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Weekly Current Affairs Answers MARCH 2020 - WEEK 3

1) Answer: D

  • Crime Multi Agency Centre (Cri-MAC) aims to share information on heinous crime and other issues related to inter-state coordination.
  • It was launched by the Ministry of Home Affairs on the 35th Inception Day of National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).

 

2) Answer: C

  • The Essential Commodities Act provides, “in the interest of the general public, for the control of the production, supply and distribution of, and trade and commerce, in certain commodities”.
  • Under the Act, the government can also fix the maximum retail price (MRP) of any packaged product that it declares an “essential commodity”.
  • The purpose of designating any commodity as “essential” is to prevent profiteering at a time of extraordinary demand.
  • Violators are, therefore, termed as illegal hoarders or black-marketeers who can be prosecuted. Besides penalties, the violation may lead to imprisonment for a maximum period of seven years.

 

3) Answer: B

  • National Creche Scheme (earlier named as Rajiv Gandhi National Creche Scheme) is being implemented as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme through States/UTs.

The salient features of the National Creche Scheme are as follows:

  1. Day-care Facilities including Sleeping Facilities.
  2. Early Stimulation for children below 3 years and pre-school Education for 3

to 6 years old children.

  1. Supplementary Nutrition (to be locally sourced)
  2. Growth Monitoring
  3. Health Check-up and Immunization

Regulation and Monitoring:

  • Monitoring of implementation of the scheme is being undertaken through meetings and video conferences with the officials of State Governments/ UT.
  • Ministry officials undertake field visits to ascertain the status of implementation of the scheme.
  • NITI Aayog conducts the third-party evaluation.

 

4) Answer: C

 

5) Answer: D

  • The Bhoomi Rashi Portal was lunched as a major e-Governance initiative of the Ministry of the Road Transport & Highways.
  • It has expedited significantly the process of land acquisition for National Highways, making it error-free & more transparent with notifications at every stage being processed on real time basis.
  • The portal has been integrated with the Public Financial Management System (PFMS) for depositing the compensation in the account of affected/interested persons on real-time basis.
  • The Bhoomi Rashi portal model is replicable and can be used by state governments as well as by Ministries which directly acquire land under their relevant legal provisions.

 

6) Answer: B

  • The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has said designated labs will use the conventional real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, which is conducted on swab collected from the back of the throat, a liquid sample from the lower respiratory tract, or a simple saliva sample.
  • Such tests are commonly used in Influenza A, Influenza B and H1N1 virus detection.

What is the PCR test?

  • It uses a technique that creates copies of a segment of DNA.
  • ‘Polymerase’ refers to the enzymes that make the copies of DNA.
  • The ‘chain reaction’ is how the DNA fragments are copied, exponentially — one is copied into two, the two are copied into four, and so on.
  • Kary Mullis, the American biochemist who invented the PCR technique, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1993.
  • However, SARS-COV-2 is a virus made of RNA, which needs to be converted into DNA.
  • For this, the technique includes a process called reverse transcription. A ‘reverse transcriptase’ enzyme converts the RNA into DNA.
  • Copies of the DNA are then made and amplified.
  • A fluorescent DNA binding dye called the “probe” shows the presence of the virus.
  • The test also distinguishes SARS-COV-2 from other viruses.

 

7) Answer: B

  • Recently, it has been observed that India is witnessing a phenomenal rise in women entrepreneurship.
  • The successful presence of women in almost every field has a great impact on women entrepreneurship.
  • Udyam Sakhi is the project which is designed to give such women to feel comfortable by getting the right information to go for self-employment on one single portal.
  • The Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) launched Udyam Sakhi Portal for women entrepreneurs of India in 2018.
  • The portal is a network for nurturing entrepreneurship and creating business models for low-cost products and services to empower women and make them self-reliant and self-sufficient.
  • The portal assists with its platform for entrepreneurship learning tools, incubation facility, training programs for fundraising, providing mentors, one-on-one investor meet, provide market survey facility and technical assistance.

 

8) Answer: D

  • After 2014 “glut” diplomacy which brought down prices below $30 a barrel, Saudi Arabia and Russia came together to cut output and steady prices.
  • Known as the “OPEC Plus” arrangement (Russia is not a member of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC), this alliance kept production lower and pumped up the prices.
  • The OPEC-Plus cooperation collapsed last week after Russia rejected a Saudi request to affect more cuts in output given the fall in demand owing to the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

 

9) Answer: B

  • The Zonal Councils are the statutory (and not the constitutional) bodies.
  • They are established by an Act of the Parliament, that is, States Reorganisation Act of 1956.
  • The act divided the country into five zones (Northern, Central, Eastern, Western and Southern) and provided a zonal council for each zone.

