Current Affairs Questions & Answers - Dec 21, 2016

1)   What is a dead zone?

a. Area containing little or no water
b. Area containing little or no light
c. Area containing little or no oxygen
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Area containing little or no oxygen

Researchers have discovered a huge dead zone in the Bay of Bengal. The area, estimated at 60,000 square km, reported to contain little or no oxygen.

The area is hosting microorganisms which remove a large amount of nitrogen from the ocean.

Though dead zones were found in other oceanic bodies as well, this also marks the first time there is indication of nitrogen loss.

Researchers from the CSIR National Institute of Oceanography reported though some amount of oxygen does exist in the Bay of Bengal, the concentrations are lesser than could be detected by standard techniques.

Oxygen levels are stated to be around 10000 times lesser than the amount discovered in air saturated surface waters.

Microbes present in the Bay of Bengal were capable of removing the nitrogen from the water, but traces of oxygen stop them from doing so.

Though there is some evidence of nitrogen removing microorganisms exist in well known dead zones as well, they are reported to work at a slower, more gradual rate.

Wajih Naqvi, the former director of the National Institute of Oceanography said that if the last amount of oxygen is removed from the ocean, then the bay would become the cause of nitrogen removal from oceans across the world.

Complete removal of nitrogen could affect the nitrogen balance in marine life and the rate of their productivity.

Dead zones are created when excess nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorous) result in the overgrowth of algae which later decomposes in the water consuming excess oxygen, lowering the supply available to marine life.

Global warming triggered by climate change will expand the dead zones.

It is not clear whether climate change would lead to removal of all oxygen from the bay.

What Are Dead Zones?

  • Large areas in the ocean with low oxygen concentration(hypoxic) in the lower part.
  • Marine life in such areas suffocates and dies or moves away.
  • Dead zones can occur due to natural or manmade reasons.
  • Main cause of zones created by humans is nutrient pollution.

  • Other dead zones:

  • Baltic sea bottom.
  • Gulf of Mexico
  • North, South America west coasts
  • Namibia coast
  • Indian western coast

2)   Uttarakhand has seen the addition of a statue of which famous Tamil poet and philosopher?

a. Bharatidasan
b. TK Doraiswamy
c. Vaali
d. Thiruvalluvar
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Thiruvalluvar

Uttarakhand CM Harish Rawat on 19th Dec 2016 unveiled the statue of renowned Tamil philosopher and poet Thiruvalluvar in Haridwar.

Thiruvalluvar is a renowned poet who lived between 3rd and 1st century BC.

Thiruvalluvar is a celebrated Tamil poet who contributed a work on ethics called Thirukural, in Tamil Literature. It is one of the most revered ancient works in the Tamil language.

He was born either in Thiru Mylai (Mylapore) Chennai in Tamil Nadu or in Thirunainar Kuruchi, a village in Tamil Nadu’s Kanyakumari district.

Tamil poet Mamulanar of the Sangam period mentioned that Thiruvalluvar was the greatest Tamil scholar.

The first mention of the name Thiruvalluvar was found in 10th century text called Thriruvalluvarmalai. He is believed to have been a weaver and the house he lived in is now a temple.

There is a 133 foot tall statue of the celebrated poet in the southernmost tip of the Indian subcontinent, Kanyakumari.

There is also a statue of the poet at Russell Square in London.

The statue of the celebrated poet was to be unveiled in June 2016, but was deferred as local ascetics objected to it being installed near Har ki Pauri on the banks of the river Ganges. Project was opposed by Ganga Sabha and Akhil Bharatiya Teerth Purohit Mahasabha.

The opposition resulted in a decision in consultation with the district administration to install the statue near Shankaracharya Chowk, which also has a statue of Adi Shankaracharya.

Know More About Thirukural

  • 1330 couplets or kurals dealing with virtue
  • Originally published: 1812
  • Author: Thiruvalluvar
  • Genre: Poetry
  • Country: India
  • Published in English: 1840
  • Subjects: Ethics, Morality

3)   UNSC on 19th Dec 2016 voted to deploy US observers to which city?

a. Aleppo
b. Damascus
c. Palmyra
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Aleppo

United Nations Security Council on 19th Dec 2016 voted to deploy UN observers to Syrian city Aleppo for monitoring evacuations and reporting on the wellbeing of civilians.

The council unanimously adopted a French drafted resolution 2328 in 2016 marking the first show of unity amidst world powers on this issue.

This measure ensures that UN will be carrying out neutral monitoring and direct observation on evacuations from eastern Aleppo and other districts of the city.

