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IAS Preparation: Questions for Prelims 8 to 12 January 2018

Jan 13, 2018 10:14 IST
    IAS Preparation Questions for Prelims 8 to 12 January 2018
    IAS Preparation Questions for Prelims 8 to 12 January 2018

    IAS Exam due to its vast syllabus and uneven pattern, it is considered as the difficult nut to crack for the IAS aspirants. It has a varied range of subjects in its syllabus, but the most important section of IAS Exam is the current affairs. In every stage of IAS Exam, current affair dominates in the question papers. So, it is very important for the IAS aspirants to do an extensive study and practice of current affairs questions.

    IAS Prelims Exam Guide

    Here, we have provided current affairs quizzes for IAS Exam and the given questions will play a crucial role for an IAS aspirant preparing for IAS Prelims Exam 2018.

    1.    Consider the following statements related to the National Trust that was in the news recently.
    1)    It is an autonomous body under the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
    2)    It was set up through a resolution of the Union Cabinet in 1999.

    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. a

    Explanation:

    On 10 January 2018, the Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the proposal to amend Section 4(1) and Section 5(1) of the National Trust for the Welfare of Person with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities Act, 1999. The proposed amendments seek to fix the term of the Chairperson and Members of the Board of National Trust for three years.

    Section 4(1) of the National Trust   Act, 1999 provides that the Chairperson or a Member of the Board of National Trust would continue in office beyond the prescribed term of three years  until his successor   shall   have been duly appointed. In case of resignation of the Chairperson, section 5(1) of the Act provides for him to continue in office until his successor is duly appointed by the Government.

    The wording of the above provisions of the Act in its present form has resulted in the continuation of a Chairman for an indefinite period as no suitable successor could be found eligible for appointment. The proposed amendments in these provisions of the Act seek to avoid such a situation and will thus eliminate any chance of prolonged continuation in the same post by any incumbent.

    About National Trust

    •    It is a statutory body of the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. It was set up under the National Trust for the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities Act, 1999.

    •    The National Trust works towards providing opportunities for capacity development of persons with disability and their families.

    •    The fundamental purpose of the National Trust is to provide opportunities for persons with disabilities through comprehensive support systems, which will lead towards the development of an inclusive society.

    IAS Preparation Questions for IAS Prelims 2018: August 2017

    2.    Consider the following statements related to recent amendments to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Policy.
    1)    100% FDI under automatic route for single brand retail trading was permitted.
    2)    100% FDI under automatic route in construction development was permitted.
    3)    Foreign airlines allowed to invest up to 49% under automatic rout in Air India.

    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:

    The Union Cabinet on 10 January 2018 gave its approval to a number of amendments to the FDI Policy.  The following are key amendments to the existing FDI policy.

    •    100% FDI permitted under automatic route for single brand retail trading.

    •    100% FDI permitted under automatic route in construction development.

    •    Foreign airlines allowed to invest up to 49% under the approval route in Air India.

    •    FIIs/FPIs allowed to invest in power exchanges through the primary market.

    Details related to these decisions

    FDI in single-brand retail trade

    •    The Union Cabinet has decided to allow 100% FDI under automatic route for single-brand retail trade (SBRT). Earlier, only 49% FDI was allowed under the automatic route and FDI beyond 49% and up to 100% through Government approval route.

    •    The cabinet also eased ‘sourcing norms’ in SBRT by permitting companies to set-off their incremental sourcing of goods from India for global operations in the initial five years of establishment against the mandatory sourcing requirement of 30% of purchases for India operations.

    •     Incremental sourcing will mean the increase in terms of the value of such global sourcing from India for that single brand (in INR terms) in a particular financial year over the preceding financial year.

    •    After completion of this 5 year period, the SBRT entity shall be required to meet the 30% sourcing norms directly towards its India’s operation, on an annual basis.
    FDI in civil aviation

    As per the existing policy, foreign airlines are allowed to invest under Government approval route in the capital of Indian companies operating scheduled and non-scheduled air transport services, up to the limit of 49% of their paid-up capital. However, this provision was presently not applicable to Air India, thereby implying that foreign airlines could not invest in Air India.

    It has now been decided to do away with this restriction and allow foreign airlines to invest up to 49% under the approval route in Air India.
    FDI in construction development

    It has been decided by the Union Cabinet to clarify that real-estate broking service does not amount to real estate business and is, therefore, eligible for 100% FDI under the automatic route.

    FDI in power exchanges

    •    The extant policy provides for 49% FDI under automatic route in power exchanges registered under the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (Power Market) Regulations, 2010. However, Foreign Portfolio InvestmentFII/FPI purchases were restricted to secondary market only.

    •    It has now been decided to do away with this provision, thereby allowing foreign institutional investors (FIIs)/foreign promotional investors (FPIs) to invest in power exchanges through the primary market as well.

