Current Affairs Questions & Answers - Oct 6, 2017

1)   IIT-Gandhinagar has developed which datasets to monitor weather conditions in South Asia?

a. Heat and cold waves
b. Precipitation
c. Temperature and Drought
d. All of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: All of the above

Near real-time monitoring of drought at a 5-km scale that will help policy makers in water management at a district level is now possible, thanks to tools developed and made available online by researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Gandhinagar.

The researchers offer precipitation and temperature datasets and drought indicators available from 1980 to April 2017 covering the entire South Asian region.

The data will be updated weekly.

Besides drought, the datasets can also be used for monitoring heat and cold waves in South Asia.

We don’t know whether a particular region is in drought as we don’t have real-time rainfall and temperature data at appropriate scale.

IMD [Indian Meteorology Department] provides daily rainfall data mainly during the monsoon season.

There’s no real-time information at high-resolution about drought after the monsoon season.

IMD’s drought information is based only on rainfall data and does not incorporate the role of air temperature.

But higher temperature after the monsoon season can cause drought-like situation due to increased evaporation and transpiration losses.

Datasets on Drought: Know More

  • The team wanted to provide information in near real-time on whether a region of interest is under drought and what part of a district or sub-basin is under drought.
  • The emphasis was to develop a dataset at a finer resolution (5 km) as the data provided by IMD and other agencies is coarse (resolution of 25 km).
  • The researchers used CHIRPS global rainfall data which are available at 5 km resolution and corrected the data for bias and errors.
  • CHIRPS stands for Climate Hazards Group InfraRed Precipitation with Station.
  • The precipitation dataset at a finer resolution of 5 km over the entire South Asian region was evaluated against a standard rainfall database (APHRODITE) that is available for South Asia and satellite-based information.
  • Earlier studies have shown that the Aphrodite database matches the IMD rainfall data quite well.
  • The drought indices — standardised precipitation index and standardised precipitation evapotranspiration index — were estimated using the bias-corrected, high-resolution data and evaluated against satellite-based drought products.
  • The validation gives the confidence that the dataset can indicate the severity and extent of drought at a district and sub-basin level in south Asia.
  • The researchers used the drought indices to assess severity and extent of drought in 2015 for a four-month period from June to September.
  • The developed dataset and drought indicators performed well over the South Asian region.
  • Apart from IMD, this is an additional effort to provide more real-time information on drought that can be used for decision-making.

2)   Embryo transfer technology is part of which national mission in 2017?

a. National Mission on Bovine Productivity
b. National Mission on Cattle Productivity
c. National Mission on Agricultural Productivity
d. National Mission on Family Planning
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: National Mission on Bovine Productivity

Embryo transfer technology (ETT) has revolutionized the breeding strategies in Bovines as a tool to optimize the genetic improvement in cattle.

Department of Animal husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries in co-operation with 12 States has undertaken a Mass Embryo Transfer programme in Indigenous Breeds under the scheme, National Mission on Bovine Productivity.

It has been planned to carry out 440 embryo transfers during October 2-10, 2017 throughout the country.

The programme is implemented with the objective of conservation and development of indigenous breeds under Rashtriya Gokul Mission.

Through the use of ETT, (i) a farmer can get a 5-6 fold increase in number of offsprings, (ii) the calves so born will be of high genetic merit and (iii) the offsprings born will be free from diseases.

The programme has been initiated in 12 ETT centres across the country from 2nd October and will continue till 10th October 2017.

Under this programme, embryos of higher genetic merit indigenous bovines are being transferred in to surrogate cows.

Embryos of Indigenous breeds such as Sahiwal, Gir, Red Sindhi, Ongole, Deoni and Vechur have been proposed to be transferred under this programme.

On first day of ET programme held on 2nd October, 35 Nos. of embryos were transferred in to recipients.

Remaining will be transferred on different days till 10th of October 2017.

The technology now being taken up to the doorstep of the farmers will result in rapid propagation of high genetic merit indigenous cattle.

