Current Affairs Questions & Answers - Sep 18, 2017

1)   Who is the only IAF officer to be accorded 5 star rank so far?

a. Arjan Singh
b. Birender Singh Dhanoa
c. Arup Raha
d. PV Naik
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Arjan Singh

India’s sole Marshal of the Indian Air Force, Arjan Singh passed away just two years short of a century in New Delhi on 16th Sept 2017.

Singh, was the first and the only Chief of the Air Staff to be awarded this rank, a rare honour bestowed to only two army chiefs since independence.

Born on April 15, 1919 in Lyallpur, Punjab, now in Pakistan, Singh was a legend in the Indian Air Force throughout his career.

One of the early pioneers who joined the Royal Indian Air Force, he took part in the Arakan campaign in Burma (Myanmar), before being posted as part of the force sent to defend the city of Imphal in India’s North East against the advancing Japanese Imperial forces.

Arjan Singh: Know More

  • Born in a traditional military family, Singh’s father had served in the Hodson’s Horse, a reputed cavalry unit that was converted into a armored regiment in independent India.
  • Trained at the Royal Air Force College at Cramwell, Singh spent a few years in the North West Frontier Province, (now in Pakistan) before moving to the Arakan campaign.
  • Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, he was one of those handful of Indian pilots who would form the nucleus of the Indian Air Force.
  • Singh was also known for his exceptional leadership as the Chief of Air Staff, when India and Pakistan went to war in September 1965.
  • In 2002, the government of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee took the historic decision to appoint him as India’s first Marshal of the Indian Air Force.
  • Known to only a few people, Singh started a Foundation with a generous grant of $317,400 (INR 2 crore) for the welfare of the air force personnel and their families.
  • He was one of those rare Chiefs who had flown every aircraft in independent India’s inventory, from the Canberra to the Hunter and the MiG-21s as they arrived just before his tenure and were pressed into service.
  • After retirement Singh was appointed as India’s ambassador to Switzerland and the Vatican and then the High Commissioner to Kenya.
  • Years later, he was also appointed as the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi for a year, before being appointed as India’s first Marshal of the Indian Air Force in 2002.
  • A state funeral will be accorded to Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh + and the national flag will fly at half mast in all government buildings here on Monday in his honour along with a 21 gun salute.
  • Singh, who had flown more than 60 different types of aircraft, had played a major role in transforming the IAF into one of the most potent air forces globally and the fourth biggest in the world.
  • He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian honour, in 1965.

2)   What is the theme of the World Ozone Day 2017?

a. Caring for all life under the sun
b. Caring for all life on planet earth
c. Caring for all life on earth
d. Caring for all life under the sky
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Caring for all life under the sun

The ozone layer, a fragile shield of gas, protects the Earth from the harmful portion of the rays of the sun, thus helping preserve life on the planet.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Montreal Protocol.

As part of the anniversary celebrations, the Ozone Secretariat will launch a communication campaign ahead of World Ozone Day to be marked on 16 September 2017.

The #OzoneHeroes campaign to be launched on 14 September will seek to celebrate the major accomplishments of the Montreal Protocol in protecting the ozone layer and the climate, to increase public recognition of the success and impact of the Protocol.

This will also work to generate further support for the Protocol and its new mandate to phase down climate-warming hydrofluorocarbons under the Kigali Amendment, adopted in 2016.

Campaign materials and further information on how everyone can participate in celebrating this important milestone will be available from 14 September at

World Ozone Day day is held on September 16th to mark the day back in 1987 when the Montreal Protocol was signed

World Ozone Day has been celebrated since 1994 and was established by the United Nations General Assembly.

The day is mainly intended to spread awareness of the depletion of the Ozone Layer and search for solutions to preserve it.

World Ozone Day is also celebrated all around the world. This year’s theme is “Caring for all life under the sun.”

3)   India’s forex reserves rose past which mark for the first time on Sept 8, 2017, according to RBI?

a. US $300 billion
b. US $380 billion
c. US $400 billion
d. US $410 billion
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: US $400 billion

India’s foreign-exchange reserves rose past US$400 billion for the first time ever, strengthening policy makers’ buffers ahead of an expected reduction in US stimulus.

The stockpile stood at US$400.7 billion Sept 8 the Reserve Bank of India indicated.

