Current Affairs 27th February

National Affairs

1. The Foundational Literacy and Numeracy Report, now in its second edition, was released by EAC-PM Chairman Bibek Debroy.

The second edition of the Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN) report was presented by Dr Bibek Debroy, Chairman of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM), at the conference “TheIndiaDialog” on February 23 and 24, 2023, which was hosted by the Institute for Competitiveness and the US-Asia Technology Management Center at Stanford University.


An indicator of literacy among children under the age of 10 is the FLN Index 2022.

In the FLN index 2022, India’s overall average score was 44.48, and 18 out of 36 states/UTs scored higher than the national average.


Amit Kapoor, Chair of the Institute for Competitiveness, Natalia Chakma, Researcher of the Institute for Competitiveness, and Sheen Zutshi, Research Manager of the Institute for Competitiveness, all contributed to the creation of the report.


West Bengal remained at the top of the large state categories in the FLN index, while Uttar Pradesh remained at the bottom. Telangana was at the bottom of the index, while Punjab topped the list of smaller states. Puducherry topped the index among UTs, while Ladakh 

performed poorly.


The Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM)’s mission is as follows:


It is an independent body established to provide the Prime Minister of India with advice on economic and related issues.


Members at present: Dr Bibek Debroy serves as chairman; Rakesh Mohan, Dr Sajjid Chinoy, Dr Neelkanth Mishra, Shri Nilesh Shah, Prof. T.T. Ram Mohan, and Dr Poonam Gupta are the members who work part-time.

2. The first state to employ robotic manhole cleaners is Kerala.

Roshi Augustine, Minister of Water Resources, unveiled the robotic scavenger “Bandicoot” on February 24, 2023, in the district of Thrissur in the city of Guruvayur in the state of Kerala. 


He also stated that robotic technology would be expanded throughout the state. With this, Kerala becomes the first state in India to clean all of its commissioned manholes and drainage systems with robotic technology.


The Kerala Water Authority (KWA) launched the Bandicoot as part of the 100-day action plan for the Guruvayur Sewerage Project.


Note: Bandicoot was first used by KWA to clean manholes in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, in 2018, and it was later implemented in Ernakulam, Kerala.




Genrobotics, a Kerala-based robotics startup that focuses on developing robotic technologies for solving social issues, developed Bandicoot, the world’s first robotic scavenger, as a Make in India and Swachh Bharat Abhiyan initiative.


It has already replaced the practice of sanitation workers physically entering manholes in Indian cities.


At the Huddle Global 2022 conclave hosted by the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM), Genrobotics won the “Kerala Pride” award for its Bandicoot innovation.




The robotic Tron Unit is Bandicoot’s most crucial component. It enters the manhole and uses robotic hands that look like human hands to remove sewage.


The gas sensors and waterproof, high-definition (HD) vision cameras on Bandicoot are capable of detecting hazardous gases within the manhole 


The introduction of a robotic scavenger in the Guruvayur Municipality marked a significant step toward the widespread use of cutting-edge methods for cleaning manholes in Kerala. Note: In 17 states and 3 Union Territories, Bandicoot robots are currently in use in some cities.

3. The 5th Annual Report of the NSSO, PLFS 2021-2022: Between July 2021 and June 2022, the unemployment rate falls to 4.1%.

The 5th “Annual Report Periodic Labor Force Survey (PLFS)- July 2021 – June 2022” was released on February 24, 2023, by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) and the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI). In it, the unemployment rate (UR) was at a 5-year low of 4.1% in 2021-2022. From July 2020 to June 2021, it was 4.2%.


Between July 2021 and June 2022, the pan-India UR for men was 4.4%, while the UR for women was 3.3%.


Between July 2020 and June 2021, the UR in both rural and urban areas decreased to 3.2% and 6.3%, respectively, from 3.3% and 6.7%, respectively.


The 17th quarterly PLFS survey for urban India for the October-December 2022 quarter was also released by the NSSO. According to it, India’s urban UR in CWS terms for individuals over the age of 15 decreased from 8.7% in October-December 2021 to 7.2% in October-December 2022.


From July to September of 2022, the unemployment rate was also just 7.2%.

4. At NIT Calicut, Union Minister V. Muraleedharan will announce new initiatives.

Minister of State (MoS) for External Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs V. Muraleedharan paid a visit to the National Institute of Technology, Calicut (NIT-C), Kozhikode, Kerala, on February 24, 2023. In light of the National Education Policy (NEP)’s implementation, V. Muraleedharan initiated a number of new initiatives.


The Centre for International Relations and Foreign Languages (CIRFL) of NIT-C organized MoS V. Muraleedharan’s visit. 


Key Highlights:


A brochure about the NIT-C’s “Centre for Women’s Welfare and Social Empowerment (CWSE)” was also made public by i. V. Muraleedharan. CWSE is an inclusive platform that provides workshops, training programs, and mentorship opportunities to women to help them improve their leadership, communication, and entrepreneurial skills.


In order to make India a top destination for higher education, the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 calls for a number of initiatives.


