1) The Bureau of Indian Standards Act will help in which of the following?
- Published on 16 Oct 17
a. Provision to bring services and products under a mandatory standard regime
b. Multiple type of simplified conformity assessment scheme including self declaration of conformity
c. Appoint authority besides BIS to verify conformity of products and services to standardisation
d. Both a and c
e. All of the above
ANSWER: All of the above
The much-awaited Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) Act has come into effect from October 12 with a provision to bring more services and products like jewellery under the mandatory standard regime.
Parliament had, in March 2016, passed the law to replace the BIS Act of 1986.
The Consumer Affairs Ministry finalised the rules for the new law only this week.
The new law will further help ease of doing business in the country.
Not only the provisions of the Act will give fillip to ’Make In India’ campaign but also ensure availability of quality products and services to the consumers, he said.
As per the new law, the government can bring under compulsory certification regime any goods and service which it considers necessary in the public interest or for the protection of human, animal or plant health, safety of the environment, or prevention of unfair trade practices or national security.
Enabling provisions have also been made for making hallmarks of the precious metal articles mandatory.
The new Act also allows multiple type of simplified conformity assessment schemes, including self-declaration of conformity against a standard which will give simplified options (to manufacturers) to adhere to the standards and get certificate of conformity.
There is also a provision that enables the Centre to appoint any authority/agency, in addition to the BIS, to verify the conformity of products and services to a standard and issue certificate of conformity.
Further, there is provision for repair or recall, including product liability of the products bearing Standard Mark but not conforming to the relevant Indian Standard.
The current Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) will be known as National Standards Body of India.
2) In a landmark verdict, SC has held sexual relations with wife under ____ years of age as rape.
- Published on 12 Oct 17
In a landmark verdict, the Supreme Court (SC) on Oct 11, 2017 ruled that sex with a wife who is under 18 years of age is rape and therefore a crime.
The top court did not rule on 'marital rape', which is sexual intercourse forced upon a spouse no matter what their age.
Before today's SC ruling, there was an exception in Section 375 rape law provisions that protected a man who had sexual relations with his wife even if she was under 18, which is the age of consent.
Exception 2 in Section 375 of IPC (Indian Penal Code) granting protection to husband is violative of constitution and fundamental rights of minor bride.
The top court's verdict upholds the rights of 2.3 crore child brides in the country.
The SC rejected the plea of the Centre which justified the provision on the grounds that child marriage is a reality in the country and such marriage has to be protected.
A bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur had on September 6 asked the Centre how Parliament could create an exception in a law when the age of consent is 18.
Also in September, the apex court had said it did not want to go into the aspect of marital rape, but when the age of consent was 18 years for "all purposes", why was such an exception made in the IPC.
SC Judgment: Know More
- Responding to the query, the Centre's counsel had said if this exception under the IPC goes, then it would open up the arena of marital rape which does not exist in India.
- Economic and educational development in the country is still uneven and child marriages are still taking place.
- It has been therefore decided to retain the age of 15 years under Exception 2 so as to give protection to husband and wife against criminalising the sexual activity between them.
- It is also estimated that there are 23 million child brides in the country.
- Hence, criminalising the consummation of a marriage with such a serious offence such as rape would not be appropriate and practical.
3) Election Commission of India will use VVPAT with EVM at which state for the first time in Dec 2017?
- Published on 03 Oct 17
The Election Commission of India (EC) will use Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) gadgets with Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) in all 50,128 voting booths in Gujarat, which goes to the Assembly polls at the end of this year.
This is the first time an entire assembly poll will be conducted using the EVMs equipped with VVPAT.
VVPAT machines, which will be attached to the EVMs, will allow voters to verify if their vote has gone to the intended candidate.
This would ensure transparency in the voting process.
The machine is being put to use in Gujarat following a petition filed by Ms. Reshma Patel, one of the conveners of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti.
4) Which anti immigration, rightist party won 13.1 percent of votes in German elections for the first time in more than half a century?
- Published on 26 Sep 17
a. Alternative for Germany
b. Chance for Germany
c. Growth for Germany
d. Opportunity for Germany
ANSWER: Alternative for Germany
German Chancellor Angela Merkel won a fourth term in office on 24th Sept 2017 but will have to build an uneasy coalition to form a German government after her conservatives haemorrhaged support in the face of a surge by the far-right.
The anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) stunned the establishment by winning 13.1% of the vote, projected results showed, a result that will bring a far-right party into Parliament for the first time in more than half a century.
Ms. Merkel’s conservative bloc emerged as the largest parliamentary party but, with just 33.2% of the vote, saw its support slump to the lowest since 1949 - the first time national elections were held in post-War Germany.
Her main Social Democrat rivals also received their worst result since the 1940s - just 20.8% - after nearly half of voters repudiated the two parties that have dominated Germany since Second World War.
With Parliament now fragmented, Ms. Merkel appears likely to cobble together a tricky three-way coalition with a pro-business group and the Greens.
Success for a far right was a test for Germans. It was important to listen to the concerns of their voters and win them back.
The election was fought on the tense backdrop of surging support for far-left and far-right parties across Europe.
Germany in particular is coping with the arrival of more than one million refugees and other new migrants, with tension with Russia since Moscow’s incursions into Ukraine, and with doubt about Europe’s future since Britain voted to quit the EU.
After shock election results last year, from the Brexit vote to the election of U.S. President Donald Trump, leaders of Europe’s establishment have looked to Ms. Merkel to rally the liberal Western order.
Without the SPD, Ms. Merkel’s only straightforward path to a majority in Parliament would be a three-way tie-up with the liberal Free Democrats (FDP) and the Greens, known as a “Jamaica” coalition because the black, yellow and green colours of the three parties match the Jamaican flag.
Such an arrangement is untested at the national level in Germany and widely seen as inherently unstable.
Both the FDP and the Greens have played down the prospect of a three-way coalition, but neither won enough seats on 24th Sept 2017 to give Ms. Merkel a majority on its own.
The other parties elected to the Bundestag all refuse to work with the AfD.
Despite losing support, Ms. Merkel, Europe’s longest serving leader, will join the late Helmut Kohl, her mentor who reunified Germany, and Konrad Adenauer, who led Germany’s rebirth after Second World War, as the only post-War Chancellors to win four national elections.
5) President of India has appointed whom as India’s first full time woman defence minister?
- Published on 04 Sep 17
a. Nirmala Sitharaman
b. Najma Heptullah
c. Smriti Irani
d. Sushma Swaraj
ANSWER: Nirmala Sitharaman
The President of India, as advised by the Prime Minister, has directed the allocation of portfolios among the following members of the Union Council of Ministers:-
|Shri Narendra Modi||Prime Minister and also in-charge of: Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions; Department of Atomic Energy; Department of Space; and All important policy issues; and All other portfolios not allocated to any Minister.|
|1. ||Shri Raj Nath Singh||Minister of Home Affairs.|
|2. ||Smt. Sushma Swaraj||Minister of External Affairs.|
|3.||Shri Arun Jaitley||Minister of Finance; and Minister of Corporate Affairs.|
|4.||Shri Nitin Jairam Gadkari||Minister of Road Transport and Highways; Minister of Shipping; and Minister of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.|
|5. ||Shri Suresh Prabhu||Minister of Commerce and Industry.|
|6. ||Shri D.V. Sadananda Gowda||Minister of Statistics and Programme Implementation.|
|7. ||Sushri Uma Bharati||Minister of Drinking Water and Sanitation.|
|8.||Shri Ramvilas Paswan||Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution.|
|9. ||Smt. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi||Minister of Women and Child Development.|
|10.||Shri Ananthkumar||Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers; and Minister of Parliamentary Affairs.|
|11.||Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad||Minister of Law and Justice; and Minister of Electronics and Information Technology.|
|12.||Shri Jagat Prakash Nadda||Minister of Health and Family Welfare.|
|13.||Shri Ashok Gajapathi Raju Pusapati||Minister of Civil Aviation.|
|14.||Shri Anant Geete||Minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises.|
|15.||Smt. Harsimrat Kaur Badal||Minister of Food Processing Industries.|
|16.||Shri Narendra Singh Tomar||Minister of Rural Development; Minister of Panchayati Raj; and Minister of Mines.|
|17.||Shri Chaudhary Birender Singh||Minister of Steel.|
|18.||Shri Jual Oram||Minister of Tribal Affairs.|
|19.||Shri Radha Mohan Singh||Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.|
|20.||Shri Thaawar Chand Gehlot||Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment.|
|21.||Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani||Minister of Textiles; and Minister of Information and Broadcasting.|
|22.||Dr. Harsh Vardhan||Minister of Science and Technology; Minister of Earth Sciences; and |
Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
|23.||Shri Prakash Javadekar||Minister of Human Resource Development.|
|24.||Shri Dharmendra Pradhan||Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas; and Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.|
|25.||Shri Piyush Goyal||Minister of Railways; and Minister of Coal.|
|26.||Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman||Minister of Defence.|
|27.||Shri Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi||Minister of Minority Affairs.|
6) Which of the following countries signed an MoU on cooperation in the field of electoral management and administration with ECI?
