Growth during April-November touches 12.8 per cent

The Index of Coal Industry has achieved  a growth of 10.9 % (provisional) among eight core industries,  during the month of   November 2023, as per the data released by the Ministry of Commerce & Industries. Coal Sector  achieved 185.7 points in November compared to 167.5 points, same time last year. The cumulative index of coal sector during April – November, 2023-24 has increased by 12.8 % over the corresponding period of the previous year.

coal ministry india

The latest data indicates that the Combined Index of eight Core Industries has shown an  increase of  7.8% (Provisional) in November 2023, compared to the same period of the  previous year.

The ICI measures the combined and individual production performance of eight core industries, viz. cement, coal, crude oil, electricity, fertilizers, natural gas, refinery products and steel.

The growth in the Index of Coal Industry is mainly due to a substantial surge in coal production during the month of November 2023, reaching 84.52 Million Tonne (MT), surpassing  76.16 MT of the corresponding month of the previous year, representing a remarkable increase of 10.97%.

coal mine

The Ministry of Coal has played a pivotal role in driving this growth through various strategic initiatives. These include augmenting domestic production through  auction-based regime for commercial coal mining, engaging Mine Developer cum Operators (MDOs) to ramp up domestic coal output and  reopening of discontinued mines on a revenue-sharing model to boost coal production.

The note-worthy growth of the coal sector and its contribution to the overall growth of the eight core industries are a testament to the continuous  initiatives undertaken by the Coal Ministry. These efforts align with the vision of “Atmanirbhar Bharat” and contribute to the nation’s progress towards self-sufficiency and energy security.

Ministry of Defence

DRDO celebrates 66th Foundation Day

DRDO is today celebrating the 66th  Foundation Day of its establishment. Secretary, Department of Defence R&D and Chairman DRDO Dr Samir V Kamat DRDO paid floral tributes to the Missile Man of India and former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam. Floral tributes were also paid to Dr VS Arunachalam, Former DRDO Chief, who passed away in August 2023.

Addressing DRDO fraternity, Chairman DRDO extended warm wishes to DRDO employees and their families. He stated that an eventful year has passed and a new one is about to begin and asked scientists to innovate and create for the Nation.

Chairman DRDO highlighted the achievements of DRDO and said that during the year, several systems developed by DRDO have been delivered, inducted or handed over to the users.

He expressed happiness that the Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) has also been accorded this year for induction of several DRDO developed systems worth more than 1 lakh 42 thousand crores. This is the highest ever accorded to DRDO developed systems in any year. This constitutes a significant component of Aatmanirbharta in Defence Production.

He stated that several systems have also either completed or are in the final stages of User evaluation and many other systems are undergoing Developmental trials. He set the target for DRDO to ensure that the systems which are under User trials and under final stages of developmental trials, get accepted by the User in 2024, so that they are ready for induction. He said that DRDO laboratories should focus on development of complex, first of its kind systems and development of advanced and critical technologies, which will enable the country to become AtmaNirbhar and a leader in Defence Technology.

Chairman DRDO highlighted some other success stories in his speech. He stated that it was a matter of great pride for all of us when Hon’ble Prime Minister flew in LCA Trainer on Nov 25, 2023.

He mentioned that on the National Technology Day on 11 May 2023, Hon’ble Prime Minister dedicated the Rare Earth Permanent Magnet (REPM) plant at IREL Vizag to the Nation. This plant was set-up using DRDO Technology. He said that indigenously Designed and Developed Heavy Weight Torpedo (HWT) ‘Varunastra’ was successfully test fired with a live warhead against an undersea target on 05th Jun 2023 by the Indian Navy. This was the first of its kind demonstration in the country or may be even in the world.

He also mentioned about firing of Astra Mk1 air to air missile from Tejas for the first time, Landing of LCA Navy on Indigenous Aircraft Carrier INS Vikrant II, Deployment of DRDO’s D4 system at Rashtrapati Bhawan, G-20 Summit, Republic Day Parade and Beating Retreat Ceremony. He further stated that DRDO’s oceanographic research vessel ‘INS Sagardhwani’ embarked on Sagar Maitri Mission-4 to Oman to establish long-term scientific partnerships with Indian Ocean Rim countries in ‘Ocean Research & Development’. He also highlighted about the Crew Escape System (CES) for Gaganyaan Programme, which was tested successfully.

He pointed out that the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence has appreciated DRDO in their report submitted to Parliament last week and has recommended for increasing the budget of Defence R&D.

He also said that DRDO filed more than 141 patents this year and 212 patents were granted and hoped that this number increase significantly in the years to come. He further stated that five Young Scientists Labs, that was started by DRDO in 2019, have now started to make an impact and is going to be our torch bearers in the emerging disruptive technologies. He mentioned that 15 DRDO Industry Academia Centres of Excellence (DIA-CoEs) have already been sanctioned several projects and will enable DRDO laboratories to seamlessly transition some futuristic technologies from low TRLs to high TRLs.

Secretary DDR&D and Chairman DRDO in his address brought out that towards enabling industry, DRDO has been partnering with them for the realization of its systems. DRDO test facilities have been opened to the industries for utilisation. He pointed out that so far 1650 ToT’s on DRDO developed systems have been handed over to the Indian Industries out of which 109 Licensing Agreements for Transfer of Technology (LAToTs) were signed with Indian Industries during 2023 for DRDO products.

In order to make the Technology Development Fund (TDF) and allied schemes more effective, Hon’ble Raksha Mantri had constituted a committee headed by Dr Kakodkar, former Secretary DAE and Dr Saraswat, Member NITI Aayog to suggets ways to fund cutting edge research like what DARPA does in USA. The committee has submitted its report and once Hon’ble RM gives his approval we will implement this scheme in 2024.

He concluded his adddress by expecting that everyone has to focus on achieving higher user satisfaction and incorporating artificial intelligence/machine learning in all our systems and technologies. He further said that each laboratory should appoint an AI/ML champion to proactively pursue the inclusion of AI/ML in all our systems and technologies.

He also launched the Quantity-Distance Software developed by HEMRL Pune to automate the siting of explosives and related buildings. The software is an essential tool for all MoD establishments engaged in creating explosive related infrastructure in optimum time and with greater precision.

Air Vice Marshal S Shivakumar appointed as Senior Officer-in-Charge Administration, Headquarters Western Air Command, Indian Air Force

On 1st January, 2024 Air Vice Marshal S Sivakumar took over as Senior Officer-in-Charge Administration (SOA) of Headquarters Western Air Command, New Delhi.

Air Vice Marshal Sivakumar was commissioned in the Administration Branch on 16 Jun 1990 and is an alumni of the College of Air Warfare.  During his illustrious service carrier, he has served in various capacities at units, Command HQs and Air HQs.  He has served as Air Officer Commanding of an Equipment Depot and also held the key appointment of Command Works Officer and Command Personnel Staff Officer at an Operation Command.

Air Vice Marshal Sivakumar was Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Air Force Works) at Air Headquarters (Vayu Bhavan) prior to the current appointment at Headquarters Western Air Command, New Delhi.

Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh inaugurates first all-girls Sainik School at Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh

Terms it as a beacon of light for girls who aspire to join the Armed Forces & protect the motherland

Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh inaugurated Samvid Gurukulam Girls Sainik School at Vrindavan in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh on January 01, 2024. The first all-girls Sainik School, with a strength of approx. 870 students, has been inaugurated under the initiative of establishing 100 new Sainik Schools in partnership mode with NGOs/Private/State Government Schools in all State/Union Territories, of which 42 have been set up. These are in addition to the existing 33 Sainik Schools already functioning under the erstwhile pattern.

