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Weekly Current Affairs February 2023 Week – 04

NATIONAL AFFAIRS

  1. Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has launched the Learning – Teaching
    Material called ‘Jadui Pitara’ for Foundational Stage as envisaged under National Education
    Policy 2020 in New Delhi.
    ‘Jadui Pitara’ is a play-based learning-teaching material tailored for children between the age
    group of 3-8 years.
    It has been developed under the National Curriculum Framework for Foundational Stage
    (NCF-FS).
    Key features of Jadui Pitara:
  • It applies to Class 1 & 2 also (age 6-8).
  • It is available in 13 Indian languages.
  • It comprises of playbooks, toys, puzzles, posters, story books etc. as well as reflecting local
    culture, social context and languages.
  • Learning and Development in 5 domains: Physical Development, Socio-emotional and
    Ethical Development, Cognitive Development, Language and Literacy Development,
    Aesthetic and Cultural Development, Positive Learning Habits has been included as
    another domain of development at this stage.
    It will be made mandatory in at least 1,200 central government-run schools from upcoming
    academic session.
    National Curriculum Framework for Foundational Stage (NCF-FS):
    NCF-FS was launched by Ministry of Education in October, 2022 and accordingly, NCERT has
    developed the Learning – Teaching Material (LTM). NCF-FS emphasises play based learning for
    foundational stages.
  1. The Union Cabinet chaired by Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the
    extension of the term of the 22nd Law Commission of India, headed by retired High Court
    Chief Justice Rituraj Awasthi, upto 31st August, 2024. The tenure of 22nd Law Commission of
    India ends on 20th February, 2023.
    Law Commission of India:
    The Law Commission of India is a non-statutory body constituted by the Government of
    India from time to time. It works as an advisory body to the Ministry of Law and Justice.
  • The first Law Commission of independent India was established in 1955 for a three-year
    term.
  • The first Law Commission was established during the British Raj era in 1834 by the
    Charter Act of 1833 and was chaired by Lord Macaulay.
    Composition:
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    Full-time Chairperson; Four full-time Members (including Member-Secretary); Secretary,
    Department of Legal Affairs as ex-officio Member; Secretary, Legislative Department as ex
    officio Member; and Not more than five part-time Members.
    Other cabinet approvals:
  • Cabinet has approved the signing of the Air Services Agreement between the
    Government of India and the Government of Co-operative Republic of Guyana. The new
    Air Services Agreement will provide enabling environment for enhanced and seamless
    connectivity while providing commercial opportunities to the carriers of both the sides.
  • Cabinet has approved the ratification of three Protocols on Article 3 bis and Article 50 (a)
    & Article 56 relating to amendments in the convention on International Civil Aviation
    (Chicago Convention), 1944.
  1. The Agricultural and Process Food Export Development Authority (APEDA) has recently
    participated in the 28th edition of Gulfood 2023, which is a platform that connects food and
    beverage sectors around the globe, held in the UAE.
  • India has participated in GULFOOD with the theme focused on export promotion of
    millets and its value added products.
  • A Millet gallery has been prepared to showcase Millets and its products by the start-ups
    and new entrepreneurs to provide them a platform to showcase their quality products.
  • APEDA has signed an MoU with Government of UAE through its nodal agency Al Dhara
    Holding SP LLC for procurement of food and food products from India as well as to sell to
    buyers in UAE as a part of UAE food security strategy and DP World FZE, a subsidiary of
    Government of Dubai.
  • APEDA has also signed an MoU with Lulu Hypermarket for export promotion of millets in
    the Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCCs). The MoU aims to promote millet products and
    value-added products in international markets.
    Key facts:
    India ranks 8th with share of 2.33% in the global agri exports. India’s total Agri Export is USD
    approx. 50 billion in 2021-22 with a contribution of more than 51% share by APEDA’s
    agricultural and processed food products export in the Indian agri export basket during
    2021-22.
  1. The seventh edition of the Asia Economic Dialogue (AED) has been held from 23rd
    February to 25th February in Pune, Maharashtra. It is the annual flagship event of the
    Ministry of External Affairs on Geoeconomics, co-hosted in collaboration with Pune
    International Centre.
    The principal theme for 7th AED is ‘Asia and the Emerging World Order’.
    The 7th AED also focusses on themes such as Global Growth Prospects, How the Global South
    Will Shape the G20 Agenda and the Metaverse.
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    More than 44 speakers from various countries including Brazil, the US, the UK, South Africa,
    Bhutan, Maldives, Switzerland, Singapore and Mexico have participated in this dialogue.
  2. The Chief Justice of India (CJI) D Y Chandrachud has announced that the Supreme Court of
    India will adopt a “Neutral Citation System” for all its judgments.
  • A neutral citation means that the court will assign its own citation, distinct from those
    given by traditional Law Reporters.
  • Neutral Citation is a unique court-assigned reference number for a judgment in a
    common law jurisdiction.
    Law Reporters are periodicals or annual digests that publish judgments, often with an
    editorial note to make it accessible for lawyers to refer to precedents.
    Notably, the Delhi, Kerala, and Madras High Courts have already introduced neutral citation.
    Supreme Court of India:
    It came into existence on 26th January, 1950 and is located on Tilak Marg, New Delhi. It
    comprises the Chief Justice and 33 other Judges appointed by the President of India. It is the
    highest judicial court and the final court of appeal under the Constitution of India, the highest
    constitutional court, with the power of judicial review.
    Articles 124 to 147 in Part V of the Constitution deal with the organisation, independence,
    jurisdiction, powers and procedures of the Supreme Court.
  1. The first I2U2 Business Forum has been held in Abu Dhabi, UAE from 21st February to 22nd
    February 2023.
  • India has been represented by Dammu Ravi, Secretary (economic affairs), Ministry of
    External Affairs.
  • The forum discussed building integrated agricultural facilities across India.
  • Senior private and public sector representatives from the four nations participated in the
    forum and discussed opportunities for cooperation between the business communities.
    On the sidelines of the first I2U2 Business Forum, India has joined the Agriculture
    Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM4C), which was launched by the UAE and the US at
    COP26 in November 2021.
    I2U2:
    The I2U2 Grouping was formed during a conference of the Foreign Ministers of four
    countries, India, Israel, the USA, & the UAE in October 2021 to deepen technological and
    private sector collaboration in the region and tackle transnational challenges in six focus
    areas water, energy, transportation, space, health, and food security.
  1. The 19th Annual Zone III Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) conference
    has been inaugurated by Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla in Gangtok, Sikkim.
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  • The two-day Conference has discussed on many issues ranging from making parliament
    and assembly more accessible to the public.
  • Drug abuse and the way forward and Cyber Bullying are the core issues discussed in this
    conference.
    CPA India Region:
    The executive committee of the CPA India Region consists of the CPA India Regional
    Chairperson and six members.
    Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla is its current Regional Chairperson.
    CPA India Region is divided into 4 zones:
    Zone -1: Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Jharkhand, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh Uttaranchal, West
    Bengal (8 Branches)
    Zone -2: Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Puducherry (UT), Tamil Nadu,
    Telangana (8 Branches)
    Zone- 3: Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim,
    Tripura (8 Branches)
    Zone- 4: Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab,
    Rajasthan (7 Branches)
  1. The Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Penny Wong has announced the launch of
    inaugural “Maitri Cultural Partnerships” to promote increased exchange and collaboration
    between the Australian and Indian creative industries.
    The Maitri Cultural Partnerships grant round is divided into three programmes:
  • Maitri Cultural Partnerships Major Collaboration Grant: It will support major Australian
    cultural organisation collaboration to engage Indian partners with a funding up to USD
    250,000.
  • Maitri Cultural Partnerships Visual and Performing Arts Grants: It will supports First
    Nations’ participation (funding up to USD 250,000).
  • Maitri Cultural Partnerships Collaboration Grants: It will back small to medium-sized
    Australian cultural organisations and community groups collaboration with a funding
    of up to USD 70,000.
  1. The Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) scientists have developed three climatesmart varieties of wheat. These varieties are characterised by “mild vernalisation
    requirement” i.e., need for a certain minimum period of low winter temperatures for
    initiation of flowering.
    Three varieties are: HDCSW-18 (officially notified in 2016), HD-3410 and HD-3385.
  • HD-3410 (released in 2022), has higher yield potential (7.5 tonnes/hectare) with lower
    plant height (100-105 cm).
  • HD-3385 is least lodging-prone and most amenable for early sowing.
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  1. The Ministry of Culture has recently organized a year-long festival from 26th February 2023 to
    commemorate the 284th birth anniversary of Sant Sewalal Maharaj. The Indian
    government has been celebrating his birth anniversary for the first time.

