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Current Affairs Pulse – 21/10/2017

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1. Which of the following statements regarding the office of the Attorney General of India are correct:
a. The Constitution of India does not contain the procedure and grounds for the removal of Attorney General of India.
b. The Attorney General of India has the right to speak and to take part in the proceedings of both the houses of the Parliament.
c. The Attorney General of India does not have the right to speak and take part in the proceedings of of the joint sitting of the Parliament and any committee of the Parliament of which he may be named a member.
Options:
a. 3 only
b. 1 and 2 only
c. 2 and 3 only
d. 1 and 3 only
Answer: 2
Refer Page No 1 of The Hindu Dated October 21, 2017.

2. Which of the following country was ranked number one in terms of toll taken by pollution as per the Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health 2017:
a. India.
b. China
c. Pakistan
d. Bangladesh
Answer: 1
Refer Page No 1 of The Hindu Dated October 21, 2017.

3. Which of the following observations from the Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health 2017 are correct:
a. Most of the deaths due to pollution occurred in low and middle income countries in 2015.
b. Across nations, it was observed that, pollution induced diseases was prevalent among the minorities and the marginalized.
c. Children are at high risk of pollution related diseases.
Options:
a. 1 and 2 only
b. 2 and 3 only
c. 1 and 3 only
d. All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 1 of The Hindu Dated October 21, 2017.

4. Which of the following statements regarding the provisions to safeguard and ensure the independent and impartial functioning of the Election Commission are correct:
a. The Chief Election Commissioner is provided with the security of tenure.
b. The Chief Election Commissioner cannot be removed from his office except in the same manner and on the same grounds as a judge of the Supreme Court.
c. The Constitution has debarred the retiring Election Commissioners from any further appointment by the government.
Options:
a. 3 only
b. 2 and 3 only
c. 1 and 3 only
d. 1 and 2 only
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 1 of The Hindu Dated October 21, 2017.

5. Which of the following statements regarding the Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rules 2017 are correct:
a. The latest rule stipulates that the Central Wetlands Regulatory Authority (CWRA) be replaced by a National Wetland Committee.
b. The new rules under the Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rules 2017 stipulate the setting up of a State Wetlands Authority in each State and union territories that will be headed by the State’s environment minister.
c. The Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rules 2017 was brought out by the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.
Options:
a. 1 and 2 only
b. 3 only
c. 2 and 3 only
d. 1 and 3 only
Answer: 1
Refer Page No 5 of The Hindu Dated October 21, 2017.

6. Which of the following statements regarding Bharath Net Project are correct:
a. The Bharath Net Project is the part of the Broadband for all – Urban, under the Broadband Highways component of the Digital India Mission.
b. The erstwhile National Optical Fibre Network project was renamed as the Bharath Net Project.
c. Bharath Net aims to provide broadband connectivity to all 2.5 Lakh Gram Panchayats and employs the Universal Service Obligation Fund.
Options:
a. 1 and 2 only
b. 2 and 3 only
c. 3 only
d. None of the above
Answer: 2
Refer Page No 5 of The Hindu Dated October 21, 2017.

7. Which of the following statements regarding the right to Freedom are correct:
a. The six freedoms stipulated in the Indian constitution include the right to acquire, hold and dispose of property.
b. The six rights under the right to freedom are available against not only state action but also private individuals also.
c. The six freedoms are available only to the citizens and not to shareholders of a company.
Options:
a. 1 and 2 only
b. 2 and 3 only
c. 3 only
d. None of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 5 of The Hindu Dated October 21, 2017.

8. Which of the following statements regarding Lingayats/ Lingayatism are correct:
a. It is a distinct Shaivite religious tradition in India founded by the 12th-century philosopher and statesman Basava and spread by his followers, called Sharanas.
b. The Lingayath concept of Shiva is markedly different from the Hindu one.
c. The Lingayats are now demanding to be recognized as separate religon from Hinduism.
Options:
a. 1 only
b. 2 only
c. 3 only
d. All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 8 of The Hindu Dated October 21, 2017.

9. Which of the following statements regarding the Scheduled Areas and Tribal Areas are correct:
a. When it comes to the laws which are applicable to the Scheduled Areas the Governor is empowered to direct that any particular act of the Parliament or the State Legislature does not apply or apply with modifications.
b. The act of Parliament or the State Legislature does not apply to autonomous districts and autonomous regions or apply with specified modifications and exceptions.
Options:
a. 1 only
b. 2 only
c. Both 1 and 2
d. Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: 3
Refer Page No 8 of The Hindu Dated October 21, 2017.

10. Which of the following statements regarding the IAEA are correct:
a. Three main pillars which underpin the IAEA’s mission with regard to the nuclear energy are Safety and Security; Science and Technology; and Safeguards and Verification.
b. IAEA executes the above mission with the inspection of existing nuclear facilities to ensure their peaceful use and providing information and developing standards to ensure the safety and security of nuclear facilities.
c. IAEA won the Nobel Prize for Peace 2017 for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons.
Options:
a. 1 and 2 only
b. 2 and 3 only
c. 1 and 3 only
d. All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 10 of The Hindu Dated October 21, 2017.

11. Consider the following statements regarding the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action:
a. The talks began in 2003 between Iran and E-3 which comprises countries namely Germany, France and U.K.
b. The E3 expanded in 2005 to the P5+1 format comprising the United States, United Kingdom, China, Russia and France and the European Union.
c. As a consequence of the JCPOA agreement, Iran ended certain nuclear enrichment activities and accepted a highly rigorous inspection regime.
Options:
a. 1 only
b. 2 only
c. 2 and 3 only
d. All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 10 of The Hindu Dated October 21, 2017.

12. Which of the following entries are part of the List II/ State List under the Seventh Schedule of the Indian Constitution:
a. Water.
b. Forest.
c. Electricity
d. Social Security
Options:
a. 1 only
b. 1, 2 and 4 only
c. 2 and 3 only
d. All of the above
Answer: 1
Refer Page No 10 of The Hindu Dated October 21, 2017.

13. The Kikuyu and Kalenjin are ethnic communities of which of the following African countries:
a. Uganda.
b. Tanzania
c. Kenya
d. South Africa.
Answer: 3
Refer Page No 10 of The Hindu Dated October 21, 2017.

14. Which of the following statements regarding the Ken Betwa River Linking Project are correct:
a. It envisages the diversion of surplus water from Ken basin to water deficit Betwa basin through a canal to irrigate the drought prone region of Bundelkhand and provide drinking water as well.
b. It is feared that the Ken Betwa River Linking Project will have a huge ecological impact on the Panna Tiger Reserve.
Options:
a. 1 only
b. 2 only
c. Both 1 and 2
d. Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: 3
Refer Page No 10 of The Hindu Dated October 21, 2017.

15. Which of the following statements regarding river Ken and river Betwa are correct:
a. River Betwa is the tributary of River Chambal.
b. River Ken is the tributary of River Yamuna.
c. River Betwa flows through the states of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
d. River Ken flows through the states of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
Options:
a. 1 and 2 only
b. 1 and 3 only
c. 2 and 4 only
d. None of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 10 of The Hindu Dated October 21, 2017.

16. Which of the following statements are correct regarding Kenya:
a. Equator does not pass through the country of Kenya.
b. Lake Victoria is not located completely in Kenya.
c. Lake Turkana is located within Kenya.
Options:
a. 1 and 2 only
b. 2 only
c. 1 and 3 only
d. All of the above
Answer: 2
Refer Page No 10 of The Hindu Dated October 21, 2017 and a Geography ATLAS.

17. Which of the following statements regarding Nataraja are correct:
a. The early form of the depiction of the Nataraja appears in stone reliefs at the Ellora Caves and the Badami Caves, by around the 6th-century A.D.
b. It appeared in its mature and best-known expression in Chola bronzes during 10 century A.D.
Options:
a. 1 only
b. 2 only
c. Both 1 and 2
d. Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: 3
Refer Page No 11 of The Hindu Dated October 21, 2017

18. Which of the following statements regarding VISAKA are correct:
a. The purpose of the Vittiya Saksharta Abhiyan is to actively engage the youth/ students of higher education to encourage all payers and payees to use a digitally enabled cashless economic system for transfer of funds.
b. VISAKA initiative is under the aegis of the Ministry of Human Resource Development.
Options:
a. 1 only
b. 2 only
c. Both 1 and 2
d. Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: 3
Refer Page No 11 of The Hindu Dated October 21, 2017

19. Which of the following statements regarding Anti Dumping are correct:
a. Countries initiate anti dumping probes to determine if the domestic industry has been hurt by a surge in below cost imports.
b. Anti Dumping measures are taken by the countries to ensure fair trade and provide a level playing field to the domestic industry.
c. The anti dumping measures are not to restrict imports or to cause an unjustified increase in cost of production and are permitted under the multilateral WTO regime.
Options:
a. 1 and 2 only
b. 2 and 3 only
c. 1 and 3 only
d. All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 15 of The Hindu Dated October 21, 2017

20. Which of the following statements regarding the Logistics Data Bank Services are correct:
a. The LDB project’s objective is to ensure greater efficiency in the country’s logistics sector through the use of information technology.
b. Until now, the LDB project covered only the country’s western logistics corridor.
c. As part of the LDB project, each container is attached to a Radio Frequency Identification Tag and tracked through RFID readers which in turn help importers and exporters to track their goods in transit.
Options:
a. 1 and 2 only
b. 2 and 3 only
c. 1 and 3 only
d. All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 15 of The Hindu Dated October 21, 2017

Source: “THE HINDU – 21/10/2017”

Current Affairs Editorial – “The SABARIMALA debate”

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The SABARIMALA debate

G.S. Paper I: Salient features of Indian Society; Social empowerment; Role of women and women’s organization.

