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Weekly Current Affairs Answers MARCH 2020 - WEEK 2

1) Answer: A

  • India has been approved as an observer state for a five-nation grouping in the Western Indian Ocean, Indian Ocean Commission (IOC), which includes Madagascar, Comoros, Seychelles, Mauritius and French Reunion.
  • With this, India will join China, which was made an observer in 2016, as well as the “International Organisation of the Francophonie” or the 54-nation French-speaking collective, the European Union (EU) and Malta, which were all admitted in 2017.
  • The IOC is also significant for its geographical location, as the islands sit around a “key choke-point” in the Indian Ocean — the Mozambique Channel.
  • This channel is being watched more closely as the U.S.-Iran tensions threaten the Strait of Hormuz.
  • Given China’s growing presence in the region, India hopes to increase its naval presence and gain support for its maritime projects across the Indo-Pacific, beginning at East African shores.

 

2) Answer: C

  • The President can also remove the Chief Information Commissioner or any Information Commissioner on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity.
  • However, in these cases, the President has to refer the matter to the Supreme Court for an enquiry.
  • If the Supreme Court, after the enquiry, upholds the cause of removal and advises so, then the President can remove him.
  • Amita Pandove took oath as Information Commissioner recently.

 

3) Answer: C

Scheme for Adolescent girls:

  • It primarily aims at breaking the inter-generational life-cycle of nutritional and gender disadvantage and providing a supportive environment for self-development.
  • It is being implemented by the Ministry of Women and Child Development under Umbrella Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS).

Objective:

  • Enable the AGs for self-development and empowerment.
  • Improve their nutrition and health status.
  • Promote awareness about health, hygiene, nutrition.
  • Support out of school AG to successfully transition back to formal schooling or bridge learning/skill training.
  • Upgrade their home-based skills and life skills.
  • Provide information/guidance about existing public services such as Primary Health Centres, Rural Hospitals/CHCs, Post Office, Bank, Police Station, etc.

Coverage:

  • The target group for the scheme covers out of school adolescent girls (AGs) in the age group of 11 to 14 years.
  • Scheme for Adolescent Girls was sanctioned in the year 2010 and was implemented in 205 districts across the country.
  • Later, the expansion and universalisation of the Scheme for Adolescent Girls was done in additional 303 districts in 2017-18 and the remaining districts in 2018-19 with the simultaneous phasing out of Kishori Shakti Yojana (KSY).
  • Thus, at present, all districts in the country are covered under Scheme for Adolescent Girls.

Kishori Health Cards

  • These health cards are one of the programme interventions of the Scheme for Adolescent Girls (AGs).
  • These health cards for all AGs shall be maintained at the AWC.
  • Information about the weight, height, Body Mass Index (BMI), IFA supplementation, deworming, referral services and immunization etc will be recorded on the card.
  • The card shall be filled up by Sakhi and countersigned by the AWW.
  • The card also carries important milestones of AGs life including mainstreamed back to school and the same shall be marked as and when achieved.

 

4) Answer: A

  • The Ministry of AYUSH has developed National Ayurveda Morbidity Codes (NAMC), a comprehensive classification of diseases described in Ayurveda as well as Standardized Ayurveda Terminologies.
  • These have been made available on National AYUSH Morbidity and Standardized Terminologies Electronic Portal (NAMASTE Portal) developed by the Ministry.

NAMASTE PORTAL

  • NAMASTE is an acronym for “National Ayush Morbidity and Standardized Terminologies Electronic Portal”.
  • It was developed by Ministry of AYUSH, provides information about standardised terminologies and Morbidity Codes along with dedicated entry module for updating morbidity statistics in consolidated form as well as on real time basis.
  • The launch of this portal is a landmark event in the history of AYUSH with a promise to bring in equity with the mainstream health care system.