STATES AFFAIRS

  1. Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Narendra Singh Tomar has inaugurated the
    four-day National Horticulture Fair (NHF) 2023 in Bengaluru, Karnataka.
    The NHF 2023 has been organized by the ICAR-Indian Institute of Horticultural Research
    (ICAR-IIHR) in collaboration with the Society for Promotion of Horticulture (SPH); BESSTHORT, a Technology Business Incubator ICAR-IIHR; ICAR-ATARI Bengaluru and leading
    development departments serving for horticulture.
    Theme 2023: “Innovative Horticulture for Self-Reliance”
    The NHF 2023 aims to showcase and demonstrate latest technologies viz, vegetable and
    medicinal crop varieties for import substitution, leaf curl virus resistant chili varieties, flower
    waste utilization, terrace gardening solutions for urban horticulture, production technologies
    for exotic fruits such as Kamalam (dragon fruit) and avocado and cost effective traps for
    management of invasive pests etc.
  2. The Cabinet of Madhya Pradesh, headed by Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Shivraj Singh
    Chouhan, has approved the Mukhyamantri Ladli Behna Yojana to empower women at
    every level.
    Under this scheme, married women aged between 23 and 60 years, will be offered financial
    assistance of Rs.1000 per month.
    The scheme aims to ensure the all-round development of women in MP, their economic
    independence, better health, and nutritional level.
  3. The Ministry of Culture has organized the First G20 Culture Group (CWG) meet in
    Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh from 22nd to 25th February 2023. The theme is “Protection
    and Restitution of Cultural Property”.
    During the meeting, an exhibition titled “Re(ad)dress : Return of Treasures” at the Maharaja
    Chhatrasal Convention Centre (MCCC) has been inaugurated by the Chief Minister of Madhya
    Pradesh Shivraj Chauhan and the Minister for Culture G. Kishan Reddy.
    Four priority areas of India’s CWG include:
  • Protection and Restitution of Cultural Property
  • Harnessing Living Heritage for a Sustainable Future
  • Promotion of Cultural and Creative Industries, and Creative Economy
  • Leveraging Digital Technologies for the Protection and Promotion of Culture
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    The Culture Working Group will have four meetings and they will be held in Khajuraho,
    Bhubaneshwar, Hampi and the final location (yet to be decided).
  1. Kerala High Court has recently published two of its recent judgements in the state’s
    vernacular language, Malyalam. The judgements were passed by a division of Chief Justice S
    Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly in January 2023, and the same were made available in
    Malayalam on the High Court’s website recently.
    With this development, Kerala HC has become first in India to publish its judgements in the
    regional language.
    As per the report, 1,091 judgements of the Supreme Court were released in Odia, Garo, and
    other regional languages on Republic Day 2023.
  2. The Government of West Bengal has recently launched a portal called ‘Apan Bangla’ for
    non-resident Bengalis residing in other Indian states and other countries to communicate
    with the West Bengal during emergency.
    The portal will provide a platform for the non-residents to virtually participate in state
    organized programmes like business summit and cultural programmes.
  3. “Horaglanis populi”, a new species of catfish with no eyes and blood red body, has been
    discovered in Kerala by an Indo-German team of researchers, led by Rajeev Raghavan from
    the University of Kochi, Kerala and Neelesh Dahanukar from Shiv Nadar Institution of
    Eminence, Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR).
  • This marks the 4th Horaglanis species endemic to the southern Indian state of Kerala.
  • The other 3 Horaglanis species endemic to Kerala are: Horaglais abdulkalami; Horaglanis
    alikunhi, and Horaglaris Krishnai.
  • This species is considered to be at high risk of extinction.
  1. Indian Railways has completed the electrification of entire broad gauge network in Uttar
    Pradesh with the completion of electrification of Subhagpur-Pachperwa Broad Gauge (BG)
    route in North Eastern Railway. This will improve rail connectivity in the region and the speed
    of trains.
  • Highly Utilized Network (HUN-5), Jhansi-Muzzaffarpur-Katni is also fully electrified now.
  • With this, Indian Railways has completed electrification of broad gauge routes in six zonal
    railways – East Coast Railway, North Central Railway, North Eastern Railway, Eastern
    Railway, South Eastern Railway, West Central Railway.
  • Indian Railways has electrified 85% of Route Kilometer (RKM) and is rapidly progressing to
    complete Mission 100% Electrification and become the largest green railway network in
    the world.
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  1. Himachal Pradesh has become the first state in India to have organized cultivation of
    Liquorice (Mulethi). For the first time, planting material of Mulethi have been distributed to
    the farmers to cultivate it commercially.
    Currently, Mulethi is largely imported in India from other countries like Afghanistan, Nepal,
    and China.
    Mulethi (Glycyrrhiza glabra):
  • Mulethi, commonly known as licorice, is a sweet-tasting perennial shrub.
  • The roots have a sweet taste due to the presence of glycyrrhizin, which is 50 times
    sweeter than sucrose.
  • It has been traditionally known and used as medicine in Ayurveda (known in Ayurveda as
    ‘Yashtimadhu’) for rejuvenation.
  • Mulethi herb can treat asthma, cough, cold, sore throat, and other respiratory ailments.
  • It is used to flavor candies, tobacco, and alcohol, artificial and natural sweeteners.
  1. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has approved the renaming of Aurangabad city as
    ‘Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar’ and Osmanabad city as ‘Dharashiv’ in Maharashtra.
  • The new name of Aurangabad ‘Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar’ is derived from ‘Chhatrapati
    Sambhaji’, the eldest son of warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, and the second ruler
    of the Maratha state. Sambhaji Maharaj was executed on Aurangzeb’s orders in 1689.
  • Dharashiv, a new name for Osmanabad, is derived from the name of a cave complex
    near Osmanabad city.
  1. The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) has held the 47th meeting of the Executive
    Committee of NMCG under the chairmanship of G. Asok Kumar, Director General, NMCG.
    During the meeting, 9 projects worth around Rs.1278 crore have been approved for
    pollution abatement in Ganga Basin and Ghat Development. Out of them, 7 pertain to
    abatement of pollution in the Ganga Basin and 2 to ghat development.
    List of Projects Approved:
  • Project in West Bengal worth Rs.123 crore has been approved for creation of a 13 MLD
    STP and a 300 KLD decentralized STP at Chakdaha Municipal Town
  • In Uttar Pradesh, three projects worth Rs.422 crore has been approved including a
    project to divert 13 drains by augmenting the sewage treatment capacity of Salori STP by
    43 MLD in Prayagraj
  • Another project in UP for rejuvenation of River Kali East by development of in-situ
    Constructed Wetland System at 8 locations in Muzaffarnagar, Meerut, Hapur and
    Bulandshahar has been approved costing Rs.95.47 crore
  • For ghat development in Bihar, one project for the development of Atal Ghat Manjhi,
    Saran, Bihar has been approved at an estimated cost of Rs.10 crore
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  • A project for development of two Sewage Treatment Plants (10.91 MLD and 10.66 MLD)
    for pollution abatement in River Ganga at an estimated cost of Rs.94.12 crore has been
    approved for Lakhisarai town in Bihar.
  • In Madhya Pradesh, a major project costing Rs.511 crore has been approved to abate
    pollution in Rivers Kahn and Saraswati in Indore.
  • For the monitoring of industrial pollution, a project titled ‘Pollution Inventorization,
    Assessment and Surveillance on River Ganga Basin (PIAS) piloted by Central Pollution
    Control Board (CPCB) has been approved at an estimated cost of Rs. 114.42 crore.
    National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG):
    It was registered on 12 August, 2011 as a society under the Societies Registration Act 1860.
    It serves as the implementing arm of the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA),
    which was constituted under the provisions of the Environment Protection Act (EPA), 1986.
    It is headquartered in New Delhi.
  1. The Kerala government has launched a robotic scavenger, ‘Bandicoot’, in Guruvayur in
    Thrissur district, Kerala. With this, Kerala has become the first state to use robotic scavenger
    to clean manholes.
  • The Bandicoot has been launched under the Guruvayur Sewerage Project in Thrissur
    district by the Kerala Water Authority (KWA), as part of the 100-day action plan of the state
    government.
  • ‘Bandicoot’, the world’s first robotic scavenger, has been developed by Kerala-based
    Genrobotics, a Technopark-based company, to eliminate manual scavenging.
  • The robotic Tron Unit is the major component of Bandicoot. It enters the manhole and
    removes sewage using robotic hands, similar to a man’s limbs.
  1. The Ministry of Tourism, Government of India (North), in association with Real Sports India
    along with local administration, Amazing Bhaderwah Tourism Association (ABTA), has
    organised the maiden 1st Snow Marathon in Bhaderwah, Jammu on 26 February 2023.
    The marathon has been flagged off by Vishesh Mahajan, Deputy Commissioner/DM, DODA
    Aim: To celebrate 75 years of India’s Independence, G20 India Presidency, Dekho Apna Desh,
    Yuva Tourism Club and Fit India Movement besides boosting the spirit of marathon
    adventure among travellers and adventure enthusiasts across the country.
    Over 130 runners have participated in the marathon from across the country.
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  2. The Indian Air Force (IAF) contingent comprising 145 Air Warriors have departed Air Force
    Station Jamnagar to participate in ‘Exercise Cobra Warrior’ at the Waddington Air Force Base
    of the Royal Air Force in the United Kingdom.
  • The Exercise Cobra Warrior is a multilateral Air exercise in which Air Forces from Finland,
    Sweden, South Africa, United States of America and Singapore will also be participating
    alongside Royal Air Force and IAF.
  • The exercise is scheduled from 06 to 24 March 2023.
  • This year, the IAF is participating in the exercise with five Mirage 2000 fighters, two C-17
    Globemaster III and an IL-78 mid air refueller aircraft.
  • The aim of the exercise is to participate in diverse fighter aircraft engagements and learn
    from the best practices of various Air Forces.
  1. The 3-day Ellora Ajanta International Festival 2023 has been held in Chhatrapati
    Sambhajinagar (formerly known as Aurangabad), Maharashtra from 25th to 28th February
  • The Union State Minister for Finance Dr. Bhagwat Karad has inaugurated the festival.
  • The festival is a celebration of the cultural heritage and diversity of the region and
    promises to be a feast for the senses.
  • The festival featured a range of events, including live music performances, dance shows,
    art exhibitions, and food festivals.
  1. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated the ‘Barisu Kannada Dim Dimava’ cultural
    festival at Talkatora Stadium in New Delhi, Dellhi. The festival aims to celebrate the culture,
    traditions, and history of Karnataka. It is in line with the Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Ek Bharat
    Shreshtha Bharat’.
    “Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat” scheme:
    It was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Ekta Diwas, 31st October 2015, on the
    occasion of the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel. The scheme was launched to
    celebrate the cultural vibrancy of India while establishing a strong mechanism to inculcate
    nationalism and cultural awareness among the citizens of our nation. The key aim is to
    promote the Indian ideology of “Unity in Diversity” India.
  2. Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology Dr Jitendra Singh has
    inaugurated the International Bio resource Conclave & Ethno Pharmacology Congress at the
    City Convention Centre, Imphal, Manipur.
  • The “International Bio-resource Conclave 2023” along with the 22nd Congress of the
    International Society for Ethno-pharmacology and the 10th Congress of Society for Ethnopharmacology (ISE SFEC-2023) has been held in Manipur.
  • This is the first time, since Independence, North East Region (NER) organized an
    International Conference on Biotechnology.
  • The theme 2023 is “Reimagine Ethnopharmacology: Globalisation of Traditional Medicine”.
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  • The Institute of Bio-resources and Sustainable Development (IBSD) has organized the
    Conference in collaboration with Society for Ethno-pharmacology, India and International
    Society for Ethno-pharmacology, Switzerland.
  1. The Chief Minister of Assam Himanta Biswa Sarma has laid the foundation stone of 5-tonneper-day-capacity Compressed Biogas (CBG) Plant, North East India’s first CBG plant, at
    Damora Pathar, Sonapur in Kamrup district in Assam.
  • The plant is being built by businessmen Pankaj Gogoi and Rakesh Doley under the name
    Redlemon Technologies.
  • The plant is proposed to be operational from November 2023.
    The biogas unit in Sonapur, Assam, is being set up under the Centre’s Sustainable Alternative
    Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAK) scheme.
  1. The Chief Minister of Karnataka Basavaraj Bommai has confirmed that the first Marina of
    India will be constructed in Byndoor, Udupi district, Karnataka. He has announced this
    while addressing a function “Seven Wonders of Karnataka” organized by the Tourism
    department, Government of Karnataka.
    The project will help in boosting coastal tourism.
  2. Researchers from Kerala has discovered a new species of cuckoo bee named ‘Thyreus
    narendrani’. The species is collected from a kole wetland ecosystem in Malappuram district
    and the Christ College campus at Irinjalakuda. The species is named after the late T.C.
    Narendran, Professor of Zoology.
    The new discovered species ‘Thyreus narendrani’ is a member of the Apidae family of the
    Hymenoptera order.
  3. Union Minister for Science & Technology Dr Jitendra Singh has inaugurated various facilities
    worth Rs.120 crore at the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI),
    Faridabad, Haryana. He has also inaugurated a Medical Research Centre which is a 50
    bedded hospital and will have facilities for conducting clinical research such as observational
    cohort studies and phase 1 & phase 2 clinical trials.
  4. The first Missile cum Ammunition (MCA) Barge, Yard 75 (LSAM 7) has been launched by
    Rear Admiral Sandeep Mehta at Guttenedevi, launch site of SECON, Visakhapatnam, Andhra
    Pradesh. This Barge is being built with a service life of 30 years.
    The MCA Barge will provide impetus to Operational commitments of the Indian Navy by
    facilitating Transportation, Embarkation and Disembarkation of articles / ammunition to IN
    Ships both alongside jetties and at outer harbours.
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  5. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi has recently (Feb 2023) laid the foundation stone and
    inaugurated multiple development projects worth more than Rs.3,600 crore in Shivamogga,
    Karnataka.
  • He has laid the foundation stone for two railway projects in Shivamogga which include
    Shivamogga – Shikaripura – Ranebennur new Railway line and Koteganguru Railway
    coaching depot.
  • He has also laid the foundation stone for multiple road development projects to be
    developed at a cumulative cost of more than Rs.215 crore.
  • He has also inaugurated and laid the foundation stone of multi-village schemes worth
    more than Rs.950 crore under the Jal Jeevan Mission.
  • He has also inaugurated 44 Smart City Projects worth more than Rs.895 crores in
    Shivamogga city.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

