Current Affairs Questions & Answers - Mar 04, 2017

1)   GAIL has signed its first time swap deal with _______

a. Gunvor
b. Rosneft
c. CPC
d. Reliance
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Gunvor

State-run gas company GAIL (India) Ltd has signed a time-swap deal with Swiss trader Gunvor to sell some of its U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG).

The Indian firm tries to ease the burden of its costly foreign LNG supplies.

It is the first time-swap agreement by GAIL, which is trying to juggle its LNG portfolio to cut costs for price-sensitive Indian customers after a sharp fall in Asian spot prices made its US gas unattractive.

The deal equates to around 5 percent of India's 2015/16 LNG imports and will support a government push to promote use of the cleaner fuel in fertiliser and the power sector.

This is so even as India's local gas production is falling.

Under the agreement, Gunvor will supply 15 cargoes or about 0.8 million tonnes of LNG to GAIL on India's west cost between April and December this year in oil-linked prices on a delivered basis in India.

In return GAIL will sell 10 cargoes or about 0.6 million tonnes next year from Sabine Pass on the U.S. Gulf coast in 2018 at a premium to its pricing formula on a free-on-board (FOB) basis.

The deal, priced at about a 12 percent slope to Brent, means GAIL could get gas from Gunvor at $6.50-$7.00 per million British thermal units (mBtu).

This is competitive with Asian spot prices and much cheaper than the cost of shipping its own U.S. gas to India.

Spot deals (in India) for April deliveries getting finalised at slightly more than $6.50 (mBtu) so GAIL's deal with Gunvor is at a very competitive rates.

GAIL is saddled with long-term contracts to take expensive US gas after embarking on a buying spree between 2011 and 2013 when the fuel was scarce and prices kept rising.

LNG booked by GAIL under a long term deal with Cheniere Energy, which owns the Sabine Pass Liquefaction terminal, will cost 115 percent of Henry Hub prices plus a fixed cost of $3 per mBtu.

At current prices, this equates to a cost of about $8.50 per mBtu on a delivered basis to India.

New Delhi wants to lift the share of cleaner-burning gas in its energy mix to 15 percent in the next three years from about 6.5 percent at present.

GAIL is also in talks with Russia's Gazprom to delay and renegotiate a 20-year gas purchase deal undercut by low spot prices.

GAIL: Know More

  • Stands for Gas Authority of India Limited
  • It is the largest state-owned natural gas processing and distribution company in India.
  • Headquarters: New Delhi
  • CEO: Sh B. C. Tripathi (1 Aug 2009)
  • Founded: 1984
  • Parent organization: United Nations

2)   Who has been appointed the new MTNL CMD?

a. SK Garg
b. AK Garg
c. PK Purwar
d. Narendra Kumar Yadav
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques


P K Purwar was appointed Chairman and Managing Director of state-run telecom major Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL).

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved his appointment to the post for five years, an official order said.

He is currently working as Director (Finance) in MTNL.

Purwar held the additional charge of the post of MTNL CMD between June 2014 and June 2015.

In June last year, he was again given this additional charge.

A process has been underway for long time to find a new head of the loss-making telecom PSU and a search-cum-selection committee was earlier constituted under the chairman of Public Enterprises Selection Board for the appointment.

Narendra Kumar Yadav relinquished the top post on completion of his tenure.

Purwar, the director (finance) of MTNL, had earlier held the additional charge between June 2014 and June 2015.

Narendra Kumar Yadav has relinquished the charge of CMD of the company w.e.f. 8 June 2016. P.K. Purwar, director (finance), MTNL, has been entrusted with the additional charge of the post of CMD,

Yadav, a member (services) department of telecom, had been given the additional charge of CMD on 8 June 2015.

The telecom public sector undertaking (PSU) has been without a full-time CMD since 30 May 2014 when A.K. Garg retired from the post.

Purwar was given additional charge after Garg’s retirement.

Purwar’s name had been recommended for the MTNL’s top post by the public enterprises selection board (PESB) in November 2013, but the government did not go ahead with the recommendation.

MTNL, which offers telecom services in Delhi and Mumbai circles, has been making losses since 2009-10.

The PSU posted a consolidated net loss of Rs.2,012.24 crore for year ended 31 March 2016, against that of Rs.2,901.16 crore at the end of March 2015.

The telecom firm, however, expects to post operational profit at the end of the current financial year and turn profitable in 2017-18.

At the end of March 2016, the company had 3,56,085 wireless subscribers and 3,504,088 wireline users, according to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s data.

