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Weekly Current Affairs Answers JANUARY 2020 - WEEK 2

1) Answer: a

  • Saras Mk2 the first indigenous light transport aircraft was developed by the National Aerospace Laboratory (NAL).
  • The 19-seater aircraft, developed with a target cost of Rs. 50 crores, is at least 20-25% lower in cost than other aircraft in the similar category.
  • The NAL has been pitching SARAS Mk-2 for the government’s UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik), since it has the capacity to operate in “ill-equipped”, “semi-prepared” and “unpaved airstrips”.
  • The scheme, launched in October 2016, is aimed at linking up areas that have no air connectivity.

 

2) Answer: c

  • National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL), a constituent of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), India, established in the year 1959 is the only government aerospace R&D laboratory in the country’s civilian sector.
  • CSIR-NAL is a high-technology oriented institution focusing on advanced disciplines in aerospace.

 

3) Answer: b

  • India’s world-class facility for training astronauts will be established in three years at Challakere, a shrubby, arid oilseeds town on the Bengaluru-Pune NH4 in Chitradurga district of Karnataka.
  • Challakere, about 400 km and over three hours by road from Bengaluru, is also where premier scientific establishments have set up adjoining and interactive campuses on some 10,000 acres called the Science City, it houses facilities of the ISRO, the Defence Research & Development Organisation’s Advanced Aeronautical Test Range, the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre and the Indian Institute of Science.
  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has proposed a Rs. 2,700 crore master-plan to create top infrastructure that will house its young Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC).
  • The first set of four astronaut candidates for the first Gaganyaan mission – 2022 are to train in Russia.
  • The amount sought for the HSFC is over and above the Rs. 10,000-crore approved budget of Gaganyaan.
  • Pending its approval, the centre may take 2-3 years at the earliest to be set up, but would come up after the first Indian crewed flight.

 

4) Answer: a

  • Three people, including a US service member and two civilians, have been killed in an al-Shabab attack on a Camp Simba military base in Kenya’s Lamu County used by US and Kenyan military personnel.
  • A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposes, in certain modern nations.
  • Two other Department of Defense personnel were wounded in the attack on Camp Simba.
  • The Lamu region, which includes popular tourist beach destination.
  • Lamu Island — a UNESCO World Heritage Site, lies close to the Somali frontier and has suffered frequent attacks, often carried out with roadside bombs.

 

5) Answer: d

  • In the year 2014, Department of Science and Technology restructured the women specific programmes under one umbrella called “KIRAN (Knowledge Involvement in Research Advancement through Nurturing)”.
  • Through KIRAN, DST is not only addressing various issues related to women scientists (unemployment, break-in career, relocation, etc.) but also aimed at providing opportunities in research, entrepreneurship, science communication, technology development/demonstration and self-employment.
  • In addition, Consolidation of University Research for Innovation and Excellence in women universities (CURIE) is another component of KIRAN that has a focus to develop state-of-the-art infrastructure to help large number of women to enhance their S&T skills and knowledge in order to make a fulfilling career in this domain besides promoting research culture in such institutions.
  • Further, KIRAN is providing budgetary support for creating Women Technology Park (WTP) where appropriate S&T packages for women are developed to improve livelihood and health & nutrition besides reducing drudgery in order to enhance their quality-of-life.

 

6) Answer: b

  • Ministry of External Affairs created New Emerging and Strategic Technologies (NEST).
  • The division will work to increase investment coordination among the Indian states and also with the foreign countries.
  • It will help in collaboration with foreign partners in the field of 5G and artificial intelligence.
  • The division holds responsibility for matters that involve negotiations with multilateral fora like the UN, G20.
  • This will help to safeguard India’s interests as such forums govern the rules of access to such technologies.

 

7) Answer: d

  • India extends $75mn Line of Credit via EXIM Bank for solar parks in Cuba.
  • An agreement signed between Exim Bank and Banco Exterior De Cub (a nominated agency of the Government of Cuba) in July last year came into effect from December.
  • Export-Import Bank of India (EXIM Bank) is a specialized financial institution, wholly owned by Government of India.
  • It was set up in 1982, for financing, promoting foreign trade of India under Export-Import Bank of India Act 1981.
  • It extends Lines of Credit (LOCs) to overseas financial institutions, regional development banks, sovereign governments and other entities overseas.
  • It is to enable buyers in those countries to import developmental and infrastructure projects, equipment’s, goods and services from India, on deferred credit terms.
  • The Bank facilitates two-way technology transfer by financing import of technology into India, and investment abroad by Indian companies for setting up joint ventures, subsidiaries or undertaking overseas acquisitions.

