Current Affairs Questions & Answers - Nov 20, 2017

1)   Which is EU's biggest economy?

a. France
b. Germany
c. UK
d. Italy
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Germany

Chancellor Angela Merkel was left battling for political survival Monday after high-stakes talks to form a new government collapsed - plunging Germany into a crisis that could see it hold fresh elections.

Ms. Merkel had been forced to seek an alliance with an unlikely group of parties after September's elections left her without a majority.

But after more than a month of gruelling negotiations, the leader of the pro-business FDP, Christian Lindner, walked out of talks, refusing to forge a government with Ms. Merkel's conservative alliance CDU-CSU and ecologist Greens.

Voicing regret for the FDP's decision, Ms. Merkel vowed to steer Germany through the crisis.

The Greens' leaders also deplored the collapse of talks, saying they had believed a deal could be done despite the differences.

The negotiations, which turned increasingly acrimonious, had stumbled on a series of issues including immigration policy.

Merkel's liberal refugee policy that let in more than a million asylum seekers since 2015 had also pushed some voters to the far-right AfD, which in September elections campaigned on an Islamophobic and anti-immigration platform.

The parties also differed on environmental issues, with the ecologists wanting to phase out dirty coal and combustion-engine cars, while the conservatives and FDP emphasise the need to protect industry and jobs.

Ms. Merkel could now try to convince the Social Democratic Party, which has been junior coalition in her government since 2013, to return to a partnership.

But after the SPD suffered a humiliating loss at the polls, the party's top brass has repeatedly said its place was now in the opposition.

Ms. Merkel, who has been in power for 12 years, could also lead a minority government although she had signalled that she was not in favour of such instability.

Germany could likely therefore be forced to hold new elections.

But that is not without peril for Ms. Merkel, who would face questions from within her party on whether she is still the best candidate to lead them into a new electoral campaign.

2)   Which rating agency upgraded India's status to Baa2 in 14 years?

a. Moody's
b. S&P
c. Crisil
d. Fitch Ratings
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Moody's

Moody's Investors Service raised India's sovereign rating for the first time since 2004, overlooking a haze of short-term economic uncertainties to bet on the nation's prospects from a raft of policy changes by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Rupee, bonds and stocks rallied after the ratings firm upgraded India to Baa2 from Baa3 and said reforms being pushed through by Modi's government will help stabilize rising levels of debt.

That's a one-level shift from the lowest investment-grade ranking and puts India in line with the Philippines and Italy.

While government officials hailed the move as long overdue, some investors termed it a surprise given that India recently surrendered its status as the world's fastest-growing major economy amid sweeping policy change.

The upgrade could prove to be a big win for the ruling party, which is facing increasing attacks about the economic slowdown before key elections in Modi's home state next month and a national vote early 2019.

Credit Rating: Know More

  • A credit rating is an assessment of the creditworthiness of a borrower. Individuals, corporations and governments are assigned credit ratings - whoever wants to borrow money. Individuals are given 'credit scores', while corporations and governments receive 'credit ratings'.
  • National governments, not countries, are assigned credit ratings by agencies like Standard & Poor's, Moody's and Fitch.
  • Governments require ratings to borrow money. They are also given ratings on their worth as investment destinations.
  • A country requests a credit rating agency to evaluate its economic and political environment and arrive at a rating. This is done to position itself as a destination for foreign direct investment.
  • There are several criteria behind rating a government's creditworthiness. Among them are political risk, taxation, currency value and labour laws.
  • Another is sovereign risk where a country's central bank can change its foreign exchange regulations.
  • For the first time in 14 years, Moody's has upgraded India's rating to Baa2, a term that means that they consider the economy stable.
  • Standard & Poor's and Fitch too have a 'stable' rating for the country - BBB+ and BBB-, respectively.

3)   How many Ms. World titles has India won to date?

a. 4
b. 5
c. 6
d. 7
Answer  Explanation 


India's Manushi Chhillar has won the Miss World beauty pageant for the year 2017. The win comes 17 years after Priyanka Chopra brought home the coveted title in the year 2000.

