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IAS Preparation: Questions for Prelims 22 to 25 January 2018

Jan 25, 2018 18:30 IST
    IAS Preparation Questions for Prelims 22 to 25 January 2018
    IAS Preparation Questions for Prelims 22 to 25 January 2018

    UPSC IAS Prelims Exam 2018 to be held on January 3, 2018. Only four months have remained for the IAS preparation for IAS Prelims Exam. The IAS aspirants need to be more focussed at point in time and they have to cover and practice a lot of questions before IAS Prelims Exam 201.

    IAS Prelims Exam Guide

    Here, we have provided current affairs quizzes compiled from the quiz articles created during last week of January 2018. Go through it.

    1. Recently, the Long Range Surface-to-Surface Ballistic Missile, Agni-5 was successfully flight tested for its full range from which of the following place?
    a. Dr Abdul Kalam Island, Odisha
    b. Satish Dhawan Space Centre (Sriharikota), Andhra Pradesh
    c. Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram (Thumba), Kerala
    d. None of the above

    Answer: a

    Explanation:

    Long Range Surface-to-Surface Ballistic Missile, Agni-5, was successfully flight tested for its full range on 18 January 2018 from Dr Abdul Kalam Island, Odisha. This was the fifth test of the Missile and the third consecutive one from a canister on a road-mobile launcher. All the five missions have been successful. The flight performance of the missile was tracked and monitored by radars, range stations and tracking systems all through the mission. All objectives of the mission have been successfully met. This successful test of Agni-5 reaffirms the country’s indigenous missile capabilities and further strengthens our credible deterrence.

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    2. Recently, the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas launched Bid Round I under the innovative Open Acreage Licensing Programme. Consider the following statements regarding this:
    1. The Government launched the Bid Round I under Open Acreage Licensing (OAL) Programme for international competitive bidding on 18 January 2018.
    2. This is the largest offering of acreages; the Government has announced in the past 8 years.

    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:

    With the objective to achieve Prime Minister’s vision for Energy Security and Sufficiency, the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG) has steered a plethora of reforms in the recent past years. Aligned with the objective, the Government launched the Bid Round I under Open Acreage Licensing (OAL) Programme for international competitive bidding on 18 January 2018.

    For the first time in India, 55 bidder selected blocks, each carved out by prospective bidders themselves in promising basins with an area of 59,282 Sq. Kms were announced for bidding. This is the largest offering of acreages; the Government has announced in the past 8 years.

    3. Recently, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) launched Cyber Surakshit Bharat initiative in association with National e-Governance Division (NeGD) and industry partners at an inaugural event in Delhi on January 19, 2018. Consider the following statements regarding this:
    1. The initiative has been conceptualized to spread awareness about cybercrime and building capacity for safety measures for Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) and frontline IT staff across all government departments.
    2. Cyber Surakshit Bharat is the first public-private partnership of its kind and will leverage the expertise of the IT industry in cybersecurity.
    3. It will also include a series of workshops on the best practices and enablement of the officials with cybersecurity health tool kits to manage and mitigate cyber threats.

    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:

    The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) launched Cyber Surakshit Bharat initiative in association with National e-Governance Division (NeGD) and industry partners at an inaugural event in Delhi on January 19, 2018.

    It will be operated on the three principles of awareness, education and enablement. It will include an awareness program on the importance of cybersecurity. It will also include a series of workshops on the best practices and enablement of the officials with cybersecurity health tool kits to manage and mitigate cyber threats.

    4. Recently, India joined the Australia Group. Against the backdrop, consider the following statements:
    1. It seeks to curtail the development of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.
    2. India is the first country from Asia to join the group.

    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. d

    Explanation:

    India on 19 January 2018 joined the Australia Group. With this, India became the 43rd member of the group. Besides India, Japan and South Korea are the other members of the group from Asia.

    Previously, India joined other multilateral export control regimes such as the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) in June 2016 and the Wassaner Arrangement in December 2017.

    India’s entry into these groping expected to strengthen the country’s bid to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

    About Australia Group

    • The Australia Group (AG) is an informal arrangement which aims to allow exporting or transshipping countries to minimise the risk of assisting chemical and biological weapon (CBW) proliferation.

    • The Group meets annually to discuss ways of increasing the effectiveness of participating countries’ national export licensing measures to prevent would-be proliferators from obtaining materials for CBW programs.