 

8) Answer: b

  • Chinese paddlefish, native to the Yangtze River, declared Extinct by scientists.
  • Paddlefish a primitive bony fish related to the sturgeon and found in the basins of the Mississippi and Yangtze rivers.
  • The American paddlefish (Polyodon spathula), also called the Mississippi paddlefish or spoonbill, is greenish or grey and averages about 18kg; however, some specimens can grow up to 2.2m long and 90.7kg in weight.
  • It lives in open waters of the Mississippi River basin, Lake Huron, and parts of southern Canada.
  • The American paddlefish is classified as a Vulnerable
  • The other species, the Chinese paddlefish (Psephurus gladius), is larger and has a slenderer snout.
  • It inhabits the Yangtze River basin. The largest Chinese paddlefish may grow up to 3 metres in length and weigh 300 kg.
  • The Chinese paddlefish is declared Extinct. It is dubbed as ‘Panda of the Yangtze River’ becomes extinct due to overfishing and habitat loss.

 

9) Answer: d

  • Delhi gets its first Smog Tower to help tackle rising levels of Air pollution.
  • The Smog tower, which is 20-ft tall, has been installed in south Delhi’s Lajpat Nagar market.
  • The Smog towers is built on the lines of China, which installed the largest smog tower measuring over 328 ft high at Xian.
  • It can remove up to 80% of PM 2.5 and PM10 the primary pollutant in Delhi’s air.
  • The project is being undertaken by IIT-Bombay in collaboration with IIT Delhi and the University of Minnesota.

 

10) Answer: a

  • India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2019, released by Ministry of Environment Forest & Climate Change (MoEFCC).
  • It is a biennial publication of Forest Survey of India (FSI), an organization under the MoEFCC.
  • It assesses the forest and tree cover, bamboo resources, carbon stock and forest fires.
  • The total tree and forest cover in the country increased by 5,188 sq. km in the last two years.
  • Except Assam and Tripura, all states in the North Eastern region show decrease in forest cover.
  • The assessment shows a decrease of forest cover to the extent of 765 sq. km (0.45%) in North-eastern region.
  • The mangrove cover in the country has increased by 54 sq. km (1.10%) as compared to the previous assessment.

 

11) Answer: d

  • Scheme for Transformational and Advanced Research in Sciences (STARS) for promoting translational, India-centric research in Sciences, to be implemented and managed by Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore.
  • With the key objective of supporting socially relevant research, the following 6 basic thrust areas have been identified: Physics, Chemistry, Biological Sciences, Nanoscience’s, Data Sciences & Mathematics and Earth Sciences.

Objectives:

  • To fund science projects which are translational, i.e. which have direct implications for the progress of country, through a competitive process in an open and transparent manner.
  • Basic thrust would be to take stock of an existing problem and work backwards towards conducting research for a solution.
  • Promoting an inter-disciplinary & translational approach in research for synergy, de-duplication and greater comprehensiveness & relevance of Research activities.
  • Orient science towards addressing needs & issues of the country in key sectors like health, agriculture, energy, environment, security etc.

 

12) Answer: d

National Educational Alliance for Technology (NEAT):

  • It is a Public Private Partnership (PPP) Scheme launched by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD).
  • The scheme aims for using technology for better learning outcomes in Higher Education.
  • The objective of the scheme is to use Artificial Intelligence to make learning more personalised and customised as per the requirements of the learner.
  • Ministry of Human Resource Development would like to recognise number of start-up companies for developing technology EdTech Companies through a PPP model.
  • MHRD would create and maintain a National NEAT platform that would provide one-stop access to these technological solutions.
  • The EdTech companies would be responsible for developing solutions and manage registration of learners through the NEAT portal and would be free to charge fees as per their policy.
  • Further, MHRD would act as a facilitator to ensure that the solutions are freely available to a large number of economically backward students and hence as their contribution towards the National cause, the companies would have to offer free coupons to the extent of 25% of the total registrations for their solution through NEAT portal.
  • MHRD would distribute the free coupons for learning to the most socially/economically backward students.

 

13) Answer: d

ISEER (Indian Seasonal Energy efficiency ratio) is the energy performance index used for Room Air Conditioners (RACs).

