1) Answer: B
- Recently, the Punjab Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Department issued an advisory about Yellow Rust disease in wheat crops.
- It is a fungal disease which turns leaves yellowish and affects the photosynthesis process.
- Yellow Rust disease appears as yellow stripes of powder or dust on leaves and leaf sheaths of the wheat crop.
- This yellow powder comes out on clothing or fingers when touched.
- The disease can spread rapidly under congenial conditions and affects crop development, and eventually the yield.
- In India, it is a major disease in the Northern Hill Zone and the North- Western Plain Zone.
- It spreads easily in those regions during the onset of cool weather and when wind conditions are favourable.
- Rain, dew and fog favour the disease’s development.
- Last year, a new variety of wheat called HD-3226 or Pusa Yashasvi was released by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, which had higher levels of resistance against major rust fungi such as the yellow/stripe, brown/leaf and black/stem.
- According to the IIWBR advisory, if farmers observe yellow rust in patches in their wheat fields, they should spray fungicides.
2) Answer: C
- The Kala Ghoda Arts Festival (KGAF) is the India’s largest multicultural street festival.
- It is held annually since 1999 in February in Mumbai.
- It is organized by Kala Ghoda Association, which was formed in 1998 with the objective of maintaining and preserving the heritage and art district of South Mumbai.
3) Answer: B
- The Supreme Court recently ruled that no time restriction should ordinarily be fixed for anticipatory bail and that it can continue even until the end of the trial.
- The protection granted under Section 438 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPc) “should not invariably be limited to a fixed period”, a 5- judge Constitution bench, deciding a reference made to it following “conflicting views” of some other benches of the court.
- As opposed to Ordinary bail, which is granted to a person who is under arrest, in anticipatory bail, a person is directed to be released on bail even before arrest made.
- Section 438 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPc) lays down the law on anticipatory bail. Sub-section (1) of the provision reads: “When any person has reason to believe that he may be arrested on an accusation of having committed a “non-bailable offence”, he may apply to the High Court or the Court of Session for a direction under this section; and that Court may, if it thinks fit, direct that in the event of such arrest, he shall be released on bail.”
- The provision empowers only the Sessions Court and High Court to grant anticipatory bail.
4) Answer: A
- Recently, the United States, Mexico, and Canada have reached an agreement to modernize the 25-year-old NAFTA.
- The new United States – Mexico – Canada Agreement (USMCA) will support mutually beneficial trade.
- The USMCA replaces the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
- The new deal includes stronger labor and environmental provisions.
- American labor groups have backed the new trade deal.
- It provides strong and effective protection and enforcement of IP rights critical to driving innovation, creating economic growth, and supporting American jobs.
- In a major change, the U.S.M.C.A. rolls back a special system of arbitration that allowed companies to sue governments for unfair treatment.
- The provision was criticized both by the Trump administration, which said it encouraged outsourcing, and by Democrats, who said it gave corporations too much power to challenge environmental and consumer regulations.
5) Answer: A
- Tyler Prize 2020 has been awarded to Indian economist who formulated Green Economy.
- It has been awarded to conservation biologist Gretchen C. Daily, and environmental economist Pavan Sukhdev, both pioneers in illuminating and quantifying the economic value of our natural environment.
- Pavan Sukhdev is a renowned environmental economist and UN Environment Programme Goodwill Ambassador.
- He was also appointed as the study leader of a global UNEP-hosted study on ‘The Economics of Ecosystems & Biodiversity’ from 2008 to 2010.
- The first report of the study was published during the peak of the 2008 global financial crisis.
- The report went on to become a foundation for the Global Green Economy movement.
- The Tyler prize is one of the first international premier environmental awards, described as the ‘Nobel Prize for Environment’.
- The award was constituted in 1973 by the late John and Alice Tyler.
- President Ronald Reagan, then Governor of California, helped inaugurate the John and Alice Tyler Prize in 1973.
- The goal was to create an international award that would recognize those working to preserve and enhance our world, and inspire others to understand the importance of the environment.
- Recipients of the Tyler Prize are honored in an illustrious ceremony, presented with the Tyler Prize medallion and awarded USD$200,000.
6) Answer: D
- India slips to 40th position on International Intellectual Property Index (IP Index) which was released recently.
- It was released by the Global Innovation Policy Centre (GIPC) of the US Chambers of Commerce.
- GIPC is the premier institution of the United States Chamber of Commerce.
- The survey was conducted in 53 countries.
- India scored 38.46% (19.23 out of 50) in 2020. In 2019, the score was 36.04% (16.22 out of 45).
- As per the report, India has shown improvement in terms of scores when it comes to the protection of IP and copyright issues.
- The report identified several challenges for India including compulsory licensing, patentability requirements, patent enforcement, patent opposition, regulatory data protection, transparency in reporting seizures by customs, Singapore Treaty of Law of Trademarks and Patent Law Treaty.
7) Answer: A
- The Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) is hosting a web portal “TrackChild” to track the missing and found children.
- The TrackChild Portal is implemented in association with various stakeholders including Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Ministry of Railways, State Governments/UT Administrations, Child Welfare Committees, Juvenile Justice Boards and National Legal Services Authority.
