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Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS: 20th February 2023

Today’s Current Affairs: 20th February 2023 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Jayanti:

Prime Minister of Inida has paid homage to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj on his Jayanti.

  • The founder of the Maratha Kingdom, Shivaji was born to be a natural leader and fighter on 19th February, 1630 in the prestigious Shivneri Fort.
  • He was known as the Father of Indian Navy, Shivaji was the first to realise the importance of having a naval force, and therefore he strategically established a navy and forts at the coastline to defend the Konkan side of Maharashtra.
  • The secular ruler was very accommodating of all religions. He had numerous Muslim soldiers in his army.
  • Shivaji was a dependable supporter of women and their honour. Anyone under his rule caught violating woman’s rights was severely punished.
  • He had a council of ministers (Asht Pradhan) to advise him on the matters of the state but he was not bound by it.
  • He was called as the ‘Mountain Rat’ and was widely known for his guerrilla warfare tactics.
  • He was called so because of his awareness in geography of his land, and guerrilla tactics like raiding, ambushing and surprise attacks on his enemies

North India’s First Nuclear Plant In Haryana:

The Government is going to set up north India’s first nuclear plant in Haryana.

  • Gorakhpur Nuclear Power Plants is located at Gorakhpur village of Fatehabad district in Haryana, which is about 150 km north of the national capital.
  • It will have two units of 700 MWe capacity each of Pressurised Heavy Water Reactor (PHWR) indigenous design.
  • Pressurized Heavy Water Reactor (PHWR)is a nuclear power reactor, commonly using unenriched natural uranium as its fuel, that uses heavy water (deuterium oxide D2O) as its coolant and moderator.
  • The heavy water coolant is kept under pressure, allowing it to be heated to higher temperatures without boiling, much as in a typical pressurized water reactor.
  • While heavy water is significantly more expensive than ordinary light water, it yields greatly enhanced neutron economy, allowing the reactor to operate without fuel enrichment facilities (mitigating the additional capital cost of the heavy water) and generally enhancing the ability of the reactor to efficiently make use of alternate fuel cycles.

Sagar Parikrama Phase III:

The Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairy said in a statement that Phase-III, “Sagar Parikrama,” will start from Surat, Gujarat’s Hazira Port.

  • Sagar Parikrama is an initiative of Government of India, aiming to resolve the issues of the fishers and other stakeholders and facilitate their economic upliftment through various fisheries schemes and programs being implemented by the Government of India such as PMMSY.
  • Sagar Parikrama is an evolutionary journey envisaged in the sea across the coastal belt demonstrating solidarity with all fisherfolk, fish farmers and concerned stakeholder’s as a spirit of 75th Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.
  • Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying.
  • The Parikrama shall be accompanied by the State Fisheries officials, Fishermen representatives, Fish-Farmers entrepreneurs, stakeholders, professionals, officials and Scientists from across the nation.
  • Phase III program of ‘Sagar Parikrama’ will cover mainly the coastal areas of Maharashtra and Gujrat.
  • The Phase –I and Phase- II programmes of ‘Sagar Parikrama’ has been organized in March 2022 and September 2022 respectively.

Sukhoi Superjet 100 (SSJ100):

Russia has recently proposed to manufacture its Sukhoi Superjet civil aircraft in India.

  • Sukhoi Superjet 100 (SSJ100) is a twin-engined regional aircraft with a capacity of maximum 98 passengers.
  • It is developed by the Russian manufacturer Sukhoi JSC.
  • It had its maiden flight in 2008 and its first commercial service three years later.
  • It has maximum cruise speed of Mach 0.81 and maximum altitude of 12,500m.
  • The SSJ100 is available in basic (95B) and long range (95LR) variants, serving short to medium range routes between 3,279-4,620 km.


NASA has developed a technology that can remotely detect the tiniest motions of the body that will be used by disaster relief teams in earthquake-stricken Turkey.

  • The devices, called FINDERs( Finding Individuals for Disaster Emergency Response), use microwave radar sensors to find survivors underneath the rubble.
  • It was designed to detect a human heartbeat buried beneath 30 feet of rubble.
  • The radar illuminates the rubble pile and receives reflections back from a disaster site, including the victim.
  • FINDER looks for changes in the reflection that indicate movement and then checks to see if those movements can be attributed to human heartbeats and respirations.
  • It can distinguish human respiration from animals or mechanical movements.

Verkko Software : For Genome Sequencing

Researchers have developed and released an innovative software ‘Verkko’ to assemble truly complete, gapless genome sequences from a variety of species.

  • Verkko software is an innovative software for assembling complete, gapless diploid genomes.
  • It is developed by researchers from National Institutes of Health (NIH), US.
  • Verkko grew from assembling the first gapless human genome sequence, which was finished last year by the Telomere-to-Telomere (T2T) consortium, a collaborative project funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), part of NIH, USA.
  • Different DNA sequencing technologies generate different types of genomic puzzle pieces. Some are small and highly detailed, while others are much bigger though the image is blurry.
  • Verkko compares and assembles both types of pieces to generate a complete and accurate picture.
  • Verkko starts by putting together the small, detailed pieces, creating many partially assembled but disconnected segments of sequence.
  • Then, Verkko compares the assembled regions with the larger, less precise pieces.
  • These larger pieces serve as a framework to order the more detailed regions.
  • The final product is an accurate and complete genome sequence.
  • This software makes the process of assembling complete genome sequences more affordable and accessible.
  • It will also accelerate efforts to generate gapless genome sequences of species commonly used in research.

