Daily Current Affairs-Prelims

 

Daily Prelims Test - 26_October_2021

Posted by R&D, KingMakers IAS Academy on Oct 30, 2021 3:35:02 PM

 

1. With reference to Price Stabilisation Fund, consider the following statements:

 

1) It is any fund created to absorb extreme volatility in selected commodity prices.

2) It will be maintained as a Central Corpus Fund by the Agricultural Produce Market Committee.

 

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

 

a)  1 only

b) 2 only

c)  Both 1 and 2

d) Neither 1 nor 2

 

Answer: (a) 1 only

 

Explanation:

 

In NEWS: No fireworks expected from onion during Diwali

 

●    Onion prices in the wholesale and retail market will remain stable and there will be no major hike in the price of the bulb crop during or after Diwali

●    The Department of Consumer Affairs maintains onion buffer under the Price Stabilisation Fund (PSF) with the objective of effective market intervention to moderate prices.

●    In 2021-22, against the target of building 2 LMT onion buffer a total of 2.08 LMT was procured from the Rabi-2021 crop during April-July 2021.

 

Price Stabilisation Fund:

 

●    The Price Stabilization Fund (PSF) was set up in 2014-15 under the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Famers Welfare (DAC&FW) to help regulate the price volatility of important agri-horticultural commodities like onion, potatoes and pulses were also added subsequently. Hence statement (1) is correct.

●    Procurement of these commodities will be undertaken directly from farmers or farmers’ organizations at farm gate/mandi and made available at a more reasonable price to the consumers. Losses incurred, if any, in the operations will be shared between the Centre and the States.

●    Interest-free loans: PSF Scheme provides for advancing interest-free loans to State Governments/Union Territories (UTs) and Central agencies to support their working capital and other expenses they might incur on procurement and distribution interventions for such commodities. Hence, the actual utilization of the fund depends on the willingness of the state governments/union territories to avail of such loans for these purposes.

●    Further, the actual detection of the period when support is required and the deployment of price support measures are left to the states.

●    Sharing of the contribution: For this purpose, the States will have to set up a ‘revolving fund’ (a fund which is constantly replenished and not limited by the fiscal year considerations) to which Centre and State will contribute equally (50:50). The ratio of Centre-State contribution to the State level corpus in respect of North-East States will, however, be 75:25. Central Agencies will set up their revolving fund entirely with the advance from the Centre.

●    The scheme provides for maintaining a strategic buffer of the aforementioned commodities for subsequent calibrated release to moderate price volatility and discourage hoarding and unscrupulous speculation.

●    For building such stock, the scheme promotes direct purchase from farmers/farmers’ association at farm gate/Mandi.

●    Apart from domestic procurement from farmers/wholesale mandis, import may also be undertaken with support from the Fund.

●    Management of the Fund: The Price Stabilization Fund will be managed centrally by a Price Stabilization Fund Management Committee (PSFMC) which will approve all proposals from State Governments and Central Agencies.

●    Maintenance of the corpus Fund: The PSF will be maintained as a Central Corpus Fund by Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC), a society promoted by the Ministry of Agriculture for linking agriculture to private businesses and investments and technology. SFAC will act as Fund Manager. Hence statement (2) is incorrect.

●    Price Stabilization Fund Management Committee (PSFMC): The Fund shall be managed by a “Price Stabilization Fund Management Committee (PSFMC) under the Chairmanship of Secretary (CA)

●    The PSF scheme was transferred from DAC&FW to the Department of Consumer Affairs (DOCA) w.e.f. 1st April 2016.

Source: https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/markets/commodities/no-fireworks-expected-from-onion-during-diwali/article37086990.ece

 

2. With respect to Bomb Cyclone, consider the following statements:

 

1) It happens when atmospheric pressure in the middle of the storm drops at least 24 millibars over 24 hours, quickly increasing in intensity.

2) It is a massive winter storm hammering the coast, bringing strong winds, flooding, ice and snow.

