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Weekly Current Affairs Answers FEBRUARY 2020 - WEEK 2

1) Answer: C

  • The Indian government has sharply censured the U.S. government’s Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for funding an “unapproved”.
  • Indian laboratory in Manipal, and not securing the necessary permissions for undertaking training in India for work on Nipah virus, considered a potential bio-weapon.
  • A Union Health Ministry communication to CDC said the work was undertaken despite knowing that high risk pathogens can be tested only in BSL4 lab.
  • As the highest level of biological safety, a BSL4 lab consists of work with highly dangerous and exotic microbes.
  • Infections caused by these microbes, including Ebola and Marburg viruses, are frequently fatal.

 

Biological Safety Levels (BSL):

  • Biological Safety Levels (BSL) is a series of protections relegated to autoclave-related activities that take place in particular biological labs.
  • They are individual safeguards designed to protect laboratory personnel, as well as the surrounding environment and community.
  • These levels, which are ranked from one to four, are selected based on the agents or organisms that are being researched or worked on in any given laboratory setting.
  • For example, a basic lab setting specializing in the research of nonlethal agents that pose a minimal potential threat to lab workers and the environment are generally considered BSL-1—the lowest biosafety lab level.
  • A specialized research laboratory that deals with potentially deadly infectious agents like Ebola would be designated as BSL-4—the highest and most stringent level.

 

2) Answer: C

  • The World Bank – Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (WBESMAP), in partnership with, Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD), International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and International Solar Alliance (ISA) developed the Solar Risk Mitigation Initiative (SRMI).
  • SRMI aims to support countries in developing sustainable solar programs that will attract private investments and so reduce reliance on public finances.

It has three components to mitigate the risk of solar deployment:

  1. The enabling Environment: Supporting the development of sustainable renewable roadmaps with medium-term targets based on sound planning and resource assessments, and providing concessional climate finance blended with development finance and technical support to ensure that countries have the right enabling environment to reduce country risk
  2. Transparent Procurement: Supporting the selection of private sector developers and investors in a competitive and transparent manner to address country and project risk
  3. Viable Risk Mitigation Coverage: developing viable risk mitigation coverage to cover residual project risks targeting solar (grid and off-grid) and storage deployment financed and operated by private investors.

 

3) Answer: A

  • Continuing efforts to further improve the Ease of Doing Business, the government will introduce an integrated electronic form for incorporating new companies from February 15, 2020 wherein EPFO and ESIC registration numbers will also be allotted at the same time.
  • The Corporate Affairs Ministry would introduce the form — SPICe+ — to offer 10 services.
  • Currently, the Ministry has the electronic form SPICe (Simplified Proforma for Incorporating Company Electronically) and that would be replaced with SPICe+.
  • The 10 services offered through the new form would help in “saving as many procedures, time and cost for starting a business in India,” the Ministry said in a public notice.
  • The incorporation of companies is made through the Corporate Affairs Ministry portal MCA21. The new form would be available on this portal.

 

4) Answer: D

  • Recently, as a measure of conservation of Manipuri pony, one of India’s 5 indigenous horse breeds, the Manipur state hosts an international polo tournament.
  • India has 5 indigenous horse breeds: Marwari, Kathiawari, Zanskari, Manipuri and Spiti.
  • Of them, the Marwari and Kathiawari are the most well-known, their “lyre” ears which bend inwards and can be rotated 180 degrees being the only sort in horse breeds around the world.
  • The Manipuri horse is the quintessential polo horse and is easily manoeuvrable, while the Zanskari and Spiti breeds are strong pony’s adept at work in mountainous terrain.
  • The Manipuri horse is considered as the descendants of the Asian wild horse.
  • These horses once enjoyed special status in Manipuri society, and were used only for sport and rituals.
  • A Pony sanctuary is also being set up at Heingang to preserve the breed.

 

5) Answer: D

  1. Vajra Prahar – India and US
  2. Ajeya Warrior – India and UK
  3. Dharma Guardian – India and Japan

 

6) Answer: C

  • The Uttar Pradesh government recently introduced the Police Commissioner system in Lucknow and Noida.
  • Police in India are generally subject to dual control although their administration under The Police Act, 1861 is vested in the police hierarchy, the District Magistrate exercises general control within his jurisdiction.
  • The Commissionerate system is a Unified command structure with the Commissioner of Police as the sole head of the force within the city.
  • It allows for quicker responses to law and order situations.
  • The office also has magisterial powers, including those related to regulation, control, and licensing.
  • The CP is drawn from the Deputy Inspector General rank or above, and is assisted by Special/Joint/Additional/Deputy Commissioners.
  • Almost all states barring Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, UT of J&K, and some North-eastern states have a Commissionerate system.