3)   What is another name for Tabby's star?

a. KIC 8462852
b. Boyajian’s Star
c. Both a and b
d. Neither a nor b
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both a and b

Unusual dips in brightness shown by the mysterious Tabby’s Star may be caused by an uneven dust cloud moving around the star, say scientists.

This is debunking an imaginative theory that blames a “megastructure” built by an advanced alien civilisation for the phenomenon.

Called KIC 8462852, also known as Boyajian’s Star, or Tabby’s Star, the object has experienced unusual dips in brightness — NASA’s Kepler space telescope even observed dimming of up to 20% over a matter of days.

The star has had much subtler but longer-term enigmatic dimming trends, with one continuing today.

None of this behaviour is expected for normal stars slightly more massive than the Sun.

Speculations have included the idea that the star swallowed a planet that it is unstable, and a theory that a giant contraption built by an advanced civilisation could be harvesting energy from the star, causing its brightness to decrease.

Researcher found that the cause of the dimming over long periods is likely an uneven dust cloud moving around the star.

They found less dimming in the infrared light from the star than in its ultraviolet light.

Any object larger than dust particles would dim all wavelengths of light equally when passing in front of Tabby’s Star.

This pretty much rules out the alien megastructure theory, as that could not explain the wavelength-dependent dimming.

Instead, there is a cloud of dust orbiting the star with a roughly 700-day orbital period.

Researchers observed Tabby’s Star in ultraviolet using Swift, and in infrared using Spitzer.

Supplementing the space telescopes, they also observed the star in visible light during the same period using AstroLAB IRIS, a public observatory with a 68 centimetre reflecting telescope located near the Belgian village of Zillebeke.

Based on the strong ultraviolet dip, the researchers determined the blocking particles must be bigger than interstellar dust, small grains that could be located anywhere between Earth and the star.

Such small particles could not remain in orbit around the star because pressure from its starlight would drive them farther into space.

Dust that orbits a star, called circumstellar dust, is not so small it would fly away, but also not big enough to uniformly block light in all wavelengths.

4)   Which is the Martian moon also known as the Death Star?

a. Phobos
b. Deimos
c. Themis
d. Both b and c
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Phobos

Mars Odyssey orbiter has captured its first images of the ‘Death Star’ moon Phobos–a region that could one day host a human-mission outpost.

Using the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THERMIS) camera, the orbiter has gathered new information on the changing surface temperatures of the Martian moon over the course of a day, revealing how quickly the ground warms and cools.

In stunning new images from the Sept 29 observation, NASA has combined the visible-wavelength and infrared data to show the surface colour-coded by temperature.

ASA has combined the visible-wavelength and infrared data to show the surface colour-coded by temperature.

By reading the photo from left to right, it reveals a sequence of times of day, from pre-dawn through sunrise, and long after dawn, according to NASA.

NASA has combined the visible-wavelength and infrared data to show the surface colour-coded by temperature.

By reading the photo from left to right, it reveals a sequence of times of day, from pre-dawn through sunrise, and long after dawn, according to NASA.

Phobos: Know More

  • A football-shaped object just 16.5 miles by 13.5 miles by 11 miles, Phobos is one of the smallest moons in the solar system.
  • It is so tiny that it would fit comfortably inside the Washington, D.C. Beltway.
  • The little moon completes an orbit in just 7 hours and 39 minutes, which is faster than Mars rotates.
  • Rising in the Martian west, it runs three laps around the Red Planet in the course of one Martian day, which is about 24 hours and 40 minutes.
  • It’s the only natural satellite in the solar system that circles its planet in a time shorter than the parent planet’s day.
  • Part of the observed face of Phobos was in pre-dawn darkness, part in morning daylight.
  • Including a predawn area in the observation is useful because all the heating from the previous day’s sunshine has reached its minimum there.
  • By reading the photo from left to right, it reveals a sequence of times of day, from pre-dawn through sunrise, and long after dawn, according to NASA.
  • While other orbiters have taken high-resolution photos of the Martian moon, THEMIS is the first to capture this type of infrared information.
  • This can provide information on the mineral composition, as well as the texture, of the surface.
  • The texture is related to the ground’s ability to warm up and cool down, the researchers explain.
    Scientists are working to understand if Phobos, and the smaller Martian moon Deimos, are captured asteroids or pieces of Mars itself, knocked in space by impacts.
  • The orbiter gathered new information on the changing surface temperatures of the Martian moon over the course of a day.
  • Odyssey’s new observations are the first the craft has captured of Phobos since it began orbiting the Red Planet in 2001.

