Current Affairs Questions & Answers - Apr 04, 2017

1)   Who is the second lady judge to become CJI of Madras HC?

a. Indira Banerjee
b. Kanta Kumar Bhatnagar
c. Shamita Das
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Indira Banerjee

Justice Indira Banerjee was on 31 March 2017 appointed as the Chief Justice of Madras High Court.

Currently, she is serving as the judge of the Delhi High Court.

She succeeds Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, who was transferred to the Supreme Court in February 2017.

Following this, Justice Banerjee became the second woman to head the Madras High Court.

Justice Kanta Kumari Bhatnagar was the first lady to head the charted court in 1992.

About Indira Banerjee

  • Born in September 1957, Justice Banerjee enrolled as an advocate in 1985.
  • She practiced both in the original and appellate sides of Calcutta High Court.
  • She was appointed as permanent judge of the Calcutta High Court in February 2002.
  • She was transferred to Delhi High Court in August 2016.

2)   Who is the 7th member to join SASEC in April 2017?

a. Bhutan
b. Myanmar
c. Bangladesh
d. Sri Lanka
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Myanmar

Myanmar became the 7th member of South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) program of Asian Development Bank (ADB).

It was officially made member at the SASEC Finance Ministers’ meeting held in New Delhi.

Myanmar’s membership in SASEC will offer host of opportunities for realizing synergies from economic cooperation in the subregion.

Road corridors in Myanmar can provide key gateway between South Asia and Southeast Asia, while its ports can provide alternate routes and gateways to the landlocked northeastern region of India.

It has the potential to unleash significant economic potential and bring better livelihoods to millions in the region after developing multimodal connectivity between India’s northeastern region, Bangladesh, and Myanmar.

Transport linkages between South and Southeast Asia will also become more attractive to businesses once ongoing and planned motor vehicle agreements are finalized and implemented.

SASEC and Myanmar: Know More

  • Myanmar was having observer status of SASEC since 2013.
  • Since 2014, it was participating in annual SASEC Nodal Officials’ meetings as an observer.
  • It was invited by the participating countries of SASEC countries to become a full member in 2015.
  • SASEC program is a project-based partnership to promote regional prosperity by improving cross-border connectivity, boosting trade among member countries and strengthening regional economic cooperation.
  • It was established in 2001 in response to the request of the four countries of South Asia – Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal – from ADB to assist in facilitating economic cooperation among them.
  • ADB is the secretariat and lead financier of the South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation program.
  • Till now, it has supported 46 projects worth $9.17 billion in transport, trade facilitation, energy and information and communications technology (ICT).
  • Its seven members are Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

3)   What are x-ray binaries?

a. Pair of stars orbiting each other
b. Black hole or neutron stars orbiting less compact stars
c. Pair of planets orbiting each other
d. Both a and b
e. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both a and b

A team of scientists from Raman Research Institute, Bengaluru and University of Delhi for the first time have seen indications of a massive planet orbiting a low mass X-ray binary star system.

The system MXB 1658-298 is an X-ray binary and a part of the constellation Ophiuchus (serpent bearer).

It is nearly 30 thousand light years away and the planet is expected to be nearly 8 thousand times as massive as the earth.

X-ray binaries consist of a pair of stars orbiting each other of which one is compact such as a black hole or a neutron star.

In this case it is a neutron star which draws matter from its less-massive companion and generates X-rays which are detected by detectors placed in satellites in space.

This discovery is made with a new technique, X-Ray observation by measuring periodic delays in X-ray eclipses.

It is a new technique of detecting exoplanets and observations are done from space observatories.

In X-ray binaries, the time in-between eclipses of the source can increase, decrease and also shows abrupt changes.

But in MXB 1658-298, time between the eclipses increases and decreases periodically.

4)   What is the scheme for aids to senior citizens in BPL families launched in Nellore called?

a. Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana
b. Rashtriya Avishkar Yojana
c. Rashtriya Kalyan Yojana
d. Rashtriya Jan Yojana
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana

Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana, a ‘Scheme for providing Physical Aids and Assisted-living Devices for Senior citizens belonging to BPL category’ is launched in District Nellore, Andhra Pradesh.

