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Weekly Current Affairs February 2023 Week – 01

NATIONAL AFFAIRS

  1. The Indian Railways has introduced the ‘Ideal Train Profile’ to maximize capacity
    utilization and revenue generation in reserved mail express trains by analysing the demand
    pattern of each individual train on a regular basis.
  • The ‘Ideal Train Profile’ is a decision support tool for seat capacity optimization.
  • The project has been started on a pilot basis in 7 Zonal Railways: Eastern, Central,
    Northern, Southern, South Central, Western and West Central Railways.
  • This project has been implemented in more than 200 trains so far.
  • This facility is anticipated to improve confirmed seat availability and boost train occupancy
    by 5 percent.
  1. The Union Budget 2023-24 has been presented by Nirmala Sitharaman, Union Minister of
    Finance and Corporate Affairs in the Parliament on 1st February 2023 and has outlined the
    Vision for Amrit Kaal which reflects an empowered and inclusive economy.
    Vision for Amrit Kaal – an empowered and inclusive economy:
  • The strong & stable macro-economic environment.
  • To provide strong impetus to growth and job creation.
  • To facilitate ample opportunities for citizens, especially the youth, to fulfil their
    aspirations.
  1. Union Minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal has inaugurated the
    National Logistic Portal (marine) (NLP) in New Delhi.
  • The NLP is a project of national importance, as envisaged by the Ministry of Ports
    Shipping Waterways and the Ministry of Commerce & Industry.
  • The NLP will be a single window for all trade processes of the logistics sector spread
    across the country covering all modes of transport in the waterways, roadways, and
    airways along with an E-marketplace to provide a seamless end-to-end logistic service
    coverage.
  • The activities of NLP Marine are categorized into four distinct verticals viz. i. Carrier, ii.
    Cargo, iii. Banking and Finance and iv. Regulatory Bodies and Participating Government
    Agencies (PGAs).
    Features of NLP:
  • Single Platform to perform all core activities of the Importer / Exporter / Customs Broker /
    Freight Forwarder
  • End-to-end functionality to perform self-clearance digitally Online transaction with
    custodians
  • Providing a level playing field to relevant stakeholders (large & small) thus increasing the
    competition
  • Complete domestic tracking of the shipment with notifications on each stage
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  • Real time information of the activities which are generally not in reach of Importer /
    Exporter / Customs Broker
  • Enhanced transparency in Government to Business relations and Ease of doing
    Business
  • Document Management System to store all the important documents securely on Cloud
    Storage
  • Reduced costs and timeframes for execution of trade and logistics operations
  • Paper-less transaction, for all the stakeholders along with BI reporting and data analytics
    Note: NLP (marine) is an “open platform” developed to fulfil the mission of PM Gati Shakti.
  1. The Indian Railways is set to introduce the “Bharat Gaurav Deluxe AC tourist train” to
    showcase the cultural & spiritual heritage of Gujarat under the “Ek Bharat Shrestha
    Bharat” government scheme.
    The tourist train is set to take its first “Garvi Gujarat” tour on February 28 from Delhi
    Safdarjung railway station.
    The state-of-the-art Bharat Gaurav Deluxe AC tourist train will run an 8-day all-inclusive
    tour.
    Bharat Gaurav Deluxe AC tourist train:
  • The train consists of four 1-AC coaches, two 2-AC coaches, one well-equipped pantry car,
    and two rail restaurants.
  • It can accommodate at least 156 tourists onboard.
  • The train can be boarded or deboarded at Gurugram, Rewari, Ringas, Phullera, and Ajmer
    Railway Stations.
    “Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat”:
    The initiative ‘Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat’ was announced by Hon’ble Prime Minister on 31st
    October 2015 on the occasion of the 140th birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. It
    is an initiative of the Ministry of Education.
    Through this innovative measure, the knowledge of the culture, traditions, and practices of
    different states & UTs will lead to an enhanced understanding and bonding between the
    states, thereby strengthening the unity and integrity of India.
  1. During the Union Budget 2023-24, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has announced that
    the Permanent Account Number (PAN) will be used as the common identifier for all digital
    systems of specified government agencies. This will help in further promoting ease of doing
    business in the country.
    Note: PAN is a 10-digit alphanumeric number allotted by the income tax department to a
    person, firm or entity.
    As per the Economic Survey 2022-23:
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  • India has declared the Net Zero Pledge to achieve net zero emissions goal by 2070.
  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has auctioned two tranches of Rs.4,000 crore Sovereign
    Green Bonds (SGrB). SGrB framework was issued in November 2022.
  • National Green Hydrogen Mission to enable India to be energy independent by 2047.
  • Green hydrogen production capacity of at least 5 MMT (Million Metric Tonne) per annum
    to be developed by 2030. Cumulative reduction in fossil fuel imports over Rs.1 lakh crore
    and creation of over 6 lakh jobs by 2030 under the National green Hydrogen Mission.
    Renewable energy capacity addition of about 125 GW and abatement of nearly 50 MMT of
    annual GHG emissions by 2030.
  1. Dr Mukesh Aghi is the President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the US- India Strategic
    Partnership Forum (USISPF) has launched the US-India Alliance to boost the number of
    women in the Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), workforce in
    India.
  • The launch of the US-India Alliance for Women’s Economic Empowerment STEM
    Collaborative has been announced during the US-India Alliance Shatter Summit.
  • US-India Alliance for Women’s Economic Empowerment STEM Collaborative aims to
    identify barriers and create opportunities for advancing women and girls in STEM in India.
  • The US-India Alliance for Women’s Economic Empowerment is a public-private
    partnership between the State Department, USAID, USISPF, and George Washington
    University
  1. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been named the world’s most popular leader for the
    second time in a row by Morning Consult, a US-based global leader approval tracker. The
    survey showed PM Modi had an approval rating of above 75 percent of India’s adult
    population. He is followed by Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Swiss
    President Alain Berset among others.
  2. The Ministry of Law and Justice has formed a working committee for the drafting of rules and
    standards for mediation in India. The newly formed Committee will be headed by former Law
    Secretary, (Chairperson) P. K. Malhotra.
    Roles and Responsibilities of the committee:
    The committee will provide drafts of the rules and regulations as envisaged under the
    Mediation Bill/Act.
    The committee will provide suggestions regarding the setting of various standards including,
    certifications, accreditation, grading, criteria etc., for various stakeholders under the
    Mediation Bill.
    The Committee will suggest a comprehensive way forward for the online conduct of
    mediation as per subordinate legislation and related matters such as a secure platform, etc.
    The Committee will provide a roadmap regarding the implementation of the provisions of the
    Mediation Bill/Act.
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    Background:
    The Mediation Bill, 2021 was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on December 20, 2022.
    Subsequently, the Bill was referred to the Department-related Parliamentary Standing
    Committee (DRPSC) on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice.
    The Committee had presented its 117th report on the Mediation Bill, 2021 to the Chairman of
    Rajya Sabha on July 13, 2022 which is under active consideration.
    Note: The Bill also provides for the establishment of the Mediation Council of India.
  3. Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Hardeep Singh Puri has recently rededicated
    Oil and Natural Gas Corporation’s (ONGC) iconic drilling rig Sagar Samrat as a mobile
    offshore production unit (MOPU) at a ceremony held at Sagar Samrat, Mumbai.
  • Sagar Samrat was a jack-up drilling rig that was converted into a Mobile Offshore
    Production Unit (MOPU).
  • The MOPU is designed to handle a total 20,000 BOPD (barrels of oil per day) with
    maximum export gas of 2.36 mmscmd (mmscmd means million Standard Cubic Meters of
    Gas per day).
    Mobile Offshore Production Unit (MOPU):
    A Mobile Offshore Production Unit (MOPU) is considered any type of portable structure that
    can be reused when procuring oil and gas from the seabed. A fire protection system is
    essential to the operation and safety of a MOPU rig and automatic control valves are a key
    component of that system.
    Note: India is the world’s fastest-growing large economy and the world’s third-largest
    consumer of energy, crude oil, fourth largest refiner, the sixth largest importer of petroleum
    products, and seventh largest exporter of petroleum products.
  1. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MoI&B) has recently instructed TV
    channels to share details about obligatory ‘public service’ content with the effect from 1st
    March 2023.
    Key guidelines:
  • MoI&B has instructed channels to show at least 30 minutes of ‘public service’ content
    every day, and 15 hours of content monthly.
  • The ministry has also directed broadcasters to submit a monthly report on the ministryrun Broadcast Seva Portal in the first week of every month.
  • The guidelines have exempted foreign channels downlinking in India and channels
    broadcasting predominantly sports, devotional, spiritual, and yoga content from
    furnishing the monthly reports on the Broadcast Seva Portal.
  • The theme for the broadcasting should comprise national importance and social
    relevance, including education and spread of literacy, agriculture and rural development,
    health and family welfare, science and technology, welfare of women, the welfare of the
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    weaker sections of the society, protection of the environment and of cultural heritage, and
    national integration.
  • The ministry has revealed that its subordinate wing Electronic Media Monitoring Centre
    will keep a record of the content telecast for a period of 90 days.
  1. The first “G20 International Financial Architecture Working Group Meeting” under the
    G20 Indian Presidency has been held in the Union Territory of Chandigarh on January 30 – 31,
    2023.
    The “International Financial Architecture Working Group” is focused on addressing ways to
    strengthen international financial architecture, improve finance for development, and
    address vulnerabilities in the global financial system.
    Key Highlights:
  • The meeting has been inaugurated by Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Ministry of
    Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (MoA&FW), and Union Minister Pashupati Kumar Paras,
    Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI).
  • Nearly 100 participants from G20 member countries, invitee countries, and international
    organizations attended the meeting.
  • The two-day meeting has been co-led by the Ministry of Finance (MOF) and the Reserve
    Bank of India (RBI), as well as France and South Korea, who are co-chairs of the
    International Financial Architecture Working Group.
  • The meeting reviewed a range of topics, including the strengthening and reform of
    Multilateral Development Banks.
  • In light of the growing debt situation, it explored strategies to overcome the
    implementation challenges associated with the G20 Common Framework for Debt
    Treatments beyond the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI).
    About Group of Twenty (G20):
    The G20 or Group of Twenty is an intergovernmental forum comprising 19 countries and the
    European Union. It works to address major issues related to the global economy, such as
    international financial stability, climate change mitigation, and sustainable development. It
    was founded on 26 September 1999.
    Note: India assumed the G20 Presidency for a year, from 1st December 2022 to 30th
    November 2023.
  1. Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw has announced that India will get its first
    hydrogen train by December 2023 which will be completely indigenously manufactured. It
    will initially be run on heritage circuits like Kalka-Shimla.
  • Union Railway Minister has also said that Vande Metro, a mini version of the Vande Bharat
    Express trains is also being developed.
  • Vande Metro aims to help people living around big cities to travel to and from in comfort
    between their place of work and hometowns.
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    Note: India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has announced Rs 2.4 lakh crore for the
    Indian Railways in the Union Budget 2023-24. This is the highest-ever capital outlay for
    railways to date.