  • The Central Government in consultation with the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) has recently notified new energy performance standards for Room Air Conditioner (RACs).
  • The 24oC default setting has been made mandatory from Jan 1, 2020 for all room air conditioners covered under the ambit of BEE star-labelling
  • Additionally, the Indian Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (ISEER) as per the new standards will range from (3.30 – 5.00) for split and (2.70 – 3.50) for window air conditioners, which will be applicable from 1st January 2021 onwards.

 

14) Answer: d

Farmers Science Congress was organized as a part of the ongoing 107th Indian Science Congress at University of Agricultural Sciences, Bengaluru.

  • The Farmer’s Science Congress was inaugurated for the first time in the 107 years of history of the Indian Science Congress, highlighting the importance of farmer’s innovations and their scientific validity.
  • Around 120 innovative farmers from across the country are participating in Farmers Science Congress and showcase their products.

Experts from the different agriculture sector discussed on three themes:

  1. Farmers innovation on integrated agriculture and entrepreneurship for doubling farmers income
  2. Climate change, bio-diversity, conservation, ecosystem services & farmers empowerment
  3. Agrarian distress, rural bio-entrepreneurship, policy issues in a day event.

 

15) Answer: c

Global Innovation Index – World Intellectual Property Organisation Travel & Tourism.

Competitiveness Index – World Economic Forum.

 

16) Answer: b

  • The Great Indian Bustard has long been on the brink of extinction. It is one of the heaviest flying birds, and is found mainly in the Indian subcontinent.
  • Barely 150 of these birds are estimated to be surviving now globally.
  • It was distributed throughout Western India, spanning 11 states, as well as parts of Pakistan.
  • Its stronghold was once the Thar desert in the north-west and the Deccan plateau of the peninsula.
  • Today, its population is confined mostly to Rajasthan and Gujarat. Small population occur in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
  • Listed in Schedule I of Wildlife (Protection)Act, 1972, in the CMS Convention and in Appendix I of CITES, as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List.
  • It has also been identified as one of the species for the recovery programme under the Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, and Climate Change, Government of India.

 

17) Answer: a

  • Responding to President Donald Trump’s threat to attack sites that were “important to Iran and Iranian culture”, Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif posted, “Having committed grave breaches of international law in cowardly assassinations, Trump threatens to commit again new breaches of JUS COGENS, targeting cultural sites is a WAR CRIME.
  • JUS COGENS or ius cogens, meaning “compelling law” in Latin, are rules in international law that are peremptory or authoritative, and from which states cannot deviate.
  • These norms ‘cannot be offset’ by a separate treaty between parties intending to do so, since they hold fundamental values.
  • Today, most states and international organisations accept the principle of Jus Cogens, which dates back to Roman times.
  • The Jus Cogens rules have been sanctioned by the Vienna Conventions on the Law of Treaties of 1969 and 1986.
  • According to both Conventions, a treaty is void if it breaches Jus Cogens rules.
  • Besides treaties, Unilateral declarations also have to abide by these norms.
  • So far, an exhaustive list of Jus Cogens rules does not exist.
  • However, the prohibition of slavery, genocide, racial discrimination, torture, and the right to self-determination are recognised norms.
  • The prohibition against apartheid is also recognised as a Jus cogens rule, from which no derogation is allowed, since apartheid is against the basic principles of the United Nations.

 

18) Answer: d

  • Iran is home to one of the world’s oldest civilisations dating back to 10,000 BC.
  • 24 Iranian sites are on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, 2 of which are natural sites and the rest cultural sites.
  • Following the unparalleled destruction of cultural heritage in World War II, the nations of the world adopted at The Hague in 1954, “The Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict”, the 1st international treaty focussed exclusively on the protection of cultural heritage during war and armed conflict.
  • The Convention defined cultural property as “movable or immovable property of great importance to the cultural heritage of every people, such as monuments of architecture, art or history, whether religious or secular; archaeological sites….”,
  • The signatories, referred to in the Convention as “the High Contracting
  • Parties”, committed themselves to protecting, safeguarding, and having respect for cultural property.
  • There are currently 133 signatories to Convention, including countries that have acceded to and ratified the treaty.
  • Both the US and Iran (as well as India) signed the Convention on May 14, 1954, and it entered into force on August 7, 1956.
  • The Rome Statute of 1998, the founding treaty of the International Criminal Court (ICC), describes as a “war crime” any intentional attack against a historical monument, or a building dedicated to religion, education, art, or science.
  • The ICC started functioning in 2002 with jurisdiction over 4 main crimes: genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression.
  • 122 countries are States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
  • The US is a signatory that has not ratified the Statute. India has neither signed nor ratified the Statute.