Physical Aids and Assisted-living Devices for Senior citizens will be distributed in Camp mode and the Scheme will be implemented through the sole implementing agency,

‘Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation (ALIMCO)’ which will undertake one year free maintenance of the aids & assisted living devices.

The devices will help the Senior Citizens to overcome their age related physical impairment and to lead a dignified and productive life with minimal dependence on care givers or other members of the family.

The ambitious Scheme, first of its kind in the country is expected to benefit 5,20,000 Senior Citizens over a period of the 3 years.

The Scheme aims at providing Senior Citizens, belonging to BPL category and suffering from any of the age related disability/infirmity viz. Low vision, Hearing impairment, Loss of teeth and Locomotor disability, with such assisted-living devices which can restore near normalcy in their bodily functions, overcoming the disability/infirmity manifested.

The assistive devices shall be of high quality and conforming to the standards laid down by the Bureau of Indian Standard.

The proposal for formulation of a Scheme for providing Physical Aids and Assisted-Living Devices for Senior Citizens belonging to BPL Category was announced in the Budget 2015-16.

RVJ: Know More

  • The Scheme aims at providing Senior Citizens, belonging to BPL category and suffering from any of the age related disability/infirmity.
  • This includes Low vision, Hearing impairment, Loss of teeth and Locomotor disability, with such assisted-living devices which can restore near normalcy in their bodily functions, overcoming the disability/infirmity manifested.
  • The assistive devices shall be of high quality and conforming to the standards laid down by the Bureau of Indian Standards, wherever applicable.

5)   Which country has refused to allow foreign professionals in the IT sector based on Economic Needs Test?

a. US
b. Australia
c. Singapore
d. UK
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Singapore

While the focus has been on the US, visas for IT professionals to work in Singapore have dropped “to a trickle.”

This has forced the government to put on hold the review of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) citing violation of the trade pact.

With Indian companies being advised to hire local talent, they are looking at relocating some of their operations to other countries in the region.

From HCL and TCS, which were the early movers to Singapore, the list has expanded to include Infosys, Wipro, Cognizant and L&T Infotech.

Singapore authorities were insisting on what is called “economic needs test” (ENT), which requires compliance with certain economic criteria, to deny access to Indian professionals.

Singapore: Know More

  • Code: +65
  • Currency: Singapore dollar
  • Official scripts: Roman (Latin); Simplified Chinese; Tamil
  • Island state off Southern Malaysia.

6)   Which renowned Hindustani vocalist of the Jaipur gharana received the Padma Vibhushan in 2002?

a. Kishori Amonkar
b. Lata Mangeshkar
c. Asha Bhonsle
d. Alka Yagnik
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Kishori Amonkar

Renowned Hindustani classical vocalist Kishori Amonkar passed away on April 4, 2017 after a brief illness. She was 84.

Born on April 10, 1932 here, Amonkar was recognised as one of the foremost singers in the Hindustani tradition and as an innovative exponent of the Jaipur gharana.

A gharana is a group of musicians sharing a distinctive musical style.

Amonkar's mother was the well-known vocalist Mogubai Kurdikar, who trained under Alladiya Khan Saheb, the doyen of the Jaipur gharana.

She was known primarily for her skillful singing of classical khayal songs set in the traditional ragas of Hindustani music, but also performed the lighter classical thumri repertoire, bhajan, devotional songs and film music.

In recognition of her contribution to the arts, she received many awards, including the Padma Bhushan (1987) and Padma Vibhushan (2002), two of India's top civilian honours.

In 2010, she became a fellow of the Sangeet Natak Akademi, the national academy of music, arts, and dance.

7)   Which business group is selling its BPO firm Aegis to Capital Square Partners?

a. Essar Group
b. TATA Group
c. Birla Group
d. Godrej Group
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Essar Group

Ruias-led Essar Group has decided to sell its business process outsourcing (BPO) firm Aegis to Singapore-based Capital Square Partners for about $300 million in a bid to reduce the group debts.

