Skip to content
Weekly Current Affairs Answers MARCH 2020 - WEEK 4

1) Answer: D

  • Tech for Tribal’s, an initiative of TRIFED supported by Ministry of MSME, aims at capacity building and imparting entrepreneurship skills to tribal forest produce gatherers enrolled under the Pradhan Mantri Van Dhan Yojana (PMVDY).
  • The trainees will undergo a 30 days program over six weeks comprising 120 sessions.
  • This unique project aimed to transform 5 crore Tribal Entrepreneurs.
  • It was launched by TRIFED and IIT-Kanpur along with IIT-Roorkee, IIM Indore, Kalinga Institute of Social Science, Bhubaneshwar and SRIJAN, Jaipur in the first phase of organizing tribal entrepreneurship and skill development program.
  • TRIFED under Ministry of Tribal Affairs is establishing 1,200 “Van Dhan Vikas Kendra (VDVK)”, across 28 States engaging 3.6 Lakhs Tribal Forest Produce gatherers.
  • One typical VDVK comprises of 15 Self Help Groups, each consisting of 20 Tribal gatherers.

 

2) Answer: D

  • The Ministry of Textiles is implementing converged Mahatma Gandhi Bunkar Bima Yojana (MGBBY) for providing social security benefits like life, accidental & disability insurance coverage to handloom weavers/workers in the age group of 51-59 years across the country, who have already enrolled under the scheme on 31.5.2017.
  • To provide the benefits to all handloom weavers/workers in an effective manner, the Government of India has organized Hasthkala Sahyog Shivirs in handloom clusters across the country in association with State Governments and LIC for creating awareness among the weavers for enrolment under the Scheme.
  • The claim benefits are provided by LIC directly into the bank account of beneficiaries through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT).

 

3) Answer: D

  • Annual Refresher Programme in Teaching (ARPIT) is a unique initiative of online professional development of 15 lakh higher education faculty using SWAYAM platform.
  • National Resource Centres (NRC) will be identified to prepare online training material.
  • NRC will be in a mixed range of institutions such as, Central Universities, IISc, IUCAA, IITs, IISERs, NITs, IGNOU, State Universities, UGC‘s Human Resource Development Centres (HRDCs) and National Institutes for Technical Teachers Training.
  • It will focus on latest developments in the discipline, new & emerging trends, pedagogical improvements and methodologies for transacting revised curriculum.
  • SWAYAM – Study Webs of Active learning for Young Aspiring Minds is a Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) platform launched to offer various online courses for school education and higher education.

 

4) Answer: D

 

5) Answer: A

  • Sometimes, government adopts an expansionary fiscal policy stance and increases its spending to boost the economic activity.
  • This leads to an increase in interest rates because it causes inflation.
  • Increased interest rates affect private investment decisions as loans become dearer.
  • A high magnitude of the crowding out effect may even lead to lesser income in the economy.

 

6) Answer: B

  • Huntington disease (HD) is a progressive genetic disorder affecting the brain that causes uncontrolled movements, impaired coordination of balance and movement, a decline in cognitive abilities, difficulty in concentrating and memory lapses, mood swings and personality changes.
  • It is caused by a mutation in a gene called HTT.
  • The HTT genes are involved in the production of a protein called huntingtin.
  • They provide the instruction for making the protein.
  • When the genes mutate, they provide faulty instructions leading to production of abnormal huntingtin proteins and these form into clumps.
  • The clumps disrupt the normal functioning of the brain cells, which eventually leads to death of neurons in the brain, resulting in Huntington disease.

 

7) Answer: C

  • Peatlands, which play a crucial role in regulating global climate by acting as carbon sinks, are facing degradation and need to be urgently monitored, according to a Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations report released recently.
  • The report comprised information as well as recommendations to countries on restoring and managing these valuable ecosystems.

Background:

  • Peatlands are formed due to the accumulation of partially decomposed plant remains over thousands of years under conditions of water-logging.
  • Peatlands cover only three per cent of Earth’s surface.
  • However, their degradation due to drainage, fire, agricultural use and forestry can trigger release of the stored carbon in a few decades.
  • Peatlands contain 30 per cent of the world’s soil carbon. When drained, these emit greenhouse gases, contributing up to one gigaton of emissions per year through oxidation, according to the report.
  • Besides climate mitigation, peatlands are important for archaeology, as they maintain pollen, seeds and human remains for a long time in their acidic and water-logged conditions.
  • In many countries, pristine peatlands are important for recreation activities.
  • These areas also support livelihood in the form of pastoralism.
  • The vegetation growing on pristine peatlands provide different kinds of fibres for construction activities and handicrafts.

 

8) Answer: D

  • Prime Minister of India will participate in the G-20 virtual summit led by King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud of Saudi Arabia which is the current president of the economic grouping.

G-20:

  • The Group of Twenty, or the G20, is the premier forum for international economic cooperation.
  • The G20 brings together the leaders of both developed and developing countries from every continent.
  • Members are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK, US, Russia, Australia, Canada, Saudi Arabia, India, South Africa, Turkey, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, China and Indonesia and EU.
  • The members are divided into 5 groups, consisting of a maximum of four states for choosing the President.
  • In addition to the member countries, Spain is a permanent guest and always participates in the G20 summits.
  • Every year, the host country also chooses other guests.
  • The group does not have permanent offices or employees.
  • The President is chosen by a rotation system amongst the member countries.

