Current Affairs Questions & Answers - Mar 19, 2017

1)   Niti Aayog will start a process to make states prepare WMI. What does WMI stand for?

a. Water Management Index
b. Water Maximum Index
c. Water Mineral Index
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Water Management Index

Niti Aayog will start a process to sensitise states towards preparing a Water Management Index which leads to the Centre's think tank to rank them on the basis of efforts in efficient water resource management.

State's performance will be judged on the basis of 28 basic indicators including water use efficiency, irrigation status, groundwater recharge, availability of water for rural and urban areas for drinking, water shed development and other sustainable practices in water based sectors.

Niti Aayog has developed a composite WMI to assess and improve performance in efficient water resource management.

Different weightage is allocated to different performance indicators to arrive at a composite index.

The scorecard carries both qualitative and quantitative indicators in 2016-2017.

The WMI is one of the six indices which the Niti Aayog has introduced for ranking states.

The others include health, education, energy efficiency , agricultural reforms and digital transaction.

2)   Modi government has initiated which prison reform?

a. Migrating to e-prisons, a software to integrate prison data across the nation
b. Attempt at long pending prison reforms
c. Release of under trials booked for petty crimes
d. All of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: All of the above

Modi government is pushing for implementation of prison reforms across the nation and the release of under trial prisoners in jails for longer than the number of years sentenced if convicted.

Union law ministry has asked states to migrate to the software, e-prisons to integrate prison data across the country; the aim is to roll out pending prison reforms and ensure release of under trials booked for petty crimes.

Of 4.18 lakh prisoners across the country, 67% or 2.82 lakh are under trials, many of them booked for petty crimes like theft.

Less than 1.28 lakh in jails are those who have been convicted and are serving their sentence.

The use of e-prisons software is for efficient management of the prison information system.

Gujarat, Odisha, Goa, Jharkhand and Haryana are just some of the states where maximum number of prisoners are under trials.

The states and UTs have shifted to this software, though some are still reluctant.

The special software updates prisoner's data along with information on the trial stage and period of sentence served if convicted.

Special software developed by the Centre was first test-checked successfully as a pilot in Tihar jail.

The software creates an alert when the under trial completes 50% of the prison term without bail for offences he has been charged with.

3)   Which coal ministry outfit has been tasked with grading and notifying Coal India Ltd mines?

a. Coal Controller's Organisation
b. Coal Controller's Association
c. Coal Controller's Agency
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Coal Controller's Organisation

Coal Controller's Organisation, a coal ministry outfit has been tasked with grading and notifying the mines of Coal India Ltd from April 2017.

This makes a significant change of internal grading by Coal India.

This could lead to a change in existing grades as per the mines. Grading until now was done by coal producing subsidiaries of CIL and vetted by the CCO.

This change has been triggered by a fresh thrust on quality following recurring complaints on coal quality and grade mismatch by coal consumers in power and non-power sectors.

CIL has geared up to produce coal as per demand, but quality remains an issue.

In between coal seams, the presence of layers of stone and extraneous materials have led to variation in grades.

4)   North Korea has conducted a new test of a high thrust rocket engine at which site?

a. Sohae
b. Kaesong
c. Hamhung
d. Pyongyang
Answer  Explanation 


North Korea has conducted a ground test of a new type of high-thrust rocket engine that leader Kim Jong Un is a revolutionary breakthrough for the country's space programme.

Kim attended the test at Sohae launch site. The test was intended to confirm a new type engine thrust power and gauge the reliability of the control system and structural safety.

The test has great significance for the country's indigenous rocket industry.

The report indicated the engine is to be used for North Korea's space and satellite launching programme.

North Korea is banned from conducting long-range missile tests by the UN.

Under the 5 year plan, North Korea intends to launch more earth observation satellites in what would be the country's first geostationary communication's satellite.

North Korea is trying to create a viable space programme including a moon launch within the next ten years.

North Korea launched its latest satellite Kwangmyongsong 4, or Brilliant Star 4 into orbit on Feb 7, 2016 after conducting the first hydrogen-bomb test.

The first satellite in orbit was put in 2012.

5)   Agricultural growth has risen to what value in 2017?

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


Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Shri R. M Singh has indicated the government is working on a concrete plan to link farmers with the markets.

Addressing the 5th International Convention on Changing Dynamics of Commodities Market, this will help farmers participation in trading food grains.

Forward trading is an index of predictive pricing and a result of both buyer and seller, can plan their futures trading.

This will assist farmers to plan crop planting and eliminate the role of the middlemen.

