Daily Current Affairs and GK | 16 February 2021

By PendulumEdu | Last Modified: 17 Feb 2021 16:46 PM IST

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Topic: Appointment

1. Mario Draghi sworn in as new Prime Minister of Italy.

  • Former chief of European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, has been sworn in as Prime Minister of Italy.
  • He is also known as “Super Mario” for his role in saving the Euro during Europe’s sovereign debt crisis. He doesn’t belong to any party.
  • He has replaced former Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.
  • The political turmoil started after Matteo Renzi had withdrawn his support from the ruling coalition.
  • The main challenges for the newly elected Prime Minister will be the Vaccination programme and the recovery of the economy.
  • Italy:
    • It is a European country with a long Mediterranean coastline.
    • Its capital is Rome and the currency is Euro.
    • The President is Sergio Mattarella and the Prime Minister of Italy is Mario Draghi.
    • Italy has a parliamentary form of government. The President of Italy appoints the Prime Minister.

Mario Draghi Prime Minister of Italy


Topic: State News/ Odisha

2. Covid Warrior Memorial will be established in Bhubaneswar.

  • Odisha Government will construct a Covid warrior memorial at the Biju Patnaik Park in Bhubaneswar. It will be inaugurated on 15th August 2021.
  • It will be built to honour the sacrifice and services of health workers who lost their lives in the fight against the COVID pandemic.
  • The State Government had already announced that the martyr status and ₹50 lakh ex-gratia would be given to all health workers who lost their life due to Covid-19.
  • Odisha:
    • It is a state on the Bay of Bengal in eastern India.
    • It is the 8th largest state of India in terms of area.
    • Its capital is Bhubaneswar.
    • The Chief Minister is Naveen Patnaik and Governor is Ganeshi Lal.
    • Some famous dance of Odisha are- Gotipua, Odissi, Ghumura.
    • Jagannath Temple and Lingaraja Temple are located in Odisha.

Topic: Books and Authors

3. Priyanka Chopra wrote the memoir “Unfinished”.

  • Actress and producer Priyanka Chopra has penned the memoir “Unfinished”.
  • In this book, she has written about the whole journey of her life from childhood to the United States.
  • She also wrote about the winning Miss World experience and her acting career. She has written this book during the lockdown period.
  • She was the winner of the Miss World 2000 pageant and has been honoured with many awards, including Padma Shri, National Film Award, etc. 

Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

4. FASTag made mandatory for all the lanes on toll plazas of National Highways.

  • FASTag has been made mandatory for all the lanes on toll plazas of National Highways from midnight of February 15, 2021.
  • NH Fee Rules 2008 has a provision of fee, which has to pay on entering in Fastag lane without Fastag.
  • This fee also applies to entering vehicles without valid, functional FASTag. As per the rules, such vehicles are required to pay a fee equal to two times the fee applicable to their category of that vehicle.
  • FASTag:
    • It is a Radio-frequency identification (RFID) tag. RFID is a method of automatic identification and data capture.
    • Government launched FASTag in 2014 on a pilot basis. It is affixed on the windscreen of any vehicle.
    • The RFID reader fixed at the toll plaza reads it and toll fare is deducted from the account.


(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Appointments

5. Dr. Ajay Mathur announced as new Director-General of International Solar Alliance (ISA).

  • Dr. Ajay Mathur has been announced as the new Director-General of International Solar Alliance (ISA).
  • He was elected at the first special assembly of ISA members. Assemblies of ISA are held annually.
  • He will replace Upendra Tripathy. Upendra Tripathy was the Director General of ISA since 2015.
  • The aim of ISA is to generate more than one trillion dollars investment into solar projects by 2030. 
  • Dr. Ajay Mathur has won IconSWM-CE Lifetime Achievement Award 2020. As per ISA Website, 86 countries are its members.
  • International Solar Alliance (ISA):
    • It was launched on 30 November 2015 at COP21 in Paris. India and France jointly launched the ISA.
    • It is an international intergovernmental organization.
    • ISA Headquarters: Gurugram, Haryana