 

7) Answer: D

  • Recently, the Government has given clearance to an ambitious Gene-mapping project called Genome India Project.
  • The Project will involve 20 leading institutions including the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bengaluru and a few IITs.
  • The IISc’s Centre for Brain Research, an autonomous institute, will serve as the nodal point of the project.
  • Its aim is to ultimately build a grid of the Indian “reference genome”, to understand fully the type and nature of diseases and traits that comprise the diverse Indian population.
  • Studying and understanding both diversities would provide the bedrock of personalised healthcare for a very large group of persons on the planet.
  • The first stage of the project will look at samples of “10,000 persons from all over the country” to form a “grid” that will enable the development of a “reference genome”.

 

8) Answer: A

  • India and Maldives have recently signed five MoUs for establishing the Addu Tourism zone in five islands of Addu atoll located in Maldives at a cost of 2.49 million dollars.
  • A 6th MoU to set up a bottled water plant in Hoarafushi was also signed.
  • All six projects are grant projects falling under India’s High Impact Community Development Scheme (HICDP).
  • These projects are driven by the needs of communities on the islands.

 

9) Answer: D

The Supreme Court has recently confirmed the Karnataka government authorities’ decision to demolish restaurants, hotels, guest houses and other buildings constructed in Virupapura Gaddi, an oval islet formed by the Tungabhadra River and located west of the Hampi World Heritage site.

 

10) Answer: B

  • The Union government has recently asked drug makers and their associations to adhere to current guidelines for marketing drugs i.e. Uniform Code of Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices (UCPMP).
  • UCPMP is a voluntary code issued by the Department of Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers relating to marketing practices for Indian Pharmaceutical Companies and as well medical devices industry.
  • Under the code, pharmaceutical companies and their sales representatives are barred from giving gifts and free trips to doctors.
  • Even if a doctor goes for a conference, they will have to do so at their own cost, as per the code.
  • But the recent order by Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) was criticized as rather than taking steps towards instituting statutory regulation of unethical marketing and promotion, the DoP is still requesting companies to abide by a toothless, unenforceable UCPMP.

 

11) Answer: A

  • President Ram Nath Kovind has recently presented the International Gandhi Awards for Leprosy to Dr N.S. Dharmashaktu and the Leprosy Mission Trust in New Delhi.
  • International Gandhi Awards Gandhi Memorial Leprosy Foundation (GMLF), a pioneering organisation established in 1951 in the field of leprosy in India, has instituted the award titled “International Gandhi Award” in 1986.

Background:

  • Mahatma Gandhi had evinced keen interest for over 50 years in mitigating the sufferings of persons affected by leprosy.
  • The need to shed stigma against leprosy and adopt a humanitarian approach were amply demonstrated by the Father of Nation by nursing and caring leprosy patients.
  • Leprosy work was accorded importance by Gandhiji by including it in his 18-point constructive programme.
  • To perpetuate memory of this service and scientific approach of Gandhiji, the GMLF has instituted the “International Gandhi Award” in 1986.

Periodicity:

  • The Award is presented once in two years and consists of Rs. 2 lakhs as cash award, a Medallion and a Citation.

Number of Awards:

  • Two awards are presented either to individuals or institutions.

Eligibility:

  • The Award is given to a Leprosy Worker or Institution who/which has undertaken work in the field of leprosy for a period of not less than 10 years and made significant contribution in any aspect of leprosy work, resulting in the amelioration of the suffering of leprosy patients and enabling them to lead normal life.

 

12) Answer: B

  • To help assess the progress made in cities through various initiatives and empower them to use evidence to plan, implement & monitor their performance, two Assessment Frameworks, viz. Ease of Living Index (EoLI) and Municipal Performance Index (MPI) 2019 have been launched by the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs.

Municipal Performance Index, 2019:

  • With the Municipal Performance Index 2019, the Ministry has sought to assess the performance of municipalities based on five enablers namely Service, Finance, Planning, Technology and Governance which have been further divided into 20 sectors which will be evaluated across 100 indicators.
  • This will help Municipalities in better planning and management, filling the gaps in city administration, and improving the liveability of cities for its citizens.

Ease of Living Index, 2019:

  • It is aimed at providing a holistic view of Indian cities – beginning from the services provided by local bodies, the effectiveness of the administration, the outcomes generated through these services in terms of the liveability within cities and, finally, the citizen perception of these outcomes.