MTNL: Know More

  • Headquarters: New Delhi
  • CEO: Pravin Kumar Purwar ( since 2014)
  • Founded: 1 April 1986
  • Number of employees: 45,000
  • Type of business: Publicly listed state-owned enterprise
  • Subsidiaries: Mahanagar Telephone Mauritius Limited, Millennium Telecom Ltd., MTNL-STPI IT Services Ltd

3)   Pakistan on March 1st saw its diplomat ________ elected as SAARC Secretary General.

a. Ali Hussein B.Sial
b. Amjad Hussain B. Sial
c. Amjad Hussein B. Sial
d. Atlaf Hussein B. Sial
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Amjad Hussein B. Sial

In a first, Pakistan on March 1, 2017 succeeded in getting an official elected to the post of Secretary General for South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation.

Pakistan was backed by all members including India. The selection was consensus based.

Election is of administrative nature only. Pakistan will provide the next secretary general making a smooth transition from Nepal to Pakistan.

The new SAARC chief is a veteran diplomat and has been waiting to take charge since March 2016.

Sial was elected as Pakistan and India both want SAARC to function efficiently.

Following the terrorist attack in Uri, India had opposed the 19th SAARC Summit in Islamabad in Nov 2016.

India had sent delegates including the Joint Secretary in charge of SAARC for meeting SAARC reps in February to finalise the issue of budget and admin matters.

Sial has assumed charge of the office of Secretary General of SAARC from March 1, 2017, according to a press release issued by SAARC Secretariat here.

He has succeeded Nepal's Arjun Bahadur Thapa, who was appointed the Secretary-General in 2014.

The Pakistani turn, which is held by rotation, starts from March 1, 2017, and continues till February 28, 2020.

About Amjad Hussein B. Sial: Know More

  • Sial's nomination was made by Pakistan at the SAARC Council of Ministers in Pokhara, Nepal, in March 2016 and was endorsed by all member states.
  • He is a seasoned diplomat from Pakistan Foreign Service with over 33 years of career in the diplomatic field.
  • Before joining the SAARC Secretariat Sial was Special Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad.
  • He has a rich experience in bilateral and multilateral diplomacy both at Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad and Missions abroad.
  • Sial had served as Pakistan's ambassador to Tajikistan and permanent representative at Pakistan Mission to the UN.SAARC is an eight-member regional grouping that comprises Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, the Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

4)   India will host the ICEGOV2017 for the first time, which is on ________

a. Theory of electronic governance
b. Practice of electronic governance
c. Both of the above
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Both of the above

India for first time will host International Conference on Theory and Practice of Electronic Governance (ICEGOV2017).

It will be held in collaboration with United Nations University and UNESCO.

The objective of ICEGOV2017 is to study how Digital Government can lead to Digital Empowerment by local knowledge.

This year marks the tenth edition of ICEGOV and it will focus on the use of technology to transform relationships between government and citizens, businesses, civil society.

It will also try to grow an outlook to create new paradigms, forms, foundations for technology-enabled governance, development and collaboration

United Nations University

  • Address: 5 Chome-53-70 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo 150-8925, Japan
  • Head: David M. Malone
  • Founded: 1973
  • Total enrolment: 184 (2014)

5)   Women's Entrepreneurship Council has been developed by which Ministry?

a. Women and Child Development
c. Commerce
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Women and Child Development

The Ministry of Women and Child Development has proposed the setting up of a Women's Entrepreneurship Council for taking up with the government the problems faced by businesswomen.

The council modelled on the lines of chambers of commerce, will seek to resolve issues through policy changes.

Council should be up and running within a year. The conclave was held to celebrate International Women's Day.

To stop begging by children, the ministry has decided to come down heavily on those indulging and promotion the social evil.

To this end, an Anti-Trafficking Bill is to be posed for Parliamentary approval shortly.

However, the ministry was also working on an App to curb harassment to women in any form. The app, named “Shouting App” that would allow the victim to reach out to 10 people near her to keep the perpetrators at bay before the arrival of the police.

The app is expected to be functional by this month end.

6)   What are blastocysts?

a. Structure formed in the early development of mammals
b. It's inner cell mass forms the embryo
c. Both of the above
d. Neither of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Both of the above

Understanding the very early stages of embryo development is of interest because this knowledge may help explain why a significant number of human pregnancies fail at this time.

Combining genetically-modified mouse ESCs and TSCs, together with a 3D scaffold known as an extracellular matrix, scientists were able to grow a structure capable of assembling itself and whose development and architecture very closely resembled the natural embryo.