Dr. Ajay Mathur new Director-General of International Solar Alliance

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

6. Commercial Jute seed distribution scheme launched by Union Textile Minister Smriti Irani.

  • Commercial Jute seed distribution scheme has been launched by Union Textile Minister Smriti Irani.
  • In August 2020, a MoU was signed between Jute Corporation of India and National Seeds Corporation.
  • This MoU was signed for commercial distribution of 1 thousand Metric Tonne certified jute seeds in 2021-22.
  • Union Textile Minister Smriti Irani said that Minimum Support Price (MSP) for Jute had been increased by nearly 76 % in the last 6 years.
  • Golden Fibre Revolution is related with jute production in India. Jute is a bast fibre. Bast fibre is obtained from the phloem.
  • Jute is mainly cultivated in West Bengal, Odisha, Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Andhra Pradesh.
  • Jute Industry in India:
    • India is the largest producer of jute. It is the second-largest exporter of jute and jute goods after Bangladesh.
    • Jute Industry in India is mainly concentrated at Haora and Bhatapara in West Bengal. Jute Industry in India faces the problem of lack of both diversification and modern technology.

Commercial Jute seed distribution scheme

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: State News/Uttar Pradesh

7. Foundation stone of Maharaja Suheldev Memorial in UP laid by PM Modi.

  • Foundation stone of Maharaja Suheldev Memorial in UP laid by PM Modi.
  • PM Modi also laid the foundation stone of the development work of Chittaura Lake in Bahraich district of UP. The event commemorates the birth anniversary of Maharaja Suheldev.
  • Maharaja Suheldev was from Shravasti. He is famous for defeating Ghazi Salar Masud (Ghazi Miyan) in the Battle of Bahraich in 1034 CE.
  • He was included in Mirat-i-Masudi, a biography written by Abdur Rahman Chishti. Amish Tripathi is the author of Legend of Suheldev: King Who Saved India, which was published in June 2020.
  • Chittaura Lake is also known as Ashtwarka jheel. Teri Nadi flows from it.

Foundation stone of Maharaja Suheldev Memorial

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: State News/ Uttar Pradesh

8. UP government starts free of cost training for aspirants of various competitive exams under Mukhyamantri Abhyuday Yojana.

  • UP government started free of cost training for aspirants of various competitive exams under Mukhyamantri Abhyuday Yojana.
  • Over five lakh candidates were registered for training in the first phase. Out of them, 50 thousand aspirants were selected for training in the first phase.
  • Coaching for selected candidates will start at the divisional level from Basant Panchami. The scheme will be extended at the district level later.
  • Under the scheme, guidance will be provided for UPSC, UPPCS, Subordinate Services, Banking Services, NEET, NDA, CDS, TET and other examinations.
  • Under the scheme, the government has decided to run a free training centre at each divisional headquarters of UP. There are eighteen divisional headquarters in UP.

Mukhyamantri Abhyuday Yojana

(Source: UP Government)

Topic: National News

9. Defence Minister gives Best Marching Contingent award of Republic Day parade 2021.

  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh presented “Best Marching Contingent” award of Republic Day parade 2021.
  • Delhi Police has won the ‘Best marching contingent’ award among CAPF and other auxiliary forces.
  • Jat Regiment has been selected for the best marching contingent award in the Armed Forces category.
  • India has celebrated its 72nd Republic Day on 26 January 2021. On 26 January 1929, Indian National Congress had proclaimed Purna Swaraj.
  • Central Armed Police Force:
    • Central Armed Police Force refers to seven security forces in India. They are the Central Reserve Police Force, Border Security Force, Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), SSB, Central Industrial Security Force, National Security Guards and Assam Rifles.
    • Central Armed Police Force works under the Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • Jat Regiment: It is an infantry regiment of the Indian Army.
  • Delhi Police: It was formed in 1861 and was reorganized in 1946. It works under the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Best Marching Contingent award of Republic Day parade 2021

