Current Affairs Questions & Answers - Feb 18, 2017

1)   India ranked at which position in the Index of Economic Freedom?

a. 142
b. 143
c. 144
d. 145
Answer  Explanation 


India has ranked a dismal 143rd in an annual index of economic freedom by a top American think-tank, behind its several South Asian neighbours including Pakistan.

The progress on market-oriented reforms has been “uneven” as per the index.

The Heritage Foundation in its Index of Economic Freedom report said despite India sustaining an average annual growth of about 7 per cent over the past five years, growth is not deeply rooted in policies that preserve economic freedom.

Putting India in the category of “mostly unfree” economies, the conservative political think-tank said progress on market-oriented reforms has been “uneven”.

Also, India’s overall score of 52.6 points is 3.6 points less than that of last year, when India was ranked 123rd.

Hong Kong, Singapore and New Zealand topped the index.

Among South Asian countries, only Afghanistan (163) and Maldives (157) were ranked below India. Nepal (125), Sri Lanka (112), Pakistan (141), Bhutan (107), and Bangladesh (128) surpassed India in economic freedom.

The think-tank, however, credited Prime Minister Narendra Modi with “reinvigorating” India’s foreign policy

India is a significant force in world trade, the report noted, but corruption, underdeveloped infrastructure, and poor management of public finance undermine overall development.

China with a score of 57.4 points - an increase of 5.4 points compared to previous year - was placed at 111 position. The United States was ranked 17 with 75.1 points.

The world average score of 60.9 is the highest recorded in the 23-year history of the index. Forty-nine countries - the majority of which are developing countries, but also including countries such as Norway and Sweden - achieved their highest-ever index scores.

2)   Who has won the 2016 Vyas Samman?

a. Surendra Verma
b. Surendra Singh
c. Surendra Mehta
d. Surendra Arora
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Surendra Verma

Renowned Hindi litterateur and playwright Surendra Verma has been selected for 2016 Vyas Samman.

This is for his novel Kaatna Shami Ka Vriksha Padma Pankhuri Ki Dhar Se.

This novel was published in the year 2010.

The Vyas Samman is a literary award in India, first awarded in 1991 . It is awarded annually by the K.K. Birla Foundation and includes a cash payout of Rs 250,000 (as of 2005).

To be eligible for the award, the literary work must be in the Hindi language and have been published in the past 10 years.

3)   Name the winner of the Brand Laureate's Legendary Award for 2017.

a. Steve Jobs
b. Mark Zuckerberg
c. Ratan Tata
d. Lata Mangeshkar
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Lata Mangeshkar

Indian singer Lata Mangeshkar has been honoured with the ‘Legendary Award’ by The Brand Laureate.

The Brand Laureate recognises world-class achievement in branding amongst individuals and companies.

The Brand Laureate Legendary Award has been earlier given to the likes of former South African president Nelson Mandela.

Other awardees are Nobel Laureate Mohammad Yunus, Indian businessman Ratan Tata, late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and F1 racer Michael Schumacher.

Lata Mangeshkar: Know More

  • Born: 28 September 1929, Indore
  • Nickname: The Nightingale of Bollywood
  • Awards: Bharat Ratna, Padma Bhushan.

4)   ACC has appointed how many EDs are per recommendation of Banks Board Bureau?

a. 6
b. 7
c. 8
d. 9
Answer  Explanation 


Eight Executive Directors (EDs) have been appointed in various public sector banks on the recommendations of Banks Board Bureau.

Initially, they have been appointments for a three-year period.

List of Appointed Executive Directors

- Neelam Damodharan and Atanu Kumar Das have been appointed as EDs in Bank of India. Presently, Damodharan serves as the General Manager in Bank of Baroda and Das is General Manager in Vijaya Bank.

- P Ramana Murthy will be Executive Director of Central Bank of India. He is GM of Allahabad Bank.

- Fareed Ahmed Khan, General Manager of Corporation Bank, has been appointed as the ED in Punjab and Sind Bank.

