Daily Current Affairs and GK | 19 February 2021

By PendulumEdu | Last Modified: 20 Feb 2021 22:18 PM IST

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Topic: Miscellaneous

1. IIT Madras-Incubated start-up launched an e-bike ‘PiMo’

  • Pi Beam, an incubated start-up of IIT Madras, has launched an e-bike named ‘PiMo’.
  • The price of ‘PiMo’ is Rs 30,000, and it can be charged faster even than a smartphone.
  • About 90% of the components of this e-bike have been developed in India. It can go up to 50 km on a single charge.
  •  The maximum speed of this e-bike is 25kmph.
  • Pi Beam:
    • It is an incubated start-up of IIT Madras.
    • It was founded by Alum Visakh Sasikumar.
    • It has aimed to sell 10,000 e-bike by the financial year 2021-22.

IIT Madras launched an e-bike PiMo

(Source: The Hindu)


Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

2. Government launched a new messaging app called ‘Sandes’.  

  • Sandes app has been launched by the National Informatics Centre (NIC). It is an Indian government alternative to WhatsApp and other instant messaging apps.
  • The instant messaging app, called Sandes, has been launched by the government for secure communication.
  • The first version of this app was launched in August 2020. At present, it is available for government officers as well as for the common public.
  • It is available on Android and iOS platforms. It allows users to backup chat histories to a registered email.
  • It has an additional safety feature, which enables the user to mark a message as confidential.
  • It has been launched to promote the use of made-in-India apps.

Topic: Appointments

3. N. Venudhar Reddy becomes Principal Director General of All India Radio News.

  • N. Venudhar Reddy has become Principal Director General of All India Radio News.
  • He belongs to the 1988 batch of Indian Information Service. He was Joint Secretary in the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM). DIPAM comes under the Finance Ministry.
  • He has also served as Additional Director General in the Bureau of Outreach and Communication.
  • N. Venudhar Reddy has replaced Jaideep Bhatnagar. Jaideep Bhatnagar will become Principal Director General of PIB from 1 March 2021.
  • All India Radio:
    • It was established in 1936. It is a division of Prasar Bharati. 
    • Its motto is ‘Bahujan Hitaya: Bahujan Sukhaya’. It is officially known as Akashvani. 

N. Venudhar Reddy Principal Director General of AIR News

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Indian Economy

4. India to be one of fastest growing emerging market economies.

  • India will be one of the fastest-growing emerging market economies with a 10% growth in the fiscal year 2021-22.
  • Standard & Poor’s Director, Sovereign & International Public Finance Ratings, Andrew Wood, made this estimate in a webinar on India’s outlook for 2021.
  • As per Andrew Wood, the forecast for India in 2021 is very good. He said that forecasts show that economic activity is returning to normalization. As per S&P, India’s economy has stabilized in recent months.
  • S&P is an American credit rating agency. S&P, Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings are known as Big Three credit-rating agencies.

S and P Global Ratings

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Space and IT

5. NASA’s fifth rover ‘Perseverance’ successfully landed in Jezero crater on Mars.

  • NASA’s fifth rover ‘Perseverance’ successfully landed yesterday in the Jezero crater on Mars.
  • It successfully landed on Mars after a risky landing phase known as the seven minutes of terror.
  • Rover ‘Perseverance’ will remain on Mars for at least two years. It will drill into rocks on Mars and search for signs of past life.
  • It is a six-wheeled vehicle having the size of an SUV. It weighs a ton. It has seven feet long robotic arm. It also has cameras, microphones and other instruments.
  • It has a laser spectrometer. Laser spectrometer will help to study rocks using different wavelengths of energy.
  • In the context of the Mars mission, seven minutes of terror refers to its entry, descent and landing (EDL) phase.
  • During EDL phase, radio signals do not reach Earth from Mars. Jezero crater is a deep crater near equator of Mars.
  • ‘Perseverance’ is the NASA’s fifth rover to land on Mars. It was launched in July 2020. Sojourner, Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity are the other four rovers sent by NASA to Mars.
  • In 1997, Sojourner was NASA’s first rover to reach Mars. It was sent under NASA’s Pathfinder mission.

NASA’s fifth rover Perseverance

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: MoUs/Agreements

6. MoU for reconstruction of six secondary schools in Nepal signed between India and Nepal.

  • An MoU for the reconstruction of six secondary schools in Nepal has been signed between India and Nepal.
  • More specifically, an MoU has been signed between Indian Embassy and Nepal Reconstruction Authority (NRA).
  • Out of the six schools, four schools are located in the Kathmandu district of Nepal. Others are located in the Kavre district of Nepal.
  • Nepal:
    • It is a landlocked nation and shares a border with five Indian states, namely Uttrakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Sikkim, West Bengal, and Bihar.
    • Its capital is Kathmandu and the currency is Nepalese Rupees.
    • Bidya Devi Bhandari is its President and Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli is its Prime Minister.

