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Q1) Which of the following criteria are used for declaring any area as a
“Scheduled Area” under the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution?

1. The preponderance of tribal population


2. Compactness and reasonable size of the area
3. A viable administrative entity such as a district, block or Taluk
4. The economic backwardness of the area as compared to the neighbouring
areas

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

A. 1 and 4 only
B. 2, 3 and 4 only
C. 1, 2 and 3 only
D. 1, 2, 3 and 4

Ans: (D)

Learning zone: The criteria for declaring any area as a “Scheduled Area” under
the Fifth Schedule are:

1. The preponderance of tribal population,


2. Compactness and reasonable size of the area,
3. A viable administrative entity such as a district, block or Taluk, and
4. The economic backwardness of the area as compared to the neighbouring
areas.

These criteria are not spelt out in the Constitution but have become well
established.

Why is this question important?

The signboards in the few tribal-dominated villages in Dahanu taluka of


Palghar district on the Maharashtra-Gujarat border — announcing that laws
made by Parliament or State Assembly are not applicable in these areas – have
been recently removed.

The red signboards titled Constitution of India – Schedule Five Area cited
Article 244 of the Constitution, dealing with the administration and control of
tribal-dominated areas identified in the Fifth Schedule.
Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/india/patthalgarhi-ii-in-
maharashtra-district-warning-messages-removed-probe-on-5563754/ and
https://tribal.nic.in/declarationof5thSchedule.aspx

Q2) Which of the following is/are the objective(s) of the Rashtriya Gokul
Mission?

1. Developing and conserving indigenous breeds through selective breeding


and genetic upgradation.
2. Developing ‘Gokul Gram’ cattle care centres for indigenous breeds of high
genetic merit.
3. Constructing cattle shelters for indigenous cattle breeds past their
reproductive or useful age.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

A. 2 only
B. 1 and 2 only
C. 1 and 3 only
D. 1, 2 and 3

Ans: (B)

Learning zone: Rashtriya Gokul Mission (RGM) was launched in December


2014 on an outlay of Rs. 500 crore (2014-15 to 2016-2017) for developing and
conserving indigenous breeds through selective breeding and genetically
upgrading ‘nondescript’ bovine population.

The RGM aims to develop ‘Gokul Gram’ cattle care centres for indigenous
breeds of high “genetic merit” as well as breeds that aren’t as gifted.

The RGM is managed by the Department of Animal Health and Husbandry


(DAHD).

The RGM doesn’t address the issue of cattle past their reproductive or useful
age.

Why is this question important?

Union Finance Minister has allotted Rs. 750 crore to the Rashtriya Gokul
Mission (RGM) under revised estimates for the financial year 2018-19.
Source: https://www.thehindu.com/business/budget/750-crore-to-nurture-
native-cow-breeds/article26155987.ece

Q3) Recently, which of the following States has declared endangered


Indus river dolphins as ‘State aquatic animal’?

A. Punjab
B. Jammu and Kashmir
C. Uttar Pradesh
D. Haryana

Ans: (A)

Learning zone: Punjab declared the endangered Indus river dolphins - one of
the world’s rarest mammals - as the state’s aquatic animal.

The Indus river dolphin is the second most endangered freshwater river
dolphin. At present, there are only around 1,800 of these in the Indus in
Pakistan. Their population in the Beas is between eight and 10.

Why is this question important?

Recently, Punjab declared the endangered Indus river dolphins as the state’s
aquatic animal.

Source: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/indus-river-
dolphin-is-punjabs-state-aquatic-animal/articleshowprint/67800897.cms

Q4) Consider the following statements about ‘Bharat Rang Mahotsav’


(BRM).

1. It is an annual international theatre festival of India, aimed at


stimulating the growth and development of theatre across India.
2. Bharat Rang Mahotsav is organized by National School of Drama (NSD).

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

A. 1 only
B. 2 only
C. Both 1 and 2
D. Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: (C)

Learning zone: Bharat Rang Mahotsav (BRM), the annual international theatre
festival of India is organized by the National School of Drama (NSD).

It was established two decades ago to stimulate the growth and development of
theatre across India.

Why is this question important?

The 20th edition of Bharat Rang Mahotsav (BRM) was recently inaugurated by
the Minister of State for Culture in New Delhi.

Source: http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=187962

Q5) What is ‘Novator 9M729’, seen in the news recently?

A. A land-based cruise missile built by Russia


B. New planet discovered by the NASA in the Goldilocks Zone
C. A prototype of new solar-powered aircraft developed by NASA
D. Novel gene editing tool developed by Russian Scientists

Ans: (A)

Learning zone: ‘Novator 9M729’ is a ground-launched cruise missile developed


by Russia.

Why is this question important?

The missile was at the centre of discussion over the withdrawal of Russia and
United States from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

The US labelled it as “missile of concern” after being test launched from a road-
mobile launcher in violation of the INF Treaty. However, Russia claims the
missile is fully compliant with the INF Treaty.

