Current Affairs Questions & Answers - Nov 10, 2017

1)   Government has doubled import duty on which crop to 20 percent to curb cheap shipments in Nov 2017?

a. Bajra
b. Rice
c. Jowar
d. Wheat
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques


The government on Nov 8, 2017 doubled the import duty on wheat to 20 per cent to curb cheap shipments and give positive price signal to farmers in the ongoing Rabi season.

It also imposed import duty of 50 percent on peas to check cheaper shipments from countries like Canada.

The Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) in a notification said that it seeks to (i) increase rate of basic customs duty on Peas, (Pisum sativum) from present Nil rate to 50%. (ii) increase rate of basic customs duty on wheat from 10% to 20%.

In March, the government had imposed 10 percent import duty on wheat to contain sharp fall in local prices in view of bumper crop of 98.38 million tonnes in 2016-17 crop year (July-June).

As farmers have started planting of rabi (winter) wheat crop, the government wants to give positive price signal and encourage farmers to grow wheat in more area.

The government does not want wheat growers to follow the way of pulses farmers who shifted to other crops this kharif season as prices remained low just before the sowing period owing to bumper crop last year.

India produced a record 22 million tonnes of pulses in 2016-17 crop year which led to a fall in domestic prices, even below the MSP.

Moreover, the country also imported about 5 million tonnes of pulses last fiscal.

The import duty on peas has been imposed to curb shipments and boost domestic prices.

Recently, the government had also imposed quantitative restrictions on import of other pulses like tur.

2)   India's PM Modi along with Bangladesh premier and WB CM launched which cross border train on Nov 9, 2017?

a. Kolkata-Khulna Bandhan
b. Kolkata-Dhaka Bandhan
c. Darjeeling-Khulna Bandhan
d. Darjeeling-Dhaka Bandhan
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Kolkata-Khulna Bandhan

Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, the Bangladesh Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh & the Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, in an historical event on Nov 9, 2017 flagged off Cross Border Train between India & Bangladesh, the Kolkata-Khulna Bandhan Express through video conference from Kolkata station.

The leaders unveiled jointly an e-plaque to inaugurate the following:

(i) Second Bharirab & Titas Railway Bridges in Bangladesh,

(ii) International Rail Passenger Terminus with End-to-End Immigration and Customs Clearance Facilities (for the passengers of Maitree Express and Bandhan Express) at Kolkata station.

The close connection and understanding between two countries requires connectivity between the people across the border and Maitree Express and Bandhan Express trains will further add to connectivity between India and Bangladesh and strengthen and strengthen bonding.

The Bandhan Express train is the second train to be flagged off after the introduction of Maitree Express' between Kolkata and Dhaka Cantonment stations in April, 2008.

It covers the distance between Kolkata and Khulna through Petrapole & Benapole route to cater to the demands of the people from both the countries to enhance the connectivity.

The Bandhan Express will be a weekly service on every Thursday.

In order to reduce the en-route journey time of the passengers of the existing Kolkata - Dhaka Cantt. Maitree Express and newly introduced Kolkata - Khulna Bandhan Express, Ministry of Railways, with the coordination of Department of Immigration & Customs has opened an International Rail Passenger Terminus at Kolkata station with proper infrastructure and facilities of end-to-end immigration.

With this new facility at Kolkata Terminal, the passengers of Maitree Express and Bandhan Express will be immensely benefitted.

The second Bhairab Bridge and Titas Bridge in Bangladesh built under the assistance of Government of India are two of the most important projects in Bangladesh for infrastructure and rolling stock development.

The one kilometer long second Bhairab Railway Bridge was built over the mighty Meghna river at a cost of around USD 75 millions by Indian contractors and consultants.

Similarly, the Titas bridge over river Titas in Eastern Bangladesh was built with a cost of around USD 25 million. Both these bridges are on the main Chittagong to Dhaka Trunk Rail Line which will help in faster movement of both passenger and freight trains of Bangladesh.

3)   India Disaster Response Summit was organised jointly by NDMA and which social media channel?

a. Twitter
b. Facebook
c. Instagram
d. Pinterest
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Facebook

Shri Kiren Rijiju inaugurated the 'India Disaster Response Summit', organised jointly by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and Facebook, on how best to leverage social media platforms to 'prepare, respond and recover' for, during and after a disaster.