STATES AFFAIRS

  1. Recently, India has issued a notice to Pakistan seeking a review and modification of the
    Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) citing Pakistan’s intransigence in resolving disputes over the
    Kishanganga River and Ratle (on Chenab River) hydropower projects, both in Jammu and
    Kashmir.
    India and Pakistan signed the IWT in September 1960 after nine years of negotiations, with
    the World Bank being a signatory to the pact. The treaty allocates Western Rivers (Indus,
    Jhelum, Chenab) to Pakistan and Eastern Rivers (Ravi, Beas, Sutlej) to India.
  2. Meghalaya Governor BD Mishra has announced that Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya, will
    host the Space20 programme of G20 on 17th and 18th April 2023. The programme will
    discuss the contribution of the space partnerships to the economy of the countries.
    Group of 20 (G20):
    It is an intergovernmental forum of the world’s major developed and developing economies.
    It comprises Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia,
    Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the UK,
    the US, and the European Union (EU).
  3. The Chief Minister of Delhi Arvind Kejriwal has launched mechanisms such as a ‘super site’
    and a mobile air quality management van to collect pollution data in real-time to identify
    factors that are responsible for increasing air pollution at any place in Delhi.
    Through this initiative, Delhi has become the first city to get a real-time source
    segmentation of air pollution.
    The project has been initiated by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) in
    collaboration with IIT Kanpur, IIT Delhi, and TERI (The Energy and Resources Institute).
  4. PVR Cinemas has launched its 5-screen property at PVR Aerohub in Chennai International
    Airport, Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
    Key Points:
  • This is India’s First Multiplex housed within an airport complex.
  • Passengers can watch movies at the theatre during their layover time.
  • The five-screen property at the airport has a seating capacity of 1155 and is equipped with
    2K RGB+ laser projectors, digital stereoscopic projection and advanced Dolby Atmos highdefinition immersive audio.
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  • PVR Cinemas will have 12 locations in Chennai with 77 screens after this launch, and it will
    strengthen its position in TN with 88 screens spread across 14 properties.
  1. A new law called the ‘New Delhi International Arbitration Centre (Amendment) Act,
    2022′ has now come into force that will rename the New Delhi International Arbitration
    Centre to the India International Arbitration Centre.
    The Act came into force on 27th January 2023.
    Key points:
  • The Act has amended the New Delhi International Arbitration Centre Act, 2019.
  • The Act provides for setting up the New Delhi International Arbitration Centre and
    designates it as an institute of national importance.
  • The Act has replaced the International Centre for Alternative Dispute Resolution.
  • The Act amends Section 15(a) of the principal Act and facilitates the conduct of arbitration
    and other forms of alternative dispute resolution mechanism, both international and
    domestic, in the manner as may be specified by the regulations.
  • The Act allows the central government to provide for removing any difficulties in
    implementing the Act up to two years from the date of commencement of the Act. The Act
    extends this time period to 5 years.
  1. Exercise TOPCHI 2023, the annual firepower demonstration and training exercise of the
    Regiment of Artillery, has been conducted by the Indian Army at the School of Artillery in
    Devlali, Nashik, Maharashtra.
  • The exercise aims to demonstrate the coordinated use of firepower and surveillance
    assets, including guns, mortars, rocket launchers, drones, and aviation assets.
  • The exercise has showcased the firing by indigenously manufactured Artillery equipment
    viz. K-9 Vajra, Dhanush, Indian Field Gun (IFG) I Light Field Gun (LFG) System and Pinaka
    Multi Barrel Rocket Launchers.
  • The training exercise has also involved the SWATHI radar system and remotely-piloted
    vehicles.
  1. The ‘Mero Rukh Mero Santati’ initiative has been launched by Sikkim Chief Minister Shri
    Prem Singh Tamang. The ‘Mero Rukh Mero Santati’ is a novel green initiative that entails
    planting 100 saplings per child born in the State. This initiative aims to strengthen and
    reinforce the connection between parents, children, and nature by planting trees to
    commemorate childbirth while catering to the commitment of the State toward the
    conservation of the environment.
  2. Researchers have recently discovered 92 nesting sites containing a total of 256 fossil eggs of
    Titanosaurs, which were among the largest dinosaurs to have ever lived, in the Lameta
    Formation, Narmada Valley, Madhya Pradesh. The discovery of these fossilized eggs
    reveals intimate details about the lives of titanosaurs in the Indian subcontinent.
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  3. Recently, a new swallowtail butterfly has been spotted in Andhra Pradesh. It is named
    ‘Noble Helen’. Its origin is in China, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Cambodia. The butterfly
    has been disappearing in these countries and has recently been spotted in India.
  4. The Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan has recently launched a new
    scheme “Ladli behna” to provide Rs 1000 per month to all women belonging to Below
    Poverty Line, Lower Income Group, and Middle-Income Groups.
    The objective of this scheme is to support women’s empowerment by providing monthly
    financial assistance, irrespective of religion, caste, colour, and community.
    Madhya Pradesh government has decided to spend 60,000 Crore for the scheme over the
    period of 5 years.
  5. Recently, Pashmina (Cashmere) Shawl of Kashmir has been used as canvas for contemporary
    art at a French exhibition.
    Pashmina Shawl:
    It is known for their signature intricate buta or paisley patterns. It is made from Pashm –
    fleece of Changthangi Goat, native to Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.
  6. Geological Survey of India (GSI), under the Ministry of Mines, will be organizing the 62nd
    Central Geological Programming Board (CGPB) meeting at ICAR, Pusa, New Delhi on 9th
    February 2023.
    Union Minister of Coal, Mines and Parliamentary Affairs Shri Pralhad Joshi will be the Chief
    Guest and Shri Raosaheb Patil Danve, Minister of State for Mines, Coal and Railways will be
    the Guest of Honor.
  7. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated the India Energy Week (IEW) 2023 in
    Bengaluru, Karnataka. The Prime Minister has also launched the uniforms under the
    ‘Unbottled’ initiative of Indian Oil. These uniforms are made of recycled PET bottles.
    Key Highlights:
  • He also dedicated the twin-cooktop model of the Indian Oil’s Indoor Solar Cooking System
    and flagged off its commercial roll-out.
  • He has launched E20 fuel at 84 retail outlets of Oil Marketing Companies in 11 States/UTs
    along the lines of the ethanol blending roadmap.
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  • He also flagged off the Green Mobility Rally where vehicles running on green energy
    sources will participate and help create public awareness for green fuels.
    E20 fuel:
    The number “20” in “E20” refers to the percentage of ethanol in the gasoline blend. The
    higher the number, the higher the percentage of Ethanol in the gasoline. India’s current
    ethanol-to-petroleum mix is 10%, the highest it has ever been.
  1. The Indian Armed Forces and Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) have conducted a joint
    training exercise called “Exercise Trishakri Prahar” in North Bengal from 21st to 31st
    January 2023.
    The aim of the exercise is to practice battle preparedness of the Security Forces using the
    latest weapons and equipment in a networked, integrated environment, involving all arms
    and services of the Army, the Indian Air Force and CAPFs.
  2. Manish Sisodia, Deputy Chief Minister of the Government of Delhi has recently launched a
    WhatsApp chatbot, ‘Bal Mitra’, for enabling communication between people and the Delhi
    Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR).
  • The chatbot’s features include complaint registration, tracking complaint status, and
    seeking information on various child rights issues.
  • DCPCR plans to improve the chatbot by adding more features. It will be used to send
    customized nudge-based messages to parents, children, Anganwadi workers, etc.
  1. Minister of Tourism Madhya Pradesh (MP), Usha Thakur has inaugurated the “Gandhisagar
    Floating Festival 2023”, Asia’s first floating festival, in Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh (MP).
    About Gandhisagar Floating Festival 2023:
  • The festival is organized by the Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board (MPTB) to promote
    Gandhisagar as a tourist destination in both the domestic and international markets.
  • The Gandhisagar Floating Festival is operated and managed by LJS, Ahmedabad, Gujarat
    Gandhi Sagar Dam:
  • Gandhi Sagar Dam is one of the 4 major dams constructed on the Chambal River in the
    Mandsaur district of Madhya Pradesh.
  • The Gandhi Sagar Dam is a masonry gravity dam standing 62.17 meters high with a gross
    storage capacity of 7.322 billion cubic metres from its catchment area.
  1. Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has recently launched a Heli-Tourism service in Panaji.
    According to the Union Ministry of Tourism Ministry, its Swadesh Darshan Scheme has
    contributed vitally to the execution of this project. The helipad at Dauji-Ella in Old Goa has
    been constructed under the scheme.
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  2. Indore Municipal Corporation has launched secured redeemable non-convertible
    debentures (NCDs) of face value of ₹1000 each, aggregating up to Rs 122 crore, with an
    option to retain over-subscription of up to Rs 122 crore, taking the total issue size to Rs 244
    crore.
    The issue will open on 10 February and will close on 14 February.
    Debenture:
    A debenture is a type of bond or other debt instruments that is unsecured by collateral. Since
    debentures have no collateral backing, they must rely on the creditworthiness and reputation
    of the issuer for support. Both corporations and governments frequently issue debentures to
    raise capital or funds.
  3. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy has announced that Visakhapatnam
    will become the new capital of Andhra Pradesh. He has also announced that Andhra Pradesh
    will be organizing Global Investors Summit on the 3rd & 4th of March in Visakhapatnam.
  4. Union Home Minister Amit Shah has laid the foundation stone of a Rs 450-crore Nano urea
    plant and township of the Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative (IFFCO) in Deoghar,
    Jharkhand.
    Key Points:
  • The plant will be constructed at a cost of Rs 300 crore and the township at a cost of Rs
    150 crore.
  • The plant is scheduled to be commissioned in December 2024.
  • This will be India’s fifth Nano urea plant.
  • Nano urea will benefit farmers and it is already being exported to five countries.
    Nano urea improves crop productivity, soil health, and nutritional quality of produce and
    aims to address the imbalanced and excessive use of conventional urea.
    Note: The world’s first Nano urea plant was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in
    Gujarat.
  1. The Asian Waterbird Census 2023 has been conducted in the union territory of Ladakh
    between 17th and 19th January 2023.
    The census has been organized by the Himalaya project and the Department of Wildlife
    Protection of Ladakh in collaboration with the Ladakh Biodiversity Council, a statutory body
    of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC).
  • Himalaya project is a joint project by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
    and MoEFCC.
    Asian Waterbird Census-2023:
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  • The Project has been organized around two important hot springs of eastern Ladakh,
    Chumathang and Puga, along with other important birding sites like Tso Kar and along the
    banks of the Indus River in Shey and Phey villages.
  • A total of 52 bird species were observed during the survey (11 species were sighted in
    Chumathang, 10 in Puga, 21 in Shey, and 10 in Phey along the Indus River).
  • The observations were recorded on the eBird app, which is an online database of bird
    observations providing scientists, researchers, and amateur naturalists with real-time
    data about bird distribution and abundance.
  • The total number of species recorded across all the birding sites were 35, out of which 13
    species were waterbirds.
  1. Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh (UP), Yogi Adityanath has launched the “Aarohini Initiative
    Training Programme” for the safety and security of girls in all 746 Kastuba Gandhi Balika
    Vidyalayas (KGBV) in UP.
  • Under the newly launched campaign, the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan will work to ensure
    the safety and security of girls in all 746 KGBV.
  • It aims to make the daughters of the underprivileged section capable and self-reliant. It
    also aims to enable the girls to raise their voices for their rights.
    Aarohini Initiative Training Programme:
  • The Aarohini Initiative was established in 2011. It is a girl’s empowerment and education
    program rooted firmly in the philosophy that girls and boys must receive an education.
  • The initiative was initially introduced in 946 KGBVs, government-run residential girls’
    schools, across UP and Rajasthan.
  • The programme will be implemented in 3 phases.
    o In the first phase, teachers will be trained. After receiving training, two teachers at
    every KGBV will educate girl students.
    o The institution will also groom the girls through debates and other activities along with
    the teachers.
    o In the third phase, the campaign will be run at the community level.
  1. The Maharashtra Cabinet headed by Chief Minster (CM) Eknath Shinde has designated “Jai
    Jai Maharashtra Maza” as the state song, which will now be played along with the National
    Anthem at all government events from 19th February.
    The state song will play at all government programmes after the National Anthem, which will
    remain supreme. All schools will also play the state anthem in addition to the daily prayer
    and National Anthem.
  • ‘Jai Jai Maharashtra Majha, Garja Maharashtra Majha’, which means ‘Glory to
    Maharashtra’, is penned by Raja Badhe.
  • The music is composed by Shrinivas Khale.
  • The song has been sung by Balladeer Krishnarao Sable, popularly known as Shaheer
    Sable.
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  • It is for the first time since the establishment of Maharashtra as a state in 1960 that the
    government has declared an official state song.
  1. Minister of Tourism Madhya Pradesh (MP), Usha Thakur has inaugurated the “Gandhisagar
    Floating Festival 2023”, Asia’s first floating festival, in Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh (MP).
    Gandhisagar Floating Festival 2023:
  • The festival is organized by the Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board (MPTB) to promote
    Gandhisagar as a tourist destination in both the domestic and international markets.
  • The Gandhisagar Floating Festival is operated and managed by LJS, Ahmedabad, Gujarat
    Gandhi Sagar Dam:
  • Gandhi Sagar Dam is one of the 4 major dams constructed on the Chambal River in the
    Mandsaur district of Madhya Pradesh.
  • The Gandhi Sagar Dam is a masonry gravity dam standing 62.17 meters high with a gross
    storage capacity of 7.322 billion cubic metres from its catchment area.
  1. Red Headed vulture has been spotted in India after a gap of 2 decades. It has been spotted
    in the Bhatti mines area of Delhi.
    Red-headed vulture (Sarcogyps calvus):
    It is also known as Asian King Vulture or Pondicherry Vulture. It was extensively found in the
    Indian Subcontinent but their population was drastically reduced by diclofenac poisoning.
    IUCN Status: Critically Endangered Species.
  2. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (Meity) and Meta have
    announced the list of 120 startups and innovators for the Extended Reality (XR) Startup
    Programme in New Delhi, Delhi.
  • The Programme includes an Accelerator and a Grand Challenge, aiming towards boosting
    the emerging Tech ecosystem in India.
  • The programme will discover, nurture, and accelerate XR Technology startups and
    innovators across India.
  • The programme supports 40 early-stage start-ups working in XR technologies with a grant
    of Rs 20 lakh each.
  • Among the selected startups, more than 30% are from Tier II or Tier III cities across Indi
    and women-led or co-led Startups and Innovators form over 20% of the cohort.
  1. American space agency NASA and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) have been
    working together on a joint mission ‘NISAR’ to build a state-of-the-art Earth observation
    satellite. The space agencies will give the close-up look at changes in Earth’s crust using
    advanced radar imaging. The NISAR observatory will be launched from Indian Soil in the first
    quarter of the year 2024.
  • NISAR is a joint Earth-observing mission between NASA and the Indian Space Research
    Organization (ISRO).