Marketing in farm produce is carried out through state government designated 6746 mandis across the nation.

Government is leveraging the APMC mandis and amending marketing laws to facilitate setting up of mandis by the private sector.

e-NAM offers online commodities trading platform to fetch a farmer optimal price for farm produce. Money is also directly credited to his account.

A total of 277 mandis have spread across 12 states and linked on the e-NAM portal. 585 mandis will join the platform by the next year.

India is not only self sufficient in agricultural production but also exports food grains.

Agricultural growth has more than doubled from 2 to 4.4 percent. In the 2017-2018 budget, funding provision for rural, agricultural and allied sectors has risen to 24% or INR 187,223.

6)   Which well known journalist broke the news of German surrender in Italy at WWII's end?

a. Mark Kellog
b. Terry A Anderson
c. George E. Bria
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: George E. Bria

The Associated Press journalist who flashed word of the German surrender in Italy at WWII's close, George Bria died at age 101.

Bria bore witness to Benito Mussolini's death and covered the Nuremberg war crimes trials.

George Bria was a journalist with many interests and a dedicated professional.

Raised in Waterbury Connecticut by Italian immigrant parents, Bria earned his degree from Amherst and Middlebury colleges.

He learned the reporter's trade in 4 years at the Waterbury Democrat and Hartford Courant newspapers.

In 1944, Bria was sent to the European war zone. In 1945, he reported the summary execution of Mussolini.

Bria later joined the AP postwar staff in Germany, covering the Nuremberg trials of Nazi generals and the Berlin airlift of 1948-49 flying to the Soviet blockaded city abroad US supply planes.

He rejoined the foreign desk in 1961. He was also chief correspondent at the UN in NY.

7)   Who is known for classics such as Johnny B. Goode and Sweet Little Sixteen?

a. Chuck Berry
b. Steve Tyler
c. Jon Bon Jovi
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Chuck Berry

Rock and roll founding guitar legend and storyteller Chuck Berry who came up with classics like Johnny B. Goode, Sweet Little Sixteen and Roll Over Beethoven died on March 18, 2017 at the age of 90.

Berry was found unresponsive and was pronounced dead.

His core repertoire included three dozen songs, and his influence was tremendous from Beatles to Rolling Stones.

A life performer and skilled song writer, his music captured the core of 1950s teenage life.

He was singing good and intelligent lyrics at a time when others were only trying to be origin, musical genius John Lennon once observed.

Berry, in his late 20s before his first major hit, crafted lyrics that spoke to the teenagers of the day and remained fresh decades later.

“Sweet Little Sixteen” captured rock and roll fandom, an early and innocent ode to the young girls later known as “groupies.”

“School Day” told of the sing-song trials of the classroom and the liberation of rock and roll once the day’s final bell rang.

8)   Which of the following countries are included in G20?

a. India
b. Germany
c. France
d. All of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: All of the above

G20 finance chiefs will fight attacks regardless of origin and there will be promise of cross border cooperation to maintain financial stability.

Resilience of financial services and institutions in G20 jurisdictions against malicious use of ICT technologies including from countries outside the G-20.

Earlier reference for enhanced security requirements for financial services were dropped.

Cyber crime has become a massive priority after the heist on Bangladesh central bank account at the Fed Reserve Bank of NY in 2016.

This theft has exposed the vulnerability of the system. Agreement will be finalised on March 18, after the United States charged 2 intelligence agents from Russia, another G20 member with leading the 2014 theft of 500m Yahoo accounts.

This indictment was the first time US authorities have charged Russian spies for cyber offences.

This includes computer fraud, economic espionage, trade secret thefts and wire fraud.

There were allegations of a Kremlin backed hacking of the 2016 US Presidential election and possible links between Russian figures and the associates of President Trump.

9)   RBI will create polymer based currency notes of which denomination?

a. INR 5
b. INR 10
c. INR 20
d. INR 25
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques


The Union Finance Ministry has given permission to the Reserve Bank of India to conduct field trials of plastic currency notes of INR 10 denomination.

These notes will be introduced in 5 cities across the country with diverse climatic and geographical conditions.

The procurement of the requisite plastic substrate material has been approved. Plastic INR 10 notes will now be printed.

Benefits of Plastic Currency Notes

  • Plastic currency notes were first used by Australia in 1988
  • Plastic notes are cleaner than paper and will last longer (around 5 years); these are difficult to counterfeit.
  • These notes are now used in more than 20 countries.
  • Notes were smaller and stronger than cotton based paper notes.
  • They have more security features making them harder to copy.