 

10) Answer: D

Circuit Breakers:

  • In June 2001, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) implemented index-based market-wide circuit breakers.
  • Circuit breakers are triggered to prevent markets from crashing, which happens when market participants start to panic induced by fears that their stocks are overvalued and decide to sell their stocks.
  • This index-based market-wide circuit breaker system applies at three stages of the index movement, at 10, 15 and 20 per cent.
  • When triggered, these circuit breakers bring about a coordinated trading halt in all equity and equity derivative markets nationwide.
  • For instance, if the S&P BSE Sensex were to fall more than 10 per cent before 1 pm on a given day, circuit breakers would be triggered for a period of 45 minutes; in case it fell more than 15 per cent on or after 2 pm, circuit breakers would be triggered for the remainder of the day and in case it fell more than 20 per cent at any time of the day, the trading would be halted for the remainder of the day.

 

11) Answer: C

  • New website of Ministry of New and Renewable Energy was launched recently.
  • It has additional portals such as ‘Akshay Urja Portal’ and ‘India Renewable Idea Exchange’.
  • Initiated and moderated by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), IRIX is a platform that promotes the exchange of ideas among energy conscious Indians and the Global community.
  • It helps individuals to be a part of a select group of energy conscious individuals who exchange ideas that lead to actionable insights and facilitate the development and deployment of new and renewable energy in India.

 

12) Answer: A

  • NASA had recently completed the final round of testing for its Orion spacecraft– meant to fly the Artemis mission.

Artemis mission:

  • It is NASA’s next chapter in the space exploration program.
  • It aims to send first American woman and next American man on the Moon by 2024 and establish sustainable exploration by 2028.
  • The mission will then act as the footstep for future missions like sending astronauts to Mars.

 

13) Answer: D

Sepsis:

  • Sepsis is a life-threatening organ dysfunction caused by the body’s immune system overreacting in response to an infection.
  • This overactive, toxic response can lead to tissue damage, multiple organ failure and death.
  • Despite the high incidence of sepsis, knowledge about sepsis prevention and early detection in Germany is significantly lower than in comparable industrialized countries.
  • Viruses, bacteria, fungi or parasites – sepsis can be triggered by a variety of pathogens.
  • The causes of sepsis are usually pneumonia, wound infections, urinary tract infections or infections in the abdominal cavity.
  • In addition to the known seasonal influenza viruses, other viruses that are highly infectious, such as coronaviruses, Ebola and yellow fever viruses, dengue, swine flu or bird flu viruses can also cause sepsis.
  • In addition to the typical signs of infection, there are several stand out symptoms that usually indicate possible sepsis — for example, a drop-in blood pressure with a simultaneous rise in heart rate, fever, rapid, heavy breathing, an unusually strong feeling of illness and sudden confusion.
  • Septic shock is the most severe stage and is diagnosed when blood pressure drops to dangerous levels.
  • In the event of such alarm signals, emergency care should be sought immediately.

 

14) Answer: C

  • Minister of State for Shipping has recently visited the ROPAX service at Bhaucha Dhakka in Maharashtra.
  • ROPAX service will help in reducing road traffic from Mumbai to Alibag/Goa to a certain extent, as travellers will certainly prefer a peaceful, novel and time saving journey.

ROPAX service:

  • It is a ‘Water Transport Service Project’, under Eastern Waterfront Development.
  • The benefits of this service include reduction in the travel time, fuel consumption, traffic on the road and vehicular emission, a step towards reducing Carbon Footprint.

 

15) Answer: D

  • Record-high temperatures, cyclones in the Indian Ocean, erratic rainfall patterns leading floods in several parts of India — these are among the concerns highlighted by the United Nation’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO) report released recently.
  • According to the report titled Statement of the State of the Global Climate in 2019, record-high temperatures were reported in India, Australia, Japan and Europe in 2019, adversely affecting public health.
  • India was among the most severely affected by heat waves, the report noted.
  • Between May and June 2019, very high temperatures were observed.

 

16) Answer: B

  • The University of Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences (UAHS), Shivamogga (Karnataka), has developed a new variety of paddy, ‘Sahyadri Megha’.
  • The University has developed the new variety to prevent a decline in the area under paddy cultivation.