Speaking on the occasion, the Raksha Mantri described Samvid Gurukulam Girls Sainik School as a beacon of light for girls who aspire to join the Armed Forces and serve the motherland. “Under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, the Government has given women their rightful place in the Armed Forces, which was neglected for years. They have the right to protect the nation just like their male counterparts. It was a golden moment in the history of women empowerment when we approved the admission of girls to Sainik Schools. Today, our women are not only flying fighter jets, they are also securing the borders,” he said.

It may be recalled that Shri Rajnath Singh had, in 2019, approved admission of girl children to Sainik schools w.e.f. academic session 2021-22 in a phased manner. The decision was taken following the success of the pilot project started by the Ministry of Defence in Sainik School Chhingchhip in Mizoram.

The objectives behind the vision of setting up of 100 new Sainik Schools are to provide quality education to the students in tune with the National Education Policy 2020 and give them better career opportunities, including joining the Armed Forces. It also gives an opportunity to the private sector to work hand-in-hand with the Government towards nation building by refining today’s youth to become responsible citizens of tomorrow.

Chief Minister Shri Yogi Adityanath and senior officials of the state government were among those present during the inauguration of Samvid Gurukulam Girls Sainik School, Vrindavan.

Vice Admiral B Shivkumar, AVSM, VSM charged as Comptroller Warship Production and Acquisition

Vice Admiral B Sivakumar, AVSM, VSM has assumed charge as the Controller Warship Production and Acquisition on 01 Jan 24. An alumnus of the National Defence Academy (70th Course), he was commissioned as an Electrical Officer into the Indian Navy on 01 Jul 1987. He holds Master Degrees in Engineering from IIT Chennai and Management from Osmania University. The Flag Officer has held various important appointments in the Staff and Materiel Branch at Naval and Command Headquarters, Dockyard and Training Establishments.

The Flag Officer has served onboard frontline ships like Ranjit, Kirpan and Akshay in various capacities and also commanded INS Valsura. He is a recipient of Ati Vishisht Seva Medal and Vishisht Seva Medal for his distinguished Service. Prior to his appointment as Controller Warship and Acquisition, as Flag Officer, he has served as Programme Director, HQ ATVP at New Delhi, Assistant Chief of Materiel (IT&S) at Naval Headquarters, ASD(Mumbai) and Chief Staff Officer (Tech)/ HQ WNC.

Vice Admiral Kiran Deshmukh, AVSM, VSM, takes over as Chief of Materiel

Vice Admiral Kiran Deshmukh, AVSM, VSM has assumed charge as the Chief of Materiel on 01 Jan 24. An alumnus of VJTI, University of Mumbai, VAdm Deshmukh was commissioned as an Engineer Officer into the Indian Navy on 31 March 86. He holds a Master’s degree in Engineering and is a post graduate from Defence Services Staff College, Wellington. The Flag Officer has held various important appointments in the Staff, Personnel and Materiel Branch at Naval Headquarters, trial agencies, Material Organisation, Naval Dockyard and Command staff at HQENC. He has also served onboard frontline ships of Rajput Class, Delhi Class and Teg Class in various capacities.

As a Flag Officer he has served as Assistant Chief of Materiel (Dockyards & Refits) at Naval Headquarters, Chief Staff Officer (Tech)/HQENC, Admiral Superintendent of Naval Dockyard Visakhapatnam, Director General Naval Projects at Visakhapatnam and as Controller Warship Production & Acquisition (CWP&A) at Naval Headquarters. It was during his tenure as CWP&A that the first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC-I) was Commissioned and achieved the historic trap of the first LCA on board indigenous aircraft carrier. In addition, his tenure also marked the keel laying, launch and Commissioning of a number of frontline warships and submarines. In recognition of his distinguished service, the Admiral has been awarded the Vishisht Seva Medal and Ati Vishisht Seva Medal.

VAdm Kiran Deshmukh, takes over as COM from VAdm Sandeep Naithani, AVSM, VSM who hands over the baton on completion of 39 Years of glorious service. Well known as distinguished and a thorough professional Flag Officer of the Indian Navy. VAdm Naithani had displayed a fine combination of professional excellence and leadership to steer the Navy technically towards being future ready and emerge as a steadfast and professional support arm, ensuring that Indian Naval platforms are combat worthy and capable of undertaking full spectrum of operations.

Ministry of Development of North-East Region

North Eastern Development Finance Corporation Ltd sanctions ₹766.47 crores and disburses ₹547.11 crores for 5338 project in NE Region

  • NEDFi assists grass-root small borrowers in unserved and underserved areas of the NE Region through “NEDFi Micro Finance Scheme”.
  • “NEDFi Micro-Lending Scheme” provides financial assistance directly to Micro Entrepreneurs, through Business Correspondents for income generating activities in farm and non-farm sectors.
  • NEDFi in collaboration with the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (MDoNER) set up the “North East Venture Fund” to encourage start-up ventures in the Region.

North Eastern Development Finance Corporation Ltd (NEDFi) plays an important role in facilitating setting up of new industrial and service sector projects in the NE Region. The Corporation assisted around 5,338 projects, with total sanctions & disbursements of ₹766.47 crore and ₹547.11 crore respectively, in diverse sectors – education & training food processing, handlooms & handicrafts, healthcare, hotels & tourism, microfinance etc. between 1st January, 2023 – 30th November, 2023.

State-wise sanctions & disbursements during the period 01.01.2023 to 30.11.2023(₹ in crore)
ParticularsArunachal PradeshAssamManipurMeghalayaMizoramNagalandSikkimTripuraTotal

For development of the Micro and Small Enterprises (MSE) sector, the Corporation has taken initiative to identify and nurture potential first generation local entrepreneurs and provide finance on easy terms to help them set up viable industrial projects. The credit schemes of the Corporation under micro & small enterprises sector are extended at concessional rate of interest. Besides, NEDFi undertakes initiatives/ activities towards promotion and development of MSME and Microfinance sectors in the region.

Eco Heritage Villa2Eco Heritage Villa is a homestay guest house located at Imphal, Manipur. NEDFi sanctioned ₹10.00 lakh under North East Entrepreneurs Development Scheme (NEEDS) for its expansion.Shalom Bible House is a gospel store located at Kohima, Nagaland. NEDFi sanctioned ₹5.00 lakh under Women Enterprise Development Scheme (WEDS) for its expansion.

To assist the grass-root small borrowers in unserved and underserved areas of the Region – “NEDFi Micro Finance Scheme” for wholesale micro-credit to Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs) for on-lending to low-income individuals ; and “NEDFi Micro-Lending Scheme” to provide financial assistance directly to Micro Entrepreneurs, through Business Correspondents – were launched, for income generating activities in farm and non-farm sectors. During the period referred, the financial assistance of ₹40.84 crore and ₹1031.49 crore cumulatively was extended under the NMFS; while assistance of ₹52.60 crore was extended to 4265 borrowers under the NMLS. These have enabled improved economic status for more than nine lakh beneficiaries, more than 90% of whom are women.

radhaMs. Waikhom Radharani Devi, from Thoubal district, Manipur, availed micro credit loan from YVU Financial Services Pvt. Ltd. (an assisted MFI of NEDFi) for running her cloth-selling venture.Ms. Khushbu Pradhan, from Namchi, South Sikkim, availed micro credit loan from UNACCO Financial Services Pvt. Ltd. (an assisted MFI of NEDFi) for running her grocery shop. 

NEDFi in collaboration with the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (MDoNER) has set up the North East Venture Fund (NEVF), a dedicated venture capital fund, to encourage start-up ventures in the Region. The capital commitment to the fund is ₹100 crore (MDoNER ₹45.00 crore, NEDFi ₹30.00 crore & SIDBI ₹25.00 crore). The fund generated a lot of enthusiasm among the start-ups from the region. As on 30 November 2023, a total of 67 projects were given investment commitments of ₹98.18 crore.

