Current Affairs Questions & Answers - Aug 09, 2017

1)   To achieve targets mentioned in the National Forest Policy, which tree plantation schemes have been implemented?

a. National Afforestation Scheme
b. National Program for A Green India
c. National Mission for a Green India
d. Both a and c
e. All the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both a and c

To achieve the targets mentioned in the National Forest Policy to maintain 33% forest and tree cover in the country the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEF&CC) is implementing two major afforestation/tree plantation schemes.

These include National Afforestation Programme (NAP) scheme and National Mission for a Green India (GIM).

While NAP is being implemented for afforestation of degraded forest lands, GIM aims at improving the quality of forest/increase in forest cover.

GIM also covers cross - sectoral activities on landscape basis.

An area of about 21 lakh ha has been approved for new afforestation with an investment of around INR 3700 crore under NAP since inception in 2000, till 2016-17.

Under GIM an amount of INR 174 crore has been released since 2011-12 to 2016-17 for preparatory and perspective plan.

The fund under Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA), interalia, is also used in plantation activity including compensatory afforestation to give a massive thrust to afforestation activity in the country.

An area of 1.46 lakh ha. under Item 51(a) and 9460.49 lakh seedlings to be planted under 51(b) have been fixed as total targets for the year 2017-18.

Tree Plantation/afforestation activities are taken up cross-sectorally by various departments, NGOs, civil society, corporate etc. under various Centrally Sponsored Schemes and also under different State Plan/Non Plan Schemes including externally aided projects involving large - scale participation of people and other social organizations.”

2)   Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation launched a third party survey report to track progress of the Swachh Bharat mission in rural India called ___________.

a. Swachh Survekshan Gramin 2017
b. Swachhata Survekshan Gramin 2017
c. Swachh Survekshan Nagrik Yojana 2017
d. Swachhata Survekshan Gramin Yojana 2017
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Swachh Survekshan Gramin 2017

As the Swachh Bharat Mission approaches the third anniversary of its launch by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation on Aug 8, 2017 launched a third party verification survey report.

This is to take stock of the progress already made by the Mission in rural India.

The Quality Council of India (QCI) has conducted a transparent third-party assessment of the present status of rural sanitation in all States and UTs, called Swachh Survekshan Gramin 2017.

Under the Swachh Survekshan Gramin 2017, QCI surveyed 1.4 lakh rural households across 4626 villages, and found the overall toilet coverage to be 62.45%.

At the time of the survey, i.e. May-June 2017, the Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) MIS reported the coverage to be 63.73%. The survey also observed that 91.29% of the people having access to a toilet, use it.

To encourage States and districts to improve their Sanitation coverage and Solid Liquid Waste Management (SLWM), the MDWS will also begin ranking all districts in India based on the data available on the SBM-G IMIS quarterly.

The ranking will be done based on parameters of Performance, Sustainability and Transparency, and the first ranking will be announced on 2nd October, 2017 for the quarter July-September 2017.

To instil healthy competition amongst districts, they will also be given awards based on this ranking on a quarterly basis. The formula for calculating these rankings will be:

Total score (100) = Performance (50) + Sustainability (25) + Transparency (25)

Further, in response to the Prime Minister’s call to the nation to Quit Filth, the Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) will celebrate the week leading up to the 70th Independence Day as “Khule Mein Shauch Se Azaadi” saptaah.

Highlights of this week are:

1. More than 24 States have prepared their Swachhta Action Plan for the week to reinforce their swachhta efforts by innovative methods and with community engagement.

2. On 12 August, 2017, MDWS and MoWR, RD & GR will jointly announce 24 Ganga Grams from five States, Uttarakhand (3), UP (10), Bihar (4), Jharkhand (5) and West Bengal (2) to make them Aadarsh Ganga Gram.

3. 30 SwachhtaRaths will be launched at Allahabad on August 12, 2017 in the presence of the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Union Minister of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation and Shri Tomar.