Reasons behind developing the new variety:

  • Paddy growers are switching over to commercial crops like areca nut, ginger and rubber for lucrative returns.
  • The area under paddy that was around 1.5 lakh hectares in Shivamogga district in 1990, has come down to around 1.05 lakh hectares.
  • The ‘Jyothi’ variety which is widely cultivated in the command areas of the Bhadra and the Tunga reservoirs and semi-arid areas in Sorab, Shikaripur, Hanagal and Sirsi taluks in Karnataka has become vulnerable to blast disease and other infestations.
  • Demand by customers in urban areas for red rice which is rich in fibre and protein.
  • The red variety gets its rich colour from an antioxidant called anthocyanins, which are also found in deep purple or reddish fruits and vegetables.
  • The compound is believed to have properties that can reduce inflammation, allergy, prevent risks of cancer and help in weight management.

Sahyadri Megha

  • Sahyadri Megha is a red variety of paddy that is resistant to blast disease and also rich in nutrients.
  • It was developed under the hybridization breeding method by cross-breeding the best among the ‘Jyothi’ variety with that of ‘Akkalu’, a disease-resistant and protein-rich paddy variety.
  • The new variety will be notified under the Indian Seed Act, 1966 shortly after which it will become part of the seed chain.

Key Attributes:

  • The protein content in it is 12.48%, higher than the other red rice varieties grown.
  • The yield per hectare from ‘Sahyadri Megha’ is around 65 quintals, substantially higher than other red paddy varieties.
  • It is a medium-term paddy that can be grown when there is a delay in the onset of monsoon. It can be harvested after 120 days of sowing.

 

17) Answer: A

  • Recently, Poona Citizen Doctors’ forum dispels beliefs on commercial cord blood banking. It has warned to-be parents against falling prey to the emotional marketing tactics by stem cell banking companies.
  • Cord blood (short for umbilical cord blood) is the blood that remains in the umbilical cord and placenta post-delivery.
  • It contains special cells called hematopoietic stem cells that can be used to treat some types of diseases.
  • Cord blood banking is the process of collecting the cord blood and extracting and cryogenically freezing its stem cells and other cells of the immune system for potential future medical use.
  • Globally, cord blood banking is recommended as a source of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation for haematological cancers and disorders where its use is recommended. For all other conditions, the use of cord blood as a source of stem cells is not yet established.
  • Stem cell banking has been aggressively marketed even as its use is still in experimental stages. But these companies charge enormous fees from parents to preserve cells.
  • The concern here is that it is merely by emotional marketing that companies convince parents to bank the cells for several years promising future therapeutic use.
  • Private companies who have forayed into this field offer packages anywhere between Rs 50,000 and Rs 1 lakh to store and preserve the cells in right conditions.
  • So far there is no scientific basis for preservation of cord blood for future self-use and this practice, therefore, raises ethical and social concerns.
  • The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) does not recommend commercial stem cell banking.

Uses of Cord Blood

  • The umbilical cord fluid is loaded with stem cells. They can treat cancer, blood diseases like anaemia, and some immune system disorders, which disrupt your body’s ability to defend itself.
  • The fluid is easy to collect and has 10 times more stem cells than those collected from bone marrow.
  • Stem cells from cord blood rarely carry any infectious diseases and are half as likely to be rejected as adult stem cells.

 

18) Answer: B

  • Ministry of Home Affairs recently decided to treat COVID-19 as a notified disaster for the purpose of providing assistance under the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF).

State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF)

  • The Fund is constituted under the Disaster Management Act, 2005.
  • It is the primary fund available with state governments for responses to notified disasters.
  • The Central government contributes 75 per cent towards the SDRF allocation for general category states and UTs, and over 90 per cent for special category states/UTs, which includes north-eastern
  • states, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand).
  • For SDRF, the Centre releases funds in two equal instalments as per the recommendation of the Finance Commission.

 

19) Answer: C

  • New website of Ministry of New and Renewable Energy was launched recently.
  • It has additional portals such as ‘Akshay Urja Portal’ and ‘India Renewable Idea Exchange’.

 

20) Answer: C

  • An enzyme that goes by the name SIRT1 is known to be associated with regulation of metabolic activities and also ageing and hence has become a target of therapeutics recently.
  • A study by researchers from Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai (TIFR) shows that glucose controls the function of SIRT1 directly.
  • A shortage or absence of this control can lead to a diabetic-like state, while excess feeding and sustained low levels of SIRT1 can lead to obesity and enhanced ageing.

