17.12.20 Daily BPSC Current Affairs


Since Covid, WB, Bihar, Assam, Odisha get most rural funds

A maximum chunk of central funds meant for rural development, including those for infrastructure and employment generation, since the lockdown was enforced in March was allocated to West Bengal — which goes to polls in 2021 — followed by Bihar where elections were held earlier this month.

Of Rs 49,270 crore distributed by the rural development ministry to various states between March and November under six schemes, West Bengal received Rs 5,926 crore, Bihar (Rs 5,265 crore), Madhya Pradesh (Rs 4,974 crore), UP (Rs 4,636 crore) and Odisha (Rs 4,535 crore). In comparison, Goa received the lowest amount of funds at Rs 2.1 crore.

The schemes under which the money was distributed included Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Assistance (MNREGA), Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission, National Social Assistance Programme, National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) and Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY).
When it came to individual schemes, Assam — also due for elections in 2021 — was the state which received maximum funds under PMGSY at Rs 1,285 crore.

Under MNREGA, the maximum allocation went to UP (Rs 2,590 crore) followed by Andhra Pradesh (Rs 1,963 crore), Bihar (Rs 1741 crore) and Madhya Pradesh (Rs 1,399 crore). UP also received the maximum share of funds under NRLM at Rs 722 crore.

Of Rs 15,043 crore under PMAY, the biggest pie went to West Bengal(Rs 3751 crore), Odisha (Rs 2,802 crore) and Madhya Pradesh at Rs 2,200 crore. Eight states including Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Tamil Nadu and Telangana did not receive any funds under PMAY.

Separately, under the direct beneficiary transfer (DBT) scheme, Rs 56,271 crore for MNREGA were separately disbursed to beneficiaries directly.



India ranks 131 in UN’s human development index

India dropped one spot to 131 among 189 countries in the 2020 human development index, according to a report released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Human Development Index is the measure of a nation’s health, education, and standards of living.


India had ranked 130 in 2018 in the inde


Norway has topped the index with a score of 0.957, followed by Ireland, Switzerland, Hong Kong and Iceland.


Niger is the lowest ranked country at 189, placed among Low human development category, with a score of 0.394

GoI, World Bank sign 400 million dollar project to protect India’s poor from COVID-19

The Government of India and the World Bank have signed a 400 million dollar project to protect India’s poor and vulnerable from the impact of COVID-19.

This is the second operation in a programmatic series of two.


The first operation of 750 million dollar was approved in May 2020.


The programme will strengthen the capability of state and central governments to provide coordinated and adequate social protection to the poor and vulnerable from the shocks triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.


India and Bangladesh to reopen Chilahati-Haldibari rail link after nearly 55 years

India and Bangladesh will reopen the Chilahati-Haldibari rail link after nearly 55 years.

It was cut off during the 1965 India-Pakistan war.


The Haldibari-Chilahati rail link was part of the Broad Gauge main route from Kolkata to Siliguri.


To revive the ease of access on both sides, the rail links are being restored, enhancing connectivity and people-to-people ties on both sides.


With the inauguration of the Haldibari-Chilahati rail link, five out of six rail links will become operational.


The other four operational rail links between India and Bangladesh are Petrapole-Benapole, Gede-Darshana, Singhabad-Rohanpur and Radhikapur-Birol.


ISRO sets up dedicated control centre ‘NETRA’ for Space Situational Awareness


The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has set up a dedicated Space Situational Awareness (SSA) Control Centre, at its ISTRAC campus, Bangalore.

The ISRO SSA Control Centre ‘NETRA’ was formally inaugurated by ISRO Chairman K Sivan.


SSA is the science of tracking objects (man-made and natural) that are in orbit and also predicting where they would be at a given point in time.


Only the US, Russia and Europe have similar facility in place to track space objects and share collision warnings.


The “NEtwork for space object TRacking and Analysis (NETRA)” will monitor, track and protect India’s space assets.

ISRO launches communication satellite CMS-01 from Sriharikota


The national space agency ISRO launched India’s communication satellite CMS-01 using the rocket PSLV-C50.

The launch took place from the second launch pad of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.


For the PSLV rocket, this was the 52nd flight and for the national space agency ISRO, this would be the 77th launch mission from home.


PSLV injected the nation’s new communication satellite CMS-01 into the geosynchronous transfer orbit.


The satellite CMS-01 will have transponders to provide service using the Extended-C Band.


This will be useful in covering not only mainland India but also its far-flung island territories of Andaman and Nicobar and the Lakshadweep for communication purposes.

Cabinet clears Rs 3500 crore sugar export subsidy


The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved a Rs 3,500 crore subsidy to export sugar.

A farmer-friendly move through which India is set to offer sugar export subsidies for a third year in a row to pare surplus stocks and ensure domestic prices don’t crash.


Cabinet has taken the decision to help farmers directly by depositing money or subsidies into their accounts.


The subsidy will be given on 60 lakh tonnes of sugar exports at the rate of Rs 6,000 per tonne.


Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka are among the three largest cane-producing states.


India is the world’s largest sugar consumer, but 90% of the country’s output goes into commercial food products while 10% is bought by household consumers.

India International Science Festival (IISF) 2020 to be organized from 22 December


India International Science Festival (IISF) 2020 is going to be organized from 22 December on virtual platforms.

This will be the largest science festival to be held on a virtual platform.


The central theme of this year’s festival is “Science for Self-reliant India and Global Welfare”.


The festival begins on 22nd December, the birthday of Srinivas Ramanujam, the world renowned Indian mathematician and culminates on 25th December.


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