Current Affairs of 28 December

Cabinet Approved Gaganyaan Project - Union Cabinet approved the Gaganyaan Programme with demonstration of Indian Human Spaceflight capability to low earth orbit for a mission duration ranging from one orbital period to a maximum of seven days. Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV MK-III) will be used to carry the orbital module which have the necessary provisions for sustaining a 3 member crew for the duration of the mission. The total fund requirement for the programme is Rs 10,000 crore. Two unmanned flights and one manned flight will be undertaken as part of this programme. The testing phase is expected to begin from December 2020 and the mission will be undertaken from 2022. Previously, Russia (erstwhile Soviet Union), United States and China have been the only countries in the world to have launched manned space missions successfully.

Financial Assistance to Bhutan - PM Narendra Modi announced that India would contribute Rs 4,500 crore to Bhutan’s 12th five-year plan which will end in 2022. A transitional Trade Support Facility of Rs 400 crore over a period of five years was also announced. Work on the Mangdechhu project would soon be completed. Mangdechhu is a 720 mw hydroelectric project on the Mangdechhu river in central Bhutan. Ground station being built by ISRO in Bhutan will soon be ready. The station will help Bhutan get benefits from South Asian satellite. 

Capital Infusion in Public Sector Bank - The government is likely to infuse Rs. 28,615 crore into seven public sector banks (PSBs) through recapitalisation bonds by the end of this month. Bank of India is likely to get the highest amount of Rs. 10,086 crore, followed by Oriental Bank of Commerce - Rs. 5,500 crore. Bank of Maharashtra - Rs. 4,498 crore, UCO Bank - Rs. 3,056 crore and United Bank of India - Rs. 2,159 crore. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said that recapitalisation would enhance the lending capacity of PSBs and help them exit the RBI’s Prompt Corrective Action framework.

New Norms for Channel Subscriber - Telecom Regulatory Authority of India said that the migration to the new framework is due on 29 December 2018. All existing packs/plans/bouquets to the subscribers will continue uninterrupted till 31st January 2019. TRAI has asked the Distribution Platform Operators (DPOs) to migrate all the subscribers to new framework from 1 February 2019 according to the options exercised by them.

National Children’s Science Congress - Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurated 26th edition of National Children’s Science Congress in Bhubaneswar in which as many as 800 students from ten Asian and seven Gulf countries are participating. This year’s theme is ‘Science, Technology and Innovations: For clean, green and healthy nation’.

National Commission for Indian System of Medicine Bill - The Union Cabinet has approved the draft National Commission for Indian System of Medicine Bill, 2018. The NCIM will promote availability of affordable healthcare services in all parts of the country. The draft Bill will enable the constitution of a National Commission with four autonomous boards for the purpose of conducting overall education in Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha and Sowarigpa. To assess the standard of teachers before appointment and promotions, the Bill proposes a common entrance and an exit exam.

National Commission for Homeopathy Bill - The Union Cabinet approved the draft National Commission for Homeopathy Bill, 2018, which seeks to replace the existing regulator Central Council of Homoeopathy with a new body to ensure transparency and accountability.

Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary
Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary - Madhya Pradesh State government has declared Kuno wildlife sanctuary as a national park in compliance with the last condition imposed by a Supreme Court-appointed committee for the much awaited ‘translocation of Asiatic lions from Gir in Gujarat.’ The move is expected to pave way for translocation of lions from Gir in Gujarat to Kuno.

Dwijing Festival
Dwijing Festival - In Assam, the third Dwijing Festival has begun on the bank of Aye river at Chirang district. Chief Minister Sarbanand Sonowal will attend the event. Adventure sports, food mart, cultural events, traditional games are being organized in the 12-day long event. 

Manju Mehta
Tansen Samman - Noted sitar player Manju Mehta has been conferred with the 'Tansen Samman' for 2018 by the Madhya Pradesh government for her contribution in the field of music. The 'Raja Mansingh Tomar Honour' was given to the Sankat Mochan Pratishthan in Varanasi for 2017 and the Natrang Pratishthan of New Delhi for 2018.

Rajesh Subramaniam
Rajesh Subramaniam - Indian-American Rajesh Subramaniam has been named as the president and chief executive officer of U.S. multinational courier delivery giant FedEx Express. Mr. Subramaniam, currently the executive vice- president of FedEx Corporation, will assume his new role on January 1, 2019.

Coastal Regulation Zone
Coastal Regulation Zone - Centre has approved new norms to regulate development activities in coastal zones along India’s over 7,500 km of coastline, streamlining Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearance procedures and allowing development activities in coastal rural areas and temporary tourism facilities in beaches. Besides, a 'No Development Zone' (NDZ) of 20 meters is earmarked for all Islands close to the mainland coast and for all backwater islands in the mainland.

Jallianwala Bagh
Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial - A bill which seeks to remove the Congress president as a permanent member in a trust that runs the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial to make the body "apolitical" was introduced in the Lok Sabha. The amendment bill also paves way for the leader of the single largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha to be a member of the trust. Jallianwala Bagh memorial was established in 1951 by the central government to mark the massacre of unarmed people on April 13, 1919 by the British Indian Army under the command of Col. Reginald Dyer.

Concession for Transgender
Concession for Transgender - The Indian Railways announced that it has decided to grant 40-per-cent concession in passenger fares to transgender senior citizens. The concession will be applicable to those of the third gender, who are aged 60 years or above. It will be available from January 1, 2019.

Amendment in POCSO Act - The Union Cabinet approved the proposal for Amendment in the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012 to make punishment more stringent for committing sexual crimes against children. The POCSO Act, 2012 was enacted to Protect the Children from Offences of Sexual Assault, Sexual harassment and pornography with due regard for safeguarding the interest and well-being of children.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Atal Bihari Vajpayee International Schools - Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has launched the ‘Bharat Ratna Atal Bihari Vajpayee International Schools’ for students in rural areas.  Initially, 13 Zilla Parishad (ZP) schools would be part of the international board and it would be expanded in the coming years.

ICC Cricket Hall of Fame - Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting was formally inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame. Ponting was named in the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame along with former India captain Rahul Dravid and England woman wicketkeeper-batter Claire Taylor.

Aadi Sai Vijaykaran
World Scholar’s Cup - Aadi Sai Vijaykaran created history by winning the Junior Debate Championship at the World Scholar’s Cup held at Yale University, the USA. It is the first time an individual from India has won the coveted title.