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

  1. Urban floods as seen in Acuklad, New Zealand recently could be avoided by implementing
    “sponge city concept”.
    Sponge city:
    It is a city that is designed to passively absorb, clean, and use rainfall in an ecologically
    friendly way that reduces dangerous and polluted runoff. Chinese architect Kongjian Yu
    created the concept of “sponge city” in early 2000s.
  2. SpaceX launched 53 of its Starlink internet satellites to orbit on its Falcon 9 rocket on 2nd
    February, marking the 200th flight of the workhorse rocket. The Falcon 9 rocket topped with
    53 Starlink craft lifted off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA.

REPORTS & INDICES

  1. The Ministry of Education (MoE), Government of India has released the All India Survey
    on Higher Education (AISHE) 2020-2021.
    For the first time, in AISHE 2020-21, the Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs) have filled data
    using entirely online data collection platform through the Web Data Capture Format (DCF)
    developed by the Department of Higher Education through the National Informatics Centre
    (NIC).
    Key highlights of the survey:
  • The total enrolment in higher education has increased to nearly 4.14 crore in 2020-21
    from 3.85 crore in 2019-20. Since 2014-15, there has been an increase of around 72 Lakh
    in the enrolment (21%).
  • The Female enrolment has increased to 2.01 crore from 1.88 crore in 2019-20. There has
    been an increase of around 44 Lakh (28%) since 2014-15.
  • The percentage of female enrolment to total enrolment has increased from 45% in 2014-
    15 to around 49% in 2020-21.
  • As per 2011 population projections for 18-23 years age group, GER has increased to 27.3
    from 25.6 in 2019-20.
  • Gender Parity Index (GPI), the ratio of female GER to male GER, has increased from 1 in
    2017-18 to 1.05 in 2020-21.
  • The enrolment of SC students is 58.95 Lakh as compared to 56.57 Lakh in 2019-20 and
    46.06 Lakh in 2014-15.
  • The enrolment of ST students has increased to 24.1 Lakh in 2020-21 from 21.6 Lakh in
    2019-20 and 16.41 Lakh in 2014-15.
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  • The enrolment of OBC students has also increased by 6 lakh to 1.48 crore in 2020-21,
    from 1.42 crore in 2019-20.
  • The total Student Enrolment in North East States is 12.06 Lakh in 2020-21 as compared to
    9.36 Lakh in 2014-15.
  • The enrolment in Distance Education is 45.71 Lakh (with 20.9 Lakh Female), an increase of
    around 7% since 2019-20 and 20% since 2014-15.
  • Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Rajasthan are
    the top 6 States in terms of number of student enrolled.
  • The enrolment in Institute of National Importance (INIs) has increased by nearly 61%
    during the period 2014-15 to 2020-21.
  • During 2020-21, the number of Universities has increased by 70, and the number of
    Colleges has increased by 1,453.
  • The Institutes of National Importance (INIs) have almost doubled from 75 in 2014-15 to
    149 in 2020-21.
  • Highest number of Universities is in Rajasthan (92), Uttar Pradesh (84) and Gujarat (83).
  • States with Highest college density: Karnataka (62), Telangana (53), Kerala (50), Himachal
    Pradesh (50), Andhra Pradesh (49),Uttarakhand (40), Rajasthan (40), Tamilnadu (40).
  • Top 8 Districts with Highest number of Colleges: Bangalore Urban (1058), Jaipur (671),
    Hyderabad (488), Pune (466), Prayagraj (374), Rangareddy (345), Bhopal (327) and Nagpur
    (318).
  • Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra
    Pradesh, Gujarat are top 8 States in terms of number of colleges.
  • The total number of faculty/teachers are 15,51,070 of which about 57.1% are male and
    42.9% are female.
  • The female per 100 male faculty has improved to 75 in 2020-21 from 74 in 2019-20 and 63
    in 2014-15.
    AISHE:
    It has been conducted since 2011 by the MoE covering all higher educational institutions
    located in country. It collects detailed information on different educational parameters.
  1. India’s solar module manufacturing capacity is expected to reach approximately 95 gigawatt
    (GW) by the end of the calendar year (CY) 2025, according to the newly released report ‘State
    of Solar PV Manufacturing in India’ by Mercom India Research.
    Highlights of the Report:
  • Indian PV (photovoltaic) manufacturers are strategically poised to expand their production
    capacities and adopt new technologies in the coming years on the back of government
    incentive programmes.
  • States are promoting domestic solar manufacturing through fiscal and non-fiscal
    incentives under industrial, electronics, and solar policies.
  • India has Installed solar cell manufacturing capacity as of September 2022 was about 4.7
    GW and could increase seven-fold by the end of CY 2024.
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  • In September 2022, the Cabinet approved a Rs 19,500-crore production-linked incentive
    (PLI) scheme on a ‘national programme on high-efficiency solar PV modules with an aim to
    attract Rs 94,000 crore investment in the sector.
    Note: India’s Bhadla Solar Park is the largest solar power park in the world. Bhadla Solar
    Park is located in Bhadla, a dry and sandy region in Rajasthan, and spans 14,000 acres. There
    are over 10 million solar panels at the park, which contribute to an operational capacity of
    2245MW.
  1. As per the Economic Survey 2022-23, the Gross Tax Revenue has registered a YoY growth of
    15.5 percent from April to November 2022, and the Net Tax Revenue to the Centre after the
    assignment to states grew by 7.9 percent on a YoY basis.
  • During April-November 2022, the government’s gross tax revenue stood at Rs 17.81 lakh
    crore or 64.6 percent of the full-year target of Rs.27.58 lakh crore.
  • Of this, direct tax collection is Rs.8.67 lakh crore and indirect tax collection is Rs.8.91 lakh
    crore.
    The survey has highlighted that high imports have led to a 12.4 % YoY growth in the customs
    collection from April to November 2022. The excise duty collection has declined by 20.9 %
    from April to November 2022 on a YoY basis.
    GST Collection:
    The GST Tax payers have doubled to 1.4 crore from 70 lakhs in 2022. The gross GST
    collections from April to December 2022 is Rs.13.40 lakh crore. Thus, implying a YoY growth
    of 24.8 % with an average monthly collection of Rs.1.5 lakh crore
  1. A new report titled “Asia-Pacific Overview of Food Security and Nutrition 2022: Urban
    Food Security and Nutrition” states that an increasing number of people in Asia lack
    enough to eat as food insecurity rises with greater prices and worsening poverty.
    This joint flagship report is published by 4 specialized agencies of the United Nations
    (UN):
  • The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
  • The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
  • The World Food Programme (WFP)
  • The World Health Organization (WHO)
    Key Points:
  • The 5F crisis, which refers to a lack of food, feed, fuel, fertilizer, and finance, is driving
    millions of people in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, which is home to the majority of the
    world’s population, into hunger and poverty.
  • The report highlighted that a healthy diet is unaffordable in most countries of Asia and
    the Pacific for nearly two billion inhabitants.
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  • Globally, the prevalence of food insecurity increased from 21% in 2014 to over 29% in
    2021.
  1. According to the Global Payments Report by Worldpay FIS, India’s e-commerce market has
    been projected to grow at 18 percent annually through 2025. The Government EMarketplace (GeM) attained an annual procurement of Rs.1 lakh crore within FY22,
    representing a 160% growth compared to last FY.
    Initiatives taken by the Government for the promotion of e-Commerce, including the Digital
    India program, UPI, One District – One Product (ODOP) initiative, Open Network for Digital
    Commerce (ONDC) etc., have been major contributory factors to the growth of E-commerce
    in recent years.
  2. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has declared in its country report titled “LIFE
    lessons from India -The benefits of advancing the Lifestyle for Environment (LIFE)
    initiative through the G20” that LiFE initiative would save consumers globally around USD
    440 billion in 2030 through both lower consumption and lower prices, corresponding to
    around 5% of total fuel spending across the global economy that year.
    Key Points:
  • According to the IEA’s modelling, the adoption worldwide of the kinds of actions and
    measures targeted by LiFE – including behavioural changes and sustainable consumer
    choices would reduce annual global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by more than 2
    billion tonnes (Gt) in 2030.
  • This is about one-fifth of the emissions reductions needed by 2030 to put the world on a
    pathway to net zero emissions.
    Lifestyle for Environment (LiFE) initiative:
    The Lifestyle for Environment (LiFE) initiative was announced by Prime Minister Narendra
    Modi at COP26 in Glasgow in November 2021 to encourage the adoption of sustainable
    lifestyles to tackle the environment and climate crisis.
    The initiative was further developed and formally launched in October 2022 by Prime
    Minister Modi and the UN Secretary-General António Guterrez as Mission LiFE, a global mass
    movement led by India to nudge individual and community behavioural change in order to
    reduce emissions, protect the environment and conserve resources.
  1. As per the Economic Survey 2022-23:
    The performance of the agriculture and allied sector has been buoyant over the past several
    years.
  • Private investment in agriculture increases to 9.3% in 2020-21.
  • MSP for all mandated crops fixed at 1.5 times of all India weighted average cost of
    production since 2018.
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  • The institutional credit to the Agricultural Sector has continued to grow to 18.6 lakh crore
    in 2021-22
  • The foodgrains production in India stood at 315.7 million tonnes in 2021-22.
  • Free foodgrains to about 81.4 crore beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act for
    one year from January 1, 2023.
  • About 11.3 crore farmers were covered under the PM Kisan Scheme in its April-July 2022-
    23 payment cycle.
  • Rs.13,681 crores sanctioned for Post-Harvest Support and Community Farms under the
    Agriculture Infrastructure Fund.
  • Online, Competitive, Transparent Bidding System with 1.74 crore farmers and 2.39 lakh
    traders put in place under the National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) Scheme.
  • Organic Farming being promoted through Farmer Producer Organisations (FPO) under
    the Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY).
  • India stands at the forefront to promote millets through the International Year of Millets
    2023 initiative.
  1. As per the Economic Survey 2022-23, India has projected GDP growth of 6.0 per cent to 6.8
    per cent in 2023-24, depending on the trajectory of economic and political developments
    globally.
    The survey has projected a baseline GDP growth of 6.5 percent in real terms in FY24,
    compared to 7% this fiscal and 8.7% in 2021-22.
  2. India’s unemployment rate has declined by 7.14% in January 2023 from 8.30% in December
    2023, according to the data from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE).
    Key highlights:
  • The unemployment rate was 8.03% in November 2022, 7.92% in October 2022 and 6.43%
    in September 2022.
  • Rural unemployment was 6.48% in January 2023, and urban unemployment was 8.55%.
  • Jammu and Kashmir had the highest unemployment rate among the states with 21.8%,
    followed by Haryana (21.7%), and Rajasthan (21.1 %).
  • Unemployment in Delhi in January was at 16.75, in Goa (16.2%), Assam (16.1%) and
    Tripura (16%).
  • Chhattisgarh is the lowest unemployment rate among the states with 0.5%, followed by
    Odisha (1.5%), Tamil Nadu (1.8%), and Madhya Pradesh (1.9%).
    Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE):
    The Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) is an independent private limited entity
    that serves both as an economic think-tank as well as a business information company. CMIE
    was founded by Narottam Shah on 13 April 1976.