 

9) Answer: A

  • Scientists from Agharkar Research Institute (ARI), Pune, an autonomous institute under the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India, have developed a biofortified durum wheat variety MACS 4028, which shows high protein content.

MACS 4028:

  • It is a semi-dwarf variety, which matures in 102 days and has shown the superior and stable yielding ability of 19.3 quintals per hectare.
  • It is resistant to stem rust, leaf rust, foliar aphids, root aphids, and brown wheat mite.
  • The wheat variety has shown high protein content of about 14.7%, better nutritional quality having zinc 40.3 ppm, and iron content of 40.3ppm and 46.1ppm respectively, good milling quality and overall acceptability.
  • The MACS 4028 variety is also included by the Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) programme for United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to alleviate malnutrition in a sustainable way and can boost the Vision 2022 “Kuposhan Mukt Bharat”, the National Nutrition Strategy.

 

10) Answer: A

2020 CD3:

  • Recently, astronomers discovered a mini-moon named 2020 CD3 orbiting the Earth, making it official for our planet to have two moons.
  • However, it turned out to be a brief affair of events as the mini-moon left the planet’s orbit.
  • 2020 CD3 was first discovered using the NASA-funded Catalina Sky Survey observatory in Arizona.
  • According to the astronomers, the object may have entered Earth’s orbit three years ago.
  • It is not confirmed whether 2020 CD3 was a small asteroid or a little chunk from our own moon, broken off in an impact with another space rock.
  • 2020 CD3’s departure did not come as a surprise to the astronomers as it was following an unstable orbit around Earth, meaning it was travelling farther and farther away from the planet until it was able to break free from our planet’s pull.
  • Currently, it is on its way to follow its original trajectory around the Sun.
  • Earlier in 2006, astronomers discovered a near-Earth asteroid — named 2006 RH120 about 9 meters-wide flying around our planet.

 

11) Answer: B

  • The Technology Development Board (TDB) invites proposal applications from Indian companies and enterprises to address protection and homebased respiratory intervention for COVID-19 patients.
  • The proposal may include technologically innovative solutions like low-cost masks, cost-effective scanning devices, technologies for sanitization of large areas as well as for contactless entry, rapid diagnostic kits and oxygenators, and ventilators.

Technology Development Board (TDB):

  • The Government of India constituted the Technology Development Board (TDB) in September 1996, under the Technology Development Board Act, 1995, as a statutory body.
  • It aims to promote development and commercialization of indigenous technology and adaptation of imported technology for wider application.
  • The board consists of 11 Board members.
  • The TDB is the first organization of its kind within the government framework with the sole objective of commercializing the fruit of indigenous research.
  • The Board plays a pro-active role by encouraging enterprises to take up technology-oriented products.

 

12) Answer: C

  • NSM is jointly led by DST and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).
  • Commissioned in May 2015, the nodal agencies spearheading the mission are Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Pune, and Indian Institute of Sciences (IISc), Bengaluru.
  • The NSM envisaged setting up a network of 70 high-performance computing facilities across academia and research institutes, by 2022.
  • Five years since launch, India is all set to experience the highest ever boost in its supercomputing capacities, with 14 new supercomputers set to be deployed this year.
  • These systems would be installed at various national-level research laboratories and academic institutions by end of 2020, stated Department of Science and Technology (DST) in an official statement.
  • Of these, three systems would be installed within a month.
  • Once deployed, the total number of supercomputers under Rs 4,500 crore- National Supercomputing Mission (NSM) would grow to 17.

 

13) Answer: A

  • The Carissa kopilii is threatened by the very river it is named after — Kopili in central Assam.
  • Reasons: a hydroelectric project on the river and water turned acidic because of coal mining in Meghalaya
  • It is a thorny plant whose berries are greenish and sour when raw and blackish and sweet when ripe.
  • The “sun-loving” plant was distributed sparsely, rooted in rocky crevices along the Kopili riverbed at altitudes ranging from 85-600 metres above sea level.

 

14) Answer: A

  • In a relief to the residents of Lachen in North Sikkim, the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has recently opened for traffic 360 feet long bailey suspension bridge over Teesta River in Munshithang near Chungthang town.
  • The 86 Road Construction Company (RCC) of 758 Border Roads Task Force (BRTF), under Project Swastik, commenced the construction of the bridge in October 2019 and completed it in January 2020.
  • The approach roads to the bridge have also been constructed.
  • The bridge will give impetus to tourism and facilitate the movement of logistics for the Armed Forces deployed in forward areas.

Background:

  • In June 2019, a steel bridge of 180 feet span at the same location was completely damaged due to a massive cloud burst resulting in severing the lines of communication in North District of Sikkim.
  • The connectivity was kept open by routing the traffic through restricted Army land.

