Current Affairs Questions & Answers - May 01, 2017

1)   RBI has asked ARCs to have minimum NOF of ____ crore.

a. 25
b. 50
c. 70
d. none of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: none of the above

The apex bank of India, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has asked all the existing asset reconstruction companies (ARCs) to have a minimum net owned fund (NOF) of INR 100 crore by March 2019.

This decision has been taken by RBI in accordance with its last bi-monthly monetary policy in which it had proposed to stipulate a minimum NOF of INR 100 crore taking into consideration the enhanced role and greater cash based transactions carried out by ARCs.

As per amended SARFAESI Act, 2016, ARCs cannot carry on the business of securitisation or asset reconstruction without having NOF of not less than INR 2 crore or any other amount stipulated by the RBI.

As per the notification of RBI, the existing ARCs not meeting the minimum NOF criteria need to achieve the minimum NOF of INR 100 crore latest by 31 March 2019.

What is an ARC?

  • ARC is a company registered under Section 3 of the Securitisation and reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest (SARFAESI) Act, 2002.
  • ARCs are regulated by the RBI.
  • They are the specialised agencies with a main role of resolving the stressed assets issue of the Indian banking system.
  • They are involved in buying bad loans from Indian banks to turn them around.
  • The Narsimham Committee –2 (1998) proposed establishment of ARCs on the similar lines with that of asset management companies present globally.
  • ARCs help the banks to concentrate on normal banking operations rather than dealing with stressed assets.

2)   What is the name of the SAARC satellite to be launched on May 5, 2017?

a. South Asia Satellite
b. South Asian Association Satellite
c. South East Asia satellite
d. SAARC satellite
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: South Asia Satellite

The South Asia Satellite will be launched on May 5, India’s “priceless gift” to its neighbours as part of the 'sabka sath, sabka vikas' concept.

Seven out of eight SAARC countries are a part of the project which Pakistan refused to join as it did not want the "gift" from India.

The concept of 'sabka sath, sabka vikas' is not confined to India but is relevant globally too, especially in the context of the neighbourhood.

The benefits of this satellite will go a long way in meeting the developmental needs of the countries participating in this project.

This is an appropriate example of India's commitment towards South Asia. The satellite of South Asia will help in the overall development of the entire region

The benefits will be in the partner countries in areas of mapping of natural resources, tele-medicine, education, IT connectivity and people-to-people links, he said.

These countries, besides India, are Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Afghanistan.

Modi had made a unilateral proposal of India launching the satellite whose data would be shared with the eight SAARC countries for their development.

Initially, it was to be named as ‘SAARC Satellite’ but its name was changed to South Asia Satellite after Pakistan refused to join the project.

Basically, the satellite is meant for providing communication and disaster support, connectivity among the countries of South Asia region.

It will provide a significant capability to each of the participating countries in terms of DTH, certain VSAT capacity plus linking among the states for both disaster information transfer and also in terms of library type of things.

3)   What does RERA stand for, in the context of real estate regulation law?

a. Real Estate (Development and Regulation) Act
b. Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act
c. Real Estate (Regulation) Act
d. Real Estate (Development ) Act
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act

Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (RERA) is expected to usher in an urban real estate revolution in India.

Flat property prices over the past two years have made the real estate sector a no-go zone for investors.

But RERA, along with demonetisation and goods and service tax (GST), will make sure that the market is largely driven by end users.

While RERA benefits the builders by bringing in more transparency and accountability, which will stand them in good stead by ensuring the flow of institutional funds, the real winner will be the end-user–the home buyers.

The immediate impact would be likely on consolidation, how capital is raised and deployed, and increasing compliance costs for developer. It will also impact transparency, demand uplift and consolidation.

However rules put forward by states have diluted many provisions, keeping most of ongoing projects outside the ambit of the law that would come into effect from May 1.

States such as Odisha and Bihar have notified rules that are completely in sync with the one notified by the Union housing and poverty alleviation ministry.

In contrast, Haryana's draft rules, notified last week, have completely left out disclosures by builders on the sanctioned plan, layout and specifications at the time of booking with all subsequent changes till date.

This omission will give legal colour to all unilateral changes done by builders and will give them an escape route to avoid paying compensation to home buyers.

In Maharashtra, a provision has been included to allow builders to take out or divest from a project after occupancy certificate has been issued.

This means, the builder can pull out its entire investment before completion of common areas, facilities and amenities.

In UP, the norms related to compounding of offences have been diluted as no specific amount has been mentioned. There is provision for 'up to' (a certain amount), which means it may even be zero.

