Current Affairs Questions & Answers - Feb 20, 2017

1)   India won which medal at the Asian Rugby Sevens Trophy?

a. Gold
b. Silver
c. Bronze
d. Fourth position
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Silver

India won the silver medal at the women’s Asian Rugby Sevens Trophy having won five matches and lost one here on 18th Feb 2017.

In the seven-nation round-robin competition, India defeated Laos 22-7, Philippines 12-5, Nepal 43-0 and Malaysia by 26-12.

On the second day, India defeated Pakistan by 5-0 and in the last match were beaten by South Korea by 0-29.

As per Asia Rugby’s tournament statistics, Indian Hupi Majhi was one amongst the top three Try Scorers of the tournament and Meerarani Hembram was the third highest in the conversions.

Asian Sevens Series: Know More

  • The Asian Seven Series is an annual series of regional rugby sevens tournaments.
  • It is run by Asia Rugby featuring national sevens teams.
  • It has been held regularly since 2009 to determine Asia's best men's national team in the sport of rugby sevens.
  • Sport: Rugby union
  • Founded: 2009
  • No. of teams: 12

2)   UDAN will see number of airports in India rise to ________.

a. 45
b. 50
c. 55
d. 60
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques


The implementation of the regional air-connectivity scheme, UDAN, will see the number of operational airports in the country shoot up by over 50.

The cost of travelling will come down to as low as ?2,500 for up to an hour of air journey.

Currently, there are 75 small operational airports in the country, and this number will increase to over 125 with the successful implementation of UDAN.

UDAN or (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik) - the new scheme through which the government hopes to make flying viable to Tier II and III cities is being implemented for building new airports, adding new terminals and improving the efficiency of existing terminals,

Drawing reference to Jharkhand, Centre will be able to connect all major cities of the State in 1-2 years.

With air traffic growing by over 20 per cent, there will be “capacity constraints”, he said, but the Centre is taking all possible actions to ensure decongestion and utilisation of existing capacities.

Cost of flying is progressively coming down because of technology and if oil prices come down, this will be an affordable transport for the masses

Disruption in mass transport is also on the anvil with companies such as Hyperloop proposing new-age rapid-transit options.

Benefits of UDAN: Know More

  • The scheme ensure affordability, connectivity, growth and development. It would provide a win-win situation for all stakeholders - citizens would get the benefit of affordability, connectivity and more jobs.
  • The Centre would be able to expand the regional air connectivity and market.
  • The state governments would reap the benefit of development of remote areas, enhance trade and commerce and more tourism expansion.
  • For incumbent airlines there was the promise of new routes and more passengers while for and start-up airlines there is the opportunity of new, scalable business.
  • Airport operators will also see their business expanding as would original equipment manufacturers.

  • About UDAN

  • The scheme UDAN envisages providing connectivity to un-served and under-served airports of the country through revival of existing air-strips and airports.
  • The scheme would be in operation for a period of 10 years.
  • UDAN has a unique market-based model to develop regional connectivity.

3)   HAL signed an MoU with which government agency in Aero India 2017?

Answer  Explanation  Related Ques


Hindustan Aeronautics Limited on 18th Feb 2017 signed a MoU with Central Public Works Department, CPWD for execution of infrastructure development works at HAL’s new Greenfield helicopter facility at Tumakuru.

The MoU was signed at Aero India 2017.

The project spread over 615 acres of land allotted by the Government of Karnataka will house infrastructure for production and testing facilities, self-sufficient manufacturing capabilities of a wide range of helicopters of 3-ton to 12-ton class.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had laid the foundation stone for HAL’s new helicopter manufacturing facility at Biderehalla Kaval, Gubbi Taluk, Tumakuru last year on January 3, 2016.

Under this collaboration, HAL and CPWD are set to execute stage 1 construction.

HAL: Know More

  • Headquarters: Bengaluru
  • Founder: Walchand Hirachand
  • Founded: 1940, Bengaluru
  • Revenue: 177.5 billion INR (2014)
  • Number of employees: 32,108 (March 2014)
  • Motto: Asia's Premier Aerospace Complex
  • Aircraft designed: HAL Dhruv

4)   Which Indian health body has been given maximum ratings by WHO for vaccine regulation?

c. NIH
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques


National Regulatory Authority of India (NRAI) has been given the maximum ratings by global health body World Health Organisation for vaccine regulations.

WHO completed the assessment of the status of the Indian vaccine regulatory system against WHO NRA Global Benchmarking Tool (GBT) and measured the maturity of the system in India.

