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IAS Preparation: Questions for Prelims 15 to 19 January 2018

Jan 20, 2018 10:02 IST
    IAS Preparation Questions for Prelims 15 to 19 January 2018
    IAS Preparation Questions for Prelims 15 to 19 January 2018

    Current affairs for IAS in a quiz format given in this article will help IAS aspirants to prepare for IAS Prelims Exam 2018. The important topics have been covered in the given questions which can be asked in IAS Prelims Exam. So, the IAS aspirants should practice well such questions before IAS Prelims Exam 2018.

    IAS Prelims Exam Guide

    1. Consider the following statements related to the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System that was in the news recently.
    1) The satellite system is being built by Japan.
    2) It is considered as the equivalent to the GPS of the USA.
    3) It is projected to achieve the global coverage by 2020.

    Which of the above statements is/are true?
    a) Only 2
    b) 2 and 3
    c) 1 and 3
    d) None of the Above

    Answer. b

    Explanation:

    China on 12 January 2018 successfully launched two BeiDou-3 satellites to provide navigation and positioning services to countries that are part of the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative. The satellites were launched on-board the Long March-3B carrier rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in the southwestern province of Sichuan in China.

    The twin satellites are coded as the 26th and 27th satellites in the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS). This is the first launch of BeiDou satellites in 2018 and over the next one year, 18 more such satellites will be launched into the space.

    About BeiDou Navigation Satellite System

    • It is being built as a rival to the Global Positioning System (GPS) of the USA.

    • It consists of two separate satellite constellations - a limited test system that has been operating since 2000, and a full-scale global navigation system that is currently under the construction.

    • Named after the Chinese term for the Big Dipper, the BeiDou project was formally launched in 1994. It began to serve China in 2000 and the Asia-Pacific region at the end of 2012.

    • By around 2020, when the BDS will go global, it will have more than 30 satellites.

    • After the launch of the remaining satellites and establishment of the ground monitoring stations, the BeiDou is expected to reach the millimetre level accuracy, which is ten times more exact than the finest level of GPS.

    • Navigation satellite systems similar to that of BeiDou and GPS are Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS) of Russia and the European Space Agency’s Galileo.

    About One Belt, One Road (OBOR)

    • The primary objective of the OBOR is  to establish new routes linking three continents - Asia, Europe and Africa by 2049.

    • As the name, One Belt, One Road, suggests, the initiative has two parts – Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

    • The Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB) seeks to link China to Europe by cutting through mountainous regions in the Central Asian Region. The word Belt is referred as a planned network of overland road and rail routes, oil and natural gas pipelines, and other infrastructure projects.

    • The focus of the SREB is on jointly building a new Eurasian Land Bridge and developing China-Mongolia-Russia, China-Central Asia-West Asia and China-Indochina Peninsula economic corridors by taking advantage of international transport routes.

    • THE 21st Century Maritime Silk Road (MSR) is the maritime equivalent of SREB and seeks to link China's port facilities with the African coast and then pushes up through the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean Sea.

    • The MSR is a network of planned port and other coastal infrastructure projects that dot the map from the South and Southeast Asia to East Africa and the northern Mediterranean Sea.

    • It is designed to go from China's coast to Europe through the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean in one route, and from China's coast through the South China Sea to the South Pacific in the other.

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    2. Consider the following statements related to the Readiness for the Future of Production Report 2018 that was released recently.
    1) The report was released by the World Economic Forum.
    2) Among the 100 countries and economies surveyed, the report has ranked India at the 30th position in terms of the future - ready structure of production.

    Which of the above statements is/are correct?
    a) 1 only
    b) 2 only
    c) Both 1 and 2
    d) Neither 1 nor 2

    Answer. c

    Explanation:

    The World Economic Forum (WEF) on 12 January 2017 released the Readiness for the Future of Production Report 2018. The report measured how well positioned 100 countries and economies—across all geographies and stages of development—are to shape and benefit from the changing nature of production through the adoption of emerging technology.

    Among the countries and economies surveyed, India was placed at the 30th position in terms of the competitiveness of the structure of production and the 44th position in terms of drivers of production.

    Findings of the report about India’s manufacture sector

    • With a total Manufacturing Value Added of over USD 420 billion in 2016, India is the 5th-largest manufacturer in the world. India ranks 45th in terms of economic complexity.

    • Over the last three decades, India’s manufacturing sector has grown by more than 7% per year, on average, while accounting for between 16% to 20% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

    • Employment in the manufacturing sector constitutes 11.4% of the total working population.

    • Medium hi-tech and hi-tech industries constitute 37.9% of the total value added by the manufacturing sector.

    • Home to the second-largest population in the world and one of the fastest growing economies, the demand for Indian manufactured products is rising.

    • Two key challenges for India are human capital and sustainable resources.

    • The report suggested that India needs to continue to raise the capabilities of its relatively young and fast-growing labour force. This entails upgrading education curricula, revamping vocational training programs and improving digital skills.

    • Furthermore, India should continue to diversify its energy sources and reduce emissions as its manufacturing sector continues to expand.

    • India has made a significant push to improve key enablers and move towards a more connected economy with the launch of the Make in India initiative in 2014 and the recent announcement of over USD 59 billion investment in the infrastructure sector.

    Other major findings of the report

    • The first of its kind Readiness for the Future of Production Report 2018 by the WEF assessed the countries on two major parameters. They are the structure of production and the drivers of the production.

    • The structure of the production, in turn, was measured on the basis of the complexity of the production and the scale of the production and India’s ranking on these two parameters are 48th and 9th respectively.

    • The drivers of the production were measured on the basis of six factors. They are technology and innovation, human capital, global trade and investment, institutional framework, sustainable resources and demand environment.