With the Federal Reserve set to shrink its balance sheet—details of which could be announced next week—the holdings may help the rupee withstand any volatility even if global funds turn away from India’s slowing economy.

It is predicted by experts that India’s current account deficit will double to 1.4 percent of gross domestic product in the year through March 2018.

That’s still far lower than the unprecedented 4.8 per cent of GDP touched in 2013, when the Fed had first signalled intent to curb its massive bond-buying program.

Those “taper tantrums” triggered a sharp slide in the rupee and reserves depleted to around US$275 billion as the central bank struggled to buoy the currency.

India’s holdings are about US$376 billion now if stripped of gold, enough to pay for about a year of imports.

The pace of reserve accretion has been one of the strongest within Asia in the past 12 months, according to analysts at Morgan Stanley.

The RBI last month cut interest rates to the lowest in seven years to boost flagging growth.

At the same time, it has been absorbing surplus funds in the banking system to keep price pressures under control. Inflation has been rising sharply from record lows, and the central bank wants it to stay near the 4 per cent mid-point of its target range.

The rise in foreign exchange reserves comes as yield-hungry global investors take advantage of high real rates of interest and a rupee that has gained more than 6 per cent this year against the dollar.

Foreign holdings of rupee debt have risen by just US$326 million so far in September and August’s 126-billion rupee inflow was the smallest in six months, as investors have used up almost all of their eligible quotas to buy Indian bonds.

4)   IUCN downlisted which species from its list of endangered animals on 14th Sept 2017?

a. Pipistrelle
b. Gazelle
c. Mouse Deer
d. Snow Leopard
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Snow Leopard

The International Union of Concerned Scientists (IUCN) downlisted the Snow Leopard from its list of endangered species.

With the update to the widely cited ‘Red List’ on 14th Sept 2017 the list now includes 87,967 species of which 25,062 are threatened with extinction.

The cheerfully named Christmas Island Pipistrelle, a bat species that is found only in Australia’s Christmas Island is now officially extinct. ?

Only one individual of the species remained in 2009 and it was never found again.

One of the reasons for its disappearance was the introduction of an invasive species, the Yellow Crazy Ant into the bat’s habitat.

Snow Leopard: Know More

  • In India, snow leopards are found in the northern stretches in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, and is a Schedule I species, enjoying the same protections as the tiger.
  • The IUCN proposal was met with concern in India which hosts a population of about 400-700 with conservationists being divided about the implications of the move.
  • Removal of the species from the red list indicates that their populations are rebounding, which is a positive sign.
  • But some conservationists worry that downlisting the species from ‘endangered’ to only ‘vulnerable’ would signal that the species does not require the same amount of attention and resources as before.
  • Some also believe that the rationale for removing the species is based on flawed data.
  • Snow Leopards are very elusive species that are found at elevations of 3000-5000 metres which makes population estimations difficult.
  • There are also concerns that the threats to snow leopard populations persist. These include poaching, retaliatory killing by farmers, declining prey species, shrinking habitats, and climate change.
Project Snow Leopard: Know More
  • In 2009, India launched Project Snow Leopard.
  • Snow Leopard Project for Rs 5.15 Crores has been accepted by the MoEF, GOI commencing from 2010-11 onwards for a period of four years.
  • However, interest in the project faded pretty quickly.
  • The UNDP recently partnered with the environment ministry to launch the SECURE (Securing Livelihoods, Conservation, Sustainable Use and Restoration of High Range Himalayan Ecosystem) with an outlay of USD 12 million (nearly Rs 77 crore).
  • Four Indian states will receive funds under the program to conserve snow leopard habitats and for protection of the species.
  • India’s project snow leopard was a failure because it was never fully implemented on the ground.
  • The IUCN move is not likely to change the status of the snow leopard in India.
  • The government has also made a commitment towards snow leopard conservation at the recently held Bishkek forum, where 12 Snow Leopard range countries set the goal of securing 20 snow leopard landscapes by 2020.

5)   Which indigenous artillery gun has set a new world record in range?

a. NAG
d. Dhanush
Answer  Explanation 


An indigenous artillery gun, Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS), being jointly developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the private sector has set a new world record in range by hitting targets at a distance of 48 km.

During trial firings at Pokhran ranges last week, ATAGS registered the longest ever distance of 48.074 kms, surpassing the maximum ranges of 35-40 kms fired by any artillery gun system in this category.

