Current Affairs Questions & Answers - Apr 24, 2017

1)   How much can GST boost India's GDP growth by, according to the US Fed Reserve?

a. 4.4 percent
b. 4.3 percent
c. 4.2 percent
d. 4.1 percent
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: 4.2 percent

The goods and services tax (GST) can boost India's GDP growth by up to 4.2 per cent – double the previous estimate – as lower taxes on manufactured goods will bump up output and make products cheaper, according to the US Fed Reserve.

GST could reduce inefficiencies in the production process while eliminating the current compounding effect of different central and state levies.

Termed the biggest tax reform since Independence, GST will unify at least 10 indirect taxes into one to be collected at state and central levels.

In the International Finance Discussion Paper (IFDP), the US Fed researchers said GST is an inclusive policy that is also expected to bring down overall domestic and international trade barriers.

GST is expected to raise overall Indian welfare and is projected to be an inclusive policy in that it would be welfare improving for all Indian states.

The Fed research note stated that assuming the aggregate weighted GST rate is 16 per cent, there would be positive impact on real GDP of 4.2 per cent.

The model suggests that GST would lead to real GDP gains of 4.2 per cent under the baseline assumptions, driven by a surge in manufacturing output.

GST would raise overall welfare by 5.3 per cent in India.

Under the existing structure, at each point of sale, additional taxes are applied to the after-tax value of each goods and services.

The main purpose for GST is to eliminate this compounding effect by fixing the final tax rate, where goods will fall into one of the four rate categories of 5, 12, 18, and 28 per cent.

The unified structure is currently expected to be rolled out in July.

GST's impact on GDP growth as estimated by Fed economists is much higher than the 1-2 per cent as expected by the Indian government.

IMF, World Bank Views on GST

  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) had earlier this year said GST could help raise India's medium-term GDP growth to over 8 per cent.
  • This could create a single national market for enhancing efficiency of movement of goods and services.
  • Even the World Bank has said a smooth implementation of GST could prove to be a significant push to economic activity as growth could pick up to 7.2 per cent in 2017-18.
  • It will move further to 7.5 per cent in 2018-19.

2)   When was Britain's longest energy period without coal observed?

a. May 2016
b. April 2017
c. June 2014
d. Both a and b
e. All of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both a and b

The UK went a full day without using coal to generate electricity for the first time since the Industrial Revolution, according to the National Grid.

The energy provider said the lack of coal usage was a "watershed" moment.

Britain's longest continuous energy period without coal until now was 19 hours - first achieved last May, and again in April 2017.

The government plans to phase out Britain's last plants by 2025 in order to cut carbon emissions.

The 21st April blackout is thought to be the first time the nation has not used coal to generate electricity since the world's first centralised public coal-fired generator opened in 1882, at Holborn Viaduct in London.

To have the first working day without coal since the start of the industrial revolution is a watershed moment in how the UK energy system is changing.

The UK benefits from highly diverse and flexible sources of electricity.

The energy mix continues to change and National Grid adapts system operation to embrace these change.

According to the National Grid, around half of British energy on Friday came from natural gas, with about a quarter coming from nuclear plants.

Wind, biomass, and imported energy were also used.

The last deep coal mine in the UK, Kellingley Colliery in North Yorkshire, closed in December 2015, bringing to an end centuries of deep coal mining in Britain.

National Grid: Know More

  • The National Grid is the high-voltage electric power transmission network in Great Britain.
  • It is connecting power stations and major substations.
  • It works for ensuring that electricity generated anywhere in England, Scotland and Wales can be used to satisfy demand elsewhere.
  • The UK grid is connected as a wide area synchronous grid nominally running at 50 hertz.
  • There are also undersea interconnections to:
    1. Northern France (HVDC Cross-Channel),
    2. Northern Ireland (HVDC Moyle),
    3. The Isle of Man (Isle of Man to England Interconnector),
    4. The Netherlands (BritNed) and
    5. The Republic of Ireland (EirGrid).

3)   What is the Connshing Syndrome associated with?

a. Overproduction of adolsterone
b. High levels of stress hormone cortisol
c. Hypertension in 10% of the cases
d. All of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: All of the above

Scientists have discovered a new cause of high blood pressure which could lead to better ways of managing the disorder.

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, often goes unnoticed but if left untreated can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.

However, it is known that in up to 10 per cent of hypertensive patients the overproduction of the adrenal hormone aldosterone, a condition known as primary aldosteronism or Conn syndrome, is the cause of disease.

Researchers found that a large number of patients with Conn syndrome do not only overproduce aldosterone but also the stress hormone cortisol.

Scientists have decided to name this new cause of hypertension–the combined overproduction of aldosterone and cortisol–as Connshing syndrome.

At present, many Conn syndrome patients are treated with drugs that are directed against the adverse effects of aldosterone.

However, this leaves the cortisol excess untreated, researchers said.

These previous studies had found increased rates of type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and depression in Conn patients–problems typically caused by overproduction of cortisol, also termed Cushing syndrome, and not by too much aldosterone.

