1) Which marine animals have no eyes?
Corals may have developed a preference for consuming plastic bits, putting them at risk of being choked by the indigestible materials, a study has found.
Scientists have long known that marine animals mistakenly eat plastic debris because the tiny bits of floating plastic might look like prey.
The study of plastic ingestion by corals by researchers from Duke University in the US suggests there may be an additional reason for the potentially harmful behaviour.
Visual cues, such as a resemblance to prey, do not factor into the appeal because corals have no eyes, researchers said.
Corals in the experiments ate all types of plastics but preferred unfouled microplastics by a threefold difference over microplastics covered in bacteria.
This suggests the plastic itself contains something that makes it tasty.
When plastic comes from the factory, it has hundreds of chemical additives on it.
Any one of these chemicals or a combination of them could be acting as a stimulant that makes plastic appealing to corals.
Further research will be needed to identify the specific additives that make the plastic so tasty to corals and determine if the same chemicals act as feeding stimulants to other marine species, researchers said.
Microplastics: Know More
- Microplastics, tiny pieces of weathered plastic less than five millimetres in diameter, began accumulating in the oceans four decades ago and are now ubiquitous in the marine environment.
- They pose a major threat to foraging sea animals, including many species of birds, turtles, fish, marine mammals and invertebrates.
- Since plastic is largely indigestible, it can lead to intestinal blockages, create a false sense of fullness or reduce energy reserves in animals that consume it.
- About eight per cent of the plastic that coral polyps in the study ingested was still stuck in their guts after 24 hours.
- The biological effects of most of these compounds are still unknown, but some, such as phthalates, are confirmed environmental oestrogens and androgens-hormones that affect sex determination.
- The researchers hope their findings will encourage scientists to explore the role taste plays in determining why marine organisms ingest microplastics.
2) What is an Icthyosaur?
a. A Fish Lizard
b. An ancient reptile
c. A Dinosaur
d. Both a and b
e. None of the above
ANSWER: Both a and b
A near-complete Jurassic-era fossil of an intriguing animal that looks like a mashup of a dolphin and lizard, and lived during the twilight of the dinosaurs, has been unearthed in Kutch, Gujarat.
Ichthyosaurs, or ‘fish- lizards’ in Greek, were large reptiles that lived at the same time as dinosaurs.
While many ichthyosaur fossils have been found in North America and Europe, the fossil record in the Southern Hemisphere has mostly been limited to South America and Australia.
A fossil bone from the animal’s skeleton was first found by an Indo-German research team in Kutch in 2016, they suspected it to be a dinosaur.
"But the bone was too long and later the whole skeleton was unearthed. It’s the first Jurassic ichthyosaur found in India.
The 5.5 metre-long skeleton is thought to belong to the Ophthalmosauridae family, which likely lived between 165 and 90 million years ago, when the arid Kutch was a sea.
This also throws light on the evolution and diversity of ichthyosaurs in the Indo-Madagascan region of the former Gondwanaland and India’s biological connectivity with other continents in the Jurassic.
3) CVC has declared a integrity index will measure processes of which of the following organisations?
e. Only a, b and d
ANSWER: Only a, b and d
In line with the broader strategy and emphasis on preventive vigilance, the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) believes that the next level of systemic change can be through the tool of Integrity Index.
The CVC has therefore decided to go in for development of the Integrity Index-based on bench-marking of internal processes and controls within an organisation as well as management of relationships and expectations of outside stakeholders.
The Integrity Index will bring out annual scores/rankings of Public Sector Undertakings/Public Sector Banks and Financial Institutions/Departments/Ministries of Government of India by linking the essential drivers of vigilance with long term efficiency, profitability and sustainability of public organizations and create an internal and external ecosystem that promotes working with Integrity in public organizations.
CVC has adopted a research-based approach for creating an integrity index that various organizations can use to measure themselves and which will evolve with changing needs.
With this view IIM-Ahmedabad has been engaged to develop the Integrity Index.
Being a new initiative, initially 25 organizations have been selected for development of the Integrity Index (as per list attached).
Subsequently, it is proposed to extend the Integrity Index concept to all other CPSUs and organizations of Government of India.
The management of all 25 organizations have been involved in the development of Integrity Index.
