General - General awareness questions on current affairs

1)   What is India's rank in the HDI as per HDR 2016?
- Published on 24 Mar 17

a. 130
b. 131
c. 132
d. 133
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques


India slipped down one place from 130 to 131 among the 188 countries ranked in terms of human development, says the 2016 Human Development Report (HDR).

This was released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on March 21st.

India’s human development index (HDI) value of 0.624 puts it in the “medium human development” category, alongside countries such as Congo, Namibia and Pakistan.

It is ranked third among the SAARC countries, behind Sri Lanka (73) and the Maldives (105), both of which figure in the “high human development” category.

The world’s top three countries in HDI are Norway (0.949), Australia (0.939) and Switzerland (0.939).

The HDI is a measure for assessing progress in three basic dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, access to knowledge, and access to a decent standard of living.

The report praised India’s reservation policy, observing that even though it “has not remedied caste-based exclusions”, it has “had substantial positive effects”. It pointed out that in 1965, for example, Dalits held fewer than 2% of senior civil service positions, but the share had grown to 11% by 2001.

The HDR also hailed the national rural employment guarantee programme as a “prime example” of “combining social protection with appropriate employment strategies”.

The report noted with approval India’s progressive laws, especially the Right to Information, National Food Security, and Right to Education Acts.

It commended the Indian grassroots group Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sanghatan for popularising social audits of government schemes.

Noting that women, on an average, have lower HDI than men across the world, the report pointed out that the largest gender disparity in development was in South Asia, where the female HDI value is 20% lower than the male value.

In South Asia, gender gaps in entrepreneurship and labour force participation caused an estimated income loss of 19%.

Between their first and fifth birthdays, girls in India and Pakistan have a 30% to 50% greater chance of dying than boys.

While India’s HDI value increased from 0.428 in 1990 to 0.624 in 2015, it still had the lowest rank among BRIC nations. However, its average annual growth in HDI (1990-2015) was higher than that of other medium HD countries.

Public Health Expenditure

  • The report says 1.5 billion people worldwide still live in multidimensional poverty.
  • Around 54% of them concentrated in South Asia.
  • While poverty fell significantly from 1990 to 2015, inequalities sharpened in the region.
  • South Asia also had the highest levels of malnutrition in the world, at 38%, and the lowest public health expenditure as a percentage of the GDP (1.6%, 2014).
  • India’s public health expenditure was even lower, at 1.4% of the GDP.
  • It did make some gains between 1990 and 2015, improving life expectancy by 10.4 years in this period. Child malnutrition also declined by 10 percentage points from 2015.
  • Also there was a modest gain in infant and under-five mortality rates.

2)   US and UK have banned_________ from passenger cabins in certain flights.
- Published on 23 Mar 17

a. Laptops
b. Tablets
c. Smartphones
d. Only a and b
e. All the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Only a and b

The US and UK banned laptops and tablet computers from passenger cabins on certain airlines' flights from some airports in Turkey, the Middle East and North Africa, citing terror threats.

Normally, decisions taken by American authorities and implemented by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) are the result of specific threats identified by US intelligence agencies.

Certain groups like Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula have been trying for years to adapt to the progressive security measures put in place by the US and their allies, in particular by miniaturising explosives.

The new measures will be based on specific threats, without doubt an initiative by AQAP, one of the most advanced and sophisticated groups–in particular with regards to miniaturisation of explosive devices.

After AQAP and rebel groups in Syria drew closer together in 2014, the TSA banned devices with flat batteries, saying that passengers could be required to demonstrate that laptops and phones could be powered up before boarding planes.

The battery's housing could conceal a miniature explosive of just a few hundred grams.

These types of electronic devices contain all the component parts of an improvised explosive device (IED) except for the detonator and the actual explosives.

By adding those two missing elements, it could be possible to effectively assemble an IED, making these devices more sensitive than other electronics, he added.