Zerund Manufacturing Pvt Ltd, located in Azara, Guwahati, is a plastic embedded lightweight brick manufacturing and sales company.A person in a yellow shirtDescription automatically generatedMy3dMeta Private Limited designs, creates, delivers, and markets all visually appealing products.Green Biotech Eco-Solutions Private Limited, located at Imphal, Manipur, is the 1st biofertilizer, biopesticides, probiotics for livestock and aquaculture inputs research-based farming input biotech manufacturer and marketing enterprise.

North Eastern Development Finance Corporation Ltd (NEDFi) is a Public Limited Company registered under the Companies Act 1956 on 9th August, 1995.  NFDFi provides financial assistance to micro,small, medium and large enterprises for setting up industrial, infrastructure and agri-allied projects in the North Eastern Region and also microfinance through MFI/NGOS. Besides financing the corporation offers Consultancy & Advisory services to the State Governments, Private Sectors and other Agencies.

North Eastern Handicrafts and Handlooms Development Corporation to establish Ashtlaxmi Haat & Experience Centre in Guwahati, Assam

  • NEHHDC setting up an ERI silk spinning plant at Integrated Textile Park in Baksa, Assam.
  • NEHHDC sanctioned a Jewellery and Handicraft Incubation Centre under the ASPIRE Scheme of Ministry of MSME.

North Eastern Handicrafts and Handlooms Development Corporation (NEHHDC), as the name suggests is an organization that attempts to develop and promote the indigenous crafts of the region by connecting craftsmen to prospective markets and consumers and generating economic, cultural and social opportunities for creators while adding cultural value for consumers.

The corporation offers a range of products from all the Eight North Eastern states namely Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura. The organization procures handicrafts and handlooms from artisans and weavers across the region and retails the same. Moreover, it promotes the products at various National and International Markets through exhibitions and trade fairs. The Corporation also conducts training programmes and seminars for skill and knowledge upgradation of the artisans and weavers.

The North Eastern Handicrafts & Handlooms Development Corporation Limited (NEHHDC) establishing Ashtlaxmi Haat & Experience Centre at Guwahati with a project cost of ₹ 7.6 crore. The Haat will have 24 permanent stalls, which will provide a market access to artisans of all Northeast states & will have an artisan residency to provide accommodation to artisans from out station.

The NEHHDC is setting up an ERI silk spinning plant at Integrated Textile Park, Mushalpur, Baksa (Assam) with a Project cost ₹14.92 crore. It is envisioned to provide direct employment to 375 individuals and provide indirect livelihood to Approx. 25,003 households. The plant once commissioned will have a production capacity of 450 Kgs of ERI Silk Yarn per day.

The NEHHDC is also providing market development by way of digitalization, authentication and traceability covering 10,000 weavers across 7 states (less Sikkim) in NER with a project cost ₹14.92 crore. It is estimated that through this intervention of NEHHDC , there will be an increase in the income of weavers by 20-30 % in the next 2-3 years. As a part of the project implementation more than 10,000 active looms weavers have been identified and registered from North Eastern states except Sikkim.

Livelihood Business Incubators (LBI), the Corporation has received sanction for the establishment of Jewellery and Handicraft Incubation Centre in NEHHDC under the ASPIRE Scheme of Ministry of MSME, Govt. of India with a budget out lay of ₹1.9 crore.

Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change

Keeping in view the disruptive nature of restrictions under Stage-III of GRAP impacting a large number of stakeholders and public as well as considering the significant improvement in the average AQI of Delhi, the GRAP Sub-Committee unanimously decided to revoke Stage-III of GRAP in the entire NCR with immediate effect

  • The forecast by IMD/ IITM also do not indicate the average air quality of Delhi to move to ‘Severe’ category in the coming days.
  • All actions under Stage-I to Stage-II of GRAP shall however remain invoked and be implemented, intensified, monitored and reviewed by all agencies concerned in the entire NCR to ensure that the AQI levels do not slip further to the ‘Severe’ category in the coming days.

Today, Delhi’s average Air Quality Index (AQI) clocked 346 as per the daily AQI Bulletin provided by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). In view of significant improvement in the average air quality of Delhi, the Sub-Committee for operationalization of actions under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) of the Commission for Air Quality Management in NCR & Adjoining Areas (CAQM) met today to review the current air quality scenario in the region as well as the forecasts for meteorological conditions and air quality index made available by IMD/ IITM and accordingly take an appropriate call on the preventive/ restrictive actions under Stage-III of GRAP already in place in the entire National Capital Region (NCR) since 22.12.2023. While comprehensively reviewing the overall air quality parameters of Delhi-NCR, the Sub-Committee observed as under:

  • AQI of Delhi has been progressively improving and has been recorded as 346 at 4:00 P.M. which is about 55 AQI points below the threshold for invoking the GRAP Stage-III actions (Delhi AQI 401-450) and there is a likelihood of sustaining the improvement in AQI. The forecast by IMD/ IITM also do not indicate any deterioration further and there is a likelihood of the AQI improving while remaining in Very Poor/ Poor category in next few days.

Therefore, keeping in view the disruptive nature of restrictions under Stage-III of GRAP impacting a large number of stakeholders and public as well as considering the significant improvement in the average AQI of Delhi and also the forecasts by IMD/ IITM not indicating the average air quality of Delhi to move to ‘Severe’ category in the coming days, the Sub-Committee for operationalization of actions under GRAP unanimously decided to revoke Stage-III of GRAP in the entire NCR with immediate effect. Actions under Stage-I to Stage-II of the GRAP shall however remain invoked and be implemented, monitored and reviewed by all agencies concerned in the entire NCR and agencies shall keep strict vigil and especially intensify measures under Stage-I & II of GRAP in order to obviate the implementation of Stage-III of GRAP actions owing to AQI level further slipping into ‘Severe’ category.

Further, C&D project sites and industrial units which have been issued specific closure orders on account of violations/ non-compliances of various statutory directions, rules, guidelines etc. under no circumstances shall resume their operations without any specific order to this effect from the Commission.

CAQM Sub-Committee for operationalization of actions under GRAP in its earlier meetings had invoked actions under Stage-I, Stage-II, Stage-III and Stage-IV of revised GRAP on 06.10.2023, 21.10.2023, 02.11.2023 and 05.11.2023 respectively, and on periodic review of the air quality of Delhi and forecast provided by IMD/ IITM, the Sub-Committee had revoked actions under Stage-IV and Stage-III of GRAP on 18.11.2023 and 28.11.2023 respectively and invoked actions under Stage-III of GRAP again on 22.12.2023.

The Commission again urges all agencies responsible for implementation of various actions listed under Stages – I & II of GRAP and citizens/ residents to strictly implement and follow respectively, the provisions/ charter of GRAP under Stage-I and Stage-II to obviate the need for re-imposition of Stage-III of GRAP in NCR.

The Sub-Committee shall be keeping a close watch on the air quality scenario and may take appropriate decisions depending on the air quality, as recorded from time to time, and the forecasts made available by IMD/IITM to this effect. The revised schedule of GRAP is available on the Commission’s website and can be accessed via

Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying

Shri. Parshottam Rupala, Union Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying leads Sagar Parikrama Phase X, started today from Juvvaladinne Fishing Harbour, Andhra Pradesh

  • Union Minister felicitates beneficiaries with assets such as boats, two-wheeler with ice box, distributes appointment letters to newly appointed Sagar Mitra’s under PMMSY.
  • Shri Parshottam Rupala interactes with beneficiaries such as fisherwomen, fishermen, aqua farmers, PMMSY beneficiaries.