- Child Adoption Resource Information and Guidance System (CARINGS)
- It is an Online Portal of Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), Ministry of Women and Child Development.
8) Answer: C
- Recently, a Sessions court in Mumbai rejected the anticipatory bail application of a student booked under Section 124A (sedition) of the IPC along with 50 others.
- The sedition charge was filed on the basis of slogans that the student had raised in favour of another student who has already been booked for sedition.
- The court said the slogan “attracts the ingredients of sedition”.
- Section 124A IPC states: “Whoever, by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards, the Government established by law in India, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, to which a fine may be added; or, with imprisonment which may extend to three years, to which a fine may be added; or, with fine.”
- Section 124A, and was introduced by the British colonial government in 1870.
- It was actually brought to suppress the freedom struggle prevalent then.
- It was first used to prosecute Bal Gangadhar Tilak in 1897.
- Mahatma Gandhi, too, was later tried for sedition for his articles in Young India.
- The Constituent Assembly debated to include sedition as a ground for restricting free speech.
9) Answer: B
- Every year, February 6 is observed as the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
- Female genital mutilation (FGM) involves the partial or total removal of external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for “non-medical” reasons.
- The practice has no health benefits for girls and women.
- FGM can cause severe bleeding and problems urinating, and later cysts, infections, as well as complications in childbirth and increased risk of new-born deaths.
- FGM is mostly carried out on young girls between infancy and age 15. It is a violation of the human rights of girls and women.
- WHO is opposed to all forms of FGM, and is opposed to health care providers performing FGM (medicalization of FGM).
- The theme for this year’s International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting, “Unleashing Youth Power: One Decade of Accelerating Actions for Zero Female Genital Mutilation by 2030”.
- In 2018, a study on FGM in India said that the practice was up to 75% across the Dawoodi Bohra community.
- The Dawoodi Bohra community, maintained that the practice should be allowed since the Constitution grants religious freedom under Article 25.
WHO classifies 4 types of FGM:
- Type 1 (partial or total removal of the clitoral glans);
- Type 2 (partial or total removal of the external and visible parts of the clitoris and the inner folds of the vulva);
- Type 3 (infibulation, or narrowing of the vaginal opening through the creation of a covering seal),
- Type 4 (picking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterising the genital area).
10) Answer: B
- Recently, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced its 6th bi-monthly Monetary policy statement for 2019-20 in which the repo rate was left unchanged.
- Monetary policy refers to the policy of the central bank (RBI) with regard to the use of monetary instruments under its control to achieve the goals specified in the Act.
- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is vested with the responsibility of conducting monetary policy.
- This responsibility is explicitly mandated under the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934.
- Price stability is a necessary precondition to sustainable growth.
- Fiscal policy is a mean by which the Government adjust its spending levels along with tax rates to influence and monitor the nation’s economy.
- Through the fiscal policy, the government of a country controls the flow of tax revenues and public expenditure to navigate the economy.
- The objective of both the policy is to maintain price stability while keeping in mind the objective of growth.
11) Answer: A
- Paraquat is an herbicide used in agricultural fields.
- The chances of survival are dim for anyone who consumes the herbicide.
- Paraquat consumption leads to pulmonary fibrosis and patients find difficulty in respiration.
- It affects the lungs, liver and kidney.
- No antidote is available for the paraquat herbicide.
- Even if a person survives, he will not be fully fit as pulmonary fibrosis worsens with the passage of time.
- 38 countries having already banned the sale of paraquat and in India, it is also banned in Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
12) Answer: C
- To mark of 25 years of the adoption of Beijing Platform for Action, Ministry of Women & Child Development (MWCD), the National Commission for Women (NCW) and UN Women organized a National Consultation on the Review of Beijing+25, to galvanize all stakeholders to implement actions that remove the most conspicuous barriers to gender equality.
- National Consultation on the Review of Beijing+25
- The aim of the consultation was to bring together civil society and the women and youth of India, gender equality advocates from all walks of life, in a national public conversation on the urgent actions that need to be taken for the realization of gender equality.
- The objectives of the Consultation were to assess progress and challenges to the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action in India over the past 5 year, discuss lessons learned, priority actions required to realized gender equality and the empowerment of women by 2030, discuss emerging areas that have impact on women’s empowerment.
Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action
- The 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing, was one of the largest ever gatherings of the United Nations, and a critical turning point in the world’s focus on gender equality and the empowerment of women.
- 2020 marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women and adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (1995), (Beijing + 25).
- A quarter of a century on, several innovations and progress has been made on many fronts across the 12 critical areas of concern of the BPfA.
Steps Taken by GoI
- Under the helm of Ministry of Women and Child Development, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao was expanded to all 640 districts resulting in a 13-point improvement in the sex ratio from 918 (2014-15) to 931 (2018-19).
- The female net enrolment ratio of 93.55 percent at the elementary level and a significant decline in the overall drop-out rate to 19.8% for boys and girls.
- Over 17.43 lakh women were reached out under the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY Maternity Benefit Programme) and over 18.6 lakh were addressed through Women Helpline Number (181) across country as on September 2018.