The assessment has been done in respect of 9 different functionalities and Indian NRA has been declared ‘functional’ with a maturity level of 4 which is the highest level as per currently evolved definitions in respect of 5 functions, and maturity level 3 in respect of 4 functions.

While, maturity level 4 indicates good results and sustained improvement trends, level 3 reflects systematic process based approach, early stage of systematic improvements, data availability regarding conformance to objectives and existence of improvement trends, it said.

A fully functional NRAI is a pre-requisite for WHO prequalification of vaccines and one of the requirements to become eligible and retain prequalification status is to have the National Regulatory Authority (NRA) assessed as functional against the WHO published NRA indicators.

WHO Prequalification Programme, as such, facilitates access to vaccines that meet the unified standards of quality, safety and efficacy as well as programme needs.

A WHO-led team of global experts from several countries came to this conclusion at the end of comprehensive review from 13-17 February 2017.

The NRAI and affiliated institutions meet WHO Global Benchmarking Tool requirements for a functional vaccine regulatory system.

Indian Health Ministry and its affiliated institutions – Central Drugs Standards Control Organization (CDSCO), Central Drugs Laboratory, Kasauli, Pharmacovigilance Programme and Immunization Division, and other relevant institutions are engaged in the regulation, control and testing of vaccines.

India is one of the largest manufacturers and exporters of vaccines world-wide.

5)   Which former CJI passed away on 19th Feb 2017?

a. Altamas Kabir
b. CP Thakur
c. JS Khehar
d. Justice Kania
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Altamas Kabir

Former Chief Justice of Supreme Court Altamas Kabir passed away here on 19th Feb 2017; He was 68.

Suffering from kidney-related ailments, Justice Kabir was admitted to a private hospital in the city last week.

Nephew of the well-known Bengal writer and politician, Humayun Kabir, Altamas Kabir was known for his erudition and tongue-in-cheek humour.

Born on July 19, 1948 in Kolkata, Justice Kabir completed his LLB and MA from the University of Calcutta.

He started his legal career in 1973 when he enrolled as an advocate.

He was appointed a permanent judge in the Calcutta High Court on August 6, 1990 and Chief Justice of the Jharkhand High Court on March 1, 2005.

Later that year, he was elevated to the Supreme Court on September 9

3 years later, he was appointed the 39th Chief Justice of India on September 29, 2012.

He retired on July 18, 2013 after a brief tenure of around nine months.

During his brief tenure as Chief Justice of India, Justice Kabir delivered several landmark judgments particularly on human rights and election laws.

As the Chief Justice, he was part of the Supreme Court Bench which heard the case of the two Italian marines in 2013.

In another noted judgement in December 2012 as the Chief Justice of India, Justice Kabir along with Justice H.L. Dattu directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to go ahead with its probe into the disproportionate assets case against Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and his son Akhilesh Yadav.

In May 2011, Justice Kabir with Justice Cyriac Joseph, quashed the disqualification of 11 BJP MLAs by the then Karnataka Assembly Speaker K.G. Bopaiah as it did not fulfil the criterion of natural justice and fair play.

He is survived by his wife, a daughter and a son.

6)   Which country's ambassador has been summoned by Malaysia over an assassination allegation?

a. South Korea
b. North Korea
c. China
d. Japan
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: North Korea

Malaysia's foreign ministry summoned North Korea's ambassador on 20th Feb 2017 over allegations he had made over the Southeast Asian country's handling of the investigation into the murder in Kuala Lumpur of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's half-brother.

Malaysia also recalled its envoy from Pyongyang "for consultations", the foreign ministry said in a statement.

The ministry said the North Korean ambassador Kang Chol was summoned for an explanation on the accusations he made against the Government of Malaysia in his press conference on 17 February 2017.

In his press conference, the Ambassador insinuated that the Malaysian Government had 'something to conceal'.

The Ambassador also alleged that Malaysia was 'colluding and playing into the gallery of external forces,' the statement also added.

Malaysia: Know More

  • Capital: Kuala Lumpur
  • Code: +60
  • Currency: Malaysian ringgit
  • Prime minister: Najib Razak
  • Official language: Malaysian

7)   Scientists have created an origami shield to protect law officers from _______

a. Gunfire
b. Missiles
c. Bombs
d. Poisonous gas
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Gunfire

Scientists have created an origami-inspired, lightweight bulletproof shield that can protect law enforcement officials from gunfire.

The new barrier can be folded compactly when not in use, making it easier to transport and deploy.

