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December 15, 2023 @ 7:30 am - 11:30 pm


Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Lieutenant-Governor V.K. Saxena recently launched 500 electric buses, marking a significant step towards achieving the city’s ambitious target of having 8,000 electric buses by 2025. The move aligns with environmental concerns, aiming to combat rising air pollution and promote sustainable travel options. The initiative is part of the Central government’s FAME-II Scheme, with a total allocation of 1,500 buses, emphasizing the collaborative efforts to address pollution challenges in the capital.

CM Arvind Kejriwal launches 150 electric buses, Delhi's fleet crosses 7,200  mark- The New Indian Express

Key Points:

Electrifying Public Transport:

  • The recent addition of 500 electric buses brings the total to 1,300 in Delhi’s bus fleet.
  • The government aims to increase the fleet to 8,000 electric buses by 2025, constituting 80% of the city’s total bus fleet.

Central Government’s Contribution:

  • The Central government, under the FAME-II Scheme, is providing 921 buses at a subsidy of ₹416.82 crore.
  • The Delhi government is bearing the subsidy of ₹262.04 crore for the remaining 579 buses.

Environmental Impact:

  • Electric buses play a crucial role in combating pollution by reducing greenhouse gas emissions responsible for global warming.
  • Compared to CNG buses emitting 800 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer, electric buses contribute significantly less to atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Safety Measures:

  • Each low-floor electric bus is equipped with a minimum of three CCTV cameras.
  • Panic buttons are installed every two seats, facilitating communication with the command center.
  • The panic button activates a CCTV camera, allowing central officers to monitor the situation in real-time.

Real-time Tracking and Communication:

  • GPS units in every bus enable real-time tracking, enhancing operational efficiency and passenger safety.
  • Two-way communication with the control room ensures swift response to any concerns raised by passengers.


The launch of 500 electric buses in Delhi signifies a significant stride towards sustainable and eco-friendly public transportation. With a clear roadmap to expand the electric bus fleet further, the city is poised to make substantial progress in addressing environmental challenges. The safety features incorporated, such as CCTV cameras and panic buttons, emphasize the commitment to passenger security. The collaborative efforts between the Delhi government and the Central government underpin the shared responsibility in mitigating pollution and promoting cleaner modes of transportation.



Chhattisgarh’s BJP government, in its maiden Cabinet meeting, approved the implementation of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, a crucial pre-election commitment, targeting over 18 lakh rural families. This decision reflects the government’s dedication to addressing housing needs in impoverished regions. Chief Minister Vishnu Deo Sai affirmed the administration’s commitment to ensuring that the deprived sections benefit from the Central scheme, overcoming previous discrepancies.

Key Points:

Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana Implementation:

  • The BJP government, fulfilling a major electoral promise, sanctioned the construction of over 18 lakh homes for rural families.
  • Chief Minister Vishnu Deo Sai emphasized the historic decision during the first Cabinet meeting.

Bonus for Paddy Farmers:

  • Another pre-election commitment involves disbursing outstanding bonuses to paddy farmers, scheduled for December 25, on the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
  • The government aims to redress financial challenges inherited from the previous Congress administration.

Financial Management:

  • CM Sai defended the State’s financial position, attributing difficulties to the previous Congress government.
  • Acknowledging the double-engine government (both state and central BJP governments), he expressed confidence in expeditiously fulfilling promises.

Combatting Religious Conversions:

  • Addressing concerns of religious conversions for political gains, CM Sai asserted his government’s commitment to exploring measures to curb such activities.
  • Highlighting the need to prevent misuse of religious sentiments, the government signals its vigilance.

Anti-Maoist Strategy:

  • Reflecting on previous BJP governments’ efforts against Maoists, CM Sai affirmed a continued strong stance in combatting the menace.
  • The government maintains its commitment to addressing security challenges, especially in the southern tribal region of Bastar.


Chhattisgarh’s BJP government, in its initial policy decisions, underscores its dedication to fulfilling electoral promises. The approval of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana for 18 lakh rural households demonstrates a proactive approach to addressing housing needs. The commitment to disbursing bonuses to paddy farmers and managing financial challenges reflects the government’s resolve. The proactive stance against religious conversions and a robust strategy against Maoist threats showcase a comprehensive governance agenda, signaling a focused and expedited approach to address multifaceted challenges.