    It should be noted that total FDI inflows received in 2014-15 were USD 45.15 billion as against USD 36.05 billion in 2013-14. During 2015-16, India received total FDI of USD 55.46 billion. In the FY 2016-17, total FDI of USD 60.08 billion has been received, which is an all-time high. The above decisions were taken by the government to further improve ease of doing business conditions in the country.  The liberalized policy is expected to result in  larger FDI inflows contributing to the growth of investment, employment and income.

    3.    Recently, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare issued a set of guidelines for educational institutions to contain the spread of H1N1 virus. With reference to which one of the following diseases the virus is associated?
    a)    AIDS
    b)    Bird flu
    c)    Dengue
    d)    Swine flu

    Answer. d

    Explanation:

    Swine flu, also known as swine influenza or Pandemic Influenza is a respiratory disease. It is caused by virus called H1N1 virus. This virus infects the wind pipe (respiratory tract) of pigs and later it gets transmitted to human beings. It results in nasal secretions, cough, decreased appetite, and restless behavior.
    Swine flu was a relatively new strain of influenza virus (flu) that was responsible for a flu pandemic during 2009-2010. Swine flu viruses may mutate (change) so that they are easily transmissible among humans.

    On 10 August 2010, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the swine flu pandemic was officially over. However, this does not mean that swine flu has been completely eliminated. The H1N1 virus that caused the pandemic is now a regular flu virus and continues to circulate seasonally worldwide.

    4.    Today, the PSLV successfully launched 31 satellites in a single flight. Against this backdrop, consider the following statements.
    1)    The PSLV-C40 rocket placed the Cartosat-2 Series Satellite into the geosynchronous orbit.
    2)    The entire lift-off process along with the process of placing the satellites in two orbits will be the longest flight time for a PSLV.

    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 Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on 12 January 2018 launched 31 satellites along with Cartosat-2 satellite on-board a 44.4-metre tall Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). The PSLV-C40 was launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.

    The 320-tonne rocket placed the 31 satellites one-by-one and deploy them into the earth's lower orbit. The entire lift-off process along with the process of placing the satellites in two orbits will take the satellite 2 hours and 21 minutes. It will be the longest flight time for a PSLV.

    Details related to the launch

    The launch included the Cartosat-2 Series Satellite. It is an earth observation satellite and was placed in the sun synchronous orbit (SSO). An SSO is a nearly polar orbit around Earth, in which the satellite passes over any given point of the planet's surface at the same local mean solar time. The Cartosat-2 weighs 710 kg and is the heaviest satellite that the PSLV has carried till now. It will beam high-quality images for cartographic, urban and rural applications, coastal land use and utility management.
    Among 31 satellites, three satellites belong to India and 28 are of six other countries. The Indian satellites are 710 kg Cartosat-2 series, a 100 kg micro satellite and a 5 kg nano satellite.

    The 28 other satellites are from Canada, Finland, France, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States.

    Types of orbits

    Primarily, there are three different orbits around the earth. They are –
    1)    Polar orbits
    2)    Sun synchronous orbits
    3)    Geo synchronous orbits

    Polar orbits

    As the name suggests, polar orbits pass over the Earth’s polar regions from north to south. These orbits have an inclination of 90 degrees to the poles. This allows the satellite to see virtually every part of the Earth as the Earth rotates underneath it. Satellites placed in polar orbits are often used for earth-mapping and earth observation. These orbits mainly take place at low altitudes of between 200 to 1000 km.

    Sun synchronous orbits

    These are polar orbits which are synchronous with the Sun. A Sun-synchronous orbit is a nearly polar orbit around Earth, in which the satellite passes over any given point of the planet's surface at the same local mean solar time. Such an orbit can place a satellite in constant sunlight and is useful for imaging, spy, and weather satellites. The satellites in these orbits are placed at an altitude between 700 to 800 km.

    Geo synchronous orbits

    A geo-synchronous orbit, often referred to as geostationary orbit, circles the Earth above the equator from west to east at a height of 36, 000 km. As it follows the Earth’s rotation, satellites in a GEO orbit appear to be ‘stationary’ over a fixed position. Their speed is about 3 km per second.

    IAS Preparation Questions for IAS Prelims 2018: August 2017

    5.    Recently, the Election Commission, constituted the Umesh Sinha Committee to suggest changes to the Representation of the People (RP) Act, 1951. Against this backdrop, consider the following statemetns.
    1)    The committee will suggest changes to the Section 126 of the RP Act, 1951.
    2)    Section 126 of the RP Act, 1951 prohibits displaying any election matter by television or similar apparatus, during the period of 48 hours before the elections.

    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 Election Commission of India on 11 January 2018 constituted a 14 member committee to suggest changes to Section 126 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 (RP Act) in view of social media expansion.