- Published on 31 Aug 17
d. Both a and c
e. All the above
ANSWER: Both a and c
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the proposal of the Election Commission of India to enter into Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation in the field of electoral management and administration.
This is with the Election Management Bodies of other countries/International Agencies.
These are as follows:
i. The National Electoral Council of Ecuador;
ii. The Central Election Commission of Albania;
iii. The Election Commission of Bhutan;
iv. The Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan;
v. The National Independent Electoral Commission of Guinea;
vi. The Union Election Commission of Myanmar; and
vii. The India International Institute of Democracy and Election Management (IIIDEM) and the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA).
These MoUs contain standard articles/clauses which broadly express promotion of cooperation in exchange of knowledge and experience in the field of organizational and technical development of electoral process.
Also important is support in exchanging information, institutional strengthening and capacity building, training of personnel, holding regular consultations etc.
These MoUs would promote bilateral cooperation, aimed at building technical assistance / capacity support for the said Election Management Bodies.
Cooperation with ECI: Background
- The Election Commission has been participating in promoting cooperation in the field of election matters and electoral processes across the world with certain foreign countries and agencies.
- This is by adopting the mode of MoU signed by the concerned parties.
- The Election Commission, a constitutional body, conducts the largest electoral exercise in the world.
- It is the responsibility of the Election Commission to organize free and fair election in the country of about 85 crore voters with diverse socio-political and economic backgrounds.
- In recently years, the role being played by the Election Commission ensures greater participation of people in political affairs.
India, today, is considered as the world’s largest democratic country.
- The success of democracy in India has attracted the attention of almost every political system around the world.
7) The New Metro Rail Policy approved on 16th Aug 2017 by the cabinet seeks which of the following?
- Published on 17 Aug 17
a. Realisation of growing metro rail aspirations of cities in a responsible manner
b. Opening a window for private investments across a range of metro operations
c. Making PPP component mandatory for availing central assistance for new metro projects.
d. All of the above
ANSWER: All of the above
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on Aug 16, 2017 approved a new Metro Rail Policy that seeks to enable realization of growing metro rail aspirations of a large number of cities but in a responsible manner.
The policy opens a big window for private investments across a range of metro operations making PPP component mandatory for availing central assistance for new metro projects.
Private investment and other innovative forms of financing of metro projects have been made compulsory to meet the huge resource demand for capital intensive high capacity metro projects.
The policy envisages private sector participation in O & M of metro services in different ways. These include:
1.Cost plus fee contract: Private operator is paid a monthly/annual payment for O&M of system. This can have a fixed and variable component depending on the quality of service. Operational and revenue risk is borne by the owner.
2. Gross Cost Contract: Private operator is paid a fixed sum for the duration of the contract. Operator to bear the O&M risk while the owner bears the revenue risk.
3. Net Cost Contract: Operator collects the complete revenue generated for the services provided. If revenue generation is below the O&M cost, the owner may agree to compensate.
Metro Projects at Present
- At present, metro projects with a total length of 370 kms are operational in 8 cities viz., Delhi (217 kms), Bengaluru (42.30 kms), Kolkata (27.39 kms), Chennai (27.36 kms), Kochi (13.30 kms), Mumbai (Metro Line 1-11.40 km, Mono Rail Phase 1-9.0 km), Jaipur-9.00 kms and Gurugram (Rapid Metro-1.60 km).