    • Globally, India fared better in the ‘Demand for Environment’ (5th rank), in terms of ‘Sustainable Resources’ it was placed at the 96th position by the report.

    • While the top 5 countries in terms of ‘Structure of Production’ are Japan, South Korea, Germany, Switzerland and China in the ascending order, the bottom 5 countries on this parameter are Ethiopia (96), Ghana (97), Cameroon (98), Mongolia (99) and Nigeria (100).

    • However, India is ranked better than its neighbours such as Sri Lanka (66th), Pakistan (74th) and Bangladesh (80th).

    • While the top 5 countries in terms of ‘Drivers of Production’ are the USA, Singapore, Switzerland, the UK and Netherlands in the ascending order, the bottom 5 countries on this parameter are Kyrgyzstan (96), Uganda (97), Ethiopia (98), Tanzania (99) and Cameroon (100).

    The report has also categorised the 100 countries and economies into four groups. They are as follows.

    1) Leading (strong current base, high level of readiness for future)

    2) High Potential (limited current base, high potential for future)

    3) Legacy (strong current base, at risk for future)

    4) Nascent (limited current base, low level of readiness for future)

    India has been placed in the 'Legacy' group along with Hungary, Mexico, Thailand, Philippines, Russia and Turkey.

    Some of the other important reports released by the WEF are Global Gender Gap Report, Global Competitiveness Index, Human Capital Report, Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report, etc.

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    3. Consider the following statements related to the ‘Aspirational Districts’ initiative that was in the news recently.
    1) As part of this initiative, the Union Government will take steps to for the rapid transformation of backward districts across the country.
    2) As part of the initiative, 115 districts will be developed as the model-districts by 2022.

    Which of the above statements is/are true?
    a) 1 only
    b) 2 only
    c) Both 1 and 2
    d) Neither 1 nor 2

    Answer. c

    Explanation:

    On 5 January 2017, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacted with Collectors and Officers-in-charge of Aspirational Districts, at a Conference organized by NITI Aayog in New Delhi. This event was organized in keeping with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of Transforming India by 2022.

    About ‘Aspirational Districts’

    • The Union Government has embarked upon a major policy initiative for the rapid transformation of 115 districts that are lagging on specific development parameters.

    • Special efforts will be undertaken in these districts to eradicate Left Wing Extremism (LWE) and achieve financial inclusion and skill development.

    • The 115 ‘Aspirational Districts’ include 35 districts affected by Left Wing Extremists (LWE) violence, 55 districts just affected by LWE and other districts affected by terrorism in the Jammu and Kashmir and the northeast.

    • The initiative was launched to address the issue of regional imbalances in terms of development and are expected to be the foundation for developing New India.

    • The NITI Aayog will come up with the ranking of these ‘Aspirational Districts’ by April 2018. They will be ranked on 10 socioeconomic parameters such as education, nutrition, health, etc.

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    4. Recently, Government has launched country's first agri-commodity options in Guar Seed. Consider the following statements regarding this:
    1) The launched option, as an instrument will give a strong impetus towards systematic development and transformation of commodity derivatives market in India, which will make the agri-economy more efficient and bring huge amount of value for the farmers of India.
    2) The Guar Seed Options will be European type with a tick size of Re. 0.50 per quintal.
    3) Agri-Options will serve as a powerful tool to empower farmers by allowing them to lock in the prices of their produce at a minimum cost.

    Which of the above statements is/are correct?
    a) 2 only
    b) 1 and 2
    c) 2 and 3
    d) 1, 2 and 3

    Answer. d

    Explanation:

    Recently, Government has launched country's first agri-commodity options in Guar Seed in Delhi. It was launched on the occasion of Makar Sankranti. This new hedging tool, Agri-Options: Ek Aur Kadam Kisan Pragati Ki Ore is set to mark an important evolution in trading of agriculture commodities market.

    This instrument will give a strong impetus towards systematic development and transformation of commodity derivatives market in India, which will make the agri-economy more efficient and bring huge amount of value for the farmers of India. A Mandi.com mobile application was also launched on the occasion, where farmers can learn more about agri-Options and the commodities market.

    For more than a decade, NCDEX has played a big role in developing agriculture ecosystem. It has put a lot of effort and brought in various technological innovations that have helped in providing wider network and market access to farmers and other stakeholders, better price discovery, reduced information asymmetry, provided tools to mitigate prices risks and increased overall efficiency and transparency in the system. It will also ensure minimum occurrence of unnecessary losses due to massive procurements undertaken.

    5. Recently, a MoU has been signed between Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Government of India, State of Bihar and State of Jharkhand for completion of balance works of North Koel reservoir project. Consider the following statements regarding this:
    1) The construction of North Koel project situated on North Koel River, a tributary of Sone River was started in 1972 but was later halted in 1993.
    2) The North Koel project will provide irrigation to 1,11,521 hectares of land annually in the most backward and drought prone areas of Palamu and Garhwa districts in Jharkhand and Aurangabad  and Gaya districts in Bihar.

    Which of the above statements is/are correct?
    a) 1 only
    b) 2 only
    c) Both 1 and 2
    d) Neither 1 nor 2

    Answer. c

    Explanation:

    A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Government of India, State of Bihar and State of Jharkhand for completion of balance works of North Koel reservoir project at an estimated cost of Rs. 1622.27 crore.

    The construction of North Koel project was started in 1972 but was later halted in 1993. The project situated on North Koel river, a tributary of Sone river will provide irrigation to 1,11,521 hectares of land annually in the most backward and drought prone areas of Palamu and Garhwa districts in Jharkhand and Aurangabad  and Gaya districts in Bihar. The project is scheduled to be completed in 30 months from the start of the project.