4. Swachhta Raths will also be launched in other parts of the country.

MDWS is planning various Swachhta events across the country from 25th September to 2nd October 2017.

During this week, National Swachhta Awards will be given to grass root level swachhta champions, district officers, Best Pakhwada Ministries, outstanding contributions by Ministries, PSU sponsors for Swachh Iconic Places and Swachhta Action Plan.

Over 4.54 crore household toilets have been constructed since the launch of the Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin. 2,20,104 villages, 160 districts and 5 States declared ODF.

Sanitation Coverage has increased from 39% in October 2016 to 66% in August 2017.

3)   Glaciers in which range are growing inspite of global warming due to a summer vortex of cold air?

a. Sahyadri
b. Vindhya
c. Anamalai
d. Karakoram
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Karakoram

A summer ‘vortex’ of cold air over the Karakoram, a large mountain range spanning the borders of India, Pakistan and China, is causing the glaciers in the region to grow in spite of global warming.

Researchers have identified a large scale circulation system - or vortex - centred over the Karakoram mountain range.

In winter, the vortex affects the temperature over the whole 2,000 kilometre mountain range, but in the summer the vortex contracts and has an effect only over the Karakoram and western Pamir, a mountain range in Central Asia.

This induces an anomalous cooling in summer, which is different to the warming seen over the rest of the Himalayas, researchers said.

This Karakoram vortex goes some way to explaining why the glaciers in this region are behaving differently to those in most other parts of the world, they said.

Most climate models suggest warming over the whole region in summer as well as in winter.

However, this study has shown that large-scale circulation is controlling regional variability in atmospheric temperatures, with recent cooling of summer temperatures.

This suggests that climate models do not reproduce this feature well.

Researchers said that it is not known whether climate change will affect this circulation system and what the effect of sudden shifts might be.

However, the circulation system is currently providing a dampening effect on global warming, reducing glacial melt in the Karakoram region and any change will have a significant effect on ice melt rates.

This would ultimately affect river flows in the region, they said.

Usually, glaciers oscillate between growth and retreat.

Snow falls on the peaks and gradually compacts and turns to ice while lower down the glaciers lose ice to melting and evaporation.

If snowfall equals snow-melt, the glacier is in equilibrium but global warming has tipped the balance so that most of the world’s glaciers are shrinking.

Acting like a counter-weighted temperature control, the unique summer interaction of the Karakoram vortex and the South Asian Monsoon causes temperatures in the Karakoram and Pamir to cool while those in the Central and Eastern Himalaya are warming, and vice versa.

Over recent decades, these vortex-monsoon interactions have resulted in stormier conditions over the Karakoram.

This vortex provides an important temperature control.

4)   Research shows Neanderthals split from another group called __________ 7, 44,000 years ago.

a. Denisovans
b. Denivosans
c. Homo Sapiens
d. Desinovans
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Denisovans

A new way to use DNA to peer into the history of humanity is rewriting what experts know about our long-extinct cousins, the Neanderthals, US researchers found on 7th Aug 2017.

Previous research has suggested that near the end of their existence some 40,000 years ago, only about 1,000 Neanderthals were left on Earth.

But the new study shows their population was far larger - likely numbering in the tens of thousands - though they existed in isolated groups across Europe.

The genetic clues include Neanderthal DNA that contains mutations that usually occur in small populations with little genetic diversity.

Also, Neanderthal remains - found in various locations - are genetically different from each other.

The idea is that there are these small, geographically isolated populations, like islands, that sometimes interact, but it’s a pain to move from island to island.

Using a new method to analyse DNA sequence data, researchers also found that Neanderthals split from another mysterious lineage, known as the Denisovans, about 7,44,000 years ago.

This is much earlier than any other estimation of the split.

After that, the global Neanderthal population grew to tens of thousands.

Very little is known about the Denisovans, sometimes described as the Eastern cousins of Neanderthals.

Only a few pieces of their remains - including some teeth and a pinkie bone - have ever been found.

Both Denisovans and Neanderthals mated with the ancestors of modern humans, who emerged from Africa about 60,000 years ago.

Researchers are not sure exactly why Neanderthals or Denisovans eventually died out, but it could have been due to harsh climate, or competition for scare resources with modern humans.

The study was based on comparing the genomes of four human populations: Modern Eurasians, modern Africans, Neanderthals and Denisovans.

This improved statistical method, called legofit, helped researchers estimate the percentage of Neanderthal genes flowing into modern Eurasian populations.

This they confirmed was about 2%.

The method revealed the date at which these ancestral populations diverged from each other, and their population sizes.

5)   Which three decade old central police organisation has been merged with BPRD?

Answer  Explanation 


The three-decade old National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) has been merged with another central police organisation - the BPRD by the government.

This was with an aim to improve efficiency of development works related to policing.

The Union home ministry on August 4 issued an order on the merger in order to improve administrative efficiency and optimal utilisation of resources.

The BPRD Director General (DG) will be the head of the merged new entity, where the NCRB Director, an Additional DG rank post will report to the former.

The NCRB was created in 1986 as the central police organisation to collect crime data, on various parameters, from across all the states of the country.

It is also implementing the ambitious crime and criminal tracking network (CCTNS).

The BPRD, created in 1970, is the national police organisation to study, research and develop on subjects and issues related to policing.

6)   Under ASFPA, which NE state was declared a disturbed area for one more month?

a. Assam
b. Meghalaya
c. Mizoram
d. Manipur
Answer  Explanation 


The Centre has declared entire Assam as a “disturbed” area under the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) for one more month.

This is after government cited various violent activities by insurgent groups ULFA, NDFB, and others.

The Union home ministry also declared Meghalaya’s border areas adjoining Assam, and three districts in Arunachal Pradesh as “disturbed” under the AFSPA for two more months with effect from August 3.

In separate gazette notifications, the home ministry said the entire Assam, has been declared “disturbed” under the AFSPA with effect from August 3 till August 31.

The ministry said the 20 km belt in Meghalaya bordering Assam will also continue to be a “disturbed area” under the AFSPA with effect from August 3 to September 30.

It has also declared as “disturbed” under the AFSPA three districts of Arunachal Pradesh - Tirap, Changlang and Longding - and areas falling within the jurisdiction of 14 police stations in nine other districts of the state with effect from August 4 to September 30.

The 14 police stations fall under the districts of Papumpare, West Siang, East Siang, Lower Dibang Valley, East Kameng, West Kameng, Namsai, Lohit district, Lower Subansiri in Arunachal Pradesh.

There were 75 incidents of violence in Assam in 2016 in which 33 people, including four security personnel, were killed and 14 others were abducted.

The violence were perpetrated in Assam by insurgent groups like ULFA, NDFB and others, the official said.

AFSPA has been continuing in Assam since November 1990.

There has been continuing violence perpetrated by NSCN(IM), NSCN(K), ULFA, NDFB, and others were key reasons for continuing with AFSPA in Arunachal Pradesh.

The AFSPA has been in force in the three Arunachal Pradesh districts of Tirap, Changlang and Longding since January, 2016.

Meghalaya too has been witnessing violence by ULFA, NDFB militants in the recent past.

7)   Who has been appointed the 45th CJI on Aug 8, 2017?

a. Dipak Misra
b. Khehar Singh
c. CP Thakur
d. GB Pattanaik
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Dipak Misra

The President on Aug 8, 2017 appointed the Supreme Court's most senior judge, Justice Dipak Misra, as the next Chief Justice of India.

He will succeed incumbent Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar to become the 45th CJI and will have a tenure of a little over a year.

Justice Misra will take oath on August 27 and will retire on October 2 next year.

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The soft-spoken Justice Misra grew in stature by acceding to Mumbai serial blasts condemned prisoner Yakub Memon's last minute dash for life by listing in open court his plea for stay of his hanging.