The observers will take note of efforts to carry out evacuations of fighters and civilians from Aleppo.

Evacuations must be considered in consonance with international humanitarian principles and laws.

The observers will also ensure safe passage of civilians from eastern districts of Aleppo under the UN monitoring and coordination.

All parties have been called to ensure safe and immediate passage of the UN to ensure humanitarian assistance reaches people through the most direct route.

Secretary General must take steps to make arrangements to permit the observation by the UN of the well being of civilians.

Secretary General will report to the UNSC on the implementation of the resolution within 5 days of the resolution adoption.

Strikes in Aleppo

  • Aleppo is the largest city in Syria.
  • It saw major military confrontation between Syrian opposition in cooperation with Army of Conquest and the Syrian Armed Forces of the Syrian government.
  • This is known as the Battle of Aleppo which began on 19th July 2012. It is part of the ongoing Syrian Civil War
  • Syrian Armed forces of the Syrian government are supported by Hezbollah and Shiite militias and Russia.
  • Army of Conquest includes Al Nusra Front, formerly the Al Qaeda branch of Syria.
  • Large scale devastation of the battle has called combatants to name it the mother of battles or Syria’s Stalingrad.
  • Battle caused catastrophic destruction to the Old City of Aleppo, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • This is one of the longest sieges in modern warfare.
  • Battle has left 31,000 people dead.
  • Overall war casualties estimated at 400,000.

4)   Madras HC banned the functioning of which courts without authorisation from 19th Dec 2016?

a. Sharia
b. Shia
c. Sunni
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Sharia

Madras HC on 19th Dec 2016 banned the unauthorised functioning of Sharia courts in Tamil Nadu.

The ruling came after a petition filed by 29-year-old Abdul Rahman who alleged he had been forced to divorce his wife by one such court.

Bench ordered a ban on all such courts functioning in an non authorised manner on the premises of mosques in the city.

Bench also stated religious places are only meant for religious purposes and asked the state government to ensure such courts do not function.

Bench also demanded status report from the police within 4 weeks.

Court at the Makka Masjid Shariat Council on Mount Road Chennai mandated on marriage and passed divorce orders much like a regular court.

According to A Sirajudddin, Rahman’s lawyer, the plaintiff approached the Sharia Court to resolve his marital issues and reunite with his wife.

However, the court forced him to sign a consent letter for talaq and pronounced talaq on his behalf, showing the letter as a proof of his consent.

What is Sharia Court?

  • It follows Sharia law governing members of Islamic faith worldwide.
  • Ruling is religiously binding on all believers.
  • Courts cover personal and public matters such as: Crime, Politics, Marriage contracts, Prayer, Fasting, Trade regulations, Religious prescriptions, and Hygiene.

5)   Union Government on 17th Dec 2016 formed a high level task force to look into which water treaty?

a. Indus
b. Sutlej
c. Jhelum
d. Beas
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques


Union Government on 17th Dec 2016 formed a high level inter-ministerial task force to look into important aspects of the Indus Water Treaty/IWT with Pakistan.

This task force will be headed by PM Narendra Modi’s Principal Secretary Nripendra Mishra.

Other members of the team include NSA Ajist Doval, Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar and Secretaries in Ministries of Finance, Environment, Power and Water Resource.

Chief Secretaries of J&K and Punjab will be part of the task force.

J&K and Punjab are the states from where the six Indus river systems flow.

Committee was formed following the review meeting in Sept 2016 on the 56-year old distribution pact with Pakistan.

Meeting was held to utilise maximum water of Pak controlled rivers including Jhelum.

Pakistan in Sept 2016 approached the World Bank, saying the Kishenganga project was not in line with the criteria laid down under Indus Water Treaty.

After this, the World Bank decided to send an expert to discuss the Kishenganga and Ratle projects constructed in J&K.

World Bank is also a member of the Indus Waters Treaty signed between India and Pakistan in 1960.

This has a role in the process of resolution of differences and disputes.

Indus Waters Treaty

  • Water distribution treaty between India and Pakistan brokered by WB(IBRD).
  • Signed on: Sept 19, 1960.
  • Signatories: PM Jawaharlal Nehru and President Ayub Khan
  • Agreement holds control of three eastern rivers is with India, while three western rivers is Pakistan.
  • Three eastern rivers are Ravi, Beas and Sutlej.
  • Three western rivers are Indus, Chenab and Jhelum.
  • As per the provisions in the treaty, India can use only 20% of the total water carried by the Indus river.