Integrity Index: Know More
The main objectives for which the Integrity Index is to be established are:
1. Define what constitutes Integrity of Public Organizations
2. Identify the different factors of Integrity and their inter-linkages
3. Create an objective and reliable tool that can measure the performance of organizations along these above factors
4. Validate the findings over a period of time to improve upon the robustness of the tool that measures Integrity
5. Create an internal and external ecosystem that promotes working with Integrity where public organizations lead the way.
List of 25 Selected Organizations for Development of Integrity Index
|Sl. No.||Sector|| ||Name of CPSE/Ministry/PSB etc|
|1||Oil and Gas||1||IOCL|
|11||Mumbai Port Trust|
|9||Dept of Heavy Industry||17||BHEL|
|10||Commerce and Textiles||18||CCI|
|13||Urban Development & Local bodies||23 & 24||DDA and South MCD|
4) Bharatmala Pariyojana seeks to provide ________ outlay of road construction in the Modi government.
c. Around 6.92 trillion
d. Around 5.35 trillion
e. Both a and d
ANSWER: Both a and d
As much as 418 km of national highway and State highway stretches in Kerala figures in the 6,005-km economic corridors, inter-corridors, feeder routes, and national corridors being developed to improve the efficiency of freight movement under the Bharatmala Pariyojana.
According to the NHAI, these corridors are proposed for development to at least four-lane access controlled (fully access control for economic corridors).
However, the DPR for access controlled six-laning and eight-laning may be required on certain stretches, depending on the traffic.
Keeping in view a futuristic approach, it has been decided that the land for any 4/6-lane highway road will be acquired with a right of way (RoW) of 60 m irrespective of the width of the carriageway.
INR 6.92 trillion has been allocated for building an 83,677 km road network over the next five years.
The largest ever outlay for road construction comes in the backdrop of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government implementing the goods and services tax (GST).
The road construction push includes the Bharatmala Pariyojana with a INR 5.35 trillion investment to construct 34,800km of roads.
In addition, INR 1.57 trillion will be spent on the construction of 48,877km of roads by the state-run National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and the ministry of road transport and highways.
To expedite the Bharatmala projects, apart from ministry of road transport and highways and state-run firms-NHAI and National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (NHIDCL)-even respective state public works departments (PWDs) will be roped in for timely execution.
This in turn will generate 142 million man-days of jobs, the government said.
Measures today will boost infra spending in a big way.
- To fund the marquee Bharatmala scheme, INR 2.09 trillion will be raised as debt from the market, while iNR 1.06 trillion in private investments is being targeted through public private partnerships.
- In addition, INR 2.19 trillion will be provided from Central Road Fund (CRF), Toll-Operate-Maintain-Transfer (TOT) projects and toll collections of NHAI.
- Projects such as Sagarmala and Bharatmala will prepare a strong base for infrastructure development, enabling a person to travel across the country on a single road.
5) What is bank recaptialisation?
a. Adding new capital to improve the bank's balance sheet
b. Infusing capital into banks undergoing credit crunch
c. Both a and b
d. Neither a nor b
ANSWER: Both a and b
Government announced an aggressive INR 2.11 lakh crore capital infusion plan for public sector banks reeling under bad loans over a period of two years.
Bank recapitalisation, as the name suggests, means recapitalising banks with new capital to improve their balance sheet.
The government, using different instruments, infuses capital into banks undergoing credit crunch.
Capital is the money invested by shareholders in the business.
Since the government is the biggest shareholder in public sector banks, the responsibility of infusing capital majorly lies with the government.
The recapitalisation plan comes into action when banks get caught in a situation where their liabilities are comparatively higher than their assets.
The liquidity with banks is a liability as it is the money deposited by customers, which needs to be paid sooner or later.
Due to this their balance-sheet weakens and banks find it difficult to raise capital from the open market.
The government, which is also the biggest shareholder, can infuse capital in banks by either buying new shares or by issuing bonds.
Recapitalisation: Know More
- The government is currently focused on maintaining its fiscal deficit at 3.2%.
- This means that the government cannot take out money from state coffers and give it to banks. Hence, the government bifurcated the entire INR 2.11 lakh crore amount in two parts.