 

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

 

a)  1 only

b) 2 only

c)  Both 1 and 2

d) Neither 1 nor 2

 

Answer: (c) Both 1 and 2

 

Explanation:

 

In NEWS: US Pacific Northwest deluged with rain, snow due to ‘Bomb Cyclone’

 

●    The United States Pacific Northwest, consisting of the states of Washington, Oregon and California, has been deluged with rain and snow as a ‘bomb cyclone’ took effect and unleashed a storm

●    It reported that the storm had been most severe in the northern and central portions of California and parts of southern Oregon. Two people were killed when a tree fell on a vehicle in the greater Seattle area.

●    A bomb cyclone forms when air pressure rapidly drops as the storm explosively strengthens. The bomb cyclone has been pulling deep tropical moisture from the Pacific, creating an “atmospheric river”

 

Bomb Cyclone:

 

●    Bomb cyclone is actually used by meteorologists to indicate a mid-latitude cyclone that intensifies rapidly.

●    It is a massive winter storm hammering the coast, bringing strong winds, flooding, ice and snow. Hence statement (2) is correct.

●    It is a combination of rapidly declining pressure and extreme cold. This particular storm is the most explosive ever, observed on the east coast.

●    A bomb cyclone happens when atmospheric pressure in the middle of the storm drops at least 24 millibars over 24 hours, quickly increasing in intensity. Hence statement (1) is correct.

●    Deep drops in barometric pressure occur when a region of warm air meets one of cold air. The air starts to move and the rotation of the earth creates a cyclonic effect. The direction is counterclockwise in the Northern hemisphere leading to winds that come out of the northeast.

●    This storm will usually stay out to sea and blow with high winds gusts exceeding 100 kmph.

●    Bomb cyclones draw air from Polar Regions after they leave it means extra cold Arctic air this is based on polar vortex.

There are four active regions which are hot spots for Bomb Cyclone:

●    The Northwest Pacific

●    The Northern region of the Atlantic Ocean

●    The Southwest Pacific

●    The Southern region of the Atlantic Ocean.

Source: https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/climate-change/us-pacific-northwest-deluged-with-rain-snow-due-to-bomb-cyclone--79843

 

3. Consider the following statements:

 

1) E- Waste is a term used to cover items of all types of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) and its parts that have been discarded by the owner as waste without the intention of re-use.

2) India is the third-largest producer of e-waste after China and the United States.

3) New Delhi is the highest e-waste generating state in the country.

 

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

 

a)  1 and 3 only

b) 2 only

c)  1 and 2 only

d) 3 only

 

Answer: (c) 1 and 2 only

 

Explanation:

 

In NEWS: E-waste disposal, a mounting headache for the city

 

●        According to a 2018 report by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), India had generated close to two million metric tonnes of e-waste, with a significant portion of the waste going to the informal sector.

●        India is the third-largest producer of e-waste after China and the United States. Hence statement (2) is correct.

●        Delhi was among the top e-waste contributors in the country with 9.5% and a future estimate of three million metric tonnes in India. Hence statement (3) is incorrect.

●        A study by KPMG and ASSOCHAM says computer equipment accounts for almost 70 percent of e-waste in India, followed by telecom/phones (12 per cent), electrical equipment (8 per cent) and medical equipment (7 per cent).

●        The country’s e-waste generation increased 43 per cent between FY18 and FY20. The pandemic-induced consumption of electronic devices is set to add to the problem in future.

 

E-waste:

 

●        The International Telecommunication Union defines e-waste as all items of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) and its parts that have been discarded by its owner as waste without the intent of re-use. Hence statement (1) is correct.

●        This waste is classified into six categories: Cooling and freezing equipment like refrigerators, freezers; other equipment such as televisions, monitors, laptops, notebooks and tablets.

●        It also comprises fluorescent lamps and other large and small equipment like washing machines, clothes dryers, dish-washing machines, vacuum cleaners and microwaves. Ventilation equipment, small IT and telecommunication equipment like positioning systems (GPS), pocket calculators, routers, personal computers, printers and telephones are also included in the broad definition of e-waste.

 

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/e-waste-disposal-a-mounting-headache-for-the-city/article37155485.ece

 

4. With respect to General consent, consider the following statements:

 

1) It is given to help the CBI conduct its investigation into cases of corruption against central government employees in the concerned state.

2) It is given by state governments for periods ranging from six months to a year to the CBI.

3) As of now, only seven states have not given general consent to the CBI.

