1) Which Indian UT got approval for its first railway line?
a. Daman and Diu
c. Andaman and Nicobar Islands
d. None of the above
ANSWER: Andaman and Nicobar Islands
The Union Railway Ministry has approved a 240-KM broad-gauge railway line project in Andaman and Nicobar islands.
The first railway line on Andaman and Nicobar Islands will connect Port Blair (capital) in the south with Diglipur, the biggest town on the north Andaman Island.
Presently both destinations are linked by a 350-km bus service that takes over 14 hours and a ship that takes around 24 hours and there is no air connectivity.
Following completion, it will give fillip to tourism from the current 4.5 lakh visitors a year to around 6 lakh a year.
About A & N Islands:
- Andaman and Nicobar Islands are a group of islands at the juncture of the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea.
- It is one of the seven UTs of India.
- It comprises two island groups, the Andaman Islands and the Nicobar Islands, separated by the 10°N parallel.
- The islands host the Andaman and Nicobar Command, the only tri-service geographical command of the Indian Armed Forces.
- The islands are home to the only known Paleolithic people, the Sentinelese people.
2) Which country is the world's largest producer of solar energy?
China has surpassed Germany to become the world’s largest producer of solar energy after nearly doubling its installed photovoltaic capacity in 2016.
With the increased capacity, China generated 66.2 billion kilowatt-hours of energy last year.
This however accounted for only 1% of its electrical output.
The country further plans to double its current solar energy capacity by 2020.
National Energy Administration (NEA) noted that the nation officially claimed the title after doubling its installed photovoltaic (PV) capacity last year.
By the end of 2016, China’s capacity hit 77.42 gigawatts, and while this is great in terms of raw numbers, it’s a lot less impressive relative to the country’s massive population.
China is to devote more and more of its attention towards clean energy.
The NEA says that China will seek to add more than 110 gigawatts within the next three years, which could help the nation up the proportion of its renewable energy use to 20 percent by 2030.
Today, it stands at 11 percent.
China’s geography certainly lends itself to large solar energy farms.
Last year, Shandong, Xinjiang, and Henan provinces enjoyed the greatest increase in their solar capacity.
Xinjiang, Gansu, Qinghai, and Inner Mongolia ended up with the most overall capacity at the end of 2016.
Weaning itself off of fossil fuels will require quite a hefty investment.
According to a Reuters report, the nation will be pouring some 2.5 trillion yuan ($364 billion) into renewable power generation by the end of the decade.
This dedication to environmentally friendly energy sources could put pressure on other nations around the world to do the same.
Already, Ireland has passed a bill that would make it the first country to divest from fossil fuels. And some countries are finding increasingly creative ways of moving away from fossil fuels.
Iceland is drilling the world’s largest well for geothermal energy.
3) Which medicinal plant endemic to Western Ghats and Sri Lanka can cure cancer, wounds and burns?
a. Neurocalyx calycinus
b. Neurocalyx dalycinus
c. Neurocalyx talycinus
d. Neurocalyx kalycinus
ANSWER: Neurocalyx calycinus
A medicinal plant endemic to the southern parts of Western Ghats and Sri Lanka could offer scientists the key to new herbal formulations.
It could also pave the way for modern drugs for the treatment of cancer and wounds and burns.
Scientists at the Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute (JNTBGRI) here have confirmed the multiple therapeutic properties of Neurocalyx calycinus.
This herb used by the Cholanaickan tribe, one of the particularly vulnerable groups in Kerala, to treat inflammations and wounds.
The researchers have filed for a patent on a novel herbal drug formulation possessing wound-healing, burn-healing, anti-cancer, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, immuno- enhancing, platelet-augmentation and anti-oxidant effects.
The scientists came to know of the miracle plant in 1988 during a biological survey deep inside the Nilambur forests.
Neurocalyx calycinus is known as pacha chedi in local language.
Animal trials have proved that the leaves of N.calycinus possess wound-healing properties comparable to the standard drug Povidone/ Iodine in the early phase of inflammation.