- Metro Projects with a total length of 537 kms are in progress in 13 cities including the eight mentioned above. New cities acquiring metro services are; Hyderabad (71 kms), Nagpur (38 kms), Ahmedabad (36 kms), Pune (31.25 kms) and Lucknow (23 kms).
- Metro projects with a total length of 595 kms in 13 cities including 10 new cities are at various stages of planning and appraisal.
- These are; Delhi Metro Phase IV- 103.93 km, Delhi & NCR-21.10 km, Vijayawada-26.03 km, Visakhapatnam-42.55 km, Bhopal-27.87 km, Indore-31.55 km, Kochi Metro Phase II-11.20 km, Greater Chandigarh Region Metro Project-37.56 km, Patna-27.88 km, Guwahati-61 km, Varanasi-29.24 km, Thiruvananthapuram & Kozhikode (Light Rail Transport)-35.12 km and Chennai Phase II-107.50 km.
8) Who is the 13th Vice President of India?
- Published on 07 Aug 17
a. Hamid Ansari
b. Gopalkrishna Gandhi
c. Venkaiah Naidu
d. Meira Kumar
ANSWER: Venkaiah Naidu
Over 98% voting was recorded in the 2017 vice-presidential election.
98.21% polling was registered for the election with 771 out of 785 MPs casting their votes. 11 votes were found to be invalid.
381 votes was the quota set to win the polls. M. Venkaiah Naidu emerged victorious 516 votes, whereas opposition nominee Gopalkrishna Gandhi has secured 244 votes.
Vice president-elect M Venkaiah Naidu will be remembered for his contribution in some of the flagship schemes of the Modi government such as Smart City Mission and Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana that was undertaken by the housing and urban affairs ministry.
Besides Smart City Mission and Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban), Naidu will be remembered for floating schemes such as Atal Mission for Urban Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY) and Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban).
In a first in the country, Naidu also adopted a competition based selection of smart cities for the mission.
In another first, Naidu ensured preparation of five-year comprehensive action plans for urban infrastructure development.
He laid emphasis on putting a time frame for achieving the results as against the open-ended approach of the past, the official added.
With his efforts, as against about 13 lakh affordable houses sanctioned during 2004-14, over 21 lakh houses were approved when he demitted office in a period of fewer than three years, the official said.
Besides, AMRUT action plans of all 500 mission cities for 2015-20 already stand approved.
As against only INR 32,000 crore project investment approved for affordable housing during 2004-14, over INR 1 lakh crore investment has been approved during the period of Naidu.
In another first, Naidu introduced approving state action plans for three years (2017-20) under AMRUT, doing away with the need for states to come to Delhi every year for approval of annual plans.
The competition-based selection of cities under smart city mission and ranking of cities and towns under 'Swachh Survekshan' since 2016 has resulted in a spirit of healthy competitive federalism/
The historic Real Estate (Regulation and Development ) Act, 2016 was also passed, ending eight-year-long hibernation in Parliament.
Naidu is also credited with merging the two ministries of urban development, and housing and urban poverty alleviation, giving birth to the new ministry of housing and urban affairs.
Naidu was the urban development and housing and urban poverty alleviation minister since May 2014 till he demitted office on being declared the NDA's vice presidential candidate.
He had also held portfolios of parliamentary affairs and information and broadcasting for around a year.
Staying true to his love for acronyms, Vice President elect M Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday said that India stands for 'Integrated National Development Impacting All Indians'.
About Venkaih Naidu
- Born in 1949 in Chavatapalem in Nellore district, Naidu was a “swayamsevak” in the RSS and joined ABVP during his college days.
- He came to the spotlight for his role in “Jai Andhra” movement of 1972 and became the convenor of the anti-corruption Jayaprakash Chhatra Samiti in 1974.
- He held street protests against the Emergency.
- Naidu was Rural Development Minister in the Vajpayee government between 2000-02.
In Modi's government, first he was Parliamentary Affairs Minister as well as the Housing and Urban Development.