 

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

 

a)  1,2 and 3

b) 2 only

c)  1 and 2 only

d) 3 only

 

Answer: (a) 1, 2 and 3

 

Explanation:

 

In NEWS: Bengal can’t bar CBI, Centre tells Supreme Court

 

●        The Union Government told the Supreme Court that Mamata Banerjee’s government in West Bengal does not have any absolute power to keep the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) from investigating crimes inside the State.

●        The Centre said that no power, not even the Union government, has the authority to ratify the autonomy of the premier agency to conduct investigations, especially in the cases of post-poll violence transferred to it by the Calcutta High Court, in which the State Police is under a cloud. 

 

General Consent:

 

●        General consent is given to help the CBI conduct its investigation into cases of corruption against central government employees in the concerned state. Almost all states have given such consent. Otherwise, the CBI would require consent in every case. Hence statement (1) is correct.

●        The CBI must mandatorily have the consent of that state government, in order to conduct an investigation in a state

●        The general consent is given by State governments for periods ranging from six months to a year to the CBI and all agencies under the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act, 1946. Hence statement (2) is correct.

●        When a state gives a general consent to the CBI for probing a case, the agency is not required to seek fresh permission every time it enters that state in connection with investigation or for every case.

●        When a general consent is withdrawn, CBI needs to seek case-wise consent for investigation from the concerned state government. If specific consent is not granted, the CBI officials will not have the power of police personnel when they enter that state.

●        There are seven states which have withdrawn general consent to the CBI: Mizoram, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Kerala and Jharkhand. Hence statement (3) is correct.

●        If specific consent is not granted, the CBI officials will not have the power of police personnel when they enter that state.

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/west-bengals-power-to-withhold-consent-to-cbi-is-not-absolute-centre-to-sc/article37121312.ece

 

5. Consider the following statements:

 

1) Foreign insurers and reinsurers can set up branch offices as IFSC Insurance Offices (IIOs) to undertake insurance or reinsurance business from IFSC.

2) Onshore assigned capital will be required for foreign insurers or foreign reinsurers setting up IIOs as branches.

 

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

 

a)  1 only

b) 2 only

c)  Both 1 and 2

d) Neither 1 nor 2

 

Answer: (a) 1 only

 

Explanation:

 

In NEWS: GIFT City a reinsurance hub in the making: IFSCA allows more players

 

●        The regulations for setting up IFSC Insurance Offices (IIOs) and IFSC Insurance Intermediaries Offices (IIIOs) were notified by the IFSCA on October 22.

●        The country is set to become a reinsurance hub with the International Financial Services Centre Authority (IFSCA), India’s first single regulator for the Gujarat-based International Financial Services Centre (IFSC), announcing a new liberal regulatory regime for facilitating the formation of various international and Indian insurance businesses in the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City).

●        The new facilities will help India to develop a global reinsurance hub in the country, competing with offshore financial centres like Singapore, Dubai and Hong Kong, which currently dominate the insurance business in Asia.

●        IFSC offers zero tax provision for 10 years, no foreign reinsurer has set up operations in the centre till now

 

New regulations

 

●        Foreign insurers and reinsurers can set up branch offices as IFSC Insurance Offices (IIOs) to undertake insurance or reinsurance business from IFSC either by setting up branches or subsidiaries. Hence statement (1) is correct.

●        No onshore assigned capital will be required for foreign insurers or foreign reinsurers setting up IIOs as branches. Hence statement (2) is incorrect.

                                 i.            The assigned capital of $1.5 million can be maintained in home jurisdictions.

                             ii.            No onshore solvency requirement for IIO in the IFSC.

                         iii.            The assigned capital solvency margin will have to be maintained in the home jurisdiction.

Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/business/economy/gift-city-reinsurance-hub-making-ifsca-allows-more-players-7588673/

 

6. In India, shreya singhal versus union of india case is closely related with which of the following issues?

 

a)  Conservation of Western Ghats

b) Against practice of triple talaq

c)  Custodial death and anti-torture law

d) Hate Speech

 

Answer: (d) Hate Speech

 

Explanation:

 

In NEWS: Facebook dithered in curbing divisive user content in India

 

●        Facebook in India has been selective in curbing hate speech, misinformation and inflammatory posts according to leaked documents

●        Facebook’s constant struggles in quashing abusive content on its platforms in the world’s biggest democracy and the company’s largest growth market. Communal and religious tensions in India have a history of boiling over on social media and stoking violence.