Andrea Meza, who is Miss Mexico was the first runner up and Stephanie Hill from England was second runner up. Around 108 women from across the world participated in the beauty pageant.

Ms Chhillar, a 20-year-old from Haryana, studied in St. Thomas School in New Delhi and Bhagat Phool Singh Government Medical College for Women in Sonepat.

According to Ms Chhillar's profile on the Miss World website, Ms Chhillar aims to be a cardiac surgeon and has plans of opening non-profit hospitals in rural areas.

Ms Chhillar's profile also says she is a trained classical dancer and has a passion for outdoor sports like scuba diving, snorkelling and bungee jumping.

Ms Chhillar is the sixth Indian woman to win the coveted title of Miss World. Reita Faria was the first Indian woman to claim the title back in 1966, followed by Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in 1994, Diana Haydon in 1997, Yukta Mookhey in 1999 and Ms Chopra in 2000.

The winner of last year's title, Puerto Rico's Stephanie Del Valle passed on her crown to Ms Chhillar.

4)   Infosys on 17th Nov said share buyback would begin on November 30 and close on December 14. What is the size of the buyback?

a. 15000 crores
b. 12500 crores
c. 13000 crores
d. 14000 crores
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: 13000 crores

Infosys on Nov 17th said share buyback would begin on November 30 and close on December 14.

The IT services major has issued an offer letter for the buyback of shares.

It said that the necessary forms along with the letter would be dispatched to the eligible shareholders whose names appeared on the record date of November 1.

Infosys: Know More

  • Industry: IT services, IT consulting
  • Founded: 7 July 1981; 36 years ago
  • Founders:
    • N. R. Narayana Murthy
    • Nandan Nilekani
    • S. Gopalakrishnan
    • S. D. Shibulal
    • K. Dinesh
    • N. S. Raghavan
  • Ashok Arora
  • Headquarters: Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
  • Services: IT, business consulting and outsourcing services

5)   Ministry of Power launched Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana - 'Saubhagya' Web Portal at which site?

Answer  Explanation 


Ministry of Power launched Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana - 'Saubhagya' Web Portal. The portal can be accessed at

The web portal aims to ensure transparency as well as accelerate household electrification in rural as well as urban areas in the country.

Ministry of Power

  • Formed: 2 July 1992
  • Preceding Ministry: Ministry of Energy Sources
  • Jurisdiction: Government of India
  • Headquarters: Shram Shakti Bhawan, Rafi Marg, New Delhi, India
  • Annual budget: र13,881.14 crore (US$2.2 billion) (2017-18 est.)
  • Minister: Rajkumar Singh, Minister of State (Independent Charge)

6)   The Union Cabinet approved setting up of which apex body under Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime so as to ensure the benefit of tax reaches consumers?

a. National Good and Services Authority
b. National GST Tax Authority
c. National Anti-profiteering Authority
d. National Anti-laundering Authority
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: National Anti-profiteering Authority

The Union Cabinet approved setting up of National Anti-Profiteering Authority (NAA), an apex body with an overarching mandate under Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime so as to ensure the benefit of tax reaches consumers.

It also approved creation of posts of Chairman and Technical Members of National Anti-profiteering Authority (NAA) under GST regime.

NAA: Know More

  • The establishment of the NAA, to be headed by a senior officer of the level of Secretary to the Government of India with four Technical Members from the Centre and/or the States.
  • It is one more measure aimed at reassuring consumers that Government is fully committed to take all possible steps to ensure the benefits of implementation of GST in terms of lower prices of the goods and services reach them.
  • It may be recalled that effective from midnight of 14th November, 2017 the GST rate has been slashed from 28% to 18% on goods falling under 178 headings.
  • There are now only 50 items which attract the GST rate of 28%.
    Likewise, a large number of items have witnessed a reduction in GST rates from 18% to 12% and so on and some goods have been completely exempt from GST.
  • The "anti-profiteering" measures enshrined in the GST law provide an institutional mechanism to ensure that the full benefits of input tax credits and reduced GST rates on supply of goods or services flow to the consumers.
  • This institutional framework comprises the NAA, a Standing Committee, Screening Committees in every State and the Directorate General of Safeguards in the Central Board of Excise & Customs (CBEC).