About the Sabarimala Temple:
 It is a Hindu pilgrimage centre located at the Periyar Tiger Reserve in the Western Ghat mountain ranges of Pathanamthitta District, Perunad grama panchayat in Kerala.

The Communal Harmony in Kerala:
 There is a shrine dedicated to Vavaraswami at Sabarimala, as well as Varaswamis mosque at Erumely next to an Ayyappa temple.
 The devotion of Vavaraswami to Ayyappan and the key role that the Islamic Masjid has in the Ayyappa Pilgrimage, highlights the communal harmony in Kerala.

Open to members of all faith:
 The devotion of Vavaraswami also highlights the relevance of Ayyappa devotion for members of all faiths, and the equality shown to all, whether they are Muslims, Hindus or Christians.

Context: Ban on Menstruating Women entering the Sanctum.
 In 1991, the Kerala High Court in their ruling against the Travancore Devaswom Board, banned entry of women between ages above the age of 10 and below the age of 50 from offering worship at Sabarimala Shrine during any period of the year.
 The reasoning was that such restriction was in accordance with the usage prevalent from time immemorial.
Why Menstruating Women should enter Sabarimala?

B.R. Ambedkar on Temple Entry:
 B.R. Ambedkar famously said that public temples, like public roads and schools, are places meant for public access and so the question of entry is, essentially, a question of equality.
An Age Old Practice?
 The practice rests on a fragile rule and an equally fragile judgment of the Kerala High Court (S. Mahendran v. The Secretary, Travancore Devaswom Board, 1991).

Against the Spirit of Temple entry:
 The very purpose of the Kerala Hindu Places of Public Worship (Authorisation of Entry) Act, 1965 is to ensure entry of all Hindus to temples without being discriminatory.
 The High Court, in its verdict, relied too much on the Tantri’s (chief priest) opinion without a deeper analysis of the competing claims.
The Supreme Court of India: Spearheading Social Change.
 The Supreme Court of India has repeatedly struck down discriminatory religious practices.
 The latest of which is the triple talaq (in Shayara Bano v Union of India, 2017).

The Five Member Constitutional Bench:
 Reference of the Sabarimala entry row to a five-member Constitution Bench is in itself a radical judicial move.

Violation of the Equality Clause:
 Preventing women’s entry to the Sabarimala temple with an irrational and obsolete notion of “purity” clearly offends the equality clauses in the Constitution.

Upholding Patriarchy which discriminates women:
 It denotes a patriarchal and partisan approach.

An affront on the right of women against discrimination:
 The entry prohibition takes away the woman’s right against discrimination guaranteed under Article 15(1) of the Constitution.

Curtailing the religious freedom of women:
 It curtails her religious freedom assured by Article 25(1).

Discrimination based on Recurring Impurity:
 Prohibition of women’s entry to the shrine solely on the basis of womanhood and the biological features associated with womanhood is derogatory to women.
 Article 51A(e) aims to renounce the above baseless practices.

Discrimination based on Age:
 The classification based on age is, in essence, an act of discrimination based on sex.
 The managerial rights of religious authorities under Article 26(b) of the Constitution cannot override the individual woman’s religious freedom guaranteed under Article 25(1).
 The rights under Article 26(b) are intended to safeguard, not annihilate, the religious freedom guaranteed under Article 25(1).

Upholding the Liberty of the Individual:
 Liberty is tested at the individual level, for individuals alone can constitute the public in a republic.

Voting for the Ethical Autonomy of Women:
 The ethical autonomy of women and the intrinsic value of womanhood need to be asserted in the realm of spirituality.

Secularism as a bridge to modernity:
 In S.R. Bommai (1994), the Supreme Court said that “secularism operates as a bridge” for the country to move on from “tradition to modernity.”

Conflict among believers:
 The issue also reflects a conflict among believers themselves.

Monopolizing in the guise of Management:
 Therefore, it is essential to prevent monopolisation of religious rights by a few under the guise of management of religious institutions.
 Those at the helm of affairs can only manage the institutions in a lawful and fair manner.

The Very many misinterpretations of Article 25 and 26:
 They cannot be permitted to manage others’ freedom. Any other interpretation of Articles 25 and 26 would damage the very idea of individual liberty.
 Article 25(2)(b) enables the state “(to provide) for social welfare and reform or the throwing open of Hindu religious institutions of a public character to all classes and sections of the Hindus.

A Reform Much delayed:
 A legislation to put an end to the objectionable practice ought to have been attempted much earlier.

Religious reform: A Judicial Task:
 However, as it has happened in independent India, religious reform has predominantly been a judicial task.

Why Menstruating Women should not enter Sabarimala?
Both constitutional and cultural dimension:
 The Sabarimala Young Women Entry Case has constitutional and cultural dimensions.

Compelling Cultural and Historical Reason:
 The Sabarimala temple is centuries old and the ancient deity, Sastha, is the main Prathishta (idol).
Why Sabarimala is unique?
 Sabarimala is a symbol of the secular ethos and pluralism in south India.

The Legend of Manikanta and Malikapuram:
 Legend has it that Manikanta told her love interest Malikapurathamma, who was from the Ezhava caste, that he was observing Naishtika Brahmacharya (celibacy) for his land and dharma, and that he would marry her after fulfilling her mission.

Deity as legal entitiy:
 Legends may be a part of folklore and belief, but several Supreme Court orders have recognised that a deity is a legal entity with specific rights.

The Celibate Deity of Sabarimala:
 In Sabarimala, the deity is worshipped in the form of Naishtika Brahmachari, or a celibate, as pointed out by the Kerala High Court.

Need To Respect the Rights of the Deity:
 The deity has certain rights which the courts are bound to uphold.

Upholding Tantricism:
 This particular deity system is Tantric in nature and not Vedic.

Believes under the Tantric System:
 In the Tantric system, the temple is not a prayer hall but an energy centre;
 The deity, according to the Tantric system, is not god who is omnipresent, but a source of energy (chaithanya) in a particular spiritual space.

The Core Concept of the Idol in Sabarimala:
 There are other Ayyappa (Sastha) temples which allow women to enter and worship, but the Prathishta Sankalpa (the core concept of the idol) and the moolmantra at Sabarimala are different.

Every Temple is Unique:
 Uniqueness is the soul of every temple.
 Let us respect these diversities as India is the land of pluralism and multiple paths to the divine reality.

Conclusion:
 The Five Judge Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court should look into both the sides of the debate and listen to the legal, constitutional, cultural and historical side of the issue in question.
 The verdict should ideally allow entry of women into Sabarimala thereby reviving the spirit of Temple Entry movement spearheading a 21st century reform of religion making them more women friendly.

Current Affairs Editorial – “Making The Internet Disappear”

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Making The Internet Disappear

G.S. Paper III: Awareness in the fields of IT

Context:
 With 37 Internet shutdowns, triggered by 11 States over a two-year period, India had attained the dubious distinction of joining Iraq in reporting the highest number of incidents involving government mandated shutdown of Internet access.
 The sheer ubiquity of Internet shutdowns makes it clear that it is being used as a routine card in the ever expanding “law and order” toolkit of the state.

The Centrality of Internet in the 21st century:
 In the 21st century, the Internet has assumed an increasingly important place in our lives.
 But the growing importance of the Internet in personal life, as well as its growing use to challenge governmental authority, has led to a backlash.
 This has lead to the government attempting to reorient the relationship between the individual and the state in their favor by controlling the Internet.

A Hypothesis:
 Imagine this situation.
 A region of the country is deeply annoyed with the actions of the government.
 There are plans for widespread and aggressive protests.
 The government fears that the protests might turn violent.
 It decides to cut-off the water supply to the entire region for an indefinite period of time.
 Since the inhabitants get preoccupied to store water, the protest can be controlled.
 In this way, law and order has been preserved by the state.