Shri. Parshottam Rupala, Union Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying (FAHD) led the parikrama, started today from Juvvaladinne Fishing Harbour (Nellore district), and will be proceeding towards other coastal districts like Bapatla, Krishna, West Godavari, Konaseema, Kakinada, Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram, Srikakulam, Yanam district (Union Territory of Puducherry) in coming days.

The Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying, and National Fisheries Development Board along with the Department of Fisheries, Government of Andhra Pradesh, Government of Puducherry (Union Territory), Indian Coast Guard and fishermen representatives actively participated in Sagar Parikrama Phase X. Sagar Parikrama Yatra commenced with a warm welcome of Shri. Parshottam Rupala, along with Shri Beeda Masthan Rao, Member of Rajyasabha, Shri Ramireddy Prathap Kumar Reddy, Member of Legislative Assembly, Shri K.Kanna Babu, Commissioner of Fisheries, Govt of Andhra Pradesh, Shri R.Kurmanath, Joint Collector, SPRS Nellore, Shri Konduru Anil Babu Fishermen coop. Society Federation Ltd, Shri Mani Kumar Commandant, Indian Coast Guard and other dignitaries at Juvvaladinne Fishing Harbour (Nellore district).

Shri Parshottam Rupala interacted with beneficiaries such as fisherwomen, fishermen, aqua farmers, PMMSY beneficiaries etc. at Juvvaladinne Fishing Harbour. Union Minister felicitated beneficiaries with assets such as (boats, two-wheeler with ice box) under PMMSY scheme, appointment letters where distributed to newly appointed Sagar Mitra’s under PMMSY, beneficiaries were also felicitated with KCC for fishers.  Further, beneficiaries shared their ground level experiences, highlighted their challenges, and expressed gratitude for the enormous impact that the KCC and PMMSY schemes have made to the lives of fishermen and the fishing community. The interaction consisted of open conversations where the fishermen shared their experiences, challenges, and aspirations. He also highlighted that Juvvaladinne Fishing Harbour at Nellore will be commissioned soon which has been approved under blue revolution scheme at total cost of Rs 288.80 Cr.

Smt. Neetu Kumari Prasad Joint Secretary, DoF, introduced about Sagar Parikrama, where she informed that the goal of Sagar Parikrama is to interact with fishermen at their doorsteps, hear their difficulties & grievances, witness village level ground realities, encourage sustainable fishing, and ensure that government best practices and initiatives reaches to the beneficiaries.

Later in the day, program shall remain continued at Kothapatnam, Prakasam district where, Union Minister (FAHD) with other dignitaries would interact with beneficiaries, distribute numerous benefits, and will address the gathering. Sagar Parikrama will make an impact in improving the quality of life of the people in rural areas and shall create more livelihood opportunities. As a result, the impact of this Sagar Parikrama on livelihood will be far-reaching in the next phases. Around 3,000 fishermen, various fisheries stakeholders, and researchers physically attended the Sagar Parikrama Phase X programme from various locations.

Sagar Parikrama exemplifies the transforming potential of creative leadership for the benefit of the fishing community and coastal development. It is a government initiative aimed at resolving the issues of fishermen and other stakeholders at their doorstep and facilitating their economic upliftment through various fisheries schemes and programmes implemented by the government of India, such as the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) and the Kisan Credit Card (KCC).

Ministry of Finance

A record of over 8.18 crore Income Tax Returns (ITRs) filed for A.Y. 2023-2024 upto 31.12.2023; Y-o-Y increase of 9%

  • Income Tax Department made over 103.5 crore outreaches through targeted e-mail, SMS and other creative campaigns.
  • e-filing Helpdesk team handled approximately 27.37 lakh queries from taxpayers during the year upto 31.12.2023.
  • Digital e-pay tax payment platform TIN 2.0 enabled user-friendly options for e-payment of taxes and real time credit of taxes to taxpayers making ITR filing easier and faster.

The Income-tax Department has recorded a surge in filing of Income-tax Returns (ITRs), resulting in a new record of 8.18 crore ITRs for the A.Y. 2023-2024 filed upto 31.12.2023 as against 7.51 crore ITRs filed upto 31.12.2022. This is 9% more than the total ITRs filed for A.Y. 2022-23. The total number of audit reports and other forms filed during the period is 1.60 crore, as against 1.43 crore audit reports and forms filed in the corresponding period of preceding year.

It is also observed that a large number of taxpayers did their due diligence by comparing data of their financial transactions by viewing their Annual Information Statement (AIS) and Taxpayer Information Summary (TIS). A substantial portion of the data for all ITRs was prefilled with data pertaining to salary, interest, dividend, personal information, tax payment including TDS related information, brought forward losses, MAT credit, etc to further ease compliance by taxpayers. The facility was used extensively, resulting in smoother and faster filing of ITRs. 

Further, during this F.Y. 2023-2024, a digital e-pay tax payment platform – TIN 2.0 was made fully functional on the e-filing portal, replacing the OLTAS payment system. This enabled user-friendly options for e-payment of taxes such as Internet Banking, NEFT/RTGS, OTC, Debit Card, payment gateway and UPI. TIN 2.0 platform has enabled real time credit of taxes to taxpayers which made ITR filing easier and faster.

To encourage taxpayers to file their ITRs and Forms early, over 103.5 crore outreaches were made through targeted e-mail, SMS and other creative campaigns. Such concerted efforts led to fruitful results with 9% more ITRs being filed for A.Y. 2023-24 till 31.12.2023. The e-filing Helpdesk team handled approximately 27.37 lakh queries from taxpayers during the year upto 31.12.2023, supporting the taxpayers proactively during the peak filing periods. Support from the helpdesk was provided to taxpayers through inbound calls, outbound calls, live chats, WebEx and co-browsing sessions. Helpdesk team also supported resolution of queries received on the X(Twitter) handle of the Department through Online Response Management (ORM), by proactively reaching out to the taxpayers/ stakeholders and assisting them for different issues on near real-time basis. 

The IT Department further requests to the taxpayers to verify their unverified ITRs if any, within 30 days of filing the ITR to avoid any consequences.

Auction for Sale (re-issue) of (i) ‘7.32% GS 2030’, (ii) ‘7.18% GS 2037’ and (iii) ‘7.25% GS 2063’

The Government of India (GoI) has announced the sale (re-issue) of (i) “7.32% Government Security 2030” for a notified amount of ₹12,000 crore (nominal) through price based auction using uniform price method, (ii) “7.18% Government Security 2037” for a notified amount of ₹10,000 crore (nominal) through price based auction using uniform price method, and (iii) “7.25% Government Security 2063” for a notified amount of ₹12,000 crore (nominal) through price based auction using multiple price method. GoI will have the option to retain additional subscription up to ₹ 2,000 crore against each security mentioned above. The auctions will be conducted by the Reserve Bank of India, Mumbai Office, Fort, Mumbai on January 05, 2024 (Friday).

Up to 5% of the notified amount of the sale of the securities will be allotted to eligible individuals and institutions as per the Scheme for Non-Competitive Bidding Facility in the Auction of Government Securities.

Both competitive and non-competitive bids for the auction should be submitted in electronic format on the Reserve Bank of India Core Banking Solution (E-Kuber) system on January 05, 2024. The non-competitive bids should be submitted between 10:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. and the competitive bids should be submitted between 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.

The result of the auctions will be announced on January 05, 2024 (Friday) and payment by successful bidders will be on January 08, 2024 (Monday).    

The Securities will be eligible for “When Issued” trading in accordance with the guidelines on ‘When Issued transactions in Central Government Securities’ issued by the Reserve Bank of India vide circular No. RBI/2018-19/25 dated July 24, 2018 as amended from time to time.

