Current Affairs Questions & Answers - Apr 05, 2017

1)   Which state govt on April 3 imposed blanket ban on polythene below 50 microns?

a. HP
b. Uttarakhand
c. J&K
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 


Jammu and Kashmir government on 3 April 2017 imposed a blanket ban on the use of polythene bags manufactured below fifty (50) microns.

Choudhary Lal Singh, the Minister for Forest, Environment and Ecology of Jammu and Kashmir, said that the government is taking all the possible measures to prevent the state’s environment and ecology from being polluted.

The Minister said new guidelines and regulations, would facilitate proper recycling of plastic waste, reducing its impact on the ecology.

The manufacturer’s name and address will now be required to be printed on the bags, failing to which, strict action will be taken against them.

Producers of the plastic carry bags will have to obtain registration from the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB), in the case of absence of registration, no person will be allowed to manufacture these carry bags.

The brand owner or the producer of these plastic carry bags will have to submit its action plan for buyback/waste collection system based on extended producer responsibility to the Board.

The guidelines state that every street vendor will have to get him/herself registered with the concerned Municipal body for trading in the products of polythene.

For this purpose, the vendor will have to pay a fee of INR

48000 annually. Local bodies will be responsible for segregation, collection, processing and disposal of plastic waste in urban areas either on its own or by engaging agencies or producers.

Directions have been passed to all allied departments for successful and strict implementation of this order.

The government will also organise awareness camps to educate masses about ill effects of non-biodegradable products.

Reason behind the decision on a blanket ban on the use of polythene bags.

The minister informed that unnecessary or wanton use of polythene and its unscientific disposal has posed a serious threat to the environment as it takes a long time to degrade.

It also poses a serious threat to wildlife.

2)   Who was chosen to receive the UNESCO Freedom Prize on March 30, 2017?

a. Dawit Isaak
b. Barbara Walters
c. Bob Woodward
d. Christiane Amanpour
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Dawit Isaak

Dawit Isaak, an imprisoned Eritrean-Swedish journalist, on 30 March 2017 was chosen to receive the 2017 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize.

Isaak was chosen for the prestigious award in recognition of his courage, resistance and commitment to freedom of expression.

The journalist was arrested in a crackdown on the media that occurred in September 2001. His present location is unknown.

The Prize will be awarded on 3 May 2017, World Press Freedom Day, to be hosted in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Born on 28 October 1964, Dawit Isaak is a Swedish-Eritrean playwright, journalist and writer.

He moved to Sweden in 1987, where he later became a citizen and went into self-imposed exile.

After the independence of Eritrea, he returned to his homeland to become one of the founders and reporters of Setit, the first independent newspaper in the country.

He has been held in prison in Eritrea since 2001 without trial and is considered a traitor by the Eritrean government.

Amnesty International considers him a prisoner of conscience and has called for his immediate and unconditional release.

Freedom Prize: Know More

  • The UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize was created by UNESCO’s Executive Board in 1997.
  • The award honours a person, organization or institution that has made an outstanding contribution to the defence and, or promotion of press freedom anywhere in the world, and especially when this has been achieved in the face of danger.
  • The Prize is named in honour of Guillermo Cano Isaza, a Colombian journalist who was assassinated in 1986.

3)   What does FAME stand for?

a. Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric vehicles
b. Faster Adaptation and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric vehicles in India
c. Fast Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric vehicles in India
d. Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hydroelectric and Electric vehicles in India
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric vehicles

The Union Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises has withdrawn subsidy given to mild hybrid vehicles under FAME India (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric vehicles in India) scheme.

Earlier, mild hybrid, strong hybrid, plug-in hybrid and pure electric vehicles were given incentives under the FAME India scheme.

Mild Hybrids

- A mild hybrid vehicle has an electric motor, which on its own cannot run a vehicle but assists normal engine by using recovered energy stored in a battery.

- This helps save fue

- It uses the energy generated while applying the brakes and turns it into electric energy which is then stored in a battery.

- This energy can then be used to turn the starter motor when the car’s start stop system needs it.

- Mild-hybrids are 7-15% more fuel efficient as compared to conventional hybrid systems that can run on pure electric power for short distances too.

FAME: Know More

- The FAME India scheme was launched in 2015 under National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP).