This will encourage corruption as quantum of money to be paid will be at the discretion of the authority.

The urban development ministry has allowed relaxation even in Delhi, where rules specify that promoters need to provide details of only those court cases which have been disposed of during the last five years.

This is despite the housing ministry clearly stating that builders need to provide details of all pending cases.

4)   Scientists have found vast _______ on the surface of Antarctica ice sheets accelerating rise in sea level?

a. Lakes
b. Streams
c. Both a and b
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both a and b

Scientists have found that vast lakes and streams are widespread on the surface of Antarctica's ice sheets.

This may accelerate its contribution to the rise in sea-level as it moves surface water across its ice sheets onto ice shelves.

Researchers used aerial photography and satellite imagery to find that melt-water moves vast distances across the surface of the ice sheets onto ice shelves.

Huge lakes have been forming on the surface of Antarctica since at least the 1940s and extensive networks of streams have been draining water onto vulnerable ice shelves that are prone to collapse.

Scientists previously believed that the drainage of surface water, known as melt-water, was a rarity in Antarctica.

Ice shelves, which are floating parts of ice sheets, are prone to collapse when water flows into their cracks and crevasses.

If melted completely, Antarctica's ice sheets contain enough water to raise global sea levels by around 58 metres.

5)   In a novel approach to TB drug discovery, CSIR scientists have done which of the following?

a. Speeded up drug discovery by finding potential non toxic drug targets
b. Reduced the cost of drug discovery by lowering chances of failure
c. Both a and b
d. Neither a nor b
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Both a and b

In a completely different approach to drug discovery, Delhi’s CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (CSIR-IGIB) has used a combination of approaches to predict potential drug targets in Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

This is a TB-causing bacteria.

The novel method not only helps in speeding up drug discovery by finding potential, non-toxic drug targets but will also cost far less by reducing the chances of failure.

The results were published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Conventionally, drug discovery was never looked at from a systems biology point of view.

The approach the scientists used was rather unconventional, aimed at finding targets first based on evolutionary conservation principle in an organism,

Based on a previous study that used the Systems Biology Spindle Map (SBSM) approach, the team was able to identify 890 novel, non-toxic gene drug targets.

Using computational approaches, the potential drug targets were reduced to 116 essential genes; these 116 genes are so vital that any inhibition would kill the bacteria.

In order to identify drug targets with the least likelihood of side effects, the 116 essential genes were compared with the human genome and human microbiome at the sequence level to identify genes that did not have any similarity (homology) with human genome sequences.

Of the 116 genes, 104 were found to have no similarity with the human genome sequences, meaning any drug developed targeting these 104 genes will only target the TB bacteria and not cause any harm to human cells.

The potential drug targets were further shortlisted to 33 genes.

The presence or absence of mutations in any of the 33 genes was evaluated using the Genome-wide Mycobacterium tuberculosis Variation (GMTV) database.

The genes which are essential for bacteria never undergo any mutations as that would be lethal for their survival.

The crystal structure, which is essential for carrying out drug discovery process, was available for 15 of the 33 targets.

Once scientists have the targets and have structures of these targets then can tailor-make molecules to inhibit even MDR-TB and XDR-TB,.

The team has already carried out druggability assessment (to find out if the targets have certain properties for a drug to bind to receptors) for all the 33 gene targets.

Most of the 33 genes were found to be highly druggable validating the study.

There is a need for drug discovery to move from Wright brothers’ era of trial and error method. The trial and error approach is slow and too expensive.

All the genes, targets and even ligands will be in open source so anyone can develop new drug molecules.

6)   Which summer fruit has IIT Roorkee science team used to make solar cells?

a. Jamun
b. Mango
c. Banana
d. Melon
Answer  Explanation 


Scientists at IIT Roorkee have used the juicy, delectable Indian summer fruit Jamun to create inexpensive and more efficient solar cells.

Researchers used naturally occurring pigment found in jamun as an inexpensive photosensitiser for Dye Sensitised Solar Cells (DSSCs) or Gratzel cells.

Gratzel cells are thin film solar cells.

These composed of a porous layer of titanium dioxide (TiO2) coated photoanode.

This is a layer of dye molecules that absorbs sunlight.

Also used were an electrolyte for regenerating the dye, and a cathode.

These components form an in between-like structure with the dye molecule or photosensitizer playing a pivotal role through its ability to absorb visible light.

The dark colour of jamun and abundance of jamun trees in IIT campus clicked the idea that it might be useful as a dye in the typical Dye Sensitised Solar Cells (DSSC).