 

21) Answer: A

  • An online portal, namely Indian Culture Portal was launched on 10th December, 2019 to showcase information about the rich cultural heritage of India across the globe.
  • The Indian Culture Portal is a part of the National Virtual Library of India project, funded by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India.
  • The portal has been created and developed by the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay.
  • Data has been provided by organisations of the Ministry of Culture and curated by Indira Gandhi National Open University.
  • The Indian Culture Portal is available in two languages i.e. Hindi and English.
  • The portal will create awareness about both the tangible and intangible cultural heritage of India, through the content available on the portal, which comprises mainly of rare books, e-books, manuscripts, artefacts from museums, virtual galleries, archives, photo archives, gazetteers, Indian National Bibliography, videos, detailed accounts of Indian UNESCO World Heritage site, Musical Instruments of India, write-ups and beautiful pictures on cuisines, festivals, paintings, folk art and classical art from different States of India etc.

 

22) Answer: B

The Central Sanskrit Universities Bill, 2020 has been passed by the Parliament after it was passed by Rajya Sabha recently.

Central Sanskrit Universities Bill, 2020:

This bill will convert the following universities into central Sanskrit universities:

  1. Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, New Delhi,
  2. Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth, New Delhi,
  3. Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth, Tirupati.
  • These 3 universities will have more opportunities to spread the knowledge of Sanskrit language not only in India but also across the world in a better way.

Sanskrit:

  • It is an Indo-Aryan language of the ancient Indian subcontinent.
  • It is one of the 22 languages included in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution.

 

23) Answer: D

  • The colourful helmeted hornbill is being hunted non-stop for its “casque” (the hard part on its beak) and the sudden explosion in demand for the hornbill casque is driving the bird to extinction very fast.
  • The casque is usually spongy, but in the helmeted hornbill it is solid keratin (protein).
  • It is like soft ivory.
  • Its colour is golden yellow, but the bird rubs its casque (horn on top of the beak) on its preen gland, whose oily secretion gives the surface of the casque a bright red colour.
  • It is being listed as “Critically Endangered” under the IUCN Red List.
  • This species is confined to the Sundaic lowlands, where it is known from south Tenasserim, Myanmar, peninsular Thailand, Sabah, Sarawak and peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Kalimantan and Sumatra, Indonesia, and Brunei (BirdLife International 2001).
  • It is generally scarce, occurring at low densities even in optimal habitat, and is the least commonly encountered of the forest hornbills in peninsular Malaysia.

 

24) Answer: A

  • The famous annual Chaitra Jatra festival scheduled to be held on March 17 at Odisha’s Tara Tarini hill shrine was cancelled as a precautionary measure against COVID-19 infection.

Background:

  • This festival is celebrated at Tara Tarini hill shrine on Tuesdays of the Hindu month of Chaitra.
  • The largest gatherings occur on second and third Tuesdays. March 17 happens to be second Tuesday.
  • Tara Tarini hill shrine, located at Kumari hill on banks of the Rushikulya river, is a major centre of Shakti worship in Odisha.
  • Indian Navy’s sailboat INSV Tarini was named after Tara Tarini hill shrine.
  • The first Indian all-woman crew had circumnavigated the globe in INSV Tarini.

 

25) Answer: D

World Climate and Security report:

  • The International Military Council on Climate and Security (IMCCS) has released the World Climate and Security
  • It is an umbrella network of senior military leaders across the globe that meets regularly to drive policies in support of international actions on the security implications of a changing climate.
  • It is administered by the Centre for Climate and Security, a non-profit organization.
  • The World Climate and Security Report 2020 provides global and regional assessments of the security risks of a changing climate, as well as opportunities for addressing them.
  • It is the first report of its kind and is intended to inform future climate and security policy and analysis.

This report addresses a broad spectrum of the security risks of climate change, including:

  • Where human security risks spill over into higher-order security risks, such as political instability, conflict, major natural disasters involving the significant military and humanitarian responses, mass displacements of peoples, and threats to critical resources and infrastructure.
  • Geopolitical impacts of climate change including regional and inter-state tensions and conflicts.
  • Impacts of climate change on military and defence, including military infrastructure, force readiness, military operations and military strategy.

 

26) Answer: C

  • The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has formulated a National Action Plan for Drug Demand Reduction (NAPDDR) for 2018-2025.
  • The Plan aims at reduction of adverse consequences of substance (drug) abuse through a multi-pronged strategy.
  • The activities under the NAPDDR, inter-alia, include awareness generation programmes in schools/colleges/Universities, community-based peer led intervention programmes for vulnerable adolescent and youth in the community, provisioning of treatment facilities and capacity building of service providers.