Customs Brokers Licensing Examination, 2024, is scheduled to be held on 19.03.2024

The Customs Brokers Licensing Examination, 2024, is scheduled to be held on 19.03.2024. Please refer to advertisement issued in national newspapers on 23.08.2023 regarding online written examination for Customs Brokers Licensing Examination, 2024. The pattern of the written and oral examinations will be as follows:

The written examination will be a Computer Based Examination with Multiple Choice Questions. Questions will be bilingual i.e. in English and Hindi. Candidates have the option  to answer either in English or Hindi. Other details are as follows:

No. of Questions150
Time Duration2.5 hours (10:30 – 13:00)
Marking Scheme+3 for correct answer
-1 for incorrect answer
Maximum Marks450
Qualifying Marks270 (60%)

Those qualifying in the written examination will have to appear in oral examination in terms of Regulation 6 of the Customs Brokers Licensing Regulations, 2018, as amended. The pass percentage marks for qualifying in the oral examination will be 60%.

For any query, please visit the websites ( and or contact the nearest Customs Commissionerate/ NACIN, Faridabad @ e-mail ID- [email protected].

Sale of Electoral Bonds at Authorised Branches of State Bank of India (SBI)

  • Electoral Bonds sale through State Bank of India’s 29 Authorised Branches w.e.f. 02.01.2024 to 11.01.2024

The Government of India has notified the Electoral Bond Scheme 2018 vide Gazette Notification No. 20 dated 2nd January 2018 (as amended vide Gazette Notification dated 7th November, 2022). As per provisions of the Scheme, Electoral Bonds may be purchased by a person (as defined in item No. 2 (d) of Gazette Notification), who is a citizen of India or incorporated or established in India. A person being an individual can buy Electoral Bonds, either singly or jointly with other individuals. Only the Political Parties registered under Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 (43 of 1951) and which secured not less than one per cent of the votes polled in the last General Election to the House of the People or the Legislative Assembly of the State, shall be eligible to receive the Electoral Bonds. The Electoral Bonds shall be encashed by an eligible Political Party only through a Bank account with the Authorised Bank.

The State Bank of India (SBI), in the XXX Phase of sale, has been authorised to issue and encash Electoral Bonds through its 29 Authorised Branches (as per list enclosed) w.e.f. 02.01.2024 to 11.01.2024.

The Electoral Bonds shall be valid for fifteen calendar days from the date of issue and no payment shall be made to any payee Political Party if the Electoral Bond is deposited after expiry of the validity period. The Electoral Bond deposited by an eligible Political Party in its account shall be credited on the same day.

Electoral Bond Scheme – 2018-29 Existing Authorised Branches

Sl.No.State/UTName of the Branch & AddressBranch Code No.
1.DelhiDelhi Main Branch 11, Parliament Street, New Delhi – 11000100691
2.Haryana, Punjab and ChandigarhChandigarh Main Branch SCO 43-48, Banking Square,Sector-17B, Chandigarh, Distt: ChandigarhState: Chandigarh, Pin : 16001700628
3.Himachal PradeshShimla Main BranchNear Kali Bari Temple, The Mall, Shimla, District : ShimlaState: Himachal Pradesh,Pin : 17100300718
4.Jammu and KashmirBadami Bagh (Srinagar) Branch Badami BaghCantonment, Srinagar, Kashmir Dist : Badgam,State: Jammu & Kashmir Pin : 19000102295
5.UttarakhandDehra Dun Main Branch4, Convent Road, Dehradun Uttarakhand, District : Dehradun State: Uttarakhand Pin : 24800100630
6.Gujarat, Dadar & Nagar Haveli and Daman & DiuGandhinagar Branch, I Floor, Zonal Office Sector10 B Gandhinagar Distt: Gandhinagar,State : Gujarat Pin:382010.01355
7.Madhya PradeshBhopal Main Branch T.T.Nagar,Bhopal-462003, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh,District : Bhopal,State: Madhya Pradesh,Pin : 46200301308
8.ChhattisgarhRaipur Main Branch P.B.NO.29/61,Jaistambh Chowk, Raipur,District : RaipurState : Chhatisgarh Pin: 49200100461
9.RajasthanJaipur Main Branch P.B.No.72, Sanganeri GateJaipur, Rajasthan District: Jaipur,State: Rajasthan.Pin : 30200300656
10.MaharashtraMumbai Main Branch Mumbai Samachar MargHorniman Circle, Fort, Mumbai, Maharashtra Pin: 40000100300
11.Goa, LakshadweepPanaji BranchOpp : Hotel Mandovi, Dayanand, Dayanand Bandodkar Marg, Panaji, Goa.District : North Goa, State : Goa, Pin: 40300100509
12.Uttar PradeshLucknow Main BranchTarawali Kothi, Motimahal Marg, Hazratganj, Lucknow, Uttar PradeshDistrict :Lucknow, State: Uttar PradeshPin : 22600100125
13.OdishaBhubaneswar Main Branch P.B.NO.14, Bhubaneswar BhubaneswarDistrict : KhurdaState: Odisha, Pin : 75100100041
14.West Bengal and Andaman & NicobarKolkata Main Branch Samriddhi Bhawan1, Strand Road, Kolkata, West Bengal, District :Kolkata.State: West Bengal. 3Pin : 70000100001
15.BiharPatna Main BranchWest Gandhi Maidhan, Patna, Bihar. Pin: 80000100152
16.JharkhandRanchi Branch Court Compound,Jharkhand, District : Ranchi, State: Jharkhand, Pin : 83400100167
17.SikkimGangtok BranchM G Marg, Gangtok SIKKIM Dist: East SikkimState : Sikkim Pin : 73710100232
18.Arunachal PradeshItanagar BranchTT Marg,VIP Road Bank Tinali, Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh District : PapumpareState : Arunachal PradeshPin : 79111106091
19.NagalandKohima BranchNear deputy commissioner’s office KohimaNagaland Pin: 79700100214
20.AssamGuwahati BranchPan Bazar, MG Road,Kamrup, Guwahati, Pin: 78100100078
21.ManipurImphal BranchM G Avenue, Imphal west ManipurPin: 79500100092
22.MeghalayaShilong BranchMG Road, Near General PO Shillong, District: Khasi Hills (E), Meghalaya,Pin: 79300100181
23.MizoramAizawl Branch Solomns caveDistrict: Aizawl, MizoramPin: 79600101539
24.TripuraAgartala BranchHari Ganga Basak road, AgartalaDistrict: Tripura (W), Tripura Pin: 79900100002
25.Andhra PradeshVisakhapatnam Branch Rednam Gardens, Jail Road,Junction, Opp. Pages/Vodaphone Off, Visakhapatnam,District: Visakhapatnam State : Andhra Pradesh Pin : 53000200952
26.TelanganaHyderabad Main Branch Bank Street, Koti, Hyderabad. District : HyderabadState: TelanganaPin : 50009500847
27.Tamil Nadu and PuducherryChennai Main Branch 336/166, Thambuchetty Street, Parrys, Chennai.State: Tamil NaduPin : 60000100800
28.KarnatakaBengaluru Main Branch Post Bag No.5310,St. Marks Road, Bangalore,District :Bangalore Urban, State: Karnataka, Pin : 56000100813
29.KeralaThiruvananthapuram Branch P.B.No.14, M.G.Road,Thiruvananthapuram,District : Thiruvananthapuram, State: Kerala, Pin: 69500100941

Posting a growth rate of 12% Y-o-Y, ₹14.97 lakh crore gross GST collection during April-December 2023 period

  • Gross GST collection averages ₹1.66 lakh crore in first 9 months of FY24.
  • ₹1,64,882 crore gross GST revenue collection for December, 2023.

During the April-December 2023 period, gross GST collection witnessed a robust 12% y-o-y growth, reaching ₹14.97 lakh crore, as against ₹13.40 lakh crore collected in the same period of the previous year (April-December 2022).

