Current Affairs Questions & Answers - Apr 19, 2017

1)   Which IIT is planning to introduce vastu shastra to architecture students?

a. Kharagpur
b. Kanpur
c. Madras
d. Delhi
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Kharagpur

IIT Kharagpur plans to introduce Vastu Shashtra to the architecture students from this year August.

While the rudiments of Vastu Shastra will be introduced to the first and second-year undergraduate architecture students, detailed grounding on the subject will be imparted to the post graduate and research scholars in infrastructure.

For the UG students, graded modules related to basic design and history of architecture will be taught.

For the PG level, modules imparting solar principles, sacred diagrams, 9 circuit placements or the nabagraha mandal, sacred altars and design semiotics and semantics will be taught.

The faculty members of IIT Kharagpur feels that Vastu Shastra as a concept needs to be included in the architecture and infrastructure syllabi.

They are of the view that students be conversant with ancient Indian architectural traditions.

They believe that ancient Indian concepts have a scientific basis and introducing students to these will open up new avenues of knowledge.

Vastu Shastra: Know More

  • The basic concept of Vastu Shastra revolves around the healthy relationship of nature and infrastructure and hence has modern relevance.
  • Vastu Shastra Vastu Shastra has its beginnings in Rig Veda.
  • It is a traditional Hindu system of architecture that describes principles of design, layout, measurements, ground preparation, space arrangement and spatial geometry.

2)   Which communities does the Telangana Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes Bill, 2017 seek to help?

a. Scheduled tribes
b. Backward Muslims
c. Both of the above
d. Neither of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both of the above

The Telangana legislature has passed the Telangana Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes (Reservation of Seats in Educational Institutions and of Appointments or Posts in the Services under the State) Bill, 2017, that seeks to raise the reservation for backward Muslims and scheduled tribes.

The Telangana legislature will increase the reservation for socially and educationally backward Muslims from the existing 4% to 12% and for Scheduled Tribes from 6% to 10%.

This is taking the total quotas in government jobs and educational institutions in the state much beyond the 50 % ceiling set by the Supreme Court.

The total quota in the state will now increase to 62%. The bill will now be sent for obtaining President’s assent.

Since the reservation goes beyond the 50% ceiling set by the Supreme Court, the state government wants the centre to include the bill in the 9th schedule of the Constitution which will preclude a judicial review.

States like Tamil Nadu and Jharkhand already have reservations totalling more than 50 percent.

Reservation bills included in 9th Schedule of the Constitution protects it from judicial review. Ninth Schedule contains more than 250 legislations receiving protection from the judicial scrutiny.

3)   Which country has topped the WEF list on travel and tourism competitiveness?

a. Spain
b. India
c. Germany
d. UK
Answer  Explanation 


Spain has, once again, topped the World Economic Forum's (WEF) list on travel and tourism competitiveness.

WEF's biennial report is based on the theme 'paving the way for a more sustainable and inclusive future'. France and Germany continue to be ranked second and third respectively, depicting no change from the 2015 edition.

Surprise entry in the top five countries is Japan, which is ranked at number four, a jump of five places from the last time the rankings were released.

Japan is said to have a great tourist inflow because of two-fold reasons of 'unique cultural resources and business'.

India was ranked at 40, a considerable jump of 12 places from 2015. Asia-Pacific also emerged as the most-improved region.

War-torn country Yemen was ranked the last of the analysed nations, at 136, still a jump of two places. African countries Burundi and Chad were ranked 134 and 135, respectively.

Azerbaijan at 71st position is one of the most improved economies this year, rising 13 places in the global rankings.

According to the report, the travel and tourism industry contributed $7.6 trillion to the global economy (10.2 per cent of global GDP) and generated 292 million jobs (1 in 10 jobs on the planet) in 2016.

4)   Which new policy is set to reduce operational cost of telco firms and remove right of way challenges?

a. Common duct policy
b. Common tower policy
c. Common revenue policy
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Common duct policy

The Centre is likely to soon come out with a new policy under which a common duct will be laid across a city and service providers such as telcos and digital TV players can lease these ducts to pass their fibre through it to offer services to consumers.

The ‘common duct policy,’ for which Telecom Regulatory Authority of India is carrying out pilots in Deoghar in Jharkhand, could reduce operational cost of firms, remove right of way challenges, while eliminating the need for frequent digging up of roads.

This will also result in additional revenue for the municipalities and remove issues related to right of way.

A common duct will be created for about 20 years. Once the duct is made, no service provider will be allowed to dig the road.

Common infrastructure has a lot of advantages for the concept of common shared infrastructure had dispelled the myth that each service provider must individually own the entire backbone.