 

19) Answer: d

  • Sukanya is an initiative of the Kolkata Police’s Community Policing Wing to provide self-defence training to girl students of city-based schools, colleges and universities.
  • Kolkata Police to start 3rd edition of ‘Sukanya’ project.
  • It is to provide girls studying in schools and colleges in the city with self-defence training.
  • The initiative is funded by Women and Child Development and Social Welfare Department of the state government.

 

20) Answer: c

  • A record 11,05,040 migratory birds belonging to 184 species have arrived in Odisha’s Chilika lake this year, the annual bird count conducted by the Chilika Wildlife Division on January 5, 2020, showed.
  • The Nalabana island or Nalabana Bird Sanctuary inside the lake, continued to be the most favoured destination for the birds, with the census report showing that 406,368 birds belonging to 102 species arrived in the 15.53 sq. km sanctuary area this year.
  • Chilika Lake,a shallow lagoon and a lake of brackish water, is located in the eastern State of Odisha.
  • Chilika was designated as the 1st Ramsar Site of India.
  • It was put under Montreux Record but was later removed from the list in 2002 due to conservation efforts. River Daya flows through Khurda and Puri district before merging the Chilika lake.

 

21) Answer: c

  • Pradhan Mantri Kisan Maan Dhan Yojana (PM-KMY) provides for payment of minimum pension of 3000/- per month to the eligible small and marginal farmers on attaining the age of 60 years.
  • It is voluntary and contributory pension scheme, with entry age of 18 to 40 years.
  • The monthly contribution by farmer ranges between Rs.55 to 200.
  • Central Government will contribute an equal amount in the pension scheme.

 

22) Answer: a

  • The Indian Army has recently started identifying potential industry partners to implement the Government Owned Contractor Operated (GOCO) model for its base workshops and ordnance depots.
  • The tasks undertaken by these workshops include depot-level repairs; overhaul of T-72 and T-90, guns, mortars and small arms, vehicles, communication systems, radars, air defence systems, armoured personnel carriers; manufacture of spares and overhaul of aviation rotables.
  • The GOCO model was one of the recommendations of the Gen. DB Shekatkar (Retd.) committee to “enhance combat capability and rebalance defence expenditure.”

 

23) Answer: c

  • The Government of India has announced first ‘Antarrashtriya Yoga Diwas Media Samman’ for several media houses.
  • This award was conferred on January 7, 2020, to 30 media houses.
  • The objective behind this award is to bring positivity and acknowledge the role of media in the outreach of Yoga in the world.
  • The awards were given in three categories: Radio, TV and Print Media.

 

24) Answer: b

  • India’s ambition to send men to the deep sea in a submersible vehicle is likely to be a reality in 2021-22 with the ‘Samudrayaan’ project.
  • The project proposes to send a submersible vehicle with three persons to a depth of about 6000 metres to carry out deep underwater studies.
  • The indigenously developed vehicle is capable of crawling on the sea bed at a depth of six kilometre for 72 hours. Similar to ISRO’s plan to carry persons on a space mission Gaganyaan, NIOT has undertaken Samudrayaan.

 

25) Answer: b

  • Iran had recently launched missiles at US forces in Iraq at al-Asad and Erbil.
  • In South Australia, the fire had burnt about a third of the Kangaroo Island and is believed to have killed approximately half of the Island’s Koala population.
  • All time high temperatures and months of severe drought have fuelled the massive bushfires across Australia, since September 2019.

 

26) Answer: c

  • Indian scientists to set sail in search of valuable minerals in the Indian Ocean region on the coast of Madagascar.
  • National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR) and National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) are working for the project.
  • NCPOR and NIOT both are research institutions under Ministry of Earth Sciences.
  • The National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR) was established as an autonomous Research and Development Institution of the Ministry of Earth Sciences (formerly Department of Ocean Development), Government of India on the 25th May 1998.
  • It Manages the Indian Antarctic Research Bases “Maitri” and “Bharati”, and the Indian Arctic base “Himadri”.
  • It also manages Ministry’s research vessel ORV Sagar Kanya as well as the other research vessels chartered by the Ministry.
  • It is the nodal agency for planning, promotion, coordination and execution of the entire gamut of polar and Southern Ocean scientific research in the country as well as for the associated logistics activities.