Both the embryonic and extra-embryonic cells start to talk to each other and become organised into a structure that looks like and behaves like an embryo.

There was a remarkable degree of communication between the two types of stem cell: in a sense, the cells are telling each other where in the embryo to place themselves.

Interactions between the different types of stem cell are important for development, but the striking thing that new work illustrates is that this is a real partnership - these cells truly guide each other.

Comparing their artificial ‘embryo’ to a normally-developing embryo, the team was able to show that its development followed the same pattern of development.

The stem cells organise themselves, with ESCs at one end and TSCs at the other.

A cavity opens then up within each cluster before joining together, eventually to become the large, so-called pro-amniotic cavity in which the embryo will develop.

This is a technique that allows blastocysts to develop in vitro beyond the implantation stage, enabling researchers to analyse for the first time key stages of human embryo development up to 13 days after fertilisation.

This could overcome a shortage of embryos. Currently, embryos are developed from eggs donated through IVF clinics.

How Are Embryos Formed?

  • Once a mammalian egg has been fertilised by a sperm, it divides multiple times to generate a small, free-floating ball of stem cells.
  • The particular stem cells that will eventually make the future body, the embryonic stem cells (ESCs) cluster together inside the embryo towards one end: this stage of development is known as the blastocyst.
  • The other two types of stem cell in the blastocyst are the extra-embryonic trophoblast stem cells (TSCs), which will form the placenta, and primitive endoderm stem cells that will form the so-called yolk sac, ensuring that the foetus’s organs develop properly and providing essential nutrients.
  • Previous attempts to grow embryo-like structures using only ESCs have had limited success. This is because early embryo development requires the different types of cell to coordinate closely with each other.

7)   Which is HP's second capital?

a. Shimla
b. Kangra
c. Kullu
d. Dharmashala
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Dharmashala

The tourist town of Dharamshala, which is also the home of Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama, has officially become the second capital of Himachal Pradesh.

The state cabinet on 2nd March 2017 gave its nod to the proposal to make Dharamshala the second capital of the state.

Chief minister Virbhadra Singh had announced Dharamshala as second capital of Himachal Pradesh in January.

A second capital would benefit the residents of Kangra, Chamba, Una and Hamirpur districts, as they have to travel all the way to Shimla for official matters as ministers and officials sit there.

Even the state government employees posted in Dharamshala would gain from the cabinet decision as they can now avail capital allowance for serving in the state capital.

With the decision, the Congress government is now hoping to gain in the upcoming assembly polls since Kangra, Chamba, Una and Hamirpur districts have 30 assembly seats.

At present, Dharamshala has a mini secretariat and secretariat besides the assembly building.

In addition, a new building is almost ready at a cost of INR 5 crore, which would be used for accommodation of ministers and officers.

Vidhan Sabha used to hold its winter session at Dharamshala in a move started by Virbhadra Singh during his previous term.

He had also started ‘winter sojourn’ - a practice when the Chief Minister camps at Dharamshala for nearly a month.

Dharamshala is a foothill town of McLeodganj, the seat of Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama and headquarters of the central Tibetan administration.

HPCA’s cricket stadium is also an attraction at Dharamshala besides its majestic snow-covered Dhauladhar ranges.

Dharamshala: Know More

  • State: Himachal Pradesh
  • District: Kangra
  • Capital of Himachal Pradesh: Dharamsala (Winter)
  • Area: Total 27.60 km2 (10.66 sq m)
  • Highest elevation: 2,352 m (7,717 ft)
  • Lowest elevation: 1,065 m (3,494 ft)

8)   World Wildlife Day will be celebrated in March with the theme ______

a. Listen to the Young Voices
b. Listen to the Voices
c. Listen to the Young
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Listen to the Young Voices

World Wildlife Day will be celebrated on 3rd March 2017 with the theme “Listen to the Young Voices.”

Given that almost one quarter of the world’s population is aged between 10 and 24, vigorous efforts need to be made to encourage young people, as the future leaders and decision makers of the world, to act at both local and global levels to protect endangered wildlife.

World Wildlife Day 2017 encourages youth around the world to rally together to address ongoing major threats to wildlife including habitat change, over-exploitation or illicit trafficking.

Youth are the agents of change.

WWD: Know More

  • Also called: Wildlife Day / WWD
  • Observed by: All UN Member States
  • Celebrations: To celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild fauna and flora
  • Date: 3 March