Current Affairs Questions & Answers - Feb 16, 2017

1)   What is NxGnMiFu-2017?

a. An international conference on next gen technologies
b. A global mining and fuel industries conference
c. Both of the above
d. Neither of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both of the above

Both the mineral and energy sectors today are at a critical juncture. The rapid expansions of both these sectors are necessary for inclusive growth of the country.

At the same time the effects of these growth on the environment, landmass, forest inhabitants, etc. need to be addressed.

With a view to encourage initiative and make the mining and minerals industry more competitive, the Government of India has opened up the sector to private entrepreneurs.

CSIR-Central Institute of Mining and Fuel Research, Dhanbad organised the International Conference on "NexGen Technologies for Mining and Fuel Industries" [NxGnMiFu-2017] during February 15-17, 2017.

This was at New Delhi on the occasion of CSIR-Platinum Jubilee Celebration to commemorate 75th year of its foundation.

The conference focuses mainly on issues related to Innovative

  • Mining Technologies for Complex Geo-mining Conditions;
  • Mine Safety, Monitoring and Risk Management;
  • Clean Coal Initiatives; Coal to Liquid, Methanol and Urea;
  • Harnessing Coal Bed Methane, Shale Gas and Underground Coal Gasification;
  • Technological Developments in Oil and Gas Sectors and Alternate Clean Energy Initiatives.
R&D needs to innovate new techniques, technologies and applications for clean, safe, symbiotic sustenance of society, environment and industries in post-2020 era will also be discussed.

Around 50 delegates from countries like, UK, Australia, China, Republic of Korea, Czech Republic, Germany, USA, Japan, Canada, South Africa, Nigeria etc. have registered as participants in the event.

More than 170 papers will be deliberated in the Conference which includes 9 keynote papers by eminent personalities who have made significant contributions in their respective areas and 141 oral presentations and 21 poster presentations.

2)   Who has become the first and only Indian to win Grand Prix motorsport?

a. Jehan Daruvala
b. Trehan Daruvala
c. Vehan Daruvala
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Jehan Daruvala

Young Indian racer Jehan Daruvala created history by winning the New Zealand Grand Prix 2017 at the Chris Amon Circuit.

With the win, Jehan became the first and only Indian to win a Grand Prix in motorsport and has joined the ranks of Grand Prix winners including Keke Rosberg, Bruce Mclaren, John Surtees and Sir Jackie Stewart.

Jehan earned the pole position in the Race 1 of the Toyota Racing Series as well as in the New Zealand GP.

This GP is the only other Grand Prix aside from the Macau Grand Prix in motorsport outside Formula 1 and hence is a prestigious event for all racers.

Comprising 35 laps, the race was longest of the season.

Jehan Daruvala: Know More

  • Jehan Daruvala is an Indian racing driver, currently competing in the European Formula 3 Championship with Carlin.
  • Born: 1 October 1998 Mumbai
  • Current team: Carlin Motorsport

3)   Who won the Grammy in 1978 for Look to the Rainbow?

a. Al Jarreau
b. Al Farreau
c. Al Sarreau
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Al Jarreau

Al Jarreau, Grammy-winning pop and jazz musician passed away on 12 February 2017 at the age of 76.

He was born into a musical household in Milwaukee on 12 March 1940.

His mother was a piano teacher and father, a minister and singer.

He completed his masters in vocational rehabilitation from the University of Iowa and then moved to San Francisco in late 1960s.

He did not begin a full-time musical career until he was nearly 30.

In 1976, he released his debut album ‘We Got By’ that got him international recognition. He also won the Echo award for the album (the German equivalent of the Grammy’s).

He won his first Grammy award- Best Jazz Vocal Performance in 1978 for his album, ‘Look to the Rainbow’.

His other major hits include ‘We’re in This Love Together’, ‘Breakin’ Away’ and the theme song of a popular TV show, ‘Moonlighting’.

He was also one of the musicians in the all-star lineup who sang ‘We Are the World’, in 1985 which financed famine relief in Africa.

Al Jarreau earned the nickname ‘Acrobat of Scat’ due to his innovative vocal styling.

He has released more than 20 albums and won a total of seven Grammy Awards.

4)   Scientists discovered chemicals banned in 1970s in ______.

a. Tissue of marine creatures in deepest ocean
b. Soil layers underneath
c. Atmospheric layer in the sky
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Tissue of marine creatures in deepest ocean

Scientists for the first time have found high levels of human-made pollutants, including chemicals that were banned in the 1970s, in the tissues of marine creatures dwelling in the deepest oceans of the Earth.