 

27) Answer: C

  • Institute of Nano Science and Technology (INST), Mohali (Punjab), an autonomous institution of Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India.
  • It has been established under the umbrella of NANO MISSION, initiated by DST to boost research and development in the field of Nano science and Nanotechnology in India.

 

28) Answer: C

  • Article 19(1)(c) of the Constitution under Part III (Fundamental Rights), states that all Citizens have the right to form associations or unions or cooperative societies.
  • Article 43B of the Constitution under Part IV (Directive Principles), states that ‘The state shall endeavour to promote voluntary formation, autonomous functioning, democratic control and professional management of the cooperative societies.’

 

29) Answer: A

Oculudentavis khaungraae:

  • Recently, scientists have identified a fossilised skull of a flying dinosaur named Oculudentavis khaungrae which may be the smallest Dinosaur yet discovered.
  • It was discovered in 99-million-year-old amber in northern Myanmar.
  • The Skull is only 7.1 mm in length which indicates the dinosaur was similar in size than the bee hummingbird, the smallest living bird.
  • The fossil is said to be from the Mesozoic era which is about 250 million to 65 million years ago.

 

30) Answer: C

  • Food Processing includes process under which any raw product of agriculture, dairy, animal husbandry, meat, poultry or fishing is transformed through a process (involving employees, power, machines or money) in such a way that its original physical properties undergo a change and the transformed product has commercial value and is suitable for human and animal consumption.
  • It also includes the process of value addition to produce products through methods such as preservation, the addition of food additives, drying etc. with a view to preserve food substances in an effective manner, enhance their shelf life and quality.

Status of Food Processing in India:

  • India is the world’s second-largest producer of fruits & vegetables after China but hardly 2% of the produce is processed.
  • Despite a large production base, the level of processing is low (less than 10%). Approximately 2% of fruits and vegetables, 8% marine, 35% milk, 6% of poultry are processed. Lack of adequate processable varieties continues to pose a significant challenge to this sector.
  • India’s livestock population is largest in the world with 50% of the world’s buffaloes and 20% of cattle, but only about 1% of total meat production is converted to value-added products.
  • More than 75% of the industry is in the unorganized sector.
  • Processing can be delineated into primary and secondary processing. Rice, sugar, edible oil and flour mills are examples of primary processing. Secondary processing includes the processing of fruits and vegetables, dairy, bakery, chocolates and other items.
  • Most processing in India can be classified as primary processing, which has lower value addition compared to secondary processing.
  • There is a need to move up the value chain in processed food products to boost farmer incomes. For instance, horticulture products, such as fruits and vegetables, carry the potential for higher value-addition when compared to cereal crops.
  • at present, India’s agricultural exports predominantly consist of raw materials, which are then processed in other countries, again indicating the space to move up the value chain.

Problems in Food Processing Industries:

  • Supply Side Bottlenecks.
  • Small and dispersed marketable surplus due to fragmented holdings, low farm productivity, high reasonability, perishability and intermediation
  • Infrastructure Bottlenecks
  • Inadequate cold chain (30% of the produce is lost from farm gate)
  • FPI in Unorganised
  • Deficiencies in the Regulatory Environment
  • Lack of integration and clarity in-laws
  • Lack of Holistic Approach
  • Despite having many incentives, there is a need for vital peripheral infrastructural linkages and legislation for contract and corporate farming.

 

31) Answer: C

  • The Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) has launched the Mission Solar Charkha in 2018-19 for implementation of 50 Solar Charkha Clusters across the country.
  • The aims and objectives of Mission Solar Charkha are: –
  • To ensure inclusive growth by generation of employment, especially for women and youth and sustainable development through solar charkha cluster in rural areas.
  • To boost rural economy and help in arresting migration from rural to urban areas.
  • To leverage low-cost, innovative technologies and processes for substance.