- M K Bhattacharya, Chief General Managers of State Bank of Mysore has been appointed as the EDs of Indian Bank

- K Swaminathan, the General Manager in Indian Overseas Bank, has been appointed as ED in Indian Overseas Bank.

- Ashok Kumar Pradhan has been appointed as the ED in United Bank of India. Presently he serves as the Chief General Manager with State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur.

- S Harishankar who serves as Chief General Managers of State Bank of Travancore has been appointed EDs of Allahabad Bank.

5)   PNB has appointed whom as the non executive Chairman?

a. Sunil Mehta
b. Sunil Mehtani
c. Sunil Singh
d. Sunil Arora
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Sunil Mehta

Punjab National Bank (PNB) has a new non-executive Chairman in Sunil Mehta.

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has approved the proposal of the Department of Financial Services (DFS) for the appointment of Mehta as non-executive Chairman of PNB.

He has been appointed for a period of three years.

The only condition is that he would be required to resign from the board of State Bank of India before joining the board of Punjab National Bank.

About Sunil Mehta

  • A Fellow Chartered Accountant from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India and an alumni of the Wharton School of Management, USA, Mehta is currently Chairman & Managing Director at SPM Capital Advisors Pvt Ltd.
  • Mehta has over 33 years of leadership experience in banking, insurance, financial services and investments with Citibank and AIG.
  • As Country Head of AIG for 13 years, Mehta was responsible for setting up in India and overseeing 10 businesses covering life & non-life insurance, private equity, asset management, real estate, home and consumer finance, software development, mortgage guaranty and aircraft leasing.
  • Mehta worked at Citibank for 18 years in various senior positions, which included head of the corporate bank in India and senior credit officer.

6)   Where was the first Indian Seed Congress held?

a. Kolkata
b. Mumbai
c. Delhi
d. Chennai
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Kolkata

The first Indian Seed Congress - 2017, was held in Kolkata.

The theme of Seed Congress is “Seed of Joy” which is very much in line with vision of this government to bring happiness and prosperity in the lives of farmers by doubling their farm income by 2022.

On account of the strategic measures of this government, there has been enhancement in the availability of certified/quality seeds.

The availability of certified / quality seeds in the country has increased from less than 40 lakh quintal during decade of 60 to 370 lakh quintal in 2015-16.

State Governments aim to prepare variety wise seed rolling plants to meet year wise, season wise requirements of quality seeds.

This seed rolling plant will fulfil the double purpose of improving the Seed replacement rate along with Variety replacement rate so that sustainable agricultural production and productivity could be ensured.

Indian Seed Market is growing fast and during the recent past, hybrid seed market of vegetables and cereals has shown remarkable growth.

Indian Seed Industry can emerge as a prominent industry for supplying seeds in international markets.

India has great potentiality to produce hybrid seeds specially costly vegetable seeds on cheap rates as compared to the seeds of the other countries.

Apart from vegetables, the hybrid seeds of maize, paddy, pearl millet and cotton may be exported to SEI and African countries in magnitude.

7)   How many legislators did EK Palaniswami need in a 234 member legislature to secure TN CM's post?

a. 116
b. 177
c. 117
d. 127
Answer  Explanation 


EK Palaniswami won a floor test to remain Tamil Nadu chief minister when lawmakers today voted in his favour.

The Sasikala acolyte needed the votes of at least 117 MLAs to win the trust vote. As many as 122 MLAs voted in his favour.

Palaniswami's win means the waning of the political star of caretaker chief minister O Panneerselvam, who also belongs to the AIADMK.

Close to 100 opposition lawmakers were missing after violence and chaos over a demand for secret voting.

But the trust vote may only be the first of many battles that the 63-year-old Chief Minister will have to fight.

O Panneerselvam has promised that he had lost the battle, not the war, and would go back to the people.

Palaniswami, 63, is the proxy of AIADMK chief VK Sasikala who could not become Chief Minister because the Supreme Court convicted her for corruption and sent her to jail.

The Chief Minister had to prove that at least 117 legislators in the 234-member state assembly back him.