The key objectives of the Ease of Living Index are four-folds, viz.

  1. generate information to guide evidence-based policy making
  2. catalyse action to achieve broader developmental outcomes including the SDG.
  3. assess and compare the outcomes achieved from various urban policies and schemes
  4. obtain the perception of citizens about their view of the services provided by the city administration.
  • EoLI 2019 will facilitate the assessment of ease of living of citizens across three pillars: Quality of Life, Economic Ability and Sustainability which are further divided into 14 categories across 50 indicators.

 

13) Answer: D

  • Peace to Prosperity: A Vision to Improve the Lives of the Palestinian and Israeli People, commonly known as the Trump peace plan, is a proposal by the Trump administration to resolve the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.
  • The plan was authored by a team led by Trump’s son-in-law, Senior Advisor to the President of the United States Jared Kushner.
  • The US Peace Plan for the Middle East unveiled said that Israel would retain control of the disputed city of Jerusalem as its undivided capital and annex settlements on Palestinian lands.

 

14) Answer: C

National Programme for Health Care of the Elderly (NPHCE):

  • The Programme is an articulation of the International and national commitments of the Government as envisaged under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), National Policy on Older Persons (NPOP) adopted by the Government of India in 1999 and Section 20 of “The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007” dealing with provisions for medical care of Senior Citizen.
  • It was implemented by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Objectives:

  • Main objective of the programme is to provide preventive, curative and rehabilitative services to the elderly persons at various level of health care delivery system of the country.
  • Other objectives are, to strengthen referral system, to develop specialized man power and to promote research in the field of diseases related to old age.

Funding Pattern:

  • The Centre will bear 75% of the total budget and the State Government will contribute 25 % of the budget.

 

15) Answer: B

  • The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has recently sent its case for the exclusion of Russia from International sporting competitions to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
  • CAS, the world’s highest sport court, must decide whether to confirm the four-year ban WADA imposed on Russia last month or consider Russia’s case against the epic sanction.

Background:

  • In December, WADA imposed a four-year ban on Russia over what it considers a state-sponsored doping scheme, prohibiting Russia from participating in such events as this year’s Tokyo Olympics.
  • Under the sanctions, Russians would be allowed to compete in the Tokyo Olympics only if they can demonstrate they were not part of the doping network.
  • The World Anti-Doping Agency also asked the Court of Arbitration for Sport for a public hearing on its case for Russia’s exclusion from international sporting competitions.

About CAS:

  • The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) is an institution independent of any sports organization which provides for services in order to facilitate the settlement of sports-related disputes through arbitration or mediation by means of procedural rules adapted to the specific needs of the sports world.
  • The CAS was created in 1984 and is placed under the administrative and financial authority of the International Council of Arbitration for Sport (ICAS).

Functions of CAS:

  • The CAS has the task of resolving legal disputes in the field of sport through arbitration.
  • It does this pronouncing arbitral awards that have the same enforceability as judgements of ordinary courts.
  • It can also help parties solve their disputes on an amicable basis through mediation, when this procedure is allowed.

 

16) Answer: C

  • Every Rural Household to receive Piped Water By Dec 2021 in Jammu And Kashmir.
  • J&K Administration Council approved the implementation of the Jal Jeevan Mission and plans to achieve 100% coverage of piped water supply by December 2021.
  • The National Jal Jeevan Mission aims to provide every rural household of the country with piped water supply by 2024.
  • For targeted delivery and monitoring of specific outcomes, every functional tap connection is to be linked with the Aadhar number of the head of the household subject to statutory provisions.
  • Every asset created under JJM will be geo-tagged. States will carry out inspections by empanelled third party agencies for all infrastructures created under the JJM.
  • GoI will carry out functionality assessment of schemes, based on which fund will be made available to States/UTs based on their performance.

 

17) Answer: C

Manipur CM has recently launched ‘Anganphou Hunba’ (Early Paddy Crop) programme at Arapti Mayai Leikai in Imphal East.

 

18) Answer: A

  • Army to get indigenous Sharang Artillery gun.
  • Sharang is an upgraded version of the M-46 field guns. It was developed by the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB).

 

19) Answer: D

  • The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), which is in the process of overhauling the labelling regulations for packaged food products, has begun a nutrient threshold study to assess the current market scenario.
  • The draft regulations propose colour-coded labelling to enable consumers to identify products that are High in Fat, Salt and Sugar (HFSS) products.
  • FSSAI is an autonomous body established under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.
  • FSSAI issues Orange Book for ensuring safe and nutritious food at workplace, an n initiative to launch ‘SNF@Workplace’ (Safe and Nutritious Food at Workplace).
  • FSSAI has been mandated by the Food Safety and Standards (FSS) Act, 2006 which extends to the whole of India.
  • The Orange Book serves as guide for general practices recommended for ensuring safe and nutritious food at workplace.

