Current Affairs Questions & Answers - Mar 12, 2017

1)   Google has announced the acquisition of which data science startup on March 2017?

a. Kaggle
b. Paxata
c. Qubole
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Kaggle

Tech giant Google has announced the acquisition of Kaggle, a start-up that hosts a number of data scientists, for an undisclosed amount at the Cloud Next 2017 conference.

Founded in 2010, Kaggle is home to the world’s largest community of data scientists and machine-learning enthusiasts.

More than 8 lakh data experts use Kaggle to explore, analyse and understand the latest updates in machine learning and data analytics.

Kaggle and Google Cloud will continue to support machine learning training and deployment services while offering the community the ability to store and query large datasets.

Making Google Cloud technology available to our community will allow Google to offer access to powerful infrastructure, scalable training and deployment services and the ability to store and query large data sets.

Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure are other data science and analytics companies.

2)   Eminent Konkani writer Mahabaleshwar Sail has been honoured for which work?

a. Hawthan
b. Pelthadcho Manis
c. Kali Ganga
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Hawthan

Well known Konkani writer Mahabaleshwar Sail has been honoured with the Saraswati Samman 2016 for his novel ‘Hawthan’.

The 74-year-old writer’s novel, published in 2009, was shortlisted from 22 books written in as many languages.

The selection for the award is given every year for an outstanding literary work written in any Indian language by an Indian citizen and published during the last 10 years.

It is made by a jury presided by former chief justice A S Anand.

The award carries a cash prize of 15 lakh and a citation.

Goa-based Sail is a renowned bilingual writer. He has four Marathi dramas and seven Konkani novels to his credit.

He has also written five short stories and a novel in Marathi.

His book ‘Hawthan’ is a well-researched work of fiction presenting the cultural map of the traditional potter community of Goa.

Recipients of Saraswati Samman

The previous recipients of the Saraswati Samman, instituted by K K Birla Foundation include:

  • Former Union minister M Veerappa Moily,
  • S L Bhyrappa,
  • K Aiyappa Panickar,
  • Vijay Tendulkar,
  • Padma Sachdev and
  • Harivansh Rai Bachchan.

3)   Ministry of Railways signed a letter of intent with the UNEP program for?

a. Environmental cooperation
b. Joint cooperation mechanism in the field of environment and sustainability
c. Both of the above
d. Neither of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Both of the above

Ministry of Railways on March 9, 2017 signed a Letter of Intent with the United Nations Environmental Program to formalise joint cooperation in ecological conservation.

Agreement will help in developing a joint cooperation mechanism in the field of environment and sustainability.

Collaboration in forming a specific roadmap for 20% reduction in water consumption at railway establishments is also part of the agreement.

Along with it, waste management centres at major stations on Indian railways is also planned along with sustainable public procurement for green technology.

Indian Railways, that carries 23 million passengers every day, is the largest consumer of water as well as electricity in the country.

It is also the major contributor to green environment due to reduced GHG emissions.


  • United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the leading organization within the United Nations in the field of environment.
  • It majorly focuses on the conservation, protection, enhancement and support of natural resources worldwide.
  • Headquarters: Nairobi
  • Head: Erik Solheim
  • Founded: 1972
  • Founders: Wangari Maathai, Maurice Strong

4)   Indian researchers have found molecular evidence of the presence of which species more than 25,000 years ago?

a. Ostrich
b. Eagle
c. Kite
d. Peacock
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Ostrich

Indian researchers have found molecular evidence confirming the presence of ostrich in India more than 25,000 years ago.

This evidence was unearthed during the DNA analysis of a fossilized eggshell fragment of ostrich.

Researchers found 92% genetic similarity between fossil eggshell samples and Struithio camelus, a species of ostrich found in Africa.

This is the first time that molecular evidence indicating the presence of ostrich in India was found in the eggshell fragments.

In total 11 fossilised eggshell samples from 8 archaeological sites in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat were studied.

The DNA was isolated from five samples and a tiny portion of a highly conserved mitochondrial region was enlarged and then sequenced from one of the samples.

The other four samples had less than 30 base pairs and so, were not included in the study.

This is the first time that a long-term DNA preservation in fossil eggshell collected from tropical environments has been studied in India.

5)   Punjab Agricultural University has developed the country's first GM variety of cotton namely?

a. PAU Bt 1
b. F1861
c. Both of the above
d. Neither of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Both of the above

In a first for the country, Punjab Agricultural University in Ludhiana has developed the country's first GM variety of cotton - PAU Bt 1 and F1861.

Cotton is the only GM crop cultivated in India.

The ICAR has identified three Bt cotton varieties–F1861, PAU Bt1 and RS 2013 for cultivating in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.

Genetic modification of cotton involves introduction of Bt bacterial gene coding for a protein that kills the bollworm cotton pest.

All three varieties carry the Cry1Ac gene from the Bt bacteria. Bt stands for Bacillus thuringiensis.

This imparts resistance against bollworm cotton pest.

PAU Bt 1 variety was completely developed at PAU, whereas the F1861 and RS2013 were converted to Bt version by Central Institute for Cotton Research (CICR), Nagpur.