5)   Which tomb saw the launch of the Paryatan Parv celebrations in Delhi?

a. Lodhi
b. Balban
c. Humayun
d. Akbar
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Humayun

Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Culture and MoS Environment, Forest & Climate Change along with Shri K.J Alphons, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Tourism inaugurated the ‘Paryatan Parv celebrations’ today at Humayun’s Tomb, New Delhi.

There are close linkage of culture & Tourism in the country and India needs to work showcasing rich cultural heritage as tourism attractions.

‘Paryatan Parv’ activities began with the flagging of the cycle rally by Smt. Rashmi Verma Secretary, Ministry of Tourism from India Gate, New Delhi to Qutab Minar.

Approximately 80 cyclists from across Delhi including members of tourism Industry Stakeholders, officials from central Ministries, doctors, teachers, students participated this rally.

The other activities in the capital included a guided Heritage walk at Humayun’s Tomb & painting competition for children etc.

Tourism awareness Walk & Run were organised in Shillong, Bhubaneswar, Kovalam (Kerala), Hajipur (Bihar), Gurudaspur, Chennai, Guwahati, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Imphal, Lucknow, Agra, Hyderabad, Gwalior, Bhopal, Panaji(Goa), Delhi.

The various State Tourism Departments also joined the celebrations by organising various events like trekking programme, photography contest, essay competitions, sensitization program etc.

In Guwahati , the students took to rowing in the Brahmaputra river spreading the message of the fest.

The Indian Institute of Tourism & Travel Management, Noida organised a painting competition for school children on the theme “Tourism for All” & “DekhoApnaDesh”.

During the inauguration, the Ministry of Tourism launched a special film on the concept of ParyatanParv and a promotional film on the various competitions to be organised during the ParyatanParv across India .

The microsite on the project “Adopt a Heritage”, was unveiled during the inauguration of the “Paryatan Parv” event jointly by the Minister of Culture Sh. Mahesh Sharma and Minister of Tourism, Sh. K.J. Alphons.

Ministry of Tourism’s Paryatan Parv: Know More

  • Ministry of Tourism in close collaboration with Ministry of Culture and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) envisages to develop the heritage sites and monuments to make them tourist-friendly thereby enhancing the tourism potential and their cultural importance in a planned and phased manner.
  • The concept was launched by Hon’ble President of India on 27.9.2017 during the National Tourism Awards and World Tourism Day.
  • The celebrations will run from October 5-25 2017 across several cities and iconic tourism destinations in the country.
  • Throughout these 20 days, the ‘Paryatan Parv’ will give an opportunity for the citizens of the country to explore the cultural heritage and enjoy the diverse cuisine, cultural programmes, music, theatre, etc.

6)   Spain ordered the suspension of which parliament preventing it from declaring unilateral independence?

a. Catalan
b. Basque
c. Estonian
d. Mexican
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Catalan

Spain’s Constitutional Court on 5th Oct 2017 ordered the suspension of Monday’s session of the regional Catalan parliament, throwing into doubt its plans to declare unilateral independence from Spain.

The speaker of the Catalan parliament, Carme Forcadell, accused the Madrid government of using the courts to deal with political problems and said the regional assembly would not be censored.

But she said parliamentary leaders had not yet decided whether to defy the central court and go ahead with the session.

The suspension order further aggravated one of the biggest crises to hit Spain since the establishment of democracy on the 1975 death of General Francisco Franco.

But Spanish markets rose on perceptions the order might ward off, at least for now, an outright independence declaration.

Spanish Prime Mariano Rajoy called on Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont to drop independence plans or risk “greater evils”.

