Current Affairs Questions & Answers - Aug 17, 2017

1)   Scientists have developed an injectable tissue bandage smaller than a ____________ that can repair damaged hearts.

a. Postage stamp
b. Coin
c. Needle
d. Envelope
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Postage stamp

Scientists have developed an injectable tissue bandage smaller than a postage stamp that can repair damaged hearts.

Repairing heart tissue destroyed by a heart attack or medical condition with regenerative cells or tissues usually requires invasive open-heart surgery.

Researchers at the University of Toronto in Canada have developed a technique that lets them use a small needle to inject a repair patch, without the need to open up the chest cavity.

The AngioChip is a tiny patch of heart tissue with its own blood vessels and heart cells beating with a regular rhythm.

If an implant requires open-heart surgery, it’s not going to be widely available to patients.

2)   China and which SE Asian nation have signed pacts to boost ties in power, economic and energy sectors?

a. Nepal
b. Sri Lanka
c. Bangladesh
d. Myanmar
Answer  Explanation 


China and Nepal have signed three pacts to boost their ties further in power, energy and economic sectors.

The signed agreements covered oil and gas resources exploration, economic and technological cooperation and promotion of investment.

The agreements were signed after visiting Chinese Vice-Premier Wang Yang held discussions with Nepal's Deputy Ministers Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar and Krishna Bahadur Mahara.

1. The agreements covered three different areas

a. Economic and technological cooperation
b. Framework agreement on promotion of investment and economic cooperation
c. China-aid oil and gas resource survey project

2. The pacts also included a feasibility study for excavating natural gas and petroleum in mountain areas and plains of Terai region of the Himalayan country.

3. They will help make significant contributions in Nepal's socio-economic transformation.

4. Both countries also agreed to establish hydropower projects and transmission lines and take steps or technological development in Nepal, which is suffering from an acute shortage of electricity.

5. China also agreed to upgrade 114-kilometre Araniko highway, which is an old route connecting two countries, which was damaged and subsequently closed after the massive 2015 Nepal earthquake.

3)   Union Cabinet gave approval for expediting strategic disinvestment of which companies?

a. State owned
b. Public
c. Private
d. Both a and b
e. All the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both a and b

The Cabinet on Aug 16, 2017 decided to set up a high-powered committee of Union ministers, including Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, to expedite strategic disinvestment of state-owned companies.

The Cabinet gave its nod for setting up an Alternative Mechanism (AM) consisting of Finance Minister, Road Transport and Highways Minister, and Minister of Administrative Department, to decide on the matters relating to strategic disinvestment.

The government has budgeted to raise INR 72,500 crore through stake sale in PSUs.

This includes INR 46,500 crore from minority stake sale, INR 15,000 crore from strategic disinvestment and INR 11,000 crore from listing of PSU insurance companies.

4)   NPPA has issued a notification for capping prices of which medical tools?

a. Cardiac stents
b. Orthopaedic knee implants
c. Both a and b
d. Neither a nor b
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Both a and b

After giving relief to heart patients in February earlier this year by capping stent prices, this decision is likely to give relief to lakhs of patients suffering from old age and knee related problems.

Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers Ananth Kumar briefed the media on the price capping and said that Rs 1500 crore spent by patients will now be saved.

As per the NPPA notification, the standard and most widely used complete knee implant (cobalt chromium) has been capped at INR 54,720 + GST.

The price has been reduced by 65 per cent. Hospitals were, until now, charging upto INR 1,58,324.

Total knee implant of special metals like Titanium and oxidised Zirconium has been capped at INR 76,600 + GST.

Hence, there is a reduction in price by 69 per cent. Earlier, the hospitals were charging upto INR 2,49,251.

Highly flexible implants have been capped at INR 56,490 + GST, which has seen a 69 per cent reduction. Hospitals used to charge upto INR 1,81,728 for such implants.

Second knee implant surgery would cost INR 1,13,950 + GST, hence there has been 59 per cent reduction.

It used to cost INR 2,76,869 earlier.

The NPPA has made it clear that no healthcare institutions such as hospitals/nursing-homes/clinics performing orthopedic surgical procedures using knee implants shall solicit any patient to purchase knee implants from it, in case, the patient is interested in procuring such implant from any other third-party sources.

In case the manufacturer supplies/sells knee implants directly to the orthopedic healthcare institutions, without involvement of any distributor, then the maximum trade margin for hospitals/nursing homes/clinics shall be restricted at 16 per cent.

5)   What does MUSK stand for in the context of secondary and higher education cess?

a. Madhyamik and Uttar Shiksha Kosh
b. Madhyamik and Uchchtar Shiksha Kosh
c. Madhyamik and Unnati Shiksha Kosh
d. Madhyam and Uchchtar Shiksha Kosh
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Madhyamik and Uchchtar Shiksha Kosh

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has accorded its approval on Aug 16, 2017 for creation of a non-lapsable pool in the Public Account for secondary and higher, education known as "Madhyamik and Uchchtar Shiksha Kosh" (MUSK) into which all proceeds of "Secondary and Higher Education Cess" will be credited.

The funds arising from the MUSK would be utilized for schemes in the education sector which would be available for the benefit of students of secondary and higher education, all over the country.

6)   Who has been appointed as the IBBI ED with effect from Aug 16, 2017?

a. Mamta Singh
b. Mamta Seth
c. Mamta Suri
d. Mamta Singhania
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Mamta Suri

Dr. (Ms.) Mamta Suri took charge as Executive Director, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) in New Delhi on 16th Aug 2017.

Before joining IBBI, Dr. Suri was serving as Chief General Manager, Insurance Regulatory Development Authority of India.