 

27) Answer: d

  • Recently, the National Statistical Office (NSO) has released the first advance estimates of the national income.
  • It projected that the growth in India’s GDP at market prices for 2019-20 at 4.98% in “real” terms, the lowest since the 3.89% in the global financial crisis year of 2008-09.
  • The estimated growth of 7.53% in ‘nominal’ terms is the lowest since 1975-76.
  • Also, this is the first time since 2002-03 that nominal GDP growth is projected to be in single digits.
  • GDP is the total market value of all goods and services produced in the economy during a particular year, inclusive of all taxes and subsidies on products.
  • The market value taken at “Current prices” is the “Nominal GDP”.
  • Nominal GDP is also referred to as the Current dollar GDP.
  • The market value taken at “Constant prices” that is prices for all products taken at an unchanged base year is the “Real GDP”.
  • Real GDP is a measure of a country’s total economic output, adjusted for price changes (inflation).

 

28) Answer: b

  • The CISF observes 2020 as the ”Year of Mobility” that will have a special focus on creation of more residential units and implementation of various welfare measures for the troops.
  • It will emphasise on taking all measures for welfare of troops and their families, creating infrastructure and logistics like housing, acquiring new land and procuring modern equipment, training with focus on physical fitness and sports and leveraging modern gadgetry and technology on duty.
  • The CISF came into existence in 1969 with a modest beginning, having three battalions, to provide integrated security cover to the Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) which, in those years, occupied the “commanding heights” of the economy.
  • With globalization and liberalization of the economy, “CISF is no longer a PSU-centric organization”.
  • Instead, it has become a premier multi-skilled security agency of the country.
  • It has been mandated to provide security to major critical infrastructure installations of the country in diverse areas.
  • CISF is currently providing security cover to nuclear installations, space establishments, airports, seaports, power plants, sensitive Government buildings and ever heritage monuments.
  • Among the important responsibilities recently entrusted to the CISF are the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, VIP Security, Disaster Management and establishment of a Formed Police Unit (FPU) of the UN at Haiti.

 

29) Answer: a

  • A Samsung lab unveiled a digital avatar, an AI-powered “Artificial human,” claiming it is able to “converse and sympathize” like real people.
  • Move over Siri, Alexa, Samsung unveiled world’s first ‘Artificial human’ NEON.
  • NEON which is a portmanteau of Neo (New) and Human is a computationally created artificial human (humanoid) which looks and behaves like a real human.
  • It has the ability to emote and empathise like real humans.

 

30) Answer: c

  • The RBI has granted “in-principle” approval to Shivalik Mercantile Cooperative Bank for transition into a Small Finance Bank (SFB).
  • This is the first licence issued by the RBI to an urban co-operative bank (UCB) to become an SFB under its new policy regime.
  • The Small Finance Bank (SFB) is a private financial institution intended to further the objective of financial inclusion.
  • It will primarily undertake the basic banking activities of acceptance of deposits and lending to un-served and underserved sections including small business units, small and marginal farmers, micro and small industries and unorganised sector entities.
  • It does not have any restriction in the area of operations, unlike Regional Rural Banks or Local Area Banks.
  • The minimum capital for SFBs is prescribed at Rs. 100 crores with an initial contribution of 40% coming from the promoters, which over a period of 12 years, have to be reduced to 26%.
  • SFBs are full-fledged banks in contrast to payments banks created around the same time.
  • Hence, they are subject to all prudential norms and regulations of RBI as applicable to existing commercial banks like maintenance of Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) and Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR).

 

31) Answer: b

  • The Union Cabinet has recently given its approval for the ratification of Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement between India and
  • The Agreement was signed in March, 2018 during the State Visit of the French President to India.
  • The Agreement represents a major milestone in enhancing people-to-people contacts, fostering mobility of students, academics, researchers and skilled professionals and strengthening cooperation on issues related to irregular migration and human trafficking between the two sides.
  • The Agreement is a testimony to India’s rapidly expanding multi-faceted relationship with France and symbolizes the increasing trust and confidence between the two sides.
  • The Agreement is initially valid for a period of seven years, incorporates provision for automatic renewal and a monitoring mechanism through a Joint Working Group.