Facilitating faculty-student exchanges, research and teaching partnerships, and the signing of pertinent (mutually beneficial memorandums of understanding with foreign nations are among the various actions that NEP 2020 calls for.


The International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) has been actively established by the Centre for International Relations & Foreign Languages (CIRFL), one of the NITC’s newly established multidisciplinary centres.


NIT Calicut is establishing the National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF) Level of Training (Level 3-7) Skill Hub to support self-employment, apprenticeships, and other similar endeavours.


The new-age courses at NIT Calicut’s Skill Hub will be the focus: Blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), 3D printing, drones, and other technologies


The new ISSO office was unveiled during the Minister’s visit, and the first CIRFL newsletter will be published to highlight the organization’s activities and achievements from the previous year.


For academic collaboration, NITC signs a Memorandum of Understanding with MAGCOM:


For academic collaboration, NIT-C entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Mahatma Gandhi College of Mass Communication (MAGCOM) in Kozhikode. 


As a result of this memorandum of understanding, NIT-C and MAGCOM will collaborate on projects pertaining to the roles of technology and communication in media studies and engineering studies.


Academic courses in the fields of content writing, technical writing, and international media studies are scheduled to begin in conjunction with CIRFL and NIT-C.

5. Aurangabad and Osmanabad’s renaming is approved by the MHA.

In the Osmanabad district of Maharashtra, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) approved the renaming of Aurangabad as “Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar” and Osmanabad as “Dharashiv” on February 24, 2023.


The final Cabinet decision made by the Maha Vikas Aghadi government led by Uddhav Thackeray was to rename Aurangabad Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar and Osmanabad Dharashiv. Bal Thackeray, the Shiv Sena’s founder, was the first to voice the demand.


Osmanabad was named after a 20th-century ruler of the princely state of Hyderabad, whereas Aurangabad gets its name from the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb.


The new name of Aurangabad, “Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar,” comes from Chhatrapati Sambhaji, the second ruler of the Maratha state and eldest son of Maratha king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj (1681-1689). In 1689, Sambhaji Maharaj was put to death on Aurangzeb’s orders.


Osmanabad’s new name, “Dharashiv,” comes from the name of a cave complex near the city. Researchers claim that Dharashiv is from the eighth century.

International Affairs

1. The 11th Edition of the US International IPR Index for 2023: India falls to 42nd.

India comes in at number 42 in the United States (US) Chamber of Commerce’s International Intellectual Property Rights Index 2023 (11th Edition), with an overall index score of 38.64 per cent (i.e.,19.32 out of 50) across fifty distinct indicators for 55 major global economies.


The index indicates that India is well-positioned to lead developing nations in driving IP-driven innovation to transform their economies.


In the index, India ranked 43rd out of 55 countries in 2022 and 40th in 2021. In 2023, it only moved up one spot to 42nd.


The Indian government closely monitors the index, which was launched by the Global Innovation Policy Centre of the US Chamber of Commerce.


The International IP Index 2023 (11th Edition) The annual international IP index looks at how well intellectual property rights (IPR) are protected in 55 of the biggest economies in the world, which make up about 90% of the world’s GDP.


IPR was found to be threatened by a number of domestic and international policies, according to the index.


The ability to monetize IP assets and the ratification of international treaties are among the topics it addresses. Other topics include copyright and patent laws.


By examining the IP landscape in global markets, the index aims to direct nations toward a brighter economic future marked by increased innovation, creativity, and competitiveness.

2. ISA and the government of Bangladesh signed an agreement to increase solar power use in the country.

An agreement to increase the use of solar energy in Bangladesh has been signed by the Government of Bangladesh and the International Solar Alliance (ISA).


Md. Habibur Rahman, secretary of the Bangladesh Power Division, and Ajay Mathur, director general of the ISA, both signed the agreement. December 2026 is when the agreement is supposed to take effect.


Key Points: 


Installation of any one railway rooftop solar project on platforms Installation of two rooftop solar projects with a combined capacity of 22 KW 12 trolley-mounted solar irrigation systems with a capacity of 2 kW each for the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI)


The government of Bangladesh intends to generate forty per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2041.


Through a number of projects, Bangladesh intends to generate 4000 MW of solar energy by 2030.


In order to assist it in achieving its objectives, the nation is also promoting the utilization of additional renewable energy sources like hydropower, energy from waste, and wind power.


Net metering guidelines for rooftop solar installations have also been established. Agriculture is also being encouraged to use solar energy.

Banking and Finance

1. India’s first municipal bond index is launched by NSE Indices: India Municipal Bond Index Nifty

NSE Indices Limited, a subsidiary of the National Stock Exchange (NSE), has launched India’s first municipal bond index, the “Nifty India Municipal Bond Index.” It has a 1,000 base value and a base date of January 1, 2021.


It was introduced at a workshop on municipal debt securities hosted by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) in Bengaluru, Karnataka.


The performance of investment-grade-rated municipal bonds issued by Indian municipal corporations over a range of maturities will be tracked by this index.


