Current Affairs Questions & Answers - Oct 12, 2017

1)   Which three species are collectively called chondrichthyans?

a. Sharks, rays and chimaeras
b. Sharks, rays and dolphins
c. Sharks, rays and whales
d. Sharks, rays and seals
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Sharks, rays and chimaeras

Are these three marine species extinct?

Three marine species, the Pondicherry Shark, the Red Sea Torpedo and the Tentacled Butterfly Ray might have become possibly extinct in the oceanic waters of the Arabian Seas Region (ASR) since no evidence of its existence has surfaced in the last three decades.

Scientists are also worried about the possible disappearance of other species from the region even before they were known to science.

The first ever assessment of the conservation status of sharks, rays, and chimaeras (collectively called chondrichthyans) in the region has left the scientists grim-faced as 78 of the 153 species revived were found fighting for survival.

The Guitar fish found in coastal waters of Kerala and Tamil Nadu and the Ganges Shark found in Arabian Sea were classified as Critically Endangered, among others.

The extinction risk and conservation status of all chondrichthyans naturally reproducing in the region were reviewed by the IUCN Species Survival Commission Shark Specialist Group.

Though 184 species of sharks, rays, and chimaeras occur in the region, only the confirmed 153 species were considered for the analysis.

The ASR covers the waters of the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Sea of Oman, and the Gulf.

The region is also bordered by 20 countries including India, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Israel and Pakistan.

The assessment also revealed that 27 species were near threatened and 19 others were of least conservation concerns.

It was also known that less was known about 29 to evaluate their risk of extinction.

By-catch was found to be the biggest threat to the majority of chondrichthyan fishes besides the “pressure from artisanal and industrial fisheries.”

The assessors were of the view that the increasing decline in the extent and quality of habitat as a result of coastal development and other anthropogenic disturbances, particularly for those critical habitats that many species depend on coral reefs, mangroves, sea grasses pose a serious threat to the survival of many species.

India, which banned the exploitation and trade of 10 species of sharks and rays, had in 2015 banned the export and import of shark fins of all species.

2)   What does SNP stand for in the context of colour of the skin?

a. Single nucleotide polymorphisms
b. Single nucleotide polyphenol
c. Single nucleotide polymerase
d. Single nucleotide polyurethane
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Single nucleotide polymorphisms

account for 31% variation in the colour of the skin.

Researchers tested 30 SNPs that were earlier studied for skin colour in other parts of the world.

Based on certain criteria, only 22 of the 30 SNPs were found suitable for statistical test in the Indian population.

About nine SNPs have significant association with skin colour in people living in India.

Samples were collected from people living in Karnataka and Telangana in the south, Maharashtra and Rajasthan in the west, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand in the north, and Jharkhand, West Bengal and Assam in the east.

The single-base variant rs1426654 accounts for 25-38% of skin colour variation between Africans and Europeans.

Like earlier studies, this study too found this single-base variant was strongly associated with skin pigmentation in the Indian population.

In fact, rs1426654 was one of the four SNPs that had maximum effect on skin pigmentation in people living here.

The gene variants (allele) that give the skin a darker colour due to the presence of higher amount of melanin pigment are found in people living in south India while those living in north India have gene variants that make the skin lighter.

Being closer to the equator, the darker skin in the south Indian population protects them from strong UV rays of the Sun.

The darker skin of people in south India was reflected in higher mean melanin index (a representation of the amount of melanin in the skin) of 48 compared with mean melanin index of 39 in the case of people in north India.

The population in east and west India has intermediate values (mean MI of 41). The melanin index did not vary within a given geographical region.

Chromosome of SNPs: Know More

  • All the nine SNPs that are significantly associated with skin pigmentation are found in chromosome 15. The researchers found a few SNPs are found close together as two blocks in the chromosome.
  • While one block of the chromosome has two SNPs, the other block has three SNPs. SNPs found together tend to have combined effect on skin colour.
  • Since children tend to inherit small blocks of chromosome from parents, the SNPs found close together are inherited as a whole from parents.