- It was launched with an aim to promote eco-friendly vehicles in the country.

- It objectives is to provide fiscal and monetary incentives for adoption and market creation of both hybrid and electric technologies vehicles in the country.

- It will also support the hybrid or electric vehicles market development and its manufacturing eco-system in the country in order to achieve self-sustenance in stipulated period.

- It is being administered by the Heavy Industries Ministry.

- It will provide demand incentives to electric and hybrid vehicles from two-wheeler to buses.

4)   What is Aadhaar going to be used for?

a. Biometric access to flyers at airports
b. Rail ID for train journeys
c. ID for social welfare schemes
d. ID for banking
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Biometric access to flyers at airports

The government has asked IT major Wipro to develop a blueprint for Aadhaar-based biometric access to flyers at all airports across India.

Wipro is expected to give the report by early May and then airports will begin the process of a passenger's thumb being all the identification he or she requires to fly, for domestic flights as international ones will need passports.

The aviation ministry had been toying with the idea of linking Aadhar numbers to air travel bookings and then enabling biometric access possible at airports.

It was felt a joint system be developed that can be replicated by all airports. We are seeing what all airport processes can be made e-enabled.

The passengers give their Aadhar numbers at the time of booking tickets.

Once they reach the airport they are flying out of, flyers can just keep their thumb on touch pad at entry point. Once inside, a similar process can be repeated at other places like check-in.

This will give passengers a seamless and effortless travel experience at airports as possible.

Due to security considerations, flyers in India have to show an ID card along with their tickets to be allowed inside airport terminals.

AAI: Know More

  • Type: PSU
  • Industry: Aviation sector
  • Founded: 1 April 1995
  • Headquarters: Rajiv Gandhi Bhawan,Safdarjung Airport, New Delhi-110003
  • Head: Dr.Guruprasd Mohapatra , Chairman

5)   What marks the start of spring in Tokyo, Japan?

a. Flowering of sakura blossoms
b. Cherry blossoms blooming
c. Both a and b are the same
d. Production of cotton crop
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both a and b are the same

Japan had announced the season would start on March 21 with the flowering of sakura blossoms at the Yasukuni Shrine, but other places in Tokyo were denied the sight, because of a cold weather snap.

The April 4 jump in temperature of 17 degrees C (63 degrees F), changed that, however, drawing out throngs of people for the "hamami” tradition of the viewing and appreciation of the famed pink flowers.

Japan makes its cherry blossom predictions scrupulously, with one weather broadcaster collecting observations from 10,000 trees nationwide.

That is especially important for foreign tourists, who plan holidays to catch a glimpse.

Japan's Tourism Ministry says the number of foreign tourists peaked in April last year, thanks to the popularity of the sakura flowers.

Beneath the flowering sakura trees, Tokyo residents laid out picnics.

Sakura: Know More

  • A cherry blossom is the flower of any of several trees of genus Prunus, particularly the Japanese cherry, Prunus serrulata.
  • This is called sakura after the Japanese (桜 or 櫻; さくら).
  • Currently it is widely distributed, especially in the temperate zone of the Northern Hemisphere including Japan, China, Korea, Europe, West Siberia, India, Canada, and the United States.
  • Along with the chrysanthemum, the cherry blossom is considered the national flower of Japan.

6)   Which plant have BARC scientists discovered anti-cancer medicines from?

a. Tulsi
b. Neem
c. Papaya
d. Rampatri
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Rampatri

BARC scientists have developed two anti-cancer medicines from the fruit extract of the Rampatri plant, which may help destroy tumours and revive cells damaged by radiation.

Rampatri plant, which is used as a spice in foods, belongs to the Myristicaceae family and is found in western coastal region of the country.

Scientists at Bhabha atomic Research Centre (BARC) based in Anushaktinagar, Mumbai tested the medicines made from this plant on mice and found that they may help in treating lung cancer and neuroblastoma, a rare cancer found in children.

In neuroblastoma, cancer cells grow in nerve cells of adrenal glands, neck, chest and spinal chord.

The medicines were developed by Dr B Shankar Patro, scientist of Radiation Biology and Health sciences at BARC.

The molecules of Rampatri fruit may destroy the cancer cells.