 

5) Answer: B

  • Agra Fort is in Uttar Pradesh

 

6) Answer: C

COVID-19:

  • Official names have been announced for the virus responsible for COVID-19 (previously known as “2019 novel coronavirus”) and the disease it causes.
  • The official names are:
  • Disease: Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)
  • Virus: Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2)

Naming of Viruses and Diseases:

  • Viruses, and the diseases they cause, often have different names. For example, HIV is the virus that causes AIDS.
  • People often know the name of a disease, such as measles, but not the name of the virus that causes it (rubeola).

Viruses:

  • Viruses are named based on their genetic structure to facilitate the development of diagnostic tests, vaccines and medicines.
  • Virologists and the wider scientific community do this work, so viruses are named by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV).

Diseases:

  • Diseases are named to enable discussion on disease prevention, spread, transmissibility, severity and treatment.
  • Human disease preparedness and response is WHO’s role, so diseases are officially named by WHO in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD).

COVID-19:

  • ICTV announced “Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2)” as the name of the new virus on 11 February 2020.
  • This name was chosen because the virus is genetically related to the coronavirus responsible for the SARS outbreak of 2003.
  • While related, the two viruses are different.
  • WHO announced “COVID-19” as the name of this new disease on 11 February 2020, following guidelines previously developed with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

 

7) Answer: C

  • Udyam Sakhi is an initiative of Ministry of MSME to encourage women entrepreneurs and to aid, counsel, assist and protect their interests.
  • It helps Indian women to start, build and grow businesses.
  • Udyam Sakhi is the project which is designed to give ambitious women to feel comfortable by getting the right information to go for self-employment on one single portal.
  • This portal is hosted & managed by Institute for Design of Electrical Measuring Instruments, Mumbai, an autonomous body under Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.

 

8) Answer: C

  • Gender Social Norms Index (GSNI) was released recently by United Nations Development Programme
  • It measures how social beliefs affect gender equality.
  • According to the report, nearly 90 per cent of men and women hold some form of bias against women.
  • And it was found that people’s gendered beliefs do impact women’s rights and equality.

 

9) Answer: A

  • NASA has renamed its newest Mars rover Perseverance.
  • The rover weighs just under 1,043 kilograms.
  • The Perseverance rover will be managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Labs (JPL) and will hunt for signs of past microbial life on Mars.
  • Perseverance will also characterise the planet’s climate and geology, and collect samples of Martian rocks and dust.
  • NASA has plans for a future mission which could bring these samples back to Earth.
  • The rover is currently is undergoing final assembly and checkout at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
  • The rover is targeted to land on Mars’ Jezero Crater a little February 18, 2021.
  • The Mars 2020 is part of a larger program that includes missions to the Moon as a way to prepare for human exploration of the planet.
  • NASA plans to put the next man and first woman on the moon by 2024 and wants a sustained human presence on the Moon by 2028 with its Artemis program.

 

10) Answer: C

What is a Pandemic?

  • According to the World Health Organization, a pandemic is declared when a new disease for which people do not have immunity spreads around the world beyond expectations.
  • Declaring a pandemic has nothing to do with changes to the characteristics of a disease, but is instead associated with concerns over its geographic spread.

When is a pandemic declared?

  • Ultimately, the WHO gets the final say.
  • There is no threshold, such as a certain number of deaths or infections, or number of countries affected, that needs to be met.
  • For example, the Sars coronavirus, identified in 2003, was not declared a pandemic by the WHO despite affecting 26 countries.
  • The Ebola virus, which killed thousands in West Africa, is an epidemic as it is yet to mark its presence on other continents.
  • Other outbreaks caused by coronaviruses such as MERS (2012), which spread to 27 and 26 countries respectively, were not labelled pandemics because they were eventually contained.

 

11) Answer: C

Rusty Spotted Cat:

  • The rusty-spotted cat is classified as ‘threatened species’ in the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
  • It is listed in schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
  • This little carnivore survives on insects, birds and rodents.
  • This cat is nocturnal by nature.
  • It is merely 35-45 cm in length and weighs about 1.5 kg.
  • Its survival is being threatened due to the loss of its habitat.