Researchers extracted dyes from jamun using ethanol. They also used fresh plums and black currant, along with mixed berry juices which contain pigments that give characteristic colour to jamun.

The mixture was then centrifuged and decanted. The extracted coloured pigment called anthocyanin was used as a sensitiser.

Natural pigments are way economical in comparison to regular Ruthenium-based pigments and scientists are optimising to improve the efficiency. The increasing pressure on fossil fuels and concern of global warming has inspired continuous search for alternate energy,

India aims to deliver on the country’s pledge to build up a 40 per cent share of non-fossil fuel capacity in the power sector by 2030, researchers said.

There is a large social need for renewable energy especially solar energy. The lab is actively engaged in low cost high efficiency solar cells production.

The simplicity and cost effectiveness of the overall fabrication process, widespread availability of fruits and juices, and ease of extraction of anthocyanin dyes render them novel and inexpensive candidates for solar cells application.

Jamun: Know More

  • Syzygium cumini, known as jambul, jambolan, jamblang or jamun, is an evergreen tropical tree.
  • It is in the flowering plant family Myrtaceae.
  • Syzygium cumini is native to the Indian Subcontinent and adjoining regions of Southeast Asia.
  • The species ranges across India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Indonesia.
  • USDA grew the first jamun tree in the US in Florida.

7)   Which two nations are planning to build a moon village for deep space missions, lunar mining and space tourism?

a. China, UK
b. China, EU
c. China, US
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 


China and Europe are planning to build the first-ever “moon village” that could serve as a launching pad for deep space missions such as one to Mars, or even as a spot for space tourism and lunar mining.

Representatives of the Chinese and European space agencies have discussed collaborating on a moon-base and other possible joint endeavours.

The plan was first revealed by Tian Yulong, the secretary general of China’s space agency. The European Space Agency (ESA), confirmed the discussions.

ESA chief Johann-Dietrich Worner has described its proposed “moon village” as a potential international launching pad for future deep space missions, such as to Mars, and a chance to develop tourism or even lunar mining.

ESA: Know More

  • Headquarters: Paris, France
  • Budget: 5.75 billion EUR (2017)
  • Primary spaceport: Guiana Space Centre
  • Acronym: ESA; ASE
  • CEO: Johann-Dietrich Wörner (1 Jul 2015)
  • Founded: 30 May 1975, Europe
  • Official language(s): English, French and German

8)   India’s telecom subscriber base has touched 1.18 bn in Feb 2017 marking what percent of rise over the previous month?

a. 1.15
b. 1.18
c. 1.20
d. 1.17
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: 1.17

India’s telecom subscriber base, mobile and landline combined, touched the 1.18 billion mark at the end of February 2017, growing 1.17 percent over the previous month. This is as per figures of TRAI.

The market growth was propelled by the addition of 13.75 million mobile users during the month.

The demand for once- popular landline phone has been dwindling as the cheap mobile handsets, coupled with falling tariffs and freebies, have led to an explosion in cellphone connectivity.

Over the past few months, operators including newcomer Reliance Jio and incumbents like Bharti Airtel and Vodafone have been doling out attractive offers and programmes to lure customers.

The number of telephone subscribers in India increased from 1,174.80 million at the end of January 2017 to 1,188.5 million at the end of February 2017, showing a monthly growth rate of 1.17 per cent.

The urban connectivity went up to 692.15 million in February-end, from 681.15 million in January-end, a growth of over 1.6 per cent.

The pace of growth of rural connectivity was slower at 0.56 per cent. Rural telecom users increased to 496.39 million from 493.65 million during the same period.

The Indian telecom market – the second-largest in the world after China in terms of subscriber base – added 13.75 million mobile customers in February.

This pushed up the total mobile subscriber base to 1.16 billion.

The wireline connections - which have been losing sheen over the last few years – remained flat with subscriber base stagnant at about 24.35 million.

Lesser number of people sought network port outs in February compared to the previous month.

Nearly 5.6 million subscribers submitted requests for mobile number porting in February, compared to 6.24 million placing such request in January this year.

In February 2017, 5.67 million subscribers submitted their requests for mobile number portability (MNP),according to TRAI.

Alongside this, the cumulative requests increased from 261.06 million at the end of January 2017 to 266.73 million at the end of February since implementation of this facility nearly seven years ago.

MNP numbers need to be seen in the broader context of the overall subscriber base of India and not on a standalone basis.