The average monthly gross GST collection of ₹1.66 lakh crore in the first 9-month period this year represents a 12% increase compared to the ₹1.49 lakh crore average recorded in the corresponding period of FY23.

The gross GST revenue collected in the month of December, 2023 is ₹1,64,882 crore out of which CGST is ₹30,443 crore, SGST is ₹37,935 crore, IGST is ₹84,255 crore (including ₹41,534 crore collected on import of goods) and cess is ₹12,249 crore (including ₹1,079 crore collected on import of goods). Notably, this marks the seventh month so far this year with collections exceeding ₹1.60 lakh crore.

The government has settled ₹40,057 crore to CGST and ₹33,652 crore to SGST from IGST. The total revenue of Centre and the States in the month of December, 2023 after regular settlement is ₹70,501 crore for CGST and ₹71,587 crore for the SGST.

The revenues for the month of December, 2023 are 10.3% higher than the GST revenues in the same month last year. During the month, the revenues from domestic transactions (including import of services) are 13% higher than the revenues from these sources during the same month last year.

The chart below shows trends in monthly gross GST revenues during the current year. Table-1 shows the state-wise figures of GST collected in each State during the month of December 2023 as compared to December 2022. Table-2 shows the state-wise figures of post settlement GST revenue of each State till the month of December 2023.

Chart: Trends in GST Collection

Table -1: State-wise growth of GST Revenues during December, 2023

State/UTDec-22Dec-23Growth (%)
Jammu and Kashmir                410                49220%
Himachal Pradesh                708                7455%
Punjab             1,734             1,8758%
Chandigarh                218                28129%
Uttarakhand             1,253             1,47017%
Haryana             6,678             8,13022%
Delhi             4,401             5,12116%
Rajasthan             3,789             3,8281%
Uttar Pradesh             7,178             8,01112%
Bihar             1,309             1,48714%
Sikkim                290                254-13%
Arunachal Pradesh                  67                  9744%
Nagaland                  44                  464%
Manipur                  46                  509%
Mizoram                  23                  2718%
Tripura                  78                  792%
Meghalaya                171                1710%
Assam             1,150             1,30313%
West Bengal             4,583             5,01910%
Jharkhand             2,536             2,6324%
Odisha             3,854             4,35113%
Chhattisgarh             2,585             2,6131%
Madhya Pradesh             3,079             3,42311%
Gujarat             9,238             9,8747%
Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu          318          3335%
Maharashtra           23,598           26,81414%
Karnataka           10,061           11,75917%
Goa                460                55320%
Lakshadweep                     1                     4310%
Kerala             2,185             2,45812%
Tamil Nadu             8,324             9,88819%
Puducherry                192                23221%
Andaman and Nicobar Islands                  21                  2835%
Telangana             4,178             4,75314%
Andhra Pradesh             3,182             3,54511%
Ladakh                  26                  58127%
Other Territory                249                227-9%
Center Jurisdiction                179                24336%
Grand Total1,08,3941,22,27013%

Table-2: SGST & SGST portion of IGST settled to States/UTs during April-December (Rs. in crore)

 Pre-Settlement SGSTPost-Settlement SGST[2]
Jammu and Kashmir             1,699         2,18829%         5,442         6,02111%
Himachal Pradesh             1,731         1,92911%         4,205         4,160-1%
Punjab             5,719         6,28010%      14,371      16,38214%
Chandigarh                451            49510%         1,582         1,7088%
Uttarakhand             3,568         4,04613%         5,758         6,2889%
Haryana           13,424      14,99212%      23,134      25,73311%
Delhi           10,167      11,54414%      21,426      23,61110%
Rajasthan           11,483      12,73211%      25,903      28,79411%
Uttar Pradesh           20,098      24,16420%      49,384      55,65613%
Bihar             5,307         6,06714%      17,360      19,15710%
Sikkim                221            34154%            623            73818%
Arunachal Pradesh                344            46435%         1,176         1,41821%
Nagaland                158            22643%            716            7819%
Manipur                216            25418%         1,046            813-22%
Mizoram                130            19751%            623            70714%
Tripura                311            37521%         1,074         1,1669%
Meghalaya                339            43829%        1,087         1,24414%
Assam             3,785         4,34615%         9,280      10,72716%
West Bengal           15,959      17,4289%      29,170      31,3007%
Jharkhand             5,562         6,54518%         8,237         9,14811%
Odisha           10,313      11,90315%      14,046      18,09329%
Chhattisgarh             5,426         6,00411%        8,370         9,93719%
Madhya Pradesh             7,890         9,60622%      20,834      24,02615%
Gujarat           27,820      31,02812%     42,354      46,62410%
Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu          479          4810%          889          804-10%
Maharashtra           63,169      74,58918%      95,981   1,08,88713%
Karnataka           25,976      30,07016%      48,642      54,88113%
Goa             1,435         1,68517%         2,606         2,95113%
Lakshadweep                     7              17153%              22              72222%
Kerala             9,011      10,29314%      21,953      23,0455%
Tamil Nadu           26,657      30,32914%      43,332      47,96011%
Puducherry                344            3718%            876         1,03718%
Andaman and Nicobar Islands                133            15516%            365            3887%
Telangana           12,287      14,57919%      27,964      29,8897%
Andhra Pradesh             9,298      10,40712%      21,137      23,48111%
Ladakh                123            18651%            420            52325%
Other Territory                135            18235%            420            903115%
 Grand Total       3,01,175   3,46,93815%   5,71,807   6,39,05212%

Ministry of Heavy Industries

Tenure of Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme for Automobile and Auto Components extended by One Year with partial amendments

The Ministry of Heavy Industries has issued a Gazette Notification to announce the extension of the tenure of the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme for Automobile and Auto Components by one year. This decision has been made after receiving the approval of the Empowered Group of Secretaries (EGoS).

In pursuance of the approval of EGoS, the Ministry of Heavy Industries has made partial amendments in the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme for the Automobile and Auto Component Industry and Guidelines of the Scheme. These amendments, effective from the date of publication in the Official Gazette, aim to provide clarity and flexibility to the scheme.

Under the amended scheme, the incentive will be applicable for a total of five consecutive financial years, starting from the financial year 2023-24. The disbursement of the incentive will take place in the following financial year 2024-25. The scheme also specifies that an approved applicant will be eligible for benefits for five consecutive financial years, but not beyond the financial year ending on March 31, 2028.

Furthermore, the amendments state that if an approved company fails to meet the threshold for an increase in Determined Sales Value over the first year’s threshold, it will not receive any incentive for that year. However, it will still be eligible for benefits in the next year if it meets the threshold calculated on the basis of a 10% year-on-year growth over the first year’s threshold. This provision aims to ensure a level playing field for all approved companies and safeguard those who preferred to front-load their investments.

The amendment also includes changes to the table indicating the incentive outlay, with the total indicative incentive amounting to Rs. 25,938 crore.

These amendments to the PLI Scheme for the Automobile and Auto Component Industry and Guidelines of the Scheme are expected to provide greater clarity and support to the sector, promoting growth and competitiveness.

Ministry of Mines

Overall Mineral Production Increases by 13 % in October 2023

Ten Important Minerals Indicate Positive Growth

With 67% Growth in Production, Iron Ore Value Goes up from Rs. 3518 crore to Rs. 8411 crore

The index of mineral production of mining and quarrying sector for the month of October, 2023 (Base: 2011-12=100) at 127.4, is 13.1 % higher as compared to the level in the month of October, 2022. As per the provisional statistics of Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM), the cumulative growth for the period April- October, 2023-24 over the corresponding period of the previous year is 9.4 % per cent.

