Current Affairs Questions & Answers - Nov 13, 2017

1)   What is a Cobot?

a. A partial robot designed to support and relieve human operators of excess work
b. A semi robot designed to work hand in hand with humans in a shared workspace.
c. Full fledged robots that work autonomously
d. Robots that work with limited guidance
e. Both a and b
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both a and b

A cobot is intended to work hand-in-hand with humans in a shared workspace.

This is in contrast with full-fledged robots that are designed to operate autonomously or with limited guidance.

They support and relieve the human operator of his excess work.

The automotive sector is a large adopter of cobots. The global electronics industry is also an adopter. Industry watchers felt that manufacturing cannot be competitive without the extensive use of industrial robots.

Manufacturing is a capital-intensive sector and the idea that it can be used to create a lot of low- or medium-skilled but well-paid jobs, as it did in past centuries, is obsolete.

Benefits of cobots were compactness, low payback period, flexibility, lightweight nature, cost-effectiveness, accuracy and safety.

Other benefits include zero annual maintenance costs, reduced power consumption and retention of IP within the company.

Cosmetics firm L'Oreal has also deployed cobots.

It is estimated that a little less than 40,000 cobots have been deployed all over the world.

Big names that have entered into this field include Epson and ABB. There are about 30-40 players in this market.

The adoption has been low in India compared with China and the developed world. For every cobot sold in India, 30 are sold in China.

2)   GST Council took a slew of decisions during the 23rd meeting including which of the following:

a. Rate cuts for consumers
b. Reduction of tax on restaurants
c. Businesses to benefit from compliance norm easing
d. Only a and c
e. All of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: All of the above

The Goods and Services Tax Council took a slew of decisions during its 23rd meeting in Guwahati on Friday to benefit consumers and businesses alike.

While consumers will stand to benefit from a number of rate cuts, including the tax on restaurants, businesses stand to benefit from a significant easing of compliance norms to do with filing returns.

Up to November 15, when the decisions take effect, the GST system requires businesses to submit at least three forms to file their returns.

The GSTR-1 dealt with the invoice-wise details of supply, GSTR-2 dealt with the receipts of goods, and GSTR-3 was an overall summary derived from the two previous forms.

Now, the GST Council has decided that, in order to ease the compliance burden on businesses, companies would be allowed to only file the GSTR-1 form, up to March 31, 2018.

The Council has set up a committee to look into how to make the GSTR-2 form easier, following which it will be brought back into the system.

The Council also decided to extend the usage of the summary GSTR-3B form, meant to make life easier for those unfamiliar with the filing process, till March 31 from the earlier December 31 deadline.

Companies with a turnover of up to र1.5 crore a year will now be able to file their GSTR-1 forms for each month in a quarterly manner.

Companies earning र1.5 crore or more a year can file their July to October forms by December 31.

Not only did the latest Council meeting ease the deadlines, but it also slashed the penalties for filing late.

For companies with nil tax liability for a particular month, the penalty for delays has been cut to र20 per day from र200 per day. All other companies will have to file a penalty of र50 per day, down from र200 per day.

The GST Council - the apex body for decision making headed by finance minister Arun Jaitley - also decided to impose a uniform GST rate of 5 percent across all categories of standalone restaurants - air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned - but withdraw the benefits of input tax credit (ITC) from such businesses.

Restaurants in starred hotels and outdoor catering services will attract a GST of 18 percent along with ITC benefits.

