Daily Current Affairs MCQ - Feb 16, 2021

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Recently inaugurated Ramanathapuram – Thoothukudi natural gas pipeline is in which of the following state?


Prime Minister Narendra Modi will dedicate to the nation and lay the foundation of key projects of the oil & gas sector in Tamil Nadu on 17th February 2021.

  1. Prime Minister will dedicate to the nation the Ramanathapuram – Thoothukudi natural gas pipeline.

    • The Ramanathapuram – Thoothukudi section (143 km) of the Ennore- Thiruvallur- Bengaluru- Puducherry- Nagapattinam- Madurai- Tuticorin Natural Gas Pipeline has been laid at the cost of about Rs. 700 crores.

    • It will help utilise gas from ONGC Gas fields and deliver natural gas as feedstock to industries and other commercial customers.

  2. He will also dedicate the Gasoline Desulphurisation Unit at Chennai Petroleum Corporation Limited, Manali. It will produce low sulphur (less than 8 ppm) environment-friendly gasoline, help reduce emission and contribute towards a cleaner environment.

  3. He will also lay the foundation stone of Cauvery Basin Refinery at Nagapattinam.

    • It will have a capacity of 9 million metric tonnes per annum. It will be set up through a Joint Venture of IOCL and CPCL at an estimated project cost of Rs. 31,500 crore.

    • It will produce Motor Spirit and Diesel meeting BS-VI specifications, and Polypropylene as a value-added product.


Ajmer Sharif Dargah is a Sufi shrine located in:


Prime Minister Modi has handed over a Chadar that would be offered at the Ajmer Sharif Dargah on the 809th Urs of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti.

  • Ajmer Sharif Dargah is a Sufi shrine (dargah) of the revered Sufi saint, Moinuddin Chishti, located at Ajmer, Rajasthan. The shrine has Chisti's grave (Maqbara).

  • The Urs festival is an annual festival held at Ajmer, Rajasthan which commemorates the anniversary of the death of Sufi saint Moinuddin Chishti, (founder of the Chishtiya Sufi order in India).

    • It is held over six days and features night-long dhikr (zikr) qawwali singing.

    • The anniversary is celebrated in the seventh month of the Islamic lunar calendar.


Devendra Kula Vellalar community, recently seen in the news, is majority located in:


The Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment has said that the reports appearing in media about the delisting of Devendra Kula Vellalar community from SC soon are completely misinformed.

  • The Ministry has clarified that the news is misleading and does not reflect the actual position.

  • It has stated that the Cabinet has approved for categorising (7) SC communities into Devendra Kula Vellalar which would also be a part of the Scheduled Castes list of Tamil Nadu.

  • Therefore, the statement that they will be delisted from SCs and would be made OBCs is completely incorrect and it may be clarified that the statement does not reflect the correct position.

  • The Ministry has further clarified that a Bill for categorising (7) SC communities into Devendra Kula Vellalar under SC list to Tamil Nadu is already introduced in the Lok Sabha.

  • The Pallar, who prefer to be called Mallar, is a Tamil sub-caste of Peasant found in Tamil Nadu.

  • Nowadays, community members prefer to refer to themselves as Devendra Kula Vellalar (DKV), a name connoting that they were created by the god Devendra.


Sandes an instant messaging platform is an initiative of:


The National Informatics Centre has launched an instant messaging platform called Sandes on the lines of WhatsApp.

  • Like WhatsApp, the new NIC platform can be used for all kinds of communications by anyone with a mobile number or email id.

  • The instant messaging app, called Sandes, has an interface similar to many other apps currently available in the market.

  • Although there is no option to transfer the chat history between two platforms, the chats on government instant messaging systems (GIMS) can be backed up to a users’ email.

  • GIMS, like other instant messaging apps in the market, uses a valid mobile number or email id to register the user for the first time. It also offers features such as group making, broadcast message, message forwarding and emojis.


About the Geo-spatial sector in India, consider the following statements:
1. Geospatial data is information about objects, events, or phenomena 
on the surface of the earth that has a location.

2. New guidelines for India's geospatial sector have recently been released by the Ministry of Science and Technology, deregulating existing protocols and liberalizing the sector into a more competitive field.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?


The Ministry of Science and Technology recently released new guidelines for the Geo-spatial sector in India, which deregulates existing protocol and liberalises the sector to a more competitive field.

Geospatial data is data about objects, events, or phenomena that have a location on the surface of the earth.

  • The location may be static in the short-term, like the location of a road, an earthquake event, malnutrition among children, or dynamic like a moving vehicle or pedestrian, the spread of an infectious disease.

  • Geospatial data combines location information, attribute information (the characteristics of the object, event, or phenomena concerned), and often also temporal information or the time at which the location and attributes exist.

  • Geo-spatial data usually involves information of public interest such as roads, localities, rail lines, water bodies, and public amenities.

  • The past decade has seen an increase in the use of geospatial data in daily life with various apps such as food delivery apps like Swiggy or Zomato, e-commerce like Amazon or even weather apps.

Expected impact of new guidelines:

  • By liberalising the system, the government will ensure more players in the field, the competitiveness of Indian companies in the global market, and more accurate data available to both the government to formulate plans and administer, but also for individual Indians.

  • Startups and businesses can now also use this data in setting up their concerns, especially in the sector of e-commerce or geospatial based apps – which in turn will increase employment in these sectors.

  • Indian companies will be able to develop indigenous apps, for example, an Indian version of google maps.


Concerning the Diesel and petrol prices, consider the following statements:
1. Retail petrol and diesel prices are linked to global crude oil prices.
2. The controlled production of crude by Saudi Arabia amid rising demand has been a key factor in boosting oil prices.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?