Source: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/cold-war-2-
0-russia-suspends-nuke-treaty-after-us-decision-to-pull-
out/articleshowprint/67813552.cms
Q6) Consider the following statements about ‘Know My India Programme’.

1. The programme aims to promote oneness, fraternity and national


integration among the victims of terrorism from the state of Jammu and
Kashmir.
2. Know My India Programme is a joint initiative of the Indian Army and the
Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).

Which of the statements given above is/are not correct?

A. 1 only
B. 2 only
C. Both 1 and 2
D. Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: (C)

Learning zone: Know My India Programme is a unique programme initiated by


the National Foundation for Communal Harmony (NFCH) to bring together
financially assisted children of the Foundation from different States/Regions of
the country to promote oneness, fraternity and national integration.

The programme is all about familiarization with the environment, family life,
social customs, etc. of the people living in different parts of the country;
developing an understanding of the common historical and cultural heritage of
the country.

Why is this question important?

Recently, the National Foundation for Communal Harmony (NFCH) organized a


special workshop for 42 Youth in the age group of 15 to 22 years, who have
been victims of communal violence in the past, under the Know My India
Programme beginning in Bengaluru.

NOTE: Know India Programme is an initiative of MEA for Diaspora


engagement.

Source: http://pib.nic.in/PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=1562467
Q7) In the context of ‘Bonn Convention’, which of the following
statements is/are correct?

1. The convention provides a global platform for the conservation and


sustainable use of migratory animals and their habitats.
2. It is an environmental treaty under the aegis of the United Nations
Environment Programme.
3. India is a Party to the Bonn Convention.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

A. 1 only
B. 2 and 3 only
C. 1 and 3 only
D. 1, 2 and 3

Ans: (D)

Learning zone: In order to protect the migratory species throughout their


range countries, a Convention on Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS), has
been in force, under the aegis of United Nations Environment Programme.

Also referred to as the Bonn Convention, it provides a global platform for the
conservation and sustainable use of migratory animals and their habitats and
brings together the States through which migratory animals pass, the Range
States, and lays the legal foundation for internationally coordinated
conservation measures throughout a migratory range.

India has been a Party to the CMS since 1983.

Why is this question important?

The 13th Conference of Parties (COP) of the Convention on the conservation of


migratory species of wild animals (CMS) is going to be hosted by India during
15th to 22nd February 2020 at Gandhinagar in Gujarat.

Source: http://pib.nic.in/PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=1563577

Q8) Recently, RBI rationalized the framework for External Commercial


Borrowing (ECB). In this context consider the following statements.
1. Under the new framework, all entities eligible to receive FDI are
permitted to raise ECBs up to USD one billion per financial year under
the automatic route.
2. The Minimum Average Maturity Period (MAMP) for all ECBs has been set
at 3 years, irrespective of the amount of borrowing.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

A. 1 only
B. 2 only
C. Both 1 and 2
D. Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: (B)

Learning zone: Under the New Framework for External Commercial Borrowing
(ECB), all entities eligible to receive Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) are
permitted to raise ECBs up to USD 750 million or equivalent per financial
year under automatic route subject to certain terms and conditions prescribed
in the Guidelines, replacing the system of sector-wise limits.

The Minimum Average Maturity Period (MAMP) has been kept at 3 years for all
ECBs, irrespective of the amount of borrowing in lieu of various layers of
MAMPs as under the earlier framework, except the borrowers specifically
permitted in the circular to borrow for a shorter period.

Why is this question important?

Reserve Bank of India (RBI), in consultation with the Government of India


(GoI), has rationalized the framework for External Commercial Borrowing (ECB)
and Rupee Denominated Bonds and notified a new Policy on January 16, 2019,
in this regard.

Source: http://pib.nic.in/PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=1563553

Q9) Consider the following statements.

1. The Street Vendors Act, 2014, promotes the livelihoods of the street
vendors and protects from harassment and eviction.
2. The Support to Urban Street Vendors (SUSV) is a component of the
National Urban Livelihoods Mission (NULM).
3. The Street Vendors Act Compliance (SVAC) index is prepared by the
Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

A. 1 only
B. 2 and 3 only
C. 1 and 2 only
D. 1, 2 and 3

Ans: (C)

Learning zone: The Street Vendors Act, 2014 is aimed at creating a conducive
atmosphere where street vendors, are able to carry out their business in a fair
and transparent manner, without the fear of harassment and eviction.

The Street Vendors Act compliance index is prepared by the Centre for Civil
Society. It ranks different states on implementation of various parameters of
the Act.

The Support to Urban Street Vendors (SUSV) is one of the components of DAY-
NULM, which seeks to address the concerns of urban street vendors by the
creation of a pro-vending infrastructure. SUSV aims at addressing the
vulnerabilities of the urban street vendors through a multi-pronged approach
including a survey of street vendors, issue of ID cards, development of city
street vending zones and vending plans, infrastructure development, training
and skill development, financial inclusion, access to credit and linkages to
social security schemes.