ATAGS is a 155mm, 52 calibre towed artillery gun being developed in mission mode by DRDO as a part of the Army’s artillery modernisation programme.

The record was achieved with special ammunition, “high explosive – base bleed” (HE – BB) by the ATAGS variant developed by Kalyani Group.

The development is being done through a consortium based model, similar to that adopted for the Pinaka multi-barrel rocket launch system.

It was designed by DRDO’s Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE) in Pune. In addition, Bharat Forge Limited of Kalyani Group, Tata Power Strategic Engineering Division and Mahindra Defence Naval System from the private sector are involved in a big way along with the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB).

For instance, the barrel and breech mechanism, on both variants of ATAGS, was developed at Kalyani Group.

ATAGS Gun: Know More

  • The gun has several significant features including an all-electric drive, high mobility, quick deployability, auxiliary power mode, advanced communication system, automated command and control system.
  • It has a six round magazine instead of a standard three round magazine.
  • Also, the gun weighs slightly more than normal due to the larger chamber.
  • The Army has not inducted any new artillery gun since the Bofors in the 1980's.
  • After decades of failed attempts, the service is gearing up to induct the Dhanush artillery gun which is an indigenously upgraded variant of the Bofors gun.
  • In addition, last November India signed a contract for 145 M-777 Ultra-Light Howitzers from the US.

6)   Which Central Government scheme was kicked off to initiate cleanliness in UP?

a. Swachch Bharat Abhiyan
b. Swachhta Hi Seva
c. Seva Hi Swachhta
d. Swachchta Survekshan
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Swachhta Hi Seva

Taking the Central Government’s ambitious cleanliness drive to a higher trajectory, President Ram Nath Kovind today kicked off the fortnight-long 'Swachhta Hi Seva' (Cleanliness is Service) campaign from Uttar Pradesh.

The campaign, aimed at highlighting the Narendra Modi government's flagship cleanliness initiative 'Swachh Bharat Mission', was launched from Ishwari Ganj village near Kanpur.

The president also made people take a pledge to keep their surroundings clean.

President Kovind also had a word of praise for those women who refused to marry into homes without any toilets.

He also appreciated actors Amitabh Bachchan and Akshay Kumar for their support to the cause.

Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik expressed it was more important for a household to have a toilet than a place of worship.

The UP government has been associated with the Swacch Bharat Abhiyan and has constructed 10 lakh toilets so far.

The target is to construct 78 lakh toilets by December 31, 2017 and make the state Open Defecation Free (ODF) by October, 2018.

Total of four districts - Shamli, Bijnor, Hapur and Ghaziabad - had been made open defecation free.

By December 31, 2017, 30 districts would be brought under the ODF category, and by October next year, all the 75 districts in the state will become open defecation free.

The Doordarshan will also broadcast a world premiere of the film 'Toilet: Ek Prem Katha' on September 17.

On October 2, Gandhi Jayanti, which is also the Swachh Bharat Diwas, awards for essays, short film and painting competitions will be given.

7)   Which Indian sportswoman dedicated her win (her third Superseries title) to PM Modi on Sept 17?

a. PV Sindhu
b. Saina Nehwal
c. Joshna Chinappa
d. Karnam Malleshwari
Answer  Explanation 


India's PV Sindhu won her third Super Series title beating Nozomi Okuhara 22-20, 11-21, 21-18 in the women's singles final of the Korea Open in a thrilling encounter in Seoul on 17th Sept 2017.

Sindhu, who had lost to Okuhara in an epic World Badminton Championships final three weeks back, got the better of the eighth seed in an encounter that lasted one hour and 24 minutes.

The two 22-year-olds, who were involved in the second longest match of women's singles at the Worlds final, entertained the crowd once again at another major final.

Dedicating her win to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his birthday, Sindhu wrote, “I dedicate this victory for our beloved Prime Minister Shri Modiji on his birthday for his untiring and self-less services to our Country.”

Sindhu was replying to a congratulatory tweet from PMO India which said, “Congratulations to PV Sindhu on emerging victorious in the Korea Open Super Series. India is immensely proud of her accomplishment: PM”

Ajay Jayaram was the first Indian to reach the final of Korea Open in 2015 and Sindhu became the second one but went one step ahead of Jayaram by winning the title.