    The Committee chaired by Senior Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha will study the impact of social media during the silence period and suggest modifications to the election law and model code of conduct (MCC).

    The committee will also examine the difficulties faced in regulating media platforms during the prohibitory 48 hours in a multi-phase election. The committee will submit its report within three months.

    The Section 126 of the RP Act, 1951 is as given below.

    126. Prohibition of public meetings during period of forty—eight hours ending with hour fixed for conclusion of poll.
    (1) No person shall —
    (a) convene, hold or attend, join or address any public meeting or procession in connection with an election; or
    (b) display to the public any election matter by means of cinematograph, television or other similar apparatus; or
    (c) propagate any election matter to the public by holding, or by arranging the holding of, any musical concert or any theatrical performance or any other entertainment or amusement with a view to attracting the members of the public thereto, in any polling area during the period of forty-eight hours ending with the fixed for the conclusion of the poll for any election in the polling area.

    (2) Any person who contravenes the provisions of sub-section (1) shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.

    (3) In this section, the expression "election matter" means any matter intended or calculated to influence or affect the result of an election

    Background

    The Election Commission constituted the committee three weeks after it withdrew the show cause notice issued to Rahul Gandhi for alleged violation of the MCC and the RP Act, 1951. The show cause notice was issued to the Congress leader as it was alleged that he gave interviews to TV channels on 13 December 2017, a day before the second phase of the Gujarat polls.

    The issue of notice to Rahul had evoked a strong reaction from the Congress party, which questioned the move on the ground that it did not initiate action against news channels for airing BJP president Amit Shah’s interview and Union Minister Piyush Goyal’s press conference, which took place on the same day of Rahul Gandhi’s interview.
    Against this backdrop, the Election Commission withdrew the notice and decided to set up the committee to look into the issue in a holistic manner.

    6. Recently, Government is going to implement the National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA) in the States/Union Territories (UTs). Consider the following statements regarding this:
    1. As per the provisions of the Act, foodgrains are being allocated for 80.72 crore persons identified by State Governments/ UT Administrations for coverage under the Act.
    2. There is no provision for any Commission at the national level or District level under the NFSA.
    3. Coverage under the Act is under two categories- households covered under the Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) and remaining households as priority households.

    Which of the above statement is true?
    a. 1 and 2
    b. 2 and 3
    c. 1 and 3
    d. 1, 2 and 3

    Answer: d

    Explanation:

    The National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA), provides for coverage of 75% of the rural and 50% of the urban population for receiving foodgrains at highly subsidized prices of Rs.1/2/3 per kg for coarse grains/wheat/rice respectively. Coverage under the Act is under two categories- households covered under the Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) and remaining households as priority households. AAY is, therefore, a part of NFSA.

    The Act is being implemented in all the States/Union Territories (UTs) and foodgrains as per provisions of the Act, are being allocated for 80.72 crore persons identified by State Governments/ UT Administrations for coverage under the Act. This includes 2.36 crore families belonging to AAY category.

    7. Considered the following statements regarding the Paris Agreement on Climate Change:
    1. It has been ratified by 172 Parties and only USA has submitted a written communication to UN Secretary-General stating its intent to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.
    2. The Paris Agreement was adopted under United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2015.
    3. The foreign aid India is expected to receive under the Paris Agreement is subject to the quantum of available international climate finance in the post-2020 period, which is a matter of negotiations currently.

    Which of the above statement is true?
    a. 1 and 2
    b. 2 and 3
    c. 1 and 3
    d. 1, 2 and 3

    Answer: d

    Explanation:

    “United States of America (USA) is the second largest Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emitter presently. However, if cumulative historical emission is considered, USA would be a largest GHG emitter. So, its withdrawal will affect control of cumulative global GHG emissions. It will also affect the availability of international funds for climate change, as the USA was a contributor to climate finance.

    There is no proposal to rework the modalities of Paris Agreement. The Paris Agreement was adopted under United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2015. It has been ratified by 172 Parties and only USA has submitted a written communication to UN Secretary-General stating its intent to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. All other countries have indicated their continued support for it through the decision, ‘Fiji Momentum for Implementation’ adopted during 23rd Conference of Parties (COP-23) held in November 2017, which underscored the importance of keeping the momentum and continuing to uphold the spirit and vision of the Paris Agreement.

    8. Recently, Government has formulated National Clean Air Programme. Consider the following statements regarding this programme:
    1. The programme has formulated as a medium-term national-level strategy to tackle the increasing air pollution problem across the country in a comprehensive manner.
    2. The overall objective is to augment and evolve effective ambient air quality monitoring network across the country.