    6. Consider the following statements related to the BBIN Motor Vehicles Agreement that was in the news recently.
    1. The agreement is aimed at regulation of passenger, personal and cargo vehicular traffic among Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal.
    2. The World Bank has been providing technical, advisory, and financial support to this initiative.

    Which of the above statements is/are correct?
    a. 1 only
    b. 2 only
    c. Both 1 and 2
    d. Neither 1 nor 2

    Answer. a

    Explanation:

    The Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicles Agreement was in the news on 11 January 2018 as Bangladesh, India and Nepal agreed on the text of the operating procedures for passenger vehicle movement in the sub-region. On this occasion, the three countries also agreed to conduct more trial runs for cargo vehicles under the agreement. These decisions were taken at a meeting attended by high-level officials of Bangladesh, India and Nepal in Bengaluru. A Bhutanese official delegation also attended the meeting as observers.

    About BBIN Motor Vehicles Agreement

    • India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal on 15 June 2015 signed the BBIN Motor Vehicle Agreement (MVA) in the Bhutanese capital Thimphu.

    • The regional motor vehicle pact is aimed at regulation of passenger, personal and cargo vehicular traffic amongst four SAARC member countries.

    • The agreement seeks to promote safe, economical, efficient and environmentally sound road transport in the region and would help each country in creating an institutional mechanism for regional integration.

    • Each party to the agreement will bear its own costs arising from the implementation of this agreement.

    • The Asian Development Bank(ADB) has been providing technical, advisory, and financial support to this initiative as part of its South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) program.

    • SASEC is a projects-based economic cooperation initiative that brings together the BBIN countries, Maldives, Sri Lanka and more recently, Myanmar. ADB is the secretariat of SASEC.

    Steps to improve connectivity in the region

    • The BBIN MVA is based on the Draft South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation Motor Vehicles Agreement that encourages the Member States to initiate regional and sub-regional measures to enhance connectivity.

    • Previously, in November 2014, the Union Cabinet approved a proposal to sign the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation MVA. However, it could not be signed due to reservations of Pakistan.

    • Besides the BBIN MVA, India is actively pursuing a similar MVA with Myanmar and Thailand to strengthen connectivity of the sub-region to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

    • As per an estimate, transforming transport corridors into economic corridors could potentially increase intra-regional trade within South Asia by almost 60% and with the rest of the world by over 30%.

    IAS Questions for IAS Prelims 2018: September 2017

    7. It is with this neighbouring country, India recently signed a MoU for enhancing cooperation in the IT sector, cyber security and e-Governance.
    a. Sri Lanka
    b. Bangladesh
    c. Nepal
    d. Myanmar

    Answer. a

    Explanation:

    India and Sri Lanka on 15 January 2018 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for enhancing cooperation in the information and technology sector, cyber security and e-Governance. The MoU was signed during the visit of the Union Minister for Law and Justice and Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad to Sri Lanka.
    On this occasion, the minister inaugurated the gigabit connectivity between the National Knowledge Network of India and the Lanka Education And Research Network (LEARN) of Sri Lanka. This dedicated high-speed internet connectivity will boost the collaboration among the academic institutions of India and Sri Lanka. The minister also inaugurated the use of eOffice software developed by National Informatics Center (NIC) by the government of Sri Lanka.

    8. As per the report published on January 11 in the science journal Zookeys reveals, eighteen new species of Madagascan spiders have been discovered. Consider the following statements regarding the discovery of spider-eating spiders:
    1. Native to Madagascar, these spiders are also called as “living fossils,” as similar ones have been found in 165-million-year-old fossils.
    2. Fourteen of the new species belong to the genus Eriauchenius while the rest belong to Madagascarchaea.
    3. These spiders, found in the montane rainforests of Madagascar are active night hunters.

    Which of the above statements is/are correct?
    a. 2 only
    b. 1 and 2
    c. 2 and 3
    d. 1, 2 and 3

    Answer. d

    Explanation:

    Eighteen new species of Madagascan spiders have been discovered, a report published on January 11 in the science journal Zookeys reveals. Dr. Hannah Wood from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and Nikolaj Scharff from the University of Copenhagen are the researchers behind this discovery of the new species of pelican spiders. Fourteen of the new species belong to the genus Eriauchenius while the rest belong to Madagascarchaea. These spiders, found in the montane rainforests of Madagascar are active night hunters. According to the release, when a pelican spider finds a victim, it swiftly reaches out and impales it on its long, fang-tipped “jaws,”...Then it holds the victim away from its body, keeping itself safe from potential counterattacks until the victim dies.

    9. Recently, the USA based Louisiana State University has, through release said that the mysterious dimming of Tabby's star is caused by dust particles and not (as some believed) by alien spacecraft orbiting it. Consider the following statements regarding the Tabby's star:
    1. Tabby’s star is the “most mysterious star in the universe” as it kept dimming and brightening irregularly, following no pattern.
    2. Tabby’s star also named as the Boyajian’s star named after Assistant Professor Tabetha Boyajian of the Department of Physics & Astronomy, Louisiana State University.

    Which of the above statements is/are correct?
    a. 1 only
    b. 2 only
    c. Both 1 and 2
    d. Neither 1 nor 2

    Answer. c

    Explanation:

    A press release from Louisiana State University on January 3 says that the mysterious dimming of Tabby's star is caused by dust particles and not (as some believed) by alien spacecraft orbiting it. Tabby’s star or Boyajian’s star is the “most mysterious star in the universe” as it kept dimming and brightening irregularly, following no pattern. Officially called KIC 8462852, the star is 1,000 light years away from the Earth and 1,000 degrees hotter than the Sun.