6)   President Hassan Rouhani unveiled the Charter on Citizens Rights. What is this charter about?

a. Restricting powers of state agencies with respect to citizen civil and political rights
b. Guarantees rights such as right to fair trial, freedom of speech and movement.
c. Both of the above
d. Neither of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both of the above

Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani on 19th Dec 2016 launched the landmark Charter on Citizens’s Rights in Tehran.

Charter was unveiled to combat accusations of Western nations about ongoing human rights violations including brutal practices such as torture and violence against women and minorities, public executions and more.

The charter is aimed at limiting the power of State agencies through the citizen’s civil and political rights.

Charter guarantees a number of rights such as right to fair trial, freedom of speech and movement.

Charter provides for equality of law and non discrimination on the basis of religion and nationality.

All rights are provided in the post Islamic revolution constitution of 1979. But this marks the first time a clear list was provided by the authorities.

Since the 1979 Islamic revolution, these powerful institutions are in the hands of conservatives not answerable to the Iranian president.

Hardliners argue that the priority is to protect the revolution against dissenters and outside interference.

Hassan Rouhani: Know More

  • 7th President of the Islamic Republic of Iran
  • Assumed office on Aug 3, 2013.
  • Member of Iran’s Assembly of Experts since 1999.
  • Member of the Expediency Council since 1991.
  • Member of the Supreme National Security Council since 1989.
  • Listed among TIME 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2013.

7)   Himachal Pradesh has achieved 100% Aadhaar saturation. Other states that have done so include?

a. Delhi
b. Telangana
c. Haryana
d. All of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: All of the above

Himachal Pradesh has achieved 100 percent Aadhaar saturation based on population data collected till 2015 in the state.

HP is the sixth state after Delhi, Telangana, Haryana, Punjab and Chandigarh to attain saturation.

HP has distributed 780 computer tablets among anganwadi workers to cover children between 0-5 years under Aadhaar while 250 tablets will be deployed at health institutions to cover new born babies to maintain saturation.

As biometric upgradation is mandatory after 5 and 15 years of age, the state made 240 permanent enrolment centres operational.

Meanwhile the Chandigarh regional office of the Unique Identification Authority of India has become the first RO in the country t o receive 100 percent Aadhaar saturation based on region comprising unjam, Haryana, Chandigarh and HP.

Haryana achieved saturation on September 26 followed by Punjab on October 17, Chandigarh on November 29 and Himachal Pradesh on December 8, 2016.

There are 8 ROs in the country to look after Aadhaar related activities. These are Chandigarh, Delhi, Lucknow, Ranchi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Guwahati.

Along with the northern region, Delhi and Telangana have become the other two states where 100 percent Aadhaar generation was made against estimated population of 2015.

Aadhaar-Linked Birth Registration (ALBR) has been launched in Haryana, Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh.

Under this scheme, staff members of hospitals are trained and certified to work as Aadhaar operators. Tablets are deployed in government as well as private hospitals to cover all newborn babies.

For newborns, biometric update will be done on attaining the age of 5 years and 15 years.

The states and UTs were encouraged to procure their own Aadhaar Enrolment kits (ECMP Kit) & tablets which helped them to establish Permanent Enrolment Centres in the region.

475 kits and 890 tablets were obtained by Haryana, 165 kits, 50 biometric kits and 800 tablets by Himachal Pradesh, 8 kits and 33 tablets by UT Chandigarh.

8)   How many horns does the Sumatran rhino have?

a. 1
b. 2
c. 3
d. 4
Answer  Explanation 


The Sumatran rhino is one of the rarest large mammals on the planet & there are no more than 100 left on the entire planet.

A special breeding program at Way Kambas National Park in East Sumatra is trying to save these critically endangered species from disappearing forever,

Sumatran rhinos are the smallest of all rhinos. These are the only Asian variety with two horns.

Unlike their counterparts in Africa, they are covered in reddish brown fur called hairy rhino.

Their woolly covering fades to black or disappears almost entirely over their lifetimes, which span 35 to 40 years.

They had inhabited vast, dense forests of Sumatra, Borneo and Malaysia but land-clearing and poaching have devastated their numbers.

In the year 2015, the species was declared extinct in the wild in Malaysia.

Species comprised just tiny herds of two to five rhinos scattered across Sumatra and Indonesian Borneo.

36 wild rhinos have been reared at Way Kambas.

Armed rhino protection units patrol the habitat, disabling snares and identifying authorities of intruders and suspicious activity.

Sumatran rhinos are notoriously difficult to breed in captivity. They are solitary by nature and often clash upon interaction.

