Current Affairs Questions & Answers - May 03, 2017

1)   What is the Wall of Valour?

a. Display of soldiers at designated places on educational campuses
b. Initiative to instil nationalism in students
c. Both a and b
d. Neither of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both a and b

Explanation:
Shri Prakash Javadekar and Minister of State for Defence Dr. Subhash Bhamre jointly launched a campaign to have a ‘Wall of Valour’ in 1,000 educational institutions across the country.

Portraits of Param Vir Chakra (PVC) decorated soldiers will be displayed at designated places on educational campuses to instil sense of nationalism among the students.

This is part of a nationwide ‘Vidya Veerta Abhiyan’, initiated by writer and former Rajya Sabha member Shri Tarun Vijay.

Potraits of these gallant heroes were given to Vice Chancellors of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), University of Delhi (DU), Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI). In addition, VCs of different universities, including Arunachal Pradesh.

The representative from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi also received portraits from them.

On the occasion, Grenadier Yogender Singh Yadav and Rifleman Sanjay Kumar, both PVC awardees, also spoke of their experiences.

Param Vir Chakra Recipients

  • Major Somnath Sharma, 4 Kumaon, (Posthumous), 1947
  • Second Lieutenant Rama Raghoba Rane, Bombay Sappers, 1948
  • Company Havildar Major Piru Singh, 6 Rajputana Refiles, (Posthumous), 1948
  • Lance Naik Karam Singh, 1 Sikh, 1948
  • Naik Jadunath Singh, 1 Rajput, (Posthumous), 1948
  • Captain Gurbachan Singh Salaria, 3/1 Gorkha Rifles, (Posthumous), 1961
  • Major Shaitan Singh, 13 Kumaon, (Posthumous), 1962
  • Subedar Joginder Singh, 1 Sikh, (Posthumous), 1962
  • Major Dhan Singh Thapa, 1/8 Gorkha Rifles, 1962
  • Company Quartermaster Havildar Abdul Hamid, 4 Grenadiers, (Posthumous), 1965
  • Lieutenant Colonel A B Tarapore, Poona Horse, (Posthumous), 1965
  • Flying Officer Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon, 18 Squadron, (Posthumous), 1971
  • Major Hoshiar Singh, 3 Grenadiers, 1971
  • Second Lieutenant Arun Khetarpal, Poona Horse, (Posthumous), 1971
  • Lance Naik Albert Ekka, 14 Guards, (Posthumous), 1971
  • Major Ramaswamy Parameswaran, 8 Mahar, (Posthumous), 1987
  • Naib Subedar Bana Singh, 8 JAK LI, 1987
  • Grenadier Yogender Singh Yadav, 18 Grenadiers, 1999
  • Captain Vikram Batra, 13 Jammu and Kashmir Rifles, (Posthumous), 1999
  • Rifleman Sanjay Kumar, 13 Jammu and Kashmir Rifles, 1999
  • Lieutenant Manoj Kumar Pandey, 7/11 Gorkha Rifles (Posthumous), 1999


2)   Which web portal did Ministry of Communications launch for information sharing on mobile towers and EMF emissions compliances?

a. Tarang Samachar
b. Tarang Sanchar
c. Tarang Sampark
d. Tarang Sochna
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Tarang Sanchar

Explanation:
The Minister of Communications Shri Manoj Sinha launched Tarang Sanchar, a web portal for Information sharing on Mobile Towers and EMF Emission Compliances .

The portal will allow users to get a tower or base station checked for radiation emission, for a fee of INR 4,000.

Over 25,000 studies by WHO in the last 30 years provide no proof that EMF radiation has any harmful effect on human health.

Indian norms had prescribed 10 times stricter limits for radiation emission in comparison to global standards.

There are 14.5 lakh base stations (BTSs) spread across the country of all technologies (2G, 3G, 4G etc.) and of all Telecom Service Providers (TSPs).

The portal will be a mile stone for transparency, fair play, citizen empowerment and will finally lead to a knowledge economy.

Any person can request for EMF emission measurement at a location by paying a nominal fee of INR 4000/- online.

The tests will be conducted by the local Telecom Enforcement Resource and Monitoring (TERM) filed unit of DoT and the test report will be provided to the requestor.

The portal also has ‘EMF Overview’ and ‘Learn’ Sections, which provide numerous articles, booklets and videos, to further educate the citizens about EMF and coverage of telecom services.


3)   Which state became the first to adopt Jan to Dec fiscal year?

a. MP
b. HP
c. AP
d. UP
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: MP

Explanation:
Madhya Pradesh has become the first state to adopt a January to December fiscal year. The decision was made in a cabinet meeting led by chief minister Shivraj Singh.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently encouraged states to adopting this idea.