 

12) Answer: C

  • The President of India, Ram Nath Kovind presented Nari Shakti Puraskar for the year 2019 at a special ceremony held in Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi on the occasion of International Women’s Day.

Nari Shakti Puraskar:

  • It is formerly known as Stree Shakti Puraskar, literally meaning “Woman Power Award“.
  • It is India’s highest civilian award for recognizing the achievements and contributions of women.
  • The awards are given away by the President of India every year on 8 March, International Women’s Day at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi.
  • The Nari Shakti Puraskar is conferred on individual women, public and private institutions and public departments for their activism and/ or their contributions to the cause of women’s empowerment.
  • The award, instituted in the year 1999 by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India, is given in six institutional categories and two individual categories.
  • The award carries a cash prize of rupees one lakh (INR 100,000) and a citation.

 

13) Answer: B

  • Two rare wildlife species – a rusty spotted cat and a coral red kukri snake – were spotted recently in Pilibhit Tiger Reserve, Uttar Pradesh.
  • The rusty-spotted cat, known to be the smallest member of the cat family, was spotted in Mala range while the coral red kukri snake was sighted in the Haripur range.

 

14) Answer: B

Freedom in the World 2020 Report:

  • It was released recently by the America based Freedom House.
  • It ranks India at the 83rd position, along with Timor-Leste and Senegal.
  • This is near the bottom of the pile among the countries categorised as “Free”, with only Tunisia receiving a lower score.
  • India’s score fell by four points to 71, the worst decline among the world’s 25 largest democracies this year.

Top 5 Countries: Finland, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands and Luxembourg are the top five countries in the free category.

Bottom 5 Countries: Botswana, Peru, India, Timor-Leste and Tunisia.

 

15) Answer: C

Coral Red Kukri Snake:

  • Like rusty-spotted cat, the snake was also nocturnal in nature.
  • It is rarely seen on the ground during the daytime.
  • It normally preyed on earthworms and larvae.
  • Its innate characteristic was to remain underground most of the time.
  • Coral red kukri is listed in schedule IV of the Wildlife Protection Act.

 

16) Answer: D

WISTEMM program:

  • The Indo-U.S. Fellowship for Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (WISTEMM) program of Department of Science and Technology (DST) in association with Indo-U.S. Science & Technology Forum (IUSSTF) have provided international exposure to several women scientists.
  • WISTEMM aims to provide opportunities to Indian Women Scientists, Engineers & Technologists to undertake international collaborative research in premier institutions in U.S.A, to enhance their research capacities and capabilities.
  • Around 20 women scientists have visited 20 leading institutions across the United States of America for furthering their research work and to get trained in the state-of-the-art technologies related to their research.
  • The programme is run for two categories of women scientists— Women Overseas Student Internship (Module I) for women students pursuing PhD, and Women Overseas Fellowship (Module II) for women with PhD degree and holding regular position at any recognized institution/laboratory in India.

 

17) Answer: B

  • Capital account transactions include, issuing of external bonds, external lending or borrowings, private remittance’s inflow or outflow etc.

 

18) Answer: B

  • The Law Ministry has recently notified the delimitation commission for Jammu and Kashmir, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Nagaland.
  • The three-member commission will be headed by former Supreme Court judge Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai.

 

19) Answer: A

  • Sahyadri Megha’ is a new red variety of paddy that is resistant to blast disease and rich in nutrients.
  • As part of its initiative to prevent decline in the area under paddy cultivation, the University of Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences (UAHS), Shivamogga, Karnataka has developed ‘Sahyadri Megha’.
  • Sahyadri Megha has been approved by the Karnataka State-level Seed Sub-Committee and will be available for farmers from the coming kharif season.