Sarus Cranes : Latest Data

According to the latest data from the forest department, the count of the Sarus Cranes has increased by 98 per cent from around 500 in 2015 to nearly 992 in 2022 in the wetlands of Matar Taluka in Kheda.

  • Sarus Crane is the tallest flying bird in the world.
  • Scientific name: Grus Antigone
  • They live in Southeast Asia, northern India and in northern Australia.
  • They live mainly in wetlands such as canals, marshes and ponds, sometimes near humans.
  • It is 152-156 cm tall with a wingspan of 240cm.
  • It has a predominantly grey plumage with a naked red head and upper neck and pale red legs.
  • It weighs 8-7.8 Kgs.
  • They are regarded as the least social crane species, found mostly in pairs or small groups of three or four.

Conservation Status:

  • IUCN Red List: Vulnerable
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972: Schedule IV

National Green Tribunal : ₹2,232 Crore Fine On Delhi Govt For Environment Damage

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has recently imposed a fine of ₹2,232 crore on the Delhi government for damage caused to the environment due to improper solid and liquid waste management.

  • The National Green Tribunal has been established under the National Green Tribunal Act 2010.
  • New Delhi is the Principal Place of Sitting of the Tribunal and Bhopal, Pune, Kolkata and Chennai shall be the other four places of sitting of the Tribunal.
  • NGT is mandated to make disposal of applications or appeals finally within 6 months of the filing of the same.
  • The Tribunal comprises the Chairperson, the Judicial Members, and Expert Members.
  • They shall hold office for a term of 5 years and are not eligible for reappointment.
  • The Chairperson is appointed by the Central Government in consultation with the Chief Justice of India (CJI).
  • A Selection Committee shall be formed by the central government to appoint the Judicial Members and Expert Members.
  • There are to be at least 10 and a maximum of 20 full-time Judicial members and Expert Members in the tribunal.

SURAJ Drones : Solar Powered

Garuda Aerospace displayed the solar-powered drone SURAJ at Aero India 2023.

  • SURAJ Drones is a solar-powered, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) high-altitude drone which can fly at an altitude of 3,000 ft.
  • It is designed specifically for surveillance operations, providing real-time information to the high command, and protecting jawans on the ground.
  • It will have ISR capability with Artificial Intelligence, machine learning and a bionic chip for advanced real-time processing.
  • The drone would carry a payload of high-resolution zoom cameras with thermal imagery and foliage-penetrating lidar sensors with a maximum capacity of 10 kg.
  • It is capable of capturing, processing, and transmitting photos and videos in real time.
  • It is all set to support the Indian Army, Navy, Airforce, BSF, CRPF, CISF, ITBP, DRDO, MOD, and the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Changes In NEFT And RTGS Systems For FCRA Related Transactions:

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) recently made changes in NEFT and RTGS systems for Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) related transactions.

  • This comes after the Home Ministry mandated State Bank of India (SBI) to report all overseas donors’ details, including the purpose of remittances, on a daily basis.
  • According to the FCRA, all foreign contributions should be received only in the “FCRA account” of SBI, New Delhi Main Branch (NDMB).
  • Contributions to the FCRA are received directly from foreign banks through SWIFT and through Indian intermediary banks through the NEFT and RTGS systems.
  • The RBI has asked banks to make necessary changes in their core banking/middleware solutions to capture the requisite details while forwarding the foreign donations through NEFT and RTGS systems to SBI.
  • The new guidelines will go into effect on March 15, 2023.
  • To meet the requirements of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the RBI has directed SBI to collect donor information in all such transactions, including name, address, country of origin, amount, currency, and purpose of remittance.
  • SBI is also required to report these details to MHA on a daily basis.
  • The FCRA regulations have been tightened since the Narendra Modi-led government came to power in 2014.
  • In recent years, nearly 2,000 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) have had their FCRA registration cancelled for violating various provisions of the law. As of December-end 2021, there were 22,762 FCRA-registered organizations.


  • NEFT, which stands for National Electronic Funds Transfer, is an electronic method of transferring money online.
  • Most Indian banks provide the NEFT feature on internet banking and mobile banking.
  • It enables transferring funds from the account maintained with any bank to any other bank branch, provided the transaction is attempted between the banks that participate in the NEFT payment system.
  • Transactions made through NEFT do not take place in real-time.