  1. United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has announced the appointment of
    Indo-Canadian Afshan Khan as the Coordinator of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN)
    Movement. She will coordinate the implementation of the SUN Movement through its 3rd
    phase i.e. 2021-2025. She will succeed Gerda Verburg of the Netherlands.
    SUN Movement:
  • SUN stands for ‘Scaling Up Nutrition’.
  • The movement is led by 65 countries and 4 Indian states (Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand,
    Maharashtra, and Uttar Pradesh).
  • The movement aims to eradicate all types of malnutrition by 2030.
  • It works to achieve sustainable and equitable reductions in malnutrition and nutrition
    justice for all.
  1. The State Space Corporation ROSCOSMOS (Roscosmos), the Russian Space Agency, has
    launched a Soyuz MS-23 Spacecraft to bring back 3 Astronauts stranded on the
    International Space Station (ISS) due to the coolant leak on their original return capsule,
    Soyuz MS-22 capsule.
    The unmanned Soyuz MS-23 has been launched from Baikonur Space Centre in Kazakhstan
    and had been placed in Orbit.
  2. The South Korea & Nigeria have officially been added to the grey list, a list of countries that
    are failing to combat money laundering and terrorism financing, during the 2nd plenary
    session of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) under the Presidency of T. Raja Kumar of
    Singapore.
    FATF has removed Cambodia and Morocco from the grey list.
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    FATF has also suspended Russia’s membership stating that Russia’s war in Ukraine violated
    the FATF’s principles to promote security, safety, and the integrity of the global financial
    system.
  3. Gabon, Jamaica, and Sri Lanka have recently (Feb 2023) collaborated to remove mercury
    from hazardous skin lightening products.
    The Minamata Convention on Mercury is a global treaty to protect human health and the
    environment from the adverse effects of mercury. It was adopted in 2013. The convention
    has set a limit of 1mg/1kg (1ppm) for mercury in skin lightening products.
  4. Russia has decided to suspend participation in New START treaty for nuclear arms control
    with the USA.
    New START:
    The New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) was signed in Prague in 2010. It is a treaty
    between US and Russia for reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms. It caps the
    number of strategic nuclear warheads that the United States and Russia can deploy, and
    limits the use of missiles that can carry atomic weapons.
  5. Tokamak Energy Limited, a fusion power research company, has built the world’s first set of
    new-generation High-Temperature Superconducting (HTS) Magnets to be assembled and
    tested in fusion power plant-relevant scenarios.
    The new Demo4 facility from Tokamak Energy will consist of 44 individual magnetic coils
    made using 38 kilometres (km) of ground-breaking HTS tape, which carries currents with zero
    electrical resistance and requires 5 times less cooling power than traditional superconducting
    materials.