Background:

  • The ‘Jyothi’ variety, which was widely cultivated in the command areas of the Bhadra and the Tunga reservoirs and in semi-arid areas in Sorab, Shikaripur, Hanagal and Sirsi taluks of Karnataka, had become vulnerable to blast disease and other infestations.
  • There was a demand for a new paddy variety that is resistant to the infestations.
  • Another objective of developing the new variety was to cater to the strong demand for red rice, rich in fibre and protein, by health-savvy consumers in urban areas.
  • ‘Sahyadri Megha’ is developed under the hybridization breeding method by crossing the best among the ‘Jyothi’ variety with that of ‘Akkalu’, a native disease-resistant and protein-rich paddy variety.

 

20) Answer: D

  • South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network (SAWEN) is an intergovernmental wildlife law enforcement support body of South Asian countries namely – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
  • SAWEN was officially launched in January, 2011 in Paro Bhutan.
  • It promotes regional cooperation to combat wildlife crime in South Asia.
  • It focuses on policy harmonization; institutional capacity strengthening through knowledge and intelligence sharing; and collaboration with regional and international partners to enhance wildlife law enforcement in the member countries.
  • SAWEN operates its activities from the Secretariat based in Kathmandu, Nepal.

 

21) Answer: C

  • 130th Foundation Day of National Archives of India (NAI) will be celebrated on 11th March 2020.

National Archives of India (NAI):

  • It is the custodian of the records of enduring value of the Government of India.
  • Established on 11 March, 1891 at Calcutta (Kolkata) as the Imperial Record Department, it is the biggest archival repository in South Asia.
  • It has a vast corpus of records viz., public records, private papers, oriental records, cartographic records and microfilms, which constitute an invaluable source of information for scholars-administrators and users of archives.
  • The Director General of Archives, heading the Department has been given the mandate for the implementation of the Public Records Act, 1993 and the rules made there under, the Public Records Rules, 1997.
  • Located at the heart of New Delhi, the Department functions as an Attached Office of the Ministry of Culture and have one Regional Office at Bhopal and three Records Centres at Bhubaneswar, Jaipur and Puducherry.
  • The Department celebrated its 125th year of the foundation during 2015-16.

 

22) Answer: A

Waterwheel:

  • Spread across Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa, the Waterwheel is a carnivorous plant that is classified ‘endangered’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
  • Found mostly in freshwater, the major threat to the species is from residential and commercial development, aquaculture and agriculture, natural systems modifications, and pollution.
  • Habitat degradation is also common throughout the species’ range.
  • Although its effects on the natural population are unknown, it is believed that illegal trade of the species also happens.
  • If adequate conservation efforts are not taken, the species could soon become critically endangered.

 

23) Answer: C

Rajkumari Amrit Kaur

Early life:

  • Born into the Kapurthala royal family, she was educated in Oxford and returned to India in 1918, and began to be drawn towards the work and teachings of MK Gandhi.
  • In the following years, as Kaur started interacting with other freedom fighters such as Gopal Krishna Gokhale and Mahatma Gandhi, she gave up her princely comforts and began to discipline herself by responding to the Gandhian call.
  • Apart from joining the nationalist freedom struggle, Kaur also began work on a number of other social and political issues such as the purdah system, child marriage and the Devadasi system.
  • When the civil disobedience movement took off in the 1930s, Kaur dedicated her life to it.
  • Kaur was jailed after the Quit India movement and carried to the jail a spinning wheel, the Bhagwat Gita and the Bible.

Achievements:

  • She was the first woman in independent India who joined the Cabinet as the Health Minister and remained in that position for 10 years.
  • Before taking up the position of a Health Minister, Kaur was Mahatma Gandhi’s secretary.
  • During these 10 years, she founded the Indian Council for Child Welfare.
  • She also laid the foundation of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and Lady Irwin College in Delhi in the following years.