 

15) Answer: A

  • Climate change will not only strain water-stressed countries, but also create similar problems in regions that have not been severely affected so far, according to a United Nations World Water Development report released recently.

UN World Water Development Report:

  • The United Nations World Water Development Report is UN-Water’s flagship report on water and sanitation issues, focusing on a different theme each year.
  • The report is published by UNESCO, on behalf of UN-Water and its production is coordinated by the UNESCO World Water Assessment Programme.
  • Launched in conjunction with World Water Day, the report provides decision-makers with knowledge and tools to formulate and implement sustainable water policies.

 

16) Answer: A

  • Scientists have developed a portable device powered by artificial intelligence (AI) which can detect coughing and crowd size in real time, then analyse the data to directly monitor trends in flu-like illnesses such as COVID-19.
  • The researchers from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, in the US said the device called FluSense is envisioned for use in hospitals, healthcare waiting rooms and larger public spaces.
  • FluSense is an autonomous, privacy-respecting system that counts the people and coughs in public spaces to keep health authorities informed.

 

17) Answer: D

  • India and France have conducted joint patrols from the Reunion Island for the first time, signalling New Delhi’s intent to engage with friendly foreign partners in expanding its footprint on the Indian Ocean, focusing on the stretch between the East African coastline and the Malacca straits.
  • India has so far carried out coordinated patrols only with maritime neighbours and had rejected a similar offer by the U.S.
  • The Indian Navy conducted a joint patrol with the French Navy from the Reunion Island in February. The patrol was conducted by a P-8I aircraft with French Navy personnel onboard.

France – A Major strategic partner:

  • France has steadily emerged as a major strategic partner for India with big ticket defence deals and increased military-to-military engagement.
  • The Indian Navy is currently inducting French Scorpene conventional submarines, being built in India under technology transfer, and the Indian Air Force will soon get the first batch of its 36 Rafale fighter jets.

 

18) Answer: C

  • After the Supreme Court ordered guidelines on telemedicine practice in the wake of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare came with the same recently.
  • The guidelines were prepared in collaboration with NITI Ayog.
  • Telemedicine comprises remote diagnosis and treatment of patients by means of telecommunications such video, phone, chatting apps, etc.
  • India did not have any set of guidelines on the practice till now.
  • There is no legal framework to encourage medical practitioners to provide remote medical consultations during a pandemic.
  • According to the guidelines, only registered medical practitioners (RMP) enrolled in the State Register or the National Register under the Indian Medical Council Act 1956, can practise telemedicine, but after completing an online course.
  • The online program will be developed and made available by the Board of Governors in supersession of Medical Council of India.
  • All RMPs will need to complete the course within three years of notification of the guidelines to provide consultation via telemedicine.
  • According to the guidelines, telemedicine consultation should not be anonymous.
  • The RMP should ensure that there is a mechanism for a patient to verify the credentials and contact details.
  • For issuing a prescription, the RMP needs to explicitly ask the age of the patient.

 

19) Answer: D

  • The Rushikulya River is one of the major rivers in the state of Odisha and covers entire catchment area in the districts of Kandhamal and Ganjam of Odisha.
  • The Rushikulya originates at an elevation of about 1000 metres from Daringbadi hills of the Eastern Ghats range.
  • The place from where the river originates, Daringbadi is called the ‘ Kashmir of Odisha ‘.
  • The river meets the Bay of Bengal at Puruna Bandha in Ganjam.
  • Its tributaries are the Baghua, the Dhanei, the Badanadi etc.
  • It has no delta as such at its mouth.
  • Gahirmatha marine sanctuary and Rushikulya rookery coast in Ganjam district are main Olive Ridley Nesting sites in Odisha.

 

20) Answer: C

  • The UN theme for Water Day 2020 was ‘Water and Climate Change’.

 

21) Answer: A

  • World Tuberculosis Day is observed every year on March 24 to commemorate the anniversary of Robert Koch’s discovery of the Tuberculosis (TB) bacteria in 1882.
  • Government of India has committed to eliminate prevalence of TB by 2025, with commensurate resources to rapidly reduce TB incidence prevalence and mortality in India.
  • Ministry of Health & Family Welfare is implementing the National Strategic Plan (NSP) for Tuberculosis Elimination (2017-2025).

 

22) Answer: D

  • It has been reported that a person from Yunnan Province of China, who has been tested positive for the hantavirus, died recently.
  • The Hantavirus is not novel and its first case dates back to 1993, according to the US Centre for Disease Control (CDC).
  • It is contracted by humans from infected rodents.

What is Hantavirus?

  • Hantaviruses are a family of viruses spread mainly by rodents.
  • A person can get infected if he/she comes in contact with a rodent that carries the virus.
  • Cases of the hantavirus in humans occur mostly in rural areas where forests, fields and farms offer suitable habitat for infected rodents.

Symptoms:

  • A person infected with the virus may show symptoms within the first to eighth week after they have been exposed to fresh urine, faeces or the saliva of infected rodents.

Hendra virus (HeV):

  • Hendra virus (HeV) infection is a rare emerging zoonosis (disease that can be transmitted to humans from animals) that causes severe and often fatal disease in both infected horses and humans.
  • The natural host of the virus has been identified as being fruit bats of the Pteropodidae Family, Pteropus genus.