●        The leaked documents include a trove of internal company reports on hate speech and misinformation in India.

 

Hate Speech:

 

●        Hate speech is understood as any kind of communication in speech, writing or behavior, that attacks or uses pejorative or discriminatory language with reference to a person or a group on the basis of who they are, in other words, based on their religion, ethnicity, nationality, race, color, descent, gender or other identity factor.

●        As recognized by the Law Commission Report and by the Supreme Court in Shreya Singhal versus Union of India, speech can be restricted under Article 19(2) of the Indian Constitution only when the speech reaches the threshold of incitement. Hence option (d) is correct.

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/facebook-dithered-in-curbing-divisive-user-content-in-india/article37149506.ece

 

 

7. The State Energy Efficiency Index has been recently released by

 

a)  Central Electricity Regulatory Commission

b) NITI Aayog

c)  The Energy and Resources Institute

d) Bureau of Energy Efficiency

 

Answer: (d) Bureau of Energy Efficiency

 

Explanation:

 

In NEWS: SEEI: Andhra Pradesh 8th in energy efficiency steps

 

●        Andhra Pradesh, which has been focusing on adopting energy efficiency initiatives, has managed to figure in the list of top performers in the State Energy Efficiency Index (SEEI)-2020, announced by the Union Ministry of Power’s Bureau of Energy Efficiency. Hence option (d) is correct.

●        While Karnataka and Rajasthan emerged as the ‘front-runners’, AP, along with six others, is among the States that saw ‘most improvement’ and is in the ‘achiever’ category.

●        SEEI 2020 assessed performance of 36 states and UTs in energy efficiency between April, 2019, and March, 2020 through 68 indicators across six sectors: buildings, industry, municipalities, transport, agriculture and distribution companies (Discoms), and cross sector initiatives.

●        The assessment was based on how effectively the States had driven energy efficiency initiatives with respect to policy and regulation, financing mechanisms, institutional capacity, adoption of energy efficiency measures, and energy savings in the said six sectors

●        In SEEI 2020, as many as 27 States and UTs improved their scores compared to SEEI 2019. Out of these, seven States — Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu — improved by more than 10 points

 

Source: https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/andhra-pradesh/2021/oct/24/andhra-pradesh-8th-in-energy-efficiency-steps-2375117.html

 

8. Consider the following statements regarding Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite:

 

1) It is a Japanese space mission.

2) It will survey 200,000 of the brightest stars near the sun to search for transiting exoplanets.

3) Using this satellite, astronomers have identified several white dwarfs over the years.

 

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

 

a)  2 and 3 only

b) 2 only

c)  1 and 2 only

d) 3 only

 

Answer: (a) 2 and 3 only

 

Explanation:

 

In NEWS: Explained: What astronomers learnt, and didn’t, from seeing a white dwarf ‘switch on and off’

 

●        A typical white dwarf is half the size of our Sun and has a surface gravity 100,000 times that of Earth. Using the Hubble Space telescope and Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), astronomers have identified several white dwarfs over the years. Hence statement (3) is correct.

●        Now, an international team has reported a unique phenomenon in a white dwarf about 1,400 light years from Earth. They saw the white dwarf lose its brightness in 30 minutes.

Where is this white dwarf?

●        The team observed the phenomena using NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS). Hence statement (1) is incorrect.

●        The white dwarf is part of a binary system called TW Pictoris, where a star and a white dwarf orbit each other.

●        Only the hot core of the star remains. This core becomes a very hot white dwarf, with a temperature exceeding 100,000 Kelvin.

●        Unless it is accreting matter from a nearby star, the white dwarf cools down over the next billion years or so.

●        White Dwarf is half the size of our Sun and has a surface gravity 100,000 times that of Earth.

●        There is a limit on the amount of mass a white dwarf can have.

TESS mission:

●        The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is a NASA mission that will look for planets orbiting the brightest stars in Earth’s sky.

●        It was led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with seed funding from Google.