Why is this question important?

A National Workshop on Street Vendors organised by the Ministry of Housing &


Urban Affairs in New Delhi. The National Workshop on Street Vendors is the
first such initiative by the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs after coming
into force of the Street Vendors Act. It focuses exclusively on the issues related
to the creation of pro-vending eco-system in the country.

Source: http://pib.nic.in/PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=1563484
Q10) Consider the following statements with reference to Cultural
Heritage Youth Leadership Programme (CHYLP).

1. The programme is aimed at creating awareness of Indian culture and


heritage amongst the youth to promote, understand and develop a
fondness for India’s rich cultural heritage.
2. The programme focuses on less privileged children residing in backward
areas.
3. The programme is implemented by the Centre for Cultural Resources and
Training (CCRT).

Which of the statements given above are correct?

A. 1 and 2 only
B. 2 and 3 only
C. 1 and 3 only
D. 1, 2 and 3

Ans: (D)

Learning zone: The scheme for Cultural Heritage Youth Leadership


Programme (CHYLP) envisaged enriching awareness of Indian culture and
heritage amongst the youth in order to promote, understand and develop a
fondness for India’s rich cultural heritage, with a view to develop appropriate
leadership qualities amongst youth.

The focus of the programme was to be on less privileged children residing in


backward areas by interacting with them in vernacular languages for their
better understanding.

The programme is implemented by the Centre for Cultural Resources and


Training (CCRT), an autonomous organization working under the purview of
the Ministry of Culture.

Why is this question important?

CCRT organizes workshops for the scheme. However, to accelerate the process,
Museum Division of Ministry of Culture arranges visits of children of an
unprivileged section of society to museums so that these children may get an
opportunity to gain the knowledge relating to the Indian History and Culture
and Science.
Source: http://pib.nic.in/PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=1563761

Q11) Which of the following organization/department imposes/levies


‘Anti-dumping’ duty in India?

A. Directorate General of Trade Remedies


B. Department of Revenue
C. Central Board of Indirect taxes and Customs (CBIC)
D. Export-Import Bank of India

Ans: (B)

Learning zone: Directorate General of Trade Remedies conducts the anti-


dumping investigation and recommends to the Government about the
imposition of anti-dumping duties.

Such duties are finally imposed/ levied by the Department of Revenue.

Why is this question important?

India is likely to impose anti-dumping duty on a certain type of sheet used in


the solar cell making from China, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Thailand for five
years in order to safeguard domestic players from cheap imports from these
countries.

Source: http://pib.nic.in/PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=1563769

Q12) Which of the following is/are the most plausible benefit(s) of the
announcement of Minimum Support Price (MSP) by the government?

1. It assures a remunerative and stable price environment for farmers.


2. MSP incentivize the cultivators to adopt modern technology.
3. It helps in raising the productivity and overall grain production in line
with the emerging demand patterns.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

A. 1 only
B. 1 and 3 only
C. 2 and 3 only
D. 1, 2 and 3

Ans: (D)

Learning zone: The Commission for Agricultural Costs & Prices (CACP)
recommends minimum support prices (MSPs) to incentivize the cultivators to
adopt modern technology, and raise productivity and overall grain production
in line with the emerging demand patterns in the country. Assurance of a
remunerative and stable price environment is considered very important for
increasing agricultural production and productivity since the market place for
agricultural produce tends to be inherently unstable, which often inflict undue
losses on the growers.

Towards this end, MSP for major agricultural products is fixed by the
government, each year, after taking into account the recommendations of the
CACP.

Why is this question important?

Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) in its Price Policy report
for Kharif Crops for 2018-19 season has suggested bringing a legislation
conferring on farmers the ‘Right to Sell at MSP’ to instill confidence among
framers so that their produce is not sold/ procured below Minimum Support
Price (MSP) and farmers are not exploited by traders.

Source: http://pib.nic.in/PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=1564053 and


https://cacp.dacnet.nic.in/content.aspx?pid=32

Q13) Which of the following statement(s) is/are not correct about ‘The
Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP)’?

1. CACP was formed based on the recommendation of the National


Commission on Farmers (NCF) in 2005.
2. The recommendations of the CACP are binding on the Union government.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

A. 1 only
B. 2 only
C. Both 1 and 2
D. Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: (C)

Learning zone: The Commission for Agricultural Costs & Prices (CACP) is an
attached office of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government
of India. It came into existence in January 1965.

The recommendations of the CACP are NOT binding on the Union government.
However, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) of the Union
government takes a final decision on the level of MSPs based on the
recommendations made by CACP.

Why is this question important?

Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) was in news recently, in
the context of a discussion on minimum support prices (MSPs).

Source: http://pib.nic.in/PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=1564053 and


https://cacp.dacnet.nic.in/content.aspx?pid=32

Q14) In the context of ‘Trend and Progress of Banking in India 2017-18’


report, consider the following statements.