3)   What marks a first for the government of India while appointing the AYUSH department secretary?

a. Appointment of an Ayurveda expert
b. Appointment is for 8 years
c. Both a and b
d. Neither a nor b
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Appointment of an Ayurveda expert

Secretary level appointments: Ayurveda expert as official

In a first, the government appointed an Ayurveda expert the secretary of the AYUSH department.

In a major bureaucratic reshuffle, the government also made senior IAS officer Ajay Kumar Jha the new expenditure secretary.

According to an official order, Jha, a 1982-batch officer of Manipur cadre, has been appointed the Officer on Special Duty in the Department of Expenditure with immediate effect.

He will be taking over as the expenditure secretary from Ashok Lavasa who retires on October 31. Advertisement

In a departure from the convention of appointing bureaucrats to the position of secretary, Vadiya Rajesh Kotecha, who was appointed the special secretary in the AYUSH ministry in June this year, was made its secretary for a period of three years, the order said.

The three-year tenure of Kotecha, a former vice- chancellor of Gujarat Ayurveda University in Jamnagar, will also include his term as special secretary.

A Bihar-cadre IAS officer of the 1983 batch, C K Mishra, who was the health and AYUSH secretary, will be the new environment secretary, in place of Jha.

Preeti Sudan, a 1983-batch officer from Andhra Pradesh, has been appointed the new health secretary.

Chief Secretary of Arunachal Pradesh Shankuntala Gamlin, a 1984-batch IAS officer of UT cadre, will be the new secretary of the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DIVYANGJAN).

Sports Secretary Injeti Srinivas, an IAS officer of 1983 batch from Odisha cadre, has been appointed a secretary, corporate affairs.

Former UP chief secretary Rahul Prasad Bhatnagar will take Srinivas's place in the sports ministry.

Alok Shrivastava, a 1984-batch IAS officer from Madhya Pradesh, will be the new secretary of the Department of Justice. He was the special secretary in the shipping ministry.

Gopal Krishna, a 1983-batch officer of the West Bengal cadre, has been appointed the secretary of the shipping ministry.

Ravi Kant, an IAS officer of 1984 batch from Bihar cadre, will be the new secretary of the Department of Food and Public Distribution.

K V Eapen, an IAS officer of Assam-Meghalaya, who was at present in his cadre, will be the new secretary in the Department of Administrative Reforms.

Ram Moban Mishra, a 1987-batch IAS officer from Assam and Meghalaya, will be the new additional secretary and Development Commissioner in the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.

4)   According to World  Bank, India's GDP may lower from 8.6% in 2015 to what percent in 2017?

a. 6
b. 6.5
c. 7
d. 7.5
Answer  Explanation 


India’s GDP may slow from 8.6% in 2015 to 7.0% in 2017 because of disruptions by demonetisation and the GST, the World Bank has forecast and warned that subdued private investment due to internal bottlenecks could put downside pressures on the country’s potential growth.

The International Monetary Fund also lowered India’s growth projection to 6.7 % in 2017, 0.5 percentage points less than its previous two forecasts and slower than China’s 6.8%.

India’s economic momentum has been affected by disruptions from the withdrawal of banknotes and uncertainties around the Goods and Services Tax (GST), the World Bank said in its South Asia Economic Focus, a biannual economic update.

As a result, growth is expected to slow from 8.6% in 2015 to 7.0% in 2017. Sound policies around balancing public spending with private investment could accelerate growth to 7.3% by 2018, it said.

While sustained growth is expected to translate to continued poverty reduction, more focus could be made to help benefit the informal economy more, said the report released here ahead of the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

A slowdown in India’s growth rate, the bank said, has also affected the growth rate of South Asia. As a result, South Asia has fallen to second place after East Asia and the Pacific.

Real GDP growth slowed to 7.1 % in 2016, from 8 % in 15/16, and further to 5.7 % in Q1 FY2017.

On the one hand, public and private consumption gained pace: after implementation of the 7th central pay commission recommendations; and due to the revival in rural demand after normal monsoon and agricultural impetus.

However, overall demand slowed as public investments started to wane.

According to the bank, the GST is expected to disrupt economic activity in early 2018, but the momentum may pick-up.

Evidence suggests that post-GST, manufacturing and services contracted sharply.

