The Swachh Survekshan Awards, conferred by the President of India on January 11, 2024, celebrate outstanding urban sanitation and cleanliness achievements in India. Organized by the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs, these awards recognized cities and states excelling in various sanitation aspects. Indore and Surat were jointly declared the cleanest cities, with several other awards distributed across different categories. The awards, part of the Swachh Bharat Mission, encourage cities to enhance service delivery, focus on sustainable waste management, and ensure public participation. However, challenges include varying city rankings and ensuring equitable participation in sanitation initiatives.
In January 2024, the Jharkhand government declared 158 blocks across 17 districts as drought-hit due to significantly less rainfall during the 2023 monsoon season, which was 38% below average. This situation affected about 1.5 million farmers. The government, led by Chief Minister Hemant Soren, has responded by offering an ex-gratia amount of Rs 3500 to each impacted farmer. A meeting with Niti Ayog was held to request a special package for developing better irrigation infrastructure. The state, facing its tenth drought declaration in 23 years, now considers shifting agricultural focus to crops like pulses and oilseeds due to the challenges in paddy cultivation.
The Amaterasu cosmic ray event refers to the detection of an ultra-high-energy cosmic ray named after the Japanese sun goddess. It was identified as the second-highest-energy cosmic ray ever found, with energy levels reaching 240 exa-electron-volts. Detected on May 27, 2021, by the Telescope Array Project in Utah, USA, the cosmic ray’s origin remains a mystery. It was discovered by Dr. Toshihiro Fujii from Osaka Metropolitan University. This event is significant as it challenges existing scientific paradigms and could potentially reveal unknown astronomical phenomena or novel physical origins that extend beyond the current Standard Model of particle physics.
Atal Setu, inaugurated in January 2024 by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is a monumental infrastructure project in Mumbai. Officially known as the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link, this 21.8 km long sea bridge represents a significant stride in engineering and design. As India’s longest sea bridge, it connects Mumbai with Navi Mumbai, significantly reducing travel time from two hours to just about 20 minutes. This six-lane bridge not only enhances connectivity between critical areas like the Mumbai and Navi Mumbai International Airports and major ports but also promises economic growth and improved access to essential services like education and healthcare. While it stands as a testament to technological advancement and infrastructure prowess, the project also faces challenges concerning its environmental impact and the necessity for sustainable practices and regular monitoring.