Production level of important minerals in October, 2023 were: Coal 786 lakh, lignite 35 lakh, Petroleum (crude) 25 lakh, Iron ore 243 lakh, Limestone 362 lakh tonne each, Natural gas (utilized) 3110 million cu. m., Bauxite 1794 thousand, Chromite 101 thousand, Copper conc. 9 thousand, Lead conc. 32 thousand, Manganese ore 223 thousand, Zinc conc 143 thousand, Phosphorite 94 thousand and Magnesite 10 thousand tonnes each and Gold 116 kg.

Important minerals showing positive growth during October, 2023 over October, 2022 include: Iron Ore (66.8%), Manganese Ore (33.1%), Gold (19.6%), Coal (18.5%), Limestone(14%), Zinc Conc.(10%), Natural gas (U) (9.9%), Magnesite (6.7%), Lead Conc.(4.7%) and Petroleum(crude) (1.3%) and Other important minerals showing negative growth include: Lignite(-0.8%) Copper Conc.(-4.6%) , Bauxite (-13.3%), Chromite (-24.2%), and Phosphorite (-38.6%),

Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions

Dr. Jitendra Singh reviews pace of work on AIIMS Jammu; issues instructions to the AIIMS administration and the CPWD to complete the AIIMS project as early as possible, so that the formal inauguration could be carried out at the earliest.

JAMMU, January 1 : Union Minister of State (I/C) for Science and Technology and Prime Minister’s Office; Personnel, Public Grievance and Pensioners; Department of Atomic Energy and Department of Space Dr. Jitendra Singh, during an on the spot visit to the prestigious project AIIMS Jammu, issued instructions to the AIIMS administration and the CPWD to complete the AIIMS project as early as possible, so that the formal inauguration could be carried out at the earliest.

The Minister asked them to double their efforts and carry out the work round the clock in double shifts.

Dr Jitendra Singh said that the Central Government under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narinder Modi had sanctioned two AIIMS for Jammu and Kashmir with the hope to provide better health facilities to the people of the Union Territory. The Minister emphasised that with the early completion of the medical institute the Government will be able to dedicate the premium health facility to the people of Jammu division particularly and the adjoining areas in general.

Speaking to media persons on the occasion, he mentioned completion of various projects like rail line between Kashmir and rest of the country, AIIMS, Purple revolution, visit of a record number of tourists to J&K and the pilgrims at Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine as an outcome of the path breaking initiatives by the government to transform J&K.

Earlier, Dr. Jitendra Singh visited AYUSH Block Convention Centre, OPD block, Hospital block and Emergency block for on spot inspection of the construction and other works. He showed keen interest and guided the concerned to make the necessary changes so that the institute could benefit the large population for providing the best health facilities.

Dr Jitendra Singh said that AIIMS Jammu is a state of the art project which makes it a special one as compared to the similar projects in rest of the country. He expressed satisfaction over the residential accommodation for the faculty, students and other residential projects being completed with all modern facilities and gadgets.

In the presentation, the Chief Engineer CPWD Mukesh Meena for the project informed that the total area for the AIIMS Jammu hospital complex is 226.84 acres out of which 96 acres accommodate the north parcel comprising hospital, medical college, convention centre, AYUSH block and night shelter. The south parcel spread over an area of 130.84 acres has complexes like student activity centre, sports centre, residential hostels and guest house.

The Minister was informed that the project was of 1661 crore rupees from which 1404 crore was to be spend on building infra-structure, 48.72 crore on pre-construction activities, 22 crore for non-medical furniture and 185.32 crore on medical equipment and furniture. The Chief Engineer informed that the target date of completion is January 2024. He also briefed about the assistance required from the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare for completion of the project for the additional estimated funds of Rs.203 crores.

Under the civil works, the CPWD has constructed a Police Station and Fire Station inside the campus and has also a facility of helipad for emergency and other purposes. The meeting was informed that the AYUSH building, animal facilities, solid waste management building, electrical substation, night shelter, fire station, auditorium and academic building have already been completed while the hospital tower, diagnostic block and a few other towers will be completed by the end of this month.

During his presentation, the Director AIIMS Jammu Prof. Dr. Shakti Gupta informed that as far as the manpower for the AIIMS Jammu is concerned, the institute has already started working on it and most of the faculties and administrative staff has already been recruited. He said that an additional proposal for the creation of 449 posts for AIIMS Jammu has already been forwarded to MoH&FW. He informed that the institute is working on the proposal for creation of non-faculty post on contractual basis and the AIIMS Jammu has 231 sanctioned post of Senior Nursing Officer out of which 25% are to be filled through direct recruitment while as 75% on promotion and for direct recruitment 57 posts have already been filled. Prof. Dr. Shakti informed that review meeting that the project for installing equipment and other medical technical requirements are also at the final stage of completion. He expressed hope that AIIMS Jammu will soon be ready for its dedication to the Nation.

Ministry of Rural Development

Government of India may consider exemption from APBS on case to case basis if any Gram Panchayat of a district in the State is having either technical problem or Aadhaar related problem till the resolution of the issue

  • Use of different technologies ranging from Space technology/remote sensing to IT enabled technology, has brought a transformation in the implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi NREGA scheme.
  • Now with the help of National Mobile Monitoring System (NMMS) app, the real time attendance of the beneficiaries working at a worksite, is being captured.
  • More than 99% wage payment is being made directly into the Bank/Post office account of beneficiaries.

It has been noticed by the Ministry that some section of the Newspapers has quoted that “Government should stop weaponizing technology, especially Aadhaar to deny the most vulnerable Indians their social welfare benefits, release delay wage payment and implement open muster roll and social audits to improve transparency.”

Mahatma Gandhi NREGA is a demand driven Scheme and is affected by various economic factors. Total number of registered Job Cards is 14.32 crore, out of which just 9.77 crore (68.22%) is active Job Cards. There is a total of 25.25 crore workers, out of which just 14.32 crore (56.83%) are active workers. The use of different technologies ranging from Space technology/remote sensing to IT enabled technology, has brought a transformation in the implementation of the scheme.

Under the Scheme, now with the help of National Mobile Monitoring System (NMMS) app, the real time attendance of the beneficiaries working at a worksite, is being captured and beneficiaries as well as  any citizen can check the genuiness of the workers. Similarly geotagging of assets using remote sensing technology is ensuring the availability of assets for public scrutiny. National Electronic Fund Management System started in FY 2016-17 to provide wage payment directly into the account of beneficiaries. Currently, more than 99% wage payment is being made directly into the Bank/Post office account of beneficiaries. Such best practices are new for the implementation of the Scheme.

Aadhaar seeding of beneficiary is a continuous process and is done as a de-duplication exercise to authenticate the genuine beneficiaries, to make the benefits of the social welfare schemes available only to the genuine beneficiaries. Out of the total 14.32 crore active workers, Aadhaar seeding of 14.08 crore (98.31%) active workers have already been completed. Against these seeded Aadhaar, a total 13.76 crore Aadhaar have been authenticated and 87.52% active workers are now eligible for APBS.

NPCI data shows that there is higher success percentage to the extent of 99.55% or above where the Aadhaar is enabled for DBT. In case of Account based payment such success is about 98%.

In a working paper released by a Public Research and Advocacy group-LibTech, it has been referred and according to thisit is claimed by some of the researchers that there is no significant gain with ABPS vis-à-vis bank account payments and it is just 3% more in case of ABPS. It needs further clarification that keeping the scale of Mahatma Gandhi NREGS in view, this 3% gain is also a very significant gain. This research by Lib tech endorsed that ABPS process is resulting in the favour of better implementation leading to a greater transparency.