 

32) Answer: d

  • The Union Cabinet has recently apprised of the Agreement on cooperation in polar science between Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), India and Ministry of Education and Research, Sweden.
  • The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed on 2nd December 2019 during the visit of Their Majesties of the Kingdom of Sweden to India.
  • India and Sweden are both signatories to the Antarctic Treaty and to the Protocol to the Antarctic Treaty on Environmental Protection.
  • Antarctic Treaty
  • The treaty was opened for signature on December 1, 1959, and officially entered into force on June 23, 1961.
  • The original signatories were 12 countries: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile, France, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States.
  • India is also a party to the Antarctic Treaty.
  • It aims for making Antarctic Continent as demilitarized zone to be preserved for scientific research only.

 

33) Answer: c

  • Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has recently notified the new Wetland Conservation Rules.
  • It prohibits setting up or expansion of industries and disposal of construction and demolition waste within the wetlands.
  • A wetland is a land area that is saturated with water, either permanently or seasonally, and it takes on the characteristics of a distinct ecosystem.
  • The Ministry has said that each state and Union Territory will have to set up an authority that will define strategies for conservation and wise use of wetlands within their jurisdiction.
  • The Authority will prepare a list of all wetlands of the State or UT within three months from the date of publication of these rules.
  • It will develop a comprehensive list of activities to be regulated and permitted within the notified wetlands and their zone of influence.
  • It will also recommend mechanisms for maintenance of ecological character through promotional activities for land within the boundary of notified wetlands.
  • The Ministry has also created a web portal for sharing information regarding the implementation of Wetlands Rules where the central government, state governments are required to upload all relevant information and documents pertaining to wetlands in their jurisdiction.

 

34) Answer: d

  • Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE), a laboratory of the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) has issued an Avalanche warning to Leh in Ladakh region.
  • SASE is working in avalanche forecasting, artificial triggering and structural control in snowbound mountainous areas.
  • SASE also participated in the Indian Antarctic Programme with research activities on the areas of Antarctic snow cover/ ice sheet surface energy balance and melt estimation.

 

35) Answer: b

  • The Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI-Visakhapatnam) has recently registered success in cultivation of Indian pompano in a brackish water pond, scientifically proving its commercial viability.

Indian pompano:

  • The Indian Pompano, which belongs to the fast-growing Carangid family, has a great demand in the state; especially this fish is rarely caught in fishermen’s nets because its sea population is quite low.
  • The species is able to acclimatize and grow well even at a lower salinity of about 15 ppt (parts per thousand) and, hence, is suitable for farming in saline ponds of coastal areas besides its huge potential for sea cage farming.

 

36) Answer: a

  • The Uttar Pradesh government has recently announced it will build a 121-acre zoo named after ‘Ashfaqullah Khan’.
  • He was the member of Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA).
  • HSRA published its manifesto titled “The Revolutionary” in 1925, which, among other things, said, “The immediate object of the revolutionary party in the domain of politics is to establish a federal Republic of United State of India by an organized and armed revolution”.

 

37) Answer: d

  • The 4th ‘Buxa Bird Festival’ has begun in Buxa National Park in West Bengal’s Alipurduar district.
  • Buxa Tiger Reserve (BTR) was created in 1983 as the 15th tiger reserve in India.
  • In 1986, Buxa Wildlife Sanctuary was constituted over 314.52 km2 of the reserve forests.
  • Government of West Bengal finally declared it as a National park.
  • It serves as an international corridor for elephant migration between India and Bhutan.
  • The Phibsoo Wildlife Sanctuary of Bhutan is contiguous to North of BTR, Manas Tiger Reserve lies on the east.
  • The reserve encompasses as many as 8 forest types.
  • The Avifauna is rich in both endemic as well as migratory species.
  • The swift rivers of Rydak and Jayanti are visited by Trans Himalayan Migratory Goosanders, the beautiful Ibis Bill, resident Fork-tails, varieties of Red-stars, Wag-tails.

 

38) Answer: c

  • Recently, NASA reported the discovery of an Earth-size planet, named “TOI 700 d”, orbiting its star in the “habitable zone”, also called the “Goldilocks zone”.
  • The Goldilocks zone is the range of orbital distances from a star at which liquid water can exist on the surface of a planet, without water boils away or freezes.
  • This range of distances changes depending on the size and temperature of the star.
  • Bigger hotter stars have their Goldilocks Zones further out, while smaller cooler stars have habitable zones much closer in.