Secessionist Catalan politicians have pledged to unilaterally declare independence at the Oct 2 session after Oct 1's referendum, banned by Madrid and marked by violent scenes where Spanish police sought to hinder voting.

The constitutional court said it had agreed to consider a legal challenge filed by the anti-secessionist Catalan Socialist Party.

Spanish shares and bonds, hit by the political turmoil in Catalonia, strengthened after the news of the court’s decision.

The main IBEX stock index rose 2.5 percent and the yield on Spain’s 10-year bond fell.

The Spanish government will approve a decree on Friday making it easier for companies to transfer their legal base out of Catalonia.

7)   Who has topped the Forbes India wealthiest person list for the 10th year?

a. Mukesh Ambani
b. Ratan Tata
c. Azim Premji
d. Adi Godrej
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Mukesh Ambani

Reliance Industries chief Mukesh Ambani on Oct 5, 2017 emerged as India’s wealthiest for the 10th straight year as his net worth swelled to $38 billion (nearly 2.5 lakh crore) while the wealth of 100 richest rose by 26% despite economic hiccups.

Wipro’s Azim Premji was the distant second with a net worth of $19 billion, moving up two places from last year.

Sun Pharma’s Dilip Shanghvi slipped from his earlier second place to the ninth now ($12.1 billion) on Forbes magazine’s annual ‘India Rich List 2017.’

Among Indian billionaires, none gained more than oil-and-gas tycoon Mukesh Ambani, who cemented his decade-long hold on the top slot by adding a staggering $15.3 billion (67%) to his last year’s wealth to become one of Asia’s top five richest.

Anil Ambani, Mr. Mukesh’s younger brother, was ranked much lower at 45th place with $3.15 billion. He was ranked 32nd in 2016 ($3.4 billion) and 29th a year before that.

Patanjali Ayurved’s Acharya Balkrishna, known as a close associate of yoga guru Ramdev, made a big jump from 48th place last year to 19th now with a net worth of $6.55 billion (about 43,000 crore).

India’s turbo-charged economy sputtered in the quarter ended in June as it grew at a three-year low of 5.7%, due to the aftershocks of last November’s demonetisation and uncertainties over the rollout of a nation-wide Goods and Services Tax.

Despite this, the stock market scaled new heights and boosted the fortunes of the nation’s 100 richest.

In the case of Mr. Ambani, improved refining margins and his telecom unit Reliance Jio’s thundering success in notching up 130 million subscribers since its 2016 launch pushed up shares of Reliance Industries.

The Hinduja brothers are at the third position with $18.4 billion while Lakshmi Mittal is now ranked fourth ($16.5 billion) and Pallonji Mistry fifth ($16 billion).

The ranking lists family fortunes, including those shared among extended families such as the Godrej and Bajaj families.

Public fortunes were calculated based on stock prices and exchange rates as of September 15. Private companies were valued based on similar companies that are publicly traded.

More than four-fifths of those who kept their spot on the list from last year saw their wealth rise, with 27 listees adding $1 billion or more to their net worth.

The richest newcomer is cookies-and-airline tycoon Nusli Wadia at the 25th place with a net worth of $5.6 billion.

Forbes India Rich List: Know More

  • Among the five other new entrants to the list are Dinesh Nandwana (88, $1.72 billion) of e-governance services firm Vakrangee; Vijay Shekhar Sharma (99, $1.47 billion) of fast-rising mobile wallet Paytm and Rana Kapoor (100, $1.46 billion) of Yes Bank.
  • Veteran investor Radhakishan Damani, boosted by the listing of his supermarket chain D-Mart in March, returned to the list at 12th place with a net worth of $9.3 billion.
  • Other returnees are Future Group’s Kishore Biyani (55th, $2.75 billion) and siblings Murli Dhar and Bimal Gyanchandani (75, $1.96 billion).
  • However, a dozen have turned poorer than a year ago, with half of them from the pharmaceutical sector, which has been plagued by challenges.
  • Pharmaceutical magnate Dilip Shanghvi is the biggest dollar loser on the list as his net worth fell by $4.8 billion, ending his three-year run as India’s second-richest.
  • The Gupta family (40, $3.45 billion), heirs of patriarch Desh Bandhu Gupta, who died in June, saw their fortune shrink as shares of their generics maker Lupin declined.
  • Brothers Shashi and Ravi Ruia suffered a drop as their Essar Steel faced bankruptcy proceedings under India’s stricter new law, Forbes said.
  • The 100 wealthiest on this year’s list are all billionaires. The minimum amount required to make the list was $1.46 billion, up from $1.25 billion last year.