5)   A glacier's risk of thinning can be predicted by analysing its ________.

a. Shape
b. Size
c. Rate of melting
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 


A glacier's risk of thinning can be predicted by analysing its shape.

Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin in the US identified glaciers in West Greenland that are most susceptible to thinning in the coming decades by analysing how they are shaped.

The Greenland Ice Sheet is the second-largest ice sheet on Earth and has been losing mass for decades, a trend scientists have linked to a warming climate.

However, the mass change experienced by individual coastal glaciers, which flow out from the ice sheet into the ocean, is highly variable.

This makes predicting the impact on future sea-level rise difficult.

The new study could help predict how much the Greenland Ice Sheet will contribute to future sea-level rise during the next century.

This is a number that currently ranges from inches to feet.

The analysis works by calculating how far inland thinning that starts at the terminus of each glacier is likely to extend.

Glaciers with thinning that reaches far inland are the most susceptible to ice mass loss.

How susceptible a glacier is to thinning depends on its thickness and surface slope, features that are influenced by the landscape under the glacier.

Thinning spreads more easily across thick and flat glaciers and is hindered by thin and steep portions of glaciers, researchers said.

These calculations will help improve estimates on how much Greenland can contribute to future sea- level rise. However, while the method can point out vulnerable areas, it can not predict how much mass loss is likely to occur.

6)   Which digitally developed economy has topped the Huawei Global Connectivity Index 2017?

a. US
b. UK
c. EU
d. Germany
Answer  Explanation 


Digitally-developed economies around the globe are continuing to progress due to larger investments and adoptions in Information Communication Technology, says the newly released Huawei Global Connectivity Index (GCI) 2017.

The study also finds developing economies have started to accelerate their growth by investing strategically in ICT capabilities, yet the gap between them and continues to grow.

This is the fourth annual GCI study that shows how countries are progressing with digital transformation based on 40 unique indicators that cover five technology enablers: broadband, data centres, cloud, big data and Internet of Things.

US tops the list with Singapore and Sweden a close second and third.

India performs well on the key indicators of a knowledge economy but falls behind in its broadband assessments–giving it an overall rank of 43–between Venezuela and Morocco.

For India which has climbed one rank from last year, the government is planning to provide high-speed internet connectivity to 250,000 communities.

The citizens will be provided with a digital identity which will be unique, lifelong, online, and valid.

Government departments will be seamlessly integrated with high-speed optical fibre, which will improve inter operability of these organizations and will result in real-time service delivery from online or mobile platform.

This would stimulate the development of cloud for easy and portable connections for citizens.

It is encouraging to note that over the past 3 years, India has grown faster in ICT infrastructure compared to its global peers including 1.4 times faster growth in investment in cloud, 2.3 times growth in computer households and 1.1 times in Analytics Data Creation per capita.

GCI 2017 study reported the relationship between ICT investment and GDP growth is generally accepted in government and industry.

Examining the GCI 2017 data with numerous economic forecasting models, the report says a nation which increased investment in ICT investment in infrastructure by additional 10% annually from 2017 to 2025 can benefit from a multiplier effect.

Using this economic impact model, the report finds that every additional US$1 of ICT infrastructure investment could bring a return of US$3 in GDP at present, US$3.70 in 2020 and the potential return increases to US$5 in 2025.

7)   Scientists have discovered a wristband that can analyse ________ to diagnose conditions like diabetes and cystic fibrosis.

a. Sweat
b. Skin
c. Blood
d. Tissue
Answer  Explanation 


Stanford scientists have developed a new wristband-type wearable device that can analyse sweat to diagnose and monitor diseases like diabetes and cystic fibrosis.

The new sensor collects sweat, measures its molecular constituents, such as chloride ions and glucose and then transmits the results for analysis and diagnostics.

Unlike old-fashioned sweat collectors, the new device does not require patients to sit still for a long time while sweat accumulates in the collectors.

The two-part system of flexible sensors and microprocessors sticks to the skin, stimulates the sweat glands and then detects the presence of different molecules and ions based on their electrical signals.

The more chloride in the sweat, for example, the more electrical voltage is generated at the sensor's surface.

The team at Stanford University in the US used the wearable sweat sensor in separate studies to detect chloride ion levels–high levels are an indicator of cystic fibrosis–and to compare levels of glucose in sweat to that in blood.

High blood glucose levels can indicate diabetes.

This wearable can track your ECG.

Conventional methods for diagnosing cystic fibrosis require that patients visit a specialised centre and sit still while electrodes stimulate sweat glands in their skin to provide sweat for the test.