The growth activity is expected to stabilise within a quarter - maintaining the annual GDP growth at 7.0 % in 2018.

Growth is projected to increase gradually to 7.4 % by 2020, underpinned by a recovery in private investments, which are expected to be crowded-in by the recent increase in public capex and an improvement.

This is in the present investment climate (partly due to the passage of the GST and Bankruptcy Code, and measures to attract the FDI).

The most substantial medium-term risks are associated with private investment recovery, which continues to face several domestic impediments such as corporate debt overhang, regulatory and policy challenges, along with the risk of an imminent increase in US interest rates.

If the internal bottlenecks are not alleviated, subdued private investment would put downside pressures on India’s potential growth.

Downside risks to the global economy - and accordingly to export growth and capital flows - are also substantial given the possibility of monetary policy normalisation in the USA and risks of protectionism.

5)   Who is the chairman of FTII w.e.f 11th Oct 2017?

a. Gajendra Chauhan
b. Anupam Kher
c. Prakash Jha
d. Madhur Bhandarkar
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Anupam Kher

Bringing to an end the controversial tenure of Gajendra Chauhan as the chief of India's premier film and television school, the ministry of information and broadcasting appointed acclaimed actor Anupam Kher chairman of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII).

Kher replaced Chauhan, whose selection in 2014 ran into rough weather almost immediately with students and illustrious alumni of the Pune-based institute attacking his poor track record in filmmaking and acting, besides his alleged inadequacy to handle the affairs of FTII.

Kher's appointment was widely welcomed by the film and theatre fraternity.

Anupam Kher: Know More

  • Born in 1955 in Shimla, and a graduate of Delhi's National School of Drama, Kher is considered one of the most prolific and versatile actors in the Hindi film industry.
  • His acting career spans over 35 years, with critically acclaimed performances in Saaransh (1984), Daddy and Khosla Ka Ghosla! (2006), among others.
  • He was also conferred the Padma Bhushan for his contribution to stage and cinema.
  • It is not the first time that Kher has been chosen by the government to hold an administrative position.
  • Kher led NSD and the Central Board of Film Certification in the past.
  • While Chauhan's appointment was confirmed in June 2015, he could only assume office in January 2016 because of a 139-day strike by students opposing his appointment as a political move.

6)   In a landmark verdict, SC has held sexual relations with wife under ____ years of age as rape.

a. 16
b. 17
c. 18
d. 19
Answer  Explanation 


In a landmark verdict, the Supreme Court (SC) on Oct 11, 2017 ruled that sex with a wife who is under 18 years of age is rape and therefore a crime.

The top court did not rule on 'marital rape', which is sexual intercourse forced upon a spouse no matter what their age.

Before today's SC ruling, there was an exception in Section 375 rape law provisions that protected a man who had sexual relations with his wife even if she was under 18, which is the age of consent.

Exception 2 in Section 375 of IPC (Indian Penal Code) granting protection to husband is violative of constitution and fundamental rights of minor bride.

The top court's verdict upholds the rights of 2.3 crore child brides in the country.

The SC rejected the plea of the Centre which justified the provision on the grounds that child marriage is a reality in the country and such marriage has to be protected.

A bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur had on September 6 asked the Centre how Parliament could create an exception in a law when the age of consent is 18.

Also in September, the apex court had said it did not want to go into the aspect of marital rape, but when the age of consent was 18 years for "all purposes", why was such an exception made in the IPC.

SC Judgment: Know More

  • Responding to the query, the Centre's counsel had said if this exception under the IPC goes, then it would open up the arena of marital rape which does not exist in India.
  • Economic and educational development in the country is still uneven and child marriages are still taking place.
  • It has been therefore decided to retain the age of 15 years under Exception 2 so as to give protection to husband and wife against criminalising the sexual activity between them.
  • It is also estimated that there are 23 million child brides in the country.
  • Hence, criminalising the consummation of a marriage with such a serious offence such as rape would not be appropriate and practical.

7)   The 4th Michibiki satellite launched by Japan on Oct 10, 2017 is a part of which satellite system?

a. Quasi Zenith Satellite System
b. Quasi Zonal Satellite System
c. Geo Positioning Satellite System
d. Both a and c
e. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both a and c

Japan launched a fourth satellite for a new high-precision global positioning system (GPS) it hopes will encourage new businesses and help spur economic growth.