The meeting also decided that a picture of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay will be issued with all the government letter heads, banners and advertisements.

Following a proposal from Modi, the Centre is in consultation with the states to have a January to December financial year, doing away with the old tradition of financial year starting on April 1 and ending on March 31.

The system was adopted around 150 years ago during British rule.


4)   Which city became the first in the world to have its own Microsoft font?

a. Dubai
b. Bahrain
c. Jeddah
d. Chennai
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Dubai

Explanation:
Dubai has become the first city in the world to have its own Microsoft font.

The font will have typeface both in Latin and Arabic script.

It will be made available in 23 languages - Afrikaans, Arabic, Basque, Britannic, Catalan, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, Gaelic, German, Icelandic, Indonesian, Italian, Norwegian, Farsi, Portuguese, Sami, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish and Urdu.

The Microsoft font was launched by the Crown Prince of Dubai Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

The font will be used by UAE’s government bodies and also by 100 million Office 365 users around the world.

UAE has launched the ‘Dubai Font’ in line with its vision of becoming a regional and global leader in innovation.

The country views the launch as a part of its continuous efforts to be ranked first in the digital world.

The country expects the new font and its unique specifications to become popular online and in smart technologies across the world.

The launch of new font is expected to boost the emirate’s competitiveness in smart technology.

Dubai: Know More

  • Dubai is the largest city in UAE.
  • It has the world’s tallest tower, Burj Khalifa.
  • Dubai has been taking a series of initiatives to broaden its appeal by investing in technology and culture.
  • Dubai will play host to the six-month Expo 2020 under the themes of sustainability and mobility.


5)   Who has been awarded the Transformative Chief Minister award by USIBC for 2017?

a. Chandrababu Naidu
b. Yogi Adityanath
c. Capt. Amarinder Singh
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Chandrababu Naidu

Explanation:
The US-India Business Council (USIBC) has selected Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, Chandrababu Naidu for the ‘Transformative Chief Minister Award.'

This is for his role in advancing the US-India partnership at the state level.

The award will be presented to him at the USIBC West Coast Summit in the Silicon Valley on May 8th.

The USIBC West Coast Summit will see the participation of Indian government officials.

Also part of this are 150 industry leaders from sectors such as information technology, banking, food processing, healthcare, clean energy, digital payments, and manufacturing.

The organisation aims to explore the impacts of manufacturing in India, digitisation, move towards adoption of a cashless society and the future of the US-India trade relations.

The companies such as Amazon, Paypal, Deloitte, Facebook, Mastercard, Dell, TransAsia, Varian Medical and Visa will attend the summit.

In addition, the Secretary, Ministry of Electronics and IT Aruna Sundararajan will also be honoured with the ‘Transformative Leadership Award’ for excellence in public service and for her role in advancing US-India cooperation and Digital India.

Amitabh Kant, CEO of Niti Aayog was the last year’s recipient of this award.

USIBC: Know More

  • USIBC was established in 1975 as a business advocacy organization for encouraging the private sectors in the US and India to enhance investments.
  • It acts a direct link between business and government leaders to enhance the trade and investment ties between the two nations.
  • USIBC works in partnership with major trade associations of India like The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) among others.
  • President and CEO of MasterCard Ajay Banga is the current chairman of USIBC.


6)   What is part of the Niti Aayog 5 point remedy to tackle air pollution?

a. Higher taxes on petrol/diesel
b. Higher parking fees
c. The shutting of coal based power plants in phased manner
d. All of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: All of the above

Explanation:
Underlining air pollution as a serious problem, the government's think tank Niti Aayog in its latest action agenda has come out with a five-point remedy.

This is including higher taxes on petrol\diesel, higher parking fees and shutting down coal-based power plants in a phased manner, to deal with the menace within three years.

The Aayog suggested has already been in different phases of implementation under the government's plan of action, its emphasis may help states and central ministries to execute the measures on priority.

Listing coal-based power plants, brick kilns, vehicles (especially diesel), cooking and heating fires which burn biomass, waste burning, stubble burning and dust from construction, roads and fallow fields as “major sources of air pollution”, the Aayog noted that the problem is not limited to Delhi.

It wanted the government to take corrective action and strictly enforce various bans and traffic laws across the country.

The Aayog expressed its confidence that air pollution can be considerably reduced within three years through actions on the ground.

Suggesting higher taxes on petrol\diesel in and around polluted cities, the Aayog said the measure would encourage people to share cars and use public transport in bigger numbers.

It noted, the higher parking fees will have similar effect.

As far as stubble burning is concerned, the think-tank indicated that the crop residue burning is a very large contributor to air pollution in early winter in north India.