  • RTGS, which stands for Real-time Gross Settlement, is a payment mode where the money is transferred from one bank account to the other in real-time, without any delay.
  • It is mostly used for transactions of high value.
  • When using the banking method, RTGS is the fastest possible way to transfer money.
  • Transactions made through RTGS are processed on a one-to-one basis

Indian Pangolin : Illegal Trafficking

International non-profit organization TRAFFIC recently reported that 1,203 pangolins had been found in illegal wildlife trade in India from 2018 to 2022.

  • The Indian pangolin, also called thick-tailed pangolin and scaly anteater is native to the Indian subcontinent.
  • It is one of the eight species of pangolins found.
  • They are one of the most trafficked mammals in the world, despite an international ban on their trade.
  • Scientific name: Manis crassicaudata
  • Distribution: It lives in India (south of the Himalayas), Bangladesh, Southern Nepal, Sri Lanka, and small parts of Pakistan.
  • Habitat: It occurs in tropical forests, open land, grasslands, and degraded habitat, including in close proximity to villages.
  • Like other pangolins, it has large, overlapping scales on its body, which act as armor.
  • The Indian pangolin’s armor is amongst the most effective in the mammalian world. It has about 13 rows of moveable sharp scales covering its body, which are shed periodically.
  • Conservation status:
    • IUCN Red List: Endangered
    • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I
    • CITES: Appendix I

REAIM 2023:

The world’s First International Summit on the Responsible Use of Artificial intelligence in the Military (REAIM 2023) was held in the Hague, Netherlands.


  • Mythbusting AI: Breaking Down the Characteristics of AI
  • Responsible deployment and use of AI
  • Governance frameworks


  • Putting the topic of ‘responsible AI in the military domain’ higher on the political agenda;
  • Mobilising and activating a wide group of stakeholders to contribute to concrete next steps;
  • Fostering and increasing knowledge by sharing experiences, best practices and solutions.


  • The conference, co-hosted by South Korea, hosted 80 government delegations (including those from the US and China), and over 100s of researchers and defense contractors.
  • India was not a participant in the summit.
  • REAIM 2023 brought together governments, corporations, academia, startups, and civil societies to raise awareness, discuss issues, and possibly, agree on common principles in deploying and using AI in armed conflicts.

Special Marriage Act:

Several interfaith couples including some celebrities chose to marry under a secular personal law i.e. through the Special Marriage Act, of 1954.

  • The Special Marriage Act of 1954 (SMA) was passed by Parliament on October 9, 1954.
  • It governs a civil marriage where the state sanctions the marriage rather than the religion.
  • SMA enables marriage between inter-faith or inter-caste couples without them giving up their religious identity or resorting to conversion.
  • The applicability of the Act extends to the people of all faiths, including Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Sikhs, Jains, and Buddhists, across India.
  • The minimum age to get married under the SMA is 21 years for males and 18 years for females.
  • As per Section 5 of the Act, the parties to the marriage are required to give a notice, in writing, to a “Marriage Officer” of the district in which at least one of the parties has resided for at least 30 days immediately preceding the notice.
  • The parties and three witnesses are required to sign a declaration form before the Marriage Officer.
  • Once the declaration is accepted, the parties will be given a “Certificate of marriage” which is essentially proof of the marriage.

DUSTLIK 2023: India-Uzbekistan Military Exercise

India and Uzbekistan conducted the fourth edition of the DUSTLIK 2023 military exercise in Pithoragarh, Uttarakhand.

  • During the exercise, the countries trained their troops in multi-domain operations and shared their skills.
  • India’s GARHWAL Rifles from the Western Command participated in the exercise.
  • And from Uzbekistan, the North Western Military command participated in the exercise.
  • The exercise is biennial i.e conducted once in two years.

World Day Of Social Justice 2023: Theme

Social justice provides equal social, political, and economic opportunities for all.

  • The World Day of Social Justice is celebrated by the United Nations and several other international organizations on February 20.
  • The main objective of observing world social justice day is to spread awareness of the relationship between poverty eradication and social justice.
  • The day also focuses on decent work for labourers
  • In 2023, the day focuses on building trust in world governments.
  • With COVID, the Russian-Ukraine war, and climate change-related disasters, the normal lives of the people were disrupted.
  • Also, with increasing inflation, unemployment, lack of food security, and food scarcity; people lost their trust in governments. Therefore, there is a need to strengthen the social system that is in a fractured state today.
  • The theme of World Day of Social Justice 2023 : Overcoming Barriers and Unleashing Opportunities for Social Justice

49th Meeting Of GST Council:

The 49th meeting of the council was recently chaired by Finance Minister Smt Nirmala Sitaraman. Outstanding GST cess dues to the states were cleared.


  • GST on liquid jaggery, pencil sharpeners, and tracking devices was reduced
  • A report of the GST Appellate Tribunal was adopted; certain modifications were introduced
  • Capacity-based taxation introduced in certain sectors
  • To Plug the leakages in GST collections
  • There are leakages in the revenue collection from certain products like tobacco, Gutkha, Pan Masala, etc. The following recommendations were made for these products
  • GST on rab reduced from 18% to 5%
  • GST on pencil sharpener reduced from 18% to 12%
  • Council recommended Amnesty Scheme
  • Late Fees for returns rationalized