1. As per the report, the proportion of persons joining the formal financial
system in terms of a bank account has more than doubled since 2011.
2. In 2017-18, the number of branches in business correspondent (BCs)
mode declined in rural areas, whereas the number of BCs in urban areas
increased.
3. The report was published by the Department of Financial Services (DFS),
Government of India.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

A. 1 and 2 only
B. 2 and 3 only
C. 1 and 3 only
D. 1, 2 and 3

Ans: (A)
Learning zone: As per the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) Report on “Trend
and Progress of Banking in India 2017-18”, the proportion of persons joining
the formal financial system in terms of an account at financial institutions has
more than doubled since 2011 and by 2017 it had reached 80 per cent of the
Indian population.

As per the report, the number of brick-and-mortar branches and branches in


business correspondent (BC) mode declined in rural areas partly due to the
rationalisation of branches by banks through closing down of branches which
were either unviable or located in close proximity to each other. Furthermore,
some banks disengaged with corporate BCs due to non-performance.

At the same time, the number of BCs in urban areas increased partly
attributable to absorption of erstwhile pre-paid payment instruments (PPIs)
providers into the BC fold.

Why is this question important?

The report “Trend and Progress of Banking in India 2017-18” was recently
released by the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI).

Source: http://pib.nic.in/PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=1564085

Q15) With reference to the ‘Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium


(SFAC)’, which of the following statement is not correct?

A. SFAC is an exclusive organization focused on increasing incomes of small


as well as marginal farmers, through aggregation and development of
agribusiness.
B. It is a company established by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers
Welfare, under the Companies Act, 2013.
C. SFAC is mandated to mobilize farmers into ‘Farmers Producers
Organizations’ (FPOs) and link these institutions to the market.
D. SFAC is responsible for the implementation of the National Agriculture
Market Electronic Trading (e-NAM) platform.

Ans: (B)
Learning zone: Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC) is an
exclusive Society focused on increasing incomes of small and marginal farmers
through aggregation and development of agribusiness.

SFAC is a registered society set up under the Societies Registration Act XXI
of 1860 under the administrative control of Department of Agriculture
Cooperation and Farmers Welfare, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare,
Government of India.

Its mandate is to link farmers to investment, technology and markets. SFAC is


mandated to mobilize farmers into groups, called Farmers Producers
Organizations (FPOs) and link these institutions to the market, for better
returns.

SFAC is also implementing the National Agriculture Market Electronic Trading


(e-NAM) platform. The purpose is to provide for a single unified market for
agricultural products with much higher price discovery for farmers.

Why is this question important?

The Union Cabinet recently approved the proposal for leasing out 1.61 acres of
land at Alipur Delhi to SFAC for setting up of Kisan Mandi. SFAC proposes to
establish a Kisan Mandi, as an additional marketing channel/platform to link
FPOs and farmers Growers Association to wholesale and retail consumers for
the direct sale of fruits & vegetables for the benefits of farmers and consumers
in Delhi & NCR.

Source: http://pib.nic.in/PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=1564355 and


http://sfacindia.com/

Q16) India has introduced taxation based on the ‘Significant Economic


Process (SEP)’. In this context consider the following statements.

1. It seeks to widen the tax base by establishing a business connection and


charging tax on income earned by non-resident digital businesses.
2. Currently, it is effective only in jurisdictions with which India has not
entered into a double taxation avoidance agreement (DTAA).

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?


A. 1 only
B. 2 only
C. Both 1 and 2
D. Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: (C)

Learning zone: Taxation based on Significant Economic Process (SEP) will


seek to widen the tax base in India by establishing a business connection and
charging to tax income earned by digital businesses which operate out of
jurisdictions with which India has not entered into a double taxation avoidance
agreement (DTAA).

However, where India has already entered into a DTAA, the SEP will only be
effective after a renegotiation of such DTAA which will be based on
international consensus.

Why is this question important?

In 2018, India introduced a nexus-based taxation approach in the domestic tax


law, deeming a SEP for non-residents in certain scenarios.

Source: https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/digital-tax-centre-
rakes-in-moolah-with-equalisation-levy/article26260963.ece

Q17) Consider the following statements.

On the dissolution of Loksabha,

1. The Bills pending in the Rajyasabha which has not yet been passed by
that house will lapse.
2. The Bills originated in the Rajyasabha and sent to Loksabha will not
lapse.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

A. 1 only
B. 2 only
C. Both 1 and 2
D. Neither 1 nor 2
Ans: (D)

Learning zone: On the dissolution of Loksabha, all the matters pending before
the house will lapse.

The Bills originated in the Rajyasabha and sent to Loksabha will lapse.

But, the Bills pending in the Rajyasabha which has not yet been passed by
that house will not lapse.

Why is this question important?

The triple talaq and the Citizenship bills, two of the most talked about
legislation, will lapse as the government failed to introduce them in Rajya
Sabha. Rajya Sabha adjourned sine die on February 13.

