- 1. Government approved a five-year project on "Innovative Extension Approaches for Revitalising Agriculture in J&K".
- 2. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari laid the foundation stone of the world's largest and unique Divyang Park in Nagpur.
- 3. Aishwarya Pratap Singh Tomar won the gold medal in the ISSF World Cup Shooting Competition in Cairo, Egypt.
- 4. The book 'Modi: Shaping a Global order in flux' launched by JP Nadda.
- 5. Vignesh and Visakh NR became the first brothers from India to become Grandmasters.
- 6. 13 MPs nominated for the Sansad Ratna Award 2023.
- 7. ICAR has developed a new wheat variety, HD-3385.
- 8. Union Cabinet has extended the term of the 22nd Law Commission of India up to August 31, 2024.
- 9. Government released a report on “Assessment of Avoided CO2 Emissions during Construction and Operation of National Highways”.
- 10. Kerala High Court becomes first court to publish Judgments in regional language.
- 11. The signing of Air Services Agreement between India and Guyana has been approved by Union Cabinet.
- 12. Uttar Pradesh government presented a Rs 6,90,242.43 crore Budget for the FY 2023-24.
- 13. Russia suspended the New START treaty with United States.
- 14. Shelly Oberoi becomes the new mayor of Delhi.
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Topic: State News/ Jammu and Kashmir
1. Government approved a five-year project on "Innovative Extension Approaches for Revitalising Agriculture in J&K".
- The main aim of the project is to empower farmers and educated youth through technology and inclusive agri-extension services.
- Under this project, two thousand Kissan Khidmat Ghars (KKGs) will be formed at the Panchayat level.
- Kissan Khidmat Ghars will act as One Stop Centre for providing farmer-oriented services related to agriculture and allied sectors.
- The project aims to promote sustainable and profitable agriculture with the increase of agriculture share in GDP.
- Business orientation centers at Sher-E- Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (SKUAST) will be also established under this project.
- Business orientation centres will help in solving the real-time problems through cyber extension and communication systems.
- A strong MIS system will be also created to maintain transparency and accountability in service delivery and sharing of information.
Topic: National News
2. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari laid the foundation stone of the world's largest and unique Divyang Park in Nagpur.
- World's largest and most unique Divyang Park – Anubhuti will be developed under the vision of the government to build an inclusive society.
- This park will show empathy so this park has been named Anubhuti Divyang Park.
- This park will have adapted facilities for all 21 types of disabilities.
- It will also have a facility like touch and smell garden, hydrotherapy unit, water therapy and independent room for mentally challenged children and mother.
- Social Justice and Empowerment has allocated Rs 12 crore for this park. It will be built in an area of 90 thousand square feet.
- Central Government passed the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act for the rights of persons with disabilities in 2016.
- Under this initiative, the government has built some Divyang Parks in South India and Madhya Pradesh.
3. Aishwarya Pratap Singh Tomar won the gold medal in the ISSF World Cup Shooting Competition in Cairo, Egypt.
- On 22 February, Indian shooter Aishwarya Pratap Singh Tomar has won the gold medal in the men's individual 50m rifle 3 positions competition.
- In the final, Aishwarya defeated Alexander Schmirl of Austria.
- Earlier, India's Tilottama Sen won a bronze medal in the women's 10m air rifle event.
- India topped the competition with four gold medals. Hungary is at number two with two gold medals.
(Source: News on Air)
Topic: Book and Author
4. The book 'Modi: Shaping a Global order in flux' launched by JP Nadda.
- On 22 February, BJP national president JP Nadda has launched a book named "Modi: Shaping a Global Order in Flux" in Chanakyapuri.
- This book is going to start a debate on how PM Modi has taken decisions that has changed the image of India across the world.
- The initiatives taken by PM Modi have changed the image of our country and this book gives a deep insight into the same.
- The foreword of the book has been done by Union External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.
- Editors of this book are Sujan Chinoy, Vijay Chauthaiwala, and Uttam Kumar Sinha.
5. Vignesh and Visakh NR became the first brothers from India to become Grandmasters.
- India’s chess player Vignesh NR won the 24th NordWest Cup 2023 at Bad Zwischenahn in Germany.
- He defeated Germany’s IM Ilja Schneider and become India’s 80th Grandmaster.
- He reached the milestone after crossing 2500 Elo live rating mark.
- In 2019, Vignesh’s elder brother Visakh NR had become India’s 59th GM.
- Thus, Visakh and Vignesh became India's first Grandmaster brothers.
- In 2015, Vignesh earned his first GM-norm at the Qatar Masters at the age of 17.
- A player has to obtain three GM norms and a live rating of 2,500 Elo points in order to become a GM.