 

23) Answer: C

March 26, 2020 marked the 45th anniversary of the entry into force of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC).

Biological Weapons Convention (BWC):

  • Convention on the Bacteriological/Biological and Toxin Weapons, commonly known as the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) or Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) was opened for signature on 10 April 1972 and entered into force on 26 March 1975.
  • It is a legally binding
  • It is the first multilateral disarmament treaty banning an entire category of weapons of mass destruction.
  • It effectively prohibits the development, production, acquisition, transfer, retention, stockpiling and use of biological and toxin weapons.

Parties:

  • India is a party to this Convention.
  • It currently has 183 states-parties, including Palestine, and four signatories (Egypt, Haiti, Somalia, Syria, and Tanzania).
  • Ten states have neither signed nor ratified the BWC (Chad, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Israel, Kiribati, Micronesia, Namibia, South Sudan and Tuvalu).

 

24) Answer: D

  • Hydroxychloroquine, a drug that has existed for several decades, could see a resurgence of demand, after the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) recommended its use as a post-exposure prophylactic (preventive medicine) against the novel coronavirus disease.

Hydroxychloroquine:

  • Hydroxychloroquine (not to be confused with anti-malaria drug chloroquine) is an oral drug used in the treatment of autoimmune diseases such as Rheumatoid Arthritis.
  • The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says both hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have in vitro activity against SARSCoV, SARS-CoV-2, and other coronaviruses, with hydroxychloroquine having higher potency against SARS-CoV-2.

 

25) Answer: A

  • The government has constituted a high-level technical committee of Public Health Experts for COVID-19 to guide the prevention and control activities in the country.
  • The 21-member committee will be headed by NITI Aayog member Dr V K Paul.
  • Union Health Secretary Preeti Sudan and Director General Indian Council of Medical Research are the Co-Chair.

 

26) Answer: C

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister has recently approved financial assistance to the Modified Electronics Manufacturing Clusters (EMC2.0) Scheme for development of world class infrastructure along with common facilities and amenities through Electronics Manufacturing Clusters (EMCs).
  • It is expected that these EMCs would aid the growth of the ESDM sector, help development of entrepreneurial ecosystem, drive innovation and catalyse the economic growth of the region by attracting investments in the sector, increasing employment opportunities and tax revenues.

Modified Electronics Manufacturing Clusters (EMC 2.0) Scheme:

  • It would support setting up of both Electronics Manufacturing Clusters (EMCs) and Common Facility Centres (CFCs).
  • For the purpose of this Scheme, an Electronics Manufacturing Cluster (EMC) would set up in geographical areas of certain minimum extent, preferably contiguous, where the focus is on development of basic infrastructure, amenities and other common facilities for the ESDM units.
  • For Common Facility Centre (CFC), there should be a significant number of existing ESDM units located in the area and the focus is on upgrading common technical infrastructure and providing common facilities for the ESDM units in such EMCs, Industrial Areas/Parks/industrial corridors.

Background:

  • To build and create requisite infrastructure ecosystem for electronics manufacturing; Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) notified Electronics Manufacturing Clusters (EMC) Scheme which was open for receipt of applications up to October, 2017.
  • A period of 5 years (i.e. up to October, 2022) is available for disbursement of funds for the approved projects.
  • Under EMC scheme, 20 Greenfield EMCs and 3 Common Facility Centres (CFCs) have been approved in 15 states across the country.
  • There is a need for continuation of such scheme in modified form for further strengthening the infrastructure base for electronics industry in the country and deepening the electronics value chain.

 

27) Answer: C

Invest India:

  • Invest India, set up in 2009, is a non-profit venture under the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
  • As the national investment promotion and facilitation agency, Invest India focuses on sector-specific investor targeting and development of new partnerships to enable sustainable investments in India.
  • In addition to a core team that focuses on sustainable investments, Invest India also partners with substantial investment promotion agencies and multilateral organizations.
  • Invest India also actively works with several Indian states to build capacity as well as bring in global best practices in investment targeting, promotion and facilitation areas.

 

28) Answer: B

  • Keeping in mind the need for having a dedicated national fund with the primary objective of dealing with any kind of emergency or distress situation, like posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and to provide relief to the affected, a public charitable trust under the name of ‘Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund’ (PM CARES Fund)’ has been set up.
  • Prime Minister is the Chairman of this trust and its Members include Defence Minister, Home Minister and Finance Minister.
  • Donations to this fund will be exempted from income tax under section 80(G).
  • This fund will enable micro-donations as a result of which a large number of people will be able to contribute with smallest of denominations.

 

29) Answer: D

  • The German cabinet is planning to extend the benefit of short-time work allowance (Kurzarbeit Scheme) by the first half of April through legislation.

Kurzarbeit Scheme:

  • Kurzarbeit is a Germany’s existing scheme that provides for partial compensation for a worker’s earnings in such situations, and now modified to account for the current crisis.

How the scheme works?

