Daily Current Affairs 19 February 2021 for Banking/Insurance/SSC and other related exams.
India joins Russia-Iran’s two-day naval exercise
India has joined Iran and Russia in a two-day navy exercise dubbed “Iran-Russia Maritime Security Belt 2021” in the northern part of the Indian Ocean.
- Forces and vessels from the navy divisions of both the Iranian army and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) participated in the drill, which kicked off, alongside several vessels from the Russian navy.
- The Indian Navy has also joined the exercise with a select group of vessels, Admiral Gholamreza Tahani.
BANKING & FINANCE
ICICI Lombard partners with Flipkart to offer ‘Hospicash’ benefit
E-commerce company Flipkart has partnered with ICICI Lombard to offer ‘Group SafeGuard’ insurance, a group insurance policy to its consumers.
- Compared to the standard indemnity health insurance policies, Group SafeGuard is a benefit offering that allows consumers to avail a payout for each day of hospitalisation.
- The fixed daily amount enables consumers to pay for incidental medical or emergency expenses.
- With daily cash benefits starting from Rs 500, ‘Hospicash’ benefit under Group SafeGuard insurance will provide cover to Flipkart consumers
BUSINESS & ECONOMY
Oxford Economics ups India growth forecast to 10.2% for 2021
Global forecasting firm Oxford Economics revised India’s economic growth projection for 2021 to 10.2 per cent from the earlier 8.8 per cent, citing receding COVID-19 risks and the shift in the monetary policy outlook.
- It further said the Budget 2021-22 will create positive externalities for the private sector, and forecast slower fiscal consolidation in FY22 than the government projections.
- Alongside the planned government spending boost in Q1 and receding Covid-19 risks, the shift in the monetary policy outlook supports our 2021 growth upgrade to 10.2 per cent from 8.8 per cent earlier
South Africa batsman Faf du Plessis retires from Test cricket
Faf du Plessis, the South Africa captain, has announced that he is retiring from Test cricket with immediate effect.
- Du Plessis retires from the format having played 69 Tests for South Africa, scoring 4163 runs at 40.02, including 10 centuries.
Kings XI Punjab renamed as ‘Punjab Kings’ ahead of IPL 2021 auction
Kings XI Punjab have been renamed as ‘Punjab Kings’ as a part of the franchise’s rebranding strategy ahead of the IPL 2021 auction in Chennai.
- The Punjab side has been a part of the Indian Premier League since its inaugural season in 2008, and is co-owned by Bollywood actor Preity Zinta, along with businessman Ness Wadia, Mohit Burman and Karn Paul.
Georgia’s prime minister Giorgi Gakharia resigns
Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia announced his resignation, prompting celebrations from the opposition, which called for an early election.
- Gakharia, who had held the post since 2019, said he was stepping down because of a disagreement with his own team over the detention of Nika Melia, a prominent opposition politician.
- Following Gakharia’s resignation, the Interior Ministry announced it was postponing carrying out the order to take Melia into custody
Five Indian-origin Persons, Indian Activist Feature in TIME Magazine’s List of 100 Emerging Leaders
Five Indian-origin personalities, including Twitter’s top lawyer Vijaya Gadde and UK’s finance minister Rishi Sunak, and an Indian activist feature in TIME magazine’s annual list of 100 emerging leaders who are shaping the future”.
- The 2021 TIME100 Next, released, is an expansion of TIME’s flagship TIME100 franchise of the most influential people in the world and highlights 100 emerging leaders who are shaping the future.
- Other Indian-origin personalities on the list are Instacart founder and CEO Apoorva Mehta, doctor and Executive Director of nonprofit Get Us PPE Shikha Gupta and founder of nonprofit Upsolve Rohan Pavuluri.Bhim Army chief Chandra Shekhar Azad is also on the list.
WCCB receives Asia Environmental Enforcement Award-2020
The Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) has received the Asia Environmental Enforcement Award-2020 awarded by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
- The WCCB getting the award twice in three years is a testimony of India’s commitment towards ending wildlife crime. Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) has been awarded this year under the Innovation category. Earlier, the Bureau had received the award in 2018 under the same category.