When The Hypothesis comes true:
 Just like the government may cut-off water supply to prevent protests, the government may— and actually does — cut-off Internet access.
 If the government wishes to keep law and order, then it must find other, less drastic ways of doing so.
 This should include measures such as increasing security, perhaps a curfew, or even winning the trust of the people and addressing their grievances.
Staring at a Habitual Response?
 The sheer ubiquity of Internet shut downs makes it clear that it is being used as a routine card in the ever expanding “law and order” toolkit of the state.
 From banking to political speech, and from complex medical procedures to the purchase of basic necessities, important aspects of our economic, social, and cultural life now depend upon the Internet.

The exercise of Fundamental Rights and the Internet:
 Many of the fundamental rights guaranteed by our Constitution — the freedom of speech and expression, the freedom of association, the freedom of trade — are exercised in significant part on the Internet.
 Think of a situation where the standard — and primary — response of the government to a potential law and order problem was to immediately cut-off the Internet access for an entire area, indiscriminately.

The Legal Angle:
 The legal basis of Internet shutdowns was unclear for a longtime.

The Gujarat High Court’s Judgement:
 A few years ago, the High Court of Gujarat invoked Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) to uphold an Internet shutdown.

The Notorious Section 144:
 Section 144, has its roots in the colonial-era British police- state.
 Section 144, authorises prohibitory orders to “prevent obstruction, annoyance or injury to any person lawfully employed, or danger to human life, health or safety, or a disturbance of the public tranquility, or a riot, of an affray.
 Section 144 is primarily used to secure an area from damage or harm in the case of a potential or actual law and order disturbance, and to ban protests or other forms of political action in places such as central Delhi.

Difference between the Real and the Virtual World:
 A key flaw in the Gujarat High Court’s decision, however, was its failure to understand that the provisions of the CrPC cannot directly be transposed into the online world.
 Section 144 only ends up placing certain specific areas beyond the bounds of large assemblies and associations, and always for a temporary period of time in the real world.

The unjust imposition of Section 144 on the Virtual World:
 An Internet shutdown, based on Section 144 however, takes away an entire — and critical — platform of communication and work altogether.

Bringing About A Balance:
 The Supreme Court always tries to bring about a fair constitutional balance between the fundamental rights of individuals on the one hand and the interests of the state in maintaining law and order.

The Test Of Proportionality:
 The Supreme Court has often insisted that the state’s rights-infringing action must be “proportionate”.
 By proportionate the Supreme Court meant that there ought to be no greater invasion of the individual’s right than what is strictly necessary to achieve the state’s goal.
 Internet shutdowns, clearly, fail the test of proportionality.

The Indiscriminate Internet Shutdowns:
 Because Internet Shutdowns are indiscriminate, in both whom they target that is, everyone within a defined area, whether potential disruptors of law and order, or the entirely innocent.
 The manner in which the internet shutdowns cut-off access to the entire Internet, includes a vast majority of entirely bonafide and legal uses of the Internet.

The Notification of the Suspension Rules:
 Realising that Section 144 of the CrPC was a poor peg on which to hang Internet shutdowns, in August 2017, the government notified certain “Suspension Rules”.
 This it did by taking the cover of yet another colonial law — the Telegraph Act of 1885.
 While these rules were meant to bring transparency and clarity to the procedure through which Internet services were suspended, they remain deeply problematic in themselves.

The Problems with the Suspension Rules:
 There was no transparency or democratic debate when these rules were framed.
 Their scope is frighteningly vast.
 The rules includes phone calls as well as Internet calls.
 There is no provision that envisages a lifting of the shutdown after any specific time.

No mechanism of Accountability:
 But perhaps what is most important about these rules is the virtual non-existence of mechanisms of accountability.
 The Suspension Rules designates officers who can authorise Internet shutdowns.
 These rules only require a “review committee”, whose scope is limited to decide whether the declaration was valid or not.

When Exception becomes the Norm:
 We may agree that in certain exceptional situations, such as a public emergency, the government may be justified in temporarily blocking access to certain parts of the Internet.

The Way Forward: Stringent Safeguards against misuse:
 But this is a power that is liable to all kinds of misuse, and must be tempered with stringent safeguards.

The test of Judicial Scrutiny for Internet Shutdowns:
 The police must present an individual before a court within 24 hours if they want to keep her in custody.
 Likewise, the government must, by law, subject Internet shutdowns to judicial scrutiny as soon as reasonably possible.

The Exceptional Character of Internet Shutdowns:
 And courts must take into account the exceptional character of Internet shutdowns and their impact on core civil liberties before validating them.

Concentration of Power:
 The notion that the government must have the ability to control the Internet in order to preserve law and order is an intuitively attractive one.
 The concentration of more power in the hands of the government will only further disempower the individual against the state.

Security not at the cost of Freedom:
 This may help achieve a temporary illusion of security but it comes at the cost of a permanent loss of freedom.

Current Affairs Pulse – 20/10/2017

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1. Which of the following statements regarding INDRA 2017 are correct:
a. The annual military exercise between India and Russia is called as INRDA.
b. INDRA-2017 is the first tri-service bilateral exercise between the two countries.
c. INDRA-2017 is to be held in Vladivostok and other training ranges in Russia.
Options:
a. 1 and 2 only
b. 2 and 3 only
c. 1 and 3 only
d. All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer The PIB Newsletter dated October 19, 2017.

2. Which is the Indian Naval Sailing Vessel (INSV) which is currently on a mission to circumnavigate the globe:
a. INVS Tarini.
b. INSV Mhadei
c. INVS Tarangini
d. INVS Sudarshini
Answer: 1
Refer The PIB Newsletter dated October 19, 2017.

3. The role and functions of the Department of Policy and Promotion does not include:
a. Formulation and implementation of industrial policy and strategies for industrial development.
b. Formulation of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Policy and promotion, approval and its facilitation.
c. Promoting industrial development of industrially backward areas and the North Eastern Region.
d. Administration of Industries (Development & Regulation) Act, 1951
Options:
a. 1 and 2 only
b. None of the above
c. 4 only
d. 2 and 3 only
Answer: 2
Refer The PIB Newsletter dated October 19, 2017 and the website of DIPP.

4. Which of the following statements regarding the Air quality Index are correct:
a. There are six AQI categories, namely Good, Satisfactory, Moderately polluted, Poor, Very Poor, and Severe in the Air quality Index.
b. The AQI (Air Quality Index) will consider eight pollutants namely PM10, PM2.5, NO2 (Nitrogen Dioxdie), SO2 (Sulfur Dioxide), CO (Carbon Monoxide), O3 (Ozone), NH3 (Ammonia Gas), and Pb (Lead).
c. National Ambient Air Quality Standards will be prescribed for the eight pollutants.
Options:
a. 1 and 2 only
b. 2 and 3 only
c. 1 and 3 only
d. All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 1 of The Hindu Dated October 20, 2017.

5. Which of the following statements regarding Article 25 (1) of the Constitution are correct:
a. Article 25 says that all persons except women are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right to freely profess, practice and propagate religion.
b. Article 25 covers not only religious beliefs/ doctrines but also religious practices/ rituals.
c. These rights are available to citizens only and are not subject to Public order, morality and other provisions related to Fundamental Rights.
Options:
a. 1 and 3 only
b. 3 only
c. 2 only
d. 2 and 3 only
Answer: 3
Refer Page No 6 of The Hindu Dated October 20, 2017.

6. Which of the following statements regarding the Sessions of State Legislature are correct:
a. The presiding officer of the house from time to time summons each House of the State Legislature to meet.
b. The maximum gap between the two sessions of state legislature cannot be more than six months.
Options:
a. 1 only
b. 2 only
c. Both 1 and 2
d. Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: 2
Refer Page No 6 of The Hindu Dated October 20, 2017.

7. The Gorkha Janmukthi Morcha is a registered unrecognized political party which campaigns for the creation of a separate state called:
a. Gorkhaland.
b. Bodoland.
c. Karbi Anglong
d. Bundelkhand
Answer: 1
Refer Page No 7 of The Hindu Dated October 20, 2017.

8. Which of the following statements regarding the Prime Minister’s Fellowship Scheme for Doctoral Research are in correct:
a. It is a PPP – Public Private Partnership Initiative.
b. The Science and Engineering Research Board under the Department of Science and Technology is responsible for the execution of the project.
c. The Confederation of Indian Industry is the private arm of the fellowship scheme.
d. This scheme is aimed at encouraging young, talented, enthusiastic and result-oriented scholars to take up industry-relevant research.
Options:
a. 1 and 2 only
b. None of the above
c. 2 and 3 only
d. 1 and 3 only
Answer: 2
Refer Page No 7 of The Hindu Dated October 20, 2017.

9. The Kanger Ghati National Park/ Kanger Valley National Park is located in which of the following states in India:
a. Chhattisgarh.
b. Orissa
c. Jharkhand
d. Telengana
Answer: 1
Refer Page No 7 of The Hindu Dated October 20, 2017.

