Current Affairs Dec 2

Sabarimala ‘Swamy Prasadam’

Why in News?

  • Department of Posts has decided to deliver Sabarimala ‘Swamy Prasadam’ to devotees across the country at their doorstep.

About Agreement

  • Kerala Postal Circle entered into an agreement with Travancore Devaswom Board for this purpose creating a tailor made product.
  • The devotees can now book the Swami Prasadam from any post office in India by paying only Rs. 450/- (Four hundred and Fifty) for each packet of prasadam.

What is the need for this?

  • Sabarimala temple has been opened to the devotees, for this year’s “Mandalam season pilgrimage” from 16th November, 2020.
  • Due to the prevalent COVID -19 pandemic situation the pilgrims had to follow strict protocols for visiting the shrine.
  • Only very limited number of devotees were allowed per day to visit the shrine this season.
  • A substantive number of devotees were not able to fulfil the COVID protocols for getting the darshan of Lord Ayyappa due to the strict restrictions imposed for pilgrimage during this season.




Brahmos Supersonic Cruise Missile

Why in News?

  • India, successfully test-fired anti-ship version of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile in Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  • The test is part of the trials being conducted by the Indian Navy.
  • The test comes on the backdrop of a series of missile launches in the recent past.
  • The fastest cruise missile in its class, BrahMos has a speed of 2.8 Mach or almost three times the speed of sound.

To know more about BrahMos Visit




NEP 2020 upholds Reservation Policy

Why in News?

  • Recently a media reports a have appeared o questioning whether the NEP 2020 upholds the Reservation Policy as in enshrined in the Constitution of India.
  • Union Education Minister clarified that the NEP 2020 upholds the Reservation Policy enshrined in the Constitution of India.

Minister’s Clarification

  • The policy affirms by the constitutional mandate of reservation enshrined in Article 15 and Article 16 of the Indian Constitution.
  • NEP-2020 emerged and evolved from rigorous consultations of all the stakeholders’
      • Students, teachers, parents, educational administrators, educationist, non-teaching staff and society as a whole,
      • Through grassroots consultations from village level to state level, zonal and national level consultations,
      • Thematic expert consultations, scrutiny of various committees such as Committee for Evaluation of NEP, Committee for preparation of the Draft of NEP, online consultation through etc.
  • To give special policy emphasis for their educational inclusion, NEP framed a cluster of SCs, STs, OBCs, Divyang, girls, women, trans/gender, minorities, geographical marginalized, and other socio-Economically and culturally deprived groups under a cluster- ‘Socio-economic Deprived Group’s (SEDGs).
  • To address the issues SEDGs communities, NEP-2020 made a provision to form various special Educational Zones based on educational marginality where coordination of various ongoing and new support and inclusive schemes will be evolved to develop educational inclusion of SC’s, STs, OBCs, Divyang, and other deprived communities.
  • The scholarships schemes, cycle distribution schemes, direct cash transfer for educational inclusion of the deprived and many other supportive government schemes will help us to bring educational inclusion of SEDGs groups.
  • For the educational inclusion of girl child and women, NEP has made a provision to form a ‘Gender-I Inclusion Fund’ to initiate various support schemes for the inclusion of gender-based deprived social and biological groups.
  • As per the policy, the opening of minority schools and colleges will be encouraged.




Sri Lanka Economic Summit 2020

Why in News?

  • Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs delivered a Keynote Address at the inauguration of the 20th  Edition of Sri Lanka Economic Summit (SLES) 

About SLES

  • SLES annually organized by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) is the premier forum in Sri Lanka for discussion on economic and business issues.
  • The theme for this year’s event is “Roadmap for Take-off: Driving a People –Centric Economic Revival”.
  • President of Sri Lanka H.E. Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa was the Chief Guest at the Inaugural Session.

Finance Minister Highlighted

  • The Finance Minister highlighted the measures taken by India to address the challenges related to pandemic.
  • India’s ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’ and the vision of ‘Self Reliant Sri Lanka’, are synergistic and complementary and could be used to further consolidate the economic rejuvenation efforts by both countries.
  • Cooperation between India and Sri Lanka would be beneficial for a sustained growth that is so essential for people centric development by both countries.
  • India has been a strong partner in development cooperation relations with Sri Lanka and expressed readiness to continue meaningful economic cooperation for mutual benefits.
  • The importance of regulatory consistency and policy certainty for industry and private sector.




Meghalaya’s Power Distribution Sector

Why in News?

  • The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India signed a $132.8 million loan to strengthen and modernize the distribution network and improve the quality of power supplied to households, industries, and businesses in India’s northeastern state of Meghalaya.