    • Participants in the Australia Group do not undertake any legally binding obligations.

    • All states participating in the Australia Group are parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC).

    • The majority of the group members is from Europe. The other members are the USA, Canada, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand.

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    5. Recently, the Union Government released the latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS) findings on the fertility rate and the replacement level of fertility. Against this backdrop, consider the following statements.
    1. The total fertility rate is the average number of children that would be born to a woman over her reproductive span (15-49 years).
    2. Replacement level fertility is the level of fertility at which a population exactly replaces itself from one generation to the next.

    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:

    In January 2018, the Union Government released the religion-wise data collected as part of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) 2015-16.

    Important findings are –

    • Except in Hindus and Muslims, the total fertility rate has reached below the replacement level in all other major religious groups in the country.

    • The fertility rate among Hindu women declined to 2.1 from 2.8 in the last NFHS in 2004-05. Among the Muslims households, it reached 2.6 from 3.4 in the previous survey. India’s overall TFR was 2.2.

    • Among Jains, it was 1.2, which was followed by Sikhs (1.6), Buddhists or Neo Buddhists (1.7) and Christians (2).

    • Compared to the high-income level segment at 1.5, the fertility rate among low-income groups has reached 3.2.

    • The fertility rate among other groups is 2.5 in scheduled tribes, scheduled castes (2.3) and other backward classes (2.2).

    Total Fertility Rate

    Total Fertility Rate may be defined as the average number of children that would be born to a woman if she experiences the current fertility pattern throughout her reproductive span (15-49 years). The total fertility rate is a more direct measure of the level of fertility than the birth rate since it refers to births per woman. This indicator shows the potential for population change in a country.

    Replacement Level Fertility

    It is the level of fertility at which a population exactly replaces itself from one generation to the next. However, the migrant people are excluded from the calculation. A TFR of 2.12 i.e., two children per women is considered the replacement rate for a population, resulting in relative stability in terms of total population numbers.

    6. The annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) begins on 23 January 2018. Against this backdrop, consider the following statements.
    1) It was established by the United Nations General Assembly.
    2) The WEF’s annual meetings are held in Davos, Switzerland.
    3) The annual Global Gender Gap report is released by the WEF.

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

    Answer. c

    Explanation:

    The annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) begins on 23 January 2018 in Davos, Switzerland. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will deliver the opening keynote address. With this, Modi has become the first Indian Prime Minister in over two-decades to attend the annual WEF meeting. The last meeting attended by an Indian Prime Minister was by H.D. Deve Gowda in 1997.

    Besides Modi, the meeting will attended by more than 2000 CEOs from top global companies, 70 heads of States and 45 heads of international organizations.

    About World Economic Forum

    • The World Economic Forum is committed to improving the state of the world. Primarily, it is an international organization for public-private cooperation.

    • The WEF engages the foremost political, business and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.

    • It was established in 1971 as a not-for-profit foundation and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. Its annual meetings are held in Davos, Switzerland.

    • In 2015, the Government of Switzerland officially recognized the WEF as an international entity.

    • Klaus Martin Schwab is the founder and the executive chairman of the WEF. Schwab is a German engineer and economist.

    • The important reports released by the WEF are Global Gender Gap Report, Inclusive Growth and Development Report, Global Risks Report, Global Competitiveness Index and Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report among others.

    7. Recently, the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) has made its first investment. Against this backdrop, consider the following statements.

    a) The fund is jointly owned by the Union Government and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
    b) It was created by an Act of the Parliament.

    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. d

    Explanation:

    On 22 January 2018, the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) was in the news as it made its first investment. The NIIF has partnered with the DP World to create an investment platform for ports, terminals, transportation and logistics businesses in India. The DP World is one of the leading enablers of global trade and an integral part of the supply chain. Its headquarters is located in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

    About NIIF

    • In June 2015, the Union Cabinet gave its approval for the creation of the fund with a corpus of Rs 40,000 crore.

    • NIIF was incorporated as a company under the Companies Act, 2013. The NIIF is being operationalized by establishing three Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs) under the SEBI Regulations.

    • The company is jointly-owned by the Union Government and investors from India and abroad. The Union Government’s contribution to the AIFs under the NIIF scheme shall be 49% of the total commitment.

    • While the government’s partnership in the NIIF ensures close engagement with policy-makers and central and state government agencies, its commercial investors ensure a professional approach to all investments.