10. Which of the following statements regarding the Kanger Valley Rock Gecko are correct:
a. This new species of gecko has been discovered from the Western Ghats.
b. The species is endemic to the Kanger Valley.
c. Though named after the Kanger Valley National Park, the species is also found in Chhattisgarh and in the adjoining State of Telangana.
Options:
a. 1 and 2 only
b. 2 and 3 only
c. 3 only
d. All of the above
Answer: 3
Refer Page No 7 of The Hindu Dated October 20, 2017.

11. Which of the following cities are not located in Iraq:
a. Mosul.
b. Raqqa.
c. Kirkuk.
d. Idlib
Options:
a. 2 and 4 only
b. 1 and 2 only
c. 1 and 3 only
d. None of the above
Answer: 1
Refer Page No 8 of The Hindu Dated October 20, 2017.

12. Which of the following statements regarding the MCX or the Multi Commodity Exchange of India Limited (MCX) are correct:
a. It offers trading in varied commodity futures contracts across segments including bullion, industrial metals, energy and agricultural commodities.
b. It operates under the regulatory framework of Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).
Options:
a. 1 only
b. 2 only
c. Both 1 and 2
d. Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: 3
Refer Page No 8 of The Hindu Dated October 20, 2017.

13. Which of the following statements regarding Article 25 of the constitution of India are correct:
a. Under Article 25, the state is permitted to regulate or restrict any economic, financial, political or other secular activity associated with religious practice.
b. Under Article 25, the state cannot provide for social welfare and reform or throw open Hindu religious institutions of a public character to all classes and sections of Hindus.
Options:
a. 1 only
b. 2 only
c. Both 1 and 2
d. Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: 1
Refer Page No 8 of The Hindu Dated October 20, 2017.

14. Which of the following statements regarding Dutch Disease are correct:
a. This refers to the phenomenon wherein countries that are rich in natural resources witness uneven growth across sectors.
b. According to the thesis, when resource-rich countries export their resources to the rest of the world, it causes the exchange rate of their currency to appreciate significantly.
c. The appreciation of the currency affects other sectors in the country by discouraging their exports while encouraging the import of cheaper alternatives.
Options:
a. 1 and 2 only
b. 2 and 3 only
c. 1 and 3 only
d. All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 8 of The Hindu Dated October 20, 2017.

15. Which of the following statements regarding Mahatma Gandhi according to the book Squaring the Circle: Mahatma Gandhi and the Jewish National Home, Prof. P.R. Kumaraswamy of JNU are correct:
a. By embracing the Islamic claims during the Khilafat phase, he categorically ruled out non-Islamic control or sovereignty over Palestine.
b. By urging the Jews to practice active non-violence even against Hitler, he was accommodative of Arab violence in Palestine.
Options:
a. 1 only
b. 2 only
c. Both 1 and 2
d. Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: 3
Refer Page No 8 of The Hindu Dated October 20, 2017.

16. Which of the following statements regarding Herman Kallenbach are correct:
a. He was a Lithuanian born Jewish South African architect who was highly influenced by Gandhi’s ideas of Satyagraha and equality among human beings and became his intimate friend and a dedicated devotee.
b. In 1910 Kallenbach, donated to Gandhi a thousand-acre farm belonging to him near Johannesburg which was used to run Gandhi’s famous Tolstoy Farm that housed the families of satyagrahis.
Options:
a. 1 only
b. 2 only
c. Both 1 and 2
d. Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: 3
Refer Page No 10 of The Hindu Dated October 20, 2017.

17. Which of the following statements regarding Pietra Dura are correct:
a. It is a term for the inlay technique of using cut and fitted highly polished colored stones to create images.
b. The Taj Mahal has been decorated with pietra dura inlays of highly stylised, almost geometric vines, flowers and fruits.
Options:
a. 1 only
b. 2 only
c. Both 1 and 2
d. Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: 3
Refer Page No 10 of The Hindu Dated October 20, 2017.

18. Which of the following statements regarding the Kaman Aman Setu/ Bridge Of Peace are correct:
a. The Kaman Aman Setu (bridge of peace), connects Kashmir Valley with Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
b. The Aman Setu was constructed to facilitate the launch of the historic bus service between Srinagar in India and Muzaffarnagar in Pakistan.
Options:
a. 1 only
b. 2 only
c. Both 1 and 2
d. Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: 3
Refer Page No 10 of The Hindu Dated October 20, 2017.

19. Which of the following statements are correct:
a. Canada has fully apologized in the House of Commons for the infamous Komagata Maru incident which saw the Canadian government of the day’s decision of 1914 to turn away the ship, which was carrying hundreds of South Asian immigrants, most of whom were Sikhs.
b. Britain is yet to apologize for the the massacre which took place in Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar in April 1919 when troops of the British Army, under the command of Colonel Reginald Dyer, fired at a crowd of people holding a demonstration.
Options:
a. 1 only
b. 2 only
c. Both 1 and 2
d. Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: 3
Refer Page No 12 of The Hindu Dated October 20, 2017.

20. Which of the following statements regarding the Minsky Moment are correct:
a. Minsky moment in an economy refers to a sudden collapse in asset prices after long periods of growth, sparked by debt or currency pressures.
b. Such moments occur because long periods of prosperity and increasing value of investments lead to increasing speculation using borrowed money.
c. The spiraling debt incurred in financing speculative investments leads to cash flow problems for investors eventually leading to a collapse of asset value.
Options:
a. 1 and 2 only
b. 2 and 3 only
c. 1 and 3 only
d. All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 13 of The Hindu Dated October 20, 2017.

Source: “THE HINDU – 20/10/2017”

Current Affairs Pulse – 18/10/2017

0

1. Which of the following statements regarding the Tihar or Yampanchak festival are correct:
a. It is a five-day-long Hindu festival celebrated in Nepal.
b. The Indian states of Assam and Sikkim including in Darjeeling district of West Bengal too celebrates Tihar and Yampanchak festival.
c. The equivalent of Tihar or Yampanchak festival across other Indian states is called as the Deepavali.
Options:
a. 1 and 2 only
b. 2 and 3 only
c. All of the above
d. 1 and 3 only
Answer: 3
Refer Page No 1 of The Hindu Dated October 18, 2017.

2. Which of the following statements regarding the North East Monsoon are correct:
a. The Northeast monsoon brings significant rainfall to coastal Andhra Pradesh, Rayalaseema, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.
b. The dry cold wind picks up some moisture from the Bay of Bengal and pours it over peninsular India and parts of Sri Lanka thereby bringing rainfall.
c. North East Monsoon is also called as the Retreating Monsoon.
Options:
a. 1 and 2 only
b. 2 and 3 only
c. 1 and 3 only
d. All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 1 of The Hindu Dated October 18, 2017.

3. The city of Raqqa is located in which of the following country:
a. Syria.
b. Lebanon
c. Iraq
d. Jordan
Answer: 1
Refer Page No 1 of The Hindu Dated October 18, 2017.

4. Which of the following statements regarding the SDF or the Syrian Democratic Forces are correct:
a. It is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious alliance of Kurdish, Arab and Assyrian/Syriac militias in the Syrian Civil War.
b. The primary opponents of the SDF and their allies are the Salafist and Islamic fundamentalist groups involved in the civil war especially the Islamic State outfit.
Options:
a. 1 only
b. 2 only
c. Both 1 and 2
d. Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: 3
Refer Page No 1 of The Hindu Dated October 18, 2017.

5. Which of the following statements regarding the President of India are correct:
a. The President holds office for a term of five years from the date on which he enters upon his office.
b. In case of any delay in conducting the election of new President by any reason, the Vice President continues to hold office beyond his term of five years until his successor assumes charge.
Options:
a. 1 only
b. 2 only
c. Both 1 and 2
d. Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: 3
Refer Page No 1 of The Hindu Dated October 18, 2017.

6. Which of the following statements regarding the Freedom of Profession are correct:
a. All citizens are given the right to practice any profession or to carry on any occupation trade or business.
b. This right does not include the right to carry on a profession or business or trade or occupation that is moral or dangerous.
c. The State can absolutely prohibit these or regulate them through licensing.
Options:
a. 1 and 2 only
b. 2 and 3 only
c. 1 and 3 only
d. All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 1 of The Hindu Dated October 18, 2017.

7. Which of the following statements regarding The Taj Mahal are correct:
a. It is an ivory-white marble palace on the south bank of the Yamuna River in the Indian city of Agra.
b. It was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal.
c. It is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Options:
a. 1 and 2 only
b. 2 and 3 only
c. 1 and 3 only
d. All of the above
Answer: 2
Refer Page No 1 of The Hindu Dated October 18, 2017.

8. Which of the following statements regarding the Noyyal River are correct:
a. It is a tributary of River Cauvery.
b. It is an interstate river flowing through Tamil Nadu and Kerala as well.
c. The city of Coimbatore is located on the banks of River Noyyal.
Options:
a. 1 and 3 only
b. 2 and 3 only
c. 1 and 3 only
d. None of the above
Answer: 1
Refer Page No 1 of The Hindu Dated October 18, 2017.