    Which of the above statement is true?
    a. Only 1
    b. Only 2
    c. Both 1 and 2
    d. Neither 1 nor 2

    Answer: c

    Explanation:

    “The government has formulated National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) as a medium-term national-level strategy to tackle the increasing air pollution problem across the country in a comprehensive manner. The overall objective is to augment and evolve effective ambient air quality monitoring network across the country besides ensuring comprehensive management plan for prevention, control and abatement of air pollution. The NCAP focuses on collaborative and participatory approach covering all sources of pollution and coordination between relevant Central Ministries, State Governments, local bodies and other stakeholders.

    In order to ensure use of new technologies to combat the rising challenge of air pollution in India, a separate component on ‘Technology Assessment Cell’ has been envisaged under NCAP to evaluate the technologies for  prevention, control and abatement of air pollution.”

    9. As per the 5th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), it has been observed that there is a net loss of ice from the cryosphere. Consider the following statements regarding the initiatives of Government to achieve its goals and to deal with the issues related to climate change:

    1. The Government has launched the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) in June 2008 to achieve its goals and to deal with the issues related to climate change.
    2. The National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem (NMSHE) under NAPCC encompasses conservation measures for sustaining and safeguarding the Himalayan ecosystems.
    3. NAPCC comprises eight missions in specific areas of solar energy, enhanced energy efficiency, sustainable habitat, water, sustaining Himalayan ecosystems, Green India, sustainable agriculture and strategic knowledge for climate change.

    Which of the above statement is true?
    a. 1 and 2
    b. 2 and 3
    c. 1 and 3
    d. 1, 2 and 3

    Answer: d

    Explanation:

    “According to the 5th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the cryosphere, comprising snow, river and lake ice, sea ice, glaciers, ice shelves and ice sheets, and frozen ground, plays a major role in the Earth’s climate system through its impact on the surface energy budget, the water cycle, primary productivity, surface gas exchange and sea level and is a fundamental control on the physical, biological and social environment over a large part of the Earth’s surface. The cryosphere is a natural integrator of climate variability and provides one of the most visible signatures of climate change. Observations show that there has been a continued net loss of ice from the cryosphere, although there are significant differences in the rate of loss between cryospheric components and regions.

    The Government has launched the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) in June 2008 to achieve its goals and to deal with the issues related to climate change. NAPCC comprises eight missions in specific areas of solar energy, enhanced energy efficiency, sustainable habitat, water, sustaining Himalayan ecosystems, Green India, sustainable agriculture and strategic knowledge for climate change.

    10. The National Green Tribunal has directed all the states not to establish a Development Zone along the side of which of the following rivers?
    a. Yamuna
    b. Ganga
    c. Brahmaputra
    d. Kosi

    Answer: b

    Explanation:

    A Model Draft Bill for Flood Plain Zoning Legislation was circulated by the Union Government in 1975 to all States to help States enact legislation. The model bill provided for prohibition and restriction of the activities in the notified area of the flood plain.

    The River Ganga (Rejuvenation, Protection and Management) Authorities Order, 2016 provides that the bank of River Ganga and its flood plain shall be construction-free zone. It also prohibits construction of any structure for residential or commercial or industrial or any other purposes in the River Ganga, Bank of River Ganga or its tributaries or active flood area of River Ganga or its tributaries. The National Green Tribunal vide its judgment dated on 13 July 2017 has directed to identify and demarcate the flood plains of river Ganga from Haridwar to Unnao and has ordered that till the said identification and demarcation of flood plain is completed, 100 metres from the edge of the river would be designated as no development/construction zone.

    IAS Preparation Questions for IAS Prelims 2018: July 2017

    11. Recently, SpaceX has launched secretive Zuma mission. Consider the following statements regarding this:
    1. SpaceX on Sunday blasted off a secretive U.S. government payload known as Zuma, a mission whose nature — and the agency behind it — remains a mystery.
    2. SpaceX has launched national security payloads in the past, including a spy satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office, and an X-37B space plane for the U.S. Air Force.
    3. The goal of SpaceX is perfect the technique so that rockets can one day become just as reusable as aeroplanes, thereby lowering the cost of space travel.

    Which of the above statement is true?
    a. 1 and 2
    b. 2 and 3
    c. 1 and 3
    d. 1, 2 and 3

    Answer: d

    Explanation:

    Recently, SpaceX has blasted off a secretive U.S. government payload known as Zuma on 7 January 2018, a mission whose nature — and the agency behind it — remains a mystery.

    "Three, two, one, ignition and liftoff," said a SpaceX commentator as the Falcon 9 rocket launched under cover of darkness from Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 8:00 p.m. (0100 GMT Monday). The launch was initially supposed to take place in November but was postponed so the California-based company could take a closer look at potential problems with the fairing, or the nose cone part of the rocket that protects the payload.