When expanded - which takes only five seconds - it can provide cover for officers and stop bullets from several types of handguns.

Scientists wanted to create something that was compact, portable, lightweight and worked really well to protect law officers.

Working with law enforcement agencies, researchers learned much of what is currently used has not evolved much from medieval times: shields that are mostly flat, awkward plates that cover only one person.

Current barriers are so heavy and cumbersome they make it difficult for officers to move into position.

The barrier researchers designed is made of 12 layers of bulletproof Kevlar and weighs only 24 kg.

The barrier uses a Yoshimura origami crease pattern to expand around an officer, providing protection on the side in addition to protecting them in the front.

In testing, the barrier successfully stopped bullets from 9 mm, 0.357 Magnum and 0.44 Magnum pistols.

A 0.44 Magnum would actually tip it over, but that did not happen.

The barrier is very stable, even with large bullets hitting it.

Since Kevlar fabric is subject to fraying, abrasion and is sensitive to sunlight and water, the team also made a concentrated effort to reinforce it against the environment.

It goes from a very compact state that you can carry around in the trunk of a car to something one can take with them, open up and take cover behind to be safe from bullets.

Then one can easily fold it up and move it if you need to advance your position.

In addition to protecting police officers, researchers believe the barrier could be used to protect children in a school or a wounded person in an emergency situation.

8)   ESA is collaborating with which space agency in space missions?

c. China Space Agency
d. SpaceX
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques


While the European Space Agency (ESA)'s Gaia satellite mission is on its multi-dimensional space probe, mapping a billion stars in the Milky Way Galaxy, ESA's Senior Scientific Advisor Mark McCaughrean reveals ESA's plan for further collaboration with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in space missions.

On ISRO's historic launch of 104 satellites at one go, he says it's the precision in placing satellites and cost reduction.

ESA is planning 15 space missions including Bepe Colombo to Mercury in 2018 and JUICE to Jupiter in 2022.

Earlier, ESA had collaborated with ISRO on Chandrayaan-1 mission to Moon.

In its space mission, ESA has collaborative efforts with 22 countries including the US, Russia, China, India and Japan.

It is expected to increase with the commercial launches.

ON ESA's plan for 15 space missions, the Bepe Colombo will be the first probe to Mercury in 2018.

It is a joint mission between ESA and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the Sun's enormous gravity poses a challenge to place the spacecraft into a stable orbit around Mercury.

Then, the ambitious Jupiter Icy moons Explorer (JUICE) to Jupiter in 2022.

The explorer will spend at least three years making detailed observations of the giant gaseous planet Jupiter and three of its largest moons–Ganymede, Callisto and Europa.

The ice crust is much deeper and there may be forms of life in these moons.

Missions to Neptune and Uranus haven't been planned yet as it would take about 20 to 30 years to reach there, he said.

To probe the possibility of life on other planets, humans have begun space exploration since the first human spaceflight of Russia in 1961 and now plans are afoot by NASA and SpaceX to colonise Mars to help humanity establish a permanent colony in Mars in the next 50 to 100 years.

On ESA's human space flight to Mars, he said it could be after 10 to 20 years. Now it plans robotic exploration to Mars with NASA.

ESA Gaia & Other Missions: Know More

  • It ambitious space mission to scan a six-dimensional map of our Milky Way galaxy of about one billion stars, which is about one percent of the Galactic stellar population.
  • ESA is also preparing for Euclid mission to observe billions of galaxies, to map and measure dark matter and dark energy which constitutes roughly about 80 percent of the mass of the Universe.
  • Studies on dark matter reveal that the universe today is expanding faster than in the past.
  • Such expansion is possible only if the universe contained enough energy to overcome gravity.
  • ESA has a program to build a gravitational wave detector by 2030, it's the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) mission to observe and measure gravitational waves directly by using laser interferometry.

9)   What does IoT stand for?

a. Internet of Telecom
b. Internet of Things
c. Internet of Today
d. Internet of Tomorrow
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Internet of Things

The number of units under Internet of Things (IoT) is expected to grow exponentially to 1.9 billion units in India by 2020 or about USD 9 billion, says a report.

A rapidly growing hub for IoT solutions, the country's IoT market size in this area is expected to increase about 7 times - from USD 1.3 billion last year to USD 9 billion by 2020.

This is as per consultancy firm Deloitte in its TMT Predictions 2017.

IoT refers to the devices, other than computers and smartphones, connected to the Internet.

Deloitte estimates the current number of such devices in the country to be around 60 million.

