IAS Prelims GS Questions and Answers - Jan 17 & 18, 2017

1)   Which of the following is/are true regarding?

1) The term ‘substantial minority population’ in the 15 Point Programme applies to such districts/sub-district units where at least 35% of the total population of that unit belongs to minority communities.
2) There is no separate budget for 'Prime Minister's New 15 Point Programme’.

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

ANSWER: Only 2


  • The term ‘substantial minority population’ in the PM’s new 15 Point Programme applies to such districts/sub-district units where at least 25% of the total population of that unit belongs to minority communities.
  • The target group of the programme consists of the eligible sections among the minorities notified under Section 2 (c) of the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992.
  • Some of the target states are Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland.
  • Lakshadweep is the only Union Territory in this group.
  • The programme covers 121 districts of the country where population of Minority Communities is concentrated.
  • The Central government has allocated 15% of plan outlays for implementation of the 15 points which are related to various ministries.
  • There is no separate budget for 'Prime Minister's New 15 Point Programme for the Welfare of Minorities'.
  • It is executed by specific monitoring of flow of funds to minorities or areas with a substantial minority population under different schemes.
  • According to the RTI, the ministry is taking forward the Multi-Sectoral Development Programme (MSDP) which aims to improve the living standard of minorities by creating socio-economic infrastructure and providing basic amenities.
  • 24 schemes of 11 ministries are covered under the programme.
The 15 points are -
1. Equitable availability of the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS)
2. Improving access to School Education
3. Greater resources for teaching Urdu
4. Modernizing Madarsa Education
5. Scholarships for meritorious students from minority communities
6. Improving educational infrastructure through the Maulana Azad Education Foundation
7. Self-Employment and Wage Employment for the poor
8. Upgradation of skill through technical training
9. Enhanced credit support for economic activities
10. Recruitment to State and Central Services
11. Equitable share in rural housing scheme
12. Improvement in condition of slums inhabited by minority communities
13. Prevention of communal incidents
14. Prosecution for communal offences
15. Rehabilitation of victims of communal riots

2)   What is Mission 41k related to?

a. Malnutrition
b. Breast Cancer
c. Railways
d. Disinvestment
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Railways


  • Ministry of Railways has come up with Mission 41k to save Rs. 41000 crore in the next decade in Railways’ energy costs.
  • This target will be achieved by taking a slew of measures which include moving 90 per cent of traffic to electric traction over diesel. Presently, this is at 70 per cent of the total rail traffic.
  • The ministry plans to achieve this target by doubling the current pace of electrification.
  • The railways also aim to procure more and more electricity at cheaper rates through open market instead of sourcing it through DISCOMs and thereby hopes to save as much as 25 per cent on its energy expenses.
  • New technologies are also being explored to bring down electric consumption.
  • Railways are taking number of steps to reduce energy consumption by using various energy-efficient technologies.
  • To change energy mix towards Green Energy in a phased manner, Ministry of Railways plan to set up 1000 MW solar and about 200 MW wind plants.

3)   Which of the following is/are true regarding National Commission for Minorities?

1) The Chairperson shall hold office for a term of five years.
2) The Union Government set up the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) under the National Commission for Minorities Act, 2001.

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

ANSWER: Neither 1 nor 2


  • The Union Government set up the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) under the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992.
  • Six religious communities, viz; Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Zoroastrians (Parsis) and Jains have been notified in Gazette of India as minority communities by the Union Government all over India.
  • Original notification of 1993 was for Five religious communities Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis, Christians and Muslims.
  • The NCM adheres to the United Nations Declaration of 18 December 1992 which states that "States shall protect the existence of the National or Ethnic, Cultural, Religious and Linguistic identity of minorities within their respective territories and encourage conditions for the promotion of that identity.”
  • The Commission shall consist of a Chairperson, [a Vice Chairperson and five] Members to be nominated by the Central Government from amongst persons of eminence, ability and integrity; Provided that five Members including the Chairperson shall be from amongst the Minority communities.
  • The Chairperson and every Member shall hold office for a term of three years from the date he assumes office.
  • The Chairperson or a Member may, by writing under his hand addressed to the Central Government, resign from the office of Chairperson or, as the case may be, of the Member at any time.
  • No act or proceeding of the Commission shall be questioned or shall be invalid merely on the ground of the existence of any vacancy or defect in the constitution of the Commission.

4)   Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) is related to

a. e-cigarettes
b. Painkillers
c. Regulating morphine in hospital
d. Cancer treatment
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: e-cigarettes


  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), also called e-cigarettes, personal vaporizers, vape pens, e-cigars, e-hookah, or vaping devices, are products that produce an aerosolized mixture containing flavoured liquids and nicotine that is inhaled by the user.
  • Although they are projected as ‘tobacco cessation’ products by various sellers, the lack of concrete evidence in support of this claim make them a serious public health threat
  • This is coupled with the absence of any regulatory approval for their use.
  • This is especially the case when one considers the increasing import of e-cigarettes into the country.
  • As e-cigarettes contain nicotine and not tobacco, they do not fall within the ambit of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 (COTPA), which mandates stringent health warnings on the packaging and advertisements of tobacco products.
  • Most e-commerce websites sell e-cigarettes as therapeutic products which enable people to quit smoking.
  • They do not even mention health warnings.
  • E-cigarettes are not meant for non-smokers.
  • Other dangers posed by e-cigarettes, which do not feature in the health warnings, are the possibilities of the product exploding (incidents have been reported globally) and accidental consumption of the liquid inside the e-cigarette, which leads to death.
  • The current unregulated sale of e-cigarettes is dangerous for a country like India where the number of smokers is on the decline (WHO Global Report, 2015)
  • It increases the possibility of e-cigarettes becoming a gateway for smoking by inducing nicotine addiction and perpetuating smoking by making it more attractive, thereby encouraging persons to become users of tobacco as well as e-cigarettes.
  • The Indian government has been slow to respond.
  • Since the first declaration of its intention to ban e-cigarettes containing nicotine in 2014, only Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka and Punjab have implemented the ban.
  • The State governments are adopting different routes: Punjab has classified nicotine as a poison, while Maharashtra treats it as an unapproved drug.
  • Lack of a uniform approach in dealing with this public health problem will not only jeopardise the health of the people, but will also enable the sellers of such products slip through the holes.