Children have to sit still for 30 minutes while an instrument attached to their skin collects sweat.

By comparison, the wearable sweat sensor stimulates the skin to produce minute amounts of sweat, quickly evaluates the contents and beams the data by way of a cellphone to a server that can analyse the results.

People living in remote villages in developing countries, where conventional testing is unavailable, could also benefit from a portable, self-contained sweat sensor, he said.

The wearable device is robust and can be run with a smartphone, which can send measurements to a cloud and receive a result right back after review at a specialised centre.

Researchers also measured glucose levels in sweat, which correspond to blood glucose levels, making the device potentially useful for monitoring pre-diabetes and diabetes.

Researchers develop flexible wearable device to monitor body signals

However, the technology can also be used to measure other molecular constituents of sweat, such as sodium and potassium ions and lactate.

The platform can be used to measure virtually anything found in sweat.

Sweat is hugely amenable to wearable applications and a rich source of information.

A wearable sweat sensor allows for frequent monitoring to see how patients respond to a treatment or if they are complying with treatment.

8)   Which creature have scientists in the Philippines discovered for the first time?

a. Live giant shipworm
b. Live giant airworm
c. Live giant soilworm
d. Live giant mudworm
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Live giant shipworm

Scientists have discovered the first live specimen of a bizarre, giant worm-like animal in the Philippines.

This worm plants itself into mud like carrots and feeds on noxious fumes of sulphur.

The existence of the black, mud dwelling creature has been known for centuries.

Its tusk-like shells, measuring three to five feet long, were first documented in the 18th century.

"The shells are fairly common. But we have never had access to the animal living inside.

Scientists set up an expedition and found live specimens of Kuphus polythalamia planted like carrots in the mud of a shallow lagoon.

With a live giant shipworm finally in hand, researchers carefully washed the sticky mud caked to the outside of the giant shipworm shell and tapped off the outer cap, revealing the creature living inside.

The giant shipworm was radically different from other wood-eating shipworms.

The worm was found in a remote habitat–a lagoon laden with rotting wood.

Normal shipworm burrows deep into the wood of trees that have washed into the ocean, munching on and digesting the wood with the help of bacteria.

Unlike its shipworm cousins, Kuphus lives in the mud. It also turns to bacteria to obtain nourishment, but in a different way.

Kuphus lives in a pretty stinky place. The organic-rich mud around its habitat emits hydrogen sulfide, a gas derived from sulphur, which has a distinct rotten egg odour.

This environment may be noxious for you and me, but it is a feast for the giant shipworm, researchers said.

Kuphus themselves do not eat, or if they do, they eat very little.

Instead, they rely on beneficial bacteria that live in their gills that make food for them.

Like tiny chefs, these bacteria use the hydrogen sulfide as energy to produce organic carbon that feeds the shipworm.

This process is similar to the way green plants use the Sun's energy to convert carbon dioxide in the air into simple carbon compounds during photosynthesis.

As a result, many of Kuphus's internal digestive organs have shrunk from lack of use.

9)   Which companies will soon be allowed to attract 100 percent FDI investment?

a. Cash management companies
b. ATM management companies
c. Both a and b
d. Neither a nor b
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Both a and b

Cash and ATM management companies will soon be allowed to attract 100 per cent foreign direct investment.

They are not required to comply with the Private Security Agencies (Regulation) Act (PSARA).

The clarification will be against the backdrop of the confusion among firms in cash and ATM management relating to compliance with the Act, under which they can receive FDI only up to 49 per cent.

The issue was discussed at a meeting convened by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) last month.

There are about a dozen cash management players in the country, including Writer Safeguard, SIS Securitas, CMS, Secure Value, Logicash, Brinks Arya, Securitrans and Scientific Security Management Services.

According to experts, companies managing cash for banks have so far been caught in a policy tangle, with the home ministry insisting that 100 per cent FDI could not be allowed for them if they provide private security guards or armoured vehicles.

Companies that make devices such as currency authenticators and sorting and currency counting machines will also benefit from this clarification.

Several players, including TVS Electronics and ITI, are in such businesses.

Cash Management companies handle over Rs 40,000 crore of cash per day.

The government in 2015 permitted 100 per cent FDI under the automatic route for white label ATM operations with an aim to promote financial inclusion.

FDI into the country grew 22 per cent to USD 35.85 billion during April-December of 2016-17.

Foreign investment is considered crucial for India, which needs around USD 1 trillion for overhauling its infrastructure such as ports, airports and highways to boost growth.

A strong inflow of foreign investments also helps improve balance of payments and strengthen the rupee against other global currencies, especially the dollar.