Death:

  • She passed away in 1964, at the age of 75.
  • While she was a practicing Roman Catholic, she was cremated as per Sikh rituals in the Yamuna.

 

24) Answer: A

  • Egypt reopened the Pyramid of Djoser, the first pyramid ever built, after a 14-year restoration costing nearly $6.6 million recently.

Pyramid of Djoser:

  • The 4,700-year-old pyramid is 60 metres tall, and consists of six stacked steps over a burial shaft tomb 28 metres deep and seven metres wide.
  • It is located at the Saqqara archaeological site, 24 km southwest of Cairo, outside the royal capital of Memphis.
  • A complex of halls and courts is located around the pyramid.
  • According to the Egyptian state news outlet Al-Ahram, the Djoser pyramid is the world’s oldest monumental stone building.
  • The pyramid was constructed during the era of Pharaoh Djoser, the second king of Ancient Egypt’s Third Dynasty (2650 BC– 2575 BC).
  • The Pharaoh’s 19-year reign saw significant technical innovations in stone architecture.
  • The pyramid’s architect, Imhotep, was also a physician and astrologer, and served as Djoser’s minister. In later periods, he was deified.
  • It was now a UNESCO world heritage site.
  • The pyramid had sustained serious damage during an earthquake in 1992, and was on the verge of collapse when renovations started in 2006.

 

25) Answer: B

Women Scientists Scheme (WOS):

  • A large number of well-qualified women get left out of the S&T activities due to various circumstances but most often the “break in career” arises out of motherhood and family responsibilities.
  • To address such issues, Department of Science and Technology (DST) launched “Women Scientists Scheme (WOS)” during 2002-03.
  • This initiative primarily aimed at providing opportunities to women scientists and technologists between the age group of 27-57 years who had a break in their career but desired to return to mainstream.
  • Through this endeavour of the Department, concerted efforts have been made to give women a strong foothold into the scientific profession, help them re-enter into the mainstream and provide a launch pad for further forays into the field of science and technology.

Components of WOS:

  1. WOS-A
  2. WOS-B
  3. WOS-C

Differences between the three components of WOS:

  • WOS-A programme supports pure R&D projects in Basic & Applied Sciences.
  • On the other hand, focus of WOS-B programme is to provide S&T solutions of challenges existing in society at grass roots level.
  • WOS-C programme is sort of training in the area of Intellectual Property Rights to enhance self-employment and entrepreneurship among women.

 

26) Answer: D

  • Primary sector in economy involves the extraction and collection of natural resources, such as copper and timber, as well as by activities such as farming and fishing. A company in a primary industry can also be involved in turning natural resources into products.

 

27) Answer: C

  • Humpback dolphin is a coastal dolphin found in Gahirmatha Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • It is found along the coasts of Indian Ocean and coasts of West Africa.
  • It is listed under appendix I and II of the convention on the conservation of migratory species of wild animals.
  • Reduction in the humpback dolphin count in Gahirmatha could be due to their migration from Gahiramatha to Chilika Lake and towards the deep sea.
  • Climate change and bad weather could have also pushed them towards deep sea.
  • Sometimes, dolphins are trapped in fish nets or hit by propellers of fishing trawlers.
  • Irrawaddy dolphins reside in estuaries of Chilika Lake, Humpback dolphins live in sea water near the coast at Gahirmatha.
  • Irrawaddy dolphin is an example of euryhaline species, this means that it is able to tolerate a wide range of salinities.

 

28) Answer: D

  • The impact of climate change on water will increase the risk to global security in the next decade, according to a group of international security and military professionals.
  • The International Military Council on Climate and Security (IMCCS) administered a survey in December 2019 to assess the perceptions of climate security risks among 56 security and military experts and practitioners from across the globe.
  • The perception analysis was published in a World Climate and Security report, which claimed to be first of its kind.
  • According to the report, 93 per cent military experts perceived climate change effects on water security would present significant or higher risks to global security by 2030.
  • About 91 per cent perceived those risks would turn severe or catastrophic by 2040.