 

32) Answer: A

  • The sudden surge in numbers of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases has caused the nations across the globe to take steps to stop the spread.
  • Ever since the outbreak of the deadly disease, there has been a need to routinely check temperatures.
  • The temperature in such cases is not checked using a mercury thermometer.
  • To do this, offices, airports, malls and hotels are using forehead thermometers, also known as an Infrared Thermometer.
  • These thermometers check the human temperature by sensing the infrared energy radiated by the body.
  • The infrared thermometers are used to detect the body temperature in case of fever, one of the symptoms of coronavirus.
  • However, this is not a 100% accurate way of detecting COVID-19 cases.
  • While the advantage of using an infrared thermometer is its ‘no contact’ process, the temperature can get affected by various factors such as wind and water.
  • It can take from 2 to 10 days for a person to show the symptoms of coronavirus.
  • If a person is affected by the virus and has not started to show symptoms yet, the infrared thermometer would not be able to detect.
  • So, infrared thermometers might not provide an accurate estimation of the infected people.

 

33) Answer: C

  • Launched in 2018 by the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways with the help of National informatics Centre (NIC).
  • It acts as a single point platform for online processing of land acquisition projects to accelerate highway infrastructure development in India.
  • The portal has been integrated with the Public Financial Management System (PFMS) for depositing the compensation in the account of affected/ interested persons on a real-time basis.
  • PFMS is a web-based online software application developed and implemented by the Office of Controller General of Accounts (CGA).
  • Aims to facilitate a sound Public Financial Management System for the Government of India (GoI) by establishing an efficient fund flow system as well as a payment-cum-accounting network.

Its coverage includes:

  • Central Sector and Centrally Sponsored Schemes.
  • Direct Benefit Transfer among others.

 

34) Answer: C

  • The Lok Sabha is discussing supplementary demands for grants for 2019-20.
  • This includes 78 grants and four appropriations. The proposal involves net cash outgo aggregate to around 54 thousand crore rupees.

Background:

  • In addition to the budget that contains the ordinary estimates of income and expenditure for one financial year, various other grants are made by the Parliament under extraordinary or special circumstances:

Supplementary Grant:

  • It is granted when the amount authorised by the Parliament through the appropriation act for a particular service for the current financial year is found to be insufficient for that year.

Additional Grant:

  • It is granted when a need has arisen during the current financial year for additional expenditure upon some new service not contemplated in the budget for that year.

Excess Grant:

  • It is granted when money has been spent on any service during a financial year in excess of the amount granted for that service in the budget for that year.
  • It is voted by the Lok Sabha after the financial year. Before the demands for excess grants are submitted to the Lok Sabha for voting, they must be approved by the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament.

Vote of Credit:

  • It is granted for meeting an unexpected demand upon the resources of India, when on account of the magnitude or the indefinite character of the service, the demand cannot be stated with the details ordinarily given in a budget.
  • Hence, it is like a blank cheque given to the Executive by the Lok Sabha.

Exceptional Grant:

  • It is granted for a special purpose and forms no part of the current service of any financial year.

Token Grant:

  • It is granted when funds to meet the proposed expenditure on a new service can be made available by re-appropriation.
  • A demand for the grant of a token sum (of Re 1) is submitted to the vote of the Lok Sabha and if assented, funds are made available.
  • Re-appropriation involves transfer of funds from one head to another.
  • It does not involve any additional expenditure.
  • Supplementary, additional, excess and exceptional grants and vote of credit are regulated by the same procedure which is applicable in the case of a regular budget.

 

35) Answer: C

  • Environmental organisations from across central and eastern Europe have criticised a major project intending to link three rivers and provide seamless navigation between three of Europe’s peripheral seas.

About the project:

  • The Danube-Oder-Elbe Canal intends to connect the Danube, Oder and Elbe rivers and thus provide another navigable link from the Black Sea to the North and Baltic Seas.
  • Environmental organisations from Germany, Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Austria, wrote a joint letter to the European Union’s Commissioners for Environment.
  • This major project, costing at least 23 billion euros, fundamentally violates EU environmental and nature conservation directives and must not be allowed to become a reality,” the letter noted.
  • They called on the European Commission to ensure that the project be excluded from EU funding, and not be included as part of the Trans-European Transport Network.

 

36) Answer: B

  • GEMINI (GAGAN Enabled Mariner’s Instrument for Navigation and Information) is a marine information dissemination system.
  • It is to provide disaster warnings to fishermen by utilizing GAGAN (GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation) satellite systems of the AAI and ISRO.
  • It is a portable device which receives data from the GAGAN satellites and sends it to the user’s cell phone App, which decode the alerts.
  • It is developed by INCOIS under Ministry of Earth Sciences and Airport Authority of India.
  • INCOIS regularly provides information, advisories, ocean data, weather forecasts, potential fishing zones data to beneficiaries like fishermen, Indian Navy, marine industries, shipping etc.
  • But due to the limited range of mobile networks, the disaster warning couldn’t reach beyond 10-12km of the coastline which was acutely felt during 2017 Ockhi cyclone.
  • The data coverage of GEMINI covers the entire India Ocean full-time, which will help in information transmission to the fishermen far away from coastal areas.