As productivity of wheat crop depends on early planting after rice is harvested, farmers burn residue in order to prepare the field quickly despite resulting pollution - as seen across farms in Punjab, Haryana and western UP.

The Aayog suggested use of ‘Happy Seeder' — a machine developed by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australia and Punjab Agricultural University.

This allows planting of wheat through the residue.

In a section which elaborated on measures to deal with vehicular pollution in the cities, also proposed was a shift to electric vehicles in the long run.

The Aayog has also suggested regulation of polluting industries and disposal of solid waste and pitched for legislative route so that pollution control boards (PCBs) are empowered to “levy graduated fines” depending on the seriousness of the offence and on repeated offence.


7)   Illicit outflow of black money in 2014 was $____ billion, according to GFI.

a. 21
b. 31
c. 25
d. 35
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: 21

Explanation:
Over $21 billion worth of black money was illegally taken out of India in 2014, according to the latest report by the international watchdog Global Financial Integrity (GFI).

This illicit outflow was nearly 19% more than that recorded the previous year.

GFI has, for the first time, given information on the equally damaging inflow of illegal funds in this report, with India being the destination of a staggering $101 billion in 2014, up nearly 11% over the previous year.

Globally, the report estimates that between $620 and $970 billion was drained out of the developing world, primarily through trade fraud.

Illicit inflows are estimated at a mind boggling $1.4-2.5 trillion.

Combined, illicit outflows and inflows accounted for 14-24% of total developing country trade over 2005-2014.

This year's GFI report stands out from its previous reports for adopting a much more rigorous method of collecting and analysing information on international trade and balance of payments.

Besides using IMF global data on direction of trade, the report has included information from other sources to plug gaps.

Inclusion of Swiss data on gold exports, that was earlier omitted, has led to a drastic revision of India's outflow and inflow figures.

Although both the lower and higher ends are described by the economists as “conservative” because it is difficult to trace all illicit transactions, the higher-end estimates are closer to previous years' estimates while the lower ones take into account only trade gaps with advanced economies.

About 87% of the global illicit financial flows are happening through trade misinvoicing

Recommending a slew of measures, the report primarily suggests a much better trained and equipped customs staff and stricter scrutiny of trade deals.

It also indicates global cooperation in exchanging information on bank accounts, especially in tax havens.


8)   Where are the blood falls of Antarctica located?

a. McMurdo Dry Valleys
b. Great Taylor Glacier
c. Both of the above
d. Neither of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both of the above

Explanation:
Geologists have finally uncovered the truth behind the seemingly mysterious ‘Blood Falls’ of Antarctica.

Located in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, the falls were discovered by researchers in 1911 when it poured off the cliff in the Great Taylor glacier.

The bright red colour of the water was attributed to discolouration caused by red algae.

But now, research is proposing a new solution.

According to the research, the red colour is a product of oxidisation of iron that takes place when iron minerals dissolve in high-density salt water or brine.

When this water comes in contact with oxygen, a process of oxidation ensues which imparts the bright red colour. (This is also the same process by which iron rusts when exposed to air.)

The research team used imaging from underneath the glacier using a technique called radio-echo sounding or RES.

This is important because saline water indicates variation in densities that were ultimately used to uncover the process of oxidation.

It was found that the brine, which was from a lake that flows underneath the Great Taylor glacier, takes 1.5 million years before finally reaching the Blood Falls.

The brine is discovered to have picked up minerals from underlying hard bedrocks and gushes forth off the surface of the glacier through fissures.

Water containing soluble impurities such as salt freezes at a much lower temperature than fresh water.

The frozen water contains a certain amount of latent heat that can keep the river flowing.

This means that while the surface may remain frozen, the underlying brine remains liquid. (It is the same principle based on which people salt streets during the winter before the onset of a storm.)

The brine remains liquid within the subglacial and englacial environments through latent heat of freezing coupled with elevated salt content.

The findings suggest that cold glaciers could support freshwater hydrologic systems through localized warming by latent heat alone.

Finally, the pressure of the solid block of ice above forces water through an intricate channel of fissures which culminate in a red river that falls off Great Taylor.

Another interesting insight is the presence of microbial organisms that inhabit these saline rivers with low oxygen content and survive eons in isolation. It can serve as evidence for adaptation in harsh environments.


9)   India will clock ___ percent growth in 2018, according to a UNESCAP report?

a. 7.1
b. 7.2
c. 7.3
d. 7.5
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: 7.5

Explanation:
India is expected to clock 7.1 per cent growth this year before edging up to 7.5 per cent in 2018, according to a UN report.

The report has warned that the country faces heightened risks related to the concentration of bad loans in the public sector banks.

The UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) in its annual flagship report 'The Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2017' indicated that the economic growth for India is projected to be stable before edging up.