    • Primarily, the NIIF is a fund manager that seeks to create long-term value for domestic and international investors seeking investment in energy, transportation, housing, water, waste management and other infrastructure-related sectors in India.

    • Over time, NIIF seeks to become one of the main channels of investment into the Indian infrastructure sector.

    • It aims to develop lasting partnerships with multiple stakeholders in the country to provide smart investment and financing solutions to its investors and investees.

    • An India-UK Green Growth Equity Fund (GGEF) was set-up under the fund of funds vertical of NIIF. The GEEF will have anchor commitments of over Rs 1,000 crore each from the Government of India (through NIIF) and the Government of UK.

    • Besides, the NIIF signed agreements with investors from Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Russia to operationalize the fund.

    8. Recently, it is with this State Government, the World Bank has signed an a USD 120 million loan agreement to improve water supply services in the State.

    a) Uttarakhand
    b) Telangana
    c) Assam
    d) Punjab

    Answer. a

    Explanation:

    On 22 January 2018, a tripartite agreement was signed among the World Bank, the Union Government and the Uttarakhand State Government. As part of the agreement, USD 120 mission loan will be provided to Uttarakhand to increase access to improved water supply services in peri-urban areas. Primarily, peri-Urban areas are those that fall in the rural—urban transition zones. The funds will be utilized for the implementation of the Uttarakhand Water Supply Program for Peri-Urban Areas.

    The program will focus on increasing coverage, quality and reliability of water supply services in all peri-urban areas of Uttarakhand. Services would be provided through a piped network and metered service connections with a focus on improving the operation and management (O&M) of it.

    9. Recently, the head anointment of Gomateshwara statue has been installed atop of the which of the following hills in India?

    a. Anantagiri Hills
    b. Ezhimal Hills
    c. Vindhyagiri Hills
    d. Agasthyamalai Hills

    Answer: c

    Explanation:

    Shravanabelagola, the Jain pilgrimage centre, is set to welcome thousands of visitors for Mahamastakabhisheka, the head anointment of Gomateshwara statue, scheduled for February 17 to 26. The works on shelter for visitors and improvement of basic infrastructure and road connectivity are about to be completed. For the first time, the State government has spent a whopping ₹75 crore towards temporary accommodation of visitors.

    The gigantic statue of Bahubali measures 58.8 feet high and stands on the peak of Vindhyagiri Hill at Shravanabelagola, a Jain pilgrim centre in Hassan district. A statue located at such a height. can easily attract lightning.

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    10. Which of the premier institutes of India has developed a novel platform to test drug sensitivity in bacteria?

    a. AIIMS Delhi
    b. IIT Delhi
    c. IISc Banglore
    d. IISER Kolkata

    Answer: b

    Explanation:

    A two-member team from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi has used a novel method to culture bacteria and determine its growth at much lower concentration in relatively less time — four–six hours. E. coli and S. aureus bacteria were studied. Currently available clinical methods require more than 10 hours to culture and observe the growth of pathogenic bacteria and a higher bacterial concentration for laboratory confirmation.

    While the new method will not be useful in identifying the species of bacteria isolated from a patient sample, it will help in early detection of the presence of bacteria and carrying out drug susceptibility testing within a short time period.

    11. Recently, the Government has released Central Assistance (CA) of Rs. 246.9 crore for 9 prioritized projects under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) for Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme (AIBP) works. Consider the following statements regarding the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY):
    1. The PMKSY has been devised with the vision of extending the coverage of irrigation ‘Har Khet ko pani’ and improving water use efficiency ‘More crop per drop' in a focused manner with an end to end solution on source creation, distribution, management, field application and extension activities.
    2. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has accorded approval of Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) in its meeting held on 1st July 2015.
    3. PMKSY has been formulated amalgamating ongoing schemes viz. Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP), Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP) and the On-Farm Water Management (OFWM).

    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:

    The Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation during last week released Central Assistance (CA) of Rs. 246.9 crore for 9 prioritized projects under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) for Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme (AIBP) works and Rs. 487.80 crore for Command Area Development (CAD) works of 17 projects.