Dr. Suri has obtained her Ph. D. in Finance from University of Delhi and M. Insurance Risk and Management from City University, London.

Dr. Suri is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) from the Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts of India, and she has completed her graduation in law.

She has also received Honorary membership for High Scholastic Achievement from USA.

7)   A Grant Agreement from the Global Environment Facility of which bank was signed by Ministry of Finance?

a. World Bank
b. New Development Bank
c. Asian Development Bank
d. Standard Chartered
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: World Bank

A Grant Agreement from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) of the World Bank of USD 24.64 million for “Ecosystem Service Improvement Project” was signed on 16th Aug 2017 by the Ministry of Finance on behalf of the Government of India and the World Bank.

The size of Project is USD 24.64 million which entirely will be financed by the World Bank out of its GEF Trust Fund.

The project’s duration is 05 years.

Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) will implement the Project in the States of Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh through Indian Council of Forestry Research & Education under the National Mission for Green India.

The objective of the Project is to strengthen the institutional capacity of the Departments of Forestry and Community Organisations to enhance forest ecosystem services and improve the livelihoods of forest dependent communities in Central Indian Highlands.

8)   The New Metro Rail Policy approved on 16th Aug 2017 by the cabinet seeks which of the following?

a. Realisation of growing metro rail aspirations of cities in a responsible manner
b. Opening a window for private investments across a range of metro operations
c. Making PPP component mandatory for availing central assistance for new metro projects.
d. All of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: All of the above

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on Aug 16, 2017 approved a new Metro Rail Policy that seeks to enable realization of growing metro rail aspirations of a large number of cities but in a responsible manner.

The policy opens a big window for private investments across a range of metro operations making PPP component mandatory for availing central assistance for new metro projects.

Private investment and other innovative forms of financing of metro projects have been made compulsory to meet the huge resource demand for capital intensive high capacity metro projects.

The policy envisages private sector participation in O & M of metro services in different ways. These include:

1.Cost plus fee contract: Private operator is paid a monthly/annual payment for O&M of system. This can have a fixed and variable component depending on the quality of service. Operational and revenue risk is borne by the owner.

2. Gross Cost Contract: Private operator is paid a fixed sum for the duration of the contract. Operator to bear the O&M risk while the owner bears the revenue risk.

3. Net Cost Contract: Operator collects the complete revenue generated for the services provided. If revenue generation is below the O&M cost, the owner may agree to compensate.

Metro Projects at Present

  • At present, metro projects with a total length of 370 kms are operational in 8 cities viz., Delhi (217 kms), Bengaluru (42.30 kms), Kolkata (27.39 kms), Chennai (27.36 kms), Kochi (13.30 kms), Mumbai (Metro Line 1-11.40 km, Mono Rail Phase 1-9.0 km), Jaipur-9.00 kms and Gurugram (Rapid Metro-1.60 km).
  • Metro Projects with a total length of 537 kms are in progress in 13 cities including the eight mentioned above. New cities acquiring metro services are; Hyderabad (71 kms), Nagpur (38 kms), Ahmedabad (36 kms), Pune (31.25 kms) and Lucknow (23 kms).
  • Metro projects with a total length of 595 kms in 13 cities including 10 new cities are at various stages of planning and appraisal.
  • These are; Delhi Metro Phase IV- 103.93 km, Delhi & NCR-21.10 km, Vijayawada-26.03 km, Visakhapatnam-42.55 km, Bhopal-27.87 km, Indore-31.55 km, Kochi Metro Phase II-11.20 km, Greater Chandigarh Region Metro Project-37.56 km, Patna-27.88 km, Guwahati-61 km, Varanasi-29.24 km, Thiruvananthapuram & Kozhikode (Light Rail Transport)-35.12 km and Chennai Phase II-107.50 km.

9)   Which region has the modern crisp apple originated from?

a. China
b. Mongolia
c. Uzbekistan
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: None of the above

The modern crisp apple originated in a mountainous region of Kazakhstan, according to a study which reveals a surprising two-way journey on the Silk Road for one of the world’s most popular fruit.

As travellers journeyed east and west along the Silk Road, they brought with them apple seeds from the choicest fruit they took from wild trees, researchers said.

This early selection would eventually lead to the 7,500 varieties of apple that exist today

Researchers sequenced and compared the genomes of 117 diverse apple accessions, including Malus domestica and 23 wild species from North America, Europe, and east and central Asia.

They narrowed down the origin of the domesticated apple from very broad central Asia to Kazakhstan area west of Tian Shan Mountain.

Researchers discovered that the first domesticated apple had travelled to the east, hybridising with local wild apples along the way, yielding the ancestors of soft, dessert apples cultivated in China today.

Researchers also found that as the apple travelled west along the Silk Road, trees grew from dropped seeds and crossed with other wild apple varieties, including the sour European crabapple (Malus sylvestris).

They found that Malus sylvestris has contributed so extensively to the apple’s genome that the modern apple is actually more similar to the sour crabapple than to its Kazakhstan ancestor, Malus sieversii.

Kazakhstan: Know More

  • Kazakhstan, a Central Asian country and former Soviet republic, extends from the Caspian Sea in the west to the Altai Mountains at its eastern border with China and Russia.
  • Its largest metropolis, Almaty, is a long-standing trading hub whose landmarks include Ascension Cathedral, a Tsarist-era Russian Orthodox church, and the Central State Museum of Kazakhstan, displaying thousands of Kazakh artefacts.
  • Capital: Astana
  • Currency: Kazakhstani tenge
  • Official languages: Kazakh, Russian