An H-2A rocket carrying Japan's fourth and final quasi-zenith satellite, the Michibiki No. 4, lifted off from the Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture, southwestern Japan on Oct 10.

Having four satellites that loop over Japan and Australia in a figure of eight orbit will allow for uninterrupted coverage and puts engineers on course to switch the system on in April.

Japanese GPS can locate devices to within several centimeters compared with the commonly-used U.S. system, which has an accuracy of about 10 meters.

Japan plans to have seven of the geo-positioning satellites in orbit by 2023.

Quasi-Zenith Satellite System

  • The Quasi-Zenith Satellite System is a three-satellite regional time transfer system in development and the satellite-based augmentation system for the Global Positioning System that would be receivable within Japan.
  • Planned completion date: 2017.
  • Start date: September 11, 2010.
  • Cost: 170 billion JPY.
  • Regime(s): 3x GSO.
  • Total satellites: 4 (7 in the future).
  • Country/ies of origin: Japan.
  • Operator: JAXA

8)   MoC between India and Japan is set to establish what type of LNG market?

a. Liquid
b. Flexible
c. National
d. Both a and b
e. All of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both a and b

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the signing of the Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) between India and Japan on establishing a liquid, flexible and global LNG Market.

The MoC will promote bilateral relationship between India and Japan in the energy sector. It will contribute to the diversification of gas supplies for India. This will strengthen our energy security and lead to more competitive prices for consumers.

The MoC provides a framework to cooperate in facilitating flexibility in LNG contracts, abolition of Destination Restriction Clause and also explore possibilities of cooperation in establishing reliable LNG spot price indices reflecting true LNG demand and supply.


  • India and Japan are major consumers of energy in the world.
  • In the LNG sector, Japan is the world's largest importer and India is the 4th largest importer.
  • Under the Japan-India Energy Partnership Initiative signed in January 2016, the two sides had agreed to work together in promoting well-functioning energy markets and affirmed to promote a transparent and diversified Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) market through the relaxation of Destination Restriction Clause.

9)   CCEA has approved which of the following World Bank supported schemes?

a. VET
d. Both b and c
e. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both b and c

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has approved two new World Bank supported schemes of INR 6,655 crore - Skills Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion (SANKALP) and Skill Strengthening for Industrial Value Enhancement (STRIVE).

SANKALP is INR 4,455 crore Centrally sponsored scheme including INR 3,300 crore loan support from World Bank whereas STRIVE is a INR 2,200 crore - central sector scheme, with half of the scheme outlay as World bank loan assistance.

SANKALP and STRIVE are outcome focused schemes marking shift in government's implementation strategy in vocational education and training from inputs to results.

There has been a long felt need for a national architecture for promoting convergence, ensuring effective governance and regulation of skill training and catalysing industry efforts in vocational training space.

The two schemes shall address this need by setting up national bodies for accreditation & certification which shall regulate accreditation and certification in both long and short term Vocational Education and Training (VET).

The architecture shall help, for the first time in the history of vocational education in India, to converge the efforts of various central, state and private sector institutions thereby avoiding duplication of activities and bringing about uniformity in vocational training thus, creating better impact.