REPORTS & INDICES

  1. The Cross Dependency Initiative (XDI) has released the ‘Gross Domestic Climate Risk
    Assessment 2023’. As per the assessment, Asia dominates the list of provinces at risk with
    more than half (114) of the top 200 in 2050 in this region, with special focus on China and
    India.
  • As per the analysis, 80 percent of the top 50 most at-risk states and provinces in 2050 are
    in China, US and India.
  • The Top 50 list covers 29 such regions in China, 9 in India, and 3 in the United States.
  • After China, India has the highest number of states i.e. nine in the top 50, which include
    Bihar (22nd spot), Uttar Pradesh (25), Assam (28), Rajasthan (32), Tamil Nadu (36),
    Maharashtra (38), Gujarat (48), Punjab (50) and Kerala (52).
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  • Highly developed and globally significant Asian economic hubs in the top 100 for damage
    risk include Beijing, Jakarta, Hồ Chí Minh City, Taiwan and Mumbai.
    This is the first time there has been a physical climate risk analysis focused exclusively on
    the built environment, comparing every state, province and territory in the world.
  1. The first Global Assessment of Soil Carbon in Grasslands report from the Food and
    Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has measured stocks of Soil Organic
    Carbon (SOC) in both semi-natural and managed grasslands.
    Key highlights:
  • Grasslands, contain approximately 20% of world’s SOC, have suffered losses because of
    human activities such as intensive livestock grazing, agricultural activities etc.
  • Most of world’s grasslands have a positive carbon balance, meaning land is stable or wellmaintained.
  • Negative carbon balance was found in East Asia, Central and South America, and Africa
    south of Equator.
  • SOCs are not included in national climate plans due to lack of incentives for farmers to
    improve management practices and difficulty in accurately monitoring SOC stocks.
    Soil Organic Carbon (SOC):
    SOC is carbon held within the soil that is measurable. It helps in improving soil biological,
    chemical, and physical properties, water-holding capacity, and structural stability. SOC is a
    cost-effective nature-based solution to mitigate effects of climate change by reducing
    atmospheric carbon dioxide
  1. The Botanical Survey of India (BSI) has published a new report titled ‘Rhododendrons of
    Sikkim and Darjeeling Himalaya- An Illustrated Account’, which lists 45 taxa of
    rhododendrons.
  • As per the report, the Darjeeling and Sikkim Himalayas are home to more than one-third
    (34%) of all Rhododendron types found in India.
  • There are 132 taxa (80 species, 25 subspecies and 27 varieties) of rhododendrons found
    in India.
  • Of the 45 taxa recorded in the publication, 24 are found in the Darjeeling Himalayas and
    44 in the Sikkim Himalayas.
    Rhododendron:
  • Rhododendron is a genus of flowering plants that includes about 1,000 species.
  • It is primarily native to the temperate regions of Asia, North America, and Europe, as well
    as to the tropical regions of Southeast Asia and northern Australia.
  • Rhododendrons are evergreen or deciduous shrubs or small trees, with woody stems and
    broad, leathery leaves.
  • It is considered an indicator species for climate change.
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  1. As per the data released by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade
    (DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce and Industry, India’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) equity
    inflows has declined 15% year-on-year to USD 36.75 billion during the first three quarters
    (April-December) of Financial Year 2022-23 (FY23).
    Recipient of FDI in April-December FY 2023:
  • The Computer software and hardware manufacturing are the highest recipient of FDI at
    USD 8.07 billion.
  • Services sector (encompassing financial, banking, insurance, and outsourcing, among
    others) at USD 6.56 billion.
  • Telecommunications – USD 5.33 billion
  • Trading sectors – USD 4.14 billion
    Top investment in April-December FY 2023:
    Countrywise: Singapore is the top investing country with equity inflows of USD 13.07 billion.
    This is followed by the USA, Mauritius, the UAE, etc.
    Statewise: Maharashtra has continued to be the most favoured destination of investors,
    receiving USD 10.76 billion, followed by Karnataka with USD 8.77 billion and Delhi with USD
    6.11 billion.
  1. As per the recent data of Bloomberg, the United Kingdom (UK) has become the world’s 6thlargest equity market by surpassing India for the first time in almost 9 months (Since May
    2022).
  • The combined market capitalization of primary listings in the UK, excluding ETFs
    (Exchange Traded Funds) and ADRs (American Depositary Receipt), reached about $3.11
    trillion, some $5.1 billion higher than their Indian equivalents.
  • India’s stock market remains behind the UK due to a weaker rupee and falling share
    prices of companies in the Adani Group amid allegations of stock manipulation and
    accounting fraud by US-based short-seller Hindenburg Research.
  1. As per the Mercom India report titled ‘Mercom India Solar Market Update’, India’s solar
    capacity installations has increased by 27% to 13 gigawatts (GW) during the calendar year
    (CY) 2022 compared to 10.2 GW installed in CY 2021.
  • The solar capacity installations in 2022 were the highest ever recorded in India.
  • The country’s cumulative installed solar capacity now stands at 63 GW.
  • During 2022, large-scale solar projects accounted for 87 percent of the installations.
  • India’s large-scale solar project pipeline stood at 58 GW, with another 51 GW of projects
    tendered and pending auction.
  • Rajasthan, Karnataka and Gujarat were the top three states for cumulative large-scale
    solar capacity, accounting for 54 percent of installations in the country as of December
    2022.
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  1. The 11th edition of the International Intellectual Property Rights Index 2023 has been
    released by the United States (US) Chamber of Commerce. The index evaluates IP rights in 55
    global economies across 50 unique indicators. The index aims to help nations navigate
    toward a brighter economic future marked by greater innovation, creativity, and
    competitiveness.
  • The United States of America (USA) has topped the index, followed by the UK, and
    France.
  • India has been ranked 42nd with an overall index score of 38.64%.
  • In 2022, India was ranked 43rd
    .
  1. India’s unemployment rate (UR) or proportion of persons aged 15 years and above has
    declined to a five-year low in July-June 2021-22 to 4.1 percent from 4.2 percent in July-June
    2020-21, as per the 5th Annual Report Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) issued by the
    Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI).
    The UR for male was 4.4% and for female was 3.3% in July-June 2021-22.
    The WPR (Worker Proportion Ratio) has increased to 52.9% in 2021-22 from 52.6% in 2020-21.
    It was 50.9 per cent in 2019-20.
    The Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR) has increased to 55.2% in 2021-22 from 54.9% in
    2020-21. It has also increased among males to 77.2% in 2021-22 from 77% in 2020-21. It rose
    in females to 32.8% in 2021-22 from 32.5% in 2020-21.
    Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS):
    It was launched in 2017 by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO).
    It is conducted to estimate the key employment and unemployment indicators (viz. Worker
    Population Ratio, Labour Force Participation Rate, Unemployment Rate) in the short time
    interval of three months for the urban areas only in the ‘Current Weekly Status’ (CWS).
    It is conducted to estimate employment and unemployment indicators in both ‘Usual Status’
    and CWS in both rural and urban areas annually.
  2. The World Health Organization (WHO) has published a report titled ‘Trends in maternal
    mortality 2000 to 2020’, which tracks maternal deaths nationally, regionally, and globally
    from 2000 to 2020.
    The report states that around 287000 women died from a maternal cause in 2020, which is
    approximately 800 deaths every day and one every 2 minutes.
  • Nigeria has the highest estimated number of maternal deaths in 2020 with approx. 82000
    (28.5%) maternal deaths.
  • Second to Nigeria, India accounted for 8.3% of global maternity deaths i.e. around 24 000
    in 2020.
  • India is followed by the Democratic Republic of the Congo (22 000) (7.5%), and Ethiopia (10
    000) (3.6%) of global maternal deaths, respectively.
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    As per the report, the global maternity mortality rate (MMR) has dropped by 34.3% (onethird) over a period of 20 years. The Global MMR dropped from 330 deaths per 100000 live
    births in 2000 to 227 in 2015, to 223 in 2020.
    Note: Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 3.1 is to reduce maternal mortality to less than
    70 maternal deaths per 100 000 live births by 2030.
  1. As per the ASSOCHAM-Crisil Ratings report, Assets Under Management (AUM) of Asset
    Reconstruction Companies (ARCs) is estimated to grow 9.8 percent in FY23 to Rs.1,19,000
    crore after a period of relative stagnation.
  • The AUM stood at Rs.1.09 lakh crore in FY22.
  • Between fiscals 2014 and 2018, AUM had grown at a steady pace (from Rs.42,000 crore to
    Rs.95,000 crore), initially driven by the supportive regulatory environment for banks to sell
    bad assets.
    Asset Reconstruction Company (ARC):
    An Asset Reconstruction Company (ARC) is a company incorporated under the Companies Act
    and registered with Reserve Bank of India under section 3 of The Securitisation and
    Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002. It is a
    specialized financial institution that buys the NPAs or bad assets from banks and financial
    institutions so that the latter can clean up their balance sheets.