Composition Scheme

  • The annual turnover threshold on the composition scheme will be raised from Rs 1 crore to Rs 1.5 crore.
  • This will be done after the law is amended to raise the turnover ceiling for eligibility of composition.
  • The law will be amended to raise the ceiling to Rs 2 crore. The limit will be raised immediately after the law amended to Rs 1.5 crore
  • Under the scheme, traders, manufacturers and restaurants can pay tax at 1, 2 and 5 percent, respectively.
  • The council has also decided to fix a uniform rate of 1 percent for traders and manufacturers.
  • The move to widen the turnover threshold is aimed at easing the compliance burden for taxpayers as they will have to file returns only once in a quarter as against monthly returns that needs to be filed by other normal taxpayers.
  • However, dealers cannot avail input tax credit, unlike a normal taxpayer.
  • Also, traders availing the composition scheme on goods, who also provide small services upto Rs 5 lakh annually, will not be considered ineligible for the scheme.
  • GST, billed as the country's biggest indirect tax overhaul, has consolidated a dozen of state and central duties into one single levy.
  • ll goods and services have been fitted into four broad slab structure - 5, 12, 18 and 28 percent -along with a cess on luxury and demerit goods such as tobacco, pan masala and aerated drinks.

3)   FB Inc rolled out disaster maps for India at which NDMA summit?

a. Disaster Resolution Summit
b. Disaster Response Summit
c. Disaster Relief Summit
d. Disaster Management Summit
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Disaster Response Summit

Facebook Inc. rolled out Disaster Maps for India to help communities across the country recover and rebuild from natural disasters faster by sharing critical pieces of data sets with humanitarian agencies in a timely manner.

The new product was launched at the company's first Disaster Response Summit in India along with the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to improve disaster response and disaster management in India.

According to United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) data, India is the third-worst affected country by natural disasters like floods, earthquakes, landslides, cyclones and drought.

Moreover, the response time during and after these crises is often slow and it takes significant time and resources to understand where help is needed most.

Disaster Maps, powered by Facebook's technology and intensive research, will address this critical gap in data that government organizations face when responding to a crisis.

Disaster Maps, which was introduced globally in June, uses aggregated, de-identified Facebook data to help organizations address the critical gap in information they often face when responding to natural disasters.

Facebook provides multiple types of maps during disaster response efforts, which include aggregated location information people have chosen to share with Facebook.

This helps NGOs and relief agencies get a clearer picture of where affected people are located so they can determine where resources-like food, water and medical supplies-are needed.

Types of Facebook Maps

Facebook researchers have built three kinds of maps:

  • Location density maps: These show where people are located before, during and after a disaster. We can compare this information to historical records, like population estimates based on satellite images.
    Comparing these data sets can help response organizations understand areas impacted by a natural disaster.
  • Movement maps: These illustrate patterns of movement between different neighbourhoods or cities over a period of several hours.
    By understanding these patterns, response organizations can better predict where resources will be needed, gain insight into patterns of evacuation, or predict where traffic will be most congested.
  • Safety Check: These maps are based on locations where our community uses Safety Check to notify their friends and family that they are safe during a disaster.
    We are using this de-identified data in aggregate to show where more or fewer people check in safe, which may help organizations understand where people are most vulnerable and where help is needed.
Facebook's Role in Disaster Management
  • While globally Facebook has partnered with organizations like the Red Cross, in India, initially it will join hands with two organizations: the NDMA and SEEDS (Sustainable Environment and Ecological Development Society).
  • Facebook has 2 billion-plus users globally and according to a media report, its users in India have crossed the 240 million mark, making it the largest audience country for the social media company.
  • Facebook has developed a number of crisis response tools.
  • It activated the Safety Check feature in 2014 and launched Community Help in 2015, which allows the Facebook community to find and give help such as food, shelter and transportation.

4)   Indian MHA Union Minister chaired the second meeting of Island Development Agency for which islands?

a. Andaman and Nicobar islands
b. Lakshadweep
c. Daman and Diu
d. Both a and b
e. Both a and c
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both a and b

The Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh chaired the second meeting of Island Development Agency (IDA).

The Island Development Agency reviewed the concept development plans and detailed master plans for holistic development of 09 islands (four in A&N Islands i.e. Smith, Ross, Long, Avis) and (five in Lakshadweep i.e. Minicoy, Bangaram, Thinnakara, Cheriyam, Suheli).

The project being steered by NITI Aayog aims at promoting and implementing development based on sustainable approach to building a thriving maritime economy of the project islands.