But the numbers changed in Mr Palaniswami's favour once the Speaker evicted DMK's 88 members and the Congress' eight members also walked out in protest.

This reduced the effective strength of the house to 134, also lowering the number of votes that the Chief Minister needed to hold on to his seat.

8)   Who is the Samsung executive who was arrested in South Korea's corruption scandal?

a. HC Hong
b. Oh-Hyun Kwon
c. Jay Y.Lee
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques


Samsung Group chief Jay Y. Lee was arrested early on 17th Feb 2017 over his alleged role in a corruption scandal rocking the highest levels of power in South Korea.

This is dealing a fresh blow to the world's biggest maker of smartphones and memory chips.

The 48-year-old Lee, scion of the country's richest family, was taken into custody at the Seoul Detention Centre after waiting there overnight for the decision.

He was being held in a single cell with a TV and desk, a jail official said.

Lee is a suspect in the influence-peddling scandal that led parliament to impeach President Park Geun-hye in December.

This decision if upheld by the Constitutional Court would make her the country's first democratically elected leader forced from office.

Shares in flagship Samsung Electronics Co Ltd opened down 1.2 percent+ , while shares in Samsung C&T Corp , the de facto holding company of Samsung Group, opened down 3.2 percent compared with the wider market's drop of 0.45 percent.

Prosecutors have up to 10 days to indict Lee, Samsung's third-generation leader, although they can seek an extension.

After indictment, a court would be required to make a ruling within three months.

Samsung and Lee have denied wrongdoing in the case.

The same court had rejected a request last month to arrest Lee, but prosecutors brought additional accusations against Lee, seeking his arrest on bribery and other charges.

The judge rejected the prosecution's request to arrest Samsung Electronics president Park Sang-jin.

Lee's detention could hinder strategic decision-making by South Korea's biggest conglomerate.

Samsung has been in the midst of an ongoing restructuring to clear a succession path for Lee to assume control after his father was incapacitated by a heart attack in 2014.

Lee's incarceration comes as Samsung Electronics tries to get past the disastrous roll out last year of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphones, which were prone to fires.

It is under pressure for the upcoming launch of its next flagship phone, the Galaxy S8, to be a success.

Prosecutors have focused on Samsung's relationship with Park, 65.

They are accusing the group of paying bribes totalling 43 billion won ($37.74 million) to organizations linked to Choi to secure government backing for the 2015 merger of two Samsung units.

Samsung: Know More

  • Headquarters: Seoul, South Korea
  • Founder: Lee Byung-chul
  • Founded: 1 March 1938, Daegu, South Korea
  • Owner: Lee Kun-hee
  • Revenue: 305 billion USD (2014)
  • Number of employees: 489,000
  • Subsidiaries: Samsung Electronics Limited

9)   New Zealand is sitting atop a new continent called __________

a. Zealandia
b. Zealander
c. Zealandasia
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Zealandia

There is an entire, submerged and unrecognised continent that has been hiding until now, according to scientists.

New Zealand is sitting on top of the geological entity, most of which sits underneath the South Pacific and so can't be seen.

The researchers explain that Zealandia measures five million sq km which is about two thirds of neighbouring Australia.

The continent - known as Zealandia - is a distinct geological entity and meets all the criteria that are satisfied by the existing seven continents.

It is elevated above the area that surrounds it, has its own distinctive geology, the area that it takes up is well defined.

It also has a crust thicker than the regular ocean floor - just like the seven masses we currently class as continents.

The new continent is 94% under water, according to the new paper.

It is made up of three major landmasses: New Zealand's north and south islands, and New Caledonia to the north.

Scientists said that by classifying it as a continent they would be able to study how they are formed and break up and cohesion of the earth's crust.

Finding data on the continent has been difficult because so much of it is beneath the sea.