- A government bond is an instrument to raise money from the market with a promise to pay to repay the face value of the maturity date and a periodic interest.
- A bond issued for the purpose of recapitalisation is called recapitalisation bonds.
- The government will issue recapitalisation bonds, which banks will subscribe and enter it as an investment in their books.
- The banks will lend money to the government for subscribing the bonds. This money raised by the government through these bonds will go back to banks as capital.
- This will immediately strengthen the balance-sheet of the banks and show capital-adequacy.
- Since the government is always solvent, the money lent to the government for subscribing recap bonds is free from becoming a bad loan.
6) AYUSH has initiated the first meeting of the BIMSTEC Task force on ________ medicine at New Delhi?
d. Both a and b
e. Both a and c
ANSWER: Both a and b
Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India hosted First Meeting of BIMSTEC Task Force on Traditional Medicine on 24-25 October, 2017 at Parvasi Bhartiya Kendra, New Delhi.
The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is an International Organisation involving a group of countries in the South Asia and South East Asia namely, Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal.
India being a major stake holder in the field of Traditional Medicine plays an important role in influencing the policies and strategies related to the Traditional Medicine in the BIMSTEC Forum
Delegations from the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, the Kingdom of Bhutan, the Republic of India, and the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and the Kingdom of Thailand along with the BIMSTEC Secretariat participated in the Meeting, which covered:
(a) Implementation of Strategies of BIMSTEC Task Force on Traditional Medicines (BITFM)
(b) Priority Areas for technical and research collaboration among the Member States on Traditional Medicine
(c) Regional strategy on the protection of Genetic Resource associated with Traditional Medicine Knowledge and Intellectual Property Rights and develop a work plan
(d) Human Resource Development and Capacity Building among the BIMSTEC Member States
(e) New Initiative, proposals and programmes for cooperation on Traditional Medicine among the BIMSTEC Task Force on Traditional Medicine.
In accordance with the ToR of the Task Force, the BTFTM Meetings shall be held on rotational basis among the BIMSTEC Member States..
The Meeting considered and adopted the draft Report of the First Meeting of the Task Force for submission to the Fourth Meeting of the BNNCCTM to be held in Bangladesh.
The Meeting conveyed its deep appreciation to the Government of the Republic of India for the warm hospitality extended to the participants and for the excellent arrangement made for the Meeting.
7) DOT has introduced how many new methods to link the registered mobile number with Aadhaar?
a. App based
c. One Time Password
d. All of the above
e. Only a and c
ANSWER: All of the above
As per the new rules, the DoT has introduced three new methods to link the registered mobile number with Aadhaar i.e. OTP (One Time Password) based, App based and the IVRS facility.
These new methods will help subscribers to get their mobile number linked to Aadhaar without visiting the stores of the telcos.
For the ease of senior citizens and the people with disability and chronic illness, DoT has also recommended for the re-verification at subscribers’ doorstep.
According to the new guidelines, the telecom operators should provide an online mechanism for people to request such service and based on availability schedule the visit and complete the process.
The Aadhaar number system was designed to allow all residents of the country access to critical government services and important information that they may need from time to time.
Mobile penetration is increasing rapidly in the country and the subscribers need to be provided with the ease of linking of the Aadhaar number with the mobile number.
It is the government’s endeavour to improve convenience and reduce time and energy spent by consumers to accessing government information and services that is their right to access.
DoT has mandated that telecom service providers’ agent should not have access to the subscribers’ e-KYC data and only the name and address of the subscribers should be visible.
Subscribers can verify or re-verify their mobile numbers from anywhere in the country irrespective of which service area their mobile connection belongs to.
8) UNGCP was adopted by UN on which date?
a. Dec 22nd 2015
b. April 16th, 1985
c. April 18th, 1985
d. Dec 24th 2015
ANSWER: April 16th, 1985
The United Nations Guidelines for Consumer Protection (UNGCP) were adopted by United Nations General Assembly on 16 April 1985 and revised in December 22nd 2015. The new guidelines call for greater International cooperation.
Against this backdrop, the Department of Consumer Affairs, Government of India and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) are organizing an International Conference on Consumer Protection for South, South East and East Asian Nations on the theme "Empowering Consumers in New Markets" on 26-27 October, 2017 in New Delhi.