9. Which of the following statements regarding the UIDAI or the Unique Identification Authority of India are correct:
a. It is a statutory authority established under the provisions of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016 (Aadhaar Act 2016).
b. Under the Aadhar Act 2016, UIDAI is responsible for Aadhaar enrolment and authentication, including operation and management of all stages of Aadhaar life cycle.
Options:
a. 1 and 2 only
b. 2 only
c. None of the above
d. 1 only
Answer: 1
Refer Page No 4 of The Hindu Dated October 18, 2017.

10. Which of the following statements regarding Article 30 of the Indian Constitution are correct:
a. All minorities shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.
b. In granting aid, the State shall not discriminate against any educational institution managed by a minority.
c. The protection under Article 30 is confined only to religious minorities and does not extend to any other section of citizens.
Options:
a. 1 and 2 only
b. 2 and 3 only
c. 1 and 3 only
d. All of the above
Answer: 1
Refer Page No 4 of The Hindu Dated October 18, 2017.

11. Which of the following statements regarding Freedom of Trade in the Constitution are correct:
a. State Legislature can impose restrictions on the freedom of trade, commerce and intercourse between the states or within the state out of public interest.
b. Parliament can impose restrictions on the freedom of trade, commerce and intercourse between the states or within the state out of public interest.
Options:
a. 1 only
b. 2 only
c. Both 1 and 2
d. Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: 3
Refer Page No 4 of The Hindu Dated October 18, 2017.

12. Which of the following statements regarding the Mettur Dam are correct:
a. The reservoir of Mettur Dam is called as the Stanley Reservoir.
b. Mettur Dam receives the water from both Kabini Dam and Krishna Raja Sagara Dam located in Karnataka.
Options:
a. 1 only
b. 2 only
c. Both 1 and 2
d. Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: 3
Refer Page No 4 of The Hindu Dated October 18, 2017.

13. The Submarine Museum Kurusa and the TU 142 Aircraft Museum is located in which of the following cities:
a. Vishakapatnam.
b. Chennai
c. Kochi
d. Mumbai.
Answer: 1
Refer Page No 4 of The Hindu Dated October 18, 2017.

14. Which of the following statements regarding Article 26 of the Constitution are correct:
a. Every religious denomination or any of its section shall have the right to administer its acquired and owned movable and immovable property in accordance with law.
b. Article 25 protects the collective freedom of religion.
c. The rights under Article 26 are subjected only to public order, morality and health.
Options:
a. 1 and 2 only
b. 2 and 3 only
c. 1 and 3 only
d. All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 6 of The Hindu Dated October 18, 2017.

15. Which of the following statements regarding the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway are correct:
a. It is a narrow-gauge railway that runs between New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling in the Indian state of West Bengal.
b. It is a declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Options:
a. 1 only
b. 2 only
c. Both 1 and 2
d. Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: 3
Refer Page No 7 of The Hindu Dated October 18, 2017.

16. Which of the following statements regarding the Mountain Railways of India are correct:
a. It comprises of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, the Nilgiri Mountain Railway, and the Kalka–Shimla Railway.
b. These are all part of the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India.
c. These all are narrow-gauge railways.
Options:
a. 1 only
b. 2 only
c. 3 only
d. All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 7 of The Hindu Dated October 18, 2017.

17. Which of the following statements regarding Siddha under the AYUSH system is correct:
a. The term Siddha means achievements and Siddhars were saintly persons who achieved results in medicine.
b. Siddha literature is in Tamil and it is practised largely in Tamil speaking part of India and abroad.
c. This principles and doctrines of this system, both fundamental and applied, have a close similarity to Ayurveda.
Options:
a. 1 and 2 only
b. 2 and 3 only
c. 1 and 3 only
d. All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 7 of The Hindu Dated October 18, 2017.

18. Which of the following statements regarding the office of Speaker are correct:
a. In India, there is a convention that the Speaker has to resign from his party and remain politically neutral.
b. The above political convention is not fully established in Britain where the Speaker does not resign from the membership of his party on his election to the office.
Options:
a. 1 only
b. 2 only
c. Both 1 and 2
d. Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: 3
Refer Page No 7 of The Hindu Dated October 18, 2017.

19. Which of the following statements regarding Austria is correct:
a. Austria does not share its borders with Hungary.
b. Austria’s coast extends to the Baltic sea.
c. Austria is not a landlocked country.
Options:
a. 1 only
b. 2 only
c. 3 only
d. None of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 7 of The Hindu Dated October 18, 2017.

20. Which of the following areas does the International Organisation For Migration works on:
a. Facilitating Migration.
b. Regulating Migration.
c. Forced Migration.
d. Migration and Development.
Options:
a. 1 and 2 only
b. 2 and 3 only
c. 1 and 3 only
d. All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 11 of The Hindu Dated October 18, 2017.

Source: “THE HINDU – 18/10/2017”

Current Affairs Pulse – 17/10/2017

0

1. Which of the following statements regarding the Goods And Service Tax with respect to the foreign diplomats in India are correct:
a. Pre-Goods And Service Tax, diplomats based in India were entitled to tax exemption at the point of purchase of goods.
b. Post-GST tax exemption status is altered as now missions have to pay tax first and claim it later from the Government of India.
c. There is no upfront exemption for supplies from outside or inside Indian territory under the UIN – Unique Identification Number based system of the GST, meaning missions will pay GST first and then seek refund later.
Options:
a. None of the above
b. 2 and 3 only
c. 1 and 3 only
d. All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 1 of The Hindu Dated October 17, 2017.

2. Which of the following statements regarding the recognition of National Political Parties in India are correct:
a. If the party secures six percent of valid votes polled in any four or more states at a general election to the Lok Sabha or to the legislative assembly; and in addition, it wins four seats in the Lok Sabha from any state or states, it will be recognized as a national party.
b. If the party wins two per cent of seats in the Rajya Sabha at a general election; and these candidates are elected from three states.
c. If it is recognized as a state party in six states.
Options:
a. 1 only
b. 2 and 3 only
c. 1 and 3 only
d. All of the above
Answer: 1
Refer Page No 1 of The Hindu Dated October 17, 2017.

3. Which of the following statements regarding the OROP or the One Rank One Pension System are correct:

a. It emphasizes on same pension, for same rank, for same length of service, irrespective of the date of retirement.
b. It emphasizes on same pension, for same rank, for same length of service, for the same date of retirement.
c. It emphasizes on different pension, for same rank, for same length of service, for the same date of retirement.
d. It emphasizes on same pension, for different rank, for same length of service, for the same date of retirement.
Answer: 1
Refer Page No 1 of The Hindu Dated October 17, 2017.

4. Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary is located in which of the following states:
a. Kerala
b. Karnataka
c. Andhra Pradesh
d. Tamil Nadu
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 3 of The Hindu Dated October 17, 2017.

5. Which of the following statements regarding the Vice President of India are correct:
a. The Office of the Vice President of India is modelled after the American Vice President.
b. The American Vice President succeeds to the presidency when it falls vacant, and remains President for the unexpired term of his predecessor.
c. The Indian Vice President does not assume the office of the President when it falls vacant for the unexpired term but serves only as an acting President.
Options:
a. 1 and 2 only
b. All of the above
c. 2 and 3 only
d. 1 and 3 only
Answer: 2
Refer Page No 6 of The Hindu Dated October 17, 2017.

6. Which of the following statements regarding the Election Commission are correct:
a. The Election Commission grants recognition to political parties and allot them election symbols.
b. Election Commission allots a symbol exclusively reserved for a national party for its use throughout the country.
c. Every state party is allotted a symbol exclusively reserved for its use in the state or states in which it is so recognized.
Options:
a. 1 and 2 only
b. 2 and 3 only
c. 1 and 3 only
d. All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 6 of The Hindu Dated October 17, 2017.

7. What is Public Interest Litigation:
a. A PIL may be introduced in a court of law by the court itself (suo motu), rather than the aggrieved party or another third party.
b. In a PIL, the right to file suit is given to a member of the public through judicial activism.
c. Justice P. N. Bhagwati and Justice V. R. Krishna Iyer were among the first judges to admit PILs in court.
Options:
a. 1 and 2 only
b. 2 and 3 only
c. 1 and 3 only
d. All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 7 of The Hindu Dated October 17, 2017.

8. Which of the following statements regarding the Minorities are correct in India:
a. Article 29 of the Constitution grants protection only to religious minorities and linguistic minorities.
b. The protection under Article 30 is confined not only to minorities but also to any section of citizens.
Options:
a. 1 only
b. 2 only
c. Both 1 and 2
d. Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 7 of The Hindu Dated October 17, 2017.

9. Which of the following statements regarding Bio Fortification are correct:
a. Biofortification is the process by which the nutritional quality of food crops is improved through agronomic practices, conventional plant breeding, or modern biotechnology.
b. Fortification is the practice of deliberately increasing the content of an essential micronutrient, i.e. vitamins and minerals (including trace elements) in a food, so as to improve the nutritional quality.
c. Biofortification differs from conventional fortification in that biofortification aims to increase nutrient levels in crops during plant growth rather than through manual means during processing of the crops.
Options:
a. 1 and 2 only
b. 2 and 3 only
c. 1 and 3 only
d. All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 7 of The Hindu Dated October 17, 2017.