  • The project supports the state government’s “24×7 Power for All” initiative and will help the state reduce its high technical and commercial losses through network strengthening, metering and billing efficiency improvements.
  • Technological Improvements to the distribution network adapted to extreme weather, introduction of smart meters and online meter reading, billing, and collection systems will help improve operational efficiencies and financial sustainability of the state’s distribution system.
  • The project will help develop a distribution sector road map and a financial road map for the Meghalaya Power Distribution Corporation Limited (MePDCL).
  • These road maps will strengthen the capacity of MePDCL to operate and manage the distribution networks.

About Loan

  • The loan is proposed to be supplemented by a $2 million grant from ADB’s Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction that will finance renewable energy mini-grids for improving power quality and supporting income generation activities, especially for women and other socially disadvantaged groups in three villages and three schools.

About ADB

  • ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.




World-class Premium Grade Petrol Launched

Why in News?

  • IndianOil has launched world-class premium grade Petrol (Octane 100) in the country.
  • Branded as XP100, the premium grade petrol was launched across ten cities.
  • Technology for India’s first 100 Octane petrol has been indigenously created by Indian Oil R&D.
  • It will provide high quality and power to the engine.

How it Rolls out

  • IndianOil plans to roll-out XP100 premium grade petrol in 15 identified cities across the country in two phases.
  • In the first phase, it has been made available at select ROs w.e.f December 1, 2020, in Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, Agra, Jaipur, Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Mumbai, Pune and Ahmedabad.
  • In the second phase, the availability of this 100 Octane petrol would be extended to Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kochi, and Kolkata.
  • These cities have been selected basis their aspirational demographics and availability of high-end cars and bikes dealerships in these cities.
  • Worldwide, 100 Octane petrol has a niche market for luxury vehicles that demand high performance, and is available only in six countries like Germany, USA, etc.




Green Charcoal Hackathon

Why in News?

  • NVVN (NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam), a wholly-owned subsidiary company of NTPC Ltd, launched the Green Charcoal Hackathon.


  • The purpose of the event is to leverage the innovative Indian mind to bridge the technology gap.
  • The prime objective to clean the air by eliminating farm fire, producing renewable energy out of the agro residue, to promote local entrepreneurship, and to increase the income of the farmers.

What is its need?

  • To fast-track the technology development, NVVN, in partnership with EESL organises technology challenge aptly named as Green Charcoal Hackathon.
  • The increasing air pollution due to the burning of stubble and agro residue by local farmers has become a major concern for the country.
  • As a result, NVVN is looking for technologies to convert the agricultural waste to a form that can be used in the power plants in form of the Green Charcoal Hackathon.
  • One such option is torrefaction which converts the agro residue to green charcoal.
  • The technology to produce torrefied fuel using agro residue biomass is not easily accessible to small entrepreneurs due to the higher cost of imported machines, lack of sufficient manufacturers.
  • The technology to produce torrefied fuel using agro residue biomass once developed in India will be made accessible to small entrepreneurs.
  • To encourage the participants, there was a provision for cash prizes worth up to INR 24 Lakhs* in three Categories, namely:

             a) Category – I, Technology for Production of 100 kg per day of Torrefied Biomass Pellets

             b) Category – II, Technology for Production of 1000 kg per day of Torrefied Biomass Pellets

             c) Category – III, Technology for Production of 10 Tonnes per day of Torrefied Biomass Pellets




Ramayan Cruise Service

Why in News?

  • ‘Ramayan Cruise Tour’ on the Saryu river in Ayodhya will be launched soon.
  • It will be the first-ever luxury Cruise service on the Saryu river (Ghagra/National Waterways-40) in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh.


  • To give mesmerizing experience to devotees with one-of-its-kind spiritual journeys while cruising through the famous ghats of the holy river Saryu.

About this Tour

  • The interiors of the cruise and the boarding point will be based on the theme of Ramcharitmanas.
  • Tourists will be taken on the ‘Ramcharitmanas Tour’, featuring an exclusively made video film of 45-60 minutes duration, based on Ramcharitmanas by Goswami Tulsidas, covering the period from the birth of Lord Ram to his Rajyabhishek.
  • The entire tour will cover the approximately 15-16 Km distance.

 About Ayodhya

  • Ayodhya is the birthplace of Lord Ram, as mentioned in in the great Indian epic Ramayan.
  • It is also the first of the seven most important pilgrimage sites (Mokshdayini Sapt Puris) for the Hindus.
  • The ‘Ramayan Cruise Tour’ will not only attract a large number of tourists but it will also generate direct and indirect employment opportunities in the region.


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