These chemicals were discovered after sampling amphipods from the Pacific Ocean’s Mariana and Kermadec trenches, which are over 10 km deep and 7,000 km apart.

Scientists found presence of extremely high levels of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) in the organism’s fatty tissue.

These POPs include polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) which are commonly used as electrical insulators and flame retardants.

These banned pollutants are invulnerable to natural degradation and persist in the environment for decades.

They may have been released into the environment through industrial accidents.

Pollutants may have found their way to deep trenches through contaminated plastic debris and dead animals sinking to bottom of ocean.

Here they were consumed by amphipods and other fauna.

These sampled amphipods had levels of contamination similar to that found in Suruga Bay, one of the most polluted industrial zones of the north-west Pacific.

Thus, this research shows that the remote and pristine oceanic realm which was earlier considered safe from human impact is not safe.

5)   IMF has opened SARTTAC. What does it stand for?

a. South Asia Training and Technical Assistance Centre
b. South Asia Technical and Training Assistance Centre
c. South America Technical and Training Assistance Centre
d. South America Training and Technical Assistance Centre
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: South Asia Training and Technical Assistance Centre

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has opened a first-of-its-kind South Asia Training and Technical Assistance Centre (SARTTAC) in New Delhi for economic capacity building in South Asia.

It will work to support local member countries of South Asia namely India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka to build human and institutional capacity and implement policies for growth and poverty reduction.

Financed mainly by its six member South Asia countries (mentioned above) with additional support from Australia, South Korea, European Union and United Kingdom, its strategic goal is to help its member countries strengthen their institutional and human capacity.

The aim is to design and implement macroeconomic and financial policies that promote growth and reduce poverty.

It will permit the IMF to meet more of the high demand for technical assistance and training from the region.

It is expected to become the focal point for the delivery of IMF capacity development services to South Asia.

In 2016, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to establish a capacity development centre for South Asia.

The opening of SARTTAC is part of the MoU and marks a major milestone in the partnership between the IMF and its member countries in the region.

6)   What is Thubber?

a. Rubber like material with high thermal conductivity and elasticity
b. Electrically insulating composite material
c. Both of the above
d. Neither of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both of the above

Scientists have developed novel rubber like material called ‘thubber’ which has high thermal conductivity and elasticity.

Thubber is an electrically insulating composite material that exhibits an unprecedented combination of metal-like thermal conductivity, elasticity similar to soft, biological tissue.

It consists of a soft elastomer with non-toxic, liquid metal micro droplets suspended within it.

This semi-liquid form allows the metal to deform with the surrounding rubber at room temperature.

When it is pre-stretched at room temperature, it stretches up to 6 times its initial length.

During this phase, liquid metal micro-droplets form into elongated pathways through which heat can easily travel through.

Alongside the material is electrically insulating.

In developing wearable computing and soft robotics, industries like athletic wear and sports medicine and in advanced manufacturing, energy, and transportation, thubber can be used.

7)   India has joined which UNICEF-WHO network?

a. Network for Improving Quality of Care for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health
b. Network for Improving Quality of Care for Maternal and Child Health
c. Network for Improving Quality of Care for Maternal, Newborn Health
d. Network for Improving Quality of Care for Maternal, Newborn and Child Disease Eradication
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Network for Improving Quality of Care for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health

India has joined Network for Improving Quality of Care for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, an international health network focused on improving the quality of care for new mothers and babies.

The network is supported by World Health Organisation (WHO), United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and other partners.

India is among nine countries that will be part of the network. Other countries are Bangladesh, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda.

Under this network, countries will work to improve the quality of health care facilities to mothers and babies.

They will boost national efforts to end preventable deaths of pregnant women and newborns by 2030.

Under it, counties will build and strengthen their national institutions, identify quality of care focal points at all levels of the health system.

They will also accelerate and sustain the implementation of quality-of-care improvement packages for mothers, newborns and children.

They will strengthen capacity and motivation of health professional to plan and manage quality improvement, improve data collection and increase access to medicines, equipment, clean water and supplies.

The network will also build a community of health practitioners from facility level and develop evidence-based strategies to improve quality of care, harvest implementation ideas, and collect information and experiences about what is working.