 

20) Answer: D

  • Recently, the Global Futures Report has been released jointly by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Global Trade Analysis Project and the Natural Capital Project.
  • According to the report, the world economy will suffer a total cumulative loss of $10 trillion by 2050 unless humanity reverses destruction of nature.
  • However, annual Global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will be 0.02% higher by 2050 if the world adopted a more sustainable model of living, the report said.
  • It warns of potential risks to the world’s economic prosperity if we don’t act urgently to halt nature loss.
  • The study uses new economic and environmental modelling to calculate the costs of nature’s decline across 140 countries and all key industry sectors.

 

21) Answer: A

  • “Midnight Zone” (Bathypelagic Zone) – It is a zone where light barely reaches but life still thrives.
  • The ocean’s midnight zone is a region between one and four kilometres deep, where no sunlight at all penetrates the frigid water.
  • With no light, there is no growth of plants or phytoplankton – all animals are thus predators or scavengers.

 

22) Answer: C

  • Recently, a British Airways flight broke the subsonic speed record during its New York-to-London journey, surpassing the previous record by 17 minutes, and completing the trip 80 minutes sooner than estimated.
  • The Boeing 747-436 plane was able to achieve a speed of 1,327kph as it was aided by a strong jet stream generated due to Storm Ciara.
  • Jet streams are narrow bands of strong winds that flow over thousands of kilometres from west to east.
  • Major jet streams are found near the upper levels of the atmosphere, around 9 to 16 km from the earth’s surface, and can reach speeds of over 320 kph.
  • Shifting jet stream patterns can have a big impact on the weather.
  • Jet streams are stronger in winter in the northern and southern hemispheres, because that’s when air temperature differences that drive them tend to be most pronounced.
  • The polar-front jet stream forms at about 60 degrees latitude in both hemispheres, while the subtropical jet stream forms at about 30 degrees.
  • The major jet streams are the Polar Front, Subtropical, and Tropical jet streams.
  • In India, the Tropical jet stream influences the formation and duration of the summer monsoon.

 

23) Answer: D

Flyway:

  • A flyway is a geographical region within which a single migratory species, a group of migratory species – or a distinct population of a given migratory species – completes all components of its annual cycle (breeding, moulting, staging, non-breeding etc.)

Central Asian Flyway (CAF):

  • It covers areas between the Arctic and Indian Oceans, and covers at least 279 populations of 182 migratory water bird species, including 29 globally threatened species.
  • The Indian sub-continent is also part of the flyway network.

 

24) Answer: D

  • The 13th Conference of Parties (COP) of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) (also called as the BONN Convention), an environmental treaty under the aegis of United Nations Environment Programme, is going to be hosted by India during 17th to 22nd February 2020 at Gandhinagar in Gujarat.
  • As the host, India shall be designated the President for the next three years.
  • The Government of India is Signatory to the Convention on Conservation of Migratory wild Animals (CMS) since 1983.
  • The Government of India has been taking necessary actions to protect and conserve migratory marine species.
  • Seven species that include Dugong, Whale Shark, Marine Turtle (two species), have been identified for preparation of Conservation and Recovery Action Plan.
  • The theme of CMS COP13 in India is, “Migratory species connect the planet and we welcome them home”.
  • “The CMS COP 13 logo is inspired by ‘Kolam’, a traditional artform from southern India.
  • In the logo of CMS COP-13, Kolam art form is used to depict key migratory species in India like Amur falcon, humpback whale and marine turtles.
  • The mascot for CMS COP13, “Gibi – The Great Indian Bustard” is a critically endangered species which has been accorded the highest protection status under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

 

25) Answer: D

  • India is home to several migratory species of wildlife including snow leopard, Amur falcons, bar headed Geese, black necked cranes, marine turtles, dugongs, humpbacked whales, etc. and has signed non legally binding MOU with CMS on the conservation and management of Siberian Cranes (1998), Marine Turtles (2007), Dugongs (2008) and Raptors (2016).
  • Migratory species of wild animals move from one habitat to another during different times of the year, due to various factors such as food, sunlight, temperature, climate, etc. The movement between habitats, can sometimes exceed thousands of kilometres/miles for some migratory birds and mammals.
  • A migratory route will typically have nesting sites, breeding sites, availability of preferred food and requires the availability of suitable habitat before and after each migration.