10)   India and which country has signed a long term agreement for Sukhoi Su-30 MKI combat aircraft fleet?

a. Russia
b. Siberia
c. Tanzania
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Russia

India and Russia have signed a long term support agreement for the Sukhoi Su-30MKI combat aircraft fleet.

This covers 57,000 spares and components pertaining to aircrafts.

The agreement was signed by HAL with Russia's United Aircraft Corporation and United Engine Corporation at the first India-Russia Military Industrial Conference.

India has contracted 272 Su-30 fighter jets from Russia in numerous batches and over 230 jets.

Their serviceability rate has been an issue of concern. Serviceability rates have fallen below 50 percent and at one point, it had approved to over 60%.

Pacts provide for an upgraded schedule for delivery of spares from Russia for Su-30MKI, local manufacturing of parts and a proposed logistics hub for fighter jets in Bengaluru, Karnataka by HAL.

Pacts were signed for life cycle support and maintenance for other Russian origin platforms.

This includes MiG-29K aircraft, MI-17 choppers, INS Vikramaditya and T-90 tanks.

A long lasting concern of India with regard to Russian origin military equipment will be addressed.

India has the 3rd largest armed forces in the world and one of the largest importers of defence equipment.

As most of the defence platforms and weapon systems are of Russian origin, maintenance and life cycle support is important from the point of view of defence preparedness.

The deal follows a Russian legislation permitting companies to enter into direct agreement with foreign companies for long term support.

Procurement of spares is a tough process as India cannot deal with Original Equipment Manufacturers directly; it has to go through intermediaries.

OEMs: Know More

  • An original equipment manufacturer (OEM) is a company whose goods are used as components in the products of another company.
  • It then sells the finished item to users.
  • This firm is referred to as a value-added reseller (VAR) (because by augmenting or incorporating features or services, it adds value to the original item) works closely with the OEM.
  • This customizes designs based on the VAR company's needs and specifications.

11)   World Bank Group approved USD 210 million loan for strengthening gram panchayats in which state?

a. West Bengal
b. Bihar
c. Jharkhand
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: West Bengal

The World Bank Group on March 15, 2017 approved USD 210 million loan to strengthen gram panchayats in West Bengal.

The loan amount will be utilized for implementation of Phase 2 of the West BengalSupport to Institutional Strengthening of Gram Panchayat Program- ISGPP-2

The ISGPP- II will support 3,342 GPs in the state to utilize untied and discretionary funds provided under the inter-governmental fiscal transfer system.

The program seeks to strengthen local community participation in the financial management, planning and budgeting of projects introduced in rural areas.

During the first phase of the project, performance based block grants were given to 1,000 better performing GPs within 9 districts for investing in priority local infrastructure and service delivery projects.

Till now, 92,000 activities were carried out by GPs under the ISGPP.

Around 54 percent of the activities belonged to the transport sector, and 23 percent in areas concerned with water and sanitation.

The ISGPP-II will accelerate the pace of decentralization to gram panchayats across West Bengal through state wide unified performance based grant allocation system.

To access the PBG, GPs will be assessed on an annual basis through independent Annual Performance Assessment

The APA will be conducted for all 3342 GPs in special performance areas such as project execution, budgeting, planning, service delivery, accounting,financial reporting, auditing, transparency and accountability.

Certain other areas the program focuses on comprise building human resource capacity for enhanced transparency and accountability in local government functioning.

A robust internal audit system will be developed and implemented in gram panchayats.

West Bengal: Know More

  • Area: 88,752 km²Capital: Kolkata
  • Population: 90.32 million (2012)
  • Official animal: Fishing cat

12)   Who has been named the new UP CM on March 18, 2017?

a. Yogi Adityanath
b. Sakshi Maharaj
c. Keshav Prasad Maurya
d. Manoj Sinha
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Yogi Adityanath

Yogi Adityanath was appointed the new chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. He is a LS MP from Gorakhpur.

State party chief Keshav Prasad Maurya was considered the front runner for the post. He has been named Deputy CM along with Dinesh Sharma, the party's national vice president and Lucknow mayor.

Adityanath is a 5 time BJP MP. The 44-year-old has represented Gorakhpur since 1998.

The BJP, which won three-fourths majority in the 403-member Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly, is returning to power after 14 years.

BJP: Know More

  • President: Amit Shah
  • Founded: 6 April 1980
  • Newspaper: Kamal Sandesh
  • Ideology: Integral humanism, Social conservatism, Conservatism, Hindu nationalism, Gandhian socialism, Hindutva
  • Political position: Right-wing politics