GOVERNMENT SCHEMES & PROGRAMMES

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  1. The Employees’ Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) has launched a massive district
    outreach program, ‘Nidhi Aapke Nikat 2.0’, in all districts of the country. This programme
    has been e-launched by Secretary, Ministry of Labour & Employment, Government of India,
    Arti Ahuja on 27th January 2023.
  • Nidhi Aapke Nikat 2.0 will be conducted on the 27th of every month at all district
    headquarters of EPFO (starting from January 2023) to reach out to all the districts of the
    country on the same day.
  • EPFO organized camps in 685 districts of the country to create participatory awareness
    among all stakeholders and provide a grievance redressal platform.
    Note: In the year 2015, Bhavishya Nidhi Adalat was rechristened as Nidhi Aapke Nikat.
  1. The Union Budget 2023-24 has announced that ‘PM-PRANAM’ scheme will be launched to
    incentivize States and Union Territories to promote alternative fertilizers and balanced use of
    chemical fertilizers.
  • PM-PRANAM stands for PM Programme for Restoration, Awareness, Nourishment, and
    Amelioration of Mother Earth.
  • It will be launched under the GOBAR (Galvanizing Organic Bio-Agro Resources Dhan)
    Scheme.
  1. PM Vishwakarma Kaushal Samman (PM VIKAS):
    The Union Budget 2023-24 has announced a new scheme for the traditional artisans and
    craftspeople, generally referred to as Vishwakarma. The new scheme will:-
    (a) Enable them to improve the quality, scale and reach of their products, integrating them
    with the MSME value chain
    (b) Include not only financial support but also access to advanced skill training, knowledge of
    modern digital techniques and efficient green technologies, brand promotion, linkage with
    local and global markets, digital payments, and social security
    (c) Greatly benefit the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, OBCs, women and people
    belonging to the weaker sections.
  2. As stated in the Annual Budget 2023-24, 500 new “waste to wealth” plants will be established
    under the GOBAR (Galvanizing Organic Bio-Agro Resources Dhan) Scheme.
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  • These will include 200 compressed biogas (CBG) plants, including 75 plants in urban areas,
    and 300 community or cluster-based plants at total investment of Rs.10,000 crore.
  • All the natural and bio-mass marketers should include at least 5% of Compressed Bio Gas
    from now on.
  1. The Startup India Seed Fund Scheme (SISFS), a flagship scheme under the Startup India
    initiative has been implemented with effect from 1
    st April 2021.
    Under the Scheme, Rs. 477.25 crore has been approved to 133 incubators of which Rs.
    211.63 crore has been disbursed as on 31st December 2022 as per the statement made by
    Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, Shri Som Parkash.
  • The flagship schemes under the Startup India initiative namely, Fund of Funds for Startups
    (FFS), Startup India Seed Fund Scheme (SISFS), and Credit Guarantee Scheme for Startups
    (CGSS) extend support to startups at various stages of their business cycle.
  • The Startup India Seed Fund Scheme (SISFS) has been approved with a corpus of Rs. 945
    crore for the period of 4 years starting from 2021-22.
  • Under SISFS, as per provisions of the Scheme, the Government has constituted an Experts
    Advisory Committee (EAC) which is responsible for the overall execution and monitoring
    of the SISFS.
  • The EAC evaluates and selects incubators for the allocation of funds under the Scheme.
    Startup India initiative:
    The Government with an intent to build a strong ecosystem for nurturing innovation,
    startups, and encouraging private investments in startup ecosystem of the country has
    launched the Startup India initiative on 16th January 2016.