    It is named after Assistant Professor Tabetha Boyajian of the Department of Physics & Astronomy, Louisiana State University. She was the main author of the paper published in 2015 that reported the reduction in the light from the star. There was a 20% decrease in brightness and the dip lasted from five to 80 days.

    IAS Preparation Questions for IAS Prelims 2018: August 2017

    10. Recently, scientists have warned that rise in global temperature could cause the marine food web to collapse, devastating the livelihoods of tens of millions of people who rely on fisheries for food and income. Consider the following statements regarding warming oceans:

    1. Warming oceans restrict vital energy flows between different species in the marine ecosystem, reducing the amount of food available for bigger animals - mostly fish - at the top of the marine food web.
    2. As per the recent data published the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) that globally, about 56.5 million people were engaged in fisheries and aquaculture in 2015 which may affect by warming oceans.
    3. According to UN's FAO,  also the almost a fifth of animal protein consumed by 3.2 billion people in 2015 comes from fish.

    Which of the above statements is/are correct?
    a. 2 only
    b. 1 and 2
    c. 2 and 3
    d. 1, 2 and 3

    Answer. d

    Explanation:

    Global temperature rises could cause the marine food web to collapse, devastating the livelihoods of tens of millions of people who rely on fisheries for food and income, scientists have warned.

    Warming oceans restrict vital energy flows between different species in the marine ecosystem, reducing the amount of food available for bigger animals - mostly fish - at the top of the marine food web, according to a study in the journal PLOS Biology. This could have “serious implications” for fish stocks, said Ivan Nagelkerken, a professor of marine ecology at Australia's University of Adelaide and one of the study's authors. Globally, about 56.5 million people were engaged in fisheries and aquaculture in 2015, according to the latest data from the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). In addition, almost a fifth of animal protein consumed by 3.2 billion people in 2015 comes from fish, FAO said.

    11. Recently, the Department of Commerce and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) signed an MoU for setting-up of an institutional mechanism for the integrated development of the Logistics sector in the country. Against this backdrop, consider he following statements.
    1) Logistics sector has the infrastructure status.
    2) In the World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index 2016, India’s ranking jumped from 54 in 2014 to 35.

    Which of the above statements is/are correct?
    a) 1 only
    b) 2 only
    c) Both 1 and 2
    d) Neither 1 nor 2

    Answer. c

    Explanation:

    The Department of Commerce of the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry on 16 January 2018 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) for setting-up of an institutional mechanism for the integrated development of the logistics sector in the country. The primary objective of the MoU is to modernise India’s logistics sector and bring it at par with the global best.

    Recent initiatives of the Union Government to develop the logistics sector are as given below.

    • In November 2017, the logistics sector was granted the infrastructure status. Logistics infrastructure includes sub sectors such as multi-modal logistics park comprising inland container depots, cold chain facilities and warehousing facilities. The infrastructure status will help the logistics sector in availing cheaper and long-term commercial loans from various domestic and external agencies including the India Infrastructure Finance Company Ltd (IIFC).

    • A concerted effort has been initiated for simplifying the regulatory processes in both domestic and EXIM (Export and Import) logistics.

    • The government is working on a comprehensive action plan to reduce the cost of EXIM and domestic logistics in the country by making it more efficient through the easing of processes, induction of information technology and coordinated enhancement of logistics infrastructure in the country.

    • The government is developing an integrated logistics portal that will act as a transactional e-marketplace connecting buyers and logistics service providers with all the government agencies such as Customs, Port Community Systems, Sea and Airport terminals, shipping lines and the railways.

    • The Logistics Division of the Department of Commerce has planned to enter into a formal partnership with the other government agencies, industry and academia for developing a detailed action plan.

    About Logistics Performance Index

    • The Logistics Performance Index (LPI) is a benchmarking tool conceptualized by the World Bank Group (WBG). The LPI is prepared by the WBG once in two years.

    • The LPI helps countries in identifying the challenges they face in their performance on trade logistics and suggests measures to improve their performance.

    • It measures performance along the complete logistics supply chain within a country and offers two different perspectives - international and domestic.

    • In the LPI 2016, India’s ranking jumped to 35 from 54 in 2014. The next LPI is expected to be released in July 2018.

    12. It is with this country, India will conduct the ‘Vajra Prahar’ joint military exercise in the third week of January 2018.
    a) Russia
    b) France
    c) Japan
    d) The USA

    Answer. d

    Explanation:

    India and the USA will conduct the ‘Vajra Prahar’ joint military exercise at the Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) in Seattle, the USA. The exercise will take place in the third week of January 2018. Along with the forces of the USA, the exercise would involve a 45-member Special Forces team from the Indian Army’s Southern Command.

    About Vajra Prahar

    • It is an Indo-US Special Forces joint training exercise.

    • It is conducted alternately in India and the USA.

    • Though it was initiated in the year 2010, there was a gap of three years between 2012 and 2015. The last edition of the exercise was held in Jodhpur in March 2017.

    The following is the list of India’s joint defence exercises.

    Name of the Exercise

    Partner Country/Countries

    Details

    Malabar

    The USA and Japan

    • It’s a joint naval exercise.
    • The recent exercise was held in July 2017 in the Bay of Bengal.

    AUSINDEX

    Australia

    • It’s a joint naval exercise.
    • The recent exercise was held along the coast of Australia in June 2017.

    SIMBEX

    Singapore

    • It’s a joint naval exercise.
    • The recent exercise was held in May 2017 in the South China Sea.

    IND–INDO CORPAT

    Indonesia

    • It’s a joint naval exercise.
    • The recent exercise was held in May 2017 at Port Blair.

    Varuna

    France

    • It’s a joint naval exercise.
    • The recent exercise was held in April 2017 in the Mediterranean Sea.