The anti-inflammatory activity of the leaves was found comparable to the drug diclofenac sodium.
The pre-clinical trials confirmed the therapeutic effects of N.calycinus against burn wounds and pain, besides its immuno-enhancing, platelet augmentation, and anti-oxidant potential.
The presence of high Vitamin E content and potent cytoprotective activity in cell lines in the plant species have also enhanced the prospects of developing an anti-cancer drug.
In a presentation that won the best paper award at the Kerala Science Congress, Aneesh kumar AL, a researcher, said the work had thrown up promising leads for the development of novel herbal formulations and modern medicines.
Pada Chedi: Know More
- Neurocalyx calycinus is a shrub endemic to South West India.
- It is found in evergreen forests.
- Recent researches suggests this plant has wound-healing, burn-healing, anti-cancer, analgesic, anti-inflammatory.
- Genus: Neurocalyx
- Order: Gentianales
- Rank: Species
4) What is the stable helium-sodium compound scientists have created for the first time?
d. None of the above
Helium is the second most abundant element in the Universe
It belongs to a six-member group of elements called the noble gases.
These are so-called because of an apparent 'aloofness' that prevents them from easily forming compounds with other elements.
Since earning their 'noble' reputation, some of these gases have shown signs of reactiveness under extreme conditions.
One can actually split the noble gases up into two groups, with krypton, xenon, and radon considered to be relatively reactive, and argon, neon, and helium considered to be very unreactive.
Researchers have found ways to pair up helium with other elements in the past, but until now, the result has always been less than concrete.
One of the most common examples of helium interacting with other elements refers to van der Waals forces - attractive or repulsive forces that don't require conventional covalent or ionic bonds to form.
It's known that very weak van der Waals forces exist between helium and other atom.
At extremely low temperatures, helium can form van der Waals molecules - very weakly bound clusters of atoms or molecules - but they cannot be sustained for long.
Helium's staunch stability is due to its closed-shell electronic configuration - its outer shell is complete, which means there's no room for it to bond with other atoms by sharing electrons.
Being one of the most abundant elements in the Universe, responsible for forming stars and gas giant planets, helium could play by very different rules out in space and deep within our planet.
The researchers have just found the first evidence yet of that weird behaviour.
The researchers used a 'crystal structure-predicting' computer model to predict that under extreme pressures, a stable helium-sodium compound could form.
They then physically created the never-before-seen compound, Na2He, in a diamond anvil cell experiment.
This allowed them to subject helium and sodium atoms to pressures of around 1.1 million times Earth's atmospheric pressure.
"These findings were so unexpected, scientists and their colleagues struggled for more than two years to convince science reviewers and editors to publish their results.
Based on this, sodium will easily bond with helium gas to form a stable Na2He compound under pressures up to 10 million times higher than the level they achieved it at.
The compound appears to form without any chemical bonds to hold it together.
Helium atoms do not actually form any chemical bonds, yet their presence fundamentally changes chemical interactions between sodium atoms, forces electrons to localise inside cubic voids of the structure, and makes this material insulating.
Here's the crystal structure of Na2He - a solid formation of alternating sodium and helium atoms, with electrons shared in the voids between them.
Chemists have made a number of these 'rule-breaking' discoveries recently, with separate teams creating the world's first sample of metallic hydrogen, and a carbon molecule with six - not four - bonds last month.
This helium compound is a breakthrough.
Helium: Know More
- Symbol: He
- Atomic mass: 4.002602 u ± 0.000002 u
- Atomic number: 2
- Electron configuration: 1s2
- Discovered: 1868
- Melting point: -272.2°C
- Discoverers: Pierre Janssen, Norman Lockyer
5) Assam government has launched which scheme to double the farm income?
a. Samagra Gramya Unnayan Yojana
b. Samagra Gram Antyodan Yojana
c. Samagra Gram Unnayan Yojana
d. None of the above
ANSWER: Samagra Gramya Unnayan Yojana
Chief Minister Samagra Gramya Unnayan Yojana is a mega mission with a financial outlay INR 30,000 crore.