Diesel and petrol prices have hit record highs across the country, with petrol touching Rs 89 per litre in Delhi, and diesel reaching a new high of Rs 86.30 per litre in Mumbai.

  • The government reasons that global crude oil prices have risen by more than 50 per cent to over $63.3 per barrel since October, forcing oil retailers to increase pump prices.

  • Retail petrol and diesel prices are in theory decontrolled — or linked to global crude oil prices. Which means that if crude prices fall, as has largely been the trend since February, retails prices should come down too, and vice versa.

  • But this does not happen in practice, largely because oil price decontrol is a one-way street in India. So, when global prices go up, the resultant increase is passed on to the consumer, who has to cough up more for every litre of fuel consumed.

  • But when the reverse happens and prices slide, the government, almost by default, slaps fresh taxes and levies to ensure that it rakes in extra revenues.

  • The main beneficiary in this subversion of price decontrol is the government. The consumer is a clear loser, as are the fuel retailing companies.

  • Brent crude, which was trading at about $40 per barrel between June and October, started rising in November and has gone past the $60 per barrel mark as the global rollout of Covid-19 vaccines gathers pace.

  • The controlled production of crude amid rising demand has been another key factor in boosting oil prices, with Saudi Arabia voluntarily cutting its daily output by 1 million barrels per day to 8.125 million barrels per day through February and March.


About the Leatherback sea turtle, consider the following statements:

1. It is largest of the seven species of sea turtles on the planet.

2. They are listed in Schedule II of India’s Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?


Proposals for tourism and port development in the Andaman and Nicobar (A&N) Islands have conservationists worried over the fate of some of the most important nesting populations of the Giant Leatherback turtle in this part of the Indian Ocean.

  • Leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) is largest of the seven species of sea turtles on the planet and also the most long-ranging, being found in all oceans except the Arctic and the Antarctic.

  • Within the Indian Ocean, they nest only in Indonesia, Sri Lanka and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

  • It is the only living species in the genus Dermochelys and family Dermochelyidae.

  • It can easily be differentiated from other modern sea turtles by its lack of a bony shell, hence the name. Instead, its carapace is covered by skin and oily flesh.

  • They are listed in Schedule I of India’s Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, according it the highest legal protection.

Budget 2021:

  • The A&N Islands are prominent in the National Marine Turtle Action Plan released on February 1, 2021, by the Ministry of Environment.

  • The plan notes that “India has identified all its important sea turtle nesting habitats as ‘Important Coastal and Marine Biodiversity Areas’ and included them in the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) – 1”.

  • South Bay and West Bay on Little Andaman and Galathea on Great Nicobar, along with other nesting beaches in the islands, find a specific mention here as “Important Marine Turtle Habitats in India” and the largest Leatherback nesting grounds in India.

  • There is concern that at least three key nesting beaches — two on Little Andaman Island and one on Great Nicobar Island — are under threat due to mega “development” plans announced in recent months.

  • These include NITI Aayog’s ambitious tourism vision for Little Andaman and the proposal for a mega-shipment port at Galathea Bay on Great Nicobar Island.

  • The Little Andaman plan, which proposes phased growth of tourism on this virtually untouched island, has sought the de-reservation of over 200 sq km of pristine rainforest and also of about 140 sq km of the Onge Tribal Reserve.


Regarding the Basant Panchami and Saraswati Puja, consider the following statements:

1. This marks the start of the summer season.

2. In Bengal, Odisha and northern Indian states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar,  Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Saraswati Puja on Vasant Panchami is more popular.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?


Basant Panchami and Saraswati Puja are being celebrated in different parts of the country.

  • Basant Panchami or Vasant Panchami marks the beginning of the spring season - Basant means spring and Panchami mean "the fifth day" (or Panchmi of Shukla Paksha in Magh Maas).

  • The day is also celebrated as Saraswati Puja and the Hindu goddess of wisdom and knowledge, Saraswati, is worshipped on this day.

  • Saraswati Puja on Vasant Panchami is more popular in Bengal, Odisha and North Indian states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh.

  • On this day, the Hindus visit temples and pray to Goddess Saraswati. Several schools begin their session on Saraswati Puja day.

  • Men, women and children dress up in the vibrant yellow colour as mustard fields in northern parts of India bloom during this season. Yellow flowers are offered to Goddess Saraswati and the festive yellow dishes like sweet saffron rice, Kesari sheera, boondi ke ladoo, rajbhog and khichdi are prepared in homes.


Who among the following was appointed as the director-general of the World Trade Organization?


The World Trade Organization (WTO) has chosen Nigeria’s former finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as its first female and first African leader, handing her the task of restoring trust in a rules-based global trading system.

  • The WTO’s 164 members unanimously selected the 66-year-old development economist to serve a four-year term as director-general.

  • The appointment came after new United States President Joe Biden endorsed her candidacy, which had been blocked by former President Donald Trump.

  • Okonjo-Iweala, formerly Nigeria’s finance minister, had a 25-year career at the World Bank, where she rose to the number-two position of managing director. She holds both US and Nigerian citizenship.

  • The World Trade Organization is an international body that deals with the rules of trade between nations. At its heart are the WTO agreements, negotiated among the bulk of the world’s nations and ratified in their legislatures.


Who among the following was appointed as the new Director-General of International Solar Alliance (ISA) ?


International Solar Alliance (ISA) has announced Dr Ajay Mathur as its new Director-General following his election at the first special assembly of ISA members.

  • Dr Mathur replaces Mr Upendra Tripathy, who has served as Director-General since the inception of the ISA.

  • A coalition of 73 member countries, ISA was established in 2015 to accelerate the demand for and use of safe, sustainable, and affordable solar energy for all.

  • It aims to mobilize over one trillion dollars of investment into solar projects by 2030 through focused advocacy, policy and regulatory support, capacity building, and overcoming perceived investment barriers.