Patients will now need to undergo more detailed assessment to clarify whether they suffer from Conn or Connshing syndrome.

4)   Which company of the Tesla Group is working to link the human brain with a machine interface by creating micron sized devices?

a. Neuralink Corp
b. Solar City
c. Tesla Energy
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Neuralink Corp

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk's Neuralink Corp is working to link the human brain with a machine interface by creating micron-sized devices.

Neuralink is aiming to bring to the market a product that helps with certain severe brain injuries due to stroke, cancer lesion etc, in about four years.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning will create computers so sophisticated and godlike that humans will need to implant "neural laces" in their brains to keep up.

There are a bunch of concepts in your head that then your brain has to try to compress into this incredibly low data rate called speech or typing.

If one has two brain interfaces, one could actually do an uncompressed direct conceptual communication with another person.

The technology could take about eight to 10 years to become usable by people with no disability, which would depend heavily on regulatory approval timing and how well the devices work on people with disabilities.

Tesla: Know More

  • Industry: Automotive/Energy Storage
  • Founded: July 1, 2003; (as Tesla Motors)Delaware, U.S.
  • Founders: Elon Musk, JB Straubel, Martin Eberhard, Marc Tarpenning and Ian Wright
  • Headquarters: Palo Alto, California, U.S.
  • Area served: Worldwide

5)   Which material is now being used to print 3D objects that can be used to make small computer optical components?

a. Glass
b. Steel
c. Graphene
d. Polymers
Answer  Explanation 


Scientists have developed a novel way to 3D-print objects using glass, an advance that could be used to make very small optical components for complex computers.

Researchers mixed nanoparticles of high-purity quartz glass and a small quantity of liquid polymer and allowed the mixture to be cured by light at specific points — by means of stereolithography.

The 3D-printed glass can be used for many applications, including data technology.

The next plus one generation of computers will use light, which requires complicated processor structures, 3D technology could be used, for instance, to make small, complex structures out of a large number of very small optical components of different orientations.

What Is Stereolithography?

  • Stereolithography is a form of 3D-printing technology.
  • It is used for creating models, prototypes, patterns and production parts in a layer by layer fashion
  • It uses photo-polymerisation, a process by which light causes chains of molecules to link, forming polymers.
  • The material, which remains a liquid, is washed out in a solvent bath, leaving only the desired cured structure.
  • The polymer still mixed in this glass structure is subsequently removed by heating.
  • A variety of 3D-printing techniques available so far have been used on polymers or metals, but rarely on glass.
  • Where glass was processed into structures, for instance by melting and application by means of a nozzle, the surface turned out to be very rough, the material was porous and contained voids.
  • Researchers presented a new method, an innovation in materials processing, in which the material of the piece manufactured is high-purity quartz glass with the respective chemical and physical properties.
  • The glass structures show resolutions in the range of a few micrometres — one micrometre corresponding to one thousandth of a millimetre.
  • However, the structures may have dimensions in the range of a few centimetres, researchers said.

6)   Which new mega app incorporates railway apps and is set for release in June 2017?

a. HindRail
b. MeriRail
c. Erail
d. MyRail
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: HindRail

In June, train travel- related queries will be answered through one mega application, likely to be named HindRail, which incorporates in it most of the existing railways' apps.

The Indian Railways is developing the new app to work as a full-fledged inquiry system providing information on arrivals, departures, delays, cancellations, platform number, running status and berth availability.

Besides, it will also offer booking of taxis, porter services, retiring rooms, hotels, tour packages, e-catering and other travel-related needs.

IR will offer all these services on a revenue- sharing model with the service providers.

Thus, the app will serve as a revenue-earning platform for the public transporter and is slated to have a business potential INR 100 crore every year.

The new app will be launched in June and it will not only give you information, you can also track trains through it.

Currently, there are several apps operated by the Indian Railways which provide various kinds of services. These include the CMS App for complaint management system.

The National Train Enquiry System (NTES) app provides inquiry facility. There are apps for booking reserved and unreserved tickets. There is another app managed by the IRCTC for the e-catering services.

All these will be integrated in the proposed app.

Other suggested names were MeriRail, ERail, MyRail and Rail Anubhuti.

7)   Which was the first country to release aromatic stamps in 1973?

a. India
b. Bhutan
c. Maldives
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Bhutan

At an event organised by the India Post, commerce and industry minister Nirmala Seetharaman and telecom minister Manoj Sinha released the coffee scented stamps at the General Post Office in Bengaluru on 23rd April, 2017.

The stamps, which are being printed at the India Security Press, will be priced at INR 100. Already, one lakh stamps have been printed for sale to collectors.

These stamps will be made available at the Philately Bureau, Bangalore General Post Office, and all other head post offices.

Bhutan was the first country to release aromatic stamps in 1973.

New Zealand, Thailand and Switzerland joined in later.

In 2006, India introduced its first aromatic stamp, with INR 15 sandalwood-scented stamp where 30 lakh of these sold out within two weeks.