    12. Recently, the researchers of from the University of Calicut in Kerala have reported the discovery of four new species of balsam from various locations in which of the following states?
    a. Kerala
    b. Arunachal Pradesh
    c. Andhra Pradesh
    d. Odisha

    Answer: b

    Explanation:

    Throwing fresh light on the uncharted biodiversity in India’s north-eastern region, researchers from the University of Calicut in Kerala have reported the discovery of four new species of balsam from various locations in Arunachal Pradesh.

    The team came across the new species while scouring the Eastern Himalayas as part of an expedition supported by the Department of Science and Technology and the International Association for Plant Taxonomy, Slovakia. Commonly known as jewel-weeds because of the diverse colour of the flowers, balsams are distributed throughout the Eastern Himalayas and the Western Ghats, Sri Lanka, South East Asia, Africa and Madagascar. The genus is scientifically named as Impatiens, signifying the impatient nature of the fruits which explode suddenly when touched.

    13. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has set itself an ambitious to-do list for making and launching around 65 satellites for a slew of uses. Consider the following statements regarding this:
    1. The plan of launching 65 satellites by ISRO to be realised over the period from 2017 to 2021.
    2. ISRO Satellite Centre (ISAC) has the responsibility to assemble the spacecraft which are meant for communication, navigation and Earth observation (EO), for both general and strategic purposes.
    3. ISAC has set their goal to assemble 18 satellites a year with the rate of three satellites every two months.

    Which of the above statement is true?
    a. 1 and 2
    b. 2 and 3
    c. 1 and 3
    d. 1, 2 and 3

    Answer: d

    Explanation:

    According to a top official of ISRO, the organisation has set itself an ambitious to-do list for making and launching around 65 satellites for a slew of uses. They are planned to be realised over the period from 2017 to 2021.

    As per the report of ISRO Satellite Centre (ISAC), where spacecraft are assembled, the new goal puts ISAC’s annual asking rate at around 18 satellites a year: ISAC would now need to come out with three satellites every two months. Since ISAC was set up in 1972 and until a few years ago, this used to be its average yearly output.

    14. Recently, researchers from Google's Project Zero team reported that they have discovered serious security flaws which affected processors built by Intel and other chipmakers. What are the flaws named?
    a. Spectre and Meltdown
    b. Freezing and Meltdown
    c. Spectre and Freezing
    d. None of the above

    Answer: a

    Explanation:

    On January 4, 2018, researchers from Google's Project Zero team reported that they discovered serious security flaws which affected processors built by Intel and other chipmakers. As serious security issues have been discovered with processors, tech companies have been trying to fix them. Intel’s processors are the worst affected with almost all the chips manufactured post-1995 at risk of an attack.

    Meltdown could allow hackers to circumvent the hardware barrier between applications run by users and the computer’s core memory. It is named ‘Meltdown’ because the “vulnerability basically melts security boundaries which are normally enforced by the hardware,” states the official website hosted by the Graz University of Technology. “This attack allows a program to access the memory, and thus also the secrets, of other programs and the operating system.” Spectre can cause applications to be tricked into giving up secret information. Spectre’s name comes from the phrase ‘speculative execution.’

    15. Recently, the Union Cabinet has approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Canada for cooperation in the field of Science & Technology. Consider the following statements regarding this:
    1. The MoU will provide a mechanism and help to foster scientific cooperation between R&D and academic institutions of India and Canada.
    2. Under this MoU, the India-Canada Centre for Innovative Multidisciplinary Partnership to Accelerate Community Transformation and Sustainability (IC-IMPACTS) programme will be supported to promote India-Canada multidisciplinary research partnerships.
    3. Identified areas of mutual cooperation include safe and sustainable infrastructure and integrated water management.

    Which of the above statement is true?
    a. 1 and 2
    b. 2 and 3
    c. 1 and 3
    d. 1, 2 and 3

    Answer: d

    Explanation:

    The Union Cabinet has approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Canada for cooperation in the field of Science & Technology. The MoU will provide a mechanism and help to foster scientific cooperation between R&D and academic institutions of India and Canada.

    The key points of the approved MoU:

    • An innovative model of R&D cooperation between India and Canada will be implemented under a MoU concluded by the Department of Science and Technology with the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada.

    • Under this MoU, the India-Canada Centre for Innovative Multidisciplinary Partnership to Accelerate Community Transformation and Sustainability (IC-IMPACTS) programme will be supported to promote India-Canada multidisciplinary research partnerships.

    • The R&D projects will be aimed at accelerating social transformation by providing solutions through application of science and technology.

    • The participants will include researchers from scientific organizations, academia and R&D laboratories from India and Canada.

    • Identified areas of mutual cooperation include safe and sustainable infrastructure and integrated water management.

    • This will help to develop institutional networking and support the establishment of connections between scientific organizations, scientists and specialists of India and Canada.