It will be implemented in all the villages in Assam in the next five years culminating in 2021-22.
The main aim of the scheme is to bring revolutionary changes by doubling the farm income and a move to bring about the paradigm shift towards holistic development of villages in Assam.
It implemented through the saturation model’ by covering each revenue village and through the focused interventions in:
- Direct economic activities,
- Logistic support including market linkages, and
- Community support.
Scheme has the potential to usher in a new horizon of development. Through this farm income of Assam becomes double by 2021-22.
Five teams will be established in each block to work and proper implementation of different missions of the programme.
As the scheme, these team will prepare development plans for them and that will be implemented in each village.
Under the scheme, a Village Knowledge Centre will be set up in each village to bring proper balance in the scheme and MGNREGA playground will be developed in each village of the state.
According to the plan, the average investment of the scheme is around INR 1.20 crore per revenue village.
While the total required amount of the mission is INR 30,000 crore over a period of five years.
An amount of INR 500 crore was provided in the current financial year 2016-17 which has been handed over by the finance minister to the chief minister.
As per Situation Assessment Survey during the period from 2002-03 to 2012-13, the farm income in Assam was recorded only 0.88 percent as against national average of 5.2 per cent.
Government has decided to launch CMSGUY to put in concerted efforts in a time bound manner by facilitating massive investments in rural areas for complete rural transformation in a period of 5 years to stimulate rural productivity. .
He also said that one of the basic components of the scheme is to strengthen the rural economy as he said that without infusing life to the village economy, Assam cannot progress.
2021-22 which will also happen to be the 75 anniversary of India's Independence.
Moreover, INR 1000 crore is proposed in the Supplementary Demand. At the end of the financial year, the CMSGUY will have INR 1500 crore in its coffer.Missions of CMSGUY: Know More
CMSGUY will have nine Missions which are:
- Fishery Mission,
- Milk Mission,
- Agriculture Mission,
- Land Management and
- Conservation Mission,
- Khadi and Cottage Industry Mission,
- Road and broadband connectivity,
- Semi-processing, processing and market linkages,
- Youth-Yoga-Sports Mission and
- e-gram Mission by developing Village Knowledge Centers by strengthening traditional Namghar and other community institutions.
6) Which Indian film became the first to win the Hivor Tiger Award at Rotterdam?
a. Sexy Durga
b. Modern Kali
c. Strong Shiva
d. None of the above
ANSWER: Sexy Durga
‘Sexy Durga’ by Malayalam filmmaker Sanal Sasidharan became the first Indian film to win the Hivor Tiger Award.
This International Film Festival of Rotterdam.
The award also includes a cash prize of ₹28.9 lakh (40,000 euros).
Shot without a script in 20 days, the film is about a couple who elopes at night and hitches a ride with men.
Sexy Durga is a road movie that follows the horrifying experience of two hitchhikers, a man and a woman, at the hands of two men, in the dead of the night.
The film was rewarded “for its daring and resourceful approach in creating a mood of constant tension. The particular use of the camera and acting give a sense of immediacy and momentum, while providing an insight into multi-layered power dynamics of gender, class and authority,” said the jury report.
The lead female character is named Durga, which is the name of the goddess.
The realistic film sheds light on the hypocrisy of the society, where women is worshiped in the form of idol and abused in the flesh.
International Film Festival: Rotterdam
- Location: Rotterdam, Netherlands
- Founded: 1972
- Awards: Tiger Award
- Website: http://www.IFFR.com/
7) Which sitting HC judge for the first time, has been issued contempt of court?
a. CS Karnan
b. Dipak Misra
c. J Chelameswar
d. Ranjan Gogoi
ANSWER: CS Karnan
In a step without previous precedents, Chief Justice of India JS Khehar decided on Feb 7, 2017 to initiate contempt of court proceedings.
This is against sitting Calcutta high court judge C S Karnan for continuously levelling allegations against the Madras HC chief justice and other judges.
The case will be heard by a bench headed by the CJI and comprising six other senior judges -Dipak Misra, J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur, P C Ghose and Kurian Joseph.