GOVERNMENT SCHEMES & PROGRAMMES

  1. The Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme
    Implemntation (MoSPI) Rao Inderjit Singh has released the Revised Guidelines on Members
    of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS)-2023.
  • The Minister has also launched the new Web-Portal, for implementation of the Revised
    Fund Flow Procedure under MPLADS.
  • The new MPLADs guidelines and the web portal will come into effect from 1st April 2023.
    The revised set of guidelines aims to broaden the scope of the Scheme so as to enable the
    MPs (Member of Parliament) to recommend the developmental works as per the changing
    needs of the community; with an emphasis on improving the functioning, implementation
    and monitoring of the MPLAD scheme.
    Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS):
  • MPLADS is a centrally sponsored plan scheme fully funded by the Government of India. It
    was launched on 23rd December 1993.
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  • The objective of MPLAD Scheme is to enable the Members of Parliament (MPs) to
    recommend works of developmental nature with emphasis on the creation of durable
    community assets based on the locally felt needs.
  • Under it, MPs receive Rs.5 crore each year in two instalments of Rs.2.5 crore each.
  • Every year, MP shall recommend atleast 15% of MPLADS funds for areas inhabited by SC
    population and 7.5% for areas
    inhabited by ST population.
  • The funds under MPLADS are non-lapsable.
  • The District Authority is responsible for overall coordination and supervision of works
    under scheme at district level.
  • The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) is responsible for policy
    formulation, release of funds and prescribing monitoring mechanism for implementation
    of the scheme.
  1. The Government of India (GoI) has observed the 4th anniversary of Pradhan Mantri Kisan
    Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) on 24th February 2023.
  • PM-KISAN is a central sector scheme under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers
    Welfare.
  • The scheme has become operational from 1st December 2018.
  • It was launched on 24th February 2019 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Gorakhpur,
    Uttar Pradesh.
  • Under the scheme, the Centre transfers an amount of Rs.6,000 per year, in three equal
    instalments, directly into the bank accounts of all landholding farmers irrespective of the
    size of their land holdings.
  • So far, 11.78 crore farmers have received benefits under this scheme.
  • Rs 1.82 lakh crore have been distributed to the beneficiaries under this scheme. Out of
    this amount, Rs 1.29 lakh crore has been distributed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Note: The Centre has allocated Rs 60,000 crore for the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi
    (PM-KISAN) in the Union Budget 2023-24.

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

  1. BEML Limited, a ‘Schedule A’ company under the Ministry of Defence (MoD), has signed a
    Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) led SPV for
    constructing the Bahrain Metro Rail Project Phase-1.
    The project involves the construction of a 30 km network with 20 stations.
  2. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the SEED
    partnership have launched the ‘SDG Agrifood Accelerator Programme’, an instrument
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    designed to help agrifood system start-ups develop their businesses while contributing to the
    UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • The programme acknowledges that all 17 SDGs are interconnected and addresses
    challenges across a broad range of goals, from no poverty and zero hunger to good
    health, gender equality and climate action.
  • Operating across 8 countries in Africa and Asia, the 12 SMEs who joined the Programme
    have been pioneering solutions designed to transform agrifood systems while improving
    the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in their communities.
    SEED:
    It is a global partnership for action on sustainable development and green economy. It was
    founded at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg by the UN
    Environment Programme (UNEP), the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the
    International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
  1. Waipapa Taumata Rau, University of Auckland, New Zealand has signed a Memorandum of
    Understanding (MoU) with Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH), Mumbai, the largest and the
    most renowned cancer care hospital and research centre in India, to engage in long-term
    cooperation in cancer care and explore ways to enhance cancer care using digital health.
  2. The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has received the Indian Technical Standard
    Order (ITSO) authorisation from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for its
    indigenously developed Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) and Flight Data Recorder (FDR).
  • CVR and FDR are popularly known as ‘Black Boxes’.
  • CVR and FDR are used to record critical flight parameters and audio environment in a
    crash proof memory which is later used for investigation of aircraft incident or accident.
    The ITSO is a minimum performance standard for specified materials, parts, processes, and
    appliances used on civil aircraft.
  1. The Dholera Special Investment Region (SIR) near Ahmedabad, Gujarat has been chosen
    by the joint venture (JV) of Indian conglomerate Vedanta and electronics manufacturing giant
    Foxconn to set up their semiconductor and display manufacturing facility.
  • This is India’s first semiconductor manufacturing facility.
  • The project is in the advanced stage of evaluation by the Government of India (GoI).
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    In September 2022, the Gujarat government and the Vedanta-Foxconn JV signed an
    agreement for the JV to invest Rs.1,54,000 crore in the establishment of a semiconductor and
    display manufacturing facility.
  1. Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), a defence public sector undertaking (PSU), has signed
    two Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) for the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft
    (AMCA) programme, networking and security on the sidelines of Aero India 2023.
    First MoU:
  • It has been signed with the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), DRDO, for the
    Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) programme.
  • The Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft is a 5th generation, multi-role, all-weather fighter
    aircraft designed with high survivability and stealth capability.
    Second MoU:
  • It has been signed with Cisco for long-term strategic co-operation in the areas of
    networking, collaboration and security, among other associated services.
  • Under this MoU, Cisco will set up a Cisco Network Training Academy at the BEL Academy
    for Excellence (Nalanda), Bengaluru.
  1. The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
    with IIT Guwahati, IIT Gandhinagar and NIT Calicut to establish ‘BIS Standardization Chair
    Professor’ at these institutes. This MoU will strengthen and enhance the standards
    formulation activity by facilitating Research & Development (R&D) projects, and encourage
    involvement of young minds in the area of standardization process.
  2. The Information Fusion Centre – Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) has signed a Memorandum of
    Understanding (MoU) with Regional Coordination Operations Centre (RCOC) of Seychelles to
    promote collaboration between the two Centres towards enhancing maritime domain
    awareness, information sharing and expertise development.
    The MoU has been signed by Captain Rohit Bajpai, Director, IFC-IOR and Captain Sam
    Gontier, Director, RCOC.
    IFC-IOR:
    It is hosted by the Indian Navy. It was established by the Government of India at Gurugram,
    Haryana on 22 December 2018 to enhance collaborative maritime safety and security in the
    Indian Ocean Region in line with India’s vision of Security and Growth for All in the Region
    (SAGAR).
  3. CarDekho, an online used-car marketplace, has on-boarded Delhi-based Medulance, an
    ambulance service provider, on its platforms to provide emergency medical services. This
    partnership will enable its users to call for an ambulance from the app and website.
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  4. CSC Academy, a subsidiary of Common Service Centre e-Governance Services India Limited,
    has collaborated with NIELIT (National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology)
    to enhance digital literacy and skill development in India.
    Under this MoU, CSC Academy and NIELIT will work together to develop and implement
    training programs in various fields of technology, such as Skill Development, Virtual Academy,
    Accreditation and Facilitation Centre, Faculty Development Program, Digital and financial
    inclusion, etc.
    NIELIT (National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology):
    It is a premier institute in the field of information technology and is affiliated with the
    Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India. The organization
    provides training and certification programs in various fields of technology and aims to
    create a digitally literate society in India.
  5. ICOMM Tele Limited, a group company of Megha Engineering & Infrastructures Ltd (MEIL),
    has tied up with UAE-based small arms company CARACAL to manufacture small arms in
    India under the ‘Make in India’ and ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat’ initiatives.
  • This is the first-ever Transfer of Technology (ToT) in defence articles by CARACAL.
  • The pact has been inked at the 16th edition of IDEX 2023 in Abu Dhabi, UAE, one of the
    largest tri-service defence exhibitions in the world.
  1. Singapore-based RBB Ship Chartering Pte Ltd (RSCPL) has become the first ship leasing
    operator at the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) in Gujarat International Finance
    Tec-City (GIFT City), Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
  • RSCPL has received the maiden provisional license for the ship leasing business in
    February and is planning to commence commercial operations by next month.
  • The license has been granted in February 2023, and before March, commercial operations
    are expected to begin.
  1. Infosys Limited, an Indian multinational information technology company, has tied-up with
    Microsoft Corporation, an American multinational technology corporation, to help
    accelerate enterprise cloud transformation globally.
  2. The India Pulses and Grains Association (IPGA) has signed a Memorandum of
    Understanding (MoU) with IBRAFE, Brazil to establish co-operative actions to contribute to
    the food security of both countries.
    IBRAFE is the Brazilian Institute of Beans, Pulses and Special Crops.
    The MoU has been signed at the 6th edition of the Pulses Conclave held in Mumbai,
    Maharashtra.
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  3. The Board of Investment of Sri Lanka has issued a letter of approval to India’s Adani Green
    Energy Limited for two wind power plants to be set up in Mannar and Pooneryn areas of Sri
    Lanka with a total investment of USD 442 million.
    The wind power projects will generate about 350 megawatts of power and will be
    commissioned in 2 years and will be added to the national grid by 2025.
  4. Ola Electric Mobility Private Limited has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
    with the Government of Tamil Nadu to build the world’s largest electric vehicle (EV) hub
    with an investment of Rs.7,610 crore ($920 million) to localize the supply chain for cleaner
    transport.
    The EV hub with an integrated two-wheeler, electric car and lithium-cell Gigafactories with a
    capacity of 20 GW will be set up in SIPCOT Bargur, Krishnagiri district of Tamil Nadu.
  5. The Bihar cabinet has approved USD 50,000 (about Rs 41.41 lakh) for developing an early
    warning system for dense fog and cold wave conditions in collaboration with the US
    National Center for Atmospheric Research (US-NCAR).
    The aim of the Early Warning Systems is to avoid or reduce the damages caused by extreme
    weather conditions.
  6. The Government of Bangladesh has inked a country partnership agreement with the
    International Solar Alliance (ISA) to facilitate enhanced solar energy development in
    Bangladesh.
    The agreement will be implemented by December 2026.
    Featured Projects under the Agreement:
  • 12 trolley-mounted solar irrigation systems of 2 kW each for the Bangladesh Rice
    Research Institute (BRRI).
  • 12 portable 2 kW solar paddy threshers.
  • 1.5 kW of solar-powered drinking water.
  • Installation of any one railway rooftop solar project on platforms.
  • Installation of two rooftop solar projects with a combined capacity of 22 kW.
  1. The Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with
    Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) for domestic manufacture and supply of its Long-Range
    Artillery Weapon System (LORA) for Indian Tri-services.
    LORA:
  • It is a short-range, road-mobile, ground and sea-launched solid fuelled ballistic missile
    developed and operated by Israel.
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  • LORA system provides ballistic assault capabilities for multiple ranges (maximum range
    280km) with a precision level of 10 meters CEP (Circular Error Probability).
  • It uses Inertial Navigation System/Global Positioning System and TV for terminal guidance,
    with possible in-flight maneuvering capability.
  • It can carry a warhead of upto 600 kg.
  1. The Government of Uttar Pradesh has signed a Memorandum of Association (MoA) of Rs
    5,472 crore with Tata Technologies to upgrade 150 Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) across
    75 districts in UP with modern infrastructure, industry-oriented courseware, training, and
    support for advanced equipment and software as per industry 4.0.
  2. The Kerala Tourism has collaborated with the United Nations (UN) Women to boost
    women-friendly activities in tourism. The agreement has been signed at the first-ever Global
    Responsible Tourism Summit held in Kumarakom, Kerala.
    This agreement will be implemented by the Responsible Tourism Mission of Kerala.
  3. ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with
    Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales, Sociedad Anonima (YPF SA), Argentina to enhance
    cooperation in the areas of upstream oil and gas opportunity exploration and development,
    promote investment and cooperation, and forge closer ties between research and training
    centres.
  4. Gopalan Aerospace India Private Limited has signed a Joint Venture (JV) with Slovakiabased Magic Trading Corporation Inc. (MTC), a self-regulatory organization (SRO), and
    DEFSYSTECH S.R.O. for the development of precision drones in India.
    Gopalan Aerospace has also signed a joint venture with Omnipol Group, a partner of Czech
    government institutions and NATO in the field of defence and security, to integrate Passive
    Radars for the Indian Defence Industry in border regions.