10. Which of the following statements regarding Ayurveda are correct:
a. The total body matrix, according to Ayurveda, comprises of the humors, the tissues and the waste products of the body.
b. The living man is a conglomeration of three humors namely Vata, Pitta &Kapha.
c. There are seven basic tissues according to Ayurveda and the waste products of the body i.e. mala, mutra and sweda.
Options:
a. 1 and 2 only
b. 2 and 3 only
c. 1 and 3 only
d. All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 9 of The Hindu Dated October 17, 2017.

11. Which of the following statements regarding the Mullaperiyar dam are correct:
a. It is a masonry gravity dam on the Periyar River of Tamil Nadu.
b. It is located on the Cardamom Hills of the Western Ghats.
c. The Periyar National Park is located around the dam’s reservoir.
Options:
a. 1 and 2 only
b. 2 and 3 only
c. 1 and 3 only
d. None of the above
Answer: 2
Refer Page No 9 of The Hindu Dated October 17, 2017.

12. Which of the following statements regarding the Central Information Commission are correct:
a. The Central Information Commission is a constitutional body.
b. The President can also remove the Chief Information Commissioner or any Information Commissioner on the ground of proved misbehavior or incapacity.
c. If the High Court after the enquiry, upholds the cause of removal and advises so then the President can remove him.
Options:
a. 1 and 3 only
b. 2 only
c. 2 and 3 only
d. None of the above
Answer: 2
Refer Page No 9 of The Hindu Dated October 17, 2017.

13. Which of the following statements regarding CHAMAN are correct:
a. It is the acronym for Coordinated Horticulture Assessment and Management using geo-informatics.
b. It aims to prepare a comprehensive horticultural plan using remote sensing technology to study soil conditions, land use, weather and cropping pattern.
c. The Centre has chosen 185 districts across the country where seven selected crops are being promoted.
d. Different states have been divided into different groups to grow banana, mango, citrus fruits, potato, tomato, onion and chilli.
Options:
a. 1 and 2 only
b. 2 and 3 only
c. 1 and 4 only
d. All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 11 of The Hindu Dated October 17, 2017.

14. Which of the following statements regarding the National Investigation Agency are correct:
a. It is a central agency established by the Indian Government to combat terror in India.
b. The Agency came into existence with the enactment of the National Investigation Agency Act 2008 by the Parliament of India on 31 December 2008.
c. The agency is empowered to deal with terror related crimes across states after obtaining special permission from the states.
Options:
a. 1 and 2 only
b. 2 and 3 only
c. 1 and 3 only
d. None of the above
Answer: 1
Refer Page No 11 of The Hindu Dated October 17, 2017.

15. Which of the following statements regarding the FATF or the Financial Action Task Force are correct:
a. It is an intergovernmental organization founded in 1989 on the initiative of the G7 to develop policies to combat money laundering.
b. The purpose of the body expanded to act on terrorism financing later.
c. The FATF Secretariat is housed at the headquarters of the OECD in Glasgow.
Options:
a. 1 and 2 only
b. 2 and 3 only
c. 1 and 3 only
d. None of the above
Answer: 1
Refer Page No 11 of The Hindu Dated October 17, 2017.

16. Which of the following terror outfits operate in Somalia:
a. Al Shabaab.
b. Boko Haram
c. Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb or AQIM
d. Ansar Dine
Answer: 1
Refer Page No 11 of The Hindu Dated October 17, 2017.

17. Which of the following statements regarding the AMISOM are correct:
a. It is an active, regional peacekeeping mission operated by the African Union with the approval of the United Nations.
b. It operates in Somalia.
c. It is mandated to support transitional governmental structures, implement a national security plan, train the Somali security forces, and to assist in creating a secure environment.
Options:
a. 1 and 2 only
b. 2 and 3 only
c. 1 and 3 only
d. All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 11 of The Hindu Dated October 17, 2017.

18. Which of the following countries have recognized Palestine:
a. India.
b. United States of America
c. United Kingdom
d. Canada
Answer: 1
Refer Page No 13 of The Hindu Dated October 17, 2017.

19. Which of the following statements regarding INS Kiltan are correct:
a. About 81% is built indigenously and is the first built by India that has a superstructure made up of carbon fibre composite material.
b. This makes INS Kiltan a stealth corvette and makes India one among the few nations that have this technology or this class of ships.
Options:
a. 1 only
b. 2 only
c. Both 1 and 2
d. Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: 3
Refer Page No 13 of The Hindu Dated October 17, 2017.

20. With which of the following seas does Italy not share its borders:
a. Adriatic Sea.
b. Ionian Sea.
c. Tyrrhenian Sea.
d. Aegean Sea.
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 13 of The Hindu Dated October 17, 2017 and Geography Atlas.

Source: “THE HINDU – 17/10/2017”

.

Current Affairs Editorial – Toxic Farming

0

Toxic Farming

G.S. Paper III: Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country; e-technology in the aid of farmers.

Context:
 Since July 19, 18 farmers have died in Yavatmal and 14 in surrounding districts in the cotton growing belt of the state of Maharashtra.
 Yavatmal police have initiated criminal action against five pesticide sellers who didn’t have the licence to sell the products.
 The gruesome death of farmers reveal the multi-faceted problems faced by Indian agriculture and the inability to find a permanent solution for the same.s

A stark reality:
 The recent report of farmers dying from pesticide exposure in Maharashtra’s cotton belt in Yavatmal proves a stark reality beyond doubt.

The failure of government’s efforts:
 The gruesome deaths make it evident that the government’s efforts to regulate toxic chemicals used in agriculture have miserably failed.
 It is natural for cotton growers under pressure to protect their investments to rely on greater volumes of insecticides in the face of severe pest attacks.

The Reason for the death of farmers:
 It appears many of them have suffered high levels of exposure to the poisons, leading to their death.

The Advice of Unscrupulous agents:
 The farmers had to rely mainly on the advice of unscrupulous agents and commercial outlets for pesticides.

The helplessness of the government machinery:
 The agricultural extension officers and their inability to advice the farmers on time reveal the gross irresponsibility on the part of the government.

The Intensity of the Problem:
 But the problem runs deeper.
 The system of regulation of insecticides in India is obsolete.

The Failed Attempts at Reforms:
 Even the feeble efforts at reform initiated by the previous governments have fallen by the way- side.

The Pending Pesticides Management Bill:
 A new Pesticides Management Bill was introduced in the year 2008.
 The Bill was studied by the Parliamentary Standing Committee, but it is still pending.

The Increasing level of Spurious Pesticides:
 At the same time, there is worrying evidence that a large quantum of pesticides sold to farmers today is spurious.
 Such spurious and fake pesticides are enjoying a higher growth rate than the genuine products.

What should be done: Initiate a High Level Inquiry:
 In the light of the death of farmers, there is a need for a high-level inquiry into the nature of pesticides used across the country.

Reform the Regulatory System:
 The regulatory system must be reformed by identifying the failures and inabilities built into it.
 This stock taking exercise should be similar to the 2003 Joint Parliamentary Committee.

Setting Tolerance Limit for Pesticides:
 The Joint Parliamentary Committee that looked into harmful chemical residues in beverages and recommended the setting of tolerance limits.

Growth in Agriculture without any real reforms:
 It is incongruous that the Centre has failed to grasp the need for reform in the regulation of pesticides, when it is focused on growth in both agricultural production and exports.

Failure to comply with International Norms:
 Agricultural products from India, including fruits and vegetables, have been subjected to import restrictions internationally for failing to comply with safety norms.

The formation of a Central Pesticides Board:
 It is imperative that a Central Pesticides Board be formed to advice on use and disposal of pesticides on sound lines, as envisaged under the law proposed in 2008.
 This will strengthen oversight of registration, distribution and sale of toxic chemicals.

Updating the Insecticides Act of 1968:
 There can be no delay in updating the outmoded Insecticides Act of 1968.

What a strong law can do:
 A stronger law will eliminate the weaknesses in the current rules that govern enforcement and introduce penalties where there are none.

Aligning the new Regulatory Framework with Food Safety Laws:
 Aligning the new pesticides regulatory framework with food safety laws and products used in health care will make it broad-based.

The Loss of Efficacy of the Hybrids:
 After the recent deaths, Maharashtra offcials have hinted at the loss of efficacy of some hybrids of genetically modified cotton in warding off pests.
 This explains the growth and intensity of pesticide use.

Need of the hour: Proper Assessment of the Causes:
 The responsible course would be to make a proper assessment of the causes.

Need to use the Communication Infrastructure:
 The Centre has failed to use its vast communication infrastructure.

