Current Affairs of 18th February

National Affairs

1. First G20 Digital Economy Working Group meeting held in Lucknow, UP

Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) hosted the first Digital Economy Working Group (DEWG) meeting in India, as a part of India’s Presidency of the G20(Group of Twenty) from 13th to 15th February 2023 in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh(UP). 


The DEWG meeting in India showcased India’s digital transformation journey and brought together G20 members, key knowledge partners, and guest countries to discuss digital public infrastructure, cybersecurity, and digital skilling. 


The Chair of G20-DEWG was Alkesh Kumar Sharma, Secretary, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) It was Co-Chaired by Sushil Pal, Joint Secretary, MeitY. 


During the 3 day meeting of the working group, the G20 members, guest countries and international organisations discussed on 3 priority areas identified by India: “Digital Public Infrastructure”, “Cybersecurity in the Digital Economy”, and “Digital Skilling”. 

2. MoS Jitendra Singh launches Capacity Building Programme for Senior Scientists

A “Capacity Building Programme for Senior Scientists in Effective Leadership and Creativity” was launched by Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Jitendra Singh, Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST), on February 16, 2023, at the Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI), Hyderabad, Telangana.


The initiative is being planned with the help of ASCI and the Capacity Building Commission (CBC).


Key Points:


By teaching participating scientists how to think creatively, the program hopes to improve collaboration between the private and public sectors.


Additionally, it aims to help scientific institutions thrive in today’s competitive environment.


E-modules on integrated Government Online Training (iGOT) were also made available by the MoS


An introduction to science communication, data-driven decision making, and the Science and Technology Code of Conduct.




Dr. Nirmalya Bagchi, who serves as the director general of ASCI, is joined by ASCI Chairman K Padamanabhaiah, Jayant Krishna, CEO of FAST India, Prakash Kumar, CEO of Wadhwani Institute of Technology and Policy, and Dr. Arabinda Mitra, head of the STI CB Cell.

3. President Droupadi Murmu inaugurates International Engineering and Technology Fair 2023

The International Engineering and Technology Fair (IETF) 2023 was opened by India’s President Droupadi Murmu on February 16, 2023, in New Delhi, Delhi.


The goal of IETF 2023 is to highlight technological achievements and engineering feats that foster harmony between science and nature.


India’s economy and society would be profoundly impacted by 11 emerging technologies covered in IETF-2023.


In IETF-2023, the determined goal is to demonstrate technological and engineering achievements that foster harmony between science and nature.

4. Kishan Reddy launched: Best Tourism Village Competition Portal; Global Tourism Investor Summit 2023 portal & Rural Tourism Portal 

In the presence of Ajay Bhatt, the Minister of States (MoS) for Tourism, G. Kishan Reddy, the Union Minister of Tourism, launched the important initiatives “Best Tourism Village Competition Portal” and Rural Tourism Portal for the promotion of tourism in India on February 16, 2023, in New Delhi, Delhi.


During the event, he also launched the Global Tourism Investor Summit 2023 portal.


In the midst of India’s G20 Presidency, the Ministry of Tourism (MoT) will hold the 1st Global Tourism Investors’ Summit from May 17 to 19, 2023, to present investible projects and opportunities in India’s tourism and hospitality sector to domestic and international investors.


There will be three stages to the “Best Tourism Village Competition” hosted by the MoT, with district, state, and national submissions accepted. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) meet the requirements for evaluation.

International Affairs

1. India ranks 4th among 51 countries in having quality entrepreneurship ecosystem: GEM NECI 2022/2023 Report

India is ranked fourth out of 51 countries when it comes to having a high-quality entrepreneurial ecosystem, as stated in the report titled “Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2022/2023 Global Report Adapting to a “New Normal” by the National Entrepreneurship Context Index (NECI).”


India’s most recent score of 6.1 demonstrates that the country’s entrepreneurial climate has generally improved over time.


Compared to the ranking of 16th overall in 2021, this is a significant advancement.


Key Points:


India’s NECI score increased from 5.8 in 2019, when it was ranked sixth among GEM economies, to 6.0 in 2020, placing it fourth.


However, there was a decrease in 2021, when the score was 5.0, which was barely adequate, and the rank was 16.


The Adult Population Survey (APS) conducted in India with over 2,000 respondents is also discussed in the GEM 2022/2023 Global Report. The results indicated that Indians performed better in numerous start-up fields.


India’s entrepreneurs were at the top of the world (almost 70 percent) when it came to looking for new opportunities as a result of the pandemic.


The GEM 2022/2023 Global Report lists Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as the top three nations.


The Entrepreneurship Framework Conditions (EFCs) that GEM uses to describe an economy’s entrepreneurial context are 13 distinct characteristics.