 

37) Answer: C

Wasp-76b:

  • Wasp-76b is a huge gas planet that is twice the width of Jupiter. Its name comes from the UK-led Wasp telescope system that detected it in 2016.
  • The UK Wide Angle Search for Planets (WASP) is a collaborative project involving several UK universities. The primary aim is the discovery of exoplanets.
  • It is 640 light-years from the Earth and is so close to its star that it takes just 43 hours to complete one revolution.
  • Wasp-76b orbits so close to its host star that its dayside temperatures exceed 2,400 degrees Celsius – hot enough to vaporise metals like iron.
  • The planet’s nightside, on the other hand, is 1,000 degrees cooler, allowing those metals to condense and rain out.
  • Another of the planet’s interesting features is that it always presents the same face to the star – a behaviour scientists call being “tidally locked”. Earth’s Moon does the same thing.
  • Tidal locking is the name given to the situation when an object’s orbital period matches its rotational period.
  • The moon takes 28 days to go around the Earth and 28 days to rotate once around its axis. This results in the same face of the Moon always facing the Earth.

 

38) Answer: C

National Backward Classes Finance & Development Corporation (NBCFDC):

  • It is a Government of India Undertaking under the aegis of Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
  • It was incorporated under Section 25 of the Companies Act 1956 in 1992 as a Company not for profit.
  • Its objective is to promote economic and developmental activities for the benefit of Backward Classes and to assist the poorer section of these classes in skill development and self-employment ventures.

 

39) Answer: D

  • The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has issued revised guidelines on the ‘Clinical Management of COVID-19’.
  • The Ministry has recommended use of drug combinations Lopinavir and Ritonavir (sold under the brand name Kaletra) depending upon the severity of the condition of a person having coronavirus infection.
  • The use of this drug combination is suggested by an expert committee comprising doctors from the All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), experts from National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and World Health Organization (WHO).
  • Lopinavir-Ritonavir is recommended for high-risk groups of patients aged above 60 who are suffering from diabetes mellitus, renal failure, chronic lung disease and are immuno-compromised.
  • Lopinavir-Ritonavir is used widely for controlling Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
  • However, the use of Lopinavir-Ritonavir is also associated with significant adverse events which many times have led to discontinuation of therapy.
  • There is no current evidence from randomized controlled trials to recommend any specific treatment for suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients.
  • No specific antivirals are recommended for treatment of those suffering from respiratory ailment due to lack of adequate evidence from medical literature.

 

40) Answer: B

  • In the latest development, the Centre has formed a committee for implementation of the Kisan Rail scheme.
  • The Committee has been formed with representatives from Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Railways.
  • It will explore the options of creating a cold supply chain for perishable goods.
  • The Kisan Rail was proposed by the Union Finance Minister during the Union Budget 2020-21.
  • Under the scheme, the centre envisages setting up of a national cold supply chain to transport highly perishable goods including milk, fish and meat.
  • It will be set up through a public-private partnership (PPP) arrangement.

 

41) Answer: B

Senna Spectabilis:

  • The Kerala Government is planning to stop the rampant growth of Senna spectabilis in the forest areas of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve (NBR).
  • Senna spectabilis is a plant species of the legume family (Fabaceae) native to South and Central America.
  • The plant has become an invasive alien species in parts of Africa, India and other countries.
  • The thick foliage of the tree arrests the growth of other indigenous tree and grass species.
  • Hence, it causes a food shortage for the wildlife population, especially herbivores.
  • It also adversely affects the germination and growth of the native species.
  • It is categorised as ‘Least Concern’ under IUCN Red List.
  • The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve is an International Biosphere Reserve in the Western Ghats and Nilgiri Hills ranges of South India.
  • It is a part of the Western Ghats which was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

 

42) Answer: B

Kyasanur Forest Disease:

  • KFD is caused by Kyasanur Forest disease Virus (KFDV), a member of the virus family
  • The disease was first identified in 1957 in a sick monkey from the Kyasanur Forest in Karnataka. Since then, between 400-500 human cases per year have been reported.
  • Rodents, shrews and monkeys are common hosts for KFDV after being bitten by an infected tick.
  • Transmission to humans may occur after a tick bite or contact with an infected animal, most importantly a sick or recently dead monkey.
  • There is no specific treatment for the disease but the vaccine is available.
  • After an incubation period of 3-8 days, the symptoms like chills, fever, headache, severe muscle pain, vomiting, gastrointestinal symptoms and bleeding may occur.