Putting the DD Kisan to good use:
 This includes the DD Kisan, the satellite television channel from Doordarshan dedicated to agriculture, which could’ve been used to address distressed farmers.

A forward looking farm policy with emphasis on Organic Methods:
 A forward-looking farm policy would minimise the use of toxic chemicals, and encourage organic methods where they are efficacious.

Keep in mind the benefits to Farmers, Consumers and the Country:
 This will benefit both farmer and consumer and the country as a whole.

“Current Affairs Pulse – 16/10/2017”

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1. Which of the following statements regarding India’s Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP) are correct:
a. The missiles namely Prithvi, Agni, Trishul, Akash and Nag were made under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP).
b. Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam was chief architect of India’s Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP).
c. The project started in 1982 – 83 and was completed successfully completed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Ordnance Factories Board in the year 2008.
Options:
1 and 2 only
2 and 3 only
All of the above
None of the Above
Answer: 3
Refer The PIB Newsletter Dated October 15, 2017.

2. Which of the following statements about Women are correct:
a. International Women’s Day is celebrated on October 15, 2017 every year.
b. International Women’s Day is a global day to celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.
c. The United Nations adopted the celebration of the International Women’s day from 1975 onwards.
d. The theme for International Women’s Day 2017 was Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030.
Options:
1 and 2 only
2, 3 and 4 only
1 and 4 only
All of the above
Answer: 2
Refer The PIB Newsletter Dated October 15, 2017 and the website of the United Nations.

3. Which of the following statements regarding the International Day of Rural Women are correct:
a. The International Day of Rural Women is observed annually across the world on 8th March to recognize the critical role and contribution of rural women.
b. The theme for the year 2017 is: challenges and opportunities in climate-resilient agriculture for gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls.
c. The first International Day of Rural Women was observed on 15 October 2008 by the United Nation’s General Assembly.
Options:
1 and 2 only
2 and 3 only
1 and 3 only
All of the above
Answer: 2
Refer The PIB Newsletter Dated October 15, 2017 and the website of the United Nations.

4. Which of the following statements are true with regard to the outcomes of the IMFC – International Monetary and Financial Committee of The IMF are correct:
a. Cooperating to tackle shared challenges.
b. Promoting inclusion and building trust in institutions.
c. Supporting the recovery and reinvigorating growth prospects.
d. Safeguarding financial stability.
Options:
1 and 2 only
2, 3 and 4 only
1 and 3 only
All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer The PIB Newsletter Dated October 15, 2017 and the website of IMF.

5. Which of the following organizations publish the World Development Report:
a. The International Monetary Fund.
b. The World Bank.
c. The United Nations Development Program.
d. The G20
Answer: 2
Refer The PIB Newsletter Dated October 15, 2017 and the website of the World Bank.

6. Which of the following statements regarding the World Development Report 2018 are correct:
a. The major theme of the World Development Report 2018 is Learning to Realize Education’s Promise and is the first ever devoted entirely to education.
b. The 2018 WDR explores four main themes out of which the first two are education’s promise and the need to shine a light on learning.
c. How to make schools work for learners and how to make systems work for learning completes the rest of the themes.
Options:
1 and 2 only
2 and 3 only
1 and 4 only
All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer the Official Website of the World Bank.

7. Which of the following statements regarding the Japan – India Energy Dialogue is correct:
a. It aims to enhance cooperation in establishing a transparent, efficient, truly global and balanced LNG market.
b. Under the India – Japan Energy Cooperation, a Memorandum of Cooperation is to be signed on establishing a Liquid, Flexible and Global LNG Market between India and Japan.
c. The Memorandum of Cooperation will provide a framework for facilitating flexibility in LNG contracts, abolition of Destination Restriction Clause and establishing reliable LNG spot price indices.
Options:
1 only
2 and 3 only
All of the above
None of the Above
Answer: 3
Refer The PIB Newsletter Dated October 15, 2017.

8. The Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme is under aegis of which of the following:
a. The Reserve Bank of India.
b. Ministry of Finance.
c. The Securities and Exchange Board of India
d. The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India.
Answer: 2
Refer Page No 19 of The Hindu and Refer the Website of the Ministry of Finance.

9. Which of the following statements regarding the new features of the Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme are correct:
a. It is exempted from Capital Gains Tax on redemption for Individuals.
b. It is not exempted from the Goods and Services Tax.
c. It cannot be used as collateral for Loans.
d. It is tradeable through Stock Exchanges and available in DEMAT and paper form too.
Options:
1 and 4 only
1 and 3 only
2 and 3 only
All of the above
Answer: 1
Refer Page No 19 of The Hindu and Refer the Website of the Ministry of Finance.

10. Under the aegis of which of the following ministries is the Paryatan Parv being conducted:
a. Ministry of Culture.
b. Ministry of Tourism.
c. The Archaeological Survey of India.
d. Ministry of Urban Development.
Answer: 1
Refer Page No 19 of The Hindu.

11. The BASEL III norms for the banking sector is issued by which of the following agencies:
a. The World Economic Forum.
b. The International Monetary Fund
c. The World Bank
d. Bank for International Settlements
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 18 of The Hindu Dated October 16, 2017.

12. In India Coffe, Tea Gardens, Rubber plantations and Spice crops are grown predominantly in which of the following states:
a. Gujarath
b. Kerala
c. Karnataka
d. Tamil Nadu
Options:
1 only
2 and 3 only
2, 3 and 4 only
All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 18 of The Hindu Dated October 16, 2017.

13. Which among the following category of persons can join the National Pension System:
a. Citizens
b. Residents
c. Non Residents
d. Salaried or Self Employed
Options:
1 and 2 only
2 and 3 only
1 and 3 only
All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 16 of The Hindu Dated October 16, 2017.

14. Which of the following statements regarding Somalia are correct:
a. It shares its land borders with Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya.
b. Somalia’s coastline extends to the Gulf of Aden.
c. The equator passes through Somalia
Options:
1 and 2 only
2 and 3 only
All of the above
None of the above
Answer: 3
Refer Page No 16 of The Hindu Dated October 16, 2017.

15. Which of the following statements regarding ITBP or the Indo Tibetan Border Police are correct:
a. Till now, only the ITBP that guards the India-Pakistan border had an artillery unit and some mechanised components to aid it.
b. For the first time in its over 50-year history, the BSF is raising and deploying a mechanised column of power vehicles and machines.
c. To quickly mobilise troops along the India-China border during Chinese military transgressions and Doklam-like standoffs.
Options:
1 and 2 only
2 and 3 only
1 and 3 only
3 only
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 15 of The Hindu Dated October 16, 2017.

16. Which of the following mountains are located in Italy:
a. Apennine Mountains.
b. Pennines Mountains.
c. Pyrenees Mountains.
d. Alps Mountains.
Options:
1 and 4 only
2 and 3 only
1 and 3 only
None of the above
Answer: 1
Refer Page No 15 of The Hindu Dated October 16, 2017.

17. Which of the following statements regarding the CAG – Comptroller and Auditor General of India are correct:
a. The office of the CAG audits the accounts related to all expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of India and of each state and union territory having a legislative assembly.
b. The office of the CAG audits all expenditure from the contingency fund of India and the Public Account of India as well as the contingency fund of each state and the public account of each state.
c. He audits the receipts and expenditure of the Centre and each state to satisfy himself that the rules and procedures in that behalf are designed to secure an effective check on the assessment, collection and proper allocation of revenue.
Options:
1 and 2 only
2 and 3 only
1 and 3 only
All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 15 of The Hindu Dated October 16, 2017.

18. Which of the following statements regarding the Lok Sabha Elections are correct:
a. For the purpose of holding direct elections to the Rajya Sabha, each state is divided into territorial constituencies.
b. Each state is allotted a number of seats in the Lok Sabha in such a manner that the ratio between that number and its population is the same for all states.
c. Each state is divided into territorial constituencies in such a manner that the ratio between the population of each constituency and the number of seats allotted to it is the same throughout the state.
Options:
1 and 2 only
2 and 3 only
1 and 3 only
All of the above
Answer: 2
Refer Page No 15 of The Hindu Dated October 16, 2017.

19. Which of the following statements regarding the Pro Bono Criterion are correct:
a. The criteria that a lawyer should have fought a certain number of cases pro bono (free of cost) in order to be designated as a senior lawyer was issued by the Supreme Court of India.
b. The criteria that a lawyer should have fought a certain number of cases pro bono (free of cost) in order to be designated as a senior lawyer was issued by the Government of India.
Options:
1 only
2 only
Both 1 and 2
Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: 2
Refer Page No 1 of The Hindu Dated October 16, 2017.

20. Which of the following statements regarding the High Court of India are correct:
a. The judges of a High Court are appointed by the Governor.
b. The Chief Justice is appointed by the President after consultation with the Chief Justice of India and the governor of the state concerned.
c. In case of a common high court for two or more states, the governors of all the states concerned are consulted by the President.
Options:
1 and 2 only
2 and 3 only
1 and 3 only
All of the above
Answer: 2
Refer Page No 1 of The Hindu Dated October 16, 2017 and Refer Indian Polity by Laxmikanth.