The scores of each of the 51 participating economies’ framework conditions serve as the foundation for the NECI results.

Banking and Finance

1. RBI introduced FCRA related Transaction Code in NEFT, RTGS Systems

On February 16, 2023, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) introduced Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) related transaction code in National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) and Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) Systems. The instructions for the same were issued under Section 10 (2) read with Section 18 of Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007 (Act 51 of 2007). 


It will be effective from March 15, 2023. The changes mandate the member banks participating in payment systems to modify their core banking solutions to capture the requisite details while forwarding the foreign donations through NEFT and RTGS systems to the State Bank of India(SBI). 


What are the changes? 


Originating banks are required to select two mandatory fields of NEFT/RTGS systems while remitting foreign donations to the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) account at SBI. 


Originating banks are also required to pass on donor details relating to ‘transaction without Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) details’ and ‘transaction without LEI details’ as part of ‘Sender to remitter information’ in NEFT and RTGS. 




Under the FCRA, 2010 (amended as on September 28, 2020), foreign contributions must be received only in the FCRA account of the SBI, New Delhi Main Branch (NDMB), Delhi. 


The contributions to the FCRA account are received directly from foreign banks through SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications) and from Indian intermediary banks through NEFT and RTGS systems. 


As per the requirements of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the donor details such as name, address, country of origin, amount, currency, and purpose of remittance are required to be captured in such transactions and SBI is necessary to report the same to MHA on daily basis. 

2. HDFC Bank Became 1st Private Sector Bank to Enable Linking of RuPay Credit Card on UPI; HDFC Raises Rs 25,000 cr in India’s largest-ever Bond Issue

The BHIM (Bharat Interface for Money) App and other UPI-enabled apps can now link customers’ RuPay Credit Cards with HDFC Bank, making it the first private sector bank in India to do so.


Currently, UPI makes transactions easier by linking users’ debit cards to their savings and current accounts. Access to the UPI payment system for conducting transactions was also made more accessible by Prepaid Payment Instruments (PPIs).


In its monetary policy in June 2022, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) allowed credit cards to be linked to UPI in order to broaden their reach and usage.


In order to make it easier for customers to pay using the UPI platform, this feature was initially enabled on Rupay credit cards.


HDFC Raised Rs 25,000 crore through the private placement of 10-year corporate bonds Housing Development Finance Corp. (HDFC) raised Rs 25,000 crore through the private placement of India’s largest privately placed 10-year corporate bonds at a coupon of 7.97 per cent.

Economy & Business

1. India’s GDP to Grow at 6.2% in FY24: Morgan Stanley

On February 16, 2023, Morgan Stanley’s research report predicted that, despite concerns of a slowdown, domestic demand drivers would continue to drive GDP growth in India by 6.2% in FY24.


Key Points:


A rise in capital expenditure (capex), which will contribute to the creation of more jobs, higher income, higher savings, and higher investment, is essential for sustained domestic demand.


Instead of a slowdown, the incoming high-frequency data on indicators like private consumption and investment showed a moderation in the third quarter of 23 driven by the base effect and a shift in the festival calendar.


The Central Government significantly increased the capital investment outlay for the third year in a row, increasing it by 33% to Rs 10 trillion, as projected in the Union Budget for FY24.


India’s FY24 growth was estimated by the Economic Survey for 2022-23 to be between 6.8% and 7.8%.

2. Tata Steel completes 1st Multi-Modal Shipment of TMT Bars from West Bengal to Tripura

Tata Steel Limited, based in Mumbai (Maharashtra), completed the first multi-modal shipment of 960 tonnes of steel TMT (Thermo Mechanically Treated) bars via the Indo-Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) route from Haldia Port in West Bengal to Agartala in Tripura successfully. This reaffirms Tata Steel Limited’s commitment to a sustainable future.


The entire transportation process, from flag-off to material receipt at the distributor’s Agartala warehouse, was completed in 17 days.


The company successfully transported 1,800 tons of finished steel products from Haldia Port in West Bengal to Pandu Port in Assam in 2022 via the IBP route and the Brahmaputra river.

Science & Technology

1. Velocity launches India’s first ChatGPT-powered AI chatbot ‘Lexi

“Lexi,” India’s first artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot integrated with OpenAI’s ChatGPT, an AI computer program, was launched by Velocity, a homegrown financial technology company.

The company’s existing analytics tool, “Velocity Insights,” has been incorporated with this most recent AI advancement.


Indian eCommerce brands that use Velocity Insights get a business report every day on Whatsapp. This led the company to also integrate ChatGPT into the same Whatsapp interface.


The combination of ChatGPT and Velocity Insights empowers eCommerce entrepreneurs by providing AI-powered business insights in a conversational manner and saving time for crucial business operations.


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