AGC Holdings Limited (AGC) Mauritius, a wholly-owned portfolio company of Essar Global Limited (Essar Global), has entered into a definitive agreement with Capital Square Partners (CSP).

The agreement to sell 100% of its stake for an undisclosed amount in ESM Holdings Limited, Mauritius, which is the holding company of Aegis, a major global outsourcing company.

The deal size is pegged about $300 million and the net proceeds of this sale will be used to retire Essar’s debt.

Essar entered the BPO business in 2004 with the acquisition of the US-based Aegis Communications Group, with 2,000 employees.

In 2014, AGC announced the successful sale of Aegis USA Inc (comprising Aegis’ operations in the US, the Philippines and Costa Rica) to Teleperformance, thereby substantially reducing Aegis revenues and headcount.

Aegis: Know More

  • Currently, Aegis has revenues of about US$400 million.
  • It employs more than 40,000 people across 47 centres.
  • It operates in in 10 countries with operations in India, the UAE, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Australia, South Africa, Peru, Argentina, Saudi Arabia and the UK.

8)   Which country passed a law allowing military courts to try civilians?

a. Bahrain
b. Syria
c. Dubai
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Bahrain

Bahrain’s king has approved a law passed by parliament that allows for military courts to try civilians amid a major crackdown on all dissent in the island kingdom.

King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa approved the constitutional amendment on April 3, 2017.

The island’s elected 40-member Consultative Council and its appointed 40-seat Council of Representatives, the two houses of Bahrain’s parliament, had earlier passed the amendment.

Activists warn the amendment will allow an undeclared state of martial law on the island near Saudi Arabia that’s home to the US Navy’s 5th Fleet.

Supporters call the change necessary to fight terrorism as the persistent low-level unrest that followed the 2011 demonstrations has escalated recently in tandem with the crackdown.

9)   What type of fungus will scientists use to break down plastic materials?

a. Water fungus
b. Air fungus
c. Soil fungus
d. Both b and c
e. All the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Soil fungus

Scientists have identified a soil fungus, which uses enzymes to rapidly break down plastic materials, an advance that could help deal with waste problem that threatens our environment.

Humans are producing ever greater amounts of plastic — much of which ends up as garbage.

Since plastic does not break down in the same way as other organic materials, it can persist in the environment over long periods of time.

Scientists found an unexpected solution to the growing plastic problem in the form of a soil fungus.

Attempts to deal with plastic waste through burying, recycling, incineration or other methods are variously unsustainable, costly and can result in toxic by-products.

These are hazardous to human health.

The researchers took samples of soil and various pieces of rubbish in hopes of finding an organism that could feed on plastic waste in the same way that other fungi feed on dead plant or animal material.

Aspergillus tubingensis is a fungus, which ordinarily lives in the soil.

In lab trials, the researchers found that it also grows on the surface of plastics.

It secretes enzymes onto the surface of the plastic, and these break the chemical bonds between the plastic molecules, or polymers.

Using advanced microscopy and spectroscopy techniques, the team found that the fungus also uses the physical strength of its mycelia - the network of root - like filaments grown by fungi - to help break down the polymers.

10)   What is the biofuel derived from grass called?

a. Grassofill
b. Grassoline
c. Grassofield
d. Grassofuel
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Grassoline

In the quest for sustainable energy sources, scientists have developed "grassoline" -a biofuel derived from grass that may one day power aircraft.

For the experiment, researchers investigated methods to disintegrate and treat grass until it could be used as a fuel.

Until now, grass has mainly served as feed for animals. But apart from that, grass can also be used as biofuel. Due to its vast abundance, grass is the perfect source of energy.

To improve its biodegradability, the grass was pretreated at first.

Then bacteria were added to convert sugars in the grass into lactic acid and its derivatives.

This lactic acid can serve as an intermediate chemical to produce other compounds such as biodegradable plastics (PLA) or fuels.

The lactic acid was then converted into caproic acid, which was further converted into decane.

Decane could be used in aviation fuel.