Current Affairs Editorial – Foggy Thinking

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Foggy Thinking

G.S. Paper III: Environmental pollution and degradation

Context:
 The Supreme Court on Monday dealt a blow to dealers in the walled city of Delhi, banning the sale of fireworks until October 31.
 With their losses projected to run into crores, wholesale firecracker dealers in New Delhi see their Deepavali going up in smoke.

An Adventurous Experiment:
 For the second time since November 2016, the Supreme Court has temporarily banned the sale of firecrackers in the National Capital Region.
 The idea is to test whether it cuts the deadly pollution levels seen in Delhi during and after Deepavali.

A Big If:
 The Supreme Court wants to see whether the pollution can be collapsed from the astronomical 1,000-plus micrograms per cubic metre of fine particulate matter seen in 2016.
 Through this experiment they want to bring the pollution to merely life threatening levels of a few hundred micrograms/cu.m that Delhi usually sees in winter.
 But that is a big if.

A Tough Ban to Impose:
 Given that it came just about 10 days before the festival, it will be tough to impose the ban on an industry that has already produced stocks to order.
 It won’t be easy to rein in revellers unconvinced by the court order.

A Big Blow to the Firecracker Industry:
 All dealers in firecrackers across the NCR have been affected since crackers worth crores will go waste.
 The Fire Cracker industry is staring at a 1000 crore loss and the inescapable plight of layoffs.
 The Supreme Court, through its order delivers a big blow to the industry and incurs the displeasure of many at the same time.

The Ill Considered Ban On Firecrackers: A Piecemeal Solution:
 The Supreme Court offers too piecemeal a solution, akin to the even-odd licence number scheme of the Delhi government in 2015.
 North India needs a more holistic solution to the toxic air that residents breathe at the onset of winter.

Major Source of Pollution:
 The major sources of pollution in the NCR have been clear enough to drive policy changes.
 These include construction dust, vehicular pollution, waste burning, generators and crop residue burning in the Indo-Gangetic plains.
 The relative contributions of the above pollutants are still indeterminate.

Persistent Policy Actions:
 To tackle each of these will take decisive and persistent policy actions, not panic-driven and ill-considered bans.

The Failure of the 2015 Ban on Crop Residue burning:
 The 2015 ban on crop-residue burning in Punjab and Haryana is a case in point.
 Two years after the ban on crop residues, farmers continue to violate it.
 This is because the State governments have still not taken the steps required to solve the underlying problem.

The real problem behind Crop Residue burning:
 The real problem is the high cost of cleaning the paddy stubble instead of burning it to prepare the field to sow wheat.

Unpopular Solutions:
 The government has offered subsidies on a machine called Happy Seeder, which doesn’t require a stubble-free field to plant wheat but the solution remains unpopular.
 This is because the cost conscious farmers haven’t taken to it as burning remains cheaper.

No Incentives for Biomass Energy:
 Another option is biomass-energy plants that buy paddy straw from farmers for use in generating power.
 This was a very workable alternative to burning the stubble.
 Yet, government incentives for biomass-energy plants haven’t been enough to galvanize the industry or trigger a behavioral change in the farmers.

Move Purposefully on Solutions:
 The only answer is for the Punjab and Haryana governments to move purposefully on the solutions the governments know will work.
 The above path holds good for the Delhi Government as well.
The Immediate Step: Raising Awareness against bursting firecrackers:
 The only option for the Delhi government is to raise awareness on the impact of firecrackers as an immediate step before the yearly festivity.

A Foolproof mechanism to tackle Pollution:
 Alongside the awareness drive, the government must put in place a mechanism to identify and tackle vehicular pollution, construction dust and other pollution sources.

Systematic Monitoring and Creating a Database:
 The above measures must be augmented by a system to monitor the fluctuating levels of pollution to identify the trends in a systematic manner and take constructive actions based on the data generated.
 This will further enhance government’s ability to pursue evidence based policy making rather than relying on actions based on knee jerk decisions.

Need of the Hour: Less Dramatic but More Effective Solutions:
 These less dramatic but more effective solutions are strangely absent from the debate on Air pollution in Delhi.
 A firecracker sale ban will not help avert the kind of health emergency that struck Delhi last year.

Only Episodic Spikes in Air pollution:
 The firecrackers cause only episodic spikes in levels of air pollutants.
 Going by the current conditions, wherein the air quality is already ‘very poor’, the situation may spiral out of control if crackers are set off indiscriminately.

Wanted: A sustained Focus:
 Importance must be given to sustained focus in tackling the menace of air pollution in Delhi which could lead to a permanent solution.

Current Affairs Editorial – “Fixing the Steel Frame”

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Fixing the Steel Frame

G.S Paper II: Role of civil services in a democracy;

Context:
• India attained Independence in 1947 after a long and winding British rule which saw the coming into existence of an administrative structure across India for the first time.
• Like British dominions such as Canada and Australia and colonies such as Malaya and Kenya, India continued to adopt the civil service system inherited from the British post-Independence.
• Despite India evolving from its erstwhile planned economic phase to a Liberal economy and eventually stepping into the 21st century, the Administrative system of India has not undergone the requisite changes and still carries many rigidities of the 20th century.
• It is time for India to look into administrative reforms and to carry them out to face the challenges brought about by the changing 21st century reality.

Post-Independence Times:
• The first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, was aware that the colonial civil service system was unsuitable for a politically free, socially feudal and economically poor country such as ours.
India’s Birth Pangs:
• The immediate challenges which India faced after independence namely integration of princely states, the partition and the violence in its aftermath forced India to stick to the same administrative mechanism which they inherited from the British.

Half Hearted Reforms of the Civil Services:
• India renamed its civil services, calling them the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and the Indian Audit and Accounts Service (IAAS), etc.

Negligible Changes in Practice:
• But there has been only little change in practice.
• The IAS has continued to be deeply hierarchical and rule-bound rather than being driven by domain knowledge.
• Seniority is the basic criterion.

The Creation of All Knowing Intelligent Generalist:
• India set up a brand new National Academy of Administration at Mussoorie, later to be called the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration.
• It was meant to train young recruits for the administrative services.
• The goal of the training imparted was still that of creating the all-knowing intelligent generalist.

Incremental Changes over the years:
• Over the last 70 years, many incremental changes were made.
• Meanwhile, the U.K., went ahead even as early as the 1950s to radically restructure its civil service.

The Fulton Commission and the Reform of Civil Service in the UK:
• The famous Fulton Commission shifted the focus from a system based only on seniority and “experience” to one which gave pride of place to domain knowledge.
• This would avoid such ‘atrocities’ such as the secretary, water resources becoming the defence secretary, which are commonplace today.

The Indian Army Example:
• When a non-commissioned officer or a soldier joined the Indian Army as an infantry man, he remained one throughout his career.
• He never became an artilleryman, a member of the armoured corps, or even a member of the signals (communications), corps.
• Moreover, when an officer in one of these disciplines reached the level of a brigadier, he was required to go to the Defence Services Staff College (DSSC) to undergo a stiff examination.
• There were many objectives to those examinations, key among them being inculcating leadership qualities and a degree/level of domain knowledge.
• If he passed the examinations he became a major general and joined the elite of higher defence managers.

Learning from the Indian Army:
• We need to adopt such a system for the IAS, at the director level.
• Faculty from the Indian Institutes of Management and the Indian Institutes of Technology should also be brought in to deal with their areas of expertise.

Organizational Changes Needed:
• Organizational changes in the area of government ministries departments are also needed.
• The core of those changes lies in the creation of “clusters/sectors” which are:
The Way Ahead: Creation of Clusters/ Sectors:

The Security cluster:
• This will count home, defence, security and intelligence and maybe even the foreign service, atomic energy, space and information technology.

The Economic cluster:
• This will include finance, commerce and industry.

The Engineering cluster:
• This will include public enterprises, heavy industries, electronics, telecommunications, and micro, small and medium enterprises.

The Energy cluster:
• This will include petroleum, coal, power and new and renewable energy.

The Chemical cluster:
• This should consists of hemicals and petrochemicals and pharmaceuticals

The Transport sector:
• This will consist of roads, ports, shipping and civil aviation, railways.

The Social sector:
• This will include health including the Indian Council of Medical Research, education, social welfare and social justice and empowerment, women and child development.

The Rural sector:
• This will include rural development, agriculture, agricultural research and education, Khadi and Village Industries Commission, water resources.

The Science and technology sector:
• This should consist of science and technology, scientific and industrial research, biotechnology, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, earth sciences, and environment and forests.

Future Postings: Rotating within the sector:
• A key component of the new training programme would be to assess and develop domain knowledge, and the director being trained for the sector.
• Once “streamed”, the civil servants can then spend the rest of their careers “rotating” within the sectors concerned.