  • Kurzarbeit is German for “short-work”.
  • The policy provides for a short-time work allowance, called kurzarbeitgeld, which partially compensates for lost earnings during uncertain economic situations.
  • The policy was rolled out during the 2008 economic crisis while its origins date back as far as the early 20th century, before and after World War I.
  • When companies face a loss of earnings due to unforeseen economic situations, they often need to cut back on their working hours or send some of their employees home.
  • The Kurzarbeit scheme aims to address workers who are impacted by loss of income due to shortened work hours during such times.
  • They can apply for short-term work benefits under the scheme, with the government stepping in to pay employees a part of their lost income.
  • This helps the companies retain their employees instead of laying them off, and allows the latter to sustain themselves for a period of up to 12 months.
  • The German cabinet is planning to extend the benefit of short-time work allowance by the first half of April through legislation.
  • As of now, if a company sees a decline in orders as a result of the current economic situation, it can announce short-time work, provided that a minimum of 30 per cent of its workforce will be affected by lack of work.
  • With the new legislation, the ceiling will be revised to 10 per cent of the workforce.

 

30) Answer: B

Reunion Island:

  • Reunion Island is a remote Indian Ocean island located between Madagascar and Mauritius.
  • It is an overseas region of France.
  • The island’s capital is Saint-Denis which is home to one-fifth of the population.
  • The Island is home to one of the world’s most active volcanoes, the Piton de la Fournaise which is also a World Heritage site.
  • India and France have conducted joint patrols from the Reunion Island for the first time. (This is different from annual Indo-French Military Joint Exercise Shakti).

 

31) Answer: C

Capital-to-risk Weighted Assets Ratio:

  • CRAR or Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) is the ratio of a bank’s capital in relation to its risk weighted assets and current liabilities.
  • It is decided by central banks and bank regulators to prevent commercial banks from taking excess leverage and becoming insolvent in the process.
  • The Basel III norms stipulated a capital to risk weighted assets of 8%.
  • However, as per RBI norms, Indian scheduled commercial banks are required to maintain a CRAR of 9%.

 

32) Answer: A

  • Invest India, India’s national Investment Promotion & Facilitation Agency, under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry has launched The Invest India Business Immunity Platform.
  • The platform, hosted on the Invest India website, is designed as a comprehensive resource to help businesses and investors get real-time updates on India’s active response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus).
  • This dynamic and constantly updating platform keeps a regular track on developments with respect to the virus, provides latest information on various central and state government initiatives, gives access to special provisions, and answers and resolves queries through emails and on WhatsApp.
  • The Business Immunity Platform (BIP) is the active platform for business issue redressal, operating 24/7, with a team of dedicated sector experts and responding to queries at the earliest.
  • Invest India has also announced a partnership with SIDBI (Small Industries Development Bank of India) for responding and resolving queries for MSMEs.

 

33) Answer: B

Unnat Bharat Abhiyan 2.0:

  • Under Unnat Bharat Abhiyan (UBA) 2.0-a flagship program of MHRD, GOI 688 institutions are selected on a Challenge Mode (426 technical and 262 non- technical) which are reputed Higher Educational Institutes (both public and private) of the country, which have adopted total no. of 3555 villages for their development through UBA.
  • IIT Delhi has been designated to function as the National Coordinating Institute for this program.
  • Unnat Bharat Abhiyan is inspired by the vision of transformational change in rural development processes by leveraging knowledge institutions to help build the architecture of an Inclusive India.
  • The Mission of Unnat Bharat Abhiyan is to enable higher educational institutions to work with the people of rural India in identifying development challenges and evolving appropriate solutions for accelerating sustainable growth.
  • It also aims to create a virtuous cycle between society and an inclusive academic system by providing knowledge and practices for emerging professions and to upgrade the capabilities of both the public and the private sectors in responding to the development needs of rural India.
  • In order to move towards the holistic development of the villages, there are two major domains, i.e. human development and material (economic) development, which need to be developed in an integrated way.

 

34) Answer: B

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has recently given its approval for continuation of the process of recapitalization of Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) by providing minimum regulatory capital to RRBs for another year beyond 2019-20, that is, up to 2020-21 for those RRBs which are unable to maintain minimum Capital to Risk weighted Assets Ratio (CRAR) of 9%, as per the regulatory norms prescribed by the Reserve Bank of India.

Objectives of RRBs:

  1. To provide credit and other facilities to the small and marginal farmers, agricultural labourers, artisans and small entrepreneurs in rural areas.
  2. To check the outflow of rural deposits to urban areas and reduce regional imbalances and increase rural employment generation.
  3. The RRBs are required to provide 75% of their total credit as priority sector lending.

Recapitalisation:

  • The recapitalisation process of RRBs was approved by the cabinet in 2011 based on the recommendations of a committee set up under the Chairmanship of K C Chakrabarty.

 

35) Answer: B

  • The World Happiness Report 2020 has been released recently by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN).
  • Finland was once again crowned as the world’s happiest country, extending its lead over Denmark and Switzerland.
  • India ranks 144 in the ranking.