7)   Madhya Pradesh has partnered with which north-eastern states to strengthen cultural ties?

a. Nagaland and Manipur
b. Nagaland and Tripura
c. Nagaland and Assam
d. Nagaland And Shillong
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Nagaland and Manipur

Madhya Pradesh has partnered with Nagaland and Manipur under Ek Bharat-Shreshtha Bharat Yojana to strengthen cultural relations between them.

MP Government has made its Higher Education Department as nodal department to execute the scheme.

MP will participate in Sangai Mahotsav which is being organized in Manipur.

Likewise, teams from Nagaland and Manipur will take part in Lok Rang and Bal Rang programmes of MP to present their cultural programmes

8)   With which country did the Union Cabinet sign a Memorandum of Understanding for Promotion of Civil Aviation Cooperation on Nov 17, 2017?

a. United States
b. Germany
c. Turkey
d. Poland
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Poland

The Union Cabinet has approved signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Poland for Promotion of Civil Aviation Cooperation.

The objective of MoU is to recognize mutual benefit of Cooperation in field of Civil Aviation having particular significance in establishing and improving Regional Air Connectivity (RCA) in India.

Besides, both sides will recognize mutual benefits of environmental testing and approvals, aircraft maintenance facilities approvals, flight simulators monitoring and approvals, maintenance personnel approvals and aircrew members approvals.

The MoU will be for a term of five years.

9)   What is NTPC going to buy to mitigate concern on air pollution?

a. Farm Stubble
b. Cow Manure
c. Sugarcane Molasses
d. Dried Wheat
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Farm Stubble

To help mitigate concern on air pollution, state-owned thermal power giant NTPC would procure farm stubble for burning in its thermal units, blending close to 10 per cent in the fuel mix, power ministry officials said.

This comes in wake on worsening air conditions across North India, attributed in large measure to burning of crop stubble by farmers in Punjab and Haryana (and western UP) at the onset of winter.

10)   Which of the following are drought resistant plants?

a. Succulents
b. Aloe Vera
c. Cacti
d. Both a and c
e. All of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: All of the above

Drought-resistant plants such as cacti and succulents, make use of an enhanced form of photosynthesis to minimise water loss.

The research, published in journal The Plant Cell, could be used to help produce new crops that can thrive in previously inhospitable, hot and dry regions across the world.

Photosynthesis involves taking carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to convert into sugars using sunlight.

Scientists at the University of Liverpool in the U.K. found that these drought-resistant plants, such as cacti, agaves and succulents, make use of an enhanced form of photosynthesis known as crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM).

Unlike other plants, CAM plants are able to take up CO2 during the cooler night, which reduces water loss, and store captured CO2 as malic acid inside the cell, allowing its use for photosynthesis without water loss during the next day.

CAM photosynthesis is regulated by the plant's internal circadian clock, which allows plants to differentiate and pre-empt day and night and adjust their metabolism accordingly.

Process of Drought-Resistant Plant Photosynthesis: Know More

  • However, relatively little is known about the exact molecular processes that underpin the optimal timing of CO2 being stored and released in this unique way.
  • Researchers looked at an enzyme called PPCK that is involved in controlling the conversion of CO2 to its overnight stored form.
  • They wanted to know if PPCK is a necessary component for engineering CAM photosynthesis and tested this by switching the PPCK gene off in the succulent CAM plant Kalanchoe fedtschenkoi.
  • They found that, for CAM to work properly, the cells must switch on PPCK each night driven by internal circadian clock.