- The legendary Viswanathan Anand became India's first Grandmaster in 1988.
Topic: Awards and Prizes
6. 13 MPs nominated for the Sansad Ratna Award 2023.
- 13 MPs have been nominated for the Sansad Ratna Awards 2023 to recognise their parliamentary performance under various categories.
- The nominated members included eight Lok Sabha MPs and five Rajya Sabha members.
- The awards will be presented by the civil society on 25 March 2023 in the national Capital.
- The jury committee of parliamentarians and civil society has made the selections of MPs, which has chaired by junior parliamentary affairs minister Arjun Ram Meghwal and co-chaired by former chief election commissioner TS Krishnamurthy.
- The nominations are based on the aggregate performance of members in Questions, Private Members' Bills, and debates from the beginning of the 17th Lok Sabha till the end of the Winter Session 2022.
- In 2022, the Foundation and Presence created a new category called the "Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Lifetime Achievement Award" to recognize veteran leaders who have made significant contributions to Indian politics, society and people.
- The Sansad Ratna Awards were instituted on the suggestion of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam to recognise outstanding parliamentarians.
- In 2010, the first edition of the award ceremony was hosted in Chennai.
- This award has so far been given to 90 outstanding parliamentarians.
- List of winners of Sansad Ratna Awards 2023:
Sansad Ratna Awards 2023 from Lok Sabha
Bidyut Baran Mahato (BJP, Jharkhand)
Gopal Chinayya Shetty (BJP, Maharashtra)
Sudhir Gupta (BJP, Madhya Pradesh)
Dr. Amol Ramsing Kolhe (NCP, Maharashtra)
Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury (INC, West Bengal)
Dr. Sukanta Majumdar (BJP, West Bengal)
Kuldeep Rai Sharma (INC, Andaman Nicobar Islands)
Dr Heena Vijayakumar Gavit (BJP, Maharashtra)
Sansad Ratna Awards 2023 from Rajya Sabha
Smt Fauzia Tahseen Ahmed Khan (NCP, Maharashtra)
Dr. John Brittas (CPI-M, Kerala)
Dr. Manoj Kumar Jha (RJD, Bihar)
Vishambhar Prasad Nishad (Samajwadi Party, UP)
Smt Chhaya Verma (INC, Chhattisgarh)
Standing Committee Awardees
Finance committee from Lok Sabha- Chairman- Shri Jayant Sinha (BJP, Jharkhand)
Tourism, Transport, and Culture committee from Rajya Sabah - Chairman- Shri Vijay Sai Reddy (YSR Congress, Andhra Pradesh)
Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Lifetime Achievement Award
Shri TK Rangarajan (Former Rajya Sabha MP and Senior CPIM Leader)
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Topic: Agriculture and allied sectors
7. ICAR has developed a new wheat variety, HD-3385.
- This new wheat variety can overcome the challenges due to changes in weather patterns and rising heat levels.
- This new wheat variety is called HD-3385. It is amenable to early sowing.
- It can escape the impact of heat spikes. It can be harvested before March end.
- Climatic change, in particular the tendency for summer to arrive early with little time for spring break, has brought India's wheat crop's vulnerability to heat stress.
- The solution put forth by scientists at the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) is to advance the time of sowing.
- Wheat is typically a 140-145 days crop planted often in November.
- If sowing can be preponed and taken up from around October 20, the crop isn’t exposed to heat stress.
- Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) scientists have bred wheat varieties mild vernalisation requirements.
- Mild vernalisation requirement is the requirement for a minimum period of low winter temperatures for initiation of flowering.
- The IARI scientists have developed three varieties. All three varieties have genes responsible for mild vernalisation requirement preventing premature flowering.
- The first, HDCSW-18, was officially released in 2016. The second variety is HD-3410. It was released in 2022.
- But it’s the third one, HD-3385, which looks most promising. It is most amenable for early sowing.
- IARI has registered a third variety (HD-3385) with the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority (PPVFRA).
- IARI has licenced HD-3385 to the DCM Shriram Ltd-owned Bioseed for multi-location trials and seed multiplication.
Topic: Indian Polity
8. Union Cabinet has extended the term of the 22nd Law Commission of India up to August 31, 2024.
- The composition of the 22nd Law Commission will remain the same.
- It will have a full-time Chairperson, four full-time Members (including Member-Secretary) and Secretary, Department of Legal Affairs as ex-officio Member.
- It will also have Secretary, Legislative Department as ex officio Member and not more than five part-time members.
- The 22nd Law Commission was constituted for three years on February 21, 2020.
- Its chairperson, Justice Rituraj Awasthi (retd), took office on November 9, 2022.
- Law Commission of India:
- It is a non-statutory body. It is constituted by the Government of India from time to time.
