Current Affairs Questions & Answers - Sep 19, 2017

1)   Which snail is set to be used to save the Great Barrier reef because it eats starfish?

a. Giant triton
b. Pacific triton sea snail
c. Both a and b
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both a and b

A giant starfish-eating snail could be unleashed to help save the Great Barrier Reef, officials said with a trial under way to breed thousands of the rare species.

Predatory crown-of-thorns starfish, which munch coral, are naturally-occurring but have proliferated due to pollution and run-off at the struggling World Heritage-listed ecosystem.

Their impact has been profound with a major study of the 2,300-km long reef’s health in 2012 showing coral cover halved over the past 27 years, with 42% of the damage attributed to the pest.

Now, Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) research has shown they avoid areas where the Pacific triton sea snail - also known as the giant triton - is present.

The snails, which can grow to half a metre, have a well developed sense of smell and can hunt their prey by scent alone.

Research showed they were particularly fond of crown-of-thorns, but only eat a few each week, and with the snail almost hunted to extinction for their shells, there are not many left.

This led the government to announce funding to research breeding them.

The possibilities the triton breeding project opens up are exciting.

If successful, this research will allow scientists to closely look at the impact of giant tritons on crown-of-thorns behaviour and test their potential as a management tool to help reduce coral lost to outbreaks.

Giant tritons held at AIMS have laid numerous egg capsules. But they are so rare, almost nothing is known about their life cycle.

2)   Who among the following are part of the Air Pollution Institute of Research council?

a. Bakul Parekh
b. Ashok Mahashur
c. Akshay Mehta
d. All of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: All of the above

Alarmed by the growing negative impact of increasing air pollution on public health, eight of the country’s top doctors specialising in various disciplines have come together to form the Air Pollution Institute of Research (AIR) council.

The AIR council is made up of four specialists: paediatrician Dr. Bakul Parekh, chest physician Dr. Ashok Mahashur, interventional cardiologist Dr. Akshay Mehta and gynaecologist Dr. Rishma Pai.

The other four are Chennai-based paediatric pulmonologist De. Vijaya Sekaran, paediatrician Dr. Pramod Jog and interventional cardiologist Dr. Shirish Hiremath, both from Pune, and Dr. Hema Diwakar from Bangalore.

The council will endeavour to get to the root of the menace, collect data to link air pollutants to diseases, and eventually get the public and government to bring change gradually.

The doctors will be coming out with a white paper on the issue soon.

Pollutants present in the air we breathe include particulate matter, carbon monoxide, ozone, nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) terms air pollution as a major environmental risk to health that increases the burden of ailments such as strokes, heart disease, lung cancer, chronic and acute respiratory diseases including asthma.

In a recent report, WHO had classified New Delhi as India’s most polluted city.

An analysis by the Central Pollution Control Board averred with the WHO report, and said Mumbai ranked with Delhi as cities with the worst air quality among the 10 cities surveyed.

The AIR council aims to restrict vehicle numbers, ensure free flow of traffic, promote usage of public transport, avoid having schools near industrial areas or dumping grounds, among other objectives.

3)   Which high profile exits has Infosys seen in September 2017?

a. CEO Vishal Sikka
b. Board member NR Narayana Murthy
c. Head of Design and Senior VP Sanjay Rajgopalan
d. Both a and c
e. All the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Both a and c

Sanjay Rajagopalan, senior vice-president, Infosys, who headed design and research, has quit the company, according to a posting on his personal page on the networking site, LinkedIn.

He quit Infosys a month ago after working for more than three years with the firm. Earlier, he was a senior vice-president with the German software maker, SAP from 2004 to 2014.

Former CEO & MD of Infosys, Vishal Sikka, had quit the company last month following a spat with the co-founder N.R. Narayana Murthy.

Infosys: Know More

  • Infosys Limited is an Indian multinational corporation that provides business consulting, information technology and outsourcing services.
  • It has its headquarters in Bengaluru, India.
  • Infosys is the second-largest Indian IT firm by 2016 revenues.
  • Founded: 7 July 1981, Pune
  • CEO: U. B. Pravin Rao (2017)
  • Revenue: 10.21 billion USD (2017)
  • Headquarters: Bengaluru
  • Founders: N. R. Narayana Murthy, Nandan Nilekani
  • Key Subsidiaries: Panaya, Infosys BPO, EdgeVerve, Skava

4)   Who is the first African American woman to win an Emmy for best comedy writing?

a. Lena Waithe
b. Mara Brock Akil
c. Madeline Andersen
d. Jenny Lumet
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Lena Waithe

The dystopian vision of The Handmaid’s Tale, the deeply cynical Washington comedy Veep and the ever-topical ‘Saturday Night Live’ won top series honours 17th Sept 2017 in an Emmy Awards ceremony.