If airport security have any doubt about a passenger and their baggage they can use a trace detector.

If the electronic device has been booby-trapped, there will be traces of explosive of that can be found. The wipe can be analysed in seven seconds and will warn of any explosives detected, the expert said.

In France, checked baggage is passed through an Explosive Detection System which can determine whether any explosives are present by analysing the molecules inside the bags.

If the machine estimates that there may be a threat, it alerts airport security who can take the bag aside for a more comprehensive check.

3)   Which river became the first in the world to get same legal rights as a human being?
- Published on 22 Mar 17

a. River Amazon
b. River Ganges
c. River Whanganui
d. River Nile
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: River Whanganui

- The local Maori tribe of Whanganui in the North Island has fought for the recognition of their river - the third-largest in New Zealand - as an ancestor for 140 years.

- Whanganui river is also called ‘Te Awa Tupua’.

- The new status of the river means if someone abused or harmed it the law now sees no differentiation between harming the iwi (tribe) or harming the river because they are one and the same.

- Two guardians will be appointed to act on behalf of the Whanganui river, one from the crown and one from the Whanganui iwi.

- The tribe believes that they can trace their genealogy to the origins of the universe. And rather than they being masters of the natural world, they are part of it. They want to live like that as their starting point.

- They say that it is not an anti-development, or anti-economic use of the river but to begin with the view that it is a living being, and then consider its future from that central belief.

4)   What is the name of the Indo-Nepal Joint Military Training held in Pithoragarh?
- Published on 22 Mar 17

a. Ekta Shakti
b. Ek Shakti
c. Atoot Shakti
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: None of the above

Indo-Nepal Joint Military Training was held in Pithoragarh from March 7 to 20, 2017.

Ekta Shakti Battalion of the Punjab Regiment of the Indian Army and Durga Baksh Battalion of the Nepalese army participated in the joint exercise named Surya Kiran-XI which is the 11th iteration.

It is aimed at training troops in counter insurgency operations and enhance defence cooperation and military relations between the two nations.

It is an ideal platform for personnel of two armies to share their experiences.

Indian Army: Know More

  • Motto: "Service Before Self"
  • Headquarters: New Delhi
  • Founded: 15 August 1947, India
  • Color: Gold, red and black
  • Part of: Indian Armed Forces
  • Transports: HAL Dhruv, Aérospatiale Alouette III, Aérospatiale SA 315B Lama

5)   Which country was named the world's happiest, as per the World Happiness report 2017?
- Published on 21 Mar 17

a. Italy
b. Norway
c. Sweden
d. Spain
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Norway

Norway has received the status of the World's Happiest country on 20th March 2017.

It moved from 4th place in the previous UN assessment all the way to the top spot, as per the World Happiness Report 2017.

Top countries besides Norway included Denmark, Iceland and Switzerland.

All 4 countries ranked high on happiness in terms of caring, freedom, honesty, generosity, health, income and good governance.

Also in the top 10 were Finland (5), the Netherlands (6), Canada (7), New Zealand (8) and Australia plus Sweden tied for 9th place.

The entire top 10 were affluent, developed nations. Money was not the only ingredient for happiness though.

The wealthier countries also had differences in meta health, physical health and personal relationships.

The largest source of misery is mental illness, as per the report.

While China has made rapid economic strides in recent times, it ranked 79th in a study of 155 countries.

The World Happiness Report 2017 was released by UN on the International Day of Happiness.

The first report was published in 2012.

Norway: Know More

  • Capital: Oslo
  • Code: +47
  • Currency: Norwegian krone
  • Official languages: Norwegian, Bokmål, Nynorsk

6)   Which country has been ranked the healthiest on earth, by the Bloomberg Global Health Index?
- Published on 21 Mar 17

a. Italy
b. Spain
c. Israel
d. Luxembourg
Answer  Explanation 


Italy has been ranked the healthiest country on Earth in the Bloomberg Global Health Index of 163 countries.