    Nomadic Elephant

    Mongolia

    • It’s a joint exercise between two armies.
    • The recent exercise was held in April 2017 in Mizoram.

    Surya Kiran

    Nepal

    • It’s a joint exercise between two armies.
    • The recent exercise was held in March in 2017 in Uttarakhand.

    Al-Nagah

    Oman

    • It’s a joint army exercise.
    • The recent exercise was held in March 2017 in Himachal Pradesh.

    EKUVERIN

    Maldives

    • It’s a joint military exercise.
    • The recent exercise was held in December 2017 in the Maldives.

    INDRA

    Russia

    • It refers to joint exercises conducted between army, navy and air force.
    • The recent INDRA Navy was held in December 2016 in the Bay of Bengal.

    KONKAN

    United Kingdom

    • It’s a joint naval exercise.
    • The recent exercise was held in December 2016 in Mumbai.

    Hand in Hand

    China

    • It’s a joint military exercise.
    • The recent exercise was held in November 2016 in Pune.

    SAMPRITI

    Bangladesh

    • It’s a joint military exercise.
    • The recent exercise was held in November 2016 in Dhaka.

    Mitra Shakti

    Sri Lanka

    • It’s a joint military exercise.
    • The recent exercise was held in October 2016 in Sri Lanka.

    Yudh Abhyas

    The USA

    • It’s a joint military exercise.
    • The recent exercise was held in September 2016 in Uttarakhand.

     PRABAL DOSTYK

    Kazakhstan

    • It’s a joint military exercise.
    • The recent exercise was held in September 2016 in Kazakhstan.

    Maitree

    Thailand

    • It’s a joint military exercise.
    • The recent exercise was held in July 2016 in Thailand.

    RIPMAC

    Around 25 nations, including the USA, the UK, China and France.

    • It’s the world's largest international maritime exercise.
    • It is held under the leadership of the USA.
    • The recent exercise was held in June 2016 in Hawaii.

    Desert Eagle

    United Arab Emirates

    • It’s a joint air combat exercise.
    • The recent exercise was held in May-June 2016 in Abu Dhabi.

    Garuda Shakti

    Indonesia

    • It’s a joint military exercise.
    • The recent exercise was held in March 2016 in Indonesia.

    Lamitye

    Seychelles

    • It’s a joint military exercise.
    • The recent exercise was conducted in March 2016 in the Seychelles.

    IBSAMAR

    South Africa and Brazil

    • It’s a joint naval exercise.
    • The recent exercise was held in February in Goa.

    Sahyog-Kaijin

    Japan

    • It’s a joint exercise between the coast guards of two countries.
    • The recent exercise was held in January 2016 in Chennai.

    SHAKTI

    France

    • It’s a joint military exercise.
    • The recent exercise was held in January 2016 in Rajasthan.

    SLINEX

    Sri Lanka

    • It’s a joint military exercise.
    • The recent exercise was held in October 2015 in Sril Lanka.

    Indradhanush

    The United Kingdom

    • It’s a bilateral air exercise.
    • The recent exercise was held in August 2015 in Britain.

    IAS Preparation Questions for IAS Prelims 2018: July 2017

    13. Which of the following Union Ministries has launched the SFOORTI App recently.

    a) Ministry of Railways
    b) Ministry of Commerce and Industry
    c) Ministry of Finance
    d) Ministry of Road Transport and Highways

    Answer. a

    Explanation:

    In the second week of January 2018, the Union Ministry of Railways launched the Smart Freight Operation Optimisation & Real Time Information (SFOORTI) App for freight managers. The application has features to monitor and manage freight business using Geographic Information System (GIS) View and Dashboard.

    Key features of SFOORTI application

    • With this application, movement of freight trains on Geographic Information System (GIS) view can be tracked.

    • Both passenger and freight trains can be tracked over Zones/Divisions/ Sections in single GIS View.

    • Freight business can be monitored.

    • Comparative analysis of Zonal/Divisional traffic can be made.

    • Analysis of new traffic captured and traffic lost can be made.

    • This application provides a bird’s eye view of all freight assets in a single window.

    • It provides end to end rake movement on geospatial view.

    • Expected traffic at Interchange can be viewed. It will help the freight managers points in evaluating daily performance.

    • The performance of each zone and division with respect to loading and utilization of freight assets can be viewed.

    • Freight terminal and sidings can be better monitored to ensure better turnaround of rakes.

    14. By the end of 2017, India has emerged as a top borrower from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) with USD 1.5 billion worth of loans. Against this backdrop, consider the following statements related to AIIB.
    1) The headquarters of the AIIB is located in Beijing.
    2) Next to China, India is the second-largest shareholder in the AIIB.

    Which of the above statements is/are correct?
    a) 1 only
    b) 2 only
    c) Both 1 and 2
    d) Neither 1 nor 2

    Answer. c

    Explanation:

    India emerged as a top borrower from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). In 2017, India was granted USD 1.5 billion worth of loans. This is in addition to more than USD 3 billion worth of loans that are in the pipeline. The funds will be utilized for the construction of the Mumbai Metro, Andhra Pradesh new capital Amaravati and irrigation infrastructure in West Bengal.

    About AIIB

    • The primary objective of the AIIB is to to improve social and economic outcomes in Asia and beyond.

    • The bank is expected to fill the infrastructure deficit by playing a complimentary role along with other multilateral financial institutions like the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the World Bank Group (WBG).

    • The China-sponsored bank came into existence on 29 June 2015 with the signing of 60-article agreement. So far, the agreement was signed and ratified by 57 countries.

    • With the joining of Cook Islands, Vanuatu, Belarus and Ecuador in the bank in December 2017, the total approved membership has reached 84.