8)   Committee on Corporate Governance by SEBI holds that capital market regulator should act against _______.

a. Auditors
b. Entities that have statutory duties under securities regulations
c. Market research analysts
d. Only a and b
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Only a and b

A Committee on Corporate Governance formed by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has proposed that the capital market regulator should have clear powers to act against auditors and other entities that have a statutory duties under the securities regulations.

This recommendation assumes significance as SEBI is in the midst of a legal battle with Price Waterhouse for the audit firm's alleged role in the matter related to the erstwhile Satyam Computer Services and the jurisdiction of the market regulator.

This is also perhaps the first time that a SEBI committee has formally stated that auditors should come under the regulatory purview of the capital market regulator.

The recommendation is part of the overall proposals related to 'Strengthening Monitoring, Oversight and Enforcement by SEBI'.

Given SEBI’s mandate to protect the interests of investors in the securities market and regulating listed entities, the Committee recommends that SEBI should have clear powers to act against auditors and other third party fiduciaries with statutory duties under securities law, the report states.

This power ought to extend to act against the impugned individual(s), as well as against the firm in question with respect to their functions concerning listed entities.

This power should be provided in case of gross negligence as well, and not just in case of fraud/connivance,” said the report while adding that the recommendation can be implemented after consulting other relevant stakeholders as well.

In 2010, SEBI issued a show-cause notice to Price Waterhouse, among many other entities, after it emerged that the accounts of Satyam were falsified and inflated.

The audit firm, however, filed a petition challenging the show-cause notice and the jurisdiction of SEBI over audit firms that are regulated by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI).

The case then went on to the Supreme Court, which in January, directed SEBI to expedite the enquiry against the audit firm and conclude the probe within six months.

Interestingly, The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), which was represented on the committee by its president Nilesh Vikamsey, has objected to this recommendation.

The committee, however, has also recommended strengthening the role of ICAI in punishing a member or imposing monetary penalties on audit firms.

It has recommended increasing the maximum penalty from the current INR 5 lakh to up to INR 1 crore on a member.

It has further proposed punishment or impose penalties up to INR 5 crore on the audit form in case of repeated violations.

These recommendations are part of a slew of proposals related to the role of independent directors, composition of the board of the company, oversight by audit committees and disclosure norms for listed companies.

9)   IBBI has notified that a person should not hold up more than what percent of paid up equity share or voting power of information utility?

a. 7%
b. 9%
c. 10%
d. 11%
Answer  Explanation 


IBBI had notified the IBBI (Information Utilities) Regulations, 2017 on 31st March, 2017.

These regulations provided that ordinarily a person should not hold more than 10% of paid up equity share capital or voting power of an information utility, while allowing certain specified persons to hold up to 25%.

These further provided that a person may hold up to 51% of paid-up equity share capital or total voting power of an information utility till the expiry of three years from its registration.

IBBI has amended the IBBI (Information Utilities) Regulations, 2017 on 29th September, 2017.

According to the amended regulations, a person may, directly or indirectly, either by itself or together with persons acting in concert, hold up to fifty-one percent of the paid-up equity share capital or total voting power of an information utility up to three years from the date of its registration.

Further, an Indian company, (i) which is listed on a Stock Exchange in India, or (ii) where no individual, directly or indirectly, either by himself or together with persons acting in concert, holds more than ten percent of the paid-up equity share capital, may hold up to hundred percent of the paid-up equity share capital or total voting power of an information utility up to three years from the date of its registration.

However, these amended provisions are be available in respect of information utilities registered before 30th September, 2018.

The amendment requires that more than half of the directors of an information utility shall be Indian nationals and residents in India.