Maternal and Child Health

  • As per World Health Organisation (WHO), the period around childbirth is the most critical for saving mothers and newborns, and preventing stillbirths.
  • Every year, around 303 000 women die during pregnancy and childbirth worldwide.
  • 2.7m babies die during the first 28 days of life and 2.6m babies are stillborn.
  • Many of these deaths can be prevented with quality care during pregnancy and childbirth.

8)   What is NETRA?

a. Airborne early warning and control system
b. Indigenous early warning system
c. Both of the above
d. Neither of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both of the above

The Indian Air force (IAF) has formally inducted the first indigenously built Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEW&C) dubbed as NETRA.

The AEW&C NETRA has been indigenously developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

It was launched at the 2017 Aero India exhibition held in Bengaluru, Karnataka.

AEW&C are airborne radar systems mounted on a carrier jet for airborne surveillance system.

This is to detect and track aircraft, missiles, ships and vehicles and provide command and control to direct friendly forces.

It consists of active electronically scanned radar, secondary surveillance radar, electronic and communication counter measures, LOS (Line of Sight) and beyond-LOS data link,.

It also has a voice communication system AEW&C NETRA system which is based on Embraer aircraft (Emb-145 platform).

It has self-protection suite and also mid-air refuelling capability to enhance surveillance time.

This system gives 240° coverage of airspace.

DRDO has developed three NETRA systems and its three aircraft will be based at Bhatinda, facing the Western border.

With this India, joins select club of other countries such as United States, Russia and Israel which have developed the AEW&C system.

9)   Merger of SBI with how many subsidiaries was approved on 15th Feb 2017?

a. 4
b. 5
c. 6
d. 7
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques


The merger proposal was announced in May 2016 and was scheduled for March 2017.

The Union Cabinet on 15th Feb 2017 approved the merger of five of State Bank of India subsidiaries - State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Patiala, and State Bank of Travancore - with the SBI.

The merger proposal was announced in May 2016 and was scheduled for March 2017.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that the Cabinet had earlier given its in-principle approval for the merger, and then had sent it to the respective banks for their suggestions.

These suggestions have been taken on-board, and the decision has been formally approved by the Cabinet.

This will lead to far greater operational efficiency and synergy of operations within these banks.

It will decrease the cost of operations, which will also result in a decrease in the cost of funds.”

The merger is likely to result in recurring savings, estimated at more than INR. 1,000 crore in the first year, through a combination of enhanced operational efficiency and reduced cost of funds.

Existing customers of subsidiary banks will benefit from access to SBI’s global network.

SBI, following the merger, will not only be a large domestic bank, but will also become a global player as well.

10)   Banks need how much capital to sustain 8-9% growth?

a. INR 90,000 crore
b. INR 91,000 crore
c. INR 92,000 crore
d. INR 93,000 crore
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: INR 91,000 crore

Indian banks will require INR 91,000 crore in tier-1 capital till March 2019 to sustain a minimum annual growth rate of 8-9 percent, according to a report by India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra).

This includes INR 20,000 crore of residual tranches from the government's capital infusion in public sector banks under the under 'Indradhanush' programme.

There is an increasing divide between the large and smaller PSBs, with the former having some access to growth capital, better market valuation, and also some non-core assets to divest.

The latter would only receive bailout capital if required.

The long tail of credit costs is expected to subdue profitability of domestic banks despite plateauing their stressed assets.

Ind-Ra has maintained a stable rating and sector outlook on private sector banks and large PSBs while it has retained the negative sector outlook for small, mid-sized state-owned banks for 2017-18.

It expects large PSBs with better access to capital and private sector banks with their robust capitalisation to navigate another year of low growth and rising credit costs with a stable outlook.

The agency had retained its negative outlook on mid-sized and smaller PSBs with weak capitalisation and large stock of ageing non-performing loans (NPLs).

These banks will find it increasingly difficult to grow given increasing capital requirements and large funding gaps impeding their ability to compete on spreads as per Ind-Ra.

According to Ind-Ra's sector-wise stress analysis, sectors such as iron and steel and textiles have seen recognition but provisioning might still not be enough to protect against eventual loss given defaults.

Significant proportion of unrecognised stress pertains to sectors such as infrastructure, realty and capital goods which potentially have long-term viable assets.

These would increasingly need cash flow restructuring to avoid slippages.

NPLs: Know More

  • A nonperforming loan (NPL) refers to a sum of borrowed money upon which the debtor has not made his scheduled payments for at least 90 days.
  • A nonperforming loan is either in default/close to being in default.
  • Once a loan is nonperforming, the odds that it will be repaid in full are considered to be low.

