IAS Prelims GS Questions and Answers - Dec 12, 2016

1)   Which cryptocurrency has hit its highest level in 3 years following India’s demonetisation?

a. Bitcoin
b. Rupay
d. UPI
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Bitcoin

Web-based digital currency Bitcoin has hit its highest level in almost 3 years on 9th Dec 2016 extending gains since India sparked a cash shortage by removing high denomination bank notes from circulation in Nov 2016.

Bitcoin was trading at USD 774 in the NY based titbit exchange up 1 percent on that day and the highest since Feb 2014, having climbed 9 percent in the past month.

The Nov 8 demonetisation of INR 500 and 1000 rupee notes worth USD 256 billion was a move aimed to fight corruption, black money, forgery and terrorism.

What is Bitcoin?

  • Cash alternative
  • Cryptocurrency’s value is volatile.
  • It rose to USD 1,100 in 2013 and fell to USSD 150 by 2015.
  • It has currently stabilised staying at USD 500 for the past six months.
  • It has climbed 80% in 2016.
  • It climbed 35 percent in 2015.
  • It can be used for moving money across the globe quickly and anonymously.

2)   Japan has launched a cargo ship carrying a space junk collector. What is it called?

a. Mounotori
b. Kounotori
c. Jounotori
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Kounotori

Japan launched a cargo ship on Dec 9, 2016 for ISS or International Space Station carrying a space junk collector designed with the help of a fishnet company.

Cargo ship is also carrying other materials for ISS.

The capsule called Kounotori, or white stork contains nearly 5 tons of food, water and other supplies, including six new lithium-ion batteries for the ISS solar power system.

Astronauts will conduct spacewalks next month to replace the old nickel-hydrogen batteries that store energy generated by the station's big solar panels.

This is Japan's sixth space capsule to the 250-mile-high outpost, currently home to Pesquet, two Americans and three Russians. It launched from Tanegashima Space Centre in southern Japan.

Space Junk Collector

  • Scientists at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) are experimenting with a tether to pull space junk.
  • Length of tether- 2300 feet
  • First capsule launched: Sputnik (1957)
  • 100 million pieces in the orbit currently.
  • 'Kounotori', or 'stork', is assembled at Tanegashima Space Center in Tanegashima island.
  • Space junk collector is made of electrodynamic tether from thin wires of stainless steel and aluminium.
  • The electricity generated by the tether as it swings through the Earth's magnetic field is expected to have a slowing effect on the space junk.
  • JAXA worked on the project with Japanese fishnet manufacturer Nitto Seimo.

3)   China is set to launch a new cruise ship in SCS islands from where to which point?

a. Sanya to Yongle
b. Xisha to Yongle
c. Sanya to Xisha
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Sanya to Yongle

China is all set to launch a new cruise ship in the disputed South China Sea's islands in Dec 2016 to promote tourism, media report indicated on 9th Dec.

Nanhai Zhi Meng, the new cruise ship with a capacity of 893 people, will start its maiden voyage in late December.

It will conduct the cruise from Sanya to the Yongle Islands which are administered by China's newly-built city in the South China Sea called Sansha in Hainan province.

The cruise ship, owned by the Nanhai Cruises company, has finished a trial voyage

The trip will take four days, mainly visiting the islands of Yinyu, Quanfu and Yagong in the Xisha (Paracel) Islands, the report said.

The ship is scheduled to make the voyage 4-6 times each month.

SCS Dispute

  • The Paracel Islands also claimed by Vietnam.
  • These are a cluster of islets, sandbanks and reefs southeast of Hainan Island.
  • They are famous for their unusual scenery and ecosystem.
  • Sansha city on Yongxing, one of the Xisha islands, was founded in July 2012 by China.
  • City envisages tourism as its economic engine and administers three island groups i.e. Xisha, Zhongsha and Nansha.
  • Along with these are surrounding SCS waters.
  • Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan are the other disputants in SCS region.