    PMKSY has been formulated amalgamating ongoing schemes viz. Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP) of the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation (MoWR, RD&GR), Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP) of Department of Land Resources (DoLR) and the On Farm Water Management (OFWM) of Department of Agriculture and Cooperation (DAC). PMKSY has been approved for implementation across the country with an outlay of Rs. 50,000 crore in five years. For 2015-16, an outlay of Rs.5300 crore has been made which includes Rs. 1800 crore for DAC; Rs. 1500 crore for DoLR; Rs. 2000 crore for MoWR(Rs. 1000 crore for AIBP; Rs. 1000 crores for PMKSY).

    12. Researchers from RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science (CSRS) in Japan have identified a type of moss that can efficiently absorb a large amount of lead, providing a green alternative for decontaminating polluted water and soil. Consider the following statements regarding this:
    1. Lead-contaminated water is a serious environmental concern that can be removed by a moss (Funaria hygrometrica) and the process is called as phytoremediation.
    2. Earlier, for compounding the problem, the typical way to remove lead or other heavy metals from water requires fossil fuels and a tremendous amount of energy.

    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:

    Scientists have identified a type of moss that can efficiently absorb a large amount of lead, providing a green alternative for decontaminating polluted water and soil. Lead-contaminated water is a serious environmental concern that has recently proved to be disastrous when left untreated.

    Compounding the problem, the typical way to remove lead or other heavy metals from water requires fossil fuels and a tremendous amount of energy. As an alternative to these typical processes, phytoremediation is a method that uses photosynthesising organisms to clean up soil or water contamination.

    Researchers from RIKEN Centre for Sustainable Resource Science (CSRS) in Japan began their search for a phytoremediation-based removal method by looking at a moss (Funaria hygrometrica) that is known to grow well in sites contaminated with metals like copper, zinc, and lead.

    13. Recently, the Supreme Court has directed the Centre to set up a tribunal within a month to resolve the long-standing dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh over the sharing of Mahanadi water. The Mahanadi River flows through which of the following states?
    a. Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha
    b. Chhattisgarh and Odisha
    c. Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Odisha
    d. Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand

    Answer: a

    Explanation:

    The Supreme Court on 23 January 2018 directed the Centre to constitute a tribunal within a month to resolve the long-standing dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh over the sharing of Mahanadi water.

    A Bench of Justices S.A. Bobde and L. Nageswara Rao asked the Centre to constitute the tribunal and said that all pending issues can be raised before it. The court, however, refused to grant any stay as sought by Odisha government on the seven pick up weirs across the Mahanadi river, which flows through Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha, before pouring into the Bay of Bengal.

    Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, who appeared for Odisha government, said there cannot be any negotiation on the issue and the only way the dispute can be resolved is through the constitution of a tribunal.

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    14. Recently, the Inclusive Development Index 2018 was released. Against this backdrop, consider the following statements.
    1. The index was released by the World Economic Forum.
    2. The index placed India at the 62nd position.

    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 23 January 2018 released the Inclusive Development Index 2018. The index surveyed 103 advanced and emerging economies across the globe.  Out of the 29 advanced economies Norway topped the list, while among the 74 emerging economies surveyed, Lithuania was declared as the most top performer.

    The index classified India as an emerging economy and placed her at the 62nd position. Compared to her neighbours like Nepal (22nd rank), China (26th rank), Bangladesh (34th rank), Pakistan (47th rank) and Sri Lanka (40th rank), India lagged behind in the index. Among the BRICS nations, Russia was placed in the 19th position, while Brazil and South Africa were given 37th and 69th ranks respectively. The Inclusive Development Index 2017 placed India at the 60th position among the 79 developing economies surveyed.

    The index was calculated on the basis of three parameters. They are growth and development, inclusion and inter-generational equity. India’s ranks 66th for growth and development, 72nd for inclusion, and 44th for inter-generational equity.

    The Inclusive Development Index has also classified the countries into five sub-categories in terms of the five-year trend of their overall Inclusive Development Growth score. The five-categories are receding, slowly receding, stable, slowly advancing and advancing. India, despite its low overall score, is among the ten emerging economies with ‘advancing’ trend. It is a reflection of the positive impact of the initiatives undertaken by the Indian Government for inclusive development in recent years.

    15. Consider the following statements related to the Protocol for Star Rating of Garbage-Free Cities that was launched recently.
    1. The initiative will rate cities on a 7-star rating system based on multiple cleanliness indicators for solid waste management
    2. A city should be ‘Open Defecation Free’ before it could be given a rating of 3 star or above.

    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 Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri, and Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on 20 January 2018 jointly launched the ‘Protocol for Star Rating of Garbage-Free Cities’ in Goa.