“Go home, get to work, we have a lot of things to fight for,” producer Bruce Miller said in accepting the best drama trophy for A Handmaid’s Tale, which also won best drama writing and directing awards and a best actress trophy for Elisabeth Moss.

A beaming Margaret Atwood, the Canadian author whose 1985 novel is the show’s source, was onstage.

Sterling K. Brown, whose role in This Is Us earned him the top drama series actor trophy, paid tribute to the last African-American man to win in the category, Andre Braugher in 1998 for his role as a police detective in Homicide - Life on the Street.

Ms. Moss captured her first Emmy and thanked her mother in a speech that was peppered with expletives, while Ann Dowd won supporting actress honours for A Handmaid’s Tale.

Donald Glover won the best comedy actor for Atlanta, which he created and which carries his distinctive voice.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus was honoured for a sixth time for her role as a self-absorbed politician in Veep, named best comedy for the third time.

Riz Ahmed was honoured as best limited series actor for “The Night Of.”

Lena Waithe became the first African-American woman to win an Emmy for comedy series writing, for Master of None, sharing the award with series co-creator Aziz Ansari, who is of Indian heritage.

5)   Which Google payment app was launched on 18th Sept 2017?

a. Zet
b. Ezt
c. Tez
d. Tze
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques


On 18th Sept 2017, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley launched Google’s payment app - ‘Tez’.

Tez by Google is perhaps the simplest form of monetary transactions.

Tez by Google and other ecosystems will make a major change in the digital payments landscape in India.

The tech giant claimed that Tez will enable money transfer directly from the bank accounts of customers, without them having to share their ‘personal information’.

The app will function on both Android and iOS platforms.

Google also said that the app will ‘understand’ eight Indian languages and will work with 55 banks

Tez (which means “Fast” in Hindi is Google’s play to replace cash transactions and become a more central part of how people pay for things, using their mobile to do so.

But it’s also a chance for the company to push out some new technologies - like audio QR (AQR), which lets users transfer money by letting their phones speak to each other with sounds - to see how it can make that process more frictionless, and therefore more attractive to use than cash itself.

Tez will see Google linking up with several major banks in the country by way of UPI (Unified Payments Interface) - a payment standard and system backed by the government in its push to bring more integrated banking services into a very fragmented market.

There will also be phones coming to the market from Lava, Micromax, Nokia and Panasonic with Tez preloaded, the company said.

Google has confirmed to me that payments made and taken using UPI are free for consumers and small merchants

To be clear, Tez is not a mobile “wallet” in the same way as PayTM offers a mobile wallet, where money is stored in the app and needs to be topped up to be used;

It’s more like Apple’s Wallet or other mobile wallets in the west: a place that links up your phone with your bank accounts to let you use your phone as a way to deduct payments from those accounts.

Supported banks include Axis, HDFC Bank, ICICI and State Bank of India and others that support UPI.

Online payment partners include large food chains like Dominos, transport services like RedBus, and Jet Airways

The app has support for English, Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Marathi, Tamil, and Telugu.

For money transfers, there is a limit of ₹1,00,000 in one day across all UPI apps, and 20 transfers in one day.

AQR and Tez: Know More

  • Google says that AQR - the sound-based format for transferring money securely between devices - is its own proprietary technology.
  • This appears to be the first time that Google has used it for payments, although it has used ultrasonic sound for transferring information between devices before
  • For example, the tech has been used in Chromecast to connect devices since 2014. Other startups that have used audio-based “codes” to transfer payments and other data before include Lisnr, and Chirp.
  • While AQR might seem like a neat technical twist, there are some practical reasons behind why Google might opt for this in Tez.
  • For starters, it obviates the need for NFC in the device, and in the payment devices of merchants or whoever else a person is planning to transact with.
  • The other thing is that it makes any kind of contactless transaction with the device fairly flexible and easy.
  • Services like Airdrop on iPhones require Bluetooth and if you’ve used it before isn’t that seamless and foolproof to turn on (even though it works like a charm when it does). QR codes, meanwhile, require you to turn on the camera on your device and physically align it with a code on another screen, a potentially fiddly and difficult process.
  • Using audio taps into some of the most basic features on even the most basic phones, a speaker and a microphone.
  • Google has also trademarked the name in other Asian countries like Indonesia and the Philippines, so there seems to be a wider strategy to expand this to other regions.
  • India, the second-most populated country in Asia after China, is a ripe market for mobile payment services, with a rapidly expanding middle class with more disposable income and a wider population that is very tech-focussed, with an estimated 300 million smartphones in use today.
  • Digital payments are expected to reach a volume of $500 billion annually by 2020, according to a report from BCG and Google.

6)   National Conference on which crucial concern is being held on 19th Sept 2017 by WCD ministry?

a. Under nutrition
b. Vaccination
c. Drinking water
d. Sanitation
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Under nutrition

The Ministry of Women and Child Development held the first ever National Conference in New Delhi tomorrow on Mission Mode to address Under-Nutrition in the country.