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/triple-talaq-and-
citizenship-bills-lapse-as-rajya-sabha-adjourns-sine-die/article26256998.ece
and Indian Polity by Laxmikanth

Q18) Consider the following statements.

1. 91st Amendment of the Indian Constitution limits the strength of council


of ministers to 15% of total legislators in the elected House of that state.
2. As per the provisions of the constitution, the minimum number of
ministers in a council must be 15.
3. A council of ministers must be formed within 30 days of the declaration
of the election results by the election commission.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

A. 2 and 3 only
B. 1 only
C. 1 and 2 only
D. 1, 2 and 3

Ans: (B)

Learning zone: Article 163 of the Constitution states that there shall be a
council of ministers with the chief minister at the head to aid and advise the
governor in the exercise of his functions, barring exceptional circumstances.
The 91st Amendment of the Constitution limits the strength of council of
ministers to 15% of total legislators in an elected House.

Article 164 (1A) clearly states that the minimum number of ministers in a
council must be 12. Only in the case of Sikkim, Mizoram and Goa do the 91 st
Amendment Act put the minimum strength at seven.

However, the Constitution does not set a timeframe within which a council of
ministers must be formed.

Why is this question important?

Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao was sworn in for a second term
on December 13 2018, after winning a snap assembly election by a landslide.
However, for more than two months, he did not form his council of ministers.
This had raised some legal and constitutional questions.

Source: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/blogs/On-the-bounce/no-
country-for-ministers-kcr-has-just-another-minister-in-telangana-the-cm-
runs-the-state-virtually-alone/

Q19) Which of the following publishes the Global Intellectual Property


Index?

A. The Global Innovation Policy Centre


B. World Intellectual Property Organization
C. World Economic Forum
D. Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development

Ans: (A)

Learning zone: The Global Innovation Policy Centre (GIPC) of the US Chamber
of Commerce compiles the annual 2019 Global Intellectual Property Index
rankings and tracks 45 parameters concerning patents, trademarks, copyrights
and trade secrets for the index.

Why is this question important?

India’s ranking in the 2019 global Intellectual Property Index has raised to 36,
up eight places from 44, the largest increase for the second successive year.
Source: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/blogs/et-commentary/how-
much-down-the-trips-plus-path/

Q20) Consider the following statements about the National Security Act
(NSA), often seen in the news.

1. Only the Union government has the power to detain a person under the
provisions of NSA.
2. Provisions of the NSA can be invoked for the maintenance of supplies
and services that are essential to the community.
3. The person arrested under the NSA is not entitled to any legal aid in
respect of the proceedings dealing with such NSA cases.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

A. 1 and 2 only
B. 1 and 3 only
C. 2 and 3 only
D. 1, 2 and 3

Ans: (C)

Learning zone: The National Security Act (NSA) empowers the Centre or a
State government to detain a person to prevent him from acting in any manner
prejudicial to national security. The government can also detain a person to
prevent him from disrupting public order or for maintenance of supplies and
services essential to the community.

The maximum period for which one may be detained is 12 months. But the
term can be extended if the government finds fresh evidence.

The person arrested under the NSA is not entitled to the aid of any legal
practitioner in any matter connected with the proceedings before an advisory
board, which is constituted by the government for dealing with NSA cases.

Why is this question important?

A spate of recent cases, in which different State governments have invoked the
stringent provisions of the NSA to detain citizens for questionable offences, has
brought the focus on the potential abuse of the controversial NSA law.
Source: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/what-is-national-security-
act/article26292232.ece

Q21) In which one of the following States is Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary


located?

A. Arunachal Pradesh
B. Jammu and Kashmir
C. Himachal Pradesh
D. Sikkim

Ans: (D)

Learning zone: Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary is located Sikkim.

Why is this question important?

A recent study by the researchers at the ATREE finds that in the Sikkim
Himalaya, temperature, day length and genetic relatedness between species
determine when rhododendrons put out their first buds, flowers and fruits.

The researchers studied rhododendron trees in sub-alpine and alpine forests


between 3,400-4,230 metres above sea level in Sikkim's Kyongnosla Alpine
Sanctuary.

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/what-drives-flowering-
fruiting-in-sikkims-rhododendrons/article26291088.ece

Q22) Union government recently launched the ‘Investigation Tracking


System for Sexual Offences (ITSSO)’. In this context consider the
following statements.

1. It is an online module available to law enforcement agencies and the


general public for real-time monitoring and management for completion
of investigation in rape cases.
2. ITSSO uses the existing Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and
Systems (CCTNS) database, for its functioning.
3. ITSSO is an initiative of the Union Ministry of Women and Child
Development.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

A. 1 and 3 only
B. 2 only
C. 2 and 3 only
D. 1, 2 and 3

Ans: (B)

Learning zone: Investigation Tracking System for Sexual Offences (ITSSO) is


meant for Law Enforcement Agencies in the country.