The Union Home Minister expressed satisfaction at the progress made since its last meeting held on July 24, 2017, when directions were given to identify and execute infrastructure and connectivity projects together with provisioning of water and electricity.

It was noted that site development potential reports have clearly mapped and delineated environmentally sensitive zones in the project islands and considering the unique maritime and territorial bio-diversity of the islands, enhanced connectivity has been recommended as one of the key priorities.

Accordingly, it was decided that the Naval air station at Shibpur near Diglipur in northern Andaman & Nicobar Islands would be co-used as Joint User Airport.

During the meeting, it was also decided to develop a PPP package including a airport (Joint User Airport) at Minicoy Island, to unlock the tourism potential.

It was agreed to promote tuna fishing industry for improving livelihoods in Lakshadweep.

Union Home Minister directed all concerned to expedite implementation of ongoing key infrastructure projects in the islands and develop community based tourism in consultation with local stakeholders.

NITI Aayog was also asked to drive the formulation of PPP projects and proposed detailed guidelines to boost private sector participation.

The IDA was set up on June 01, 2017 following the Prime Minister's review meeting for the holistic development of islands.

5)   India was re-elected on the executive board of which UN body on Nov 2017?

Answer  Explanation  Related Ques


India was re-elected on Friday as a member of the executive board of the UN educational, scientific and cultural organization (UNESCO), an official said.

The election was held at the 39th session of the general conference of UNESCO in Paris, he said. "The news is quite significant and indicates the position of India globally.

The executive board is the top decision- making body, so it is an important achievement,

The general conference consists of the representatives of the states members of the organisation. It meets every two years, and is attended by member states and associate members, together with observers for non-member states, intergovernmental organisations and non- governmental organisations (NGOs), according to the UNESCO.

Each country has one vote, irrespective of its size or the extent of its contribution to the budget. The general conference determines the policies and the main lines of work of the organisation.

Its duty is to set the programmes and the budget of the UNESCO. It also elects the members of the executive board and appoints, every four years, the director-general.

6)   NASSCOM has just appointed its first woman president, ________.

a. Anu Aga
b. Indra Nooyi
c. Debjani Ghosh
d. Chanda Kocchar
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Debjani Ghosh

The National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom) on 10th Nov appointed Debjani Ghosh, former MD, Intel South Asia, as its President-Designate.

Ghosh will be succeeding R Chandrashekhar whose tenure will come to an end in March.

Ghosh has held other posts at Nasscom in the past. She has been a member of company's executive council and a trustee of Nasscom Foundation.

To find the next President, the Nasscom President Succession Committee was set up by its chairman in March 2017, a Nasscom release said.

The Indian IT-BPM industry has been a growth driver for the country and is today a $150 billion sector representing multiple sub-sectors.

Moreover, the intersection of digital technologies across every business provides a great opportunity for the industry to achieve its aspiration to reach $350 billion by 2025.

In March 2017, the NASSCOM President Succession Committee (NPSC) was constituted by the NASSCOM Chairman.

The committee was chaired by N Chandrasekaran, Chairman, Tata Sons. The additional members of the committee were Neelam Dhawan, Managing Director, HP Enterprise; Rajendra Pawar, Chairman, NIIT; Rajan Anandan, Managing Director, Google India; Rishad Premji, Chief Strategy Officer, Wipro and Harish Mehta, Cofounder, NASSCOM and CMD, Onward Technologies (Convener).

7)   Second meeting of the EAC and the PM fostered a clear road map for which of the following?

a. Skill development
b. Job creation
c. Enhanced resource investment in social sector
d. Both b and c
e. All of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: All of the above

The Second Meeting of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister chaired by Dr. Bibek Debroy, Member NITI Aayog, spelt out a clear road map for stepping up skill development, job creation; enhanced resource investment in the social sector- including for Health and Education and for boosting Infrastructure financing.

It formulated far reaching recommendations to guide the evolving framework for the Fifteenth Finance Commission, including the incentivisation of States for achieving Health, Education and Social Inclusion outcomes.

The Council is also evolving the design of a new Economy Tracking Monitor, linking economic growth indicators with social indicators for last mile connectivity.