Topic: International News

7. Artificial Intelligence (AI) based translation software Amar Vasha launched by Bangladesh Supreme Court.

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) based translation software Amar Vasha has been launched by Bangladesh Supreme Court.
  • It will translate Bangladesh Supreme Court’s orders and judgements from English to Bangla.
  • Amar Vasha is developed with India’s EkStep foundation. It is based on ‘Anuvaad’ translation software.
  • ‘Anuvaad’ translation software of ‘EkStep’ foundation is used in India for the translation of English into Indian languages, including Bangla.
  • Supreme Court of India is using SUVAS (Supreme Court Vidhik Anuvaad Software) since November 2019.
  • Bengali language is one of the 22 languages recognized in the eighth schedule of the Indian Constitution. It is also known by the name of Bangla. 

AI based translation software Amar Vasha

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: State News/ Kerala

8. PM Modi launched multiple Power and Urban sector project in Kerala.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated several key projects of power and urban sector in Kerala.
  • He also inaugurated the Pugalur - Thrissur Power Transmission Project. It is India’s first HVDC link featuring state-of-the-art VSC technology.
  • He also inaugurated Kasaragod Solar Power Project. It has been developed under the National Solar Energy Mission. A Water Treatment Plant was also inaugurated by PM at Aruvikkara.
  • Prime Minister participated in the Convocation Ceremony of Visva-Bharati in virtual mode. Visva-Bharati was established by Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore in 1921. It is the oldest central University in the country.

Project Inaugurated

Laid foundation stone

Pugalur - Thrissur Power Transmission Project

Integrated Command and Control Centre

Kasaragod Solar Power Project

Smart Roads Project in Thiruvananthapuram

Water Treatment Plant at Aruvikkara


Topic: Personality in News

9. Ramakrishna Paramhansa Birth Anniversary: 18 February

  • The whole nation celebrated the Birth Anniversary of Ramakrishna Paramhansa on 18 February.
  • Ramakrishna Paramhansa:
    • He was born on 18 February 1836 in the village of Kamarpukur near Kolkata.
    • His original name was Gadadhar Chattopadhyaya.
    • He was one of the greatest saints of modern India. He was well versed in the Puranas, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and the Bhagavata Purana.
    • Swami Vivekananda was the chief disciple of Ramakrishna Paramhansa. He founded the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission.

Ramakrishna Paramhansa Birth Anniversary

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Sports

10. IPL Auction 2021 held in Chennai.

  • IPL Auction 2021 held in Chennai. The auction has been organised for the 14th edition of IPL.
  • Chris Morris becomes the costliest player at an IPL auction of 2021. He was picked up by Rajasthan Royal.
  • Krishnappa Gowtham became the costliest Indian uncapped player at IPL Auction 2021. He was picked up by Chennai Super Kings. Cheteshwar Pujara was also picked up by Chennai Super Kings.
  • All 8 teams have participated in the IPL Auction 2021. A total of 292 players were listed for the auction.
  • Punjab Kings had the highest purse available of Rs 53.20 crore for nine players.
  • The 13th edition of IPL was held in the UAE in 2020. Mumbai Indians was the winner of the IPL 2020. IPL 2021 is scheduled to be held in India between April and May.

Topic: Sports

11. IPL franchise Kings XI Punjab renamed as Punjab Kings.

  • IPL franchise Kings XI Punjab renamed as Punjab Kings before IPL Auction 2021. A new logo has also been released for the team, which represents the spirit of Punjab.
  • The Punjab Kings IPL franchise is owned by Mohit Burman, Ness Wadia, Preity Zinta and Karan Paul. Satish Menon is the CEO of the franchise.
  • Punjab Kings hasn’t won any title of IPL. KL Rahul is likely to remain captain of the team in IPL 2021.

Topic: Awards and Prizes

12. Asia Environmental Enforcement Award 2020 conferred to Wildlife Crime Control Bureau.

  • The Asia Environmental Enforcement Award has been given to the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau for 2020. It is given by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
  • It has received the award in the Innovation category. Wildlife Crime Control Bureau has received this award twice in the last three years. 
  • Asia Environmental Enforcement Award is given to government officials and institutions or teams for their efforts in the fight against environmental crime.
  • Wildlife Crime Control Bureau:
    • It is a statutory body under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
    • It was established in 2006. It was established under the Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Act, 2006.
    • Its headquarters is located in New Delhi.
    • It is responsible for tackling wildlife-related crimes in the country. It helps the government agencies in formulating the policy related to wildlife crime.

Topic: Defence

13. “Iran-Russia Maritime Security Belt 2021” naval exercise concluded.

  • The “Iran-Russia Maritime Security Belt 2021” naval exercise concluded. It is the second joint exercise between Iran and Russia since 2019.
  • It was started in the northern part of the Indian Ocean on 16 February. Many vessels of Iranian Army and Russian Navy have participated in this exercise.
  • India didn’t participate in this two-day naval exercise.



India -Russia










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