Calling it a great example of execution on the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi's ten-point agenda on Disaster Management, which has clearly listed harnessing technological innovations to create a culture of disaster resilience in the country, Shri Rijiju said, the world is moving towards partnerships, where people are proactively partnering with the Government in responding to disasters.

This partnership is a benchmark and first of its kind - GoI are the first Government to partner with Facebook on disaster response.

Shri Rijiju also invited other technology companies to create tailored solutions for disaster-related challenges.

Disaster Information Volunteers (DIV) programme, wherein a network of trained volunteers would provide supplementary information on disasters in their local communities to assist Government relief efforts through the Facebook Workplace platform, was introduced.

The programme will be piloted in two disaster prone states - Assam and Uttarakhand, he added. Facebook will now share its disaster maps, developed using aggregated, de-identified data, with NDMA.

These maps can aid swift disaster response by providing real-time, actionable information.

4)   Shilpotsav 2017 is an annual fair which is for artisans of which category?

a. Weaker sections of society
b. Tribal
c. Backward classes
d. Only a and c
e. All of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: All of the above

Shilpostav - 2017 is the annual fair of artisans from across the country, belonging to the weaker sections of the society, which began on 1st November and will continue till 15th November 2017.

The progress of any section of the society depends a lot on financial independence of the section.

The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is working towards empowering marginalized and disadvantaged artisans and in continuance of this, Shilpostav 2017 has been organized every year.

There are 118 stalls of the Ministry Social Justice and Empowerment, where in artisans assisted by the Apex corporations i.e. National Backward Classes Finance & Development Corporation (NBCFDC), National Scheduled Caste Finance & Development Corporation (NSFDC), National Handicapped Finance & Development Corporation (NHFDC), National Safai Karamchari Finance & Development Corporation (NSKFDC) and National Trust are displaying and selling their products.

The range of products in this fair include - silk sarees, durries, readymade garments, terracotta product, jute products, dress material, Kashmiri shawls/stoles, leather, cane & bamboo products, hand embroidery, bead products, pearls, imitation jewellery, lakh products, decorative candles, wood carving, block printing, wooden toys, tie & dye, wood, marble artefacts, handloom etc.

5)   Syrian army has taken over which last major IS stronghold in Nov 2017?

a. Albu Kamal
b. Damascus
c. Homs
d. Aleppo
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Albu Kamal

The Syrian army and its allies have taken Albu Kamal, Islamic State's last major stronghold in Syria, representing the end of Islamic State's project in the region.

The army said it is now fighting the last remaining IS pockets in the country's eastern desert, an army statement said.

The liberation of Albu Kamal city is very important because it signals the general fall of the terrorist Daesh organisation's project in the region.

Alongside Lebanon's Hezbollah and other Shia militias, and backed by Iran and Russia, the Syrian army has recently seized swathes of land from Islamic State.

Albu Kamal, on the Euphrates River, is located in Syria's eastern Deir al-Zor province on the Iraqi border.

On 8th Nov, during the battle, Hezbollah forces entered Iraq and the Iraqi Popular Mobilisation Forces crossed into Syria to help capture the town, a commander in the pro-Damascus alliance announced.

6)   Who has replaced Priti Patel as international development secretary?

a. Penny Mordaunt
b. Keith Vaz
c. Michael Fallon
d. Boris Johnson
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Penny Mordaunt

Penny Mordaunt, a former minister in the work and pensions department and an outspoken supporter of Brexit has replaced Priti Patel as international development secretary, following the Indian-origin politician's high-profile resignation.

Prime Minister Theresa May has been under pressure to replace Ms. Patel, Britain's first Indian-origin cabinet member and also a vocal member of the Leave campaign with another "Brexiteer", in a cabinet divided over the issue.

The Prime Minister will be hoping that the appointment of Ms. Mordaunt will restore a degree of stability to her government, following last week's resignation of Defense Minister Michael Fallon and the continued pressure facing Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson over incorrect remarks made about a British-Iranian citizen to a parliamentary committee.

Ms. Patel, the MP for the Essex constituency of Witham entered Parliament in 2010.