- It was originally constituted in 1955. The 21st Law Commission was headed by former Supreme Court Judge Justice BS Chauhan.
Topic: Reports and Indices/Ranking
9. Government released a report on “Assessment of Avoided CO2 Emissions during Construction and Operation of National Highways”.
- Environment Minister released a report on “Assessment of Avoided CO2 Emissions during Construction and Operation of National Highways” at the World Sustainable Development Summit.
- The report assesses how much CO2 can be avoided per km in the construction of the National Highways.
- In 2016, Around 243 million tonnes of CO2 were emitted from operation of fossil fuel vehicles, which is around 10.8% of the total national CO2 emissions.
- The total CO2 emissions from the construction phase for the 20 National Highway stretches ranges from 16,880 tonnes of CO2 to 30.4 lakh tonnes of CO2.
- Construction and maintenance of roads is one of the main source of CO2 emission.
- Avenue plantation and compensatory afforestation (CA) can additionally sequester carbon dioxide emissions.
- The report presents a methodology for assessing the extent of CO2 emission that can be avoided per km of national highways constructed.
- The new and improved National Highways can help in reducing fuel Combustion in vehicles.
- The analysis of report is based on 5 Greenfield highways and 15 brownfield highways.
- India has the second longest road network in the world.
(Source: News on AIR)
Topic: Indian Polity
10. Kerala High Court becomes first court to publish Judgments in regional language.
- The Kerala High Court released two of its recent judgments in Malayalam on February 21.
- The Malayalam judgements were posted on the court's website, just below the English version.
- These judgments were passed by Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly.
- The publishing of the Judgment has just come a day after the Supreme Court launched a trial of a live transcription service to transcribe its proceedings.
- The transcription service will use Artificial Intelligence (AI) and technology powered by Natural Language Processing.
- Supreme Court has constituted an Artificial Intelligence committee to develop a dedicated open-source judicial domain language translation tool called SUVAS (Supreme Court Vidhik Anuwad Software).
- SUVAS help in translating judgments from English to vernacular languages.
11. The signing of Air Services Agreement between India and Guyana has been approved by Union Cabinet.
- This Agreement shall enter into force after the exchange of diplomatic notes between the Parties that each Party has completed the necessary internal procedures for the entry into force of this Agreement.
- There is a significant Indian presence in Guyana, and according to the 2012 census, the largest ethnic group constitutes about 40% of the population.
- The agreement with Guyana will enable a framework between the two countries for air services.
- Following developments such as the growing aviation market and liberalization of the aviation sector in India, air service agreements have been signed with several countries to pave the way for international air connectivity.
- The Air Services Agreement (ASA) provides a legal framework for air operations between two countries based on the principles of sovereignty of nations, nationality of carriers and reciprocity in terms of commercial opportunities for the designated airlines.
- Currently, there is no Air Services Agreement (ASA) between the Government of India and the Government of Guyana.
Topic: State News/ Uttar Pradesh
12. Uttar Pradesh government presented a Rs 6,90,242.43 crore Budget for the FY 2023-24.
- It is the biggest budget in the history of Uttar Pradesh. It has been described as the first budget of “Amrit Kaal”.
- It is the seventh overall budget ever since UP Chief Minister came to power.
- Uttar Pradesh Finance Minister Suresh Kumar Khanna has presented a "development-oriented and Atmanirbhar" Budget 2023-24 in the state assembly, with a focus on infrastructure.
- The growth rate of Uttar Pradesh is expected to be at 19% for 2023-24.
- A provision of Rs 1050 crore has been made under the "Chief Minister Kanya Sumangala Yojana". Under the scheme, a beneficiary gets up to Rs 15000.
- Financial and medical assistance is being provided to women/girls who are victims of heinous violence under Uttar Pradesh Rani Laxmibai Mahila and Bal Samman Kosh scheme. A budget provision of Rs 56 crore is proposed under this scheme for the financial year 2023-2024.
- Rs 4032 crore has been proposed for pension scheme for destitute widows.
- A provision of Rs 21,791 crore 25 lakh is proposed for Annapurti Yojana.
- A provision of Rs 42 crore has been proposed for the leprosy pension scheme.
- A provision of Rs 25 crore is proposed for the establishment of Sports Development Fund.
- UP government aims to create 40,000 jobs in textile sector in FY 2023-24.
- A provision of Rs 600 crore has been made for the "Mukhyamantri Samuhik Vivah" scheme for marriage of girls of all classes.
- The Finance Minister proposed Rs 150 crore for marriage grant scheme for daughters of poor people belonging to other backward classes.
- In the budget of the FY 2023-24, a provision of Rs 3600 crore has been made to provide tablets and smartphones to the eligible students under Swami Vivekananda Yuva Shashaktikaran Yojana.