    16. Consider the following statements related to Logistics Ease Across Different States (LEADS) Index that was in the news recently.
    1) It was prepared by the NITI Aayog.
    2) Gujarat topped the logistics ranking, while Maharasthra topped merchandise exports ranking.
    3) It is loosely based on the World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index (LPI).

    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. b

    Explanation:

    In the early January 2018, the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry released the Logistics Ease Across Different States (LEADS) Index. The Index report was prepared by the Deloitte for the ministry. The study is based on a perception-based survey of 2,885 respondents across the country over a six-week period. As per the study, Gujarat, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra were in the top five positions respectively in terms of efficiency in the logistics sector. However, in terms of merchandise exports for the 2016-17, Maharasthra topped the list and was followed by Gujarat (2), Tamil Nadu (3), Karnataka (4) and Uttar Pradesh (5).

    About LEADS Index

    • It is an indicator to assess international trade logistics across States and Union Territories of India.

    • It is loosely based on the World Bank’s biannual Logistics Performance Index (LPI). It should be noted that India was placed at the 35th position among 160 countries surveyed in 2016, up from 54th rank in 2014.

    • It is a composite index and is based on eight parameters. They are infrastructure, track and trace, services, timeliness, competitiveness of pricing, operating environment, the safety of the cargo and regulatory process.

    • It provides useful insights to the policy makers on the deficiencies in the existing infrastructure and the measures to boost efficiency in the logistics sector in order to promote internal and external trade.

    17. Consider the following statements about the MPLAD Scheme that was in the news recently.
    1) The scheme was extended by three years until 2020.
    2) Beginning April 2018, it will be implemented as a centrally sponsored scheme.
    3) Under the scheme, the concerned MP will recommend works, while the District Authority will execute them.

    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:

    On 10 January 2018, the Union Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) gave its approval for the continuation of the Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) beyond the 12th plan period i.e. March 2017. As per the approval, the scheme will be operational till the term of the 14th  Finance Commission i.e. 31st March 2020. The CCEA also agreed to continue the scheme as the Central Sector Scheme as earlier.

    About MPLADS

    • The Scheme was launched in 1993-94 by the PV Narasimha Rao-led government.

    • Since its inception in 1993-94 till August 2017, a total number of 18,82,180 works to the tune of Rs. 44,929.17 crore have been sanctioned under the scheme.

    • The objective of the scheme is to enable MPs to recommend the works of developmental nature with emphasis on the creation of durable community assets based on the locally felt needs to be taken up in their constituencies.

    • In 1993-94, when the Scheme was launched, an amount of Rs. 5 lakh per Member of Parliament was allotted which became Rupees one crore per annum per MP constituency from 1994-95. This was stepped up to Rs. 2 crore from 1998-99 and now it is Rs.5 crore from the financial year 2011-12.

    • Lok Sabha Members can recommend works within their constituencies and elected members of Rajya Sabha can recommend works within the State of election. Nominated Members of both the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha can recommend works anywhere in the country.

    • Each MP will recommend works up to the annual entitlement during the financial year to the concerned District Authority. The District Authority will get the eligible sanctioned works executed as per the established procedure of the State Government.

    • It should be noted that the District Authority continues to hold to powers to grant administrative sanction to the works recommended by concerned MPs.

    • The Scheme is governed by a set of guidelines, which have been last revised in June 2016.

    IAS Preparation: Questions for Prelims 1 to 5 January 2018

    18. Consider the following statements related to the Mankidia tribe that was in the news recently.
    1) It is the only Particulary Vulnerable Tribal Group to reside in Odisha.
    2) The tribal group was in the news as it was denied habitat rights in the core area of Simlipal Tiger Reserve.

    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 Mankidia tribe was in the news in the early January 2018 as the group was denied habitat rights in the core area of Simlipal Tiger Reserve in Odisha. The decision was taken by the Odisha forest department officials under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006. The habitat rights were denied on the grounds that the tribals could be attacked by wild animals, especially tigers.

    About Mankidias

    It is one of the thirteen Particulary Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) residing in Odisha.  The members of tribe critically depend on making rope with siali fibre that’s richly available in Similipal. Other PVTGs residing in Odisha are Birhor, Bondo, Didayi, Dongria-Khond, Juangs, Kharias, Kutia Kondh, Lanjia Sauras, Lodhas, Paudi Bhuyans, Soura and Chuktia Bhunjia.

    About PVTGs

    Particularly vulnerable tribal group (PVTG) is a classification created by the Union Government to improve the conditions of the most vulnerable population among tribals. Previously, these groups were known as Primitive Tribal Groups. In 2006, they were renamed as Particulary Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs).

