To clear the IAS Exam, continuous efforts to master the current affairs component are a must. To answer current affairs based questions in prelims, one should not only have the preliminary information about the current events, but also the clarity about the issues and concepts involved.
To cater to this need of IAS Exam aspirants, Jagran Josh is providing five important Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) on a daily basis. The questions cover important current affairs events in the fields of economy, national, India-World relations, science and technology, environment, etc. Answers along with detailed explanations to the questions will help the aspirants in answering further questions on the given topic in all the phases of the exam – Preliminary, Mains written and Personality Test.
1. Recently, India and the ASEAN have expressed intention to conclude the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) by the end of 2018. Against this backdrop, identify the countries that are the remaining members of the RCEP.
3) South Korea
5) New Zealand
Select the correct code:
a) 1, 2 and 3
b) 2, 4 and 5
c) 3, 4 and 5
d) All of them
The ASEAN-INDIA Commemorative Summit was held for two days – 25 and 26 January 2018 – in New Delhi. It was attended by the all the heads of State/Government of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi. The summit was held to celebrate 25 years of the ASEAN-India Dialogue Partnership.
The ASEAN was established in 1967 by the five founding members, namely, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Brunei Darussalam, Viet Nam, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia joined later.
• The ASEAN has free trade agreements (FTAs) with six partners, namely, China, South Korea, Japan, India, Australia and New Zealand.
• In order to achieve a modern, comprehensive, high-quality, and mutually beneficial economic partnership agreement among the ASEAN Member States and ASEAN’s FTA partners, the RCEP negotiations commenced in early 2013.
• The RCEP negotiation includes trade in goods, trade in services, investment, economic and technical cooperation, intellectual property, competition, dispute settlement, e-commerce, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and other issues.
• The RCEP has the potential to deliver significant opportunities for businesses in the East Asia region, given the fact that the 16 RCEP participating countries account for almost half of the world’s population and contribute about 30 per cent of global GDP and over a quarter of world exports.
2. Recently, the Union Government has allowed Small Finance Banks and Payments Banks to offer services under the Atal Pension Yojana (APY). Against this backdrop, consider the following statements related to the APY.
1) It is administered by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA).
2) Depending on their contributions, subscribers get a fixed pension between Rs 1000-5000 a month.
Which of the above statements is/are correct?
a) 1 only
b) 2 only
c) Both 1 and 2
d) Neither 1 nor 2
In January 2018, the Union Government allowed Small Finance Banks and Payments Banks to offer services under the Atal Pension Yojana (APY). This is mainly aimed at strengthening the existing channels of APY distribution.
With their participation, the government would not only be able to build a pensioned society, but also add sustainable fee income to these banks by offering attractive incentives for mobilizing APY, at Rs 120-150 per account.
About Atal Pension Yojana (APY)
• The social security scheme was launched on May 9, 2015. It is available to people falling in the age group of 18 to 40 years.
• Under the scheme, a subscriber would receive a minimum guaranteed pension of 1,000 to 5,000 rupees per month from the age of 60 years depending upon the contribution.
• At present, over 84 lakh subscribers are registered under the APY scheme with an asset base of more than Rs 3194 crore.
3. Recently, scientists discovered a new group of walking fish in Tasmania. Against this backdrop, consider the following statements.
1) Tasmania is an island State of Canada.
2) The fish species, the Red Handfish, use their pectoral fins in an unusual manner to walk slowly over the sea bottom.
Which of the above statements is/are correct?
a) 1 only
b) 2 only
c) Both 1 and 2
d) Neither 1 nor 2
In January 2018, a group of scientists has found a small population of fish that walk along the seabed off Australia's south coast in Tasmania, which is one of the few places on the planet that is home to rare and unique endangered species. Tasmania is a part of Australia.
The first-ever sighting of the Red Handfish is reported to be in the 19th century near Port Arthur, in Tasmania.
The new habitat is different from the first population. So, it shows that the fish are not critically dependent on a particular set of local conditions. The Red Handfish have an elongated body and use their pectoral fins in an unusual manner to walk slowly over the sea bottom in search of food such as crustaceans and worms. The fish measures between 6 and 13.5 cm long.
4. Recently, which of the following Union Ministries announced “TARE” and “AWSAR” initiatives?
a) Ministry of Tourism
b) Ministry of Commerce and Industry
c) Ministry of Finance
d) Ministry of Science and Technology
In January 2018, the Union Ministry of Science and Technology announced four initiatives to promote research and development in the country. They are Teacher Associateship for Research Excellence (TARE) Scheme, Overseas Visiting Doctoral Fellowship, Distinguished Investigator Award and Augmenting Writing Skills for Articulating Research (AWSAR) Scheme.
Teacher Associateship for Research Excellence (TARE) Scheme
It aims to tap the latent potential of faculty working in state universities, colleges and private academic institutions, who are well trained, but has difficulty in pursuing their research due to varied reasons including lack of facilities, funding and guidance.
This scheme facilitates mobility of such faculty members to carry out research in well-established public funded institution such as IITs, IISc, IISERS and other National Institutions (NITs, CSIR, ICAR, ICMR labs, etc) and Central Universities located preferably nearer to the institution where the faculty member is working.
Overseas Visiting Doctoral Fellowship of Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB)
• It has been instituted for enhancing the international mobility of Indian research students.
• The scheme provides an opportunity for research students gain exposure and access to top class research facilities in academia and labs across the world.
• The selected fellows will be paid a monthly fellowship amount equivalent to USD 2000, one-time Contingency / Preparatory allowances of Rs. 60,000 to cover visa fee, airport transfer charges, medical insurance, etc.
SERB Distinguished Investigator Award (DIA)
• It has been initiated to recognize and reward Principal Investigators (PIs) of SERB/Deparment of Science and Technology (DST) projects.
• The scheme aims not only to reward the best PIs of completed projects, but also to motivate the ongoing PIs to perform exceedingly well.
• This positive reinforcement strategy would effectively improve the productivity of the research undertaken and the overall efficiency of the research ecosystem.
• DIA is a one-time career award devised to specifically cater to the younger scientists who have not received any other prestigious awards or fellowships.
• The award carries a fellowship of Rs. 15,000 per month and an optional research grant for three years, based on peer review of the project proposal submitted.
Augmenting Writing Skills for Articulating Research (AWSAR)
• It has been initiated to encourage, empower and endow popular science writing through newspapers, magazines, blogs, social media, etc. by young PhD Scholars and Post-Doctoral Fellows during the course of their higher studies and research pursuits.
• As over 20,000 youths are awarded PhDs in science and technology every year in India, the scheme aims to tap this tremendous potential to popularize and communicate science and also to inculcate scientific temperament in the masses.
• AWSAR carries monetary incentive of Rs.10,000 each for the 100 best entries from PhD scholars in a year.
5. What is India’s rank in the recently released INSEAD’s Global Talent Competitiveness Index 2018?
In January 2018, the Global Talent Competitiveness Index 2018 was released on the sidelines of the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Out of the 119 countries surveyed, while Switzerland continues to top the annual index, India has improved its position by 11 positions to reach the 81st spot. In 2017, India was at the 92nd position, while in 2016, India’s rank was 89th.
As per the index, brain drain is expected to go up in India due to its less successful attempts at retaining or luring back its talented diaspora members.
About Global Talent Competitiveness Index
• It is an annual index created in partnership with Adecco, INSEAD and Tata Communications. While INSEAD is a France-based reputed business school, Adecco is a consultancy firm.
• The index measures the ability of countries to compete for talent.
• It aims to assist the decision makers in developing strategies and talent policies that will help boost their talent competitiveness.
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