World Happiness Report:

  • The World Happiness Report is a landmark survey of the state of global happiness that ranks 156 countries by how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be.
  • The World Happiness Report 2020 for the first time ranks cities around the world by their subjective well-being and digs more deeply into how the social, urban and natural environments combine to affect our happiness.

 

36) Answer: C

  • Indian culture portal is the first government authorized portal where knowledge and cultural resources of various organizations of Ministry of Culture are now available in public domain on a single platform.
  • It is a part of National Virtual Library of India Project.
  • The Indian Culture portal was envisioned by the Ministry of Culture and was developed by a team from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay while the curation of the data has been done by Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU).
  • The content available on the portal comprises mainly of rare books, e-books, manuscripts, artefacts from museum, virtual galleries, archives, photo archives, gazetteers, Indian National Bibliography, videos, images, cuisine, UNESCO, Musical Instruments of India among others.
  • One of the unique features of the portal is the stories, based on original archival documents narrated in an interesting, easy to read and understand format.
  • The portal also contains write-ups and beautiful pictures on cuisines, festivals, paintings, folk art and classical art from different states of India. Rich information about rare books, manuscripts and research papers on our cultural heritage is also available on this portal.
  • The content on the portal is available in English and Hindi language in an interactive, user-friendly interface. As envisioned by the Ministry, the portal also will be available in other regional languages in future.
  • The larger aim of the Indian Culture portal is to create awareness among the citizens about the diverse heritage of our country.

 

37) Answer: C

India-US Science and Technology Forum:

  • The Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF) established under an agreement between the Governments of India and the United States of America in March 2000, is an autonomous bilateral organization jointly funded by both the Governments that promotes Science, Technology, Engineering and Innovation through substantive interaction among government, academia and industry.
  • The Department of Science & Technology, Governments of India and the U.S. Department of States are respective nodal departments.

Its mission is to:

  • Act as a catalyst to promote long-term scientific collaborations between India and the U.S. through partnerships amongst individual scientists, scientific institutions and the scientific community at large.
  • Establish platforms and mechanisms to connect the S&T eco-systems of both the countries to act as a fertile ground to foster individual and institutional partnerships in a natural and sustainable manner.

The objectives of the forum are:

  • Create awareness through exchange and dissemination of Information and Opportunities in S&T cooperation.
  • Capitalize and build on the scientific and technological synergy leading to long term partnerships on shared values.
  • Support an exciting program portfolio that leads to sustainable interactions and strengthens strategic partnerships.
  • Nurture contacts between young and mid-career scientists to develop mutual trust, foster excellence and explore new frontiers.
  • Encourage public-private partnerships to foster elements of Innovation, Application and Enterprise.

 

38) Answer: D

National Biopharma Mission:

  • The National Biopharma Mission was approved by the Cabinet for implementation in May 2017with a total cost US$ 250 million which is co-funded World Bank 50%.
  • It is an Industry-Academia Collaborative Mission of Department of Biotechnology (DBT) for Accelerating Early Development for Biopharmaceuticals; to be implemented by Biotechnology Research Assistance Council (BIRAC)-a Public Sector Undertaking of DBT.
  • It is a Pan-India Programme with the main aim of making India a hub for design and development of novel, affordable and effective biopharmaceutical products and solutions.
  • The program will specifically focus on the development of new vaccines, bio-therapeutics, diagnostics and medical devices to address the rising burden of diseases in the country.

The mission is focusing on:

  • Development of product leads that are at advanced stages of the product development lifecycle and relevant to the public health need in vaccine, bio similar and medical devices & diagnostics.
  • Establishing and strengthening shared infrastructure facilities for product development and validation. These would be for all products being developed.
  • Developing human capital by providing specific trainings to address the critical skills gap across the product development value chain.
  • Creating and enhancing technology transfer and intellectual property management capacities and capabilities.

 

39) Answer: A

Gender Social Norms Index (GSNI):

  • The Gender Social Norms Index was recently released by the United Nations Development Program.
  • It measures how social beliefs obstruct gender equality in areas like politics, work, and education, and contains data from 75 countries, covering over 80 percent of the world’s population.

Highlights of the Report are:

  • The analysis reveals that, despite decades of progress closing the equality gap between men and women, close to 90 percent of men and women hold some sort of bias against women, providing new clues to the invisible barrier’s women face in achieving equality.
  • According to the index, about half of the world’s men and women feel that men make better political leaders, and over 40 percent feel that men make better business executives and that men have more right to a job when jobs are scarce. 28 percent think it is justified for a man to beat his wife.

 

40) Answer: C

ROPAX Service:

  • A roll on-roll off cum passenger ferry service, also called ‘ROPAX’, between Mumbai and Mandwa near Alibaug, was launched recently in the presence of Union Minister of State for Shipping.
  • The vessel, built in Greece, can carry 200 cars and 1,000 passengers, and is capable of plying even during monsoon.
  • It can reach speeds of 14 knots and will complete the 18-kilometre sea journey in 45 minutes to one hour. The road distance between Mumbai and Mandwa is 110 kilometres and can take anything between three to four hours.
  • While Mumbai Port Trust built the jetty facilities at Ferry Wharf in the metropolis at the cost of ₹31 crore, the ROPAX jetty and terminal at Mandwa has been built by Maharashtra Maritime Board at the cost of ₹135 crore.