BANKING & FINANCE

  1. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has proposed to provide USD 20-25 billion resources
    over the next 5 years to advance India’s aspirations for fast, inclusive, and green growth.
  • ADB started operations in India in 1986.
  • ADB’s current India portfolio comprises 64 projects worth about USD 16 billion across
    transport, urban, energy, human development, agriculture and natural resources, and
    finance sectors.
  1. Axis Bank has enabled real-time cross-border transactions using the Unified Payments
    Interface (UPI) Network following the integration of UPI-PayNow.
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  • Axis Bank will act as the settlement bank for peer-to-peer foreign inward remittance
    transactions initiated through PayNow by the Liquid Group in Singapore.
  • Currently, Axis Bank will settle these transactions to beneficiaries holding an account with
    or are registered on the UPI App of the six banks — SBI, IOB, Indian Bank, ICICI, DBS and
    Axis Bank.
  1. The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) has recently reduced the
    waiting period for National Pension Scheme (NPS) subscribers for processing partial
    withdrawal requests to T+2 years (after two days of the request) across all Central Record
    Keeping Agencies (CRAs). Earlier, it was T+4 years.
    A subscriber of NPS can withdraw less than 25% of the funds. However, this shall be done
    only after 10 years.
  2. NSE Indices Limited, a subsidiary of National Stock Exchange (NSE), has launched India’s
    first ever Municipal Bond Index, ‘Nifty India Municipal Bond Index’, at a Securities &
    Exchange Board of India (SEBI) workshop on Municipal Debt Securities in Bengaluru,
    Karnataka.
  • The index will track the performance of municipal bonds issued by Indian municipal
    corporations across maturities and having investment grade credit rating.
  • Presently, the index has 28 municipal bonds issued by 10 issuers all having credit rating in
    the AA rating category.
  • The index constituents are assigned weights based on their outstanding amount.
  1. Policybazaar, in partnership with Niva Bupa Health Insurance and Tata AIA, has developed a
    new unique solution ‘Health, Wealth, and Life Solution’ to provide the benefit of health
    insurance, life insurance as well as return on investment.
    The new health + wealth + life offering integrates the benefits of ULIP (Unit Linked Insurance
    Plan) and health insurance, thereby delivering protection against death and disease as well
    as enabling wealth creation for customers.
  2. The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras has collaborated with the General
    Insurance Corporation of India (GIC Re) to develop a urine-based tuberculosis (TB)
    diagnosis or screening. This diagnosis will make testing faster and more affordable than the
    existing point-of-care diagnostic kits available for various diseases such as blood glucose
    monitors.
  3. The National Stock Exchange (NSE) has listed the first Green Bonds on its platform. These
    Green Bonds are issued by the Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC), marking the first-ever
    green bond issue by a municipal corporation in India.
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    This issue will provide momentum for the advancement of green financing and aid in India’s
    goal of moving towards clean and sustainable energy.
    Green bonds are debt securities designated to finance environment-friendly projects.
  4. Bank of Maharashtra (BoM) has launched its own private cloud infrastructure, “Mahabank
    Nakshatra”, to facilitate high-performance cloud capabilities for digital infrastructure and
    hosting applications of the bank.
    The cloud platform will strengthen asset monitoring mechanism via predictive machine
    learning model.
  5. Kotak Mahindra Bank has introduced an integrated banking portal named ‘Kotak fyn’ to
    provide digital banking and value-added services to its business banking and corporate
    clients.
  • The portal will offer services across all products, including trade & services, account
    services, payments, and collections and make banking seamless for the bank’s clients.
  • The portal will assure paperless transactions and will offer the facility to unify data across
    multiple product-specific portals and back-office systems to create a single view of
    transactions, positions and balances, enabling self-service and driving operational
    efficiency.
  1. As per the research report by the State Bank of India (SBI) Ecowrap, India’s Gross Domestic
    Product (GDP) growth for Q3 FY23 is estimated at 4.6%. For the whole FY23, the GDP is
    estimated to grow between 6.8% and 7%.
    This estimate is based upon an in-house SBI Artificial Neural Network (ANN) model.
    ANN is a computational network model that has artificial neural networks like biological
    neurons that are linked to each other in various layers of the network.
  2. Karnataka Bank has won the ‘Prathista Puraskar’ under ‘Digidhan Awards 2021-22’ by the
    Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) for achieving target with
    highest percentage in BHIM-UPI transactions in private sector bank category.
  3. The 1st G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (FMCBG) meeting has been
    held in Bengaluru, Karnataka from 24-25 February 2023. The meeting has been co-chaired
    by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Dr Shaktikanta Das, Reserve Bank of India
    (RBI).
    The discussions of the 1st G20 FMCBG meeting are intended to provide a strategic roadmap
    for the various work streams of G20 Finance Track in 2023.
    The meeting is presided by 2
    nd Finance and Central Bank Deputies Meeting held in
    Bengaluru, Karnataka.
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    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.
  4. Karnataka Bank (KBL), a leading Private Sector Bank, has entered into a co-lending
    agreement with Paisalo Digital Limited (PDL), a Non-Deposit taking NBFC registered with
    the Reserve Bank of India, to provide financial support to small income segment and to give
    impetus to the Micro & Small Enterprise (MSEs) Segment of the country.
  5. Niva Bupa Health Insurance has launched a health insurance plan ‘ReAssure 2.0’ which is
    a plus variant of its current ReAssure plan.
    Key features of ReAssure 2.0:
  • The first of its kind indemnity plan offers lock-in of entry age until a policyholder makes
    his/her first claim, thereby helping customers save on premiums.
  • This plan offers ‘live healthy’ benefit that gives premium discount of up to 30% on policy
    renewal basis health points earned.
  • The product is available as an individual, multi-individual and family floater starting from
    Rs.5 lakh to Rs.1 crore for the age bracket of 18 years to 65 years.
  1. Central Bank of India has inked a co-lending deal with Moneywise Financial Services
    Private Limited (MFSPL), a non-banking financial company, to offer MSME Loans at
    competitive rates.
    The loans will be subject to compliance with the applicable laws and guidelines issued by
    Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
  2. SBI Mutual Fund has launched the SBI Dividend Yield Fund, an open-ended equity scheme
    that will invest at least a minimum of 65% of the assets into equity & equity related
    instruments predominantly into dividend yielding companies. The benchmark of the fund is
    the NIFTY 500 TRI. The investment objective of the scheme is to provide investors with
    opportunities for capital appreciation and/or dividend distribution.