Vocational schemes in India: Know More

  • Both the schemes are aimed at institutional reforms and improving quality & market relevance of skill development training programs in long and short term VET.
  • In past many government schemes such as Vocational Training Improvement Project (VTIP) have focussed on strengthening ITIs and over 1600 ITIs have already been modernized under the schemes. STRIVE scheme shall incentivize ITIs to improve overall performance including apprenticeship by involving SMEs, business association and industry clusters.
  • The schemes aim to develop a robust mechanism for delivering quality skill development training by strengthening institutions such as State Skill Development Missions (SSDMs), National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), Sector Skill Councils (SSCs), ITIs and National Skill Development Agency (NSDA) etc.
  • The schemes shall support universalization of National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF) including National Quality Assurance Framework (NQAF) across the skill development schemes of central and state governments thus ensuring standardization in skill delivery, content and training output.
  • The schemes shall provide the required impetus to the National Skill Development Mission, 2015 and its various sub missions.
  • The schemes are aligned to flagship Government of India programs such as Make in India and Swachhta Abhiyan and aim at developing globally competitive workforce for domestic and overseas requirements.
Details of Schemes
  • 700 industry led institutions are being set up for providing job oriented skill training to lakhs of aspirants.
  • An innovative challenge fund model has been employed to select and support proposals to set up such institutions in identified sectors and geographies.
  • 66+ India International stalling institutions are being promoted to focus upon skill training as per global standards for overseas placements.
  • Over 30,000 aspirants shall be trained in IISCs and get certificates from International Awarding Bodies (lABs).
  • Upgrading 500 ITIs, as model ITIs across India and improving their industry connect, is also envisaged by ushering in reforms such as on-line examination, centralised admission, improving efficiency and transparency in the system.
  • National Policy of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship 2015 highlighted the need of quality assurance measures such as building a pool quality trainers and assessors.
  • SANKALP envisages setting up of Trainers and Assessors academies with self-sustainable models.
  • Over 50 such academies are to be set up in priority sectors.
  • DOT, MSDE has already made significant progress in this direction by setting up a number of Institutes for Training of Trainers (IToT) in public and private sector, offering training in over 35 trades. The schemes shall leverage such institutions for training the trainers in both long & short term VET thereby bringing about convergence.
  • Additional trainer academies shall be set up on the basis of identified sectoral and geographical gaps.
  • SANKALP aims at enhancement of inclusion of marginalized communities including women. Scheduled Castes (SCs), Schedule Tribes (STs) and Persons with Disabilities (PWD) to provide skill training opportunities to the underprivileged and marginalised section of the society.
  • The schemes will develop a skilling ecosystem that will support the country's rise in the Ease of Doing Business index by steady supply of skilled workforce to the industry.
  • The schemes will also work towards increasing the aspirational value of skill development programs by increasing the marketability of skills, through better industry connect and quality assurance.

10)   What is Oct 11 celebrated as?

a. International Day of the Girl Child
b. Earth Day
c. World Obesity Day
d. Both a and c
e. All of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both a and c

International Day of the Girl Child

There are 1.1 billion girls in the world, and every one of them deserves equal opportunities for a better future.

They are a source of energy, power and creativity. They can drive change and help build a better future for all.

Yet, most girls face disadvantage and discrimination on a daily basis, and those living through crises are suffering even more.

On the International Day of the Girl Child, UN commits to investing in skills training and education for girls and livelihood activities for young women around the world who are facing crises. Read more»

This year, International Day of the Girl (11 October) will focus on the theme, "EmPOWER girls: Before, during and after conflict".

Every 10 minutes, somewhere in the world, an adolescent girl dies as a result of violence. In humanitarian emergencies, gender-based violence often increases, subjecting girls to sexual and physical violence, child marriage, exploitation and trafficking.

Adolescent girls in conflict zones are 90 per cent more likely to be out of school when compared to girls in conflict-free countries, compromising their future prospects for work and financial independence as adults.

Across the world, empowered girls are raising their voices to fight for their rights and protection in all contexts.

They are working to end violence against women and girls, to recognize indigenous rights, and to build peaceful and cohesive communities.

Since 2012, 11 October has been marked as the International Day of the Girl.

The day aims to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face, while promoting girls' empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights.

World Obesity Day

  • World Obesity Day is observed globally on 11 October with the view of promoting practical solutions to end the global obesity crisis.
  • It is organised by the World Obesity Federation, a non-profit body which is in official relations with the World Health Organisation and is a collaborating body on the Lancet Commission on Obesity.
  • The first World Obesity Day took place in 2015. The second took place in 2016 and focused on childhood obesity, aligning with the WHO Commission report on Ending Childhood Obesity.
  • World Obesity Day 2017 will be themed "treat obesity now and avoid the consequences later."
  • It will call for investment in treatment services to support people affected by obesity, early intervention to improve the success of treatment, and prevention to reduce the need for treatment.
  • This campaign reached over six million people in 2016.