 

41) Answer: A

The Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH) has cancelled the 49th edition of IHGF – Delhi Fair Spring-2020in view of present status of COVID-19 in India and abroad.

Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH):

  • It is a non-profit organization, established under the EXIM policy of Government of India in the year 1986-87.
  • It works under the aegis of Development Commissioner (Handicrafts), Ministry of Textiles, Government of India.
  • It has created necessary infrastructure as well as marketing and information facilities, which are availed both by the member exporters and importers.
  • The Council is engaged in promotion of handicrafts from India and project India’s image abroad as a reliable supplier of high-quality handicrafts.
  • The Council is run and managed by team of professionals headed by Executive Director.
  • The Committee of Administration consists of eminent exporters, professionals.
  • The Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts has a rarest distinction of being considered as MODEL COUNCIL that is self-sustaining and where all the promotional activities are self-financed.

 

42) Answer: D

The Vice President of India and Rajya Sabha Chairman, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has appealed to all Members of Parliament to contribute at least Rs. 1 crore initially from their MPLADS funds to supplement the Government’s efforts in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.

Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS):

  • The Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) is an ongoing Central Sector Scheme which was launched in 1993-94.
  • The Scheme enables the Members of Parliament to recommend works for creation of durable community assets based on locally felt needs to be taken up in their constituencies in the area of national priorities namely drinking water, education, public health, sanitation, roads etc.
  • The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation has been responsible for the policy formulation, release of funds and prescribing monitoring mechanism for implementation of the Scheme.

Features:

  • The MPLADS is a Plan Scheme fully funded by Government of India.
  • The annual MPLADS fund entitlement per MP constituency is 5 crores.
  • MPs are to recommend every year, works costing at least 15 per cent of the MPLADS entitlement for the year for areas inhabited by Scheduled Caste population and 7.5 per cent for areas inhabited by S.T. population.
  • In order to encourage trusts and societies for the betterment of tribal people, a ceiling of Rs. 75 lakhs are stipulated for building assets by trusts and societies subject to conditions prescribed in the scheme guidelines.
  • Lok Sabha Members can recommend works within their Constituencies.
  • Elected Members of Rajya Sabha can recommend works within the State of Election (with select exceptions).
  • Nominated Members of both the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha can recommend works anywhere in the country.

 

43) Answer: C

The Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare launched the National Tele-consultation Centre (CoNTeC) recently.

CoNTeC:

  • The project CoNTeC, an acronym for COVID-19 National Tele-consultation Centre, has been conceptualized by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfareand has been implemented by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi.
  • The CoNTeC is a Telemedicine Hub established by AIIMS, New Delhi, wherein expert doctors from various clinical domains will be available 24×7 to answer the multifaceted questions from specialists from all over the country.
  • It is a multi-modal telecommunications hub through which 2-way audio-video and text communications can be undertaken from any part of the country as well as the world at large.
  • The modes of communication will include simple mobile telephony as well as two-way video communications, using WhatsApp, Skype and Google Duo.
  • The CoNTeC is also fully integrated with the National Medical College Network (NMCN) to conduct a full-fledged Video Conference (VC) between the 50 Medical Colleges connected through the NMCN with its National Resource Centre located at SGPGI, Lucknow.
  • The patient management advice offered will be standardized as per the national guidelines supplemented protocols developed by the team at AIIMS, nominated by the Director, AIIMS.

 

44) Answer: B

UN World Happiness Report- 2019:

  • UN World Happiness Report, 2019 is released by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the United Nations on March 20, which was designated as the World Happiness Day by the UN General Assembly in 2012.
  • India figures at 140th place, seven spots down from last year, on UN World Happiness Report- 2019.
  • The report ranks countries on six key variables that support well-being: income, freedom, trust, healthy life expectancy, social support and generosity.
  • According to the report, the overall world happiness has fallen over the past few years, which has mostly been fuelled by a sustained drop in India, which came in 140th place this year compared with 133rd place a year ago.
  • The UN’s seventh annual World Happiness Report, which ranks the world’s 156 countries on “how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be”, also noted that there has been an increase in negative emotions, including worry, sadness and anger.
  • Finland has been ranked as the happiest country in the world for the second year in succession. The Nordic nation is followed by Denmark, Norway, Iceland and The Netherlands.
  • Pakistan is ranked 67th, Bangladesh 125th and China is place at 93rd.
  • People in war-torn South Sudan are the most unhappy with their lives, followed by Central African Republic (155), Afghanistan (154), Tanzania (153) and Rwanda (152).

 

45) Answer: A

Krishna Raja Sagar Dam:

  • Farmers in Karnataka held protests against the State Government for increasing the discharge of water to Tamil Nadu from upstream Krishna Raja Sagar (KRS).
  • It is a type of Gravity Dam that is located below the confluence of river Kaveri with its tributaries Hemavati and Lakshmana Tirtha, in the district of Mandya in Karnataka.
  • The project was conceptualised by Bharat Ratna awardee, Chief Engineer of Mysore M. Visvesvaraya. The construction began in 1911 and it began operations in 1938.
  • The water from the Dam is used for irrigation in Mysore and Mandya, and is the main source of drinking water for Mysore, Mandya and Bengaluru city.
  • The water released from this dam flows into the state of Tamil Nadu and is stored in Mettur dam in the Salem district.