11)   India, UAE trade is set to hit $100 billion by _______.

a. 2019
b. 2020
c. 2021
d. 2022
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: 2020

Trade between India and the UAE is set to hit USD 100 billion by 2020, up from the current USD 60 billion, the Confederation of Indian Industry has estimated.

This is evident in the growing interest by the Indian companies towards the Middle East markets and in particular the UAE.

Also a catalyst are the efforts made by the Ministry of Commerce & Industry and CII to further strengthen the trade and investment ties.

Currently, the trade between Indian and the UAE is estimated around USD 60 billion.

The statement was issued on the sidelines of the Middle East Electricity Exhibition where about 50 leading Indian companies are participating.

Held by the UAE Ministry of Energy and based in Dubai, Middle East Electricity is the largest international trade event for the power industry.

It is covering the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity, the renewable and nuclear energy sectors and the lighting industry.

The various schemes by the Government of India and the announcements made in the recent Budget 2017 shall certainly enhance industries competitiveness in the country and in particular the MSMEs.

The move towards reducing the corporate tax rate for small companies will have a positive impact on the viability of about 97 per cent (67 lakh) businesses in India.

As the MSMEs become more viable and sustainable, the overall attractiveness of the small businesses will increase leading to the positive orientation and entrepreneurship in the country is bound to grow.

CII: Know More

  • Formed: 1895
  • Headquarters: New Delhi, India
  • Area served: Worldwide
  • Members: Direct 7,900+; Indirect 200,000
  • President: Naushad Forbes
  • DG: Chandrajit Banerjee
  • Executive Vice Chairperson: Shobana Kamineni
  • Employees: 1,000+

12)   India and which country inked a pact to boost economic cooperation?

a. Croatia
b. Malaysia
c. Indonesia
d. Crimea
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Croatia

India and Croatia have signed an agreement to boost bilateral trade and enhance economic cooperation.

The agreement was signed by Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Martina Dalic, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy, Government of the Republic of Croatia, in Zagreb.

The two countries had earlier signed an Agreement on Trade and Economic Cooperation in September, 1994 with an aim to promote and develop bilateral trade and economic relations.

The present Agreement between India and Croatia would be a step in continuity as the last one expired in November, 2009.

India's bilateral trade with Croatia during 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16 stood at USD 148.86 million, USD 205.04 million and USD 148.44 million respectively.

The bilateral trade during the last three years has remained stable despite global slowdown.

Croatian Government: Know More

  • Government: Unitary parliamentary constitutional republic
  • President: Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic
  • Prime Minister: Andrej Plenkovic
  • Speaker of Parliament: Božo Petrov
  • Chief Justice: Miroslav Šeparovic

13)   What does TAMRA stand for in the context of Ministry of Mines?

a. Transparency, Auction Monitoring and Resource Augmentation Portal and Mobile Application
b. Transparency, Action Monitoring and Resource Augmentation Portal and Mobile Application
c. Transparency, Auction Monitoring and Research Augmentation Portal and Mobile Application
d. Transparency, Auction Monitoring and Resource Augmentation Portal and Mining Application
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Transparency, Auction Monitoring and Resource Augmentation Portal and Mobile Application

Union Minister of Mines, Piyush Goyal oversaw the launch the Transparency, Auction Monitoring and Resource Augmentation (TAMRA) Portal and Mobile Application, developed by the Ministry of Mines.

It was simultaneously launched across 12 mineral rich States.

Goyal also made an important announcement that the Government is planning on bringing amendments to mining rules.

The aim is to bring transparency in award of exploration and mining licences for the 100 identified off-shore mineral blocks soon.

Enhancing Transparency

TAMRA has an objective to enhance transparency and accountability, as a part of the Ease of Doing Business in the Mining sector.

TAMRA is a step to speed up mining activity in India and facilitate all the stakeholders to track the status of the statutory clearances associated with mining blocks for getting mines to reach till operationalisation for the same.

It will be an interactive platform for all the stakeholders to compress the timelines for statutory and other clearances as it would help minimize the gestation period for commencing production.

TAMRA will also send triggers to the concerned authority so that the remedial steps can be taken immediately by those responsible.

The Ministry of Mines will also receive triggers generated by TAMRA, which will facilitate in expediting clearances in case the timelines set against each of the statutory clearances are not met.