 

26) Answer: D

  • Recently, the Solar Orbiter, a collaborative mission between the European Space Agency and NASA to study the Sun, took off from Cape Canaveral in Florida.
  • The mission, which will take the first pictures of the top and bottom of the sun, was launched on an Atlas V
  • It will chart the Unexplored Polar Regions of the Sun.
  • Carrying 4 in-situ instruments (which measure the space environment immediately around the spacecraft like the sense of touch) and 6 remote sensing imagers (which see the sun from afar), the Solar Orbiter (called SolO) will face the sun at approximately 42 million kilometres from its surface.
  • The new spacecraft will use the gravity of Venus and Earth to swing itself out of the ecliptic plane, passing inside the orbit of Mercury, and will be able to get a bird’s eye view of the sun’s poles for the first time.

 

27) Answer: D

  • In its mission to Mars, NASA is sending a new laser-toting robot as one of seven instruments aboard the Mars 2020 rover.
  • It is called SuperCam, the robot is used for studying mineralogy and chemistry from up to about 7 metres away.
  • It might help scientists find signs of fossilised microbial life on
  • It fires a pulsed laser beam out of the rover’s mast to vaporise small portions of rock from a distance, providing information that will be essential to the mission’s success.
  • SuperCam looks at rock textures and chemicals to find those that formed or changed in water on Mars long ago.
  • SuperCam looks at different rock and soil types to find ones that could preserve signs of past microbial life on Mars if any ever existed.
  • For the benefit of future explorers, SuperCam identifies which elements in the Martian dust may be harmful to humans.

 

28) Answer: C

  • A team of scientists is preparing to dive deep into the depths of the Indian Ocean — into a “Midnight Zone” where light barely reaches but life still thrives.
  • Scientists from the British-led Nekton Mission plan to survey wildlife and gauge the effects of climate change in the unexplored area.
  • Working with the Seychelles and Maldives governments, the five-week expedition is targeting seamounts — vast underwater mountains that rise thousands of meters from the sea floor.
  • To explore such inhospitable depths, Nekton scientists will board one of the world’s most advanced submersibles, called “Limiting Factor”.

 

29) Answer: C

  • A new research suggests that up to one-fifth of the Amazon rainforest is emitting more CO2 than it absorbs.
  • Deforested parts of Amazon are emitting more CO2 than they absorb.
  • While trees are growing, they absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere; dead trees release it again.
  • Millions of trees have been lost forest fires in recent years.
  • The Amazon Rainforest spreads across 9 countries namely Brazil, Ecuador, Venezuela, Suriname, Peru, Colombia, Bolivia, Guyana, and French Guiana.

The landscape contains:

  1. 1 in 10 known species on Earth
  2. 1.4 billion acres of dense forests
  3. Half of the planet’s remaining tropical forests
  4. 4,100 miles of winding rivers
  5. Amazon basin is about 40% of South America.

 

30) Answer: A

  • The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare notified changes in the Medical Devices Rules, 2017.
  • It is to regulate medical devices on the same lines as drugs under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940.
  • The Medical equipment would qualify as ‘drugs’ under Section 3 of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 from April, 2020.
  • It is called the Medical Devices (Amendment) Rules, 2020, these are applicable to devices intended for “internal or external use” in the diagnosis, treatment, mitigation or prevention of disease or disorder in human beings or animals.
  • The move comes in the wake of years of controversy about faulty hip implants of Johnson & Johnson (J&J).
  • It requires online registration of these devices with the Central Licensing Authority through an identified online portal established by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSO) for this purpose.

The manufacturer has to upload

  1. Name & address of the company or firm or any other entity manufacturing the medical device
  2. Name and address of manufacturing site of medical device
  3. Certificate of compliance with respect to ISO 13485 standard accredited by National Accreditation Board for Certification Bodies or International Accreditation Forum in respect of such medical device.
  • Every medical device, either manufactured in India or imported, will have to have quality assurance before they can be sold anywhere in the country.

 

31) Answer: D

Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay National Welfare Fund for Sportspersons (PDUNWFS):

  • It was set up in March, 1982 with a view to assisting outstanding Sportspersons of yesteryear, living in indigent circumstances who had brought glory to the Country in sports.
  • The scheme as revised in September, 2017 to provide for lump sum ex-gratia assistance to outstanding Sportspersons of yesteryears.
  • Provision of pension has been done away with as there is already a Scheme of Pension for Meritorious Sportspersons.
  • Now, lump sum ex-gratia assistance is given to the Sportspersons or their families for medical treatment etc.