    About the star-rating initiative

    • It was developed as part of the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) – Urban. SBM-Urban’s objective of achieving a ‘clean India’ is encapsulated in the vision statement of the star-rating protocol. It states that all cities achieve “Garbage Free” status wherein at any point of time in the day, no garbage or litter is found in any public, commercial or residential locations.

    • It is also called as the SMART rating. It stands for Single metric, Measurable, Achievable, Rigorous verification, Targeted towards outcomes.

    • It will rate cities on a 7-star rating system based on multiple cleanliness indicators for solid waste management.

    • The indicators are door to door collection, bulk generator compliance, source segregation, sweeping, scientific processing of waste, scientific land filling, plastic waste management, construction and demolition management, dump remediation and citizen grievance redressal system.

    • Cities can be rated as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7 star based on their compliance with the protocol conditions specified for each of the rating.

    • Further, a city should be ODF (Open Defecation Free) before it could be given a rating of 3 star or above.

    • While cities may self-declare themselves as 1-star, 2-star or 4-star, the Union Development Ministry will carry out an additional verification through an independent third party to certify cities as 3-star, 5-star or 7-star.

    • Cities will need to get re-certified themselves every year to retain their star-status.

    • The most significant feature of the rating protocol is that it provides stakeholders with a single metric to rate a city’s cleanliness, rather than separately evaluating multiple factors which contribute to a city’s overall cleanliness and garbage free status.

    16. Consider the following statements related to the UDAN Scheme that was in the news recently.
    1) The scheme was launched by the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation to provide regional air connectivity.
    2) It covers all the States and Union Territories except Jammu & Kashmir and Aurnachal Pradesh.

    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 UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik) Scheme was in the news in January 2018 as contracts were awarded to 73 underserved and unserved airports and helipads under the phase 2 of the scheme. For the first time, bids were received from helicopter operators under the UDAN Sheme. Under the phase 1 of the scheme, which concluded in March 2017, a total of 128 routes were awarded to five airline operators.

    States that got maximum number of airports under the phase 2 of the UDAN Scheme are - Uttarakhand (15 airports), Uttar Pradesh (9 airports), Arunachal Pradesh (8 airports), Himachal Pradesh (6 airports), Assam (5 airports) and Manipur (5 airports).

    Some of the cities that would now be connected include Kargil, Darbhanga, Kasauli, Bokaro, Dumka, Hubli, Kannur and Pakyong, among others.

    About UDAN Scheme

    • It is a regional connectivity scheme. It was launched in October 2016 as part of the National Civil Aviation Policy 2016. It covers all the States and the Union Territories in India.

    • Its primary objective is to make flying affordable to the common man, even in small towns.

    • It is a unique market-based mechanism to develop regional air connectivity, under which airlines bid for seat subsidies. Under the scheme, an airline operator can bid  for up to 40 subsidised seats.

    • UDAN aims to increase the ticketing volume from 80 million to 300 million by 2022.

    • Under the scheme, airlines will have complete freedom to enter into code sharing with larger airlines for connectivity. The participating airlines will be exempted from various airport charges.

    • Airlines will get exclusive rights for three years to fly on a particular regional route.

    • Airfares will be capped at 2500 rupees for an hour's flight for regional flights.

    • Route networks would also be encouraged under the scheme to achieve economies of scale and optimal usage of an aircraft. Routing is the process of selecting a path for traffic in a network, or between or across multiple networks.

    IAS Questions for IAS Prelims 2018: September 2017

    17. Recently, the Union Government gave its approval for the Rs 6808.69 crore Zojila Pass Tunnel Project. Against this backdrop, identify the State in which the Zojila pass is located?

    a) Jammu and Kashmir
    b) Uttarakhand
    c) Sikkim
    d) Arunachal Pradesh

    Answer. a

    Explanation:

    In January 2018, the Union Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) gave its approval for the construction, operation and maintenance of 14.150 km long 2-lane bi-directional Zojila Pass Tunnel Project. The construction of this tunnel will provide all weather connectivity between Srinagar, Kargil and Leh and will bring about all round economic and socio-cultural integration of these regions. The project has strategic and socio-economic importance and shall be an instrument for the development of the economically backward districts in Jammu and Kashmir. The civil construction cost of the project is Rs 4899.42 crore, while the total capital cost of the project is Rs 6808.69 crore.