Theodore Baskaran wins Sanctuary Lifetime Service Award 2020
Theodore Baskaran who is a writer, a historian, a naturalist and an activist has won the Sanctuary Lifetime Service Award, 2020. The award was instituted by the Sanctuary Nature Foundation.
- Theodore Baskaran was chosen for the award in the light of his dedication to the wildlife conservation. He won the award for his writing prowess in English and Tamil contributing towards the conservation discourse.
- He was also chosen for the award in the backdrop of inspiring the young naturalists.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Indian government launches Sandes, a WhatsApp-like instant messaging app for government employees
The National Informatics Centre (NIC) of India has launched an instant messaging app just like WhatsApp for government employees called Sandes.
- Notably, this app is an upgrade to NIC’s existing Government Instant Messaging System (GIMS) app.
- The app is currently not available for download on PlayStore but the APK file for bot android and iOS users is available for download on the NIC website. To use the Sandes app, the user needs to have a government ID.
IIT Madras-incubated Pi Beam launches PiMo e-bike
IIT Madras-incubated startup Pi Beam Electric has launched an electric two-wheeler, which it says comes with a range of 50 km on a single charge.
- Called PiMo, the utility e-bike is targeted towards personal and commercial mobility. It does not require a licence or registration.
- As much as 90% of PiMo’s components, including batteries and controllers, are manufactured in India.
Hyundai unveils TIGER ultimate mobility vehicle
Hyundai Motor Group has revealed TIGER (Transforming Intelligent Ground Excursion Robot), its second ultimate mobility vehicle (UMV).
- The first version of TIGER is X-1 (‘X’ stands for experimental) and brings together a wide range of technological and design expertise.The intelligent ground excursion robot is designed to be uncrewed and can function as a mobile scientific exploration platform in extreme, remote locations.
- The vehicle is being developed by Hyundai Motor Group’s New Horizons Studio, headquartered in Mountain View, California, in partnership with the engineering and software firm Autodesk, and Sundberg-Ferar.
Bangladesh Supreme Court launches AI based translation software ‘Amar Vasha’
The Bangladesh Supreme Court launched the Artificial Intelligence (AI) based translation software ‘Amar Vasha’ through a virtual event.
- The software will translate orders and judgements of the Supreme Court from English to Bangla.
- The Software has been developed with ‘EkStep’ foundation of India. It is based on their ‘Anuvaad’ translation software used in India to translate from English to Indian languages including Bangla.
- Anuvaad was deployed by the Supreme Court of India as SUVAS (Supreme Court Vidhik Anuvaad Software) from November 2019.
‘Snakepedia’ mobile app launched in Kerala to help people, doctors treat snake bites
A team of scientists, nature lovers and doctors have come up with a mobile application ‘Snakepedia’ on snakes in Kerala to help the public as well as doctors to treat snake bites.
- Snakepedia is a comprehensive android mobile application that documents information on snakes with the help of pictures, infographics and podcasts and analyses its first aid, treatment, myths and superstitions.
Indo-Pak War veteran retired Major General BK Mahapatra passes away
Major General (retired) Basant Kumar Mahapatra, who had participated in 1962, 1965 and 1971 wars, died at a hospital. He was 87.
- Mahapatra was commissioned into armoured corps (Tanks) of the Indian Army as a Combat Officer and was fondly known as ‘Tank Man’.
- Mohapatra was conferred with the prestigious Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM).
Music Director Issac Thomas Kottukapally passes away
Music director Issac Thomas Kottukapally passed away in Chennai. He was 72.
- Kottukapally had received the National Award for Best Background Music for Malayalam film ‘Adaminte Makan Abu’ in 2010.He had also received the State Film Awards for Best Background Music for four films — ‘Bhavam’ (2002), ‘Margam’ (2003), ‘Sancharam’ and ‘Oridam’ (2004).
- He composed music for many films including ‘Sancharam’, ‘Kutty Srank’, ‘Swaham’, ‘Bhavam’ and ‘Kunjananthante Kada’, among others.