Medicines developed from these molecules may also help in reviving cells destroyed due to radiation.

The research centre was working for many years to develop cancer medicines from herbal plants.

They have also developed BARC Radio Modifier and BARC Radio Protector.

From June this year, Tata Memorial Centre in Mumbai may begin clinical trial of Radio Modifier medicine.

Radio Modifier helps to protect healthy cells during radiation therapy and if this medicine is given within four hours in case of any nuclear accident, life of the affected person may be saved.

BARC: Know More

  • Director: K.N. Vyas
  • Location: India
  • Headquarters: Mumbai
  • Founder: Homi J. Bhabha
  • Founded: 3 January 1954
  • Budget: 31.59 billion INR (US$470 million, 2015–2016)
  • Purpose: Nuclear physics

7)   Which company purchased  Bernecker + Rainer Industrie-Elektronik, a Swiss major on April 4, 2017?

a. Siemens
b. ABB
c. Vodafone
d. Symantec
Answer  Explanation 


ABB has bought Austrian group Bernecker + Rainer Industrie-Elektronik, the Swiss engineering company on April 4, 2017.

This is helping it to challenge German rival Siemens in the industrial automation sector.

The biggest deal under Chief Executive Ulrich Spiesshofer's four-year leadership is part of ABB's strategy of expanding its product line-up beyond processing raw materials.

This is because price swings have dented demand from oil and gas companies.

B+R, which was founded by two friends in the basement of an Austrian bank in 1979, makes programmable controls for machines used by companies like Nestle, Procter & Gamble, and Roche.

The privately held company also makes components for machines used by automotive makers BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen.

Its products include industrial PCs and factory automation devices which are designed to increase productivity.

The deal increases ABB's sales in the industrial automation segment to around $15 billion and consolidates its position as number two in the $130 billion global industrial automation sector behind Siemens.

The purchase will add to ABB's industrial automation division, which has struggled in recent quarters.

Sales for the division, which also competes with Emerson , Rockwell Automation, and Schneider, fell 9 percent in 2016, while new orders dropped 20 percent, largely due to falling demand from oil and gas customers.

The B+R deal, ABB's biggest acquisition since it bought U.S. low-voltage products maker Thomas & Betts for $3.9 billion in 2012, is a departure from Spiesshofer's previous strategy.

This has focused on trimming costs and shedding fringe businesses.

ABB: Know More

  • Headquarters: Zürich, Switzerland
  • CEO: Ulrich Spiesshofer (15 Sep 2013)
  • Revenue: 33.83 billion USD (2016)

8)   Who resigned from micro-blogging website Twitter on April 4, 2017, marking an exodus of top execs?

a. Aliza Knox
b. Karen Stocks
c. Parminder Singh
d. All of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Aliza Knox

In a yet another blow for the struggling micro-blogging website Twitter, its head of Asia-Pacific business Aliza Knox has decided to move on after a near-five year stint.

Knox built out Twitter's presence in Asia with an office in Singapore that currently spans nine locations with over 100 people on payroll.

Her exit comes on the back of the loss of a number of high-profile Asia-based executives in 2016.

This includes Managing Director for Southeast Asia, India, Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region Parminder Singh, India head Rishi Jaitly, China head Kathy Chen and Australia country boss Karen Stocks.

Jaitly drove strategic partnerships with the news, government, entertainment, sports, TV industries, and others in the mass and emerging media landscape.

Jaitly was the vice-president of Twitter's Asia Pacific and Middle East business.

After Jaitly, Singh announced that he has quit the company.

Following this, the micro-blogging website appointed Maya Hari as its new Managing Director for South East Asia and India who was reporting to Knox.

In a bid to realign its future goals and cut costs, Twitter had reduced nine per cent of its workforce (nearly 350 people) internationally.

In 2016, Twitter cut 300 jobs after Jack Dorsey took over as CEO full-time.

9)   Which of the following is a US based micro investing app?

a. Acorns
b. Apples
c. Almonds
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Acorns

Adam Nash, the former chief executive of digital financial advice company Wealthfront, has joined the board of U.S. micro-investing app Acorns.

Nash, who stepped down from his role at Wealthfront in December, will advise the investment startup as it expands its breadth of products aimed at helping younger investors save.