- From Parliamentary Affairs, he was shifted to Information and Broadcasting Minister which portfolio he held till he was nominated as the Vice-Presidential candidate.
9) NRIs will now be allowed to vote by ______.
- Published on 04 Aug 17
d. None of the above
The government was earlier considering granting them postal voting rights similar to voters in the armed forces, who can receive ballot papers electronically and print them.
The Government on Aug 2, 2017 approved changes in electoral laws to permit Non-Resident Indians to cast their vote in assembly and Lok Sabha elections from overseas.
If the proposal passes political muster in Parliament, NRIs will be able to exercise their voting rights through “proxy”.
Currently, only service personnel are permitted to vote through proxy.
However, the facility for NRIs will not be the same as that enjoyed by service personnel.
For instance, voters in the armed forces can nominate their relatives as permanent proxy to vote on their behalf.
But the Union Cabinet’s approval for proxy voting by NRIs carries a caveat: they cannot nominate one proxy for all polls.
Overseas electors will have to appoint a nominee afresh for each election - one person can act as proxy for only one overseas voter.
With the Cabinet’s approval, suitable rules and guidelines will be framed to make this move effective soon.
Currently, voters residing abroad can only cast their votes in their respective constituencies.
This regulation is seen as restrictive as only a few thousand Indians living overseas have registered as voters, the maximum being from Kerala.
Of these, barely anyone has travelled to the country to exercise his or her franchise.
Service voters mark their preference on ballot printouts and send them through post after verification by station officers for counting.
However, the government felt this procedure will be too cumbersome to implement in case of NRIs who live all over the world — a team of Ministers were constituted to discuss this aspect, and a final decision is awaited.
NRIs and Voting
- According to rough estimates, there are about 1 crore Indians settled abroad, of which 60 lakh could be of eligible voting age.
- They could hold considerable sway in election results, especially in states such as Punjab, Gujarat and Kerala, where a number of expats hail from.
- The move to grant proxy voting rights to overseas electors is significant against the backdrop of BJP’s claims of enjoying huge goodwill among NRIs.
- The party sought to deepen its electoral appeal among them through Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s public outreach programmes during his foreign visits after coming to power in 2014.
- The proposal to permit NRI voters to cast their vote from overseas was taken up seriously by the election commission in 2014 after it received several requests regarding this matter.
10) CM Nitish Kumar resigned from which grand alliance government on 26th July 2017?
- Published on 27 Jul 17
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has resigned, citing irreconcilable differences with ally RJD on the issue of corruption charges against his deputy Tejashwi Yadav.
In the circumstances that prevail in Bihar, it became difficult to run the grand alliance government.
Less than 24 hours after he resigned as the chief minister of Bihar stating he could no longer continue amid allegations of corruption in his government, Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar is set to be back as chief minister when he takes oath of office 27th July at 10 in the morning.
The JD(U) leader resigned over a CBI FIR against his deputy and ally Lalu Prasad Yadav’s son Tejashwi Yadav.
Calling off the grand alliance or ‘mahagathbandhan’ between JD(U), Congress and Lalu Prasad Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal, Nitish secured the support of NDA to form the next government in Bihar.
About Nitish Kumar
- He was born on 1st March 1951 in Bakhtiarpur District of Bihar. He had started his political career by taking part in the mass movement led by Jayaprakash Narayan between 1974 and 1977.
- Kumar was elected to Bihar legislative assembly for first time in 1985.
- He was elected to Lok Sabha for 4 consecutive times, first in 1989 than in 1991, 1996 and 1998. In 1990, for a brief stint he had served as Union Minister of Agriculture.
- In 1998-99, he had served as Union Minister for Railways and Surface Transport and Minister for Agriculture.
- He also had served as Union Cabinet Minister for Railways in the NDA Government led Atal Bihari Vajpayee from 2001-2004.
- In 2000, he was made CM of Bihar for first time but had resigned within 7 days. In 2005 for second time he was sworn in as the CM of Bihar and for third time in 2010.
- For fourth time he was sworn-in as CM in February 2015 till November 2015 state Assembly election. He was again elected for fifth term and was in office from February 2015 to July 2017.