According to the study, the average life expectancy in the country is 80-89 years.

Iceland, Switzerland, Singapore and Australia are also among the top five most healthy countries in the index.

Singapore was placed on the fourth spot.

Also on the top ten are Spain, Japan, Sweden, Israel, and Luxembourg.

Italy: Know More

  • Capital: Rome
  • Code: +39
  • Currency: Euro
  • Prime minister: Paolo Gentiloni
  • Official language: Italian

7)   Where is Asia's first greenfield training facility being set up?
- Published on 20 Mar 17

a. Pakistan
b. India
c. Sri Lanka
d. Bangladesh
Answer  Explanation 


Civil Aviation ministry has launched Asia's first greenfield training facility being set up by EU aviation major Airbus.

Airbus India Training Centre will support India's need for Airbus aircraft pilots and maintenance engineers.

India's rapidly growing passenger aircraft fleet will be matched by adequate availability of skilled engineers and pilots for maintenance.

The centre will be constructed over an area of 7,000 square metres. Once completed, the facility will have two A320 full flight stimulators.

The centre is expected to train 800 pilots and 200 service and maintenance engineers.

Airbus currently has more than 250 aircrafts in service in India and state carrier Indian Airlines has placed an order for more.

Country's rapidly growing fleet of passenger aircrafts may be matched by supply chain ensuring availability of maintenance engineers and skilled pilots.

Domestic Aviation Market in India: Know More

  • India is one of the fastest growing domestic aviation markets across the globe.
  • The market is expected to grow at over 9 per cent, year-on-year for the next two decades.
  • This growth rate would be far greater than the world average of 4.6 per cent.
  • The number of per capita trips is expected to grow 4-fold in the next 20 years, boosted by improving economic and demographic factors.
  • As per the estimates, Airbus sees a demand for more than 1,500 new aircraft and the accompanying need for close to 25,000 new pilots and maintenance engineers in the next 20 years.

8)   Union Cabinet on 15th March 2017 approved the National Health Policy for _________
- Published on 17 Mar 17

a. Increasing public healthcare expenditure to 2.5 percent of GDP
b. Allocation of more than two-thirds of the resources towards primary healthcare
c. Both of the above
d. Neither of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Both of the above

Union Cabinet on March 15, 2017 approved the National Health Policy 2017 aiming to increase public healthcare expenditure to 2.5 percent of GDP.

More than two-thirds of resources will be going towards primary healthcare.

The policy is aiming to reach healthcare to all parts of the country, specially the underserved and underprivileged.

The last national health policy was framed in 2002.

This policy guides a time-bound implementation framework with clear milestones and distinct deliverables to attain policy goals.

The policy works to raise public healthcare expenditure to 2.5% of the GDP from the current 1.4%.

Features of the National Health Policy

  • Policy envisages larger package of assured comprehensive primary healthcare via Health and Wellness centres.
  • This is an extensive package including care for NCDs, mental health, geriatric care, palliative and rehabilitative care services.
  • It works to ensure availability of 2 beds for every 1000 persons to enable access within emergency.
  • The policy aims to make healthcare accessible for all and offers financial protection, proposing free drugs, diagnostics and emergency as well as healthcare services in public medical hospitals.
  • The policy also aims to raise life expectancy from 67.5 to 70 years by 2025.
  • It also aims to establish regular tracking of disability adjusted life years or DALY index as a measure of burden of disease and trends through major categories by 2022.
  • The reduction of total fertility rate to 2.1 at national and sub-national levels was aimed for by 2025.
  • Another goal of this policy is to reduce mortality of children under 5 years of age to 23 per 1000 by 2025 and maternal mortality rate from current levels to 100 by 2020.
  • The scheme also aims to reduce infant mortality rate to 28 by 2019 and reduce neo natal mortality to 16 and still birth rate to single digit by 2025.
  • The policy aims to strengthen the regulatory environment and seeks putting in place systems for setting standards and ensuring healthcare quality.
  • The policy also checks out reforms in the current existing regulatory systems for easing manufacturing of drugs and devices for promoting Make in India and reforming medical education.
  • Policy advocates development of mid-level service providers, nurse practitioners, public health cadre to improve availability of required health human resource.