The company also said it had appointed Shlomo Benartzi, professor and co-chair of the Behavioral Decision-Making Group at the University of California, Los Angeles, to its board.

Benartzi will help the company understand what drives saving so that it can design better products.

About Acorns

  • Based in Newport Beach, California, Acorns rounds up purchases from clients' card transactions to the nearest dollar and automatically invests the change into portfolios of low-cost exchange-traded funds.
  • Launched in 2014.
  • The startup currently counts more than 1.6 million investment accounts.
  • Investor include payments company PayPal Inc and Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten.

10)   Which professional services company acquired UK based Genfour on April 4, 2017?

a. Symantec
b. Infosys
c. Vodafone
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: None of the above

Global professional services major Accenture on April 4, 2017 acquired UK based Genfour. The automation services provider was acquired for a non disclosed sum.

Acquisition will strengthen the capabilities of Accenture as a leading provider of intelligent automation services.

Intelligent automation is changing the way businesses across industries operate, driving compliance, innovation, quality user experience, enhanced decision making and productivity.

Accenture has trained more than 70,000 professionals on new architectures, intelligent platforms and automation over the past year.

To date, automation solutions have been implemented for more than 80 percent of Accenture Operations clients.

Genfour's automation professionals will join the Accenture Operations global Intelligent Automation team and be an integral part of the new Accenture Center of Excellence for Intelligent Automation in the UK.

Founded in 2012, Genfour is serving clients across multiple industries, most notably in insurance, banking and utilities.

Accenture: Know More

  • CEO: Pierre Nanterme (1 Jan 2011)
  • Headquarters: Dublin, Republic of Ireland
  • Revenue: 34.79 billion USD (2016)
  • Key Subsidiaries: Avanade, Kurt Salmon, Cloud Sherpas

11)   Which of the following is true about the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund?

a. It was formed in 2015
b. It finances brownfield projects
c. It finances greenfield projects
d. All of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: All of the above

India and the UK have on April 4, 2017 decided to set up a 500 million pound fund. Both governments will be investing 240 million pounds to finance clean energy projects.

The fund will be set up as a sub fund of the INR 40,000 crore NIIF which was formed in 2015 to finance greenfield and brownfield projects.

India and the UK will be anchors of this clean fund. It is called “Green Growth Equity Fund”.

India and the UK will invest 120 million pounds each and the remaining 260 million pounds comes from private investors.

The two governments have reinforced their commitment to invest 120m pounds each in the joint fund, at a joint statement issued following the 9th UK-India Economic and Financial Dialogue.

The fund will focus initial investments on India's rapidly transforming energy and renewable markets.

This fund will also identify future investments. In December 2015, the NIIF fund was set up for funding commercially viable brownfield, greenfield and stalled projects.

As government investment in the fund will be limited to 49 percent, private domestic and foreign investors can hold the 51% that remains.

These investors can invest in an umbrella fund or smaller sector/project specific funds within it.

The government had announced it will set up two sub funds under the NIIF namely a clean energy fund focused on renewable energy and another focusing on highway projects.

12)   Which state became first state to introduce sending food through post to PVTGs?

a. Jharkhand
b. Chhattisgarh
c. Himachal Pradesh
d. Gujarat
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Jharkhand

The Jharkhand state government launched its ambitious food post scheme.

It is first of its kind in India whereby 70,000 families of particularly vulnerable tribal groups (PVTGs) enrolled under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) would be benefited.

By delivering food through special messengers, the government aims to check malnutrition and hunger deaths among these tribes.

The scheme was started from three blocks including Sundar Pahari (Godda), Chainpur (Palamu) and Barhait (Sahebganj) on Monday. All 24 districts of the state will covered under the scheme by April end.

Population of the PVTGs is dwindling and it is a concern for the state as well as the Centre.

Since they lead a wanderers life in jungles and hills, the NFSA has failed to reach out to them effectively for their benefit.

Block level officials would be engaged as special messengers for the schemes, who would deliver a packet of 35-kg rice to each household.

The delivery boy will carry an Aadhaar enabled POS machine to authenticate the actual delivery.

The scheme will also boost the income of rural women, as government has decided to purchase 35-kg plastic bags from Sakhi Mandal (women self-help groups).