    • The bank has an authorized capital of USD 100 billion. Asian countries will contribute up to 75% of the total capital. The member countries will be allocated a share of the quota based on their economic size.

    • China will contribute USD 29.78 billion to the bank’s total capital base. With this amount, it becomes the AIIB’s largest shareholder with a 30.34% stake.

    • India is the second-largest shareholder. It has a 8.4% stake in the bank.

    • In terms of shareholding, India is followed by Russia. It has a 6.5% stake in the bank.

    • So far, the AIIB has approved loans to the tune of USD 4.22 billion.

    • India will host the 3rd Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of AIIB at Mumbai on 25th and 26th June 2018.

    • Jin Liqun of China is the President of the bank. India’s nominee D J Pandian was appointed as the Vice-President of the bank in February 2016.

    15. Consider the following statements related to ‘Raisina Dialogue’ that was in the news recently.
    1) It is a multilateral conference, wherein issues related to cyber security.
    2) It is  organized by the Ministry of External Affairs.

    Which of the above statements is/are correct?
    a) 1 only
    b) 2 only
    c) Both 1 and 2
    d) Neither 1 nor 2

    Answer. b

    Explanation:

    ‘Raisina Dialogue’ was in the news as the its third edition was inaugurated by the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu on 16 January 2018. The theme of the 3-day long conference is – ‘Managing Disruptive Transitions: Ideas, Institutions and Idioms’.

    About Raisina Dialogue

    • The Raisina Dialogue is a multilateral conference committed to addressing the most challenging issues facing the global community.

    • Since its inception in 2016, it is annually held in New Delhi. The Raisina Dialogue is structured on the lines of Shangri-La Dialogue that is held in Singapore.

    • Every year, global leaders in policy, business, media and civil society are hosted in New Delhi to discuss cooperation on a wide range of pertinent international policy matters.

    • The dialogue is structured as a multi-stakeholder, cross-sectoral discussion, involving heads of state, cabinet ministers and local government officials, as well as major private sector executives, members of the media and academics.

    • The conference is hosted by the Observer Research Foundation in collaboration with the Ministry of External Affairs.

    16. Consider the following statements related to International Solar Alliance (ISA) that was in the news recently.
    1) It is India’s first treaty-based international and intergovernmental organization headquartered in India.
    2) It as an alliance dedicated to the promotion of solar energy among its member countries.
    3) Its headquarters is located in Mumbai.

    Which of the above statements is/are correct?
    a) 1 and 2 only
    b) 2 and 3 only
    c) 1 and 3 only
    d) 1, 2 and 3

    Answer. a

    Explanation:

    The International Solar Alliance (ISA) was in the news in January 2018 as the ISA hosted a two day event ‘International Solar Alliance Forum’ at the Future World Energy Summit (WFES) at Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for dissemination of information about ISA and its activities and programmes.

    Delivering the keynote address on the occasion, the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power and New and Renewable Energy Raj Kumar Singh congratulated ISA for organising the ISA Forum as its first overseas outreach activity. The minister also announced a USD 350 million Solar Development Fund for financing solar energy projects across the country.

    About International Solar Alliance

    • It as an alliance dedicated to the promotion of solar energy among its member countries.

    • Its major objectives include global deployment of over 1,000 GW of solar generation capacity and mobilisation of investment of over USD 1000 billion into solar energy by 2030.

    • As an action-oriented organisation, the ISA brings together countries with rich solar potential to aggregate global demand, thereby reducing prices through bulk purchase, facilitating the deployment of existing solar technologies at scale, and promoting collaborative solar research and development and capacity building.

    • When the ISA Framework Agreement entered into force on December 6th, 2017, ISA formally became a de-jure treaty-based International Intergovernmental Organization.

    • Its headquarters is located at Gurugram in India.

    • As of now, the ISA Framework Agreement has been signed by 48 countries. Till now, 19 of these 48 countries deposited the instruments of ratification with the Ministry of External Affairs.

    IAS Preparation: Questions for Prelims 1 to 5 January 2018

    17. Consider the following statements related to the Global Initiative on Academic Network (GIAN) that was in the news recently.

    1) It was launched by the Union Ministry of Human Resources Development in November 2015.
    2) It brings together foreign and Indian faculties to teach an academic course to students selected from the world’s leading academic institutions.

    Which of the above statements is/are correct?
    a) 1 only
    b) 2 only
    c) Both 1 and 2
    d) Neither 1 nor 2

    Answer. c

    Explanation:

    The Global Initiative on Academic Network (GIAN) was in the news in January 2018 as the NITI Aayog has inaugurated the first GIAN course on sustainable urban planning using remote sensing and Geographic information system (GIS). The courses were launched at the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur’s outreach centre in Noida.
    The course will provide latest remote sensing and GIS skills, which will enable them to manage the rapidly changing urban environment of Indian cities.

    About GIAN

    • It was launched by the Union Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD) in November 2015.

    • It seeks to enlarge and deepen the interface of India’s institutions of higher learning and globally recognised institutions of academic eminence.

    • As part of the GIAN, faculty from highly rated institutions abroad will visit India, interact and partner with their counterparts and with students, and deliver specialised courses.

    • From abroad, faculty from 38 countries are presently scheduled to deliver courses, including the USA, the UK, Germany, Australia, Israel, etc.

    • The courses vary in duration from 1 week to 3 weeks depending on the subject and are free for students from the host institution. The courses are available on nominal charges for others as well.

    • Live webcasting will allow students across the country to get access to high quality educational content. To encourage and make possible continued access to course content and delivery, it would be placed on the website of the concerned institution.

    • These lectures would be made available later to the students across the country through the SWAYAM, the Massive open online courses (MOOCs) platform and the National Digital Library.