4)   Who headed the Committee on Digital Payments?

a. Ratan P Watal
b. Ratan P Wasan
c. Ratan P Wagle
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Ratan P Watal

Committee on Digital Payments headed by former Finance Secretary Ratan P. Watal submitted its final report suggesting measures to boost cashless transactions in the medium term to FM Arun Jaitley.

Committee was constituted by the Ministry of Finance under Ratan Watal.

Watal is also the Principal Advisor of the NITI Aayog.

Committee has recommended a medium term strategy for accelerating growth of digital payments in India with a regulatory regime that is conducive to bridging the digital divide by promoting competition, open access and interoperability in payments.

Report also recommends the inclusion of financially and socially excluded groups and assimilation of emerging technologies in the market, while safeguarding security of digital transactions and offering a level playing field to stakeholders and new players who enter the transaction space.

The committee has also suggested inter-operability of the payments system between banks and non banks, upgradation of the digital payment infrastructure and the framework to reward innovations and make leading efforts in enabling digital payments.

GoI constituted the Committee on Aug 23 to review the payment systems in the country and recommend appropriate measures for digital payments.

Before presenting its report, the committee engaged extensively with all stakeholders including RBI, state governments, CAG of India, technology companies, payment companies and the academia.

The committee submitted its interim report on Nov 21.

It has provided a framework for smooth and speedy transition towards a digital payment economy.

Digital Payments

  • Transactions on e-wallets have increased from 17 lakhs/day to 63 lakhs/day. Value of transactions has increased from INR 52 crore to 191 crore.
  • Volume of transactions using Rupay has risen from 3.85 lakh/day to 16 lakh/day
  • The value has risen from INR 39.17 crores to INR 236 crores.
  • UPI transactions volume has risen from 3721/day to 48,000/day. Value of transactions rose INR 1.93 crore to INR 15 crore.

5)   Russian-Indian naval exercises are scheduled from 14-21 Dec. What is the name of these exercises?

a. Indra Navy 2016
b. Indra 2016
c. Navy 2016
d. Navy Indra 2016
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Indra Navy 2016

Russian Indian Indra Navy 2016 naval exercise will be held from 14 to 21 Dec in SE Indian coastal city, Vizag and the Bay of Bengal.

The exercise comprises two phases:

  • Harbour from 14-18 Dec in Vizag.
  • Sea phase will take place in the Bay of Bengal from 19-21 Dec.

Harbour phase includes table top exercises, planning conferences ashore, official visit exchanges and sports and cultural events.

Sea Phase will include various fleet operations.

Two countries have been conducting anti terror drills since 2003.

Since 2005, the name Indra was given to these drills.

Indra drills/navy exercises were also held in 2007, 2014 and 2015.

Know Russia

  • World’s largest nation.
  • Borders: EU, Asia and Pacific and Arctic oceans
  • Landscape: Tundra, forests, beaches, plains.
  • Famous for Bolshoi and Mariinsky ballet companies.
  • Capital: Moscow
  • Currency: Russian rouble
  • President: Vladimir Putin
  • Population: 143.5m (World Bank 2013 estimate)

  • 6)   International Anti-Corruption Day was celebrated on which day across the world?

    a. 9th Dec
    b. 10th Dec
    c. 11th Dec
    d. 12th Dec
    Answer  Explanation 

    ANSWER: 9th Dec

    International Anti-Corruption Day 2016 was observed around the world on 9th Dec, 2016. The theme was United Against Corruption for Development, Peace and Security.

    The day was observed to raise public awareness about corruption and what people can do to combat corruption.

    On this occasion, the Government, private sector, NGOs. media and citizens across the world joined forces to fight corruption.

    The 2016 joint international campaign focuses on corruption as one of the biggest blocks to attaining SDGs.

    The United Nations Development programme and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime are the main organisations that are the forefront of these efforts.

    About International Anti Corruption Day

    • Adopted on: 31st Oct, 2003.
    • Formed by: UNGA
    • Based on: United Nations Convention Against Corruption.
    • Secretariat: UNODC