The theme of the conference was “Malnutrition Free India-2022”.

Giving details about the conference, the Secretary WCD said that the Government has decided to lay focused attention on this issue.

For this said purpose, Ministry of Women and Child Development has identified 113 districts across the States/UTs based on the composite index of NITI Aayog and prevalence of stunting from NFHS-4 data.

At least one district has been selected from each State/UTs so that the action taken in the selected district can be emulated in the other districts also, he explained.

National Conference, first of its kind, aims at bringing convergence at District/Block levels of the three key Departments (Health & Family Welfare, ICDS/Social Welfare and Drinking Water and Sanitation) wherein a roadmap would be drawn to evolve an appropriate strategy in tackling the problem of stunting, under-nutrition and wasting comprehensively and conclusively.

The conference would be sensitizing the District Collectors/Deputy Commissioners/District Magistrates as well as the District-level officers of Health & Family Welfare, Nutrition (ICDS/SW), Drinking Water & Sanitation Departments in the 113 High Burden Districts along with the Principal Secretaries/Secretaries, in-charge of these three Departments of all States/UTs on a multitude of topics relating to stunting, under-nutrition and wasting and the key strategic interventions which are urgently required.

The District Magistrates/District Collectors/Deputy Commissioners in these 113 high burden districts, through a dashboard, will regularly monitor and review the schemes covering the aspects of nutrition across the line departments within their jurisdiction at least once in a three month period.

Such a review and monitoring at district level would be done in an exclusively and dedicated manner (between 1st to 10th of January, April, July and October every year) to address implementation of schemes having a direct bearing on nutrition and Health.

Malnutrition: Know More

  • The problem of malnutrition is inter-generational and is dependent on multiple factors which inter-alia, include proper Infant & Young Child Feeding (IYCF) practices, Immunization, Institutional Delivery, Early Childhood Development, Food Fortification, Deworming, access to safe drinking water & proper sanitation (WASH), Dietary diversification, full ANC checkup, early initiation of breast feeding, ICT enabled real time monitoring and implementation of Anganwadi Services, Improving infrastructure of Anganwadi Centres along with training of Anganwadi workers and other related factors.
  • These factors can also be Area specific or dependent on particular geographical conditions.
  • Further, it requires a convergent approach among all the three departments i.e. Health & Family Welfare, ICDS/Social Welfare and Drinking Water and Sanitation to tackle the issue of malnutrition comprehensively and conclusively.
  • Some of the important sessions at the conference include efficacy of food fortification, sustainable solution through breast feeding, dietary diversification, improving maternal & child health through Mission Indradhanush, improving program delivery effectiveness, accelerating Real Time Monitoring among others.

7)   SSB has been declared lead intelligence agency for which borders?

a. Indo-Nepal
b. Indo-Bhutan
c. Indo-China
d. Both a and b
e. All the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both a and b

Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh operationalised the New Intelligence Set-up of the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) at a function on 18th Sept 2017.

This marked the culmination of a long pending aspiration of the Force following approval of the Union Home Minister.

SSB has been declared as the Lead Intelligence Agency (LIA) for both the Indo-Nepal and Indo-Bhutan borders.

Thus, it was felt that a well knit intelligence network of the highest capabilities that can function and deliver would be the prime requirement of comprehensive Border Management.

This was quite essential as the operations of SSB have to be Intelligence based so as to prevent criminals and smugglers from taking advantage of the friendly borders with Nepal and Bhutan.

MHA has accordingly sanctioned 650 posts in various ranks from Battalion to Frontier Headquarters.

The job of SSB is much more demanding and challenging since it is vested the responsibility of guarding open borders unlike other borders.

This makes the task much more challenging and demands highest alertness to check illegal activities like smuggling of arms, Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN), drugs and human-trafficking.

Smt. Archana Ramasundaram is the first woman to head any CAPF.

WARB: Know More

  • On the occasion, the Union Home Minister launched the Welfare and Rehabilitation Board (WARB) Mobile App for CAPF personnel.
  • The App is available on Google Play store and is user friendly.
  • It contains various useful features to facilitate retired CAPFs and Assam Rifles personnel to get their genuine grievances redressed, seek skill development training through National Skill Development Corporation under “Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana, re-employment and other relevant and important information.
  • This mobile App shall also help retired personnel to have better co-ordination with WARB and its field formation at states/UTs and district level.
  • Later Shri Rajnath Singh released the book “Pride of India”, a compilation on SSB martyrs and awardees. He also distributed scholarships to children of SSB martyrs.
  • SSB Wives’ Welfare Association “SANDIKSHA” is providing financial help to children of martyrs who are still studying in school, colleges and universities to continue their studies.
  • The Force has undertaken Modernization programme and the SSB has acquired two UAVs while the MHA has approved three Bomb Detection and Disposal squads for the SSB, she added.