This is underpinned by higher private and public consumption and increased infrastructure spending.

Growth in India is forecast at 7.1 per cent this year as re-monetisation restores consumption, and infrastructure spending increases.

Inflation is projected to reach 5.3-5.5 per cent in 2017 and 2018, which is somewhat above the official target of 4.5-5 per cent.

The report, however, noted that a key downside risk for India was heightened financial sector risks related to the concentration of bad loans in public sector banks.

The gross non-performing assets ratio in public sector banks reached almost 12 per cent in 2016, which points to the need for bank recapitalisation.

Noting the impact of demonetisation, the report said the unexpected withdrawal of the two largest denomination currency notes in November 2016 and their subsequent replacement with new currency weighed down economic conditions in late 2016 and early 2017.

The resulting liquidity crunch led to delays in the payment of wages and purchase of inputs in the industrial sector.

While the impact of demonetisation on the economy is expected to be transient, a slower-than-expected recovery would particularly diminish the outlook for cash-intensive sectors and supply chains for agricultural products.

The recent budget called for various measures that seek to mitigate the large temporary adverse shocks on income and wealth, such as expanding a low-cost housing scheme and providing more relief to the agricultural sector and credit support for small enterprises.

Notwithstanding its short-term disruptions, the report said one of the medium-term benefits of demonetisation was to help expand banking sector liquidity.

The country's medium-term economic development will also benefit from recent reforms that are aimed at easing domestic supply bottlenecks, such as the implementation of the goods and services tax, amendment of a bankruptcy law and opening up of the pharmaceuticals, defence and civil aviation sectors.

The rate of India's economic growth moderated to 7.1 per cent in 2016 from 7.6 per cent in 2015, with the manufacturing sector more sluggish in 2016 relative to 2015 owing to weaker domestic demand, rising input costs and subdued bank credit.

Fixed investment continued to contract as stressed corporate balance sheets suppressed firms' appetite for additional spending, the report said.

Overall, the still rapid output growth in 2016 benefited from a modest recovery in agriculture due to an improved monsoon season and robust growth in public administration following public sector salary increases.

Despite the overall fiscal tightening, capital expenditure under the budget for fiscal year 2017/18 is about 25 per cent higher than that in the preceding budget.

Outlook for 2017

  • The report highlighted that despite a broadly positive economic outlook for 2017, Asia-Pacific economies are vulnerable to rising global uncertainty and trade protectionism.
  • The region's developing economies are projected to grow at 5 per cent and 5.1 per cent in 2017 and 2018 up from 4.9 per cent last year.
  • Economic conditions are broadly stable in China and higher value-added sectors are gradually replacing excess capacity sectors as drivers of output and employment, the report said.
  • The continued softening of economic growth in China, projected at 6.5 per cent in 2017 against 6.7 per cent in 2016, reflects ongoing deleveraging and restructuring efforts to boost output in the medium term, it said.
  • The projected moderate Asia-Pacific economic growth faces risks from rising protectionism and global uncertainty, it added.
  • The report estimates that a steeper-than-anticipated increase in these factors could reduce average regional growth in 2017 by up to 1.2 percentage points.


10)   Which base year will the new IIP follow to map economic activities more accurately?

a. 2011-2012
b. 2012-2013
c. 2013-2014
d. 2014-2015
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: 2011-2012

Explanation:
India will unveil a new series of Index of Industrial Production with a base year 2011-12 on May 9 with an aim to map economic activities more accurately.

The new series for Index of Industrial Production (IIP), which captures industrial activities on monthly basis, will be launched by Chief Statistician and MOSPI Secretary TCA Anant.

A high-level panel had firmed up the methodology for the IIP with new base year of 2011-12.

Currently, the IIP is calculated on base year of 2004-05.

The change in baseline for the IIP is expected to bring in more accuracy in mapping the level of economic activity and calculating other numbers like national accounts.

Work is also in progress to change the base year for the wholesale price index (WPI) to 2011-12 year.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has already changed the base year for the country's national accounts, including the gross domestic product (GDP) and the gross value addition (GVA).

The retail inflation based on the consumer price index (CPI) is also calculated on the base year of 2011-12.

For long, economists and think tanks have been pitching for release of new time series of the IIP and the WPI so that GDP numbers can be based on more accurate and realistic data.

What is the Base Year and IIP?

  • The base year is revised periodically to capture the changes in the structure and composition of the industry.
  • This is over time due to technological changes, economic reforms and consumption pattern of the people.
  • The IIP gives a broad outlook on output of various types of goods like basic, consumer and capital ones, which helps in gauging the level of economic progress and investments in the economy.
  • India will unveil a new series of Index of Industrial Production with a base year 2011-12 on May 9 with an aim to map economic activities more accurately.