    18. On 18 January 2018, India successfully test fired Agni-V ballistic missile. Against this backdrop, consider the following statements.

    1) It is India’s first Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile.
    2) It has a strike range of over 5,000 km.

    Which of the above statements is/are true?
    a) 1 only
    b) 2 only
    c) Both 1 and 2
    d) Neither 1 nor 2

    Answer. c

    Explanation:

    About Agni-V missile

    • It is a three-stage propellant missile with nuclear warhead carrying capacity of more than one tonne.

    • It is capable of striking a target more than 5000 kilometers.

    • It is about 17 meters long and 2 meter wide and has a launch weight of around 50 tonnes.

    • It is developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as part of its Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP).

    • Missiles are generally classified on the basis of their type, launch mode, range, propulsion, warhead and guidance system. On the basis of type, there are two kinds of missiles – ballistic and cruise.

    Ballistic vs Cruise missile

    • While a ballistic missile has a ballistic (arc-like) trajectory  over most of its flight path, a cruise missile can fly in a relatively straight line. A cruise missile also has maneuverable capacity.

    • While a ballistic missile travels at higher altitudes, a cruise missile travels at lower altitudes.

    • While ballistic missiles are used to reach long distances, a cruise missile is used for short distances.

    • While Prithvi, Agni and Dhanush ballistic missiles are currently operational in the Indian defence forces, BRAHMOS is the only known versatile supersonic cruise missile system which is in service.

    19. Currently, the Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is on an official visit to India to strengthen relations with New Delhi. Against this backdrop, consider the following statements related to India-Israel bilateral relations.

    1) The surface-to-air Barak-8 missile has been jointly developed by India and Israel.
    2) Next to Russia, Israel is India’s second largest arms supplier between 2012 and 2016.

    Which of the above statements is/are correct?
    a) 1 only
    b) 2 only
    c) Both 1 and 2
    d) Neither 1 nor 2

    Answer. a

    Explanation:

    The Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is on a 6-day official visit to India. With this, he has become the second Israeli Prime Minister to visit India. The previous visit was by Ariel Sharon in 2003.

    About Barak-8 missile

    • It is a medium range surface-to-air missile (MR-SAM). The missile has been under development by the Defence Research Development Laboratory (DRDL) of DRDO in partnership with the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).

    • Apart from the missile, the system includes a Multi Functional Surveillance and Threat Alert Radar (MF STAR) for detection, tracking and guidance of the missile.

    • The missile, along with MF-STAR, will provide the users with the capability to neutralise any aerial threats.

    • These missiles will be produced at the Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) in Hyderabad.

    • After the completion of the user’s trials, it would be inducted in all the three Services once the user’s trials are completed.

    • As per the Sweden-based Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), India relied largely on Russia for its defence needs between 2012 and 2016. In this period, India’s 68% of defence imports were from Russia, 14% from the USA and 7.2% from Israel.

    20. It is between these two States, the Mahadayi river has become a bone of contention recently.

    a) Goa and Karnataka
    b) Maharashtra and Gujarat
    c) Andhra Pradesh and Telangana
    d) Tamil Nadu and Kerala

    Answer. a

    Explanation:

    Recently, the Mahadayi river has become a bone of contention as the Karnataka seeks to divert water from tributaries of the river through the Kalasa-Bhanduri Nala project towards the parched Malaprabha river basin. The move is strongly opposed by Goa.

    About Mahadayi river

    It is described as the lifeline of Goa. The 80-km-long river rises from the forests of the Western Ghats at Devgaon in northern Karnataka. The major part of the river lies in Goa as flows a distance of 52 kilometers.

    In 2002, on the request of Goa, the Union Government has constituted the Mahadayi River Water Disputes Tribunal for adjudication of disputes relating to the river. The tribunal is expected to pronounce its final award in February 2018.

    21. Consider the following statements related to the Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan (PMSMA) that was in the news recently.
    a) The programme aims at providing antenatal and postnatal services to women at free of cost.
    b) It involves the participation of medical professionals from both public and private sectors.

    Which of the above statements is/are correct?
    a) 1 only
    b) 2 only
    c) Both 1 and 2
    d) Neither 1 nor 2

    Answer. b

    Explanation:

    The Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan (PMSMA) was in the news in the third week of January 2018 as over one crore antenatal checkups were performed as part of the programme. Out of these 1 crore checkups, more than 25 lakh checkups were conducted in high priority districts identified by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for focussed attention.

    Maharashtra has reported the largest number of checkups among the Non-Empowered Action Group (EAG) States, while Rajasthan has reported the largest number of checkups among the Empowered Action Group States.

    The eight socioeconomically backward states of Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh are referred to as the Empowered Action Group (EAG) states. They are classified as such, as they lag behind in the demographic transition and have the highest infant mortality rates in the country. The remaining States are classified as the Empowered Action Group States.

    Key objectives of PMSMA are-

    • To provide a healthy life for pregnant women

    • To lower the maternal mortality rate

    • To make pregnant women aware of their health issues and diseases

    • To ensure safe delivery and healthy life of the baby

    Key features of PMSMA are-

    • The programme was formally launched in November 2016. It is applicable to pregnant women only.

    • Symbolizing the 9 months of pregnancy, pregnant women are provided free health checkups on the 9th of every month.

    • These free of cost tests will include blood pressure, sugar level, weight, hemoglobin test, blood test and screening.

    • These prenatal tests are conducted in more than 12,800 government health facilities across the States and Union Territories.

    • In response to the call given by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, more than 4,800 doctors have enrolled themselves as volunteers for the programme. They also committed to the ‘IPledgefor9’ initiative.