Further, the status of each of the clearances will be reflected on the portal.

TAMRA also enables the successful bidder to give suggestions and other inputs for improving the current process of issuing Statutory clearances in the Mining Sector.

This would help to establish a participative and informative network among all stakeholders,

Auction Information

TAMRA covers block-wise, state-wise and mineral-wise information of the mines to be auctioned.

It also monitors various statutory clearances, and highlights the additional resources generated through e-auction.

Further, he also informed that e-auctions have successfully been concluded for 21 mineral blocks put up for auction by various State governments with a total resource base of INR. 93,190 crores.

The total estimated revenue to the State governments through the process of e-auction stands at Rs. 73,359 crores.

Out of this, the cumulative Royalty, District Mineral Fund (DMF) and National Mineral Exploration Trust (NMET) contribution works out to be INR. 15,825 crores.

This equals INR. 14,130 crores, INR. 1,413 crores and INR.283 crores, respectively.

14)   ISRO has launched how many satellites in a single mission, on 15th Feb 2017?

a. 102
b. 103
c. 104
d. 105
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques


Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) created history by successfully launching a record 104 satellites in single mission.

These satellites were launched on board of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C37, on its 39th mission from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.

Of the total 104 satellites, three were Indian and remaining 101 belonged to international customers.

India’s three satellites included earth-mapping Cartosat-2 satellite (main payload) and nano satellites INS-1A and INS-1B.

Of the 101 co-passenger satellites, 96 belong to US and remaining 5 from Israel, Kazakhstan, Netherlands, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, respectively.

Around 90 small satellites belonged to US-based company Planet Inc.

They are named ‘Doves’ and their constellation will be used to image the earth at low cost.

In this mission, PSLV first launched the Cartosat-2 and then its 103 co-passengers (together weighing about 664 kg) into the polar Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO), about 520 km from the Earth.

This mission beat the previous record held by Russia, which in 2014 had catapulted 37 satellites in a single launch, using a modified inter-continental ballistic missile.

It also broke ISRO’s previous national record set in June 2016, after it had successfully launched 20

The total weight of all the 104 satellites carried on-board PSLV-C37 was 1378 kg.

The total number of Indian satellites launched by PSLV now stands at 46.

Of the 103 co-passenger satellites carried by PSLV-C37, two - ISRO Nano Satellite-1 (INS-1) weighing 8.4 kg and INS-2 weighing 9.7 kg - are technology demonstration satellites from India.

The remaining 101 co-passenger satellites carried were international customer satellites from USA (96), The Netherlands (1), Switzerland (1), Israel (1), Kazakhstan (1) and UAE (1).

This mission involved many technical challenges like realising the launch of a large number of satellites during a single mission within the time frame sought by the customers from abroad.

Besides, ensuring adequate separation between all the 104 satellites during their orbital injection as well as during their subsequent orbital life was yet another challenge associated with this complex mission.

With today’s successful launch, the total number of customer satellites from abroad launched by India’s workhorse launch vehicle PSLV has reached 180.

Cartosat-2 Satellite: Know More

  • It was the primary payload of the mission.
  • It is similar to the earlier four satellites in Cartosat-2 Series.
  • It weighs 714 kg and has a mission life of five years.
  • It is earth observation satellite that will provide remote sensing services.
  • Images sent by it will be useful for coastal land use and regulation, road network monitoring and creation of land use maps.
  • The imagery from the Cartosat-2 series satellite will be useful for: cartographic applications, urban and rural applications, coastal land use and regulation, utility management like road network monitoring, water distribution.
  • It will also aid creation of land use maps, change detection to bring out geographical and manmade features and various other Land Information System (LIS) and Geographical Information System (GIS) applications.
  • The data sets could be used for urban planning of 500 cities under the Amrut Planning Scheme.
  • The government initiative of 100 smart city programme in which these data sets could be used for master plan preparation and detailed geospatial data preparation for rural roads and infrastructure development.

  • INS-1A and INS-1B Satellites

  • They are nano satellites.
  • INS-1A was carrying Surface Bidirectional Reflectance Distribution Function Radiometer.
  • INS-1B was carrying Earth Exosphere Lyman Alpha Analyser as payloads.

  • Launch Vehicle:

  • For this mission, ISRO had used XL Variant of PSLV rocket standing 44.4 metres tall and weighing 320 tonnes.
It is most powerful rocket of ISRO and earlier was used in launching ambitious Chandrayaan and Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM).