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22nd February Current Affairs

International Mother Language Day: India should shed its colonial legacy by creating content in mother languages

(GS-I: Indian society/ Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education)

In News:

In 1999, UNESCO declared February 21 as International Mother Language Day in response to the declining state of many languages all over the world.


The theme of International Mother Language Day 2023: “Multilingual education — a necessity to transform education.”

Significance of the theme:

A monolingual system of education negatively impacts learning performance and the development of socio-emotional and foundational literacy skills.

The theme underscores the importance of using multiple languages in framing an impactful system of education.

Significance of mother tongue: It helps to express oneself, with authenticity, deepest thoughts, feelings, values and ideals and gives a sense of identity.

Situation of mother languages all over the world:

40% of the speakers of 6,700 languages do not have access to education in their mother tongue.

Therefore, mainstreaming of mother tongue-based multilingual education should be accorded the highest priority.

Why has the Day added significance in the Indian context?

India is home to a rich linguistic (an ancient repository of hundreds of languages and of dialects) and cultural diversity.

“We must teach science in our mother tongue. Otherwise, science will become an activity in which all people can’t participate.” (The Nobel Prize-winning physicist C V Raman)

“Foreign medium has turned our children into crammers and imitators and has made our children practically foreigners in their own land.” (Mahatma Gandhi in Young India in 1921)


Threat westernisation poses to the survival of many Indian dialects and languages.

Even as India celebrates Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav (to mark 75 years of Independence), the colonial legacy of dependence on English continues.

Educators and parents continue to accord unquestioned primacy to English, making the educational system exclusive and restrictive.

Loss of indigenous languages in India due to modernization and globalizationg. challenges faced by tribal students in Odisha who are not familiar with Odia language, which is spoken by most teachers

Lack of education in tribal languages is identified as one of the main reasons for language death in the country.

Steps taken to promote mother languages in India:

The Indian Constitution (Article 350 A) provides that every state must provide primary education in a mother tongue.

The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 advocates education in one’s mother tongue right from the primary-school level. It will instil confidence in students belonging to poor, rural and tribal backgrounds.

AICTE’s landmark decision to permit BTech programmes in 11 native languages.

The UGC has written to governors and CMs of various states to give a fillip to mother tongue education in colleges and universities.

The Staff Selection Commission has decided to conduct examinations in 13 Indian languages in addition to Hindi and English.

Similarly, the SC’s decision to make verdicts accessible in all Indian languages is of great significance.

Way ahead:

Recognising the role of technology and AI in transforming the educational landscape globally, societies.

Fast-track methods to make quality education more accessible, equitable and inclusive.

Involve all key stakeholders in education to hasten the process of content creation in mother languages, especially in technical and professional courses.

Conclusion: “Mother tongue is eyesight and spectacles to other languages. Spectacles can function properly only if there is eyesight.” (Former VP M Venkaiha Naidu).

Vostro accounts and how they facilitate trade

In News:

20 Russian banks have opened Special Rupee Vostro Accounts (SRVA) with partner banks in India.

What is SRVA?

SRVA is an account that domestic banks hold for foreign banks in the former’s domestic currency, the rupee, which allows domestic banks to provide international banking services to their clients who have global banking needs without having to be physically present abroad.

The SRVA is an additional arrangement to the existing system that uses freely convertible currencies and works as a complimentary system.

It has three important components:

All exports and imports must be denominated and invoiced in domestic currency (e.g. Rupee)

The exchange rate between the currencies of the trading partner countries would be market-determined

The final settlement also takes place in domestic currency (e.g. Rupee)

Eligibility criteria:

Banks include approval from the apex banking regulator (e.g. RBI)

The correspondent bank is not from a country mentioned in the updated FATF Public Statement on High Risk & Non-Co-operative jurisdictions

All reporting of cross-border transactions is to be done in accordance with the extant guidelines under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), 1999.

Benefits ( as per the Economic Survey (2022-23)):

  • The system could reduce the “net demand for foreign exchange, the U.S. dollar in particular, for the settlement of trade flows”
  • Reduce the need for holding foreign exchange reserves
  • Reduce the dependence on foreign currencies
  • Making the country less vulnerable to external shocks
  • Timely payments: Indian exporters could get advance payments in INR from overseas clients and in the long term,
  • It would promote Indian Rupee as an international currency once the rupee settlement mechanism gains traction: Currently, the U.S. dollar was the most dominant vehicle currency accounting for 88% of all trades. The INR accounted for 1.6%.


Despite Vostro’s account, Indian Banks having large exposure to the EU and US financial system are not willing to verify trade as they fear violating the sanctions on Russia

  • A similar Vostro account set up for the purpose of trade with Iran had run dry as India was stopped from sourcing oil from Iran amid US sanctions

Western countries have put pressure on India to not allow any such mechanism.

Muziris: The ‘first emporium of India’ lost for 700 years

In News:

Muziris was a major ancient port city for the spice trade. It was also known as Murachipattanam.

When Kerala established itself as a major centre for spice, it was the ancient port of Muziris that emerged as its hub.

 Mentioned in literature:

Sangam literature describes Roman ships coming to Muziris laden with gold to be exchanged for pepper.

According to the first-century annals of Pliny, the Elder, and the author of Periplus of the Erythrean Sea, Muziris could be reached in 14 days’ time from the Red Sea ports in the Egyptian coast purely depending on the monsoon winds.

 Decline of Muziris Port:

Around 1341, when the profile of the water bodies in the Periyar River basin underwent a major transformation – and Muziris dropped off the map due to flood and earthquake.