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

  1. The Society for Applied Microwave Electronics Engineering & Research (SAMEER), India’s
    premier R&D Institute of Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY), has signed a Memorandum of
    Understanding (MoU) with Siemens Healthineers, a Germany-based Healthcare company,
    to ensure the availability of low-cost Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Technology in
    India.
    This MoU will provide quality, and affordable healthcare and diagnostic access for every
    Indian.
  2. Tamil Nadu-based Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) has started the export of its first Special
    Aviation Fuel (SAF) for small aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), AVGAS (aviation
    gasoline) 100 LL, blue aviation gasoline with a high octane number, to Papua New Guinea
    from GTI Terminal of Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust.
    The shipment consisted of 16 KL (Kilolitre) of AVGAS packed in 80 barrels.
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    AVGAS 100 LL is an aviation fuel used in training aircraft.
  3. Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has been included in the 25th edition of FORTUNE
    magazine’s list of the “World’s Most Admired Companies” for 2023.
  • Apple has topped the list for the 16th consecutive year. Amazon and Microsoft tied for
    second.
  1. The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) has signed a Memorandum of
    Understanding (MoU) with Engineers India Limited (EIL) to develop Waste to Energy and
    bio-methanation projects in cities with a population of million plus as a part of furthering the
    ‘Green Growth’ agenda.
    The MoU was signed in the presence of Manoj Joshi, Secretary, MoHUA, and Vartika Shukla,
    (CMD of EIL).
    In the first phase, cities with a 25 million-plus population will be selected for developing largescale process plants.
  2. Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (DA&FW) under the Ministry of
    Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has entered into a partnership with the Development
    Innovation Lab (DIL) at the University of Chicago to explore the opportunities to harness
    innovation to improve food security, address climate change, and allow farmers to increase
    their incomes. During the signing of the MoU, the DIL was represented by the University of
    Chicago trust in India. This MoU has been signed in New Delhi, Delhi.
  3. The Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) has signed a Memorandum of
    Understanding (MoU) with Rolls Royce Solutions of Germany to locally manufacture Rolls
    Royce’s high-quality marine diesel engine in India.
    Under this MoU, GRSE and Rolls Royce Solutions will co-operate in the licence production and
    localisation of the technologically advanced MTU S4000 governmental marine engines.
  4. The Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) has recently signed a
    Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Nalsoft for Enterprise Resource Planning
    (ERP) implementation.
    TSRTC is the first State Road Transport Corporation undertaking in India to commission and
    implement ERP.
  5. AZAD Engineering Private Limited, a Hyderabad-based market leader in Precision
    Engineering has signed a long-term supply agreement with GE Steam Power for the supply of
    Nuclear Turbines parts.
  • AZAD is the first Indian company to supply critical rotating parts for Nuclear Turbines.
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  • The first set of critical parts has now been delivered and will be assembled on Nuclear
    Turbines manufactured in Belfort, France.
  1. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and IBM (International Business
    Machines Corporation) have collaborated to develop Artificial Intelligence (AI) based models
    that will make it easier to mine vast datasets to advance scientific knowledge about Earth and
    help the world to adapt to a changing environment.
  • Under this collaboration, NASA and IBM will create AI foundation models to analyze
    petabytes of text and remote-sensing data to make it easier to build AI applications
    tailored to specific questions and tasks.
  • The collaborative work will apply AI foundation model technology to NASA’s Earthobserving satellite data for the first time.
  1. Eminent Air Private Limited, a drone start-up, has showcased India’s first one-of-its-kind
    drone with a Parachute Integrated system as part of an event to mark its inaugural flight.
    The inaugural flight was a part of a live demonstration to highlight the drone’s capabilities
    and features.
    Features:
  • The drone comes with a “Parachute Integrated System” as part of this promise, which
    ensures safe and dependable delivery of items and eliminates any potential risk during
    the operation.
  • The variable lifting capability of the drone allows it to carry a payload in multiple
    configurations using multiple batteries.
  • The payload compartment of the drone is equipped with an ‘Insulated Vaccine Carrier’
    that keeps temperature-sensitive items like vaccines and medicines, safe.
    Eminent Air Private Limited:
    Eminent Air Private Limited is a Private Company incorporated on 10 Mar 2022. Its registered
    office is in New Delhi, Delhi, India. It’s a company limited by shares having an authorized
    capital of Rs 10.00 lakh and a paid-up capital of Rs 1.00 lakh.
  1. To ensure stability in the supplies of soil nutrients four Indian fertilizer firms, state-run
    National Fertilisers Limited and Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilisers Limited and
    Chambal Fertilisers and Chemicals Limited and Paradeep Phosphates Limited have
    signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Morocco’s OCP Group for annual
    imports of 1.75 million tonnes (MT) of phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) fertilizers at Rabat,
    Morocco.
    As per the MoU, one MT of diammonium phosphate (DAP), 0.7 MT of triple superphosphate
    (TSP), and 0.05 MT of murate of potash (MOP) will be imported to meet the domestic
    requirements of the soil nutrients varieties for the next one year.
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  2. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI), a major American energy and defence
    corporation, has started three significant projects in India in the field of artificial intelligence
    (AI), drones and semiconductors following the establishment of a landmark India-US initiative
    on Critical and Emerging Technology (ICET).
    Partnerships:
  • GA-ASI has entered into a partnership with Bharat Forge Limited (BFL). Bharat Forge is
    one of the leading forging companies in India.
  • In order to create the next generation AI technologies, GA-ASI has partnered with 114ai,
    an Indian AI company.
  • In the field of semiconductors, GA-ASI has partnered with the Indian start-up 3rdiTech.
    Note: 114ai is an information technology company that manages data with the use of AI
    across Industries.
  1. Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL), the premier Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE)
    under the Ministry of Coal has introduced drone technology in coal mines by launching a
    web-based portal “VIHANGAM” along with a drone and ground control system.
    Features of Portal:
  • The portal allows an authorized person to access real time drone video from the
    mine through a dedicated 40 Mbps internet lease line near the mines.
  • There is a control station that flies the drone and the system can be operated through the
    portal from anywhere.
    This pilot project is at present operational at Bhubaneswari and Lingraj opencast mines of
    Talcher Coalfields.
    MCL is making use of drone technology for environmental monitoring, volume measurement,
    and photogrammetric mapping of mine for digitInitiativesof mining process.
    Other Initiative by MCL:
    MCL has recently introduced Robotic Nozzle Water Sprayer in its coal stockyard. Coal
    companies use Robot-assisted firefighting and dust suppression advanced technology to
    carry out difficult and dangerous jobs.
  • The equipment can spray water up to 70 meters in the form of mist.
  • The nozzle also termed as swivel nozzle, is installed on a water tanker of 28 kilolitres
    capacity.
    Note: Engaged in coal mining activities in Sundergarh, Jharsuguda and Angul districts of
    Odisha, Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL) contributes more than 20 % of the total coal produced
    in India.
  1. Electronics and Radar Development Establishment (LRDE), a Bengaluru lab of the
    Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed an UnFurlable
    Reflector Antenna (UFRA), one of the major subsystems of space radar.
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  • The UFRA has a significant role in both Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the
    Military.
  • LRDE has developed the UFRA system which consists of a rim truss-based deployable
    mechanism, primary arm, reflector mesh, tension ties, nets, and motor.
  • A cable is routed through the diagonal members of the rim truss elements.
    Electronics and Radar Development Establishment:
    Electronics and Radar Development Establishment (LRDE) is a laboratory of the Defence
    Research & Development Organisation (DRDO), India. It is located in C.V. Raman Nagar,
    Bengaluru, Karnataka. Its primary function is the research and development of radars and
    related technologies.
  1. Nagaland government and Patanjali Foods Limited have signed a Memorandum of
    Understanding (MoU) for development and area expansion under palm oil cultivation and
    processing for Zone-II (Mokokchung, Longleng and Mon districts) of Nagaland under the
    National Mission on Edible Oils-Oil Palm (NMEO-OP).
  • The MoU was signed by the Director of Agriculture, Nagaland, M Ben Yanthan, and
    Patanjali Foods Ltd Head-NE Region, Oil Palm Subhas Bhattacharjee at the Directorate of
    Agriculture, Kohima, Nagaland.
  • This will certainly bring a big boost for the oil palm growers in the state of Nagaland and
    the region.
    Note: Patanjali Foods Ltd is already working in the states of Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh,
    Assam and Tripura
    in the North East.
  1. Drone Destination (DD) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the
    Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Patna to open Bihar’s first government-approved
    drone training hub.
    Drone Destination (DD):
  • Drone Destination (DD) is the drone training partner of Indira Gandhi National Flying
    Academy (IGRUA) under the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) and has several centres
    across India.
  • Drone Destination has become the first Drone Training Organisation to certify over 1,200
    DGCA-certified Drone Pilots in the country along with IGRUA and Sanskardham.
  1. The Ministry of Cooperation, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, the
    National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), and CSC e-Governance
    Services India Limited have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to enable
    Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS) and provide services offered by Common
    Service Centres (CSCs) in New Delhi, Delhi.
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  • The MoU was signed in the presence of Amit Shah, Union Home Minister and Minister of
    Cooperation, and Ashwini Vaishnaw, Union Minister of Electronics and Information
    Technology.
    Primary Agricultural Credit Society:
    A Primary Agricultural Credit Society is a basic unit and the smallest cooperative credit
    institution in India. It works on the grassroots level.
    Common Service Centres:
    Common Service Centres are physical facilities for delivering Government of India e-Services
    to rural and remote locations where the availability of computers and Internet was negligible
    or mostly absent
    CSCs are the access points for the delivery of essential public utility services, social welfare
    schemes, healthcare, financial, education and agriculture services to citizens in rural and
    remote areas of the country.
  • Founder: Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology
  • Founded: 16 July 2009
  • Headquarters: New Delhi
  1. The Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) has recently signed a
    Memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) to
    collaborate on Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programmes.
    The MoU will focus on Australian training standards and delivery in sectors ranging across
    automotive, allied health, mining, IT, cyber security, renewable energy, logistics, supply chain,
    and water management.
  • Austrade’s Australia-India Future Skills Initiative team in India will execute these actions
    with CII.
  • The Australia-India Future Skills Initiative is the Australian Government’s flagship program
    to support India’s workforce and skills development through partnerships with Australian
    vocational education, training, and skills providers.
    Other MoU:
    Austrade has also signed an MoU with the Leather Sector Skill Council (LSSC) to
    collaborate on Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programmes and
    introduce Australian training standards in the leather sector in India.