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

  1. Indian educationist and social worker for the promotion of indigenous languages in Odisha
    Dr. Mahendra Kumar Mishra has been awarded the International Mother Language
    Award 2023 by Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina in Dhaka.
  • He is the first Indian to receive this award.
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  • He has worked over three decades on the language, culture and education of the
    marginalised languages of Odisha.
    Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has conferred the two national awards and two international
    awards to four recipients in Dhaka.
    1) Bangladeshi nationals Habibur Rahman and Ranjit Singha are given the national awards.
    2) Mahendra Kumar Mishra and Mother Language Lovers of World Society, Vancouver,
    Canada are conferred with the international awards.
    International Mother Language Award:
    It was instituted in 2021 by UNESCO. It is given in recognition of the extraordinary
    contribution to the preservation, revitalization and development of mother languages.
    Note: International Mother Language Award is observed annually on 21st February.
  1. A noted writer V Madhusoodanan Nair has won the Jnanappana Award for 2023, instituted
    by the Guruvayur Devaswom Board. The award carries a cash prize of Rs.50,001, a 10 gram
    gold locket engraved with an image of Guruvayurappan and a plaque.
    The award was instituted in the memory of ‘Poonthanam Namboothiri’, a famous poet and a
    devotee of Guruvayurappan (Kerala).
  2. The Dadasaheb Phalke International Film Festival (DPIFF) 2023 has been held in Mumbai,
    Maharashtra. It is conducted on annual basis by the Directorate of Film Festivals, an
    organisation which is established by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
    The Indian drama film ‘The Kashmir Files’ has won the ‘Best Film’ award at the festival. This
    film has been directed by Indian filmmaker Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri.
    The film ‘RRR’, directed by SS Rajamouli, has won the International Film of the Year Award.
CategoryWinners
Outstanding Contribution in the Film  IndustryRekha
Best FilmThe Kashmir Files
Most Versatile Actor of the YearAnupam Kher for The Kashmir  Files
Best ActorRanbir Kapoor for Brahmastra:  Part 1
Best ActressAlia Bhatt for Gangubai  Kathiawadi
Best DirectorR Balki for Chup: Revenge of The  Artist
Most Promising ActorRishab Shetty for Kantara
Best Actor in a Supporting RoleManish Paul for Jugjugg Jeeyo
Best Web Series: RudraThe Edge of Darkness
Critics Best ActorVarun Dhawan for Bhediya
Film of the YearRRR
Television Series of the YearAnupamaa
Best Actor in a Television SeriesZain Imam for Fanaa: Ishq Mein  Marjawaan
Best Actress in a Television SeriesTejasswi Prakash for Naagin
Outstanding Contribution in the  Music IndustryHariharan Anantha Subramani
Best Male SingerSachet Tandon for Maiyya Mainu
Best Female SingerNeeti Mohan for Meri Jaan
Best CinematographerPS Vinod for Vikram Vedha
  1. The Jury Committee chaired by Arjun Ram Meghwal, Union Minister of State (MoS) for
    Parliamentary Affairs, has chosen a total of 13 Members of Parliament (MPs) and two
    parliamentary committees for the Sansad Ratna Award 2023, with a lifetime award being
    presented for the first time this year.
    The 13th edition of the Sansad Ratna Awards 2023 will be presented on 25th March 2023 in
    New Delhi.
    Sansad Ratna Awards 2023:

The awards were instituted in 2010, inspired by the teachings of former President APJ Abdul
Kalam. The awards were started with support from IIT Madras.

  1. NTPC Limited, India’s largest power generating company, has been ranked as the top
    Independent Power Producers and Energy Traders Globally in the S&P Global Commodity
    Insights Top 250 Global Energy Company Rankings-2022. These rankings are based on four
    key metrics: asset worth, revenues, profits and return on investment.
  • NTPC currently contributes 24% of the total electricity produced in India.
  • NTPC is targeting non-fossil fuel-based capacity to make up nearly 50 percent of the
    company’s portfolio by 2030.
  1. Sajjan Jindal, Chairman & Managing Director (CMD) of Mumbai-based JSW Group, has won
    the EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2022 India at the 24th EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards
    ceremony held in New Delhi, Delhi. He has been recognized for his exceptional journey in
    scaling the global conglomerate with a presence in steel, cement, infrastructure, energy, and
    paints to revenues of USD 22 billion, globally employing over 40,000 people.
    Other winners at the 24th EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards:
CategoryWinners
Special Jury AwardDeepak Bagla, MD & CEO of Invest India
Lifetime Achievement  AwardKP Singh, Chairman DLF Group
Start-upMahesh Pratapneni, Co-founder and  Group CEO of MedGenome
Financial ServicesV Vaidyanathan, MD & CEO of IDFC FIRST Bank
Energy, Real-estate &  InfrastructureIrfan Razack, Chairman & MD of Prestige  Group
ManufacturingPradeep Kheruka, Executive Chairman of Borosil Group
ServicesPawan Jain, Chairman of Safexpress
Consumer Products &  RetailRavi Modi, Chairman & MD of Vedant  Fashions
  1. The 2nd edition of the Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN) report has been
    released by Dr Bibek Debroy, Chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister
    (EAC-PM), during the ‘TheIndiaDialog’ conference organised by Institute for Competitiveness
    and US-Asia Technology Management Center, Stanford University.
    The report has been authored by Amit Kapoor, Chair, Institute for Competitiveness, Natalia
    Chakma, Researcher, Institute for Competitiveness, and Sheen Zutshi, Research Manager,
    Institute for Competitiveness.
    The report is prepared by the Institute for Competitiveness.
  • The report tracks states’ and UTs performance in achieving universal foundational
    learning by 2026-27.
  • The report captures the role of language in education and focuses on improving the
    learning outcomes using appropriate assessments and medium of instruction.
  • The report presented an FLN Index 2022, which is the indicator of literacy among
    children below 10 years of age.
    5 pillars of FLN Index are: Educational Infrastructure, Access to Education, Basic Health,
    Learning Outcomes and Governance.
    Top-3 Ranking (Index on Foundational Learning).
CategoryStateFLN Scores 2022
Small StatePunjab64.19
Kerala58.42
Goa51.05
Large StateWest Bengal54.48
Maharashtra52.78
Tamil Nadu52.23
UTPuducherry54.76
Delhi52.13
Jammu & Kashmir50.75
North EasternSikkim56.75
Mizoram48.31
Manipur47.17

It is the ability of a child (between the ages of 3 and 8 years old) to read basic texts and do
basic mathematical problems such as addition and subtraction. It is one of the main
elements of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020.