The Index:


There are currently 28 municipal bonds in the index, all of which have an AA credit rating and were issued by ten different issuers.


The weights given to the constituents of the index are determined by their outstanding amount.


The total return method, which includes price return and coupon return, is used to calculate the index.


It will be examined every quarter.


Important Note:


Following the implementation of SEBI’s Issue and Listing of Municipal Debt Securities Regulations, 2015 in 2015, the Indian municipal bond market has seen an increase in issuances. Municipal corporations are encouraged to fund new projects and enhance civic infrastructure by raising capital through capital markets. 


About NSE Indices Limited:


Under the Nifty brand of the NSE, the company owns and manages a portfolio of indices. It also maintains fixed-income indices based on securities issued by the Government of India, corporate bonds, money market instruments, and hybrid indices.

2. T+2 Settlement for Partially Withdrawing NPS Is Announced by PFRDA

Across all Central Record Keeping Agencies (CRAs), the Pension Fund Regulatory & Development Authority (PFRDA) has reduced the waiting period for processing partial withdrawal requests for subscribers of the National Pension System (NPS) to T+2 (after two days of the request).


In the past, NPS’s turnaround time was T + 4 (four days after the request).

From T+4 working/settlement days (T being the day of authorization of withdrawal request by Nodal officer/ PoP/ Subscriber) in September 2022, the PFRDA reduced the processing time for withdrawal requests from subscribers at the time of exit to T+2 days.


Key Points:


The pension regulator, PFRDA, has calculated the turnaround time for all types of withdrawals and expanded the services offered under T+2 timeframes.


For numerous additional activities that are in the subscribers’ best interests, reduced timelines will be gradually implemented in the future.


As part of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav and to commemorate India’s 75th anniversary of independence, the PFRDA intermediaries—CRAs, Pension Funds, and Custodians—have enhanced their IT capabilities and improved the system interface.

As a result, the NPS’s various transactions have taken less time to complete and subscribers have had a better experience to meet their changing requirements.


The number of assets managed (AUM) was close to Rs. 8.75 lakh crore as of February 11, 2023, as India’s NPS and APY pension assets continue to rise quickly.


In spite of obstacles like rising interest rates and inflation in India, AUM has grown at a rate of 28–30%.

Economy and Business

1. APEDA and Lulu Hypermarket sign a memorandum of understanding to promote millets for export in GCC nations.

Under the Ministry of Commerce (MoC), the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) and Lulu Hypermarket LLC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on February 21, 2023, to promote the export of millets to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations.


Together with Lulu Group, APEDA wants to spread the word about millet and value-added products all over the world.


At Gulfood 2023 in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Tarun Bajaj, Director of APEDA, and VI Saleem, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Lulu Hypermarket LLC, signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote millets in GCC nations.

India exported millets worth 46.05 million USD from April to November 2022.


By 2025, APEDA intends to export millets and its value-added products worth USD 100 million thanks to the new MoU.

Science and Technology

1. Indian Navy Launches First MCA Barge

Rear Admiral Sandeep Mehta launched the first MCA barge, Yard 75 (LSAM 7) on February 24, 2023, at Guttenedevi, the SECON launch site in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh.


Background: A contract for the construction of eight Missile Cum Ammunition Barges (MCA) was signed in February 2021 with SECON, Visakhapatnam, a micro, small, and medium-sized business.


MCA Barges are part of the Indian Navy and are used to embark and disembark missiles, guns, and ASW ammunition.


Key Points:


The MCA Barge’s major and auxiliary equipment and systems came from indigenous manufacturers as part of the government of India’s “Make in India” initiative.


The Barge was constructed with a 30-year service life in mind.


By transporting articles and ammunition to IN (Indian Navy) ships alongside jetties and in outer harbours, the MCA Barges will help the Indian Navy fulfil its operational commitments.

2. Roscosmos launches Soyuz MS-23 Spacecraft to bring back three Astronauts stranded on ISS

On 24th February 2023, State Space Corporation ROSCOSMOS (Roscosmos), the Russian Space Agency, 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 was launched from Baikonur space centre in Kazakhstan and had been placed in Orbit. 


Soyuz MS-23 will bring back 3 Astronauts: 


Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin, cosmonauts from Russia, and Frank Rubio, a NASA astronaut from the United States of America (USA) who had been due to end their mission in March 


Key Points: 


The 3 astronauts were intended to be on board the International Space Station (ISS) for 6 months when they arrived in September 2022, but their mission was extended when their return Soyuz MS-22 capsule began to leak coolant in December 2022. 


US and Russian space officials believe that the leak on MS-22 was caused by a micrometeorite, a tiny particle of space rock. 


The three astronauts would return to Earth aboard Soyuz MS-23 in September 2023. The damaged MS-22 spacecraft is scheduled to land without a crew in March 2023. 


Note: 430 kilogrammes (about 950 pounds) of cargo was sent aboard the replacement craft, including medical equipment, scientific instruments, water, food and cleaning supplies. 

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