- 1. Sea level rise is a major threat for India and China: World Meteorological Organisation.
- 2. India and Fiji have signed MoU on visa exemption for holders of diplomatic and official passports.
- 3. PM Modi inaugurated Aadi Mahotsav on 16 February at Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium in Delhi.
- 4. India’s overall exports from April to January in the current financial year are estimated to show a positive growth of 17.33% over the same period last year.
- 5. Government has given approval to strengthen the cooperative movement.
- 6. Center has allocated Rs 4,800 crore for the Vibrant Village Program.
- 7. Union Cabinet has given approval to the signing of an MoU between India and South Africa for cooperation in the disability sector.
- 8. West Bengal Finance Minister Chandrima Bhattacharya presented the state budget for 2023-24.
- 9. Ministry of Mines notified Geo-heritage Sites and Geo-relics Bill for comments and suggestions.
- 10. Paytm Payments Bank becomes first bank to launch the UPI LITE feature.
- 11. Two-day “Parliamentary Workshop” inaugurated by Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla at Gujarat assembly on 15 February.
- 12. India's first frozen-lake marathon ‘Last Run’ will be hosted by Ladakh at Pangong Tso.
- 13. Bihar and Chhattisgarh are one of the top states that allocated more funds towards education.
- 14. Akshdeep Singh and Priyanka Goswami won National Race Walking Championships.
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Topic: Reports and Indices/Ranking
1. Sea level rise is a major threat for India and China: World Meteorological Organisation.
- World Meteorological Organisation in its report said that Sea level rise is a major threat for India and China along with Bangladesh, the Netherlands and other countries having coastal populations.
- Sea level rise is a major threat to Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and other coastal cities of India.
- The global mean sea level has increased by 0.20m between 1901 and 2018.
- The average rate of increase was 1.3 mm/ year between 1901 and 1971 while it was 1.9 mm/year between 1971 and 2006.
- Between 2013 and 2022, sea-level has increased by 4.5 mm/yr.
- As per the WMO report, if global heating gets limited to 1.5 degrees still there will be sea level rise.
- If temperatures rise by 2 degrees then the sea level rise will be doubled.
- During 1971-2018, thermal expansion is responsible for 50% of sea level rise. 22% of the rise in sea level is due to the loss of ice from glaciers.
- According to WMO, the global mean sea level rise by 2100 will be 0.28-0.55 m under the very low GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions scenario.
- The sea level rise will be 0.44-0.76 m under the intermediate GHG emissions conditions and 0.63-1.01 m under the very high emissions.
- In the Indian Ocean, 50% of the sea level rise is due to the expansion of the volume of water as the ocean water is warming up rapidly. The Indian Ocean is the fastest-warming ocean in terms of surface warming.
- A 3 cm rise in sea level can submerge about 17 meters of land.
- Many megacities like Dhaka, Jakarta, Mumbai, Shanghai, Copenhagen, London, Los Angeles, New York, etc could face the serious impacts of sea level rise.
2. India and Fiji have signed MoU on visa exemption for holders of diplomatic and official passports.
- As part of this agreement, diplomatic and official passport holders can enter, transit, and stay in each other territories in the absence of a visa for a period not exceeding 90 days.
- The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was exchanged in the presence of Prime Minister of Fiji Sitiveni Rabuka and External Affairs Minister Dr. S Jaishankar.
- India and Fiji have inaugurated the solarization of the State House in Suva (capital of Fiji).
- On the visa waiver agreement, Dr. S Jaishankar said that the agreement will be helpful in encouraging greater travel between both countries.
Topic: Art and Culture
3. PM Modi inaugurated Aadi Mahotsav on 16 February at Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium in Delhi.
- Aadi Mahotsav is being organised between the 16th and 27th of February at Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium in Delhi. It is a mega National Tribal Festival.
- It is an annual initiative of the Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation Limited (TRIFED) under the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
- It will showcase the heritage of tribes from across India in more than 200 stalls at the venue.