Improvements needed in National Accounts and innovative steps for unlocking the growth, exports and employment potential of growth drivers were also deliberated upon, including through transformation of India's Gold Market.

The meeting was attended by the EAC-PM Chairman Dr. Bibek Debroy and Members-renowned economists Dr. Surjit Bhalla, Dr. Rathin Roy, Dr. Ashima Goyal, Dr. Shamika Ravi and Member alongwith the Member Secretary and Principal Adviser NITI Aayog Mr. Ratan P. Watal.

The deliberations of the Council took stock of the economic and social analysis done by the theme groups and evolving initiatives led by different Members.

The Council identified key issues, strategies and recommended interventions in respect of these themes.


  • Lead presentations to the Council were made by experts on key themes including Infrastructure Financing by the Chairman EAC-PM Dr. Bibek Debroy, who underlined the need for infrastructure financing to be accorded high priority, with new mechanisms for a risk coverage umbrella.
  • Member NITI Aayog, Dr. Vinod K. Paul highlighted strategies for achieving Swastha Bharat by 2022.
  • The Skill Development Strategies were presented by Dr. Secretary Skill Development, KP Krishnan who highlighted convergent initiatives to reach out to youth and women.
  • Secretary MoSPI, Dr. TCA Anant outlined improvements needed in National Accounts, complemented by the presentation by the Member Secretary EAC-PM, Mr. Ratan P. Watal demystifying issues on the current account deficit and the gold market.
  • He also shared recommendations on the evolving framework for the Fifteenth Finance Commission.
  • The unique feature of the new Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister is turning out to be its ability to link economic growth with social aspects, with greater last mile connectivity.
  • Its value addition as an independent institutional mechanism for providing informed advice to the Prime Minister is increasingly being recognized, with focused time bound recommendations to move from policy to practice, benefiting from consultation with a wide spectrum of experts and stakeholders.

8)   Cabinet has approved the creation of which agency for educational testing under the Indian Societies Registration Act, 1860?

a. National Testing Agency
b. National Educational Agency
c. National Education Testing Agency
d. National Higher Education Testing Agency
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: National Testing Agency

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved creation of National Testing Agency (NTA) as a Society registered under the Indian Societies Registration Act, 1860.

It is an autonomous and self-sustained premier testing organization to conduct entrance examinations for higher educational institutions.


  • The NTA would initially conduct those entrance examinations which are currently being conducted by the CBSE.
  • Other examinations will be taken up gradually after NTA is fully geared up.
  • The entrance examinations will be conducted in online mode at least twice a year, thereby giving adequate opportunity to candidates to bring out their best.
  • In order to serve the requirements of the rural students, it would locate the centres at sub-district/district level and as far as possible would undertake hands-on training to the students.
  • NTA will be chaired by an eminent educationist appointed by MHRD.
  • The CEO will be the Director General to be appointed by the Government.
  • There will be a Board of Governors comprising members from user institutions.
  • The Director General will be assisted by 9 verticals headed by academicians/ experts.
  • NTA will be given a one-time grant of Rs.25 crore from the Government of India to start its operation in the first year. Thereafter, it will be financially self-sustainable.
  • Establishment of NTA will benefit about 40 lakh students appearing in various entrance examinations.
  • It will relieve CBSE, AICTE and other agencies from responsibility of conducting these entrance examinations, and also bring in high reliability, standardized difficulty level for assessing the aptitude, intelligence and problem solving abilities of the student.
  • In view of the need to have a specialized body in India like the most advanced countries, the Finance Minister in the Budget speech of 2017-18 had announced setting up of a National Testing Agency (NTA) as an autonomous and self-sustained premier testing organization to conduct all entrance examinations for higher educational institutions.

9)   Union Cabinet has approved which national judicial pay commission for subordinate judicial officers in country?

a. Second
b. Third
c. Fourth
d. Fifth
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Second

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved appointment of Second National Judicial Pay Commission (SNJPC) for Subordinate Judiciary in the country.