- To improve the overall gender responsiveness of the police and encourage participation of women in the force, advisory have been issued to increase representation of women to 33 percent resulting in extension of reservation in 15 additional States in the last 5 years.
- Further, to strengthen the ecosystem for working women and encourage economic participation, extension of maternity leave duration from 12 to 26 weeks and compulsory establishment of creche in work spaces have been effectuated through legislative amendment.
13) Answer: C
- The Survey was tabled by the Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs, Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, in the Parliament recently.
- The Economic Survey 2019-20 has stated that the access to Nutrition and Electricity resulted in higher growth rate in India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and new firm creation in Service Sector is far greater than that in Manufacturing, Infrastructure or Agriculture.
14) Answer: C
- Recently, the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) organised the 12th South Asia Conference.
- The theme of the South Asia Conference 2020 is India’s “Neighbourhood First” Policy: Regional Perceptions.
- IDSA has been organising the annual South Asia Conference since 2007.
- The flagship conference has dealt with a number of important issues, such as, economic cooperation for development, changing political context in India’s neighbourhood, common challenges of terrorism in South Asia and prospects of regional cooperation.
- It provides an important platform for academics, policymakers, intellectuals, semi-government and government officials from participating countries to discuss issues of mutual concern and explore avenues of cooperation.
- All SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) countries and Myanmar participate in the IDSA conference.
- Outside of SAARC, Myanmar has been a regular invitee as an important member of India’s extended neighbourhood and engagement with it has been very productive.
- The Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) is a nonpartisan, autonomous body dedicated to objective research and policy relevant studies on all aspects of defence and security.
- Its mission is to promote national and international security through the generation and dissemination of knowledge on defence and securityrelated issues.
15) Answer: A
- Recently, the Government mentioned 5 ‘iconic’ archaeological sites in the Budget.
- Government proposes to set up an Indian Institute of Heritage and Conservation under the Ministry of Culture, and develop 5 archaeological sites as “iconic sites” with onsite museums in,
- Rakhigarhi (Haryana),
- Hastinapur (Uttar Pradesh),
- Sivsagar (Assam),
- Dholavira (Gujarat) and
- Adichanallur (Tamil Nadu).
- Adichnallur lies in the Thoothukudi district of Tamil Nadu.
- It is an iorn-age urn-burial site and was first brought to light during a haphazard excavation by a German archaeologist in 1876.
- Following this, an Englishman Alexander Rae excavated the site between 1889 and 1905.
- Over the years, the site has gained attention because of three important findings,
- The discovery of an ancient Tamil-Brahmi script on the inside of an urn containing a full human skeleton,
- A fragment of a broken earthenware, and
- The remains of living quarters.
- It is situated on the banks of Thamiraparani river.
- The artefacts, including urns, potsherds, red and black pots, earthenwares, iron pieces, bones, hero stones, stone inscriptions and vattezhuthukal are excavated.
16) Answer: A
Sammakka Saralamma Jatara or Medaram Jatara
- It is a tribal festival of honouring the goddesses celebrated in the state of Telangana, India.
- The Jatra begins at Medaram in Tadvai Mandal in Mulugu district.
- It commemorates the fight of a mother and daughter, Sammakka and Saralamma, with the reigning rulers against an unjust law.
- It is celebrated in Medaram during the time the goddesses of the tribals is believed to visit them.
- Medaram is a remote place in the Eturnagaram Wildlife Sanctuary, a part of Dandakaranya, the largest surviving forest belt in the Mulugu.
- Sammakka Saralamma Jatara is the time for the largest tribal religious congregation in the world, held every two years (biennially).
- The Sammakka Saralamma Jatra is a State Festival of Govt. of Telangana.
- It is a festival with no vedic or brahmanic influence.
- Jampanna vagu Jampanna vagu is a tributary to River Godavari.
- According to the history, Jampanna is the tribal warrior and the son of Tribal Goddess Sammakka.
- The Jampanna vagu took his name as he died in a battle fighting against Kakatiyan Army in that stream.
- The Jampanna vagu is still red in colour marked with the blood of Jampanna (Scientifically the red colour of the water is attributed to the soil composition).
- Tribal’s believe that taking a holy dip in the red water of Jampanna Vagu reminds them the sacrifice of their gods who save them and also induces courage into their souls.
- There is a bridge constructed on top of Jampanna Vagu, known as Jampanna Vagu bridge.
17) Answer: D
- The recent amendment in the Protection of Human Rights Act adds Chairpersons of National Commission for Backward Classes, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights and the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities as the new deemed Members of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
- The Chairpersons for National Commissions for Minorities, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Women were already the deemed Members of the Commission.
18) Answer: B
- Telangana has emerged as the best performing state in promoting inclusive and sustainable economic growth and decent work for all on Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) India Index 2019, according to United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) India.
- The SDG India Index 2019-20, developed by NITI Aayog in collaboration with the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI), the United Nations in India, and the Global Green Growth Institute.
- The Index has been constructed spanning across 16 out of 17 SDGs with a qualitative assessment on SDG 17.
- It tracks the progress of all the States and Union Territories (UTs) on a set of 100 National Indicators derived from the National Indicator Framework, measuring their progress on the outcomes of interventions and schemes of the Government of India.
- It is intended to provide a holistic view on the social, economic and environmental status of the country and its States and UTs.
19) Answer: C
- Recently, a Spectacular Fireball lights up the Cornish Sky (near UK).
- The Meteor was so bright that it lit up the Atlantic surface and the lobster traps in the foreground.
- The term “Fireball” classified by the American Meteor Society as “a very bright meteor, generally brighter than magnitude -4”, which is the same brightness as Venus in the morning or night sky.
- Some meteors have the added notoriety of being classified as Bolides.
- A Bolide is a Fireball that is accompanied by an explosion.
- Bolide explodes or breaks up (usually accompanied by a sonic boom) before reaching the ground.
20) Answer: B
- Recently, Bank of Baroda partners CARE Ratings to assess credit quality of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
- The rating agency will evaluate the credit quality of existing and prospective SME customers of the bank.
- A Credit Rating Agency (CRA) is a company that rates “debtors” on the basis of their ability to pay back their interests and loan amount on time and the probability of them defaulting.
- These agencies may also analyse the creditworthiness of debt issuers and provide credit ratings to only organisations and not individual consumers.
- Individuals are given ‘credit scores’, while corporations and governments receive ‘credit ratings’.
- Individual customers are rated by specialised agencies known as Credit Bureaus.
- National Governments, not countries, are assigned credit ratings.
- Rating is denoted by a simple alphanumeric symbol. E.g. AA+ etc.
- In India, CRAs are regulated by SEBI (Credit Rating Agencies) Regulations, 1999 of the Securities and Exchange Board of India Act, 1992.
21) Answer: A
- The “Find the Incredible You” campaign of the Tourism Ministry, has won the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Gold Award, 2019.
- About the Campaign:
- The Campaign focuses on the promotion of niche tourism products of the Country on digital and social media.
- It was part of the Incredible India Campaign of Ministry of Tourism.
- It focuses on transformative experiences brought alive through unique storytelling in the format of autobiographies of travellers, with the tagline ‘Find the Incredible you’.
About the PATA Gold Awards
- The awards are given to tourism industry organizations and individuals making an outstanding contribution towards the successful promotion of the travel industry throughout the Asia Pacific Region.
- The PATA grand awards are presented to outstanding entries in four principal categories: Marketing; Education and Training; Environment and Heritage and Culture.
- India won the award in ‘Marketing – Primary Government Destination’ category.
22) Answer: B
- Ministry of MSME is implementing a ‘Scheme of Fund for Regeneration of Traditional Industries’ (SFURTI) Scheme under which financial support is being provided for setting up of traditional industries clusters viz. Khadi, Coir & Village industries clusters.
The objectives of the SFURTI Scheme are:
- To develop clusters of traditional industries in the country over a period of five years.
- To make traditional industries more competitive, market-driven, productive and profitable.
- To strengthen the local governance system of industry clusters, with active participation of the local stakeholders, so that they are enabled to development initiatives.
- To build up innovated and traditional skills, improved technologies, advanced processes, market intelligence and new models of public-private partnerships, so as to gradually replicate similar models of cluster-based regenerated traditional industries.
23) Answer: B
Sophisticated Analytical & Technical Help Institutes (SATHI):
- The Department of Science and Technology (DST) is initiating of setting up a shared, professionally managed, Science and Technology infrastructure facility, which can be readily be accessible to academia, start-ups, manufacturing units, industries and R&D Labs.
- Such S&T infrastructure will be known as Sophisticated Analytical &Technical Help Institute (SATHI).
- These Centres will be equipped with major analytical instrument and advanced manufacturing facility, which is usually not available at Institutes/Organisations.
- The aim is to provide professionally managed services with efficiency, accessibility and transparency of highest order under one roof to service the demands of industry, start-ups and academia.
- In the first phase SATHI facilities are being located at IIT-Delhi, IIT-Kharagpur and BHU-Varanasi.
- It is planned to set up five SATHI Centres every year for the next four years.
- SATHI will address the problems of accessibility, maintenance, redundancy and duplication of expensive equipment in our Institutions, while reaching out to the less endowed organizations in need, e.g., industry, MSMEs, start-ups and State Universities.
- This will also foster a strong culture of collaboration between institutions and across disciplines to take advantage of developments, innovations and expertise in diverse areas.
24) Answer: A
- The government, in the Union Budget, proposed to increase the insurance cover on bank deposits from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakh.
- The proposal is expected to instil more confidence and trust of the public in the banking system, leading to a rise in savings by depositors.
- The Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation (DICGC), a wholly owned subsidiary of the RBI, gives insurance cover and it is governed by the RBI.
- When a bank collapses, depositors will get Rs 5 lakh from the Corporation as per the proposal.
- DICGC insures all bank deposits, such as saving, fixed, current, recurring, etc. except the following types of deposits,
- Deposits of Foreign Governments;
- Deposits of Central/State Governments;
- Inter-bank deposits
- Deposits of the State Land Development Banks with the State co-operative banks;
- Any amount due on account of and deposit received outside India
- Any amount which has been specifically exempted by the corporation with the previous approval of the RBI.
The functions of the DICGC are governed by the provisions of:
- ‘The Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation Act, 1961’ (DICGC Act) and,
- ‘The Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation General Regulations, 1961’ framed by the Reserve Bank of India.
25) Answer: D
- The report of the 15th Finance Commission (FC), along with an Action Taken Report, was tabled in Parliament recently.
- The Finance Commission is a constitutionally body that decides, among other things, the sharing of taxes between the Centre and the states.
- Article 280 (1) requires the President to constitute, “within two years from the commencement of this Constitution and thereafter at the expiration of every fifth year or at such earlier time as the President considers necessary”, an FC “which shall consist of a Chairman and four other members”.
- Under Article 280(3)(a), the Commission must make recommendations to the President as the distribution between the Union and the States.
- The 15th Finance Commission (FC) has considered the 2011 population along with forest cover, tax effort, area of the state, and “demographic performance” to arrive at the states’ share in the divisible pool of taxes.
- The previous FC used both the 1971 and the 2011 populations to calculate the states’ shares, giving greater weight to the 1971 population (17.5%) as compared to the 2011 population (10%).
- The 15th Commission has reduced the vertical devolution, the share of tax revenues that the Centre shares with the states from 42% to 41%.
- The 1% decrease in the vertical devolution is roughly equal to the share of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, which would have been 0.85% as per the formula described by the Commission.
- The shares of the southern states, except Tamil Nadu, have fallen with Karnataka losing the most.
- The weight assigned to state area was unchanged at 15%, and that of forest cover was increased from 7.5% to 10%.
26) Answer: A
- The Pradhan Mantri Matru VandanaYojana (PMMVY) is a maternity benefit programme being implemented in all districts of the country from 01.01.2017.
- Under PMMVY a cash incentive of Rs. 5000 is provided directly to the bank/ post office account of Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers (PW&LM) for the first living child of the family subject to fulfilling specific conditions relating to maternal and child health.
- PMMVY is implemented through a centrally deployed web-based MIS software application and the focal point of implementation is Anganwadi Centre (AWC) and ASHA/ANM.
- PMMVY is different from the previous Scheme as beneficiaries get the money directly in their accounts and they can claim benefits of the Scheme from anywhere in the country as it is linked with the Public Financial Management System (PFMS).
- In the earlier scheme, it would take 18 months to 3 years for the beneficiaries to get the money whereas in the PMMVY it is instantaneous, transparent and based on good governance practices.
- Union Minister of Women & Child Development recently gave away the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) awards to States, Union Territories and Districts for best performance at a function in New Delhi.
- In the category of best performance since inception of the Scheme to States/UTs having population of more than 1 crore the first position was awarded to the State of Madhya Pradesh, followed by Andhra Pradesh and Haryana was in the third position.
- In the same category, among States/ UTs having population of less than 1 crore Dadra & Nagar Haveli is in the first position. Himachal stood second and Chandigarh is at the third position.
27) Answer: B
- The labour ministry has chalked out a plan to launch a new portal ‘Santusht’ for speedy redressal of worker as well as employer grievances and ensuring effective implementation of labour laws at the grassroot level.
- ‘Santusht’ – Implementation Monitoring Cell (IMC) has been constituted in the Office of Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Labour and Employment in January 2020.
- The objective of ‘Santusht’ is to promote transparency, accountability, effective delivery of public services and implementation of policies, schemes of Ministry of Labour and Employment at grassroot level through constant monitoring.
- Online portal under ‘Santusht’ for public grievances has not been started so far.
28) Answer: A
- Recently, there has been a demand to measure Indian economy on ‘Misery Index’.
- The first misery index was created by Arthur Okun in 1960’s.
- It was equal to the sum of inflation and unemployment rate figures, to provide a snapshot of the US economy.
- The higher the index, the more is the misery felt by average citizens.
- It has broadened in recent times to include other economic indicators, such as bank lending rates.
- In recent times, variations of the original misery index have become popular as a means to gauge the overall health of the global economy.
- A variation of the original misery index is the Bloomberg Misery Index, developed by the online publication.
29) Answer: C
- Recently the Environment Ministry has issued a draft notification that seeks to ban membrane-based water purification systems (MWPS), primarily Reverse Osmosis (RO), in areas where the water supplied meets Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) norms.
- NGT had said RO filters led to wastage of water and essential salts were filtered out during the purification process.
- The Expert committee report said that, “BIS standards clearly state that RO system is not recommended for treatment of raw water having Arsenic level above 0.1 mg/l and Fluoride level above 8.0 mg/l.”
- The Expert Committee Report examined the issue of deficiencies caused on account of RO system removing important minerals such as calcium, magnesium, etc, which adversely affects the health of consumers of demineralised water.
- Mineral water comes from natural sources which contains large quantity of dissolved minerals such as calcium carbonate, magnesium sulfate, potassium.
- Reverse Osmosis (RO) is a process that removes foreign contaminants, solid substances, large molecules and minerals from water by using pressure to push it through specialized membranes.
30) Answer: B
- Over 1,100 children adopted across the country have been returned to child care institutions by their adoptive parents in the last five years, according to the nodal adoption body CARA.
- Most of the children were returned due to adjustment issues which are seen mainly in case of older children (over 8 years of age).
Eligibility criteria for prospective adoptive parents according to Adoption Regulations, 2017:
(1) The prospective adoptive parents shall be physically, mentally and emotionally stable, financially capable and shall not have any life-threatening medical condition.
(2) Any prospective adoptive parents, irrespective of his marital status and
whether or not he has biological son or daughter, can adopt a child subject to following, namely: –
- the consent of both the spouses for the adoption shall be required, in case of a married couple
- a single female can adopt a child of any gender
- a single male shall not be eligible to adopt a girl child
31) Answer: D
Anganwadis or Day-care centres Scheme:
- They are set up under the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) by the Women and Child Development Ministry to provide a package of six services.
The services include:
- Supplementary nutrition
- Pre-school non-formal education
- Nutrition and Health Education
- Health Check-up
- Referral Services
- The aim of the scheme is to reduce infant mortality and child malnutrition.
- Beneficiaries include children in the age group of six months to six years, and pregnant women and lactating mothers.
32) Answer: A
- A stretch of the eastern Assam‘s Burhi Dihing River was on fire due to a leakage in the underwater oil pipeline.
33) Answer: A
- The Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs, Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Economic Survey 2019-20 in Parliament recently.
- The Survey affirms that disinvestment improves firm performance and overall productivity, and unlocks their potential to create wealth.
- This would have a multiplier effect on other sectors of the economy.
- Aggressive disinvestment, preferably through the route of strategic sale, should be utilized to bring in higher profitability, promote efficiency, increase competitiveness and to promote professionalism in management in CPSEs, the Survey advocates.
- The Survey notes that there are about 264 CPSEs under 38 different Ministries/Departments.
- Of these, 13 Ministries/Departments have around 10 CPSEs each under its jurisdiction.
- It is evident that many of the CPSEs are profitable.
- However, CPSEs have generally underperformed the market as is evident from the average return of only 4 percent of BSE CPSE Index against the 38 percent return of BSE SENSEX during the period 2014-2019.
- The aim of any privatization or disinvestment programme should, therefore, be the maximisation of the Government’s equity stake value.
- The Survey suggests that the Government can transfer its stake in the listed CPSEs to a separate corporate entity.
- This entity would be managed by an independent board and would be mandated to divest the Government stake in these CPSEs over a period of time.
- This will land professionalism and autonomy to the disinvestment programme which, in turn, would improve the economic performance of the CPSEs.
Trends in Expenditure on Social Services:
- As per the Economic Survey, the expenditure on social services by the Centre and States increased from 7.68 lakh crore in 2014-15 to 15.79 lakh crore in 2019-20 (Budget Estimate).
- As a proportion of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the expenditure on social services has registered an increase of 1.5 percentage points during the period 2014-15 to 2019-20 from 6.2 to 7.7 per cent.
- The expenditure on education, as percentage of GDP increased from 2.8 per cent to 3.1 per cent between 2014-15 and 2019-20 (BE).
- Similarly, expenditure on health increased from 1.2 per cent to 1.6 per cent during the same period as percentage of GDP, the pre-Budget document notes.
34) Answer: D
Mahila Shakti Kendra Scheme:
- The objective of the scheme is to empower rural women through community participation.
- Mahila Shakti Kendra was proposed under the umbrella scheme of Mission for protection and Empowerment of Women.
- Improving the child sex ratio, survival of new born girl child, girl education and empower them through several initiatives are the main motives.
- Under the scheme, community engagement through student volunteers is envisioned in the backward districts at block level.
- Student volunteers will help in awareness generation regarding various important government programmes as well as social issues.
- It will be implemented by the Ministry of Women and Child Development for the duration of 2017-18 to 2019-20.
35) Answer: D
- National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) is the investment plan unveiled by the Central Government recently for enhancing infrastructure in identified sectors for a period of five years from 2020-25.
- It is estimated that India would need to spend $4.5 trillion on infrastructure by 2030 to sustain its growth rate.
- The endeavour of the National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP), is to make this happen in an efficient manner.
- As per the NIP, Central Government (39 per cent) and State Government (39 per cent) are expected to have equal share of funding of the projects followed by the private sector (22 per cent).
36) Answer: B
- Madhya Pradesh, which regained the coveted ‘Tiger State’ tag last year, has added another feather to its cap by emerging on top in the count of gharials (fresh water crocodiles) this year.
- As per the recent report of the Wildlife Trust of India, there are 1,255 gharials in the Chambal river of Madhya Pradesh and 255 in the Gandak river of Bihar.
37) Answer: B
- Renowned for being both “entertaining as well as spiritual” is an Indian folk dance known as Dollu Kunitha.
- This “Drum dance” is said to have originated from the southern state of Karnataka.
38) Answer: C
- India and UNESCO have recently signed the Operational Agreement extending the presence of Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP) for a further period of 5 years.