- Nearly 1000 artisans from 28 States/UTs will take part in the Mahotsav.
- In the Mahotsav this year, a special focus will be on showcasing “Shree Anna” (millets) grown by tribals.
- The theme of the present edition of Aadi Mahotsav is “A Celebration of the Spirit of Tribal Crafts, Culture, Cuisine and Commerce”.
Topic: Indian Economy
4. India’s overall exports from April to January in the current financial year are estimated to show a positive growth of 17.33% over the same period last year.
- According to the Commerce and Industry Ministry, the merchandise exports for April-January 2022-23 were over 369 Billion dollars.
- Merchandise exports during the April-January period of the last financial year stood at 340 Billion dollars.
- Commerce and Industry Ministry said that India’s overall exports in January this year are estimated to be over 65 billion dollars.
- All agricultural commodities exports except coffee have shown positive growth.
- Electronic goods exports have increased by over 50% during January this year.
- It is estimated that overall imports from April to January 2022-23 will show a growth of more than 22% over the same period last year.
- Commerce and Industry Ministry said the global growth is projected to decline from an estimated 3.4% in 2022 to 2.9% in 2023.
- The Ministry said that India continues to grow with a growth rate of 6.8% in 2022 and 6.1% in 2023.
Topic: National News
5. Government has given approval to strengthen the cooperative movement.
- The Union Cabinet has given its approval to strengthen the cooperative movement in the country and take it to the grassroots level.
- On 15 February, Anurag Thakur said that two lakh multi-purpose primary agricultural credit societies (PACS), viable dairy cooperatives and fish cooperative societies, would be formed in the uncovered panchayats.
- An action plan will be prepared by NABARD, National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) and National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB) for the implementation of this project.
- The scheme will provide necessary forward and backward linkages to farmers’ members across the country to market their produce, increase their income, avail credit facilities and other services at the village level itself.
- These PACS, Dairy and Fishery Cooperatives would be set up during the next five years.
- Necessary infrastructure will be set up to diversify the business activities of PACS/Dairy/Fisheries Cooperatives and enable them to modernize.
- This would strengthen the cooperative sector and create employment opportunities in rural areas.
- The scheme will also enable farmers to get better prices for their produce, expand the size of their markets and integrate them smoothly into the supply chain.
- PACS/Dairy/Fisheries Cooperative Societies will be linked to their respective district and state level federations.
Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives
6. Center has allocated Rs 4,800 crore for the Vibrant Village Program.
- The Union Cabinet has approved a Centrally Sponsored Scheme- Vibrant Villages Programme with a financial allocation of 4,800 crore rupees for the fiscal years 2022-23 to 2025-26.
- This will lead to infrastructure development and livelihood opportunities in the four states and one union territory along the northern land border.
- These include Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Union Territory of Ladakh.
- This will improve the quality of life of the people as well as lead to inclusive development of the villages on the northern border.
- The program will assists in identifying and developing economic drivers based on local human and natural resources of border villages on the northern border.
- The development of growth centres will be based on “Hub and Spoke Model” through promotion of social entrepreneurship, empowerment of youth and women through skill development and entrepreneurship, and promotion of local cultural, traditional knowledge.
- It also includes development of sustainable eco-agribusinesses on the concept of “One village-One product” through community-based organisations, SHGs, NGOs, etc.
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7. Union Cabinet has given approval to the signing of an MoU between India and South Africa for cooperation in the disability sector.
- The bilateral MoU will encourage cooperation between the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities of India and the Government of South Africa.
- Union Cabinet has given approval to the signing of an MoU between India and Chile for cooperation in the field of Agriculture and Allied sectors.
- Under the MoU, a Chile-India Agricultural Working Group is to be set up.
- This Working Group will be responsible for the supervision, review and assessment of the implementation of this MoU.