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Miscellaneous

10. IIT Bombay launches its first-ever annual fundraising campaign.

  • IIT Bombay has launched its first-ever annual fundraising campaign named ‘Cherish IIT Bombay 2021’.
  • The fund will be used for the creation of world-class laboratories, modernization of lecture halls, and continuation of awards.
  • IIT Bombay:
    • It was established in 1958.
    • It is one the ‘Institute of National Importance’ institutions of India.
    • It offers different programmes in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
    • It is in the 3rd position in the NIRF Engineering Rankings 2020.

IIT Bombay annual fundraising campaign

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

11. Around 110 lakh hectares area treated with Micro-nutrients and Bio-fertilizers under National Food Security Mission in the last five years.

  • The National Food Security Mission was launched in October 2007. It was launched to increase the production of rice, wheat and pulses.
  • Under this mission, around 110 hectares area of land has been treated with Micro-nutrients and Bio-fertilizers in the last five years.
  • Around 2.74 lakh pump sets and 1.26 lakh sprinklers are distributed to farmers. It will help in achieving the objective of the ‘Har Khet Ko Pani’ and ‘Per Drop More Crop’ initiative.
  • About 60,000 cropping system-based training sessions were conducted for improving the crop production and adoption of new technology.
  • About 15 lakh improved farm implements were distributed under NFSM between 2014-15 to 2019-2020 for strengthening the mechanization at farmer’s field.
  • National Food Security Mission:
    • It is a centrally sponsored scheme for the agriculture sector.
    • The main objective of this scheme are:
      • To increase the production and productivity of crops.
      • To raise the income of farmers
      • Creation of employment opportunities
    • At present, National Food Security Mission has six components. These are:
      • NFSM-Rice
      • NFSM-Wheat
      • NFSM-Pulses
      • NFSM-Coarse Cereals
      • NFSM-Nutri-Cereals
      • NFSM-Commercial Crops

Topic: Sports

12. Ravichandran Ashwin becomes the first bowler to take wickets of 200 left-handers batsman in Test matches.

  • Ravichandran Ashwin becomes the first bowler to dismiss 200 left-handed batsmen in Test matches. Stuart Broad was the 200th left-hander batsman. 
  • He has achieved this milestone during India’s second Test against England at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai.
  • Muttiah Muralitharan is the second most successful bowler against left-handed batsmen in test cricket.

Ravichandran Ashwin

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Sports

13. Naman Ojha announces retirement from all forms of cricket.

  • India wicketkeeper-batsman Naman Ojha has announced his retirement from all forms of cricket.
  • He has played one Test, one ODI and two T20 internationals match for India.
  • He holds the record of most dismissals by a wicketkeeper in the Ranji Trophy. He had debut against Sri Lanka in 2010.
  • He had played for Madhya Pradesh team in Ranji Trophy. He also played for Rajasthan Royals, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League.
  • Indian Cricketers that announced retirement recently are: MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Irfan Pathan, Wasim Jaffer, Sudeep Tyagi, Pragyan Ojha, Parthiv Patel, Tanmay Srivastava, and Ashok Dinda.

Topic: Sports

14. Tokyo Olympics Chief Yoshiro Mori resigns over sexist comments.

  • The president of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee, Yoshiro Mori, has resigned from the post due to his sexist comments against women.
  • Yoshiro Mori was the Prime Minister of Japan from April 2000 to April 2001.
  • Tokyo Olympics 2020 is scheduled to be held from 23 July to 8 August 2021. It was postponed due to COVID-19. Japan will host its fourth Olympics.
  • The first Olympic Games were held in 1896 in Athens, Greece.
  • International Olympic Committee is a non-governmental sports organization. It is the apex authority for organizing the Olympic Games.





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