Earth's Crust: Know More

  • The crust of the Earth is composed of a great variety of igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks. The crust is underlain by the mantle.
  • The upper part of the mantle is composed mostly of peridotite, a rock denser than rocks common in the overlying crust.
  • The boundary between the crust and mantle is conventionally placed at the Mohorovicic discontinuity. This is a boundary defined by a contrast in seismic velocity.
  • The crust occupies less than 1% of Earth's volume.

10)   For the first time, Pakistan launched strikes against terrorists in ________

a. Afghanistan
b. Syria
c. Iran
d. Iraq
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Afghanistan

Pakistan has launched "strikes" against militant bases in Afghanistan, hours after the army said it had found links that terrorists from across the border were behind a suicide bombing.

The terror attack at the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar killed 88 people.

Pakistan claimed the attack was planned in militant sanctuaries in Afghanistan. This can renew hostility between Kabul and Islamabad.

4 camps of Jamaat-ul-Ahrar terror group were targeted in the strikes across the border of Pakistan's Khyber and Mohmand tribal agencies.

Security forces neutralised several training centres of Omar Khalid Khorasani, the head of the Jamaat-ul Ahrar group.

Islamabad has often warned Kabul authorities to prevent the use of their soil for terror activities in Pakistan.

Pakistan army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa told General John Nicholson, the top US commander in Afghanistan, that terrorist activities test current cross-border restraint".

General Qamar Javed Bajwa

  • Born: 11 November 1960 Karachi, Pakistan
  • Unit: Baloch Regiment
  • Service/branch: Pakistan Army
  • Education: National Defence University, Pakistan, Canadian Army Command and Staff College, Naval Postgraduate School

11)   Which NASA mission is studying Ceres?

a. Cassini
b. Juno
c. Chandrayaan
d. Dawn
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques


NASA's Dawn mission has found evidence of organic material on Ceres.

Ceres is a dwarf planet and the largest body in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

Scientists discovered the material in and around a northern-hemisphere crater called Ernutet.

Organic molecules are novel to scientists because they are necessary, though not sufficient components of life on Earth.

The discovery makes it to the growing list of bodies in the solar system where organics have been found.

Organic compounds have been found in certain meteorites. They have also been inferred from telescopic observations of several asteroids.

Ceres shares many commonalities with meteorites rich in water and organics - in particular, a meteorite group referred to as carbonaceous chondrites.

This discovery further strengthens the connection between Ceres, these meteorites and their parent bodies.

This is the first clear detection of organic molecules from orbit on a main belt body.

Data supports the idea that organic materials are native to Ceres.

The carbonates and clays previously identified on Ceres provide evidence for chemical activity in the presence of water and heat.

This raises the chance that the organics were similarly processed in a warm water-rich environment.

The organics discovery makes an addition to Ceres' attributes associated with ingredients and conditions for life in the distant past.

Earlier studies have found hydrated minerals, carbonates, water ice, and ammoniated clays that must have been altered by water.

Salts and sodium carbonate, such as those found in the bright areas of Occator Crater, are also thought to have been carried to the surface by liquid.

This discovery adds to scientific understanding of the possible origins of water and organics on Earth.

The organic materials on Ceres are mainly located in an area covering approximately 1,000 square kilometres.

There are other smaller organic-rich areas several kilometres west and east of the crater.

Organics were also found in a very small area in Inamahari Crater, about 400 kilometres away from Ernutet.

Having completed nearly two years of observations in orbit at Ceres, Dawn is now in a highly elliptical orbit at Ceres, going from an altitude of 7,520 kilometres up to nearly 9,350 kilometres.

It will create a new altitude of around 20,000 kilometres, about the height of GPS satellites above Earth, and to a different orbital plane.

This will put Dawn in a position to study Ceres in a new geometry.

As time advances, Dawn will view Ceres with the sun directly behind the spacecraft, such that Ceres will appear brighter than before, and perhaps reveal more clues about its nature.

Ceres: Find More

  • Discovered by: Giuseppe Piazzi
  • Discovery date: 1 January 1801
  • Named after: Ceres
  • Alternative names: A899 OF; 1943 XB
  • Minor planet category: Dwarf planet; Asteroid belt