The Fund shall be utilized for the following objectives:

  • To provide suitable assistance to outstanding sportspersons now living in indigent sportspersons.
  • To provide suitable assistance to outstanding sportspersons injured during the period of their training for competitions and also during the competitions, depending on the nature of the injury.
  • To provide suitable assistance to outstanding sportspersons who bring glory to the country in international field and who are disabled as an after effect of their strenuous training or otherwise and to provide them assistance for medical treatment.
  • To administrator and apply the funds of the Fund to promote the welfare of the sportspersons generally in order to alleviate distress among them and their dependents in indigent circumstances.
  • To administer and apply the funds of the Fund for active sportspersons individually or collectively as a group.
  • To do all other things which are incidental to the above objectives.

 

32) Answer: C

National Deworming Mission:

  • According to WHO, India has the highest burden of Soil-Transmitted Helminths (STH) intestinal worms in the world.
  • The mission is aimed to protect children in the ages of 1-19 years from these worms.
  • Albendazole tablets will be given to all targeted children through Anganwadi centres and all schools.

 

33) Answer: C

Central Bureau of Health Intelligence (CBHI):

  • CBHI compiles the National Health Profile based on the information received from various Ministries/Departments.
  • It was established in 1961 by the Act of Parliament on the recommendation of Mudaliar committee, is the Health Intelligence Wing under Directorate General of Health Services (Dte.GHS), Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW).
  • CBHI is headed by Director (SAG level) from Central Health Services cadre with specialization in public health administration.

 

34) Answer: A

Bumblebees:

  • They are one of the most important pollinators around.
  • They are at risk of becoming extinct due to higher global temperatures and Climate Chaos.
  • The likelihood of a bumblebee population surviving has plummeted by nearly a third due to global warming, a rate consistent with a mass extinction.

Genus: Bombus

Habitat: Temperate climates, and are often found at higher latitudes and altitudes than other bees.

Diet: Nectar and Pollen made by flowers.

Buzz Pollination: The beating of their wings combined with their large bodies vibrates flowers till they release pollen.

Factors responsible for its decrease:

  1. Over Heating – It is one-way climate change affects the bees, as they already generate heat while flying.
  2. Destruction of Habitat – By development and conversion of wild lands into agriculture is also bad for the bees.
  3. Impact on Flowers – Changes in flowers and vegetation due to climate change could lead to the bees starving to death.
  4. Dryer Habitats: Also diminishes their chances of colonising a new area – the process in which a species goes to a new place and established a new population.
  5. Pesticides: Like neonicotinoids affect bumblebees as they are extremely toxic to them.

Conservation Status: Most Species are listed as endangered.

Cascading Ecological Effect: If these important pollinators disappear, many flowering plants won’t be able to reproduce.

This will affect both these plants and the other organism’s dependent on the plants.

Conservation Methods:

  1. Creating more parks or planting more trees and shrubs in urban environments gives bumblebees places to shelter from the heat.
  2. Growing native flowers in home gardens gives the right kind of food for them, along with creating flower beds continuously in bloom.
  3. Avoiding Chemical pesticides for home gardens and public fields and parks
  4. Addressing climate change

 

35) Answer: D

  • National Payments Corporation of India’s (NPCI) monopoly in payments and settlements space set to end soon as RBI allows private players to apply for licences to set up umbrella payments systems.
  • NPCI is an umbrella organisation for operating retail payments and settlement systems in India.
  • It is an initiative of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) under the provisions of the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007.
  • It has been incorporated as a “Not for Profit” Company under the provisions of Section 25 of Companies Act 1956 (now Section 8 of Companies Act 2013).
  • It was set up with an intention to provide infrastructure to the entire Banking system in India for physical as well as electronic payment and settlement systems.
  • The Company is focused on bringing innovations in the retail payment systems through the use of technology for achieving greater efficiency in operations and widening the reach of payment systems.
  • RuPay is an Indigenously developed Payment System designed to meet the expectation and needs of the Indian consumer, banks and merchant ecosystem.

 

36) Answer: B

  • Recently, a research has shown that the chemical processes of Fermentation can be used to create spontaneous tunes.
  • The researcher built an art exhibits called Ferment phone to showcase how Fermentation can make music.
  • Fermentation chemical process by which molecules such as glucose are broken down anaerobically.
  • It is used to produce cheese, chocolate, wine, beer and yogurt.
  • The chemical breakdown of a substance is by microorganisms such as bacteria or yeasts.

 

37) Answer: A

  • Recently, a 12-year-old Mumbai Girl becomes youngest to climb Mt Aconcagua.
  • At 6962 metres, Mt. Aconcagua is the highest peak outside Asia and the highest peak in South America.
  • It is the part of the Andes mountain range, located in
  • The Andes Mountains were formed as the result of subduction of the oceanic Nazca Plate under the South American continent.
  • Aconcagua used to be a volcano, when the oceanic plate dipped at a higher angle under the continent.

 

38) Answer: C

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) declared an official name for the new coronavirus disease as COVID-19, making sure not to reference Wuhan, the central Chinese city where the virus originated.
  • COVID-19 stands for Corona Virus Disease 19.
  • It also gives a standard format to use for any future coronavirus outbreaks.
  • The WHO referenced guidelines set in 2015 that ensure the name does not refer to a geographical location, an animal, an individual or group of people, while still being pronounceable and related to the disease.
  • People tend to think of the disease as belonging to, as being a characteristic of some group of people associated with the place name, which can be really stigmatizing.
  • It encourages the next city not to come forward, not to report a disease if your city is labelled as the disease.
  • The general names are also now avoided as they can stigmatise entire regions or ethnic groups.

 

39) Answer: B

  • The National Hydroelectric Power Corporation Limited (NHPC)’s 105 MW multipurpose hydroelectric project had drastically affected the scenic beauty of the Loktak Lake in Manipur.
  • Many people lost their precious agricultural lands and homes after the lake was flooded following the implementation of the project.
  • The project was more of a nightmare for the people that had inhabited near the Loktak Lake.
  • The fishing community of Karang claimed to have spotted a new kind of unknown aquatic insects around the island in the recent past besides experiencing rise of mosquito population.
  • Loktak Lake is the largest freshwater lake in Northeast India and is famous for the phumdis floating over it.
  • Phumdis are the heterogeneous mass of vegetation, soil and organic matter at various stages of decomposition.
  • Keibul Lamjao National Park is the only floating national park in the world and is an integral part of Loktak Lake.
  • It is the last natural refuge of endangered Sangai deer.
  • The Sangai deer is a Schedule-1 of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and Endangered on IUCN Red List.

 

40) Answer: B

  • United Kingdom (UK), which had been a founding member of the European Union EU formally gave up its membership
  • With this, the EU has now 27 member countries.

 

41) Answer: C

  • Union Government had recently launched a School Health Programme under Ayushman Bharat-Health & Wellness Centres that will teach skills ranging from emotional wellbeing, mental health, inter-personal relationships to values and maintaining healthy lifestyle.
  • The program has been jointly rolled out by Ministries of Health & Family Welfare and Human Resource Development.
  • This initiative will be effectively linked with other government initiatives such as Fit India movement, Eat Right campaign, Poshan Abhiyaan for an all-round and holistic development model of health for the school children etc, said Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare.
  • While the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) developed 24-hour curriculum, training materials for training of nodal teachers, facilitators guide were developed in consultation with union health ministry.

 

42) Answer: C

  • The 33rd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union recently started at the African Union (AU) Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
  • African leaders meet in Addis Ababa for the annual African Union (AU) summit.
  • This year’s theme is “Silencing the Guns”, reflecting the continental body’s earlier aspirations to end conflicts and prevent genocide in Africa.
  • The African Union (AU) is a continental body consisting of the 55 member states that make up the countries of the African Continent.
  • It was officially launched in 2002 as a successor to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU, 1963-1999).
  • The AU is made up of 55 Member States which represent all the countries on the African continent.
  • AU Member States are divided into 5 geographic regions.
  • The most important decisions of the AU are made by the Assembly of the African Union, a semi-annual meeting of the heads of state and government of its member states.
  • Agenda 2063 is Africa’s blueprint and master plan for transforming Africa into the global powerhouse of the future.

 

43) Answer: A

  • In a lake in Brazil, researchers have discovered a virus that they find unusual and intriguing, called Yaravirus.
  • It is a new lineage of Amoebal virus which infects amoeba and has genes that have not been described before, something that could challenge how DNA viruses are classified.
  • According to the researchers over 90% of the Yaravirus’s genome has not been observed before.
  • The amount of unknown proteins composing the Yaravirus particles reflects the variability existing in the viral world and how much potential of new viral genomes are still to be discovered.

 

44) Answer: D

  • The Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 was amended by the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act, 2015 in order to make arbitration process user-friendly, cost-effective and ensure speedy disposal and neutrality of arbitrators.
  • The Amendment Act seeks to a new Part to the Act of 1996 for the establishment and incorporation of an independent body namely, the Arbitration Council of India (ACI) for the purpose of grading of arbitral institutions and accreditation of arbitrators, etc.
  • As per the Act, ACI will be headed by a Chairperson, who has been a Judge of the Supreme Court or a Chief Justice or Judge of a High Court or an eminent person, having special knowledge and experience in the conduct or administration of arbitration, to be appointed by the Centre in consultation with the Chief Justice of India.
  • Besides, it will also have two Full-time Members from amongst eminent arbitration practitioners and academicians.
  • In addition, one representative of a recognized body of commerce and industry shall be nominated on a rotational basis as a Part-time Member.
  • The Secretary, Department of Legal Affairs, Secretary Department of Expenditure and Chief Executive Officer, ACI will be ex-officio Members.

 

45) Answer: D

A recent study links climate change to drop in bumble bee numbers.

Bumble bees

  • They are large fuzzy insects belonging to the bee family.
  • They are much larger than honey bees, but produce less amount of honey.
  • Bumble bees are important pollinators of certain types of plants including blueberries and cranberries.
  • They are mostly found in the Northern Hemisphere, although they can be also scattered in small numbers across tropical regions.
  • There are as many as 46 species of bumble bees in North America.
  • Bumble bees are social insects and form colonies with a single queen.
  • Only the female bees are equipped with stingers.
  • They can survive extreme cold temperatures, as low as zero-degree Celsius.
  • They stay warm by vibrating their flight muscles to generate heat.
  • They play a crucial role in the ecosystem.

 

46) Answer: B

  • India’s Industrial production growth turned negative in December, contracting by 0.3%, mainly on account of a decline in manufacturing sector output.
  • According to the National Statistical Office (NSO) data, the manufacturing sector output contracted by 1.2% in December 2019 as against a growth 2.9% in the same month last year.
  • IIP is a composite indicator measuring changes in the volume of production of a basket of industrial products over a period of time, with respect to a chosen base period.
  • It is compiled and published on a “monthly basis” by the CSO under the National Statistical Office (NSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI).
  • IIP is the only measure on the physical volume of production.
  • The all-India IIP provides a single representative figure to measure the general level of industrial activity in the economy.
  • It is used by government agencies including the Ministry of Finance, the Reserve Bank of India etc, for policy purposes.
  • It forms a crucial input for compilation of Gross Value Added (GVA) of the manufacturing sector in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on a quarterly basis.
  • It is also used extensively by financial intermediaries, policy analysts and private companies for various analytical purposes.

In the sectoral classification,

  1. Manufacturing has the highest weight of 77.6%,
  2. Mining has 14.4% share and
  3. Electricity has 8% weight.

 

47) Answer: D

  • Recently, the President of India presented ‘Colour’ to the INS Shivaji.
  • INS Shivaji is an Indian Naval station located in Lonavala, Maharashtra.
  • It houses Naval Engineering College that trains officers of Indian Navy and Indian Coastal Guards.
  • It was commissioned on 15th February 1945 as HMIS Shivaji.
  • There are 3 premier institutions at INS Shivaji. It includes Centre of Excellence, Centre of Marine Engineering and Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Defence School.
  • The courses at INS Shivaji are conducted by AICTE (All India Council for Technical Education).
  • INS Vikramaditya is the Indian Navy’s largest short take-off, but assisted recovery (STOBAR) aircraft carrier.

 

48) Answer: D

  • The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister, has given its ‘in-principle’ approval for setting up a Major Port at Vadhavan near Dahanu in
  • Vadhavan port will be developed on “land lord model” and this will be 13th major port in India.
  • In landlord port model, the publicly governed port authority acts as a regulatory body and as landlord while private companies carry out port operations mainly cargo-handling activities.
  • A Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) will be formed with Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT).
  • The SPV will develop the port infrastructure including reclamation, construction of breakwater, besides establishing connectivity to the hinterland.
  • All the business activities would be undertaken under PPP mode by private developers.

 

49) Answer: D

  • Koala’s habitat was severely damaged by the recent Australian bushfires.

 

50) Answer: D

  • Five global risks that have the potential to impact and amplify one another in ways that may cascade to create global systemic crisis, have been listed by “The Future of Earth, 2020”, which was released recently by the South Asia Future Earth Regional Office, Divecha Centre for Climate Change and Indian Institute of Science.
  • The report, released by Kasturirangan, former Chairman, ISRO, lists failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation; extreme weather events; major biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse; food crises; and water crises, as the five global risks.
  • The report was prepared with the aim of reducing carbon footprint and halting global warming below 2 degree Celsius by 2050.