8)   Astra is a BVRAAM missile. What does BVRAAM stand for?

a. Beyond Visual Acuity Air to Air Missile
b. Beyond Visual Range Air to Air Missile
c. Behind Visual Range Air to Air Missile
d. Beside Visual Range Air to Air Missile
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Beyond Visual Range Air to Air Missile

The indigenously developed Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM) — Astra — underwent a series of successful trials+ for four days over the Bay of Bengal, marking completion of its development phase.

The final development flight trials of Astra BVRAAM were successfully conducted over the Bay of Bengal, off the coast of Chandipur in Odisha during September 11-14.

A total of seven trials were conducted against pilotless target aircraft successfully.

The successful trial of the Beyond Visual Range Air to Air Missile (BVRAAM) paves way for its induction into the Indian Air Force (IAF).

The missile system has been developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in cooperation with the IAF.

A number of Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs) and more than 50 public and private industries have contributed in developing the weapon system.

Final rounds of trials were successfully conducted by Sukhoi-30 MKI by IAF over the Bay of Bengal. Seven missiles were fired altogether against Pilotless Target Aircraft (PTA) during the last four days.

Defence sources said the missile was fired at a very long range and different altitudes.

It successfully engaged high manoeuvriKarnam Malleshwari.

9)   Which phenomenon has Venusian winds rotating 60 times faster than the planet below on the dark side?

a. Super rotation
b. Mono rotation
c. Dual rotation
d. Macro rotation
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Super rotation

Scientists have characterised wind and cloud patterns of the night side of planet Venus for the first time, and found that it behaves very differently from the part facing the Sun.

The night side exhibits unexpected and previously-unseen cloud types, morphologies, and dynamics - some of which appear to be connected to features on the planet's surface.

This is the first time humans have been able to characterise how the atmosphere circulates on the night side of Venus on a global scale.

Scientists found that the cloud patterns there are different to those on the dayside, and influenced by Venus' topography on the dark side.

Venus' atmosphere is dominated by strong winds that whirl around the planet far faster than Venus itself rotates.

This phenomenon, known as 'super-rotation', sees Venusian winds rotating up to 60 times faster than the planet below, pushing and dragging along clouds within the atmosphere as they go.

These clouds travel fastest at the upper cloud level, some 65 to 72 kilometres above the surface.

The team used the Visible and Infrared Thermal Imaging Spectrometer (VIRTIS) on European Space Agency (ESA)'s Venus Express spacecraft to observe the clouds in the infrared.

VIRTIS enabled scientists to see these clouds properly for the first time, allowing them to explore what previous teams could not and we discovered unexpected and surprising results.

Rather than capturing single images, VIRTIS gathered a 'cube' of hundreds of images of Venus acquired simultaneously at different wavelengths.

This allowed the team to combine numerous images to improve the visibility of the clouds, and see them at unprecedented quality.

The VIRTIS images thus reveal phenomena on Venus' night side that have never before been seen on the dayside.

10)   Which planet was downgraded to dwarf planet status?

a. Pluto
b. Mars
c. Earth
d. Venus
Answer  Explanation 


'Planet 9' - an unseen planet on the edge of our solar system - probably formed closer to home around the Sun than previously thought, astronomers say.

Researchers in the UK found that Planet 9 is unlikely to have been captured from another planetary system, as has previously been suggested.

The outskirts of the solar system have always been something of an enigma, with astronomers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries searching for a giant planet that was not there, and the subsequent discovery of Pluto in 1930.

Pluto was downgraded in status to a 'dwarf planet' because astronomers discovered many other small objects so-called Edgeworth-Kuiper Belt objects at similar distances from the Sun.

Last year, astronomers working in the US postulated the presence of 'Planet 9' to explain the strange orbital properties of some Edgeworth-Kuiper Belt objects.

However, while it is not possible to directly observe Planet 9, it has not stopped theorists from trying to work out how it got there.

Planet 9: Know More

  • Planet 9 is at least ten times bigger than Earth, making it unlikely that it formed at such a large distance from the Sun.
  • Instead, it has been suggested it either moved there from the inner regions of the Solar System, or it could have been captured when the Sun was still in its birth star cluster.
  • Researchers simulated the Sun's stellar nursery where interactions are common and found that even in conditions optimised to capture free-floating planets, only five-to-10 out of 10,000 planets are captured onto an orbit like Planet 9's.