 

29) Answer: A

  • US Supreme Court has recently allows the “Remain in Mexico Policy” to remain in place that allows asylum seekers to be sent back to Mexico.
  • Remain in Mexico policy:
  • It was unveiled in December 2018 by the Trump administration calls for non-Mexican asylum seekers to remain in Mexico while their cases are being decided.
  • The program — officially known as the “Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) — is among the tools the Trump administration has used to curb mass migration from Central America and elsewhere across the southern U.S. border.

 

30) Answer: A

  • A 48-year-old woman died of Kyasanur Forest Disease (monkey fever) at Kozhikode Government Medical College Hospital recently.

 

31) Answer: B

  • Augmenting Writing Skills for Articulating Research (AWSAR) is an initiative that aims to disseminate Indian research stories among the masses in an easy to understand and interesting format to a common man.
  • Under this initiative, PhD Scholars and Post-Doctoral Fellows (PDFs) in Science and Technology (S&T) streams would be encouraged to write at least one popular science article during the tenancy of their fellowship, and to participate in a national competition.
  • Augmenting Writing Skills for Articulating Research (AWSAR) is a new initiative conceptualized & supported by National Council for Science & Technology Communication (NCSTC) Division, Department of Science and Technology (DST) which is actively engaged in developing various outreach programs for scientific fraternity.
  • AWSAR envisages to bridge the existing gap in communicating research to common man by utilizing the latent potential of PhD Scholars and Post-Doctoral Fellows (PDFs).
  • This program is being coordinated by Vigyan Prasar, an autonomous institute of DST.

 

32) Answer: D

  • The International Conference on Nano Science and Nano Technology (ICONSAT) under the aegis of Nano Mission, Department of Science and Technology (DST) is being held recently at Kolkata focusing on the recent advances in this frontier research field.

 

33) Answer: D

  • Final exercise of the National level Search and Rescue Exercise (SAREX-2020) was conducted recently by the Indian Coast Guard in the sea at Vasco, South Goa district.
  • It was observed by observers from 19 countries.

 

34) Answer: D

  • The area between the bottom of the snow layer and the top of the frozen ground — known as ‘Subnivium’.
  • The survival of several species — dependent on layers of snow for sustenance — might become tougher in the near future, according to a study based on data from the space agencies of the US and Japan.
  • Subnivium is at risk from global warming.
  • Snow line is the boundary between snow-free and snow-clad areas.
  • Permafrost is any ground that remains completely frozen—32°F (0°C) or colder—for at least two years straight.
  • In cartography, a contour line (often just called a “contour“) joins points of equal elevation (height) above a given level, such as mean sea level.

 

35) Answer: D

  • 43rd Annual Day of the National Institute of Health and Family Welfare (NIHFW) was celebrated in New Delhi recently.
  • The National Institute of Health and Family Welfare (NIHFW), was established on 9th March, 1977 by the merger of two national level institutions, viz. the National Institute of Health Administration and Education (NIHAE) and the National Institute of Family Planning (NIFP).
  • The NIHFW, an autonomous organization, under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, acts as an ‘apex technical institute’ as well as a ‘think tank’ for the promotion of health and family welfare programmes in the country.

 

36) Answer: C

  • The Union Government has recently formed a committee for the implementation of Kisal Rail.
  • The committee comprising representatives from the Railway and Agriculture Ministries will work out the modalities of the scheme.

Kisan Rail Scheme:

  • The Union Budget 2020-21 proposes setting up of Kisan Rail to build a national cold supply chain for perishables including meat, milk and fish.
  • The Kisan rail will be set up by the Indian Railways through the PPP arrangement.
  • The Kisan Rail will comprise refrigerated coaches in Express and Freight trains.