It is an online module available to law enforcement agencies at all levels-


National, State, District and Police Station that allows State to undertake real-
time monitoring and management for completion of investigation in rape cases
in 2 months.

It leverages the existing CCTNS database, which covers nearly 15000 police
stations in the country.

ITSSO is an initiative of the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Why is this question important?

Recently, the Union Home Minister launched various initiatives for women
safety. These initiatives include the launch of Emergency Response Support
System (ERSS), Investigation Tracking System for Sexual Offences (ITSSO)
and Safe City Implementation Monitoring Portal.

Source: http://pib.nic.in/PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=1565023

Q23) With reference to the recently concluded ‘Regional Maritime Safety


Conference’, which of the following statement(s) is/are correct?

1. The conference was aimed at deliberating on issues related to


safeguarding the shores and promoting trade along the sea routes in the
India-ASEAN sub-region.
2. The conference was organised by the Indian Coast Guards (ICG) in
coordination with the Ministry of External Affairs.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.


A. 1 only
B. 2 only
C. Both 1 and 2
D. Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: (A)

Learning zone: The objective of the Regional Maritime Safety conference is to


deliberate on issues related to assuring maritime safety in the India-ASEAN
sub-region, safeguarding our shores and promoting trade along the sea routes.

The conference addressed a wide range of issues that affect regional maritime
safety, including transport safety, maritime law, shipbuilding, transportation of
hazardous goods, marine oil spill, pollution and environmental safety.

The inaugural edition was organised by the National Maritime Foundation


(NMF) in coordination with the Ministry of Shipping and the Ministry of
External Affairs.

Why is this question important?

Recently, the Regional Maritime Safety Conference was organized by India for
the first time.

Source: http://pib.nic.in/PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=1564970

Q24) Recently, India and Norway established ‘India-Norway Ocean


Dialogue’. What is/are the likely benefits(s) of this mechanism for India?

1. It provides the opportunity to collaborate in areas such as the


exploitation of hydrocarbons and other marine resources.
2. Scientists and researchers can collaborate on studying ocean ecosystem
in the context of the Arctic region.
3. It provides a platform for joint patrolling of Navies of both countries to
check the global piracy and armed robbery against ships.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

A. 2 only
B. 3 only
C. 1 and 2 only
D. 1, 2 and 3

Ans: (C)

Learning zone: India-Norway Ocean Dialogue will promote cooperation in the


areas of mutual interest pertaining to the development of the blue economy.

 It will contribute to creating opportunities for collaboration in areas such


as exploitation of hydrocarbons and other marine resources, as well as
management of ports and tourism development for the mutual benefit of
all stakeholders within the framework of the Joint Task Force (JTF).
 It will contribute to the objective of Food Security through the infusion of
new technologies in fisheries and aquaculture.
 It will further offer a platform for businesses in both countries to execute
profitable ventures.
 Scientists and researchers may collaborate on studying ocean ecosystem
also in the context of the Arctic region.

Why is this question important?

The Union Cabinet has approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)


between India and Norway on India-Norway Ocean Dialogue.

Source: http://pib.nic.in/PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=1563001

Q25) The Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs recently approved the


creation of ‘Agri-Market Infrastructure Fund’. In this context consider the
following statements.

1. The fund will be used for development and up-gradation of agricultural


marketing infrastructure in Gramin Agricultural Markets and Regulated
Wholesale Markets.
2. AMIF will provide the States and UTs Governments subsidized loan for
their proposal for developing agricultural marketing infrastructure.
3. The Agri-Market Infrastructure Fund is created with a corpus of Rs. 2000
crore and is managed by the NABARD.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

A. 1 and 3 only
B. 3 only
C. 1 and 2 only
D. 1, 2 and 3

Ans: (D)

Learning zone: Agri-Market Infrastructure Fund (AMIF) is created with


NABARD, with a corpus of Rs. 2000 crore, for development and up-gradation of
agricultural marketing infrastructure in Gramin Agricultural Markets and
Regulated Wholesale Markets.

AMIF will provide the State/UT Governments subsidized loan for their proposal
for developing marketing infrastructure in 585 Agriculture Produce Market
Committees (APMCs) and 10,000 Grameen Agricultural Markets (GrAMs).

Why is this question important?

Recently, the Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs gave its approval for the
creation of a corpus of Rs. 2000 crore for Agri-Market Infrastructure Fund
(AMIF).

Source: http://pib.nic.in/PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=1562955

Q26) Consider the following.

1. Development of improved seeds varieties


2. Purification of water
3. Monitoring process lines in the petroleum industry

In which of the above Nuclear radiation has its application?

A. 2 only
B. 1 and 2 only
C. 1, 2 and 3
D. 1 and 3 only

Ans: (C)

Learning zone: Nuclear Radiation Technologies are used in Nuclear Medicine


and Radiation therapy, Food Irradiation, developing improved seeds varieties,
water purification technologies, urban waste management technologies,
industrial application of radioisotopes and radiation technologies particularly
in the petroleum industry for monitoring process lines, breakdown
maintenance, dredging operations in seaports etc.