Barracuda, hailed as India’s fastest solar-electric boat, marks a significant stride in eco-friendly maritime transportation. Launched by Navalt Solar and Electric Boats in Alappuzha, Barracuda is engineered for versatility, navigating rough seas as a workboat. With exceptional features and eco-friendly attributes, this vessel holds promise for sustainable maritime practices.

                      India's fastest' solar-electric boat Barracuda launched - The Hindu

Key Points:

Innovative Design and Speed:

  • Barracuda, designed by Navalt, is a 14-meter-long, 4.4-meter-wide solar-electric boat.
  • It achieves a top speed of 12.5 knots (23 kmph), positioning itself as India’s fastest in this category.

Versatility and Capacity:

  • Engineered for rough seas, Barracuda serves as a workboat capable of ferrying up to 12 passengers and cargo.
  • With twin 50 kW electric motors and a marine-grade LFP battery, it ensures efficiency and reliability.

Sustainability Features:

  • The vessel operates noiselessly, without vibration, and eliminates air pollution, contributing to cleaner oceans.
  • Equipped with 6 kW solar power, Barracuda boasts a range of seven hours on a single charge.

Recognition and Awards:

  • Navalt Solar and Electric Boats, based in Kochi, received the world’s best start-up award in the mobility and transportation category at the Berlin Start-up Energy Transition Awards 2023.
  • Multiple prestigious awards, including the Gustave Trouve Awards, underscore the firm’s commitment to innovation.



India’s recent vote at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) regarding the situation in Gaza signals a principled shift in its stance towards the Israel-Palestine conflict. This move comes two months after Israel’s airstrikes in retaliation for terror attacks by Hamas. India’s altered position reflects a nuanced response, contrasting its previous abstention.

Key Points:

UNGA Resolution Vote:

  • India voted in favor of a UNGA resolution demanding an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza.
  • The resolution also emphasized adherence to international humanitarian law and the release of hostages.

Previous Abstention:

  • In October, despite 8,000 casualties, India abstained from a similar resolution, citing a “zero-tolerance” approach to terrorism.
  • The earlier resolution lacked an “explicit condemnation” of the October 7 attacks, influencing India’s decision.

Changing Rationale:

  • The recent resolution, not explicitly condemning terror attacks, received India’s support.
  • Rising casualty figures, massive displacement, and international concern likely contributed to India’s altered stance.

Global Opinion Shift:

  • Global and Indian public opinion has shifted from sympathy with Israel to concern over the extensive aftermath.
  • India’s isolation in South Asia and the Global South prompted a reevaluation of its stance.


India’s vote at the UNGA indicates a departure from its earlier position, emphasizing a more assertive stand on the Gaza conflict. While the true implications of this shift remain to be seen, India’s role in ensuring a ceasefire and contributing to regional stability will be crucial. The Modi government, having demonstrated support for Israel, faces the challenge of navigating a strategic path that addresses humanitarian concerns and potential long-term regional instability.



The 54th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa provided a global cinematic panorama, showcasing approximately 270 films from 105 countries. This eclectic assembly unfolded diverse narratives addressing political, social, and economic themes, offering insights into the human condition across continents.

Around the world: an account from the 54th International Film Festival of  India - Celtalks

Key Highlights:

Film Selection and Venues:

  • IFFI Goa 2023 featured films from 105 countries, screened in 12 halls at four venues over a week.
  • The selection aimed to capture cinematic excellence and reflect the socio-political contexts shaping the films.

Thematic Patterns:

  • African Films: Explored elements of lawlessness.
  • Central Asian Films: Depicted conflict migration and gender oppression.
  • South East Asian Films: Explored social tensions in the rural-urban divide.
  • Western European Films: Focused on themes of boredom and juvenile delinquency.

Societal Dynamics in Films:

  • Italian Film “Me Captain”: Explored the perils faced by migrants journeying from Senegal to Europe, portraying the lack of state control in some regions.
  • Argentinian Documentary “The Trial”: Chronicled the 1985 trial of military heads, revealing brutalities during the Argentinian military regime. Raised moral questions on public complicity in authoritarian rule.
  • Finnish Film “Palimpsest”: Examined life in a near-perfect welfare state, questioning whether life without challenges can lead to boredom.

South Korean Film “Sleep”:

  • Explored REM sleep disorder and raised concerns about the portrayal of common disorders in cinema.