BANKING & FINANCE

  1. The Union Budget 2023-24 has announced the establishment of the ‘UIDF’ for the use of
    priority sector lending shortfall.
  • UIDF stands for Urban Infrastructure Development Fund (UIDF).
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  • This will be managed by the National Housing Bank.
  • This will be used by public agencies to create urban infrastructure in Tier-2 and Tier-3
    cities, for which Rs.10,000 crore will be allocated annually.
  1. RailTel Corporation of India has received a work order from the State Bank of India (SBI)
    for providing 4G LTE connectivity to 15,000 offsite ATMs spread across India.
  • The project also entails the operations and maintenance of the entire network for a
    period of 5 years.
  • The estimated total value of the project awarded to RailTel is Rs 253.35 crore.
  • The project also includes the establishment of a Network Operations Centre (NOC),
    backhaul connectivity to the Data centre & Disaster Recovery centre (DC-DR) of SBI, a live
    dashboard for SLA monitoring, 24X7 helpdesk, etc.
  1. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is the sixth minister in independent India to present
    five consecutive budget. The Union Budget for the fiscal year starting April 2023 is her fifth
    straight since 2019.
    Other ministers who have presented five straight annual financial statements include Arun
    Jaitley, P Chidambaram, Yashwant Sinha, Manmohan Singh and Morarji Desai.
    Note: Former Prime Minister Morarji Desai holds the record for presenting the maximum
    number of Budgets, including two Interim Budgets. He tabled the Union Budget 10 times
    from 1959 to 1963.
  2. IDFC Limited has announced that it is investing Rs 2,200 crore in IDFC First Bank to increase
    its stake in the bank to 40 percent from 36.38 percent currently.
    The IDFC board has also declared a special interim dividend of Rs 11 per share, due to which
    the Government of India, the largest shareholder in IDFC, would receive a payout of Rs 287
    crore.
  3. The Union Budget 2023-24 has announced the introduction of the revamped version of the
    Credit Guarantee Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE) scheme from 1 April
    2023 through the infusion of Rs.9000 crore in the corpus. This will enable additional
    collateral-free guaranteed credit of Rs.2 lakh crore. The cost of the credit will be reduced by
    about 1 percent.
    It has been announced that a National Financial Information Registry will be set up to
    serve as the central repository of financial and ancillary information.
  • This will facilitate efficient flow of credit, promote financial inclusion, and foster financial
    stability.
  • A new legislative framework will govern this credit public infrastructure, and it will be
    designed in consultation with the RBI.
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    CGTMSE scheme:
    It was launched in August 2000. The scheme provides guarantees to help small businesses
    access loans. The guarantees provided by the scheme ranges from 75-85% of the loan.
  1. The maximum deposit limit for the Senior Citizen Savings Scheme (SCSS) has been
    increased from Rs.15 lakh to Rs.30 lakh in the Union Budget 2023-24.
    The maximum deposit limit for Monthly Income Account Scheme will be enhanced from
    Rs.4.5 lakh to Rs.9 lakh for single account and from Rs.9 lakh to Rs.15 lakh for joint account.
  2. As of end-November 2022, India is the sixth largest foreign exchange reserves holder in the
    world according to data compiled by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
    India’s forex reserves augmented to USD 562.7 billion as of December-end of 2022 covering
    9.3 months of imports.
    India’s foreign exchange reserves was USD 577 billion during April-December 2020 while it
    was USD 607 billion during April-December 2021.
    India has relatively low levels of total debt as a percentage of Gross National Income and
    short-term debt as a percentage of total debt.
  3. In the recently published Economic Survey 2023, the Gross Non-Performing Asset (GNPA)
    ratio of scheduled commercial banks (SCBs) has decreased from 8.2% in March 2020 to a
    seven-year low of 5.0% in September 2022, while Net Non-Performing Assets (NNPA) have
    dropped to a ten-year low of 1.3% of total assets.
    The gross GNPA’s will likely to drop 4.9 percent by March 2023.
    The survey has stated that the Capital-to-Risk Weighted Assets Ratio (CRAR) remains healthy
    at 16.0 and well above the regulatory requirement of 11.5.
  4. As per the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE), the National Stock Exchange of India
    (NSE) has emerged as the 3rd largest exchange in the world in the equity segment by the
    number of trades (electronic order book) in 2022, up from 4th in 2021.
    According to the Futures Industry Association (FIA), a derivatives traded body, the NSE has
    again emerged as the world’s largest derivatives exchange in 2022, in terms of the
    number of contracts traded in 2022. This is the fourth consecutive year when NSE earned the
    top spot.
  5. Edelweiss Mutual Fund has launched India’s first passive short-duration fund. The scheme,
    Edelweiss CRISIL IBX 50:50 Gilt Plus SDL Short Duration Index Fund, will invest in a
    diversified portfolio of Indian government bonds and state development loans (SDL).
    The scheme will invest 50 percent in Indian government bonds and 50 percent in SDLs.
    This fund offers better predictability on asset allocation, credit quality, and duration, and is a
    low-cost substitute over other active funds for short-term investments.
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  6. As per the latest “World Economic Outlook Update of January 2023” by the International
    Monetary Fund (IMF), India’s economic growth will slow down to 6.1% during 2023 as
    compared to 6.8% in 2022 before picking up to 6.8% in 2024.
    Global growth is projected to fall from an estimated 3.4 percent in 2022 to 2.9 percent in
    2023, then rise to 3.1 percent in 2024.
  7. According to the Economic Survey 2022-23, India is the largest recipient of remittances in
    the world receiving US$ 100 billion in 2022. Remittances are the second largest major source
    of external financing after service export.
    India is followed by Mexico (USD 60 billion) & China (USD 51 billion).
  • India’s forex reserves augmented to USD 562.7 billion as of December-end of 2022
    covering 9.3 months of imports.
  • India’s foreign exchange reserves was USD 577 billion during April-December 2020 while it
    was USD 607 billion during April-December 2021.
  • India has relatively low levels of total debt as a percentage of Gross National Income and
    short-term debt as a percentage of total debt.
  1. The Union Budget 2023-24 has made the new tax regime the default option for every
    taxpayer. However, citizens will continue to have the option to avail the benefit of the old tax
    regime.
    Under the simplified tax regime (STR), income slab and tax rates for individuals have been
    reduced to five slabs from the existing six slabs leading to an effective tax saving of
    Rs.49,400 (considering standard deduction of Rs.50,000 and including the education cess) for
    income up to Rs.15 lakh.
Tax RateProposed Income  slab
NilUp to Rs.3 lakh
5%Rs.3 lakh to Rs.6 lakh
10%Rs.6 lakh to Rs.9 lakh
15%Rs.9 lakh to Rs.12 lakh
20%Rs.12 lakh to Rs.15 lakh
30%Above Rs.15 lakh
  1. IndusInd International Holdings Limited (IIHL), a subsidiary of the Hinduja Group, has
    received preliminary approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to increase its ownership
    in IndusInd Bank to 26%.
    As a result, the Hinduja Group will contribute more than Rs. 10,000 crore to IndusInd Bank.
    With this, IndusInd Bank has become the first bank to have its promoter increase its
    shareholding to 26%.
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  2. Kotak Mahindra Bank Limited (KMBL) has announced that it has implemented the first
    phase of the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) Digital Rupee (eRs).
    KMBL is among the eight banks shortlisted by RBI to implement a pilot project for the
    issuance of Digital Rupee, a legal tender that is similar to banknotes and coins, issued in a
    digital form by RBI.
    Key Points:
  • The bank will launch the Digital Rupee pilot in Mumbai, Delhi and Ahmedabad.
  • KMBL customers will be sent an email/SMS invite to download the Digital Rupee app.
  • The digital rupee wallet operates in a similar fashion as a physical wallet but in a digital
    form, and will be accessible for download on Android operating system smartphones.
  1. Infibeam Avenues Limited’s flagship brand, “CCAvenue” has become India’s first payment
    gateway player to process Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) or Digital Rupee transactions
    for online retail merchants, among payment gateway players.
    The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has identified 8 banks for phase-wised participation in the
    retail pilot project for CBDC.
  • The first phase includes four banks, namely the State Bank of India, the ICICI Bank, the Yes
    Bank, and the IDFC First Bank.
  • In the second phase, the pilot will be carried out by Bank of Baroda, Union Bank of India,
    HDFC Bank and Kotak Mahindra Ban
    The company hasalso launched the CCAvenue Mobile App – the world’s most advanced
    omnichannel payment platform with the revolutionary TapPay solution.
    Payment Aggregator license from RBI
    Infibeam Avenues Limited recently received the Payment Aggregator license from RBI,
    followed by a perpetual license to operate as Bharat Bill Payment Operating Unit (BBPOU)
    under the Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS) from RBI.
    CCAvenue:
    CCAvenue is a payment gateway service that enables businesses to process online payments.
    It supports a wide range of payment methods, including credit cards, debit cards, and net
    banking.
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  1. New India Assurance (NIA) has launched a ‘Pay as You Drive’ (PAYD) policy, which offers a
    comprehensive motor insurance policy that charges a premium based on the usage of the
    vehicle.
    The policy has two components – third-party cover and own-damage cover.
    New India Assurance (NIA):
    The New India Assurance Company Limited, is a central public sector undertaking under the
    ownership of the Ministry of Finance, Government of India. It is based in Mumbai,
    Maharashtra. “It is the largest nationalized general insurance company of India on the basis
    of gross premium collection inclusive of foreign operations”.
  • CMD: Neerja Kapur
  • Founded: 23 July 1919, Mumbai
  1. The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has strengthened the framework for
    green bonds by introducing the concept of ‘blue’ and ‘yellow’ bonds as new modes of
    sustainable finance.
    Blue bonds relate to water management and the marine sector, while yellow bonds pertain
    to solar energy. These are sub-categories of green debt.
    These are sub-categories of green debt securities.
    Green Debt Security:
    SEBI broadly defines green debt security as one that is issued for the purpose of raising
    capital to be used for the cause of sustainable development or furthering energy efficiency.
    Sustainable finance:
    Sustainable finance is the set of financial regulations, standards, norms and products that
    pursue an environmental objective. It allows the financial system to connect with the
    economy and its populations by financing its agents while maintaining a growth objective.
  2. Mobicule, a niche player and expert in debt collection has announced the launch of the
    mCollect Repossession module, an industry first for banks and Non-Banking Financial
    Companies (NBFCs).
    The revolutionary Asset Repossession Solution is a comprehension solution that maps all the
    complex processes in the repossession of an asset, as a part of its debt collection and
    recovery product.

RBI IN NEWS

  1. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has partially relaxed the restrictions it recently imposed on
    SBM Bank (India) Ltd by allowing ATM/POS transactions under Liberalised Remittance
    Scheme (LRS) through KYC-compliant internationally active debit cards issued by the bank.
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    The relaxation is up to March 15, 2023 or till the further order by RBI.
    The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on January 23, 2023 had directed SBM Bank (India) Ltd to
    stop, with immediate effect, all transactions under Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS) till
    further orders. The order was based on certain material supervisory concerns observed in
    the bank.
    Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS):
  • Under the Liberalised Remittance Scheme, all resident individuals, including minors, are
    allowed to freely remit up to USD 2,50,000 per financial year (April – March) for any
    permissible current or capital account transaction or a combination of both.
  • Further, resident individuals can avail of foreign exchange facility for the purposes
    mentioned in Para 1 of Schedule III of FEM (CAT) Amendment Rules 2015, dated May 26,
    2015, within the limit of USD 2,50,000 only.
  • The Scheme was introduced on February 4, 2004, with a limit of USD 25,000. The LRS limit
    has been revised in stages consistent with prevailing macro and micro economic
    conditions.
  • It is mandatory for the resident individual to provide his/her Permanent Account
    Number (PAN) for all transactions under LRS made through Authorized Persons.
  1. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has been publishing a composite Reserve Bank of India –
    Digital Payments Index (RBI-DPI) since January 1, 2021, with March 2018 as the base to
    capture the extent of digitization of payments across the country.
  • The index for September 2022 stands at 377.46 as against 349.30 for March 2022.
  • The RBI-DPI index has increased across all parameters driven by significant growth in
    payment infrastructure and payment performance across the country over the period.