The Commission is to be headed by Shri Justice (Retd.J P.Venkatrama Reddi, former Judge of Supreme Court of India. Shri R. Basant, a former Judge of the Kerala High Court is the Member of the Commission.

The Commission will make its recommendations to the State Governments preferably within a period of 18 months.

It will examine the present structure of emoluments and conditions of service of Judicial Officers in the States and UTs.

The Commission aims to evolve the principles which would govern pay structure and other emoluments of Judicial Officers belonging to the Subordinate Judiciary of the country.

It will examine the work methods and work environment as also the variety of allowance and benefits in kind that are available to Judicial Officers in addition to pay and to suggest rationalization and simplification thereof.

The Commission will devise its own procedures and formulate modalities necessary for accomplishing the task. The Commission also aims at making the pay scales and conditions of service of Judicial Officers uniform throughout the country.

The recommendations of the Commission will help in promoting efficiency in Judicial Administration, optimizing the size of judiciary etc. and to remove anomalies created in implementation of earlier recommendations.

10)   Union Cabinet approved restructuring of which programme/yojana on 12th Nov, 2017 for water management?

a. Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme
b. National Rural Drinking Water Programme
c. Command Area Development and Water Management
d. Farmer's Participatory Action Research
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: National Rural Drinking Water Programme

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has accorded its approval for continuation and restructuring of National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP).

The aim is to make it outcome-based, competitive and better monitored with increased focus on sustainability (functionality) of schemes to ensure good quality service delivery to the rural population.

A sum of INR 23,050 crore has been approved for the programme for the Fourteenth Finance Commission (FFC) period 2017-18 to 2019-20.

The programme will cover all the Rural Population across the country. The restructuring will make the programme flexible, result-oriented, competitive, and will enable the Ministry towards to reach the goal of increasing coverage of sustainable Piped Water Supply.

The details of the decision are as follows:

1. National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) is to be continued co-terminus with the 14th Finance Commission cycle till March 2020.

2. With the restructuring of the NRDWP, there will be 2% earmarking of funds for Japanese Encephalitis (JE) /Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) affected areas.

3. A new Sub-programme under NRDWP viz. National Water Quality Sub-Mission (NWQSM) which has been started by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation in February 2017 will address the urgent need for providing clean drinking water in about 28000 Arsenic & Fluoride affected habitations (already identified).

4. Pre-financing for the agreed schemes, to the extent of half of the second instalment amount, will be made by the State Governments, which will be reimbursed later on from the central funding.

5. Other half of second instalment of funds will be released to the States based on functionality status of completed piped water supply schemes, which will be evaluated through a third party.

6. The Cabinet has approved INR 23,050 crore for the programme for the FFC period 2017-18 to 2019-20.

The NWQSM aims to cover all rural population in Arsenic/Fluoride affected habitations with clean drinking water on a sustainable basis by March 2021.

States have been given more flexibility in utilization of NRDWP funds by reducing the number of components under the programme.

As per the Integrated Management Information System (IMIS) of the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, about 77% of rural habitations in India have achieved a fully covered (FC) status (40 litres per capita per day) and 56% of the rural population have access to tap water through public stand posts within which 16.7% have household connections.

NRDWP: Know More

  • The NRDWP was started in 2009, with a major emphasis on ensuring sustainability (source) of water availability in terms of potability, adequacy, convenience, affordability and equity.
  • NRDWP is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme with 50.50 fund sharing between the Centre and the States. Over the years, learning from the success achieved and the deficiencies felt during the implementation of NRDWP, certain modifications are needed in existing guidelines and procedure of release of funds to the States for making the programme more outcome-oriented and competitive.
  • Keeping in view the need to make the NRDWP more result-oriented, incentivise competition amongst States and focused on sustainability, a series of discussions were held with States, various stakeholders / domain experts / international institutions and NITI Aayog, some amendments in the guidelines of the programme have been introduced.
  • These are giving more flexibility to the states in utilization of NRDWP funds by reducing the number of components under the programme.
  • Focus on piped water supply, increase level of service delivery, thrust on coverage of water quality affected habitations (National Water Quality Sub-Mission to tackle Arsenic & Fluoride affected habitations, JE / AES areas), coverage of Open Defecation Free (ODF) declared villages, SAGY GPs, Ganga GPs, Integrated Action Plan (IAP) districts, Border Out Posts (BOP) with piped water supply and Institutional set up for proper O&M of water supply assets etc. have been introduced.