This is the first time that a constitutional court has initiated contempt of court proceedings against a judge of the SC or HC.
There have been times when the CJI, after receiving inquiry reports against a sitting judge, has recommended to Parliament to initiate proceedings for the removal of the erring judge.
Karnan had plunged Madras HC into a major crisis in 2015 by threatening contempt of court proceedings against Chief Justice Sanjay K Kaul.
Kaul had been recommended by the collegium to be appointed as a judge of the SC.
Karnan had accused Kaul of interfering in his judicial work and sought a CBI probe into the alleged forged educational qualification of another HC judge.
The controversial judge has also alleged that he was a victim of caste bias as he was a Dalit and had accused the Madras HC chief justice of harassing him.
Subsequently , when he was transferred, Karnan "stayed" the order of the SC, advising the CJI not to interfere in his "jurisdiction", before relenting and accepting his transfer.
Constitutionally, the only process for sacking a judge of the SC or HC is through a removal motion passed by a two-thirds majority in each House of Parliament.
Till date, no judge has been removed by Parliament though such motions were initiated thrice.
Apart from the contempt of court action against Kaul, Karnan had also threatened to ask the National Commission for Scheduled Castes to initiate a detailed inquiry against the HC chief justice.
Previous Precedents: HC Judge Removal
- A removal motion against Justice V Ramaswami was defeated in Parliament in May 1993.
- This was with the help of abstaining Congress MPs.
- Sikkim HC Chief Justice P D Dinakaran resigned in July 2011 ahead of the initiation of a removal motion against him in the Rajya Sabha.
- Justice Soumitra Sen of the Calcutta HC argued his case unsuccessfully before the Rajya Sabha which passed the motion for his removal.
- Sen resigned before the LokSabha could take up the motion.
8) Who has been appointed as the US Education secretary in a historic vote?
a. Nancy Pelosi
b. Nikki Haley
c. Susan Collins
d. None of the above
ANSWER: None of the above
US Senate on 7th Feb 2017 confirmed school choice advocate Betsy DeVos as Education secretary by the narrowest of margins.
Vice-President Mike Pence was instrumental in breaking a 50-50 tie in a historic vote.
Two Republicans joined Democrats in the unsuccessful effort to derail the nomination.
The Senate historian said Mr. Pence’s vote was the first by a Vice-President to break a tie on a Cabinet nomination.
It is the first time in US history that a cabinet appointed has required a Vice-Presidential tie-breaker.
This is attesting to the fraught mood in Washington DC after a contentious election.
Two Republican Senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska joined 46 Democrats and two Democrat-caucusing Independents, in an effort to scupper DeVos confirmation.
DeVos is a long-time Republican and is a billionaire from one of Michigan's wealthiest families.
9) Indian economy will overtake the US in PPP by what year?
The Indian economy is expected to overtake the US by 2040 in PPP terms.
The global economic order is expected to shift from advanced to emerging economies over the next few decades.
By 2040, India could edge past the US to become the world's second largest economy in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms, as per a PwC report.
According to PwC, E7 economies comprising Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia and Turkey would grow at an annual average rate of almost 3.5 per cent over the next 34 years.
This is compared to just 1.6 per cent for the advanced G7 nations of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US.
In fact, China has already overtaken the US to become the world's largest economy in PPP terms, while India currently stands in third place and is projected to overtake the US by 2040 in PPP terms.
PwC believes Vietnam, India and Bangladesh would be three of the world's fastest growing economies over this period.
We will continue to see shift in global economic power away from established advanced economies towards emerging economies in Asia and elsewhere.
The E7 could comprise almost 50 per cent of world GDP by 2050, while the G7's share declines to only just over 20 per cent.
To realise this growth potential, emerging market governments need to implement structural reforms to improve macroeconomic stability, diversify their economies away from undue reliance on natural resources (where this is currently the case), and develop more effective political and legal institutions.
Challenges include falling global trade growth, rising income inequality within many countries and increasing global geopolitical uncertainties are intensifying the need to create diversified economies.
This create opportunities for everyone in a broad variety of industries.