- It is a New Delhi based UNESCO’s Category 1 Research Institute, maintained wholly by the Ministry of Human Resource Development that focuses on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4.7 towards education for building peaceful and sustainable societies across the world.
- In line with its vision of ‘Transforming Education for Humanity’, the institute’s programmes and products are designed to mainstream social and emotional learning in education systems, innovate digital pedagogies and to put youth as global citizens at the centre of the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development.
39) Answer: D
- The Adolescence Education Programme (AEP) is an important initiative that aims to empower young people with accurate, age appropriate and culturally relevant information, promote healthy attitudes and develop skills to enable them to respond to real life situations in positive and responsible ways.
- National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) coordinates the program and works through both curricular and co-curricular formats to contribute toward holistic development of young people in pursuance of the National Curriculum Framework, 2005.
- The programme has been supported by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) since 2005.
- The programme is also implemented through the State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERTs) that caters to schools run by the State Governments under the National Population Education Project (NPEP).
- The Programme is being implemented by 6 national agencies: National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), Council of Boards of School Education (COBSE), National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS), Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS), and Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti (NVS).
About the Programme
- The guiding principles of Adolescence Education clearly articulate that adolescents should be recognised as a positive and valuable resource that needs to be respected and appreciated rather than being treated as a problem, AEP should contribute towards realising the transformational potential of education and that the programme should enable adolescents to articulate their issues, know their rights, counter, shame and fear, build self-esteem and confidence, and develop ability to take on responsibility for self, relationships and (to an extent) the society around them.
40) Answer: C
- The Second National Judicial Pay Commission has recommended raising pay of officers by up to nearly three times besides increasing pension and allowances with effect from 2016.
- The recommendations, to be applicable to judicial officers throughout the country, will be implemented once the Supreme Court gives appropriate directions in this regard, after hearing the stakeholders.
- The commission, set up on the directions of the apex court in May 2017 during the hearing All India Judges Association case, submitted its final report recently on proposals to revise the pay, pension, and allowances of judicial officers across the country.
- Justice P.V. Reddi, former Judge of the Supreme Court is the Chairman of the Commission.
41) Answer: B
- In 2019, the European Space Agency (ESA) had launched the CHaracterizing ExOPlanet Satellite (CHEOPS) – its first mission focused on exoplanets.
- Tasked with finding new information about already-discovered planets, CHEOPS has finally opened its eyes to observe the universe for the first time.
- Ever since its launch in December, ESA’s CHEOPS satellite has been orbiting the Earth at an altitude of 700 kilometres (435 miles).
42) Answer: B
- To tackle the problem of Space Debris, a company called Tethers Unlimited has demonstrated an easy solution to get rid of satellites once they are of no use.
- The solution involves a 230-feet long strip of conductive tape, which is delightfully called the Terminator Tape.
- The Terminator Tape is a small module about the size of a notebook.
How it Works?
- Weighing less than two pounds, it is designed to attach to the exterior of a satellite which deploys the 230-feet long conductive tape through an electric signal from either the satellite or an independent timer unit when the satellite completes its mission and is ready to get disposed.
- This tape interacts with the space environment to create a drag force on the satellite that lowers its orbit far more rapidly than it would if it were simply abandoned in orbit.
43) Answer: C
Agrinnovate India Ltd. (AgIn):
- It was incorporated under the Companies Act, 1956 on 2011.
- It is a “for profit” Company owned by Department of Agricultural Research & Education (DARE), Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India.
- It is to act as an effective interface between Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR- an autonomous organization under DARE) on one side and the Stakeholders of agricultural sector (Farmers; Public & Private Sector firms; R&D organizations; Educational Institutions- all of these at National and International level) on the other side, for a significant purpose of securing, sustaining and promoting global agricultural development.
- Protection, management, commercialization and distribution of Intellectual Property for Public Benefit.
- Production, marketing and popularization of ICAR’s products, processes and technologies in agriculture and allied sectors such as seed, planting material, vaccines, diagnostics, biotechnological products, other value-added inputs and products and farm implements and machinery.
- Providing consultancies, contract research, contract service, customized capacity building.
- Setting up of research and production farms outside India and undertaking global brand building initiatives.
- Providing technical support for turnkey projects on production and processing plants in agriculture and allied sectors.
- Creation of public-private partnerships in research, education and other capacity building endeavours in agriculture and allied sectors.
- Carrying out activities to integrate proficiencies in agricultural sciences with management, such as market intelligence, pricing and valuation issues, to nurture demand-driven research.
44) Answer: A
Atal Innovation Mission (AIM)
- It is a Government of India’s flagship initiative to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in the country.
- Its objective is to develop new programmes and policies for fostering innovation in different sectors of the economy, provide platform and collaboration opportunities for different stakeholders, create awareness and create an umbrella structure to oversee innovation ecosystem of the country.
Initiatives under AIM:
- Atal Tinkering Labs – Creating problem solving mindset across schools in India.
- Atal Incubation Centres – Fostering world class start-ups and adding a new dimension to the incubator model.