 

37) Answer: D

  • Valmiki Tiger Reserve forms the eastern most limit of the Himalayan Terai forests in India, and is the only tiger reserve of Bihar.
  • The pristine forest and wilderness of VTR is an excellent example of Himalayan Terai landscape.
  • VTR comprises of the Valmiki National Park and Valmiki Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • In north, the protected areas are bordered by Nepal while the Indian state Uttar Pradesh bounds the Wildlife Sanctuary from western side.
  • ‘Tharu’, a scheduled tribe, is the dominant community in the Valmiki landscape.
  • The scheduled tribes other than Tharu in the Valmiki landscape are collectively called Dhangar – which means retained labourer in Oraon dialect.
  • Dhangar comprises of four tribes: Oraon, Munda, Lohra and Bhuiya.

 

38) Answer: C

  • Astronomers have recently found a potentially habitable Exo-planet, which is more than twice the size of Earth.
  • The planet, named K2-18b, is located 124 light-years away from Earth and measures 2.6 times the radius and 8.6 times the mass of our planet.
  • It orbits its star within the habitable zone where temperatures could allow liquid water to exist.
  • Because of its size, the K2-18b looks more like a smaller version of Neptune than a larger version of Earth.
  • This study opens the search for habitable conditions to exoplanets that are significantly larger than Earth, beyond Earth-like exoplanets.

 

39) Answer: C

  • One of the most critical short-term challenges confronting the Indian economy is the twin balance sheet (TBS) problem—the impaired financial positions of the Public Sector Banks (PSBs) and some large corporate houses— that we have hitherto characterized as the ‘Balance Sheet Syndrome with Indian characteristics’.

 

40) Answer: C

Coronaviruses (CoV):

  • They are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARSCoV).
  • A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.
  • Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people.
  • Detailed investigations found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans.
  • Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans.
  • Coronaviruses are named for the crown-like spikes that protrude from their surfaces, resembling the sun’s corona.
  • Coronaviruses are among a large number of viruses that are common in people and many animals.
  • The new virus, first detected in China, is believed to have originated in bats.
  • While antibiotics don’t work against viruses, researchers are testing drugs that could disrupt viral proteins and stop the infection.

 

41) Answer: B

Additional Tier-1 (AT-1) Bonds:

  • AT-1, short for Additional Tier-1 bonds, are a type of unsecured, perpetual bonds that banks issue to shore up their core capital base to meet the Basel-III norms.
  • After a string of banks turned turtle in the global financial crisis, central banks got together and decided to formulate new rules (called the Basel-III norms) that would make them maintain stronger balance sheets.
  • In India, one of the key new rules brought in was that banks must maintain capital at a minimum ratio of 11.5 per cent of their risk-weighted loans.
  • Of this, 9.5 per cent needs to be in Tier-1 capital and 2 per cent in Tier-2.
  • Tier-1 capital refers to equity and other forms of permanent capital that stays with the bank, as deposits and loans flow in and out.

Features:

AT-1 bonds have several unusual features lurking in their fine print, which make them very different from plain-vanilla bonds.

  1. These bonds are perpetual and carry no maturity date. Instead, they carry call options that allow banks to redeem them after five or 10 years.

But banks are not obliged to use this call option and can opt to pay only interest on these bonds for eternity.

  1. Banks issuing AT-1 bonds can skip interest pay-outs for a particular year or even reduce the bonds’ face value without getting into hot water with their investors, provided their capital ratios fall below certain threshold levels.

These thresholds are specified in their offer terms.

  1. If the RBI feels that a bank is tottering on the brink and needs a rescue, it can simply ask the bank to cancel its outstanding AT-1 bonds without consulting its investors. (This is what has happened to YES Bank’s AT-1 bond-holders who are said to have invested Rs. 10,800 crores.

A furious debate is now on, on whether AT1 bond holders should be asked to take this haircut when even the YES Bank shareholders are better off).