10)   Which of the following is true about NPCI?

a. It stands for National Payments Corporation of India
b. It is the umbrella organisation of payments in India
c. It is developing security framework for mobile payments
d. Only a and b
e. All the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: All the above

India is home to a new sense of security for mobile payments in the near future.

It’s really no surprise to industry buffs, India is seemingly always on the cutting edge when it comes to mobile payments.

National Payments Corporation of India plans to develop a security framework exclusively for mobile phonebased payments, for banks and mobile wallets.

This is an equivalent to Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) framework that regulates data security for card payments across the world.

In the wake of the government strategy to push digital transactions, mobile phone-based payments are becoming an important means of transactions.

But this could attract hackers and fraudsters that seek to exploit the systems.

NPCI, the umbrella organisation of payments in India, wants to build new security standards for mobile payments to prevent any major loss of public money, a top official said.

11)   Which of the following recommendations of the Parliamentary Committee was accepted by President?

a. Speeches of dignitaries including President should be delivered in Hindi alone
b. National carrier Air India should have Hindi inflight journals
c. All PSU communications should be in Hindi
d. Both a and b
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both a and b

President Pranab Mukherjee has accepted the recommendations of a parliamentary committee that says speeches of dignitaries, including the President and Union Ministers, should be delivered in Hindi alone if they can.

To promote Hindi, the President has directed the Aviation Ministry to ensure that national carrier Air India have Hindi in-flight journals.

However, the president has rejected the idea of mandatory use of Hindi in all official communication of public share holding companies or forcing private companies to bring out a Hindi catalogue of their products.

He has also turned down the proposal of a minimum knowledge of Hindi as a prerequisite for a government job.

The Committee of Parliament on Official Languages made over 100 recommendations in 2011 to promote Hindi and interestingly, even then the Committee was headed by a non-Hindi speaking politician, former Home Minister P Chidambaram.

12)   What is the main tenet behind GST tax reform?

a. One Group, One Product
b. One Nation, One Tax
c. Both of the above
d. Neither of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Both of the above

Having opted for multiple rates under the upcoming goods and services tax (GST) regime, India is now looking to keep variations in rates on the same types of products at a minimum to ensure that the tax structure does not get any more complicated.

For example, all types of footwear or mobile phones could attract the same rate.

Single rate for one product group will bring simplicity in the structure and make implementation easier.

Globally, most regimes have a single rate. India has adopted a four-tier tax structure of 5%, 12%, 18% and 28%.

The rate applicable on most products will be 18%. The highest rate has been pegged in the GST law at 40%.

Many experts have said this structure will undermine the basic tenet of GST - a simple structure with at most two rates.

The GST Council now has to decide which goods and services go into which slabs.

The highly anticipated tax reform is expected to lift economic growth by 1-2 percentage points by removing inter-state barriers thus slashing cost and boosting efficiency.

13)   What is the latest amendment to the FPI regulations by capital and commodities market regulator SEBI?

a. Barring Indians, NRIs and entities beneficially owned by NRIs from trading
b. Barring Indians, NRIs, and entities beneficially owned by NRIs from being owners of participatory notes
c. Barring Indians and NRIs from FDI in India
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Barring Indians, NRIs, and entities beneficially owned by NRIs from being owners of participatory notes

Capital and commodities market regulatory authority SEBI is set to amend the FPI regulations to formally bar Indians, NRIs and entities beneficially owned by NRIs from being beneficial owners of participatory notes.

PNs are derivative instruments issued by foreign institutional investors to overseas clients who want to invest in Indian securities, but do not want to register with SEBI, for reasons perfectly legitimate or even dubious.

The underlying asset could be shares, derivatives or debentures.

Till now, the restriction on Indians and NRIs from being beneficial owners was imposed by way of Frequently Asked Questions on the regulator’s website.

The move to include this in FPI regulations will give the restriction more legal sanctity.

Also, the move will help curb round-tripping of funds to evade taxes.

Often, money siphoned out of the country by inflating import bills and under-reporting export income is brought back through the stock market.

Foreign investors who invest in Indian through PNs are often fronts for Indian and NRI entities.

PNs are often onward issued, meaning, PNs issued to client A are then sold by A to the next client B.

The onward issuances - one or more - of PNs are done to create a layer to shield the actual beneficiary from the regulator's glare.

SEBI rules are clear if the PNs issued to a client A onward issued to another client B, the responsibility for identifying and the accountability for reporting the end beneficial owners rests entirely with the issuer, the FII.

But enforcing it is the biggest challenge for the regulator, given the magnitude of the foreign funds coming in through the P-note route.

At present, roughly USD 27 billion of FII holdings are through the P-note route.