The index series since its inception is as under:

PeriodRBI DPI Index
March 2018 (Base)100
March 2019153.47
September 2019173.49
March 2020207.84
September 2020217.74
March 2021270.59
September 2021304.06

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

  1. The Indian Institutional Ranking Framework (IIRF) has released the Top Management and
    Business School 2023.
  • The Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad is the top government college in
    India for pursuing the Master of Business Administration (MBA) course.
  • IIM Bengaluru, and IIM Kolkata are ranked second and third, respectively, after IIM
    Ahmedabad.
  • IIM Lucknow climbed from 5th to 4th place in 2022, overtaking the Faculty of Management
    Studies of the University of Delhi, which was 4th in 2022.
    Private Colleges:
    Among private colleges, the Xavier Labour Relations Institute (XLRI), Jamshedpur has
    been ranked first, followed by the Management Development Institute (MDI), Gurugram, and
    Symbiosis Institute of Business Management, Pune, Maharashtra.
    Top Colleges in other categories:
  • The Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad has topped the list for “School of
    Eminence of Employability”. It is followed by XLRI and MDI.
  • Symbiosis Institute of Business Management, Pune, Maharashtra has topped the list
    of the “Top-10 B-schools under University Programs in India 2023”.
  1. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced the best marching contingents and
    tableaux of the Republic Day Parade 2023 in two separate results, one selected by the 3
    member Expert Committee of the Ministry of Defence and the other through an online public
    vote conducted by the MyGov platform.
    On the basis of the assessment of the panels, the results are as under:
Best Marching Contingent  among the three servicesPunjab Regiment Centre Contingent
Best Marching Contingent  among CAPF/other  auxiliary forcesCRPF Marching Contingent
Best three Tableaux  (States/UTs)First – Uttarakhand (Manaskhand) Second – Maharashtra (Sade Tin  Shaktipithe & Nari Shakti) Third – Uttar Pradesh (Ayodhya  Deepotsav)
Best Tableau  (Ministries/Departments)Ministry of Tribal Affairs (Eklavya Model  Residential Schools (EMRSs))
Special PrizeCentral Public Works Department (Biodiversity Conservation) ‘Vande Bharatam’ Dance Group.
  1. Dr Manmohan Singh, former Prime Minister of India, has been honoured with the Lifetime
    Achievement Honour at the 2023 edition of the prestigious India-United Kingdom (UK)
    Achievers Honours for his contribution to economic and political life.
    It was a first-of-its-kind celebration of the UK’s Indian alumni, held on 25th January 2023 in
    London, UK.
  • British Indian peer Lord Karan Bilimoria has received the Living Legend Honour.
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  • Virendra Sharma MP from Ealing Southall, who chairs the Indo-British All Party
    Parliamentary Group, has also been bestowed with the Living Legend Honour.
    Dr Manmohan Singh:
    Manmohan Singh is an Indian politician, economist and statesman who served as the 13th
    Prime Minister of India from 2004 to 2014.
  • He is also the third longest-serving Prime Minister after Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira
    Gandhi.
  • A member of the Indian National Congress, Manmohan Singh was the first Sikh Prime
    Minister of India.
  • He was also the first Prime Minister since Jawaharlal Nehru to be re-elected after
    completing a full five-year term.
  1. Ministry of Culture has presented awards for the winners of the Unity in Creativity
    Competition in a celebration filled with art, culture, and music. The event was organized
    under the aegis of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav on 5
    th February at Nehru Park, New Delhi.
    The event was graced by the presence of Shri Arjun Ram Meghwal, Minister of State for
    Parliamentary Affairs & Culture, Smt. Meenakshi Lekhi, Minister of State for External Affairs
    and Culture, and dignitaries from the Ministry of Culture.
  • A grand total of 4760 winners were selected for the three competitions on the national,
    state, and district levels.

BOOKS & AUTHORS

  1. Indian-born naturalised British economist Meghnad Desai has authored a book titled “The
    Poverty of Political Economy: How Economics Abandoned the Poor”. The book highlights how
    the discipline of economics, since the time it evolved from the late 18th century,
    systematically kept the interests of the poor at the periphery. The book is published by
    HarperCollins Publishers India.
  2. The Ambassador of Spain Jose Maria Ridao has announced that India will be invited as the
    focal country at the Madrid International Book Fair in 2025.
  • This announcement was made during the event held at the Spain Pavilion at the 46th
    International Kolkata Book Fair (IKBF 2023) at Salt Lake, Kolkata, West Bengal.
  • Spain is the theme country at the 46th International Kolkata Book Fair here, which is being
    held from 31st January 2023 to 12th February 2023.
    A football dictionary of Spanish to Bengali will be launched at the Kolkata Book Fair,
    containing terms and phrases used in the Spanish league.
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  1. Golden Book Awards 2023 has been organised by Wings Publication International, a
    leading independent publisher in India.
    This prestigious event recognizes and celebrates the best book in literature.
    There were more than 75,000 books published in India and nominees include a diverse mix
    of literary genres, including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and children’s books.
    List of winners of the Golden Book Awards of the year 2023:
AuthorWinning Book
Namita ThaparThe Dolphin and the Shark: Stories  on Entrepreneurship
Ashneer GroverDoglapan
Kamlesh PatelThe Wisdom Bridge
Deepak ChopraThe Seven Spiritual Laws of  Success
Ruskin BondHow To Live Your Life
Gaur Gopal DasEnergize Your Mind
Bhupender Singh RaathoreThe Magic of Thinking Rich
Raj ShamaniBuild Don’t Talk
Sneh DesaiUltimate Secrets to Wealth
Dr. Jagroop SinghSondhara
Ivy Emmanuel ThomasThe wheel spins to your will
Osama RegaahTravel and Thoughts
VaishaliKhudgarziyan
Smita GoswamyFamily Run to Family Led
Shubneet kaurFlight Feathers

Hindi, translation, books on business, environment, sports, lifestyle,
biography/autobiography, children’s books, and emerging trends, among others.
The winner will be felicitated and awarded during the annual Kalinga Literary Festival (KLF)
which is scheduled to be held in Bhubaneswar from February 24-26.
List of Kalinga Literary Festival (KLF) Book Awards 2022:

KLF Non-fiction Book Award 2022
English·Sanjeev Sanyal – ‘Revolutionaries: The Other  Story of How India Won its Freedom’  (HarperCollins) ·Akshaya Mukul- ‘Writer, Rebel, Soldier, Lover: The Many Lives of Agyeya’ (Penguin)
Hindi·Kailash Satyarthi – ‘Tum Pehle Kyon Nahi Aaye’ –  (Rajakamal Prakashan Samuh) ·Akhilesh – ‘AKS’ – (Setu Prakashan Samuh)
KLF Fiction Book Award 2022
EnglishNavtej Sarna – ‘Crimson Spring’ (Aleph Book  Company)
HindiPravin Kumar – ‘Amar Desva (Radhakrishna  Prakashan/ Rajakamal Prakashan Samuh)’
KLF Poetry Book Award 2022
EnglishRanjit Hoskote – ‘Hunchprose’ (Penguin)
HindiPankaj Chaturvedi -‘Aakash Mein Ardhachandra’  (Rukh Prakashan)
KLF Business Book  Award 2022Piyush Pandey – ‘Open House’ (Penguin)
KLF Children Book  Award 2022Zarin Virji – Gopal’s Gully (Penguin)
KLF Book iTranslation Award 2022·JADUNAMA: Javed Akhtar’s Journey (English) by  Arvind Mandloi Translated by Dr. Rakhshanda Jalil- (Amaryllis; Manjul) ·The Bride: The Maithili Classic Kanyadan By  Harimohan Jha Translated by Lalit Kumar (HarperCollins)
KLF Bhasha Book  Award 2022·Nepali: Ranjana Niraula- Anubhuti Ko Awataran – Kathmandu- Nepal (Shikha Books) ·Maithili: Mahendra Malangia’s- Dak, Ghagh aa  Bhaddari (Malangia Arts), New Delhi

Kalinga Literary Festival:
The Kalinga Literary Festival (KLF) is a literary festival which takes place annually in the Indian
city Bhubaneswar, Odisha. Rashmi Ranjan Parida is the founder director of the festival.
The festival confers three literary awards, which are Kalinga Literary Award, Kalinga
International Literary Award, Kalinga Karubaki Award, annually to noted Indian writers. The
festival was started in 2014 with the aim of promoting Odia language, literature, and culture.

  1. Palagummi Sainath (P Sainath) has authored a new book titled “The Last Heroes- Foot
    Soldiers of Indian Freedom” which broadly deals with the history of India’s freedom
    struggle written from the perspective of common people.
  • The book has been published by India Viking, an imprint of Penguin Random House.
  • The book highlights the spirit of common people’s resistance and heroic activities against
    British rule and the feudal elements working as its collaborators.
    Palagummi Sainath:
    Palagummi Sainath is an Indian columnist and author of the acclaimed book “Everybody
    Loves a Good Drought”. He founded the People’s Archive of Rural India (PARI) in 2014, an
    online platform that focuses on social and economic inequality, rural affairs, poverty, and the
    aftermath of globalization in India.

PERSON IN NEWS

  1. Petr Pavel, the former Chairman of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) military
    committee, has been elected as the new President of Czech Republic. He has become the 4th
    President of Czech Republic. He will succeed Milos Zeman who steps down in March 2023 at
    the end of his 2nd term.
    Unilever, the British multinational consumer goods company, has appointed Hein
    Schumacher, as its next Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
  • He has replaced Alan Jope.
  • He will take over as the CEO of Unilever on 1st July 2023.
  1. Morgan Stanley has appointed Arun Kohli as the new Country Head for India. He has
    replaced Sanjay Shah.
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    Morgan Stanley:
    Morgan Stanley is an American multinational investment management and financial services
    company headquartered at New York City, United States. It was founded on 5 September
    1935.
  2. Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo has appointed Manuela
    Roka Botey as Prime Minister of the country.
  • She has become the first woman in the country to hold the position.
  • She has replaced former premier Francisco Pascual Obama Asue, who has been in the
    position since 2016.
  1. Nutella, the hazelnut cocoa spread brand of Ferrero, has signed actor Ranveer Singh as
    its brand endorser for the Indian market. Ranveer Singh will promote the Nutella brand
    across digital and offline marketing channels as well as be a part of their campaigns.