Memon was hanged on July 30.

Justice Misra-headed benches have upheld the constitutional validity of Sections 499 and 500 of IPC providing for criminal defamation proceedings as also the death penalty for convicts in the gruesome Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case.

As chairman of National Legal Services Authority, he has introduced several measures to provide legal aid to poor litigants.

Recently, he had ordered introduction of video conferencing at state legal services authorities to connect poor prisoners languishing in jails with advocates who would free services.

Justice Misra becomes the third person from Odisha to become CJI.

Earlier, his paternal uncle Justice Ranganath Misra (1990-91) and Justice G B Pattanaik (2002) had occupied the top post in judiciary.

Justice Dipak Misra: Know More

  • Born on October 3, 1953, Justice Misra's judgments reflect the literary and poetic skills which he appears to have inherited from his grandfather and celebrated Odia personality Pandit Godabarish Misra.
  • The literary figure had three sons - Raghunath Misra, Ranganath Misra and Loknath Misra, who was a renowned Congress leader and governor of Assam from 1991 to 1997.
  • Justice Misra enrolled as an advocate on February 14, 1977, and rose to top post after 40 years. He had practised in constitutional, civil, criminal, revenue, service and sales tax matters in Orissa HC.
  • He was appointed additional judge of Orissa HC on January 17, 1996 and transferred to MP HC on March 3, 1997

8)   What is the NABARD pilot project for digitisation of SHGs called?

a. e-Shakti
b. e-Samriddhi
c. e-Shanti
d. e-Samraksha
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: e-Shakti

e-Shakti is a pilot project of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) for digitisation of Self Help Groups (SHGs).

It was initiated to address certain concerns like improving the quality of book keeping of SHGs and to enable banks to take informed credit decisions about the group through a Management Information System (MIS).

The project covers 25 districts and 1,30,176 SHGs have been digitised as on 31st March, 2017.

As per information compiled by NABARD, about 69,696 SHGs of the SHGs which have been digitised are credit linked as on 31st July, 2017.

No SHG has been de-recognised on account of, or, after digitisation.

The digitisation project does not impact the profit/ loss position of the SHGs.

9)   How many biosphere reserves are there in the country?

a. 17
b. 18
c. 19
d. 20
Answer  Explanation 


Biosphere Reserve (BR) is an international designation by UNESCO for representative parts of natural and cultural landscapes extending over large area of terrestrial or coastal/ marine ecosystems or a combination thereof.

BRs are designated to deal with one of the most important questions of reconciling the conservation of biodiversity, the quest for economic and social development and maintenance of associated cultural values.

BRs are thus special environments for both people and the nature and are living examples of how human beings and nature can co-exist while respecting each other’s needs.

There are 18 Biosphere Reserves in the country.

The Biosphere Reserve Programme is guided by UNESCO Man and Biosphere (MAB) programme as India is a signatory to the landscape approach supported by MAB programme.

A scheme called Biosphere Reserve is being implemented by Government of India since 1986, in which financial assistance is given in 90:10 ratio to the North Eastern Region States and three Himalayan states.

It is in the ratio of 60:40 to other states for maintenance, improvement and development of certain items.

The State Government prepares the Management Action Plan which is approved and monitored by Central MAB Committee”.


1. Agasthyamala, Karnataka-Tamil Nadu-Kerala
2. Nilgiri, Tamil Nadu-Kerala
3. Gulf of Mannar, Tamil Nadu
4. Great Nicobar, Andaman & Nicobar Island
5. Seshachalam, Andhra Pradesh
6. Sundarban, West Bengal
7. Similipal, Odisha
8. Kachchh, Gujarat
9. Achanakmar-Amarkantak, Madhya Pradesh-Chattisgarh
10. Pachmarhi, Madhya Pradesh
11. Panna, Madhya Pradesh
12. Nokrek, Meghalaya
13. Dibru-Saikhowa, Assam
14. Manas, Assam
15. Dehang-Debang, Arunachal Pradesh
16. Khangchendzonga, Sikkim
17. Nanda Devi, Uttrakhand
18. Cold Desert, Himachal Pradesh

10)   How many states and union territories have imposed complete ban on manufacturer, stock sale and use of plastic carry bags?

a. 23
b. 21
c. 18
d. 17
Answer  Explanation 


As per the provisions of Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016, the generators of waste have been mandated to take steps to minimize generation of plastic waste, not to litter the plastic waste, ensure segregated storage of waste at source and handover segregated waste to local bodies or agencies authorised by the local bodies.

The Rules also mandate the responsibilities of local bodies, gram panchayats, waste generators, retailers and street vendors to manage the plastic waste.

The rules mandate the producers, importers and brand owners to work out modalities for waste collection system based on Extended Producer Responsibility.

In the country, 17 States / Union Territories have imposed complete ban on manufacture, stock, sale and use of plastic carry-bags, through directions/notifications and executive orders.

Further, use of plastic carry bags has been partially banned in some pilgrimage centres, tourist and historical places located in the States of Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Goa, Gujarat, Karnataka, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

The Government has notified Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016, which, inter-alia, regulate manufacture, sale, distribution and use of plastic carry bags including carry bags of compostable plastic, and plastic sheets for packaging or wrapping applications.

The use of carry bags made from conventional plastic with thickness less than 50 micron is prohibited.

The use of plastic for packaging gutkha, tobacco and pan masala is also prohibited.

There is however, no proposal to impose ban on the use of polythene bags completely throughout the country.

11)   NITI Aayog has partnered with which three states to improve healthcare delivery?

a. MP, Odisha and Jharkhand
b. UP, Assam and Karnataka
c. MP, Assam and Karnataka
d. UP, Odisha and Jharkhand
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: UP, Assam and Karnataka

In a major push to competitive, cooperative federalism, NITI Aayog on Aug 8, 2017 launched a partnership with three States each to radically transform their Health and Education sectors.

NITI Aayog has selected Uttar Pradesh, Assam, and Karnataka to improve healthcare delivery and key outcomes in these States.

In Education, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, and Jharkhand have been selected for support to better learning outcomes.

The six States have been chosen after a rigorous competitive process based on comprehensive metrics to determine potential for impact and likelihood of success.

States were called to, first, express intent of collaborating with NITI Aayog to better their Health and Education indices.

States then made presentations for each sector which was assessed by a committee comprised of senior members of NITI Aayog and Health and Education ministries.

The States highlighted the initiatives undertaken by them thus far, their willingness to accelerate improvement and justified why they should be selected for the institutional support being offered by NITI Aayog.

On thorough technical evaluation, the chosen States have committed to time-bound, governance reforms in both sectors.

A Program Management Unit to push for efficiency and efficacy in governance structures and service delivery will now be available in the six chosen States for a period of 30 months.

It is expected that these three years of focussed attention and support from the premier think tank will lead to a marked transformation and also provide a model for other States to replicate and adapt.

This three-way partnership between NITI, State Governments and a knowledge partner for each of the sectors is part of the Sustainable Action for Transforming Human Capital (SATH) initiative of NITI Aayog.

SATH by NITI Aayog: Know More

  • NITI Aayog has been working to foster co-operative federalism by ranking states through health, water, education, and agricultural indices.
  • However, SATH has been launched to go beyond ranking states and to handhold them in improving their social sector indicators.
  • SATH is a challenging and ambitious initiative as the baseline of various indicators and parameters of education and health in the States are in public domain.
  • It defines a new dimension for cooperative federalism, where NITI Aayog and its knowledge partner will actively aid implementation of their recommendations, in addition to just policy inputs.
  • All stakeholders will be under pressure from the day of signing of the MOU to initiate reforms or processes which will show improvement in education and learning outcomes.