- A proposal of Rs 1000 crore under Operation Kayakalp for the development of infrastructure facilities in schools and to develop them as smart schools.
- Rs 300 crore proposed for opening digital libraries at gram panchayat and ward level.
- Rs 200 crore proposed for setting up of Unity mall to encourage marketing of One District One Product in the state.
- In a major expenditure on infrastructure, a provision of over Rs 21,159 crore has been proposed for construction of roads and bridges and Rs 6,209 crore for their maintenance.
- A provision of Rs 3,473 crore has been proposed for the work of bridges and roads for agricultural marketing facilities and Rs 1,525 crore for roads in rural areas.
- Rs 1,700 crore has been proposed for the construction of Railway Overhead Bridge and Rs 1,850 crore for other bridges.
- Rs 50 crore have been allocated for the Defense corridor project along the Bundelkhand Expressway and Rs 235 crore for the initial phase of new projects of Jhansi Link Expressway and Chitrakoot Expressway.
- Under the new Uttar Pradesh Tourism Policy 2022, the finance minister has set an investment target of Rs. 10 lakh crore and the creation of 20,000 employment in the next five years.
- A provision of Rs 600 crore is proposed for social forestry scheme.
- A provision of Rs 175 crore is proposed for nursery management scheme.
- A provision of Rs 100 crore is proposed for the programs run under the Green India Mission. A provision of Rs 10 crore is proposed for the development of eco-tourism in the state.
- An arrangement of Rs 50 crore is proposed for the establishment of Night Safari Park in the Kukrail forest area located in Lucknow.
- The budget proposal also included Rs 7,248 crore for the old age/farmer pension Scheme and Rs 1,120 crore for the Divyang Pension Yojana.
- Rs 10 crore allocated for Chief Minister Fisheries Property Scheme.
- For the implementation of Nand Baba Milk Mission, a provision of Rs 61 crore 21 lakh is proposed in the financial year 2023-2024.
- Under the National Rural Health Mission, a budget of Rs 12,631 crore has been proposed for several programmes.
- 100 crore has been proposed for Chief Minister’s Jan Aarogya Yojana for the unorganised sector workers. Rs 400 crore has been proposed for Ayushman Bharat- PM Jan Arogya Yojana.
- A provision to provide assistance of Rs 5 lakh in case of death of worker in line of duty, Rs 4 lakh on permanent disability and Rs 3 lakh on partial disability under the Worker’s Death and Disability Assistance Scheme.
- “The Million Farmers School” – an innovative program is being organised in UP to train farmers with new techniques of farming. The budget proposed to organise 17,000 Kisan Pathshalas in 2023-24.
- Rs 750 crore has been proposed for Chief Minister’s Krishi Durghatna Kalyan Yojana which is applicable since 14 September 2014. Under the scheme, there is a provision to give a maximum of Rs 5 lakh in case of accidental death/disability.
- The total receipt is estimated at Rs 6,83,292.74 crore, which includes revenue receipts of Rs 5,70,865.66 crore and capital receipts of Rs 11,247.08 crore.
- State fiscal deficit is estimated at Rs. 84,883.16 crore, which is 3.48% of the estimated GSDP.
- Finance Minister mentioned that eleven meetings of G20 will be organised in four cities of UP- Agra, Lucknow, Varanasi and Greater Noida.
Topic: International News
13. Russia suspended the New START treaty with United States.
- Vladimir Putin declared that Russia has suspended its participation in the New START treaty due to a rise in tension over the Russia-Ukraine war.
- It was the last remaining nuclear arms control pact with the United States.
- Vladimir Putin said that if the US conducts a nuclear weapon test, Russia may also resume nuclear weapons testing.
- After the Covid Pandemic, Russia and the U.S. have suspended mutual inspections under the New START treaty.
- New START Treaty:
- It was signed on 8 April 2010 by U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev
- It came into force in February 2011.
- The New START treaty is the official name of the treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation for further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms.
- Under this treaty, both countries cannot have more than 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads and 700 deployed missiles and bombers.
Topic: State News/ Delhi
14. Shelly Oberoi becomes the new mayor of Delhi.
- Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) Shelly Oberoi won the mayoral election.
- Shelly Oberoi received 150 votes while BJP candidate Rekha Gupta received 116 votes.
- Shelly Oberoi was elected from Patel Nagar's Ward Number 86.
- Mohammed Iqbal has been elected as deputy mayor with 147 votes.
- The mayoral election was conducted after the Supreme Court ordered to hold elections.
- According to the rule, the MCD has to elect five mayors in five years.
- An elected councillor from the Scheduled Caste will become a mayor in the third year.