 

46) Answer: C

The Earth Hour for the year 2020 is celebrated virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earth Hour:

  • Earth Hour, organized by WWF, is a global grassroots movement uniting people to take action on environmental issues and protect the planet.
  • Engaging a massive mainstream community, Earth Hour was famously started as a light out event in Sydney, Australia in 2007.
  • The event encourages people to switch off the lights from 8.30 pm to 9.30 pm as per their local time.

 

47) Answer: C

Legacy Waste:

  • Legacy wastes are the wastes that have been collected and kept for years at some barren land or a place dedicated for Landfill (an area to dump solid waste).
  • Legacy wastes not only occupy large space, but also become a breeding ground for pathogens, flies, malodours and generation of leachate, which may lead to water contamination.
  • They also contribute to generation of greenhouse gases and pose risk of uncontrollable fire.

This waste can be roughly grouped into four categories:

  • Contained and/or stored waste (contained or stored waste are wastes in tanks, canisters, and stainless-steel bins).
  • Buried waste.
  • Contaminated soil and groundwater
  • Contaminated building materials and structures.
  • Bio-mining method has been proposed by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for the effective disposal of legacy wastes.
  • Recently, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed a committee to assess the amount of damage caused to the environment due to the dump sites (legacy waste) in Delhi.
  • The committee comprises representatives from the Central Pollution Control Board, National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) and IIT Delhi.

 

48) Answer: D

National Mission on Himalayan Studies (NMHS):

  • It is a Central Sector Grant-in-aid Scheme.
  • It targets to provide much needed focus, through holistic understanding of system’s components and their linkages, in addressing the key issues relating to conservation and sustainable management of natural resources in Indian Himalayan Region (IHR).
  • The ultimate goal is to improve quality of life and maintain ecosystem health of the region to ensure long- term ecological security to the country.
  • As the Mission specifically targets the Indian Himalayan Region (IHR), the jurisdiction of NMHS includes 10 Himalayan states fully(i.e., Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura and Uttarakhand) and two states partially (i.e., hill districts of Assam and West Bengal).
  • The Mission strategy is to focus on enhancing livelihoods of local communities, in line with the National Environment Policy, 2006 of the Government, with a basic premise that the most secured and effective basis for conservation is to ensure that people dependent on particular resources obtain better livelihoods from the act of conservation than from the degradation of the resources.

Implementation:

  • The Scheme will be implemented by the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEF&CC), and it will have its nodal and serving hub with G.B. Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment & Development (GBPIHED) with a fully dedicated Project Management Unit for the NMHS.
  • To guide the overall implementation, a Steering Committee, chaired by the Secretary MoEF&CC, is in place.

Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region:

  • It spreads over 3,500 square kilometres across eight countriesincluding India, Nepal and China.

8 National Missions under NAPCC:

  • National Solar Mission
  • National Water Mission
  • National Mission for a Green India
  • National Mission on Sustainable Habitat
  • National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture
  • National Mission on Enhanced Energy Efficiency
  • National Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change
  • National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Eco-system

 

49) Answer: D

Huntington Disease:

  • A team of scientists from the National Centre for Cell Science (NCCS), Pune studied the HTT gene in fruit flies.
  • Huntington disease (HD) is a progressive genetic disorder affecting the brain that causes uncontrolled movements, impaired coordination of balance and movement, a decline in cognitive abilities, difficulty in concentrating and memory lapses, mood swings and personality changes.
  • It is caused by a mutation in a gene called HTT. The HTT genes are involved in the production of a protein called huntingtin. They provide the instruction for making the protein. When the genes mutate, they provide faulty instructions leading to production of abnormal huntingtin proteins and these form into clumps. The clumps disrupt the normal functioning of the brain cells, which eventually leads to death of neurons in the brain, resulting in Huntington disease.
  • While it is known that the clumps formed by the abnormal huntingtin protein disrupt several cellular processes, it is not known whether they also influence the key process in the formation of other proteins in the cell.
  • HD affects the whole brain, but certain areas are more vulnerable than others.

 

50) Answer: D

Biomining:

  • Biomining is the process of using microorganisms (microbes) to extract metals of economic interest from rock ores or mine waste.
  • Biomining techniques may also be used to clean up sites that have been polluted with metals.
  • It is usually used for old dumped waste that remains in a partly or fully decomposed state with no segregation in existence between wet and dry waste.

How it works?

  • In the cost-effective method of bioremediation, treatment is done by dividing the garbage heap at the site into suitable blocks to let the air percolate in the heap.
  • As a result, the leachate which is the water in the heap with suspended solid particles is drained off and microbes are sprayed in the heap to initiate biological decompositions.
  • The waste is turned over several times in order to devoid the waste to leachate as much as possible.
  • This biological decomposition of the waste decreases the volume of the waste by 40%.