Gender Dynamics:

  • Iranian Film “Endless Borders”: Addressed the gender question in patriarchal societies, focusing on a girl facing an imminent threat of honor killing.
  • Film “The Peasant”: Explored oppressive patriarchy in early 20th-century Poland, highlighting women as gatekeepers of this oppression.
  • Peruvian Film “Once Upon a Time in the Andes”: Presented a different perspective, depicting a Quechuan shepherdess saving a wounded Chilean soldier and challenging societal norms.

Unique Narratives:

  • The films presented diverse narratives, each contributing to a comprehensive understanding of global cultures, challenges, and human experiences.


IFFI Goa 2023 provided a cinematic odyssey, traversing continents and unraveling multifaceted stories. The selection of films offered a rich tapestry of global narratives, portraying societal complexities, and stimulating reflections on the human condition. The festival showcased the power of cinema to transcend borders and offer a collective exploration of diverse cultures and perspectives.



The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a critical warning regarding the urgent need to control the use of e-cigarettes due to escalating health hazards. E-cigarettes, initially perceived as an alternative to traditional tobacco, have raised alarming concerns about their impact on public health, especially among children and non-smokers.

ATCA joins call to plug the e-cigarette regulation gap in South Africa -  African Tobacco Control Alliance (ATCA)

Key Points:

Adverse Population Health Effects:

  • WHO emphasizes that e-cigarettes, marketed as consumer products, lack evidence for effectiveness in quitting tobacco at the population level.
  • Alarming evidence reveals adverse population health effects, urging the implementation of stringent measures.

Highly Addictive and Harmful:

  • E-cigarettes containing nicotine are highly addictive and pose significant health risks, potentially leading to conventional cigarette use.
  • Long-term health effects, though not fully understood, generate toxic substances linked to cancer, heart disorders, and lung issues.

Recruiting Children and Young Users:

  • WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus underscores the recruitment of children into e-cigarette use, emphasizing the risk of nicotine addiction.
  • Urges countries to implement strict measures to protect citizens, particularly children and young people.

Global Market and Regulation Gaps:

  • E-cigarettes are aggressively marketed globally, with 34 countries banning their sale, 88 having no minimum purchase age, and 74 lacking regulations.
  • In India, the possession of e-cigarettes violates the Prohibition of Electronic Cigarette Act, 2019.

Social Media Influence and Future Smoking:

  • Brief exposure to e-cigarette content on social media is associated with increased intention to use and positive attitudes towards e-cigarettes.
  • Studies indicate that young e-cigarette users are nearly three times more likely to use traditional cigarettes later in life.

Alarming Youth Usage Trends:

  • Globally, children aged 13-15 years exhibit higher e-cigarette use rates than adults in all WHO regions.
  • Canada witnesses a doubling of e-cigarette use among 16 to 19-year-olds between 2017 and 2022, while the U.K. experiences a tripling in the past three years.

Health Risks and Effects on Development:

  • E-cigarettes with nicotine can adversely affect brain development, leading to learning disorders in young users.
  • Foetal exposure during pregnancy can negatively impact foetal development, while bystanders also face health risks from e-cigarette emissions.

Urgent Preventive Measures:

  • WHO underscores the necessity for urgent measures to prevent e-cigarette uptake and counter nicotine addiction.
  • Calls for a comprehensive approach to tobacco control tailored to national circumstances.


The WHO’s urgent call to control e-cigarettes reflects the escalating concerns surrounding their adverse health effects, particularly on children and non-smokers. The global prevalence of e-cigarette use demands immediate regulatory action to curb their impact and safeguard public health.



The U.S. and the EU have imposed Countervailing Duties (CVDs) on Indian products in response to the RoDTEP scheme. RoDTEP provides rebates/refunds for Central, State, and local duties/taxes to exporters not otherwise rebated/refunded.

  • CVDs are taxes or tariffs imposed on imported goods to counteract export subsidies given by the exporting country. They aim to nullify negative impacts on domestic producers due to foreign competition.
  • The World Trade Organization (WTO) permits the imposition of CVDs after investigating subsidized exports, allowing countries to address unfair trade practices.
  • The dispute underscores the challenges related to global trade and subsidy issues.


December 15, 2023
7:30 am - 11:30 pm
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