    The features of PVTGs are practice of hunting and gathering, zero or negative population growth, extremely low level of literacy in comparison with other tribal groups. At present, there are 75 PVTGs in 20 States and Union Territories. With 13 PVTGs, Odisha is home to the most number of Particularly vulnerable tribal groups in the country. Great Andamanese, Jarawas, Onges, Sentinelese and Shorn Pens are the PVTGs in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

    19. Consider the following statements related to All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) for 2016-17 that was released recently.
    1) Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education increased from 19.4% in 2010-11 to 25.2% in 2016-17.
    2) Gender Parity Index (GPI) has improved from 0.86 to 0.94 between 2010 and 2017.

    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 Human Resource Development Prakash Javadeka on 5 January 2017 released the 8th All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) for the year 2016-17.

    Key highlights of AISHE 2016-17

    • India witnessed significant achievement in overall enrolment from 27.5 million in 2010-11 to 35.7 million in 2016-17, and improvement in Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education from 19.4% in 2010-11 to 25.2% in 2016-17. GER is the total enrolment within a country at a specific level of education, regardless of age, expressed as a percentage of the population in the official age group corresponding to the level of education considered.

    • The survey projected that the GER ratio of 30% would be achieved by the year 2022.

    • Gender Parity Index (GPI) has improved from 0.86 to 0.94 in the corresponding period. The GPI is a socioeconomic index, usually designed to measure the relative access to education of males and females.

    • The number of institutions of higher education listed on AISHE portal has also increased significantly to 864 in 2016-17 from 621 universities in 2010-11 to and 40,026 colleges in 2016-17 from 32,974 colleges in 2010-11.

    • The foreign student enrolment number has slightly improved from 45,424 in 2015-16 to 47,575 in 2016-17.

    • In the AISHE 206-17, for the first time, efforts have been made to collect the details of teachers to be used in the portal `Gurujan’ specifically dedicated to teacher information. The Gurujan portal will be useful to ascertain the quality of faculty in an institution.

    About AISHE

    The All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) Was initiated in the year 2011 to prepare a robust database on higher education. Since then, seeing the usefulness of data collected during the very first year of the survey, the government decided to make this survey an annual exercise of data collection in the higher education sector.

    20. Recently, the Union Government unveiled its plan to launch a new scheme for free treatment of Hepatitis C in the country. Against this backdrop, consider the following statements.
    1) Hepatitis C is a bacterial disease and affects the liver.
    2) Hepatitis C can also be spread from an infected mother to her baby during birth.
    3) As of now, there is no vaccine against hepatitis C.

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

    Answer. b

    Explanation:

    In the early January 2018, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Affairs announced its plans to launch the National Programme for Control of Viral Hepatitis across the county. Under the proposed scheme, free treatment will be offered to patients suffering from the Hepatitis C. The scheme is expected to be launched in the 2018-19 financial year and will be operational for three years at the cost of Rs 600 crore.

    About Hepatitis-C

    • Hepatitis-C is a viral disease that causes liver inflammation leading to diminished liver function or liver failure.

    • It is referred to as a silent epidemic as most people infected with HCV have no symptoms of the disease until liver damage becomes apparent, which may take decades.

    • Chronic HCV infection could lead to scarring and poor liver function (cirrhosis) over many years, resulting in complications such as bleeding, jaundice, fluid accumulation in the abdomen, infections and liver cancer.

    • It is estimated that nearly 100,000 people die annually in India from HCV infection and co-morbidities. Around 25% of 18 million HCV patients in India are indicated for hepatitis-C genotype 1.

    21. Consider the following statements related to ‘Pratyush’ supercomputer that was unveiled recently.

    1) It is India’s first and fastest multi-petaflops supercomputer.

    2) It will be located at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) in Pune.

    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:
    The Union Minister of Earth Sciences Harsh Vardhan on 8 January 2017 dedicated the ‘Pratyush’ super computer to the nation at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) in Pune. It is India’s first and fastest multi-petaflops supercomputer.
    The ‘Pratyush’, which means the Sun, is a High Performance Computer (HPC). It will be a national facility for improving weather and climate forecasts and services under the umbrella of the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES).
    The establishment of ‘Pratyush’ is a part of the Union Ministry’s continuous endeavor to provide world-class forecast services through upgrading various operational and research activities and infrastructure.
    The dedicated HPC facility is much needed for a country like India, which is prone to  multiple weather and climatic conditions like the monsoon, extreme events, Tsunamis, Cyclones, earthquakes, air quality, lightning, fishing, hot - cold waves, flood, and drought.

    Indian Economy for IAS Exam 2018

    22. Consider the following statements related to BharatNet project that was in the news recently.

    1) It seeks to provide broadband connectivity to all 2.5 Lakh Gram Panchayats in the country.
    2) It is implemented by National Informatics Centre (NIC).
    3) It is world’s largest rural broadband connectivity programme using Optical fibre.