 

42) Answer: B

  • Gaur (Bos Gaurus) is the largest extant bovine in the world.
  • They are grassland specialists and their main food is grass.
  • They are native to south and south-east Asia, had shifted to Chitwan a few years back due to grassland destruction in Valmiki Tiger Reserve (VTR).
  • They have returned to Bihar’s Valmiki Tiger Reserve (VTR) now.
  • Gaurs have been attracted to VTR due to the increase in grassland cover.
  • The species is listed as ‘vulnerable’ on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species since 1986.
  • They are heavily built, with body weight varying between 400 and 1,200 kilograms.

 

43) Answer: C

Outbreak: A sudden rise in cases of a disease in a particular place.

Epidemic: A large outbreak, one that spreads among a population or region.

The current outbreak of a flu-like illness caused by a new virus in China is considered an epidemic.

Pandemic: Generally, refers to an epidemic that has spread on a more global scale, affecting large numbers of people.

  • While there are cases of illness outside China, the World Health Organization said it is not a pandemic.
  • Exactly when enough places have enough infections to declare one isn’t a black-and-white decision.
  • But generally, the WHO is looking for sustained outbreaks on different continents.

 

44) Answer: B

  • A New era for girls: Taking stock on 25 years of progress, a report brought out by UNICEF, Plan International and United Nations Women, shows that the promises made by governments to eliminate harmful practices against women at the time of historic Beijing conference have only been realised in part.
  • The gains made by women and girls in the 25 years since the historic Beijing conference on women’s rights are impressive. But equally worrying are the huge impediments they still face across the world.

 

45) Answer: D

  • There are two Statutory National Commissions, two non-statutory Commissions, two Foundations and three Finance and Development Corporations under the Department of Social Justice & Empowerment. They are:

Commissions:

  1. National Commission for Scheduled Castes.
  2. National Commission for Backward Classes
  3. National Commission for Safai Karamcharis
  4. National Commission for Denotified Nomadic and Semi Nomadic Tribes

Foundations:

  1. Dr. Ambedkar Foundation
  2. Babu Jagjivan Ram National Foundation

 

46) Answer: C

 

47) Answer: C

  • The Supreme Court has held that non-military awards by way of recognition of merit of extraordinary work are not titles of nobility and hence do not violate Article 14 or article 18 provided, they are not used as titles for prefixes suffixes to the time to the name of the awardee.
  • State is not debarred from awarding military or academic distinctions even though they may be used as titles.
  • The state is not prevented from conferring any distinction or award for social service which cannot be used as a title, that is as an appendage to one’s name.
  • Thus, the award of Bharat Ratna for Padma Vibhushan cannot be used by the recipient as a title and does not from within the constitutional prohibition.

 

48) Answer: A

  • In the Railway Budget 2016-17, Mission Zero Accident was one of the Missions announced, comprising of the two sub-missions:
  1. Elimination of unmanned level crossings (UMLC) over broad gauge in the next 3-4 years.
  2. Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS): To prevent collisions and signal passing at danger by the Loco Pilot through developing an indigenous technology and also to increase throughput by increasing average sectional speed on Indian Railways (IR).

 

49) Answer: D

  • The Global Innovation Index (GII) is the result of collaboration between Cornell University, INSEAD, and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) as co-publishers, and their Knowledge Partners.

 

50) Answer: C

  • Lokpal is an independent statutory body established under Section 3 of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013.
  • Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act (2013) seek to establish the institution of the Lokpal at the Centre and the Lokayukta at the level of the State and thus seeks to provide a uniform vigilance and anti-corruption road map for the nation both at the Centre and at the States.
  • The jurisdiction of Lokpal includes the Prime Minister, Ministers, Members of Parliament and Groups A, B, C and D officers and officials of the Central Government.
  • The Lokpal should consist of a Chairperson with a maximum of 8 members of which 50% shall be judicial members.
  • 50% of the members of the Lokpal shall come from amongst the SCs, the STs, the OBCs, minorities and women.