●        The mission will monitor at least 200,000 stars for signs of exoplanets, ranging from Earth-sized rocky worlds to huge gas giant planets. Hence statement (2) is correct.

●        TESS, however, will focus on stars that are 30 to 100 times brighter than those Kepler examined. This will help astronomers better understand the structure of solar systems outside of our Earth, and provide insights into how our own solar system formed.

●        TESS will occupy a never-before-used orbit high above Earth. The elliptical orbit, called P/2, is exactly half of the moon’s orbital period; this means that TESS will orbit Earth every 13.7 days.

●        Its closest point to Earth (67,000 miles or 108,000 kilometers) is about triple the distance of geosynchronous orbit, where most communications satellites operate.

●        It will use a transit method to detect exoplanets. It watches distant stars for small dips in brightness, which can indicate that a planet has passed in front of them.

●        Repeated dips will indicate a planet passing in front of its star. This data has to be validated by repeated observations and verified by scientists.

Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-white-dwarf-switch-on-and-off-7587606/

 

 

9. Consider the following statements regarding Floating Rate Bonds:

 

1) They are fixed income instruments offered by the Government of India which come with a lock-in period.

2) A Non-Resident Indian (NRI) can invest in this Bond.

3) The interest earned on FRBs will not be taxed.

 

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

 

a)  1 and 3 only

b) 1 only

c)  1 and 2 only

d) 3 only

 

Answer: (b) 1 only

 

Explanation:

 

In NEWS: GoI Floating Rate Bond 2028

 

The Government of India (GoI) has announced the Sale (Re-issue) of

 

●        ‘‘GoI Floating Rate Bonds, 2028’ for a notified amount of ₹4,000 crore (nominal) through price based auction using uniform price method

●        ‘6.10% Government Security, 2031’ for a notified amount of ₹13,000 crore (nominal) through price based auction using uniform price method and

●        ‘6.76% Government Security 2061’ for a notified amount of ₹7,000 crore (nominal) through price based auction using multiple price method.

Floating Rate Bonds:

●        FRS bonds are fixed income instruments offered by the Government of India which come with a lock-in period. Hence statement (1) is correct

●        Unlike regular bonds that pay a fixed rate of interest, floating rate bonds have a variable rate of interest.

●        The rate of interest of a floating rate bond is linked to a benchmark rate and is reset at a regular interval.

●        The interest rate risk is largely mitigated as these bonds will pay higher return when prevailing rates are high.

●        There is no certainty of the future stream of income when investing in a floating rate bond.

●        The best time to buy floating rate bonds is when rates are low and are expected to rise.

●        The FRBs are not listed on any secondary exchange which means that it does not offer any interim exit to the investor.

●        The FRS bonds are a 100% risk free investment option as interest payments on these are guaranteed by the Government of India.

●        The interest earned on FRBs will be taxed as per the existing tax slab. Hence statement (2) is incorrect.

●        All residents of India and Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) are eligible to invest in FRBs.

●        The minimum amount that a person can invest is INR 1,000 and in multiples of INR 1,000 thereof and there is no cap on investments that a person can make.

●        A Non-Resident Indian (NRI) cannot invest in the scheme. Hence statement (3) is incorrect.

Source: https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1766323

 

10. Which one of the following effects of creation of black money in India has been the main cause of worry to the Government of India? (2021)

 

a)  Diversion of resources to the purchase of real estate and investment in luxury housing

b) Investment in unproductive activities and purchase of precious stones, jewellery, gold, etc.

c)  Large donations to political parties and growth of regionalism

d) Loss of revenue to the State Exchequer due to tax evasion

 

Answer: (d) Loss of revenue to the State Exchequer due to tax evasion

 

Explanation:

 

●        There is no official definition of black money in economic theory, with several different terms such as parallel economy, black money, black incomes, unaccounted economy, illegal economy and irregular economy all being used more or less synonymously.

●        The simplest definition of black money could possibly be money that is hidden from tax authorities. That is, black money can come from two broad categories: illegal activity and legal but unreported activity. The first category is the more obvious of the two.

●        Money that is earned through illegal activity is obviously not reported to the tax authorities, and so is black. The second category comprises income from legal activity that is not reported to the tax authorities. Hence option (d) is correct.

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