  1. The President of India Droupadi Murmu has presented the Sangeet Natak Akademi’s
    Fellowships (Akademi Ratna) and Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards (Akademi Puruskar)
    for the year 2019, 2020 and 2021 in New Delhi.
  • Nine eminent personalities have been given Akademi Ratna in the field of performing
    arts and a total of 128 artists from the field of music, dance, theatre, traditional, folk, and
    puppetry have been given the Akademi Puraskar.
  • The Akademi’s fellowship (Akademi Ratna) carries a purse money of Rs.3 lakh and
    Akademi Awards (Akademi Puraskar) carry a purse money of Rs.1 lakh. The award also
    carries a Tamrapatra and Angavastram.
WinnersField
Saroja VaidyanathanBharatnatyam dancer
Sadanam  Krishnan KuttyKathakali dancer
Darshana JhaveriManipuri dancer
Chhannu Lal  MishraClassical vocalist
Swapan  ChaudhuriTabla player
AKC NatarajanCarnatic clarinet  player
TV GopalakrishnanHindustani musician
Tijan BaiFolk singer
Bharat GuptMusicologist
  1. The 6
    th Hollywood Critics Association (HCA) Film Awards 2023 has been held at the
    Beverly Wilshire in Los Angeles, USA.
    Telugu blockbuster “RRR”, directed by SS Rajamouli, has lifted five trophies at the 2023 HCA
    Film Awards.
    RRR has won the Best International Film, Best Action Film, Best Stunts, Best Original Song,
    and the honorary Spotlight Award at the ceremony.

BOOKS & AUTHORS

  1. J.P. Nadda, President of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has launched a book titled as “Modi:
    Shaping a Global Order in Flux” in Chanakyapuri, New Delhi.
  • The book has been edited by Sujan Chinoy, Vijay Chauthaiwale, and Uttam Kumar Sinha.
  • The foreword is written by S Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs, Government of India.
  • The publisher of the book is Wisdom Tree.

PERSON IN NEWS

  1. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) have approved to extend the tenure of
    C B Ananthakrishnan, Director (Finance) of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), as
    Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) (additional charge) for a period of 6 months with
    effect from 1st February 2023.
    He assumed the additional charge of the post of CMD following the superannuation of R
    Madhavan as CMD of HAL on 31st July 2022.
  2. Rajesh Rai has been appointed as the Chairman & Managing Director (CMD) of Indian
    Telephone Industries Limited (ITI Limited), a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) under the
    Department of Telecommunication (DoT). He has been appointed for a period of 5 years with
    an immediate effect.
  3. Sanjay Nayar, a global financial markets expert, has been appointed as the new VicePresident of the Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), a nongovernmental trade association.
  4. Justice Sanjay Kumar Mishra, who hails from Odisha, has been sworn in as the 14th Chief
    Justice of the Jharkhand High Court. Governor of Jharkhand CP Radhakrishnan has
    administered him the oath of office.
    After the superannuation of Justice Ravi Ranjan on December 2022, the post of the Chief
    Justice of the Jharkhand High Court became vacant.
  5. Comptroller and Auditor General Girish Chandra Murmu has been selected as External
    Auditor of the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Geneva for a four-year term from
    2024 to 2027. He will replace the incumbent External Auditor of ILO, Jose Callangan Calida,
    Chairperson of the Commission on Audit, the Supreme Audit Institution of Philippines.
  6. Lt General RS Reen has been appointed as the Director-General (DG) of the Directorate
    General of Quality Assurance (DGQA). He is a 1986-batch officer. He is an alumnus of Indian
    Military Academy, Dehradun.
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  7. Dr K Govindaraj, Karnataka MLC and current President of the Basketball Federation of
    India, has been unanimously nominated to take over as the President of FIBA Asia, a zone
    within the International Basketball Federation (FIBA).
  • He has replaced Sheikh Saud Ali Al Thani of Qatar.
  • He has become the 1
    st Indian to be elected as FIBA Asia President.

OBITUARIES

  1. Noted Mohiniyattam exponent Kanak Rele has recently passed away in Mumbai,
    Maharashtra. She was born on 11th June 1937 in Gujarat, British India. She was awarded the
    first Guru Gopinath National Puraskaram of the Government of Kerala. She was the founderdirector of the Nalanda Dance Research Centre and the founder-principal of the Nalanda
    Nritya Kala Mahavidyalaya in Mumbai.
    “Me and My Mohini Attam” is the biography of Kanak Rele authored by her niece Radha
    Khambati.
    Awards & Honours:
  • Gaurav Puraskar (Govt. of Gujarat): 1989
  • Padma Shri: 1990
  • Kalidas Samman (Govt. of Madhya Pradesh): 2006
  • Padma Bhushan: 2013
    Mohiniyattam:
    It is a classical dance form of Kerala. It is performed by women in honour of God Vishnu in
    his incarnation as enchantress Mohini.
    Conventionally a solo dance performed by female artists, it emotes a play through dancing
    and singing.
    Instruments used: Maddalam, Mridangam, Veena, Kuzhitalam or Cymbals, Edakka etc.
    It has its roots in sage Bharata Muni’s text called ‘Natya Shastra’
  1. Indian agriculturist, politician & educationist Devisingh Ransingh Shekhawat has recently
    passed away in Pune, Maharashtra. He was the husband of the former President of India
    Pratibha Patil and former Gentleman of India (2007-12). He was born in 1934.
    He also served as the first gentleman of Rajasthan and also as mayor of Amravati (1991-92).
    He was a member of the Indian National Congress (INC).

SPORTS

  1. Indian Chess player N.R. Vignesh, from Chennai, Tamil Nadu, has become India’s 80th
    Chess Grandmaster after defeating International Master (IM) Ilija Schneider of Germany at
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    NordWest Cup 2023 held at Bad Zwischenahn in Germany. He became the Grandmaster after
    crossing 2500 in the live ratings.
    N.R. Vignesh has also become the 29th Grandmaster hailing from Tamil Nadu.
    Note: M Pranesh from Tamil Nadu became India’s 79th Chess Grandmaster in January 2023.
  2. The Australian women’s national cricket team, led by Meg Lanning, has won the 8
    th
    edition of the International Cricket Council (ICC) Women’s Twenty20 (T20) World Cup 2023
    by defeating South Africa women’s team, led by Sune Luus, by 19 runs in the finals held in
    the Newlands Cricket Ground in Cape Town, South Africa.
    This marks the 6th and 3rd consecutive ICC Women’s T20 World Cup title of Australia.
    Player of the series: Ashleigh Gardner of Australia
    Most runs: Laura Wolvaardt of South Africa
    Most wickets: Sophie Ecclestone of England
    Highest score: Muneeba Ali Siddiqui of Pakistan
    Note: Bangladesh will host the 9th ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in 2024 and England will host in
    2026.

IMPORTANT DAYS

  1. World Thinking Day, formerly Thinking Day, is observed annually on 22nd February by the
    World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) across 150 countries. The day is
    observed to think about fellow brothers and sisters around the world, address their concerns
    and understand the true meaning of guiding.
    22nd February was chosen as the date to celebrate Thinking Day because it was the birthday
    of both Lord Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scout Movement, and Olave Baden-Powell,
    who was World Chief Guide.
    Theme 2023: “Our World, Our Peaceful Future”
    The day has been observed since 1926 and is celebrated as a day of international friendship.
  2. The Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) has observed its 45th Foundation Day on
    22nd February 2023. AEPC is the official body of apparel exporters in India, under the aegis of
    Ministry of Textiles, which provides invaluable assistance to Indian exporters as well as
    importers/ international buyers.
  • Established: 1978
  • Headquarters: Gurugram, Haryana
  • Chairman: Narendra Goenka
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  1. Central Excise Day is observed annually across India on 24th February to commemorate
    the Central Excise and Salt Act, which was enacted on 24th February 1944. The day is
    observed to encourage the employees of the excise department to carry out the central
    excise duty in a better way.
  2. World NGO Day is observed annually on 27th February to recognise, celebrate and honour
    non-government and non-profit organisations. The day was first observed by the United
    Nations in 2014.
  3. National Protein Day is observed annually across India on 27th February to educate
    people on the benefits of consuming protein-rich foods.
  • The year 2023 marks the fourth year of National Protein Day celebration in India.
  • Theme 2023: “Easy Access to Protein for All”
  • The day was first observed in 2020.
  1. National Science Day is observed annually on 28th February to commemorate the
    discovery of the ‘Raman Effect’. The day is observed to create awareness on the importance
    of science.
  • The Government of India designated 28 February as National Science Day (NSD) in 1986.
  • On this day Sir C.V. Raman announced the discovery of the ‘Raman Effect’ for which he
    was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1930.
  • Theme 2023: “Global Science for Global Wellbeing”
  1. Rare Disease Day (RDD) is observed annually on the last day of February to raise
    awareness for rare diseases and improve access to treatment and medical representation for
    individuals with rare diseases and their families. This year, the day falls on 28th February.
  • The day was first launched by European Organisation for Rare Diseases (EURORDIS) and
    its Council of National Alliances in 2008.
  • Theme 2023: “Share your colours”.

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