IAS Prelims GS Questions and Answers - Jan 10, 2017

1)   Which of the following is/are true?

1) Railways had no non-fare revenue policy.
2) Non-fare revenue includes revenue from advertising.

a. Only 1
b. Only 2
c. Both 1 and 2
d. Neither 1 nor 2
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Both 1 and 2

Indian Railways launched the non-fare revenue policy, a first in Railways.

This policy will consider different areas ranging from advertising in trains and other areas such as bridges and other assets, setting up of ATMs at platforms to digital content for passengers.

Salient Features of the Policies:

  • The policies are based on feedback from the key players in the industry. Some of the key inputs considered in the policies are:
1. Long Term Contracts - 10 years
2. Single Point of Contact within Indian Railways - Non-Fare Revenue Directorate

3. Credibility of Partner - including a technical and financial capability model

4. Transparent Process - E- Auction

5. Better media planning for Railway assets - Allowing zone/train/station wise packages

Key Policies are -

1. Non-Fare Revenue Policy - allow Indian Railways to consider unsolicited proposals of earnings through Non-Fare sources.

2. Out of Home Advertising Policy - allow monetisation of Railway Assets by means of advertising.

3. Train Branding Policy - augment advertising revenue of Indian Railways by allowing internal and external advertisement.

4. Content on Demand and Rail Radio Policy - allow monetization of entertainment based services on trains and stations. Entertainment services shall be provided through audio (P.A systems) and video systems (personal devices of the passengers) on trains and platforms.

5. ATMs Policy - allow setting up ATMs at major stations of the Indian Railways.

2)   Recently the word ‘Cold Start’ came into news. It is related to

a. Diplomacy
b. Defence
c. Space Technology
d. Environmental Conservation and Pollution Abatement
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Defence

‘Cold Start’ is a military strategy thought to be developed for fighting Pakistan. It essentially means to mobilize troops very quickly.

It is part of the army’s attempt to develop a useable, conventional retaliatory option that punishes Pakistan for terrorist attacks against India without triggering wider conventional or nuclear escalation.

In its more aggressive formulations, it was believed the aim was to create division-sized formations that could rapidly mobilise and carry out short-notice, retaliatory offensives of limited duration to quickly seize and hold Pakistani territory, while simultaneously pursuing narrow enough objectives to deny Islamabad a justification to escalate the conflict by opening additional conventional fronts or to employ nuclear weapons.

The perceived failure to mobilise the army’s Strike Corps in a timely fashion after the December 2001 attacks on Parliament was the impetus for Cold Start.

Its official status has been the subject of extensive debate and controversy since it was first discussed in 2004.

The idea originated with the army, but it has never been formally accepted by the Indian government, which has repeatedly denied its existence.

3)   What is ‘non-photochemical quenching’ related to?

a. Electric car battery manufacturing
b. LPG drilling
c. Respiratory system of animals
d. Photosynthesis
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Photosynthesis

Non-photochemical quenching is process of releasing heat from plants to protect itself from absorbed sunlight.

Energy from sunlight is captured by the green pigment called chlorophyll in the leaves for photosynthesis. But this energy can also damage the leaves (the way we can get sun-burnt).

Plants protect themselves from such light-induced damage by releasing heat (like we use sun-tan lotions or dark glasses for protection). Such “quenching” of excess solar energy must be quick.

If it takes too long (often as long as half an hour) to “relax” and resume the cycle, it may be thought of as a “waste of time.”

If only we can hasten this process (termed non-photochemical quenching, abbreviated as NPQ) of recovery safely, we may be able to improve crop productivity.

Researchers studied how plants “fix” or adjust their photosynthetic cycle as their leaves experience light and shade- as in a natural environment.

In full sunlight, NPQ is activated so as not to harm the chlorophyll too much. But as clouds shade the sunlight, in such a low-light situation, NPQ is reduced. Such a switching of NPQ levels is governed in plants by the action of three proteins.

One protein, ZEP, speeds up the NPQ rate.

A second one, termed VDE, balances ZEP activity, acting as a moderator, while a third one called PSBS adjusts the NPQ level.

Hastening the NPQ process, could increase the efficiency of the photosynthesis cycle by anywhere between 8 per cent and 30 per cent.

This, in turn, could be a promising strategy for improving crop yield.

4)   Which of the following is/are true?

1) Indian cities in coastal areas are showing effects opposite to the Urban Heat Island Effect.
2) They are showing lower temperatures than surrounding non-urban areas during daytime in summer.

a. Only 1
b. Only 2
c. Both 1 and 2
d. Neither 1 nor 2
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Only 2

Cities with heavily built-up areas and concrete structures are supposed to have higher temperature than non-urban regions due to urban heat island effect.

Contrary to this common notion, a “majority” of 84 cities across India, particularly those in central India and Gangetic Basin, have lower daytime temperature from March to May compared with the surrounding non-urban areas (taken as 1 km radius of the city).

The results based on a 13-year land surface temperature record from satellite sensors is not in agreement with the general understanding of urban climate and surface urban heat island effect in tropical cities.

The results once again highlight the importance of increasing the vegetation cover in cities to effectively mitigate the urban heat island effect.

While cities have lower daytime temperature than surrounding non-urban areas from March to May, it is the reverse during nights.

During night time, the cities, particularly those in the Gangetic Basin, were hotter than non-urban areas.

This is prominent in cities that are located in the arid region. This was not seen in coastal cities.

The relatively high vegetation cover leading to higher evapo-transpiration compared with nearby non-urban areas leads cooler urban areas during the day in summer.

While the cities have more trees, the non-urban areas are mostly crop lands and are barren during the summer months.

The absence of evapo-transpiration during night and the heat contained in the concrete structures increases the night time temperature in the cities during March to May.

5)   IRV2020 is concerned with

a. Universal healthcare
b. E-Governance
c. Rhinoceros
d. Vaccination
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Rhinoceros


  • Indian Rhino Vision 2020 programme (IRV2020), a collaborative effort between various organisations, including the

  • 1. International Rhino Foundation,
    2. Assam’s Forest Department,
    3. Bodoland Territorial Council,
    4. WWF-India, and
    5. The US Fish and Wildlife Service.
  • IRV2020 hopes to raise the number of rhinos in Assam to 3,000 by 2020.
  • It aims to spread them over seven of the state’s protected areas: Kaziranga, Pobitora, Orang national park, Manas national park, Laokhowa wildlife sanctuary, Burachapori wildlife sanctuary and Dibru Saikhowa wildlife sanctuary.
This will be achieved by adopting the following three-pronged strategy:

1. Enhance protection in the existing rhino-bearing areas.
2. Undertake range expansion through translocations to re-introduce rhinos in potential rhino habitats (Manas NP, Dibru Saikhowa WLS and Laokhowa–Bura Chapori WLS) from existing rhino bearing areas (Pobitora WLS and Kaziranga NP).
3. Secure and manage the habitats for rhinos.
  • Support is being provided in all the rhino-bearing areas of the state for enhancing security infrastructure and capacity-building of frontline forest staff.
  • To seek their support towards rhino conservation and making them aware about IRV2020 in the state, more than 25,000 villagers (including school children) have been reached out to in Manas and other rhino-bearing areas until now.
  • In partnership with local NGO’s and the State Agriculture Department, the livelihood options of the communities living on the fringes of the park are being developed by undertaking agriculture support programs.
  • A pilot programme to reduce fuelwood consumption has been undertaken by promoting the use of solar energy and energy-efficient chulhas in the villages around Manas National Park.