OBITUARIES

  1. National Award-winning legendary playback singer Vani Jairam has passed away recently
    in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
    She was conferred with the Padma Bhushan award in 2023.
  • Vani Jairam was born as Kalaivani in Vellore in Tamil Nadu.
  • Vani Jairam’s career started in 1971 and has spanned over five decades.
  • She did playback for over one thousand Indian movies recording over 10,000 songs.
    National Film Awards received by her:
  • 1975 – Best Female Playback Singer Tamil
  • 1980 – Best Female Playback Singer Telugu
  • 1991 – Best Female Playback Singer Telugu
  1. Veteran film director K Viswanath has recently passed away at age of 92 in Hyderabad,
    Telangana. He was popularly known as ‘Kalatapasvi’. He was born in February 1930 in
    Andhra Pradesh.
  • He became the 48th recipient of the Dadasaheb Phalke award, the highest recognition in
    Indian cinema. He was conferred with the award for the year 2016.
  • He was also felicitated with Padma Shri in 1992, five National Awards, 20 Nandi Awards
    (given by the Andhra Pradesh government), and 10 Filmfare trophies, including the
    Lifetime Achievement award.
  1. Former Union Law Minister and veteran lawyer Shanti Bhushan has passed away recently
    after a brief illness.
    Shanti Bhushan:
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  • He served as the Law Minister of India from 1977 to 1979 in the Morarji Desai Ministry.
  • As the Law minister, he introduced the 44th Amendment of the Constitution of India,
    which repealed many provisions of the 42nd Amendment of the Constitution of India
    passed by the Indira Gandhi ministry.
  • In 1980, he founded the famous NGO ‘Centre for Public Interest Litigation’, which has filed
    several important PILs in the Supreme Court.
  • He was a senior advocate of the Supreme Court of India.
  1. Former India footballer Parimal Dey has recently passed away at the age of 81 in Kolkata
    after a prolonged illness.
  • He was born on 4 May 1941 in West Bengal.
  • He was conferred with the Banga Bhushan title by the Government of West Bengal in
    2019.
  • At the domestic level, he won the Santosh Trophy twice in 1962 and 1969.
  • He played as a forward for East Bengal, he netted 84 goals and also captained the club in
    1968.
  • He holds the distinction of winning the Calcutta Football League and IFA Shield double
    thrice in 1966, 1970, and 1973, and has etched his name in Indian Football folklore by
    scoring in two IFA Shield finals against BNR (1966) and Iranian side PAS Club (1970), which
    still stands today as the fastest goal scored by a player after coming on as a substitute in
    the competition.

SPORTS

  1. Indian U19 Women’s cricket team, led by Shafali Verma, has won the maiden ICC U19
    Women’s T20 World Cup 2023 by defeating England by 7 wickets in T20 World Cup final held
    at Senwes Park Stadium in South Africa.
    This is India’s first World Cup win in the women’s section.
  • Player of the match (final): Titas Sadhu (India)
  • Player of the series: Grace Scrivens (England)
  • Most runs: Shweta Sehrawat (297) (India)
  • Most wickets: Maggie Clark (12) (Australia)
  1. French footballer Raphaël Xavier Varane has announced his retirement from international
    football to focus on his career with Manchester United. He was a part of the France national
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    football team that won the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) world cup
    in 2018 and was a runner-up in 2022.
  2. NHPC Limited has won the ‘Maitri Cup 2023’ T20 Cricket tournament held at Vijay Yadav
    Residential Cricket Academy, Faridabad from 27th to 28th January 2023. In the final match of
    the tournament NHPC defeated CVPPPL (Chenab Valley Power Projects Pvt. Ltd.) by 5 wickets.
    A total of three teams including NHPC, NHDC (A Joint Venture of NHPC & Govt. of Madhya
    Pradesh) and CVPPPL (Joint Venture Company of NHPC & JKSPDC) have participated in the
    tournament.
  3. Veteran Indian cricketer Murali Vijay, hailing from Chennai, Tamil Nadu, has announced his
    retirement from international cricket at the age of 38. He made his international debut
    representing India in the final Test of the 2008-09 Border Gavaskar Trophy in Nagpur
    replacing Gautam Gambhir. He has played 61 Tests, 17 One Day Internationals (ODIs), and 9
    T20Is since 2008.
  4. Indian pacer Joginder Sharma has announced retirement from all formats of cricket on
    February 3, 2023. The cricketer is known for his exceptional bowling in the T20 World Cup
    2007 Final, where India defeated Pakistan to grab the prestigious trophy.
  • Joginder Sharma played his first international match in an ODI against Bangladesh in
    Chattogram in 2004.
  • Joginder Sharma is currently serving as a Deputy Superintendent of police in the Haryana
    Police.
  1. Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Anurag Thakur and the LG of Jammu and
    Kashmir Manoj Sinha have recently launched the 3
    rd edition of the Khelo India Winter
    Games mascot, theme song, and jersey.
  • The Winter Games are scheduled to be held from the 10th to the 14th of February 2023.
  • 1500 athletes across the country will participate in the games that will take place in
    Gulmarg, Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The 2023 mascot is the snow leopard, which depicts the vibrant heritage of the
    Himalayas and it also reiterates the administration’s commitment towards their
    conservation
    Note: The Khelo India Winter Games started in 2020.
  1. The 15th edition of the 2023 Men’s FIH Hockey World Cup has been held at the Kalinga
    Stadium in Bhubaneswar and at the 20,000 seat Birsa Munda International Hockey Stadium
    in Rourkela, Odisha from 13 to 29 January 2023.
    Mascot: Olly: an Olive Ridley Sea Turtle wearing a blue jersey and cap
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  • Germany has won the 2023 Men’s FIH Hockey World Cup title by defeating Belgium in the
    final match.
  • This marks Germany’s 3rd hockey World Cup title, earlier they won the world cup in 2002
    and 2006.
  • Runner-ups: Belgium (2nd), Netherlands (3rd), and Australia (4th).
AwardPlayer
Best PlayerNiklas Wellen (Germany)
Best GoalkeeperVincent Vanasch (Belgium)
Top ScorerJeremy Hayward (Australia)
Best Team Goal Celebration  AwardSouth Korea
Fan’s Choice AwardChristopher Ruhr (Germany)
Fair Play AwardBelgium
Maximum Team Goals AwardNetherlands (32 goals)
Best Defender of the  Tournament AwardJeremy Hayward (Australia)
Best Forward of the  Tournament AwardNiklas Wellen (Germany)
Best Midfielder of the  Tournament AwardVictor Wegnez (Belgium)
Best Junior PlayerMustapha Cassiem (South  Africa)
  1. The 111th edition of the 2023 Australian Open has been held at Melbourne Park in
    Melbourne (Victoria), Australia.
    Men’s Singles:
    Novak Djokovic of Serbia has won the men’s singles title by defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas of
    Greece. This is his 10th Australian Open title and 22nd major title overall. He levels Rafael
    Nadal with his 22nd Grand Slam title.
    Women’s Singles:
    Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus has won the women’s singles title by defeating Elena Rybakina
    of Kazakhstan.
CategoryWinnersRunner-Up
Men’s SinglesNovak Djokovic (Serbia)Stefanos Tsitsipas (Greece)
Women’s SinglesAryna Sabalenka (Belarus)Elena Rybakina (Kazakhstan)
Men’s DoublesJason Kubler & Rinky Hijikata (Australia)Hugo Nys (Monaco) & Jan Zieliński (Poland)
Women’s DoublesBarbora Krejčíková & Katerina Siniaková (Czechia)Shuko Aoyama & Ena Shibahara  (Japan)
Mixed  DoublesLuisa Stefani & Rafael Matos  (Brazil)Rohan Bopanna & Sania Mirza  (India)
  1. NMDC Limited has signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with World Boxing
    Champion and gold medal winner of Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, Nikhat
    Zareen to represent NMDC as its brand ambassador. She represents the strength, courage,
    agility and national pride that goes with the brand of the NMDC.
    Sports brand Puma India has announced Indian women’s cricket team captain
    Harmanpreet Kaur as its latest brand ambassador. As part of the partnership terms,
    Harmanpreet Kaur will endorse the brand’s footwear, apparel, and accessories throughout
    the year.
    Harmanpreet Kaur:
    Harmanpreet Kaur is an Indian cricketer who serves as the captain of the India Women’s
    National Cricket Team in all formats. She plays as an all-rounder for the Indian women’s
    cricket team; and was awarded the Arjuna Award for Cricket in the year 2017 by the Ministry
    of Youth Affairs and Sports.
  • In November 2018, she became the first woman for India to score a century in a Women’s
    Twenty20 International (WT20I) match.
  • In October 2019, during the series against South Africa, she became the first cricketer for
    India, male or female, to play in 100 international Twenty20 matches.

IMPORTANT DAYS

  1. The Indian Coast Guard Day is celebrated on February 1 every year to honour
    organisations that look after maritime security.
  • This year 2023, India has celebrated the 47th Coast Guard Day.
  • The purpose of the day is to raise awareness about the Indian Coast Guard’s history and
    relevance.
    Note: The first Director General (DG) of the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) was Vice Admiral V. A.
    Kamath.
  1. The United Nations (UN)’s World Wetlands Day is annually observed worldwide on 2
    nd
    February to create awareness about the wetlands, a critically important ecosystem on the
    planet and their vital role in the lives of the people.
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    The day also marks the date of the adoption of the “Convention on Wetlands of International
    Importance” (Ramsar Convention), an intergovernmental treaty adopted on 2nd February
    1971.
    The theme of World Wetlands Day 2023 is “It’s Time for Wetlands Restoration”.
    About Ramsar Convention on Wetlands:
    The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Especially as Waterfowl
    Habitat is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of Ramsar sites. It
    is also known as the Convention on Wetlands. It is named after the city of Ramsar in Iran,
    where the convention was signed in 1971.
    Note: India currently has 75 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance
    (Ramsar Sites).
  2. World Cancer Day is observed annually on 4
    th February to spread awareness, inspire
    change and reduce the global impact of cancer. The aim is to reduce misconceptions
    surrounding cancer and the prejudices associated with it, to help people in getting the right
    information about it. The day is an initiative of the Union of International Cancer Control
    (UICC).
    Theme 2023: “Close the Care Gap: Uniting our voices and taking action”
    The day came into existence on 4
    th February 2000, during the World Cancer Conference for
    the New Millennium in Paris, France.
  3. International Day of Female Genital Mutilation is observed annually on 6
    th February to
    eradicate female genital mutilation. The day was first observed in 2003. It is a joint program
    by UNFPA-UNICEF to eliminate Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
  • Theme 2023: “Partnership with men and boys to transform social and gender norms to
    end FGM”.
  • 6
    th February 2023 marks the 12th anniversary of the International Day of Female Genital
    Mutilation.
    Female Genital Mutilation (FGM):
    Female genital mutilation (FGM) refers to all procedures involving partial or total removal of
    the female external genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical
    reasons. It is most often carried out on young girls between infancy and age 15. In every form
    in which it is practiced, FGM is a violation of girls’ and women’s fundamental human rights,
    including their rights to health, security and dignity.
  1. World Interfaith Harmony Week is observed every year in the first week of February, from
    February 1 to 7. This observation has emerged from the United Nations General Assembly
    (UNGA) Resolution that seeks a worldwide celebration of interfaith harmony. The World
    Interfaith Harmony Week was started in 2010 by HM King Abdullah II and HRH Prince Ghazi
    bin Muhammad of Jordan. The goal of the week-long celebration is to promote harmony
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    between citizens of the world, regardless of their faith. It is a celebration of unity in diversity,
    and the divine connection between people and their faith.

SUMMARY OF THE UNION BUDGET 2023-24

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