In 2007, rose-scented stamps were released in four varieties of flower namely Jawahar, Neelam, Delhi Princess and Bhim, each priced at INR 5 and a jasmine fragrance in 2008.

8)   Which language has MEA made the provision to enable people to apply online for passports in?

a. Bengali
b. Konkani
c. Hindi
d. Urdu
Answer  Explanation 


The Ministry of External Affairs has made a provision enabling people to apply online for passports in Hindi.

The move comes after President Pranab Mukherjee recently accepted recommendations made in this regard by the Committee of Parliament on Official Language via its ninth report.

The report was submitted in 2011.

The panel had suggested that bilingual forms should be made available by all passport offices and forms filled in Hindi should also be accepted.

It had recommended that entries should also be made in Hindi in all passports being issued.

These recommendations have been accepted by the president recently, as per an official order.

People can download the application form available in Hindi, fill it in and upload it while applying for the passport.

The printout of filled-in form will not be accepted by 'Passport Seva Kendra' and Regional Passport Offices.

The panel on the official language had also recommended that information regarding passport and visa should be made available in Hindi on the official website of the ministry.

The recommendation that the facility of working in Hindi is to be ensured on computers being used in passport offices, and that the work on computers should be done mainly in Hindi, has also been accepted.

The president has given approval for creation of posts of Hindi Officer in subordinate offices or embassies abroad.

9)   Which NC leader was also the former speaker of the J&K legislative assembly?

a. Ali Mohammad Naik
b. Ghulam Mahmood Shah
c. Mufti Mohammad Sayeed
d. Omar Abdullah
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Ali Mohammad Naik

Senior National Conference (NC) leader and former speaker of Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly, Ali Mohammad Naik, passed away at ages 87.

Naik, a resident of Tral in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district, was suffering from chest disease and breathed his last while being taken to a hospital on 22nd April 2017.

He had served as general secretary of Plebiscite Front under NC founder and former chief minister Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah.

The Plebiscite Front advocated holding of a referendum in the state for deciding its future.

In 1967, Naik left the Plebiscite Front and contested assembly elections from Tral constituency.

He represented the constituency till 1977 and was also elected the deputy speaker of the Assembly in 1972.

He was one of the many NC leaders and MLAs who toppled the Farooq Abdullah government in 1984 by allying with Ghulam Mohammad Shah and was made the revenue minister in Shah’s cabinet.

However, he later returned to the NC and was elected speaker of the Assembly in 1996.

In 1999, he defeated former chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed in Lok Sabha elections from Anantnag constituency of South Kashmir.

Naik was badly injured in a militant attack in 2006. He is survived by two sons.

National Conference: Know More

  • Headquarters: Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India
  • Founder: Sheikh Abdullah
  • Founded: 11 June 1939
  • Ideology: Re-unification of Kashmir, Moderate separatism, Pro-India
  • Alliance: Indian National Congress (2008-2014)
  • Seats in Lok Sabha: 1 / 545(2017)
  • Seats in Rajya Sabha: 0 / 245(2017)

10)   Which international bank has approved a USD 375 million loan for capacity augmentation of NW-1?

a. ADB
b. NDB
d. World Bank
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: World Bank

The World Bank has approved a loan of $375 million (around Rs 2,421 crore) for capacity augmentation of National Waterway-1 (NW-1) between Haldia in West Bengal and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh on the river Ganga under the Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP).

The project would enable commercial navigation of vessels of 1,500-2,000 deadweight tonnes capacity along a 1,390-km stretch.

Jal Marg Vikas Project is a project on the river Ganga that envisages the development of waterway between Allahabad and Haldia that will cover a distance of 1620 km.

It aims to develop a fairway with three metres depth to enable commercial navigation of at least 1500 tonne vessels on the river.

The project includes the development of fairway, multi-modal terminals, strengthening of open river navigation technique, conservancy works, modern River Information System (RIS) etc.

As a part of the project, Inland Waterways Authority of India will set up a River Information Service System on NW-1, the first of its kind in India.

Besides, three multi-modal terminals, one each at Varanasi, Sahibganj (Jharkhand), Haldia; and inter-modal terminals at Kalughat and Ghazipur; a navigation lock at Farakka; and five Roll on-Roll off (Ro-Ro) terminals would be constructed.

Inland Waterways Authority of India: Know More

  • Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) is the statutory body in charge of the waterways in India. Its headquarters are in Noida, UP.
  • Its main function is to build the necessary infrastructure in the inland waterways, surveying the economic feasibility of new projects and also carrying out administration and regulation.
River Information system (RIS): Know More
  • RIS is a blend of modern tracking equipment comprising of hardware and software designed to optimise transport and traffic processes in inland water navigation.
  • The system has the capacity to enhance swift electronic data transfer between mobile vessels and Base stations through advance and real-time exchange of information.
  • It enables safe and effective inland water transport by avoiding risks such as Ship-to-Ship collisions, Ship-Bridge collisions, Groundings.
  • IWAI is implementing RIS in India.