    About Zojila Pass

    • Zojila is a high mountain pass in Jammu and Kashmir. It is located on the Indian National Highway 1D between Srinagar and Leh in the western section of the Himalayan mountain range.

    • The pass provides a vital link between Ladakh and Kashmir Valley. It runs at an elevation of approximately 3,528 metres and is the second highest pass after Fotu La on the Srinagar-Leh National Highway.

    • Other important passes in Jammu and Kashmir are Mintaka, Parpik, Khunjerb, Aghil, Banihal, Pir-Panjal and Zojila.

    18. What is India’s rank in the recently released Yale’s Environmental Performance Index (EPI) 2018?

    a) 177
    b) 178
    c) 179
    d) 180

    Answer. a

    Explanation:

    On January 24, 2018, the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) 2018 was released. It was released by the Yale University, along with the Columbia University and the World Economic Forum (WEF), during the ongoing WEF annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

    Out of the 180 countries surveyed, India was adjudged as the fourth-worst performing country in terms of environmental protection. On the other hand, Switzerland leads the EPI 2018, followed by France, Denmark, Malta and Sweden in the same order. In the EPI 2016, India was placed at the 141st position. The EPI is released biannually.

    The Environmental Performance Index 2018 ranked countries on 24 performance indicators across 10 categories covering environmental health and ecosystem vitality. The report concluded that despite government action, pollution from solid fuels, coal and crop residue burning and emissions from motor vehicles continue to severely degrade the air quality for millions of Indians.

    19. Recently, the Union Government has launched the Phase -1 i.e. the beneficiary module of the Rapid Reporting System for the Scheme for Adolescent Girls. Consider the following statements regarding this:
    1. The scheme aims at providing them nutritional support @ Rs.9.50/beneficiary/day for 300 days in a year, motivating out of school girls to go back to formal schooling or skill training under the non-nutrition component of the scheme.
    2. The government has also approved expansion and universalisation of the Scheme for Adolescent Girls in a phased manner i.e. in additional 303 districts in 2017-18 and the remaining districts in 2018-19 with the simultaneous phasing out of Kishori Shakti Yojana.

    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 Union Ministry of Women and Child Development has launched the Phase -1 i.e. the beneficiary module of the Rapid Reporting System for the Scheme for Adolescent Girls - a web-based online monitoring for the Scheme for Adolescent Girls in New Delhi recently. The RRS will facilitate the monitoring of the scheme and take corrective measures by ensuring the faster flow of information, accurate targeting of the beneficiaries and reduction of leakages.

    The government on 16 November 2017, realizing the multi-dimensional needs of out of school adolescent girls (11-14 years) owing to the onset of second growth spurt during this period and with a aim to motivate these girls to join school system, approved continuation of the Scheme for Adolescent Girls (SAG) for out of school girls in the age group of 11-14 years. The scheme aims at providing them nutritional support @ Rs.9.50/beneficiary/day for 300 days in a year, motivating out of school girls to go back to formal schooling or skill training under the non-nutrition component of the scheme. The government has also approved expansion and universalisation of the Scheme for Adolescent Girls in a phased manner i.e. in additional 303 districts in 2017-18 and the remaining districts in 2018-19 with the simultaneous phasing out of Kishori Shakti Yojana.

    20. Recently, the first flight trial of the new version of the indigenous civilian aeroplane Saras conducted successfully. Consider the following statements regarding this:
    1. Nearly a decade after a tragic crash of the 14-seater Saras, which effectively stalled the indigenous civilian aircraft programme, now the first flight trial of the new version of the aeroplane, PT1N (Prototype 1 New) has been successful.
    2. The aircraft programme, named after the Indian crane Saras, was first conceptualised in the 1990s as a way to establish a short-haul civil aviation market.
    3. This was a flagship programme by National Aeronautical Laboratory.

    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:

    First flight trial of the new version of the indigenous civilian aeroplane proves successful. During the trial, Saras has touched a height of 8,500 feet with a speed of 140 knots. As per the official report, it has been expected that in the coming weeks, subsequent design and altitude alterations can see the flight reach closer to its top speed of 184 knots and 30,000 feet in height. The aircraft programme, named after the Indian crane Saras, was first conceptualised in the 1990s as a way to establish a short-haul civil aviation market.

    IAS Exam 2018: All you need to know

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