Punjab Agricultural University: Know More

  • Founded: 1962
  • Academic staff: 1,250
  • Vice-chancellor: Baldev Singh Dhillon

6)   Scientists discovered how many new canyons in Srikakulam district of AP?

a. 3
b. 4
c. 5
d. 6
Answer  Explanation 


Scientists for the first time discovered three new canyons close to Kovvada in Srikakulam district of AP.

This finding was made by team of scientists from CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) in Visakhapatnam.

These three canyons together form a major canyon system in the depths of the Bay of Bengal.

This discovery was made by clearly mapping the ocean floor between Visakhapatnam and Srikakulam in Kovvada by sending over 32 high density beams to the depths of the sea.

Canyon systems are mostly formed by the flow of river water into the sea and they could be as old as the river system.

This is close to 23 million years.

The new canyon system was probably formed by river Kandivalasa.

It is very huge and its depth varies from about 90m at the starting point to about 2,500m at the deepest point.

It extends to about 50 to 70 km deep into the sea.

The last canyon systems off the Visakhapatnam coast were discovered in 1963 by American geologist E.C. LaFond of the US Navy Electronics Laboratory.

The data was collected on board research ship Anton Bruun.

Most of the canyons in the ocean system across the world act as channels for deposition of sediments from the river in the shelf region.

There are more cases of finding hydro-carbons if the deposits are more.

7)   Reliance Capital saw the end of which leading executive's term in March 2017?

a. CMD
b. Managing Director
c. CEO
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques


Reliance Capital's long time CEO Sam Ghosh will leave the company w.e.f. March 31, 2017.

He spent 9 years at the financial services arm of the ADAG business conglomerate.

Ghosh had joined the company in April of 2008 as Group CEO of Reliance Capital.

He was elevated to the board in May 2015.

Ghosh will complete his term of office on March 31, 2017.

Reliance Cap is on track to become a CIC or Core Investment Company by March 31, as per RBI guidelines.

Ghosh was a CA from the UK. He played a key role in expanding core businesses during divestment of non-core assets to step up resources.

What is a CIC?

  • A CIC-ND-SI is a Non-Banking Financial Company with asset size of INR 100 crore and above
  • It is carrying on the business of acquisition of shares and securities
  • It holds not less than 90 percent of its net assets in the form of investment in equity shares, preference shares, bonds, debentures, debt or loans in group companies;
  • Its investments in the equity shares (including instruments compulsorily convertible into equity shares within a period not exceeding 10 years from the date of issue) in group companies constitutes not less than 60% of its net assets
  • It does not trade in its investments in shares, bonds, debentures, debt or loans in group companies except through block sale for the purpose of dilution or disinvestment;
  • It does not carry on any other financial activity referred to in Section 45I(c) and 45I(f) of the RBI Act 1934 except investment in bank deposits, money market instruments, government securities, loans to and investments in debt issuances of group companies or guarantees issued on behalf of group companies.
  • It accepts public funds

8)   Who won the Best Male Actor award at the Zee Cine Awards 2017?

a. Amitabh Bachchan
b. Aamir Khan
c. Salman Khan
d. Rishi Kapoor
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Amitabh Bachchan

Alia Bhatt won the Best Actor Female Award at the Zee Cine Awards 2017.

Amitabh Bachchan won the Best Male Actor Award. Alia was honoured for her stellar performance in Udta Punjab while Amitabh Bachchan won his award for his role in Pink.

Salman Khan won the Best Actor Male (Viewer's Choice) while the Female Best Actor (Viewer's Choice) award was won by Anushka Sharma.

Rishi Kapoor won two awards– Best Supporting Male and Best Actor in Comic Role Categories for his film Kapoor and Sons.

Shabana Azmi won the Best Actor in Supporting Role (Female) award for Neerja. The Best Film award was won by Pink. Best Film Award (Viewer's Choice) was Dangal.

9)   World Kidney day 2017 was observed with the theme _____________

a. Kidney Disease and Obesity: Healthy Lifestyle for Healthy Kidneys
b. Chronic Kidney Disease and Aging
c. Kidney Health for All
d. Kidney Disease & Children. Act Early to Prevent It!
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Kidney Disease and Obesity: Healthy Lifestyle for Healthy Kidneys

The World Kidney Day 2017 was observed on March 9, 2017 with the theme Kidney Disease and Obesity: Healthy Lifestyle for Healthy Kidneys.

The WKD 2017 sought to promote education about dangerous consequences of obesity and association with kidney diseases.

The WKD is a joint initiative of the International Society of Nephorology and the International Federation of Kidney Foundations.

The day focuses on international health awareness campaign with a focus on the importance of kidneys.

The day is observed to study the frequency and impact of kidney diseases and associated health problems worldwide.

World Kidney Day was first celebrated in 2006.

About the ISN

  • The ISN is an NPO society dedicated to advancing the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of kidney diseases.
  • The society, which saw its 50th anniversary in 2010, is active in over 126 countries across the world.
  • The IFKF, an NPO, was established in 1999.
  • At present, it has a membership of 63 kidney foundations and patient groups in more than 41 countries. The foundation works to improve the health, well-being and quality of life of individuals with kidney disease.