Scientists have developed "fuzzy fibres" that act like velcro and could stand up to the heat and pressure of rocket engines.

The fibres made of silicon carbide strengthen composites used in advanced rocket engines that have to withstand temperatures up to 1,600 degrees celsius.

Ceramic composites used in present rockets can crack or become brittle when exposed to oxygen.

11)   Which is the first private carrier to use UPI for tickets online?

a. SpiceJet
b. Jet Airways
c. Indigo
d. Go Air
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Jet Airways

Private carrier Jet Airways fliers can now buy tickets online, using the industry's latest payment mechanism, Unified Payments Interface (UPI).

The move makes the city-headquartered airline the only domestic carrier providing its customers with this convenient payment solution.

The UPI allows money to be transferred instantaneously between any two bank accounts instantly, using a smartphone.

Launched by National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), UPI is one of the various measures by the RBI towards a less-cash and a more digital society.

12)   How many member countries are there in the Commonwealth?

a. 35
b. 39
c. 37
d. 36
Answer  Explanation 


Thirty-nine Commonwealth member countries deliberates on some of the grave issues affecting climate and green cover at the nineteenth Commonwealth Forestry Conference to be held at Forest Research Institute (FRI) here from April 3 onwards.

The conference was last held in India almost 50 years ago, in 1968, in New Delhi.

Some 700 participants, including experts, scientists, forest officials and NGOs from India and member countries, made 470 presentations on climate change, forest fire, community participation and ways to improve forest productivity and green cover during the course of the five-day long event.

The theme of the conference was “Forests for Prosperity and Posterity”. This is in consonance with Aichi targets of the UN Convention on Conservation of Biological Diversity (UNC-CBD) and Sustainable Development Goals.

Increasing global temperature, depleting forest cover and climate change are crucial factors. Efforts were made to improve forest cover and productivity, modern technologies and possibilities of collaboration for information exchange.

The event is being held in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, along with Commonwealth Forestry Association (CFA), the United Kingdom.

There will be 21 technical sessions focusing on socio-economic perspective of forests; resource assessment and monitoring; economic valuation; and forest conservation and development.

The impact of climate change, adaptation and mitigation; biodiversity conservation and management; bio-prospecting and value addition of forest produce will also be studied.

Part of the conference are deliberations on forest products diversification; tree outside forests, urban forestry and landscape management, and policy interventions.

A global forestry conclave at the conference deliberated on the role of forestry in implementing international agreements among Commonwealth members.

CFA: Know More

  • The CFA is a partner in a new initiative, The Queen's Commonwealth Canopy.
  • In this initiative, Commonwealth citizens are leading the world in efforts to protect the forest – forest that their communities and the planet as a whole depend on.
  • The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy shows that, irrespective of geography, economy, culture or tenure, solutions exist to the threats facing these critical ecosystems.
  • Chairperson: John Innes

13)   What value has India's forest cover grown by in the past 30 years, according to MoEF?

a. 1.81%
b. 1.82%
c. 1.83%
d. 1.84%
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: 1.82%

India's forest cover has increased in comparison to the world average. The world over, average per capital forest cover has fallen from 0.8 ha to 0.6 ha per person.

In India, a net increase of 1.82% in forest cover has been registered in the past 30 years.

This was announced at the inauguration of the 19th Commonwealth Forestry Conference in FRI, Dehradun.

The country had 24% forest cover with 7 billion tonnes of carbon sink–a natural reservoir that absorbs carbon and helps counter the effects of global warming.

India has to add 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes to the carbon sink by 2030.

This will be done by planting trees outside the forests near highways or in agro-forestry sector.

The target of increasing the sink would be met by growing 100 crore trees over a period of ten years.

Governments, the private sector, local authorities, NGOs and indigenous people work together for forestry and environmental conservation.

Recent research has shown that the cash and non-cash incomes of the rural poor depend to a very high degree on what the forestry and environmental professionals now call the 'ecosystem services' provided by varied forests.

Protecting forests, therefore, not only makes sense for reducing disaster risk and greenhouse emissions; it also makes pro-poor sense.