Why is this question important?

Recently, the Ministry of External Affairs and Department of Atomic Energy


(DAE) organised the ‘Parmanu Tech 2019’ conference. The conference
discussed issues and applications of Nuclear Energy and Radiation
Technologies.

Source: http://pib.nic.in/PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=1562888

Q27) In the context of small savings in India, consider the following


statements.

1. As per the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission, only the


Government of India can borrow from the National Small Savings Fund
(NSSF).
2. Borrowings from the National Small Savings Fund (NSSF) provide the
government with a cheaper financial source, in comparison to market
borrowings.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

A. 1 only
B. 2 only
C. Both 1 and 2
D. Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: (A)

Learning zone: The National Small Savings Fund (NSSF) collects funds
through small savings schemes, such as Post Office Savings Account, National
Savings Time Deposits, National Savings Recurring Deposits, National Savings
Monthly Income Scheme.

The reliance on the NSSF enabled the government to reduce its market
borrowings. But, it is a costlier form of borrowing for the government as
compared to market loans.
The net collections under NSSF are now mostly used by Government of India
only, after the recommendations of 14th Finance Commission to exclude State
Governments from borrowings from NSSF, with effect from 1 April 2016.

Why is this question important?

The Centre is on course to raise Rs 2.35 lakh crore through these two means:
an estimated Rs 1.25 lakh crore from the National Small Savings Fund (NSSF)
and Rs. 1,10,500 crore via recapitalization bonds.

The NSSF share in the financing of fiscal deficit is projected to rise to 18.5 per
cent in 2019-20, up from 12 per cent in 2018-19.

Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/business/meanwhile-a-costly-
short-term-borrowing-dip-into-small-savings-5574724/

Q28) Consider the following statements about ‘Dard Aryan tribes’, seen in
the news recently.

1. Dard Aryan tribe is found in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir.
2. The tribe is categorized as Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group.

Which of the statements given above is/are not correct?

A. 1 only
B. 2 only
C. Both 1 and 2
D. Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: (B)

Learning zone: The Dard Aryans inhabit Dha, Hanu, Beema, Darchik and
Garkone villages in Leh and Kargil districts. The villages are together called the
Aryan valley.

The people of this region are completely different from those in other parts of
Ladakh. They have unique physical features, social life, ethnic culture, and
language.

They are NOT categorized as Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group.

Why is this question important?


‘Dard Aryans’, who are known for liberal customs, are struggling to preserve
the cultural legacy. There are just 4,000 of them left in the world.

Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/the-dard-aryans-of-
ladakh-who-are-this-tribe-what-are-their-concerns-5574657/

Q29) In the context of ‘Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS)’, seen


in the news recently, consider the following statements.

1. The SDDS was to help countries access the international capital markets
by providing adequate economic and financial information publicly.
2. It is an initiative of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
3. India is a signatory to this initiative.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

A. 1 only
B. 2 and 3 only
C. 1 and 3 only
D. 1, 2 and 3

Ans: (D)

Learning zone: The Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS) of the


International Monetary Fund (IMF) was established in 1996 to help countries
access the international capital markets by providing adequate economic and
financial information publicly.

India was one of the early signatories to the initiative.

Why is this question important?

India complies with many requirements of the SDDS, but it has taken an
exception with respect to the measurement of unemployment. The Government
of India does not produce any measure of the monthly unemployment rate.
Monthly measurement of the unemployment rate is one of the requirements of
the Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS).

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/surveying-indias-
unemployment-numbers/article26218615.ece
Q30) The Union Cabinet recently gave its approval to the ‘National Policy
on Electronics 2019’. In this context consider the following statements.

1. The policy aims to promote domestic manufacturing and export in the


entire value-chain of Electronics System Design and Manufacturing
(ESDM).
2. It aims to provide incentives and support for enhancing the availability of
skilled manpower, including re-skilling.
3. It creates a Sovereign Patent Fund (SPF) to promote the development and
acquisition of Intellectual Properties in the ESDM sector.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

A. 1 and 2 only
B. 1 only
C. 1, 2 and 3
D. 1 and 3 only

Ans: (C)

Learning zone: Salient Features of National Policy on Electronics 2019:

1. Create eco-system for globally competitive ESDM sector: Promoting


domestic manufacturing and export in the entire value-chain of ESDM.
2. Provide incentives and support for manufacturing of core electronic
components.
3. Provide a special package of incentives for mega projects which are
extremely high-tech and entail huge investments, such as semiconductor
facilities display fabrication, etc.
4. Formulate suitable schemes and incentive mechanisms to encourage
new units and expansion of existing units.
5. Promote Industry-led R&D and innovation in all sub-sectors of
electronics, including grass root level innovations and early stage Start-
ups in emerging technology areas such as 5G, loT/ Sensors, Artificial
Intelligence (Al), Machine Learning, Virtual Reality (VR), Drones,
Robotics, Additive Manufacturing, Photonics, Nano-based devices, etc.
6. Provide incentives and support for significantly enhancing the availability
of skilled manpower, including re-skilling.
7. Special thrust on Fabless Chip Design Industry, Medical Electronic
Devices Industry, and Automotive Electronics Industry and Power
Electronics for Mobility and Strategic Electronics Industry.
8. Create a Sovereign Patent Fund (SPF) to promote the development and
acquisition of IPs in the ESDM sector.
9. Promote trusted electronics value chain initiatives to improve national
cybersecurity profile.