 

39) Answer: c

  • BSNL have organised a function for commencement of cable-laying of Chennai – Andaman & Nicobar Islands Submarine Optical Fibre Cable System.
  • It will connect Port Blair to Chennai and will have further landings in 7 islands: Swaraj Dweep, Long Island, Rangat, Little Andaman, Car Nicobar, Kamorta and Great Nicobar.
  • The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are divided into 2 island groups, the Andaman Islands and the Nicobar Islands, which are separated by the 10°N parallel.

 

40) Answer: a

  • The Mizoram State Government is organising “Zo Kutpui Festival” across 10 states in the country and also in other countries.
  • It will also be organized in Maryland in the USA, Tahan in Myanmar, Churachandpur in Manipur and Bangladesh.
  • The move is an attempt to unify and strengthen the brotherhood among various Mizo tribes living in different parts of the world.
  • The Mizoram Government is trying to unify the Mizo population in the country and also across the world. In India, the Mizo population is found in Manipur, Tripura and Mizoram. There are 12 Mizo clans identified.

 

41) Answer: b

  • MILAN 2020 is a week-long multilateral exercise aimed at enhancing professional interaction and learn from one another’s strengths and best practices in the maritime domain.
  • The Exercise with the theme ‘Synergy across the Seas’ would provide an excellent opportunity for Operational Commanders of friendly foreign navies to interact with each other in areas of mutual interest.
  • Of the 41 navies invited, confirmations from over 30 navies have been received towards their participation in MILAN 2020.
  • With the huge increase in the number of invites, the exercise venue has been shifted this year from Andaman and Nicobar to Visakhapatnam for logistical and administrative convenience.

 

42) Answer: d

Atal Jyoti Yojana (AJAY) Phase-II

  • Applications covered: Solar Street Lights.
  • Financial support: 75% of the cost by MNRE and balance 25% through MPLAD.
  • Targets: A total of 3,04,500 Solar Street Lights (SSLs) will be installed in the following states/ regions.
  1. States of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and Assam, which were covered in Phase-I of the Scheme as there is additional demand in these States.
  2. Hilly States/UTs of Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
  3. North Eastern States including Sikkim.
  4. Islands of Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep.
  5. Parliamentary constituencies covering 48 aspirational districts of States other than those covered in (1) to (3) above.
  • Implementing framework: Project is proposed to be implemented by EESL. Hon’ble MPs of concerning parliamentary constituencies will provide consent letter along with location of lights. Respective DM will issue sanction for allocation of funds from MPLAD funds.
  • Achievements: During Phase I of the Scheme, sanction for allocation of funds from MPLAD fund received for 96 parliamentary constituencies. Out of sanctioned 1.45 lakh Solar Street Lights 1.34 lakh have been installed.
  • Current Status: Ph-II of the Scheme is under implementation. Consent letters for installation of 1,31,586 SSLs have been received from 120 Hon’ble MPs against which sanction from DMs has been received for 31,426 numbers of SSLs and 13,583 SSLS have been reported installed.

 

43) Answer: c

  • The Forest Advisory Committee, an apex body tasked with adjudicating requests by the industry to raze forest land for commercial ends, has recently approved a scheme that could allow “forests” to be traded as a commodity.
  • If implemented, it allows the Forest Department to outsource one of its responsibilities of reforesting to non-government agencies.
  • In the current system, industry needs to make good the loss of forest by finding appropriate non-forest land — equal to that which would be razed.
  • It also must pay the State Forest Department the current economic equivalent — called Net Present Value — of the forest land.
  • It’s then the Forest Department’s responsibility to grow appropriate vegetation that, over time, would grow into forests.
  • The proposed ‘Green Credit Scheme’, as it is called, allows agencies — they could be private companies, village forest communities — to identify land and begin growing plantations.
  • After three years, they would be eligible to be considered as compensatory forest land if they met the Forest Department’s criteria.
  • An industry needing forest land could then approach the agency and pay it for parcels of such forested land, and this would then be transferred to the Forest Department and be recorded as forest land.