The report said IoT solution deployment for digital utilities or smart cities and in the manufacturing, transport and logistics and automotive industries would drive the demand for industrial IoT applications going forward.

By 2020, the company believes industries such as utilities, manufacturing, automotive, transportation and logistics are expected to see highest adoption levels of IoT in India.

The government's planned investment of about USD 1 billion for 100 smart cities, over the next five years, is expected to be a key enabler for IoT adoption across these industries.

Additionally, industries such as healthcare, retail, and agriculture are also expected to make significant progress in IoT adoption.

India needs to continue to build capabilities across technology areas of sensors to adapt to rugged climate, terrain along with network infrastructure, standards and augmented intelligence and behaviour.

While telecom operators would be initially focusing on providing SIMs for IoT devices and solutions, the report expects that in the next two years, telcos would unveil new IoT strategies or stretch the existing one to have higher level of participation in the overall end-to-end IoT ecosystem and economy.

Leading operators would make significant investments to extend their IoT capabilities by providing data analytics and storage and in some cases for more specialised areas operators would enter into partnerships with companies.

Companies would provide cheaper sensors, cloud data storage, analytics, visualisation platforms providing remote monitoring, dashboards and reports.

They offer field service platforms providing automated maintenance tickets and technical assistance.

10)   According to the Lancet Countdown, air pollution in India kills how many people per minute?

a. 2
b. 3
c. 4
d. 5
Answer  Explanation 


Air pollution is killing two people in India every minute, with the country's environment turning more toxic by the day, says a new study published in the journal 'The Lancet'.

According to the study, some of the worst polluted cities of the world are in India.

The study based on 2010 data, estimates that, globally, 2.7-3.4 million preterm births may be associated with exposure to PM 2.5.

South Asia, with 1.6 million preterm births, is the worst hit, the study added

The review by 48 scientists and experts from 16 international institutions has warned that air pollution has adverse health effects on people .

'The Lancet Countdown: Tracking Progress on Health and Climate Change' - a review of significant scientific studies - refers to the recent International Energy Agency (IEA) report which had collated PM 2.5 exposure in lower, middle and upper income countries.

In the report, Patna and Delhi figure among the most polluted cities, both having an annual PM 2.5 concentration of more than 120 micrograms per cubic metres - about 12 times the WHO guideline.

The WHO annual PM 2.5 guideline is 10 micrograms per cubic metres. This IEA report had sourced data from the World Health Organisation (WHO's) urban air quality database of 2016.

An estimated 18,000 people die every day because of exposure to ambient and household air pollution, making it the world's largest single environmental health risk.

Ambient air pollution is particularly pertinent in urban areas, but it also affects non-urban populations as per the Lancet Countdown.

About 80% of people living in urban areas around the world are exposed to air pollution levels in excess of WHO guidelines.

This number rises to 98% for urban populations in low-income and middle-income countries according to the countdown.

Household air pollution that results from use of solid fuels and other biomass contributes to around 4.3 million deaths annually, which are related to pneumonia, stroke, lung cancer, heart disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Lancet Countdown: Know More

  • The Lancet Countdown will report annually in The Lancet journal.
  • The institutions involved in the project includes bodies such as University College London, Tsinghua University and the Centre for Climate & Security among others.
  • They have collaborated with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) too.
  • The report underlines that air pollution and climate change are related and addressing air pollution will have climate change benefits too.

11)   India has committed how much in soft loans to Nepal?

a. USD 350 million
b. USD 360 million
c. USD 370 million
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: None of the above

India committed soft loans amounting to USD 340 million to Nepal for infrastructure projects.

Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu, who arrived in Nepal on 19th Feb 2017 to attend the 'Nepal Infrastructure Summit 2017', signed a letter of exchange with Nepalese Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Planning Ramesh Lekhak.

According to this, India committed a bridge project and 15 road projects totaling USD 340 million soft loans to Nepal.

Prabhu also called on Nepal's President Bidya Devi Bhandari at Rashtrapati Bhawan and discussed key issues in the bilateral relations.

During the meeting, the two leaders discussed bilateral relations, according to a press release issued by the President's office.

Prabhu is in Nepal to attend 'Nepal Infrastructure Summit 2017' that is being organised by the Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI) in association with the Nepal government and Youth Community for Nepalese Contractors (YCNC) to be held between February 19-20.

The minister, is the guest of honour and keynote speaker at the summit.

Nepal: Know More

  • Capital: Kathmandu
  • Code: +977
  • Currency: Nepalese rupee
  • Prime minister: Pushpa Kamal Dahal
  • President: Bidhya Devi Bhandari