9)   A Pakistani Sikh has secured a place in the national cricket academy for the first time. Who is he?

a. Mahinder Pal Singh
b. Maninder Pal Singh
c. Manjeet Pal Singh
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Mahinder Pal Singh

For the first time, a Sikh has secured a place at Pakistan’s national cricket academy.

Mahinder Pal Singh, who hails from Nankana Sahib in Lahore, is among the list of top 30 emerging cricketers in the country, according to news reports.

Pakistan’s cricket team has many Hindus and Christians. But the cricketing history has seen only 7 non Muslim cricketers representing the country.

Singh is the first Pakistani Sikh and the 8th non Muslim to represent Pakistan.

Know About the Pakistan Cricket Board

  • Sport: Cricket
  • Jurisdiction: Pakistan
  • Abbreviation: PCB
  • Founded: 1948
  • Affiliation: International Cricket Council
  • Affiliation date: 28 July 1952
  • Headquarters: Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore
  • Chairman: Shahryar Khan

10)   Which company launched the world’s first chat operating system?

a. Flock
b. Stock
c. Block
d. Clock
Answer  Explanation 


Flock, a team messenger for businesses, on 20th Dec 2016 launched world's first chat operating system "FlockOS" which allows developers to build customised apps, bots and integrations on Flock.

Developers can either use the customised apps within their organisations or publish it on Flock's App Store, making them available for all Flock users.

The User Interface (UI) is a canvas for developers, allowing them to create truly intuitive apps and integrations which seamlessly blend with the core product

Bhavin Turakhia is currently the CEO, Flock.

Chat will soon become the next operating system, probably within the next three to five years.

With "FlockOS", developers can build apps that provide a tightly integrated experience by using widgets. These include the attachment widget, sidebar widget and modal widget.

"FlockOS" provides setup slash commands, providing an additional option for users to interact with the app and can configure a Bot to send directed messages to users, initiating conversations and completing tasks from within Flock.

11)   Asia Pacific countries have resolved to take which approach to urban planning?

a. Urban Plus
b. Urban Minus
c. Urban Multiply
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Urban Plus

Asia Pacific countries accounting for 55% of global urban population have adopted the Urban Plus approach taking urban planning and development beyond city limits to prevent unmanageable and unsustainable urban expansion.

This was the core of the ‘New Delhi Declaration’ adopted on the conclusion of three day deliberations of the Asia Pacific Ministerial Conference on Housing and Urban Development (APMCHUD).

The theme of the conference was ‘Emerging Urban Forms-Policy Reforms and Governance Structures in the Context of New Urban Agenda’

In the Implementation Plan that was also adopted, the member countries have also strongly recommended formulation of National Human Settlement Policies to promote inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable city and human settlements.

New Delhi Declaration has strongly advocated planning for urban and adjoining rural areas in an integrated manner instead of looking at them as independent entities.

The Declaration also called for a thorough review of existing policies and formulation of new policies to promote New Urban Agenda adopted at the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Development in Quito, Eucador in Oct 2016.

This was the first such meeting held to discuss ways of realising the New Urban Agenda that was finalised during the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (also known as “Habitat III” conference).

The next biennial APMCHUD Conference will be hosted by Iran in 2018.

12)   With which country does India hold ‘Khanjar’ series of military exercises?

a. Tajikistan
b. Kyrgyzstan
c. Uzbekistan
d. Afghanistan
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Kyrgyzstan

India and Kyrgyzstan have signed six Memoranda of Understanding/ (MoU)Agreements including in the fields of tourism, agriculture and food industry and more.

These agreements were signed following delegation level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting President of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Sharshenovich Atambayev in New Delhi.

Signed Agreements are:

  • MoU on cooperation in the field of Tourism
  • MoU in the field of cooperation in youth exchange.
  • MoU on cooperation in the field of Youth development
  • MoU on exchange of information on training programmes of diplomats.
  • Agreement on cooperation in the field of Agriculture and Food Industry.
  • MoU on cooperation in the field of Broadcasting and exchange of audiovisual programmes.

  • Besides, both countries started talks to conclude a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) in order to augment investments flowing between the two countries as it will protect the interest of investors.

    India considers Kyrgyzstan as a valuable partner in common pursuit of making Central Asia a region of sustainable peace, stability and prosperity.