Born in London, Ms. Patel was appointed diaspora champion for the British Indian community by former Prime Minister David Cameron as part of its effort to strengthen ties between the two countries, and to win over more of the British Gujarati and wider Indian community, which has traditionally voted Labour, to the Conservative Party.

In March this year she was awarded the Pravasi Bharitiya Samman award.

7)   Who has been appointed chairperson of the World Hindu Congress?

a. Priti Patel
b. Abhaya Asthana
c. Tulsi Gabbard
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Tulsi Gabbard

Tulsi Gabbard, the first Hindu lawmaker in the U.S. Congress, has been named as the chairperson of the World Hindu Congress to be held in Chicago next year.

Held once every four years, World Hindu Congress (WHC) is a global platform for Hindus to connect, share ideas, inspire one another and impact the common good.

Organised by the World Hindu Foundation, the first Congress was held in New Delhi in 2014. The second WHC will take place in Illinois in Chicago from September 7 to 9 next year.

The three-term Democratic Congresswoman from Hawaii, Gabbard is currently the co-chair of the House Congressional caucus.

Abhaya Asthana, coordinator of WHC, said that the organising committee was looking for a recognised leader who is courageous, bold, principled, progressive, accomplished, articulate and above all a practising Hindu.

Ms. Gabbard is an Iraq war veteran and a member of the powerful House Foreign Relations Committee.

The inaugural WHC held in November 2014 had seen participation of 1,800 delegates from 53 countries.

8)   GST Council is set to liberalise which scheme for small business owners to pay flat tax on turnover?

a. Composition scheme
b. Operation scheme
c. Tax liability scheme
d. Both a and c
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Both a and c

The twenty-third meeting of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council in Guwahati on Friday is set to tighten the noose on players who, authorities believe, have started splitting their business operations into smaller entities to avoid higher tax liabilities.

The Council is also set to cut tax rates on a large number of product lines.

The Council is expected to further liberalise the Composition Scheme for small businesses and traders to pay a flat and low tax on their turnover.

The annual turnover eligibility threshold is likely to be raised to ₹1.5 crore from the ₹1 crore limit, imposed at the Council's October meeting.

However, the government is concerned about the emergence of a parallel economy despite the restrictions on the Composition Scheme, whose original threshold limit was just ₹75 lakh a year.

Small States may have legitimate concerns, but the restriction on inter-State supplies by businesses under the Composition Scheme could also fuel the prospects for more informal trade outside the tax net.

The GoM has not been able to arrive at a consensus on the question of whether supplies from small firms that are part of the Composition Scheme should translate into input tax credits for larger firms who buy from them.

9)   ICRISAT researchers have developed strategies to keep groundnut free of which toxins?

a. Aflatoxin
b. Fungi toxin
c. Bacterial toxin
d. Both a and b
e. Both a and c
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both a and b

Researchers at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in Hyderabad have developed dual strategies to keep groundnuts almost free of aflatoxin - a toxin produced by the fungi Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus - contamination.

While one strategy prevents groundnuts from being infected by the fungus thereby preventing the toxins from being produced, the other strategy prevents the fungus from producing the toxin even if groundnuts somehow get infected with the fungus.

Genetic engineering approaches were used for inserting two alfalfa genes into groundnut plants to enhance immunity against fungal infection and growth. Preventing aflatoxin production even in case of any infection was achieved through a plant-induced gene silencing technique.

While both strategies showed promising results, the ultimate goal is to combine the two traits into a single variety to offer double protection so that groundnuts do not accumulate any aflatoxin or the amount of toxin is well within permissible limits at or after harvest.

To further prevent toxin production even when groundnuts get infected with the fungus, the researchers designed two small RNA molecules that silence the fungal genes which produce aflatoxin.

When the fungus and plant come in contact with each other the small RNA molecules from the plant enter the fungus and prevent it from producing aflatoxin.

About 40 hours after infection with Aspergillus, six lines with alfalfa genes showed less than 1 part per billion (ppb) of toxin and another five lines showed 1-4 ppb compared with over 3,000 ppb in groundnuts that did not have these genes.

Similarly, six lines carrying the RNA molecules, the toxin present was less than 1 ppb and two other lines showed 1-4 ppb of toxin.

It is much lower than the Indian and U.S. safety limit of 20 ppb and meets even the stringent European safety limit of 4 ppb.