Job card of household can be deleted only in certain specific conditions, but not due to ABPS. Updation/deletion of Job Cards is a regular exercise conducted by the States/UTs. A Job card can be deleted in case, it is a fake job card (incorrect job card)/ duplicate job card/ household not willing to work/ family shifted from Gram Panchayat permanently/ single person in job card and that person is expired. Since, April, 2022 to till date about 2.85 crore Job cards have been deleted by following the due process by the States. States/UTs, Banks, NPCI, PFMS alongwith Civil Society Organisations regarding the APBS and its benefits have been consulted through different forums.

Specific pilot study as well as consultation has been done before the launch of NMMS, Use of Drone for Monitoring and pilot testing of Face Authentication through Aadhaar database in the real time attendance app NMMS. The payment for beneficiary who turns up for wage employment has to be made through APBS. The claim in the statement that 34.8% of total registered workers and 12.7% of active workers are still ineligible for ABPS has no relevance. Because APBS is applicable only in case a registered beneficiary turns ups for wage employment. The Government of India has decided to make the wage payment of unskilled workers through APBS to ensure the payment of beneficiaries into their Bank Accounts, even in case of frequent change of bank account by the beneficiary. In case, if any Gram Panchayat of a district in the State is having either technical problem or Aadhaar related problem, the Government of India may consider exemption from APBS on case to case basis till the resolution of the issue.

Ministry of Science & Technology

Human modified food distribution affects aggressive behaviour among elephants

Elephant herds compete more for food in anthropogenically created grasslands than in forests even if the former has abundance of food, according to a new study which highlights how human activities can have ecological effects and impact the social lives of animals.

Asian elephants exhibit female-bonded groups (while males are largely solitary) with the most inclusive social unit being the clan—equivalent to a social group, band, troop, clan or community. Females within clans show fission–fusion dynamics, in which clan-members are usually distributed across multiple groups (or parties), whose group sizes and compositions can change across hours.

Asian elephants show many traits which are thought to be associated with low agonistic competition. First, their primary food is low-quality, dispersed resource (grass and vegetative plant parts,) and thus not expected to cause contests. Their fission–fusion dynamics allow them to flexibly split into small groups and mitigate competition. They are not territorial, and their home ranges may overlap extensively, a trait that was expected to relate to infrequent aggression during between-group encounters.

Scientists from Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), an autonomous institution under the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, investigated the influence of food distribution within and between group interactions in female-bonded animals such as elephants.

Dr. Hansraj Gautam and Prof. T. N. C. Vidya tracked data of elephant behaviour from the long-term Kabini Elephant Project set up in 2009 to identify and study individual elephants and explored whether within-clan hostile interactions (agonism), and between-clan agonistic encounters, its rate and distribution in the elephants is dependent on variation in grass abundance, grass dispersion and group size of the elephants.

They assessed data of elephant behaviour from Kabini Grassland and its neighbouring forest and found that competition between elephant herds is greater in grasslands which has an abundance of food as compared to forests. 

The findings of their study partly support the predictions of a socio-ecological model, the ecological model of female social relationships (EMFSR) which states that food distribution primarily determines competition (and physical conflict) between and within groups. Increased conflict is expected over abundant and clumped food resources that can be monopolised by groups or individuals.

The study published in the journal Royal Society Open Science which shows that increasing resource availability can have opposite effects than intended, has a lot of relevance in the context of rapid anthropogenic changes in natural habitats, such as human interference in the social systems of wild populations.

Publication link:

A herd of elephants in a fieldDescription automatically generated
Unveiling the influence of food distribution within and between group interactions in elephants

Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways

Blessings from the elders the Guiding Spirit of our Life: Shri Sarbananda Sonowal

  • Shri Sonowal interacts with the residents of an Old Age Home in Dibrugarh.

Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways and Ayush, Shri Sarbananda Sonowal spent the New Year’s Day with the elders of the community in Dibrugarh, Assam.

In Dibrugarh, Shri Sonowal visited the “Pratyarbartan” old age home where he interacted with the residents and took blessings for the ensuing year. The MLA of Dibrugarh, Prashanta Phukan accompanied Shri Sonowal during his visit to the old age home today.

Following his visit, the Shri Sonowal said, “The blessings, affection and advice has always guided me in my life. The blessings and warmth of their company has always inspired me. After I took their blessings, I wished them a happy new year, paid my respect to them and prayed for their healthy and long life.”

Shri Sonowal also appreciated the effort put in by everyone associated with the ‘Pratyabartan’ shelter home for continuously helping aged or homeless or helpless people.

The Union Minister also visited his native village – Mulukgaon, and offered homage and respect at the sepulchre of his parents.

Speaking on the occasion, Shri Sonowal said, “Although my parents are not here physically, I have preserved the rich value system, purpose and sense of life instilled by their constant education in my life. I bowed down in front of them today to take blessings from my parents as I look forward to work towards nation building and commit to work on purpose towards upliftment and enrichment of my community.”

Special Service and Features

IIT Roorkee and IIT Bhilai Forge Alliance for Tribal Research and Preservation of Indian Knowledge Systems

IIT Roorkee and IIT Bhilai signed an MoU on 29th December,2023 to strengthen the academic and research collaboration between the two institutions. The MoU was signed at IIT Bhilai by the heads of both institutions i.e. Prof K K Pant, Director IIT Roorkee and Prof Rajiv Prakash, Director IIT Bhilai.

This strategic partnership aims to preserve and promote Indian Knowledge Systems (IKS) and seeks to contribute to socio-economic development in tribal areas, emphasizing research on traditional medicinal plants, tribal culture studies, agricultural practices in tribal regions, and financial literacy among tribal populations.

This collaboration represents a significant stride towards fostering awareness among the youth about Indian culture and heritage, aligning with the Government of India’s ambitious vision of Viksit Bharat@2047. Moreover, the partnership will actively support the objectives outlined in the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, emphasizing the integration of Indian Knowledge Systems into the education system. IKS includes “Knowledge of India” from ancient India and its contributions to modern India and its successes and challenges, and a clear sense of India’s future aspirations with regard to education, health, environment, etc. This collaboration also aligns with Honorable Prime Minister’s vision of Ek Bharath Shreshtha Bharat.

“IIT Roorkee is glad to collaborate with IIT Bhilai, and thisMoU reflects our commitment to fostering groundbreaking solutions for today’s education system. Through this collaboration, we aim to bridge the gap between ancient and modern education, facilitating both basic and translational research, and contributing to our shared vision of ‘Viksit Bharat’ – a developed India,” said Prof K K Pant, Director, IIT Roorkee.

Prof Rajiv Prakash, Director IIT Bhilai said“this partnership will create new opportunities for research and development. It will also promote our ancient knowledge and our heritage.”

Both institutions commit to exchange knowledge and promote Indian culture, Indian Knowledge systems and develop projects on sustainable & rural development, Ancient Indian science, Fintech, Health Science, Agriculture, Artificial Intelligence, Complementary and Alternative Medicine,Life Management, Environment, Renewable Energy, Food Processing, Tourism Management, Languages, Peace and Conciliation, Music, Humanities and common interest.

Theyhave also agreed to jointly organizeSeminars/symposiums/conferences/workshops/short term training programs.

Both Prof K K Pant and Prof Rajiv Prakash expressed their happiness on the addition of this new chapter in the partnership of IIT Roorkee and IIT Bhilai, and also offered full support from their side in fostering long lasting and mutually beneficial collaborations between the two institutions. Prof. Akshay Dvivedi, Dean, Sponsored Research & Industrial Consultancy, IIT Roorkee, Prof. Anil Kumar Gourishetty, IKS Coordinator, IIT Roorkee, Prof. Harshit Sosan Lakra, Assistan Professor,Department of Architecture and Planning IIT Roorkee and Prof. Santosh Biswas Faculty-in-charge, DoRD IIT Bhilai were also present.

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