- The meetings of the Working Group will be held once a year alternatively in Chile and India.
- The MoU will enter into force upon its signature. It will remain in force for a period of five years from the date of execution.
- Union Cabinet has also given approval to the signing of an MoU between the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) and The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales (ICAEW).
- The MoU provides recognition of the qualification and training of each other’s members.
Topic: State News/West Bengal
8. West Bengal Finance Minister Chandrima Bhattacharya presented the state budget for 2023-24.
- The budget focuses on social welfare and youth-oriented schemes and development of the rural roads.
- In the budget, the state government has allocated Rs 3000 crore for developing 11,500 km of rural roads.
- The state government has proposed the introduction of a credit card for youth, named as "Bhavishyat Credit Card".
- State Finance Minister said the state government is taking up a special project named 'Rastashree' for strengthening the existing roads.
- Rastashree project is also for improving the connectivity of these roads with other places. Rs. 3,000 crore has been allocated for this project.
- In the budget, the “Matsyajeebi Bandhu” scheme has also been introduced to support the dependent family members of the fisherman in case of their untimely demise.
- Under this scheme, the dependent family members shall receive one time grant of Rs. 2 lakh in case of the death of a registered fisherman between the age group of 18-60 years, either due to natural reasons or by accident.
- A new scheme Bhavishyat Credit Card has been introduced for youth to provide financial assistance as loans to begin a business. ₹350 crore has been allocated for the scheme.
- Under the Bhavishyat Credit Card scheme, 2 lakh youth in the age group of 18-45 years will be given financial assistance as loans up to ₹5 lakh through banks for setting up micro-enterprises.
- State Finance Minister also announced that the government has decided to bring out a policy for the issuance of homestead patta to eligible tea garden workers.
- In the budget, the government has provided an exemption on payment of Education Cess, Rural Employment Cess and Agricultural Income Tax for two years i.e. 2023-24 and 2024- 25. These steps have been taken to provide relief to the tea industry.
Topic: Indian Polity
9. Ministry of Mines notified Geo-heritage Sites and Geo-relics Bill for comments and suggestions.
- The main aim of the Geo-heritage Sites and Geo-relics (Preservation and Maintenance) Bill is to preserve and protect geo-heritage sites and geo-relics of national importance.
- It will also promote geological studies, education, research and awareness of Geo-heritage Sites and Geo-relics.
- The Geological Survey of India (GSI) declares geo-heritage sites/ national geological monuments for protection and maintenance.
- The draft of the bill defines Geoheritage sites as “sites containing geo-relics and phenomena, stratigraphic type sections, geological structures and geomorphic landforms”.
- The Bill prohibits the construction, reconstruction, repair or renovation of any building within the geoheritage site area, except for construction for preservation and maintenance of site or essential any public work.
- The draft bill has also a provision of the penalty of imprisonment or a fine of Rs.5 lakh, or both.
- The Geological Survey of India can acquire geo-relics for the preservation and maintenance.
- In India, a total of 32 geo-heritage sites are spread across 13 states.
- There is no legislation for the protection, preservation and maintenance of geoheritage sites.
- Due to the absence of any legislation, the threat of destruction of geo-heritage sites has increased.
- The bill empowers Central Government to declare a geo heritage site to be of national importance.
Topic: Banking System
10. Paytm Payments Bank becomes first bank to launch the UPI LITE feature.
- Paytm Payments Banks Limited has launched UPI LITE. It will enable multiple small-value UPI transactions.
- The UPI LITE will help in performing faster real-time transactions with a single click through Paytm.
- The NPCI designed this feature and it was launched by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in September 2022.
- UPI LITE wallet will allow users to do instant transactions of up to ₹200. ₹2,000 can be added twice in a day to the UPI LITE wallet.
- UPI LITE will give users a faster, secure, and seamless low-value transaction experience.
- More than 50 per cent of transactions through UPI are of below rs 200.