9)   What will be the impact of World Bank approving US$175 for India's Hydrology Project?
- Published on 17 Mar 17

a. Strengthening the capacity of existing institutions to assess the water situation
b. Equipping them with real time flood forecast systems across the nation
c. Helping new states to better manage water flows from reservoirs
d. All of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: All of the above

The World Bank has approved USD 175 million for the National Hydrology Project in India.

It will strengthen the capacity of current institutions to assess the water situation and enable them to have real time flood forecast systems across the nation.

Apart from helping states benefiting from earlier projects to fund and upgrade as well as complete monitoring networks, the national project will also assist new states to manage reservoir water flow better.

This will reduce the vulnerability of many regions to recurring floods and droughts as a result of real time ground information for the entire country issuing alerts for difficulties encountered.

The entire project worth INR 3679 crore will be implemented by 2023-24.

World Bank will provide financial assistance for nearly 50 percent of the total cost.

National Hydrology Project approved by the World Bank Board on 15th March 2017 building on the success of earlier India projects- Hydrology Project I and II.

This led to real time flood forecast systems integrated with weather forecast in two large river systems - Krishna and Satluj Beas.

This gives reservoir managers an accurate picture of water situation in their region.

National projects will now scale up successes attained under HP-1 and 2 to cover the whole nation including Ganga and Bramhaputra Barak basins.

In the context of climate change, advanced flood management and enhanced river basin planning are essential for creating livelihood and sustaining economic growth.

Project can help communities to plan in advance to create resilience against uncertainties of climate change.

About the National Hydrology Project

  • This was approved by Union Cabinet in April 2016.
  • It is a CSS with total outlay of INR 3679 crore
  • INR 3640 crore will be spent for the national project while remaining INR 39 crore will be for establishment of the National Water Informatics Centre.
  • Project will help states to monitor all aspects of the hydro-meteorological cycle and adopt procedures laid out in previous projects.
  • This measures how much rain or snow has been received in catchment areas of rivers, the rapidity with which snow will melt, speed with which water is flowing, how much silt has built up and how the water will reach the reservoir and how soon it will work.
  • The Project is aimed at improving the extent, quality, and accessibility of water resources information and decision support

10)   FTII and Canon signed an MoU to promote ________
- Published on 17 Mar 17

a. Film education
b. Film funding
c. Film production
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Film education

The Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune and Canon India Private Limited on 15 March 2017 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

It aims promote film education through short-term courses across several towns and cities in the country.

The courses are proposed to be held in non-metros such as Guwahati, Jaipur, Vishakhapatnam, Raipur, Chandigarh, Raipur, Bhopal, Leh and Andaman & Nicobar Islands.

Basically, Canon partnered FTII for its Skilling India in Film and Television (SKIFT), an initiative designed to spread the art of cinematography and film making across the country.

Under FTII’s unique initiative SKIFT (Skilling India in Film and Television), several short courses, mostly of skill-oriented nature have been proposed with several State Governments, Universities and Educational institutions in partnership.

Canon as a technology partner of SKIFT will be providing high-end cameras and accessories free of cost for the courses.

This support by Canon will be a major contributing factor in keeping the course fees affordable while offering an opportunity to course participants to use cutting-edge equipment.

FTII: Know More

  • FTII Pune is one of Asia’s leading and India’s foremost institute in film and television education.
  • It has been working to break new grounds by pushing to democratise cinematic education.
  • It is offering quality and affordable training to general public and practitioners at locations where there is a demand for such courses.
  • FTII is also in the process of aligning some of the short courses with Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) under National Skill Development Council.

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