The government has extended Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) of providing free cooking gas (LPG) connections to all poor households not having LPG connections.
The scheme, launched in 2016, originally targeted giving LPG connections to mostly rural women members of below the poverty line (BPL) households. The list was later expanded to include all SC/ST households and forest dwellers among others.
PMUY, initiated by Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas aims to safeguard the health of women & children by providing them with a clean cooking fuel so that they don’t have to compromise their health in smoky kitchens or wander in unsafe areas collecting firewood.
Under the scheme, the government provides a subsidy of Rs 1,600 to state-owned fuel retailers for every free LPG gas connection that they give to poor households. This subsidy is intended to cover the security fee for the cylinder and the fitting charges.
The World Health Organisation hailed PMUY as decisive intervention by the government to facilitate the switch to clean household energy use, thereby addressing the problems associated with indoor household pollution.
'Under the Sal Tree' Theatre Festival
‘Under the Sal Tree’ theatre festival is held every December inside the sal forest of Rampur village in Goalpara district of Assam.
It is a three day theatre festival organised in the middle of a jungle with an aim to connect human beings with nature.
The festival was initiated by noted Assamese theatre personality Sukracharya Rabha.
Brightest Object in the Universe
Astronomers using the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) system of 10 radio telescopes discovered the brightest object in the Universe named as Quasar P352-15.
A Quasar is the brightest object in the Universe. It exists at the center of galaxies and draw energy from supermassive black holes.
P352-15 is approximately 13 billion light years away which means that the Quasar being witnessed belongs to the time when the universe was less than a billion years old, or only about 7% of its current age.
This finding could help experts studying the early stages of the universe to understand what happened during the transition from the Big Bang.
The governments of India, Nepal, and Bhutan are considering having a joint task force for allowing free movement of wildlife across political boundaries and checking smuggling of wildlife across the Kanchenjunga Landscape, a trans-boundary region spread across Nepal, India, and Bhutan
The landscape stretches along the southern side of Mount Kanchenjunga covers an area of 25,080 sq km spread across parts of eastern Nepal (21%), Sikkim and West Bengal (56%) and western and southwestern parts of Bhutan (23%).
According to the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development ( ICIMOD) 1,118 sq km of riverine grassland and tree cover were lost to agriculture and rangeland in the landscape between 2000 and 2010.
Other than seven million people, the Kanchenjunga Landscape is home to 169 species of mammals and 713 species of birds.
The cyclonic storm Phethai has made landfall in Andhra Pradesh.
Phethai, name of the cyclone is suggested by Thailand. It is pronounced as `Pay-ti’, means a vegetarian bean in Thailand.
This comes barely months after Cyclone Gaja wreaked havoc in Nagapattinam, Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, and Pudukottai districts of Tamil Nadu.
India’s First Military Flight using Blended Bio-Jet Fuel
This has the dual benefit of reducing the carbon footprint as well as usage of fossil fuels.
With this, India joins a league of select nations to have developed, tested and certified the single step Hydroprocessed Renewable Jet (HRJ) process to convert non-edible oil into biofuel for use on military aircraft.
A biofuel is a fuel produced from living matter that includes plant waste and animal fat, rather than a fuel produced through the geological process, such as coal, diesel and petroleum.
The project is a combined effort of Indian Air Force (IAF), Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Directorate General Aeronautical Quality Assurance (DGAQA) and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-Indian Institute of Petroleum).
The IAF will gradually start using this fuel blend for even fighter jets like Su-30MKIs and MiG-29s.