- Atal New India Challenges – Fostering product innovations and aligning them to the needs of various sectors/ministries.
- Mentor India Campaign – A national Mentor network in collaboration with public sector, corporates and institutions, to support all the initiatives of the mission.
- Atal Community Innovation Centre – To stimulate community centric innovation and ideas in the unserved /underserved regions of the country including Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities.
- ARISE – To stimulate innovation and research in the MSME industry. Atal Research & Innovation for Small Enterprises (ARISE)
- It is an initiative to promote research, innovation and competitiveness of Indian start-ups and small enterprises including Micro, Small, and Medium enterprises (MSMEs).
- The program’s objective is to catalyse research, innovation, find solutions to the sectoral problems and subsequently trigger creation of new industrial sectors, through support of Central Government Ministries / Departments, who will become the first buyer of the solutions / products innovated under the ARISE program by start-ups and small enterprises.
- It aims to inculcate a culture and mindset of engaging and co-creating amongst the industry as well as the government, to improve India’s import substitution capabilities, develop export leadership in nation-critical sectors, and provide indigenous solutions for challenges in India.
45) Answer: C
- Recently, Maldives has re-joined the Commonwealth, bringing the total number of nations to 54.
- Maldives quit the Commonwealth in 2016 after being threatened with suspension over its human rights record and lack of progress on democratic reform.
- The Commonwealth is a Voluntary association of 54 independent and equal countries.
- The Commonwealth’s roots go back to the British Empire. But today any country can join the modern Commonwealth.
- Rwanda joined the Commonwealth in 2009.
- All members have an equal say regardless of size or wealth.
- This makes sure even the smallest countries have a voice in shaping the Commonwealth.
46) Answer: D
- The United Arab Emirates (UAE) recently announced the discovery of a massive natural gas field.
- The new Jebel Ali field contains 80 trillion standard cubic feet (tscf) of gas between Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
- At 80 tscf, the new reservoir would now be ranked the 4th largest by size in the Middle East, behind the North Field in Qatar, South Pars in Iran, and the Bab field in Abu Dhabi.
- The gas field discovery, reportedly the largest in the world since 2005, holds the potential of helping UAE’s gas self-sufficiency, reducing its reliance on neighbouring Qatar.
47) Answer: A
The first India-Africa Defence Ministers’ Conclave held recently in Lucknow on February 06, coinciding with DefExpo-2020, adopted the Lucknow Declaration.
48) Answer: C
- A new study, published in the journal eLife, that concluded the average human body temperature has never been constant.
- The thermometer reading of 98.6°F has been a gold standard for a century and a half, ever since a German doctor laid it down as the “normal” human body temperature.
- Now, new research has found that body temperatures have, in fact, been declining over the last two centuries.
- Different studies have found the human body temperature averaging out differently, including at 97.7°, 97.9° and 98.2°F.
- Body temperature is a measure of the body’s ability to generate and get rid of heat.
- A fever is usually a sign that we are sick; however, it can be very beneficial.
- A raise in body temperature is a good sign that the body is working to fight off infection.
- It raises the body temperature and makes it harder for invading bacteria to survive.
- Medicines like most antibiotics raise the body temperature directly to fight off infection.
49) Answer: B
- Bhutan will now impose a Sustainable Development Fee (SDF) on Indian, Bangladeshi and Maldivian tourist.
- The decision has been taken to protect the ecology of the country, amid a spike in visitors from India.
- As of now, all foreign tourists in Bhutan, with the exception of Indians, Bangladeshis, and Maldivians, pay US $250 per person per day in the high season, and US $200 per person per day in the low season.
- There has been concern in Bhutan over the impact that the massive influx of tourists can have on the country’s fragile Himalayan ecosystem.
- The bulk of the tourist inflow is from India, of the 2,74,000 tourists to Bhutan in 2018, over 1,80,000, or roughly 66%, were from India.
No Visa is required for Indians to visit Bhutan.
Indian nationals intending to visit Bhutan are required to carry any of the 2 valid ‘Travel Documents’:
(a) Valid Indian Passport having validity of minimum 6 months; and/or
(b) Voter Identity Card, issued by the Election Commission of India.
50) Answer: D
- The recently released Economic Survey dedicated a full chapter to “Thalinomics”.
- Thalinomics: the economics of a plate of food in India is an attempt to figure out how much a meal costs in India.
- The price of a meal, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian, is modelled for 25 States/UTs.
- Price data from the Consumer Price Index for Industrial Workers for around 80 centres in 25 States/UTs from April 2006 to October 2019 is used.
- Across India, it is found that the absolute prices of a vegetarian Thali have decreased significantly since 2015-16 though the price has increased in 2019.
- As a result, an average household of 5 individuals that eats 2 vegetarian Thalis a day gained around Rs.10,887 on average per year while a nonvegetarian household gained Rs.11,787, on average, per year.
- It is also found that affordability of vegetarian Thalis improved 29% from 2006-07 to 2019-20 while that for non-vegetarian Thalis improved by 18%.
- Affordability of ‘thali’ in relation to a worker’s daily pay has improved over time, indicating improved welfare of the common person, the survey concluded.