 

43) Answer: B

  • Article 80 of the Constitution states, “(1) The council of States shall consist of (a) twelve members to be nominated by the President in accordance with the provisions of clause (3)…”
  • Clause (3) states, “The members to be nominated by the President under sub clause (a) of clause (1) shall consist of persons having special knowledge or practical experience in respect of such matters as the following, namely: Literature, science, art and social service”.
  • Nominated members enjoy all powers and privileges which elected MPs are entitled to.
  • They take part in proceedings of the House but are not allowed to vote in the election of the President.
  • They have a voting right in the election of the Vice President.
  • So far no nominated member has been inducted into the Council of Ministers.
  • A nominated member can join a party within six months of taking his seat in the House.

 

44) Answer: B

  • The Chairman of the Fifteenth Finance Commission has constituted a Committee to review the fiscal consolidation roadmap of the general government.
  • The Committee will be chaired by Chairman K. Singh.

 

45) Answer: A

  • Scientists have recently unlocked the enzyme that reorganises paternal genome during fertilisation.
  • Enzyme SPRK1 makes way for the first step — folding and packaging the sperm so that it fits in the egg.
  • A person’s genome is inherited from the parents — during fertilisation, half of the father’s genome is mixed with half of the mothers.
  • A sperm carries half as much genetic material as a regular cell and needs to be folded and packaged in a way that it fits in the egg. While the information was well-known, what led the first step in the process wasn’t.
  • It is the enzyme SPRK1 that makes way for this first step — by reorganising paternal genome during the first moments of fertilisation. The study, published in journal Cell, was carried out by researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine discovered.
  • The enzyme does it in a matter of few hours, according to scientists.

 

46) Answer: A

National Biopharma Mission:

  • The National Biopharma Mission (NBM) is an industry-academia collaborative mission for accelerating biopharmaceutical development in the country.
  • It was launched in 2017 by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) with 50% co-funding by World Bank loan.
  • Implementation: Biotechnology Research Assistance Council (BIRAC)-a Public Sector Undertaking of DBT.
  • Under this Mission, Government has launched Innovate in India (i3) programme to create an enabling ecosystem to promote entrepreneurship and indigenous manufacturing in the biopharma sector.

 

47) Answer: D

  • Silk Samagra Scheme is a Central Sector Scheme launched for three years i.e. 2017-2020.

Aim: To scale up production of Silk by improving the quality and productivity and to empower downtrodden, poor & backward families through various activities of sericulture in the country.

Implementation: It is being implemented by the Central Silk Board (CSB).

Components:

  • Research & Development, Training and Transfer of Technology
  • Seed Organizations
  • Coordination and Market Development
  • Quality Certification Systems (QCS)/Export Promotion and Technology Up-gradation
  • Sericulture is the cultivation of silk through the rearing of the silkworm. It is an agro-based industry.

 

48) Answer: A

Search and Rescue Exercise (SAREX-2020):

  • The exercise has been conducted biennially since 2003 by Indian Coast Guard under the aegis of National Maritime Search and Rescue Board (NMSARB).
  • The aim is to test the efficiency of operations and coordination of the stakeholders involved in Search and Rescue in the Indian Ocean Region.
  • Theme: Harmonization of Maritime and Aeronautical Search and Rescue named ‘HAMSAR’.
  • Further, the exercise witnessed the participation of around 24 overseas observers from 19 countries.
  • National Maritime Search and Rescue Board (NMSARB) was constituted by the union government in 2002 with the Director-General of Indian Coast Guard (ICG) as its Chairman.

 

49) Answer: A

  • Global Forest Watch (GFW) is an online platform that provides data and tools for monitoring forests.
  • By harnessing cutting-edge technology, GFW allows anyone to access near real-time information about where and how forests are changing around the world.
  • World Resources Institute established Global Forest Watch in 1997 as part of the Forest Frontiers Initiative.

 

50) Answer: B

  • Union Minister for MSMEs informed the Rajya Sabha that the government would come out with a new definition of MSMEs, which are currently defined on the basis of investment in plant and machinery, by the end of the ongoing session.
  • Government has accepted 39 suggestions by the K. Sinha committee on MSMEs appointed by the Reserve Bank of India, including the setting up a “fund of funds” for the sector.