11)   Which 4 nations held their first official level talks to keep the Indo-Pacific region inclusive and open?

a. Japan, Australia, India, US
b. Japan, Australia, India, UK
c. Japan, Australia, India, UAE
d. Japan, Australia, India, Canada
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Japan, Australia, India, US

Giving shape to their security cooperation under the proposed quadrilateral coalition, India, the US, Japan and Australia today held their first official- level talks to keep the Indo-Pacific region free, open and inclusive, a move that comes amid China's growing military presence in the strategic area.

Soon after the meeting, all the four countries issued separate statements listing Indo-Pacific as the major area of the their discussions and resolved to work towards upholding a rules-based order and ensuring respect for international law in the region.

The meeting comes ahead of the ASEAN summit which is also likely to discuss the security challenges facing the Indo-Pacific region and China's military expansion in the South China Sea.

The formation of a quadrilateral security dialogue comprising India, the US, Australia and Japan was first mooted around 10 years back but it did not see light of the day.

Japan's Foreign Minister Taro Kono last month had said that Tokyo favours the quadrilateral dialogue to further boost strategic partnership among the four countries.

Reacting to the Japanese move, India had said that it was open to working with like-minded countries on issues that advance its interests.

The US had said it was looking at a "working-level" quadrilateral meeting in the near term with India, Japan and Australia.

The US and Japan have been pushing for deeper Indian role in the Indo-Pacific region.

The use of the term "Indo-Pacific" by Trump has led to speculation that it may have something to do with Washington preparing the ground for a revival of the Quadrilateral alliance between the US, Japan, Australia and India to counter China's rise.

12)   GoI has reconstituted the board of which roadways organisation to ensure smooth implementation of the Bharatmala project?

b. BRO
c. GREF Centre
d. Both a and b
Answer  Explanation 


In a bid to facilitate smooth implementation of the ambitious Bharatmala project, the government has reconstituted the board of NHAI by inducting NITI Aayog CEO as a part time member.

The decision comes barely a month after the government approved a mega plan to build 83,677 km of highways over the next five years at a cost of about Rs 7 lakh crore which includes the Bharatmala, one of the biggest highway projects.

As per the notification, "Chief Executive Officer, NITI Aayog" has been inducted as a part time member in the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) Board in place of Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs.

The Authority's other part-time members include Secretary, Department of Expenditure; Secretary, Road Transport and Highways; and Director General (Road).

The official said reorganisation of the NHAI board was made as part of the Bharatmala programme.

Bharatmala works have been proposed for completion in five years by 2021-22 through NHAI, NHIDCL, MoRTH and state PWDs.

A Substantial delegation of powers has been provided to NHAI, NHIDCL and the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) to facilitate speedy implementation.

13)   When was the Guinness word record first published?

a. 1954
b. 1955
c. 1956
d. 1957
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: 1955

A 12-year-old girl, who can sing songs in 80 languages, is trying to break the Guinness world record in singing in most languages in one concert.

Suchetha Satish, a grade seven student of The Indian High School in Dubai, will attempt to sing songs in 85 languages during the attempt scheduled for December 29.

The Dubai prodigy said she knows to sing songs in 80 languages, a skill she acquired in just over a year.

Her plan is to learn at least five more songs in five different languages before she attempts to break the record, the report said.

Hailing from Kerala, Suchetha already knew to sing in some Indian languages like Hindi, Malayalam and Tamil.

She has also been singing English songs in school competitions. But it was only last year that she started singing in other foreign languages. Her first foreign song was in Japanese.

German, French and Hungarian songs were most difficult to learn.