    • Based on the clinical conditions and investigations, over 5.50 lakh pregnant women were identified as high risk pregnancies and referred to a specialist or a higher health facility for appropriate care.

    • Identifying high risk pregnancies are the first step towards saving mothers and infants from preventable deaths.

    Indian Economy for IAS Exam 2018

    22. Recently, the 25th meeting of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council was held in New Delhi. Against this backdrop, consider the following statements.
    1) The GST Council has the authority to decrease tax rates only. It cannot increase tax rates.
    2) The GST Council is headed by the Prime Minister.
    3) At present, there are four tax slabs in the GST.
    4) Education, health care, metro and local train travel are exempt from the GST.

    Which of the above statements is/are true?
    a) 1 and 2 only
    b) 2, 3 and 4 only
    c) 3 and 4 only
    d) None of them

    Answer. c

    Explanation:

    On 18 January 2018, the 25th meeting of the GST Council was held in New Delhi. The meeting was attended by the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and finance ministers/representatives of 29 States and two Union Territories with legislatures (Delhi and Puducherry).

    In the meeting, the GST Council reduced tax rates on 82 items. The Council also gave its approval for introducing measures against tax evasion and filing simple GST returns.
    At present there are four GST Rates. They are 5%, 12%, 18% and 28%. Education, health care, third tier railway travel, metro travel, local train travel and religious travel, including Hajj are exempt from the GST.

    About GST Council

    • The President Pranab Mukherjee approved the Constitution (One Hundred and First Amendment) Act, 2016 in September 2016.

    • The Act, amended various provisions of the Constitution paving way for the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) across the country.

    • As per Article 279A (1) of the amended Constitution, the GST Council has to be constituted by the President within 60 days of the commencement of Article 279A.

    • The Council is the apex body that takes decisions on all important decisions related to the GST, including items and rates. It has the power to increase and decrease tax rates.

    • The Union Finance Minister is the Chairperson of the council.

    • The Union Minister of State, in-charge of the Revenue in the Finance Ministry, and the Minister in-charge of finance or taxation or any other Minister nominated by each State Government are the members of the council.

    23. Consider the following statements related to the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) that was in the news recently.
    1) It has the authority to fix and revise the prices of controlled bulk drugs and formulations.
    2) It has the authority to recover amounts overcharged by the manufacturers of the controlled drugs from the consumers.

    Which of the above statements is/are correct?
    a) 1 only
    b) 2 only
    c) Both 1 and 2
    d) Neither 1 nor 2

    Answer. c

    Explanation:

    The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) on 17 January 2018 fixed the retail price for 30 drug formulations, including those used for treatment of diabetes, bacterial infections and high blood pressure. It has also revised the prices of three formulations, including that of anti cancer drug—Gemcitabine

    About NPPA

    • It was set up in 1997 as an independent body of experts by the Union Cabinet.

    • Under the Drugs (Prices Control) Order 1995, it enforces prices and availability of the medicines in the country. The Order was issued under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955.

    • The NPPA is entrusted with the task of recovering amounts overcharged by manufacturers of the controlled drugs from the consumers.

    • It also monitors the prices of decontrolled drugs in order to keep them at reasonable levels.

    How the prices are fixed and regulated?

    • The prices of essential drugs are fixed on the basis of the simple average of all medicines in a particular therapeutic segment, having sales of more than 1%.

    • It regulates the prices of all other medicines. However, the companies are allowed to hike prices of such drugs by up to 10% in a year.

    • Only 74 out of about 500 commonly used bulk drugs are kept under statutory price control. All formulations containing these bulk drugs either in a single or combination form fall under price controlled category.

    • The prices of non-scheduled drugs (drugs not under direct price control) can also be regulated by the NPPA, if warranted in the public interest.

    24. As a major boost to ‘Make in India’ in Defence, the Defence Acquisition Council, has cleared a simplified ‘Make-II’ procedure which will enable greater participation of industry in acquisition of defence equipment. Consider the following statements regarding this:
    1. The potential ‘Make-II’ projects will be approved by a collegiate comprising of DRDO, HQ (IDS), Department of Defence under a committee chaired by Secretary (Defence Production).
    2. The simplified ‘Make-II’ procedure will amend the existing ‘Make Procedure’ in Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP)-2016.
    3. One of the features of Make-II project is that the projects involving developmental cost of less than three crores will be reserved for MSME.

    Which of the above statements is/are correct?
    a. 2 only
    b. 1 and 2
    c. 2 and 3
    d. 1, 2 and 3

    Answer. b

    Explanation:

    As a major boost to ‘Make in India’ in Defence, the Defence Acquisition Council in its meeting on 16 January 2018, has cleared a simplified ‘Make-II’ procedure which will enable greater participation of industry in acquisition of defence equipment. This process will greatly help import substitution and promote innovative solutions. This simplified ‘Make-II’ procedure will amend the existing ‘Make Procedure’ in Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP)-2016.

    25. Recently, world's biggest flooded cave found in which of the following countries?
    a. Mexico
    b. USA
    c. Japan
    d. Canada

    Answer: a

    Explanation:

    Recently, a group of divers has connected two underwater caverns in eastern Mexico to reveal what is believed to be the biggest flooded cave on the planet, a discovery that could help shed new light on the ancient Maya civilization.

    The Gran Acuifero Maya (GAM), a project dedicated to the study and preservation of the subterranean waters of the Yucatan peninsula, said the 347-km cave was identified after months of exploring a maze of underwater channels. Near the beach resort of Tulum, the group found that the cave system known as Sac Actun, once measured at 263 km, communicated with the 83-km Dos Ojos system, the GAM said in a statement. For that reason, Sac Actun now absorbs Dos Ojos.

    Most Important Government Schemes II for IAS Exam 2018

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