    Highlights of Joint statement issued:
  • Both countries have agreed on the need to coordinate.
  • They work closely in addressing and overcoming these challenges for the common benefit.
  • They also reviewed cooperative engagement in the field of defence.
  • Both nations sought to expand joint military exercises including the ‘Khanjar’ series of military exercises which has become an annual event.
  • They also decided to build on the development cooperation including in capacity building and training.
  • On economic ties both sides agreed to encourage engagement in Healthcare, Tourism, IT, Agriculture, Mining and Energy

13)   What is the new mobile application launched to provide real time data to 6 lakh villages in the country?

d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 


The Union Power Ministry is set to launch new mobile application GARV-II to provide real time data of all 6 lakh villages of the country.

The aim of the mobile application is to ensure transparency in implementation of rural electrification programme.

The mobile app has incorporated village-wise; habitation-wise base line data on household electrification for all states.

It also has mapped village-wise works under Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY) to monitor progress of works.

It also incorporates the status of release of funds to the states for electrification projects sanctioned under DDUGJY.

GARV-II promotes peoples participation for rural electrification work.

It expands rural electrification work to public scrutiny and input about rural electrification programme.

The mobile app also has a citizen engagement window ‘SAMVAD’ to enhance participation.

It automatically forwards feedback and suggestions of people to the concerned authorities through SMS or Email. I


  • Aims to ensure electricity access to all households.
  • Government has already electrified over 11,000 villages out of 18,452 un-electrified villages.
  • Earlier version of GARV mobile application was only providing data about rural electrification regarding 18,452 un-electrified villages.
  • The GARV-II will provide real time data of all 6 lakh villages of the country in real time.

14)   DoT is set to launch which portal to check radiation compliance status of mobile towers?

a. Tarang Sanchar
b. Tarang Samchar
c. Tarang Jyoti
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Tarang Sanchar

The Department of Telecom (DoT) is set to launch ‘Tarang Sanchar’ portal that will let users check radiation compliance status of mobile towers and transmitters across country.

Through this portal user can also request to get a particular BTS tested by DoT to assess its electro-magnetic frequency (EMF) compliance level.

The portal has data from 12.5 lakh base transceiver stations (BTS). I

The portal will enable users to view tower-specific details such as the operator, the supporting technology (2G/3G/4G).

Tarang Sanchar will also help user to check with mobile tower meets electro-magnetic frequency (EMF) by putting in a specific request to DoT.

DoT will test mobile towers for free if the prescribed ceiling in a particular service area for testing of BTS has already been reached.

It may also charge user fee of INR 5000 to get the radiation level checked of mobile towers in case the tests are not undertaken earlier.

15)   RBI has opposed which move of the Watal Committee?

a. Digital payments
b. Separate entity to regulate payments and settlements
c. Cashless transactions
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Separate entity to regulate payments and settlements

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has opposed a move to establish a separate entity to regulate payments and settlements as recommended by Ratan Watal Committee for Digital Payments.

The 11-member committee was formed in September 2016 by the Union Finance Ministry to review existing payment systems in country and recommend appropriate measures for encouraging Digital Payments.

One of the committee’s terms of reference was to study and recommend changes in the regulatory mechanism under various acts such as the RBI Act, Payments and Settlement Act, and the Information Technology Act among others.

Based on this, the committee had recommended making regulation of retail payments independent from the function of RBI to give digital payments boost.

It called for establishing separate Payments Regulatory Board (PRB) as an independent body for retail payments and suggested that RBI’s regulation must be kept only for SIPS (systemically important payment system).

According to RBI, the global practice is that both the SIPS and retail payment systems are under the central bank for a variety of reasons including issues of inter-connectivity between the systems and the role of the central bank as the lender of last resort (LOLR).

RBI has suggested a monetary-policy-committee-style structure for the PRB, where outcomes are decided independently, but implementation remains with the banking regulator.

16)   Which country nationalised its biggest commercial bank?

a. Iran
b. Iraq
c. Ukraine
d. Russia
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Ukraine

Ukraine's biggest commercial bank, PrivatBank, has been nationalised in a move aimed at protecting 20 million customers and preserving financial stability in the country.

The nation's central bank said the problems faced by PrivatBank were mainly caused by its "imprudent lending policy" which led to capital losses.

Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko has reassured PrivatBank depositors that their money is safe.

The bank is operating normally.

The National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) declared PrivatBank insolvent on 18th Dec. The government subsequently backed the nationalisation.

About PrivatBank

  • Part-owned by the powerful billionaire oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky. He has big stakes in the media and energy industries & has frequently come into conflict with President Poroshenko.
  • 20 million Ukrainians who use the bank include 3.2 million pensioners, more than 500,000 students and 1.6 million socially vulnerable households.
  • Nationalisation also enables small businesses to continue trading and means 3.2 million public and private sector employees will continue to be paid.