In some markets like the US and Europe, the MNP ratio is nearly 3-5 per cent of the overall base whereas in India, the number is much smaller.

The facility of number portability allows mobile subscribers to retain their numbers when they relocate from one service area to another or wish to change their operator.

9)   GoI is aiming to bring thermal coal imports of power PSUs like NTPC in the current fiscal to what value?

a. zero
b. 10 percent
c. 15 percent
d. 20 percent
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: zero

The government of India aims to bring down to “zero” thermal coal imports of power PSUs like NTPC in the current fiscal, a move that would reduce the country’s import bill by around INR 17,000 crore.

The government would also slowly convince the private companies operating in the power space to totally stop the import of thermal fossil fuel.

The company would want that coal import by these plants (of public sector companies) should be brought down to zero and slowly they would convince the private sector there is no need to import coal.

The government will also convince upon the private companies in the power sector to source coal through domestic sources as it is more reliable and prone to less price variations.

The move is likely to substantially bring down the country’s import bill. India will save around Rs 17,000 crore on import bill.

The Coal Ministry will make available to the power public sector units (PSUs) the supply of thermal coal through domestic sources in sufficient amount which would prompt the companies to not resort to import of fossil fuel.

10)   Quoting which number will be compulsory for key managerial posts and directors in regulatory filings under the Companies Act?

a. TIN
b. PAN
c. DIN
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: None of the above

The government is set to make quoting of Aadhaar number compulsory for key managerial personnel and directors in regulatory filings under the Companies Act.

The move, basically aimed at tackling the issue of bogus identities, comes at a time when authorities are bolstering measures to deal with the menace of shell companies.

These are suspected to be used for laundering illicit funds.

Moving towards implementation of the Aadhaar requirement under the companies law, the Corporate Affairs Ministry has already asked individual stakeholders to obtain Aadhaar at the earliest for integrating their details with MCA21.

MCA21 is the portal through which filings required under the Companies Act are submitted to the Ministry.

The idea is to have a system in place which would help in identifying the stakeholders whose name come up in the filings made through MCA21.

The move also assumes significance against the backdrop of instances where authorities have found discrepancies in personal details provided by individuals in the regulatory filings.

Aadhaar number along with the filings would help ascertain the authenticity of the individuals.

With respect to foreign entities, a separate system would be worked out by the Ministry.

There are more than 16 lakh registered companies.

While asking individual stakeholders to obtain Aadhaar at the earliest, the Ministry had emphasised that information in Aadhaar should be in harmony with PAN (Permanent Account Number).

When implemented, all MCA21 services shall be available based on Aadhaar-based authentication only.

Individual stakeholders, including “DIN (Director Identification Number) holders/ Directors/ Key Managerial Personnel” as well as certain professionals have been asked to obtain Aadhaar.

Professionals of the institutes of chartered accountants, company secretaries and cost accountants have been asked to get Aadhaar as early as possible.

This would be applicable irrespective of whether the individual is in “employment or in practice”.

As many as 8-9 lakh registered companies are not filing annual returns with the Ministry and are a potential source of money laundering.

11)   Which country conducted maiden glide test of its first amphibious aircraft, also the largest in the world?

a. US
b. UK
c. China
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 


China has successfully conducted the maiden test glide of its first amphibious aircraft said to be the largest in the world, from the southern Chinese city of Zhuhai.

The glide test was conducted on 29th April, 2017. As per the China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Co Ltd, the aircraft is said to be the world’s largest.

The 37-meter AG600 with a wingspan of 38.8 meters, has a maximum take-off weight of 53.5 tonnes.

It can collect 12 tonnes of water in 20 seconds, and transport up to 370 tonnes of water on a single tank of fuel.

With excellent manoeuvrability and a relatively wide search scope range, the AG600 will be mainly used for maritime rescue, forest fire fighting, marine environment monitoring and protection.

AG600 would embark on its maiden flight over land in late May and on water in the second-half of 2017.

The aircraft developer has received orders for 17 AG600s.

Chinese Armed Forces: Know More

  • The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is the armed forces of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the People’s Republic of China.
  • The PLA consists of five professional service branches: the Ground Force, Navy, Air Force, Rocket Force, and the Strategic Support Force.
  • The PLA is the world’s largest military force, with a strength of approximately 2,285,000 personnel, 0.18% of the country’s population.
  • In September 2015, Xi Jinping, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China and the commander-in-chief of the PLA, announced a reduction of the number of military personnel by 300,000.
  • Its symbol is a roundel with a red star.