    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 BharatNet project was in news recently as over one lakh Gram Panchayats (GP) across the country were connected with high-speed optical fiber by the end of 2017 under the phase 1 of the project. BharatNet was launched in October 2011 by the Union Government to provide broadband connectivity to all 2.5 Lakh Gram Panchayats spread across the country. Once completed, it will be the world’s largest rural broadband connectivity programme using Optical fibre. The project was given a new push under the Digital India programme of the NDA II Government. It is implemented by Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL).

    BharatNet Phase 1: Highlights

    • BharatNet seeks to provide affordable broadband services to citizens and institutions in rural and remote areas, in partnership with States and the private sector.
    • Under Phase 1 of the project, as on 31st Dec 2017, 2,54,895 km Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) has been laid covering 1,09,926 Gram Panchayats (GPs) out of which 1,01,370 GPs have been made Service Ready.
    • The BharatNet project has also achieved a worldwide record of laying of 800 km of optical fiber per day.
    • The completion of Phase-I on time has given a boost to Make-in-India as the key highlight of the project is that the telecom equipment deployed in it has been fully designed, developed and manufactured in India.

    23. Consider the following statements related to e-Sansad and e-Vidhan initiatives that were in the news recently.

    1) They seek to make the functioning of Parliament and State Legislatures paperless.
    2) Union Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation is the nodal ministry for implementation of both the projects.
    3) The funding for the project is provided by the Union and State Governments equally.

    Which of the above statments is/are true?

    a) 1 only
    b) 3 only
    c) 1 and 2
    d) 1, 2 and 3

    Answer. a

    Explanation:

    The e-Sansad and e-Vidhan initiatives were in the news in early January 2018 as they were discussed by the 18th All India Whips’ Conference. The conference was held for two days in Udaipur, Rajasthan.

    Highlights of e-Sansad and e-Vidhan

    • e-Sansad and e-Vidhan are mission mode projects of Union Government under Digital India initiative  to make the functioning of Parliament and State Legislatures paperless respectively.
    • Union Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs (MoPA) is the Nodal Ministry for implementation of both the projects.
    • Once completed, these projects will make the functioning of Parliament and State Legislatures participative, responsive, transparent, productive and more accountable to the public and make the entire Legislative process more efficient.
    • This environment friendly initiative is also in line with the ‘Go Green’ initiative of the Government.
    • In order to economize the entire legislative process, e-Vidhan is proposed to be implemented in all the States and UTs with Legislatures.
    • For rolling out e-Vidhan in the State legislatures, funding to the maximum extent will be provided by the MoPA.

    24. Consider the following statements related to Gold & ICON missions that were in the news recently.

    1) The missions will be launched by the NASA in January 2018.
    2) They seek to explore the traces of extraterrestrial life on Mars.

    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:

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on 4 January 2018 announced to launch two missions – GOLD & ICON - to explore 60 miles (96 KM) of area above Earth's surface.

    The Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk (GOLD) mission will be launched aboard a commercial communications satellite in January 2018 itself, while the other mission Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) will be launched later in 2018.

    About Gold Mission

    • It will focus on observing what drives change- Sun, Earth's magnetic field and the lower atmosphere in the upper atmosphere.
    • GOLD mission will explore how the upper atmosphere reacts to geomagnetic storms, which are temporary disturbances of Earth's magnetic field due to solar activity.
    • At night-time, GOLD will examine disruptions in the ionosphere, which are dense, unpredictable bubbles of charged gas that appear over the equator and tropics and interfere with radio communications.

    About ICON Mission

    • It will concentrate on how charged and neutral gases in the upper atmosphere behave and interact.
    • It was particularly designed to study forces like neutral winds, pressure gradients and solar activity individually, making it easier for scientists to elucidate cause-and-effect relationships.

    25. It is with this country, the Union Cabinet gave its approval for an agreement on land border crossing recently.

    a) Bangladesh
    b) Myanmar
    c) Nepal
    d) Bhutan

    Answer. (b) Myanmar

    On 3 January 2018, the Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the agreement between India and Myanmar on Land Border Crossing. The agreement seeks to facilitate regulation and harmonization of already existing free movement rights for people ordinarily residing in the border areas of both the nations. It will also facilitate the movement of people on the basis of valid passports and visas, which will enhance economic and social interaction between the two countries.

    Highlights of India-Myanmar Agreement

    • The agreement enables arrangement for movement of people across India-Myanmar border.
    • The agreement will provide connectivity and enhance the interaction of the people of the North Eastern States of India with the people of Myanmar.
    • It is also expected to give a boost to the economy of the North East and allow the region to leverage its geographical connections with Myanmar to boost trade and people to people ties.
    The pact will safeguard the traditional rights of the tribal communities residing along the border that are accustomed to free movement across the land border.

    Most Important Government Schemes II for IAS Exam 2018

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