1)Cabinet approves Strategic Tunnel under Rohtang Pass to be renamed after former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee:- Strategic Tunnel under Rohtang Pass after him on December 25, 2019, which happens to be his birthday. The historic decision to construct a strategic tunnel below the Rohtang Pass was taken on June 03, 2000 when late Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister.
The tunnel is now nearing completion and is a step in the direction of providing all weather connectivity to remote border areas of Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh which otherwise remained cut off from the rest of the country for about six months during winters.
2)Cabinet approves creation of the post of Chief of Defence Staff in the rank of four star General:- The Chief of Defence Staff will also head the Department of Military Affairs (DMA), to be created within the Ministry of Defence and function as its Secretary.
The following areas will be dealt by the Department of Military Affairs headed by CDS:
- The Armed Forces of the Union, namely, the Army, the Navy and the Air Force.
- Integrated Headquarters of the Ministry of Defence comprising Army Headquarters, Naval Headquarters, Air
- Headquarters and Defence Staff Headquarters.
- The Territorial Army.
- Works relating to the Army, the Navy and the Air Force.
- Procurement exclusive to the Services except capital acquisitions, as per prevalent rules and procedures.
Apart from the above, the mandate of the Department of Military Affairs will include the following areas:
- Promoting jointness in procurement, training and staffing for the Services through joint planning and integration of their requirements.
- Facilitation of restructuring of Military Commands for optimal utilisation of resources by bringing about jointness in operations, including through establishment of joint/theatre commands.
- Promoting use of indigenous equipment by the Services.
3)Atal Bhujal Yojana:– Atal Bhujal Yojana (ATAL JAL), a Central Sector Scheme with a total outlay of Rs.6000 crore to be implemented over a period of 5 years (2020-21 to 2024-25).
The scheme aims to improve ground water management through community participation in identified priority areas in seven States, viz. Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. Implementation of the scheme is expected to benefit nearly 8350 Gram Panchayats in 78 districts in these States. ATAL JAL will promote panchayat led ground water management and behavioural change with primary focus on demand side management
Out of the total outlay of Rs. 6000 crore, 50% shall be in the form of World Bank loan, and be repaid by the Central Government. The remaining 50% shall be through Central Assistance from regular budgetary support.
4)Cabinet approves conduct of Census of India 2021 and updation of National Population Register:–
Census of India will cover the entire population in the country while NPR will also cover all the population except in the state of Assam.
The Indian Census is largest administrative and statistical exercise in the world. The next decennial Census is due in 2021 and would be conducted in two phases:
- House listing and Housing Census – April to September, 2020 and
- Population Enumeration – 9th February to 28th February, 2021.
- The National Population Register (NPR) will also be updated along with House listing and Housing Census except in Assam.
30 lakh field functionaries will complete this gigantic exercise of national importance, up from 28 lakh in 2011.
Use of mobile app for data collection and the Central portal for monitoring purpose will ensure early release of Census data with improved quality.
Data dissemination will be much better and in a user friendly way so that all the queries on required parameters for policy making will be made available on the click of a button.
Census-as-a-service (CaaS) will deliver on-demand data to ministries in a clean, machine-readable and actionable format.
5)Cabinet approves official amendments to the Arms (Amendment) Bill, 2019:-
It shall deter the potential perpetrators from indulging in illegal arms and ammunition trade and its manufacturing, stream line licensing provisions, better address the present day security needs and effectively deal with the incidents and proliferation and trade of illicit arms and ammunition. At the same time, it will facilitate law abiding licence holders of arms by increasing the duration of arms licence.
The approved amendments to the Arms Act are a step forward in providing licence in electronic form longer validity period of licenses and stricter regulatory mechanism to check illegal possession arms by proposing stricter punishment provisions.
6)Shri Dharmendra Pradhan unveils India’s First CNG Bus which can run 1000 Kms in one fill:- Started in Delhi as Pilot but soon will be made Commercial.
7)NITI Aayog to Launch SDG India Index & Dashboard 2019–20:- NITI Aayog will launch the second edition of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) India Index, which documents the progress made by India’s States and Union Territories towards implementing the 2030 SDG targets, on 30 December 2019 at NITI Aayog, New Delhi.
The SDG India Index and Dashboard 2019–20 have been developed in collaboration with the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI), the United Nations in India, and the Global Green Growth Institute.
The SDG India Index, whose first edition was launched in December 2018, was the first tool developed by any large country to monitor the progress towards achieving SDGs at the sub-national level.
The SDG India Index and Dashboard 2019 tracks the progress of and ranks all States and UTs on 100 indicators drawn from MoSPI’s National Indicator Framework, comprising 306 indicators. It indicates where the country and its States and UTs currently are on SDG implementation, and charts the distance to be travelled to reach the SDG targets.