This is the first time an international conference on consumer protection is being organised by India for countries of the region which account for a majority of the global consumers and share common challenges and experiences.
22 countries from East, South and South-East Asia are participating in the international conference.
The Conference will be inaugurated by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi.
The Conference will have six working sessions on the subjects of the United Nations Guidelines for Consumer Protection and Implementation, Stakeholder Participation in Consumer Protection, Protection of Online Consumers, Stakeholders participation, Fostering Consumer Inclusion in Financial Services, Protection of vulnerable Groups of Consumers and Consumer empowerment through education.
The Conference will provide a platform to discuss and deliberate upon different aspects of consumer protection in the backdrop of revised UNGCP, aimed at shared learning and will explore a way forward for enhanced regional cooperation on the subject.
9) Which of the following are oil and gas sector schemes?
a. Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana
b. Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana
c. Saubhagya Scheme
d. Both a and b
e. Both a and c
ANSWER: Both a and c
At launch function of Start-up programme for entrepreneurs in oil and gas sector, the ministry said the initiative will change the status of the youth of our country from job seeker to that of job provider.
Shri Pradhan said the business partnership between the start-ups and the PSUs of Petroleum Ministry will create a new benchmark for growth and job creation as India has a huge potential for investment of over USD 300 bn in the energy sector in the next ten years.
There are a wide variety of opportunities that present a wide spectrum of options for launching start-up initiatives.
The Minister said the government is committed to provide clean energy to every household of the country and in the last 15 months 3 crore LPG connections have been provided under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY).
In coming 15 months, a target of providing more than 4 crore electricity connections has been set under the Saubhagya Scheme.
The oil PSUs are set to take advantage of the emerging technologies in the oil sector with the help of the youth to match the international standards.
Backing the spirit of innovation, 10 public sector undertakings under the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, including the IOCL, ONGC, EIL, OIL, NRL, BPCL, HPCL, GAIL and MRPL, have created a corpus of INR 320 crore to support start-up initiatives.
Since the launch of the scheme by the PSUs, there has been a constant flow of applications and some extremely innovative ideas have come through.
The Start- up ideas have been received from a varying age group (from a fresh engineering graduate to a 70-year-old entrepreneur) from across the country.
Innovative Projects Funded
The 10 oil PSUs have together selected nearly 30 start-up projects for support in the first round of the scheme. Some of the many innovative projects that have made it after rigorous evaluation include:
- Electronic leak detector for detecting body and bung leak of LPG cylinders
- Self – sustaining low-maintenances toilets, or eco-toilets
- Multiuse Fuel from Agricultural Waste Biomass
- Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) for underwater inspections
- Converting waste plastics to high value petroleum fuels
- Solar Stove- Revolutionary Day and Night Indoor Solar Cooktop System for all lifestyles
10) USCIS has tightened norms for which visas?
Fresh changes in rules notified by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for renewal of non-immigrant visas will severely impact H-1B visa holders.
Petitions for renewal of H-1B visas, particularly when the underlying facts that supported the original petition have not changed, are currently considered with a presumption of approval, but that will no longer be the case.
Consequently, the burden of proof will be on the petitioner to substantiate his application even when nothing has changed since the previous petition.
The new rules are in line with the Donald Trump administration’s Buy American, Hire American policy, USCIS said.
Increasing restrictions on H-1B visa programme remains a point of concern in the India-US relations, as a majority of these guest workers are Indians.
The new changes were announced even as a comprehensive review the H-1B programme is underway.
The new rules will impact all changes sought by H-1B visa holders.
Primarily, an H-1B worker goes to the USCIS for three types of changes to his status - amendment, transfer and renewal
Amendments are sought when an H-1B employee changes the location within the same company; transfer is sought when he moves from one company to another, and a renewal is sought at the expiry of the visa.
The latter is usually issued for three years at the beginning. "…adjudicators must thoroughly review the petition and supporting evidence to determine eligibility for the benefit sought," the USCIS has said.
The previous policy - which has been in force for 13 years - instructed officers to give deference to the findings of a previously approved petition, as long as the key elements were unchanged and there was no evidence of a material error or fraud related to the prior determination.
The updated policy guidance rescinds the previous policy.