- Unified Payments Interface (UPI): It is an instant real-time payment system which has been developed by NPCI. It allows users to make fund transfers from their bank account.
11. Two-day “Parliamentary Workshop” inaugurated by Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla at Gujarat assembly on 15 February.
- The objective of the workshop is to help the newly elected representatives of the State Legislature to familiarize themselves with the legislative processes.
- During the ceremony, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla has said that positive criticism and quality debate are very important for parliamentary democracy.
- Shri Birla told the public representatives to actively participate in the process of law making.
- Elected MLAs, MPs, Ex-Assembly Speakers, Ex-Chief Ministers, Ex-Deputy Chief Ministers and citizens of all parties are participating in the workshop.
- The workshop is being organized to sensitize public representatives about various topics, such as rights, duties, their role in parliamentary democracy, aspects related to assembly proceedings, stress management, parliamentary privileges and legitimacy, etc.
- There will be ten sessions in the workshop, in which experts will guide the public representatives.
(Source: News on AIR)
12. India's first frozen-lake marathon ‘Last Run’ will be hosted by Ladakh at Pangong Tso.
- On February 20, India's first "frozen-lake marathon" will be organized at Pangong Tso in Ladakh at an altitude of 13,862 feet.
- The Army and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) have been contracted to implement a "proper action plan" for the event.
- The starting point of the 21-kilometre marathon is from Lukung, which will end at Maan village.
- Seventy-five athletes selected from India and abroad are participating in the race, giving them a chance to enter the name in Guinness World Record for the world's highest "frozen-lake marathon".
- The marathon is being called the "Last Run" to highlight the issue of climate change.
- The Adventure Sports Foundation of Ladakh (ASFL), the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council-Leh, the Tourism Department, and the Leh district administration are organizing this event.
- The 700-sq-metre Pangong lake on the India-China border records minus 30 degrees Celsius temperature during winters, causing the saltwater lake to freeze.
Topic: National News
13. Bihar and Chhattisgarh are one of the top states that allocated more funds towards education.
- Bihar allocated 18.3% of its budget towards education.
- Chhattisgarh allocated 18.82% of the estimated net budget expenditure to education.
- Delhi, Assam, and Himachal Pradesh are among the top states that have allocated a higher portion of their budget expenditure on education for this fiscal year.
- According to the National Sample Survey 2018, the literacy rate in Chhattisgarh is 77.9% while the literacy rate in Bihar is 70.9 %.
- Kerala has the highest literacy rate of 96.2% while the literacy rate in Tamil Nadu is 82.9%.
- In FY23, the national average allocation to education is 15.4 % of the net budget expenditure.
- Telangana’s expenditure for education was a mere ₹16,043 crore in FY23.
- The pupil-teacher ratio is low in most states so there is a need to recruit more teachers.
- Andhra Pradesh (12.7%), Karnataka (12.73%), Uttar Pradesh (12.89%), and Punjab (13.05%) are among the states that have allocated less proportion of budget to education.
14. Akshdeep Singh and Priyanka Goswami won National Race Walking Championships.
- Akshdeep Singh and Priyanka Goswami have qualified for World Athletics Championships 2023 and next year's Olympics in Paris.
- In the men’s 20km race, Akshdeep Singh completed the race in 1 hour 19 minutes 55 seconds. It is a new national record for the gold medal.
- He broke the record of 1:20:16, achieved by Sandeep Kumar at the 2021 National Race Walking Championships at Ranchi.
- Silver medallist Suraj Panwar completed the race in 1:20:11 while bronze medallist Vikash Singh clocked 1:21:08.
- In the women’s 20km race walk event, Priyanka Goswami completed the race in 1:28:50.
- Additionally, 11 athletes including seven men and four women met the qualification standards for the Asian Games.
- The National Open Race Walking Championships 2023 was held at Ranchi, Jharkhand from 14-15 February.
(Source: News on AIR)