 

44) Answer: a

  • Indian Cobra can be found throughout India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Bhutan.
  • Indian cobras belong to the family Naja Naja.
  • The Indian cobra is now protected in India under the Indian Wildlife Protection Act (1972).
  • Recently, scientists were able to decode their genome and identify 14 key toxins.
  • Scientists hope this discovery will help them produce anti-venoms.
  • Indian cobra is the first among the most venomous four Indian snakes, which are collectively called the infamous “big four”, to be genetically mapped.
  • The Indian cobra, together with the common krait, Russell’s viper and saw scaled viper, accounts for nearly 46,000 snake bite deaths in the country every year.

 

45) Answer: d

Animals found in Australia are:

  1. Kangaroo
  2. Koala
  3. Echidna
  4. Wombat
  5. Dingo

 

46) Answer: b

  • Recently, The New York Times reported that the “near-extinct” Nepalese language ‘Seke’ has just 700 speakers around the world.
  • UNESCO’s Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger, project is intended to raise awareness about language endangerment and the need to safeguard the world’s linguistic diversity among policy-makers, speaker communities and the general public.
  • It acts as a tool to monitor the status of endangered languages and the trends in linguistic diversity at the global level.

UNESCO provide a classification system to show just how ‘in trouble’ the language is:

  • Vulnerable – most children speak the language, but it may be restricted to certain domains (e.g., home)
  • Definitely endangered – children no longer learn the language as a ‘mother tongue’ in the home
  • Severely Endangered – language is spoken by grandparents and older generations; while the parent generation may understand it, they do not speak it to children or among themselves
  • Critically Endangered – the youngest speakers are grandparents and older, and they speak the language partially and infrequently
  • Extinct – there are no speakers left.

As per UNESCO,

  1. 57% of the world’s estimated 6,000 languages are safe,
  2. 10% are vulnerable,
  3. 10.7% are definitely endangered,
  4. 9% are severely endangered,
  5. 9.6% are critically endangered and
  6. 3.8% of all languages are extinct since 1950.

 

47) Answer: b

  • The report titled “DIGITAL PAYMENTS – Trends, Issues and Opportunities in India” was recently released in India by Niti Ayog.

 

48) Answer: a

  • The first Lunar eclipse of the year 2020 fall on January 10, where the Earth will cast a shadow on the Moon when it passes directly behind the planet.
  • A lunar eclipse happens when the Sun, the Earth, and the Moon are aligned in a line and the Earth is between the Sun and the Moon blocking the sunlight from reaching the Moon.
  • The lunar eclipse of January 10 will be a “Penumbral eclipse” where the Moon moves through the faint, outer part of Earth’s shadow.
  • A penumbral lunar eclipse happens when the three bodies are imperfectly aligned and usually this eclipse is mistaken as a full moon.
  • Partial Lunar Eclipse – A portion of the Moon passes through Earth’s umbral shadow. Total Lunar Eclipse – The entire Moon passes through Earth’s umbral shadow.

 

49) Answer: a

  • Recent report shows that a Huge increase in Open-loop scrubber usage in ships.
  • It is to remove SOx from the exhaust and operates utilising seawater in marine engines.
  • Open loop scrubbers release sulphur exhaust that they clean in ships back into the sea and are thus more harmful than Closed loop scrubbers.
  • According to GlobalData, a data and analytics company, there are currently 3,756 vessels with scrubbers installed, compared to just 767 in 2018. Out of these, only 65 have closed-loop, rest are all open-loop.
  • The International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) adopted the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) Annex VI in 2008.
  • It regulates the prevention of air pollution from ships and prohibits deliberate emissions of ozone-depleting substances such as sulphur oxides and nitrous oxides.
  • Following the adoption, exhaust scrubbers have become one of the most preferred ways of reducing sulphur exhaust as they ‘scrub’ pollutants out of emissions.

 

50) Answer: c

  • On the occasion of 73rd World Health Assembly, WHO will host the first-ever “Health for All Film Festival” in Geneva.
  • Films are a powerful way to raise awareness, improve understanding and encourage action.
  • WHO is inviting filmmakers, both amateur and professional, to participate in the inaugural film festival by submitting short videos falling in one of 3 categories.
  • Working with 194 Member States, across 6 regions, WHO united in a shared commitment to achieve better health for everyone, everywhere.
  • The World Health Assembly is the decision-making body of WHO.
  • It is attended by delegations from all WHO Member States and focuses on a specific health agenda prepared by the Executive Board.
  • The main functions of the World Health Assembly are to determine the policies of the Organization, appoint the Director-General, supervise financial policies, and review and approve the proposed programme budget.