Why is this question important?

The Union Cabinet recently gave its approval to the ‘National Policy on
Electronics 2019’.

Source: http://pib.nic.in/PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=1565285

Q31) Women’s Livelihood Bonds (WLBs), a new social impact bond


exclusively for women, was launched recently. In this context consider
the following statements.

1. It will enable individual women entrepreneurs with small units to borrow


around Rs 50,000 to Rs 3 lakh.
2. These bonds are unsecured and unlisted and have a tenure of five years.
3. The Bonds were launched by State Bank of India with the support of UN
Women.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

A. 3 only
B. 1 and 2 only
C. 1, 2 and 3
D. None of the statements given above is correct

Ans: (B)

Learning zone: The Women’s Livelihood Bonds will enable individual women
entrepreneurs in sectors like food processing, agriculture, services and small
units to borrow around Rs 50,000 to Rs 3 lakh at an annual interest rate of
around 13-14 per cent or less.
The bonds, which will have tenure of five years, were launched by SIDBI with
the support of World Bank and UN Women. SIDBI will act as the financial
intermediary and channel funds raised to women entrepreneurs through
participating financial intermediaries like banks, NBFCs or microfinance
institutions.

The WLBs will be unsecured, unlisted bonds and offer fixed coupon rate of 3
per cent per annum to bond investors.

Why is this question important?

World Bank, UN Women, and Small Industries Development Bank of India


(SIDBI) have joined hands to launch a new social impact bond exclusively for
women, called Women’s Livelihood Bonds (WLBs), with an initial corpus of Rs
300 crore.

Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/business/world-bank-un-sidbi-
launch-rs-300-crore-womens-livelihood-bond-5592031/

Q32) The thermal power plants running on coal are considered as a major
source of air pollution in India. Which of the following pollutants are
emitted by such plants?

1. Suspended particulate matter


2. Nitrogen oxide
3. Mercury
4. Sulphur oxide

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

A. 1 and 4 only
B. 2 and 4 only
C. 1, 2 and 3 only
D. 1, 2, 3 and 4

Ans: (D)

Learning zone: The thermal power plants running on coal are considered as a
major source of air pollution in India. Some of the major pollutants emitted by
such plants are suspended particulate matter, sulphur oxide, nitrogen oxide
and mercury.

Despite the Ministry of Environment notifying emission limits for these major
pollutants in December 2015, the effort to clean up India’s thermal power
plants running on coal has never really taken off.

Why is this question important?

Recently, the Power Ministry has proposed to provide the equivalent of over $12
billion (about Rs. 88,000 crores), mainly to remove sulphur from coal plant
emissions.

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/clean-
power/article26314664.ece

Q33) Consider the following statements.

Operation Digital Board,

1. Aims to convert a classroom into a digital classroom and make available


e-resources at any time and any place to students.
2. Will be implemented in government and government-aided schools from
class 9th onwards, as well as in higher education institutions.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

A. 1 only
B. 2 only
C. Both 1 and 2
D. Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: (C)

Learning zone: Operation Digital Board will make the learning as well as the
teaching process interactive and popularize flipped learning as a pedagogical
approach.

The digital board will be introduced all over the country in government and
government-aided schools from class 9th onwards as well as in higher
education institutions.
The ODB aims at converting a classroom into a digital classroom and in
addition to the availability of e-resources at any time and at any place to
students, it will also help in the provisioning of personalized adaptive learning
as well as Intelligent Tutoring by exploiting emerging technologies like Machine
Learning, Artificial Intelligence & Data Analytics.

Why is this question important?

The Minister of Human Resource Development launched Operation Digital


Board to leverage technology in order to boost quality education in the country.

Source: http://pib.nic.in/PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=1565567

Q34) Which of the following publishes the ‘FDI Confidence Index’?

A. UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)


B. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
C. World Economic Forum (WEF)
D. None of the above

Ans: (D)

Learning zone: The Foreign Direct Investment Confidence (FDI) Index prepared
by A.T. Kearney is an annual survey which tracks the impact of likely political,
economic, and regulatory changes on the foreign direct investment intentions
and preferences of CEOs, CFOs, and other top executives of Global 1000
companies.

The report includes detailed commentary on the markets and the impact a
variety of global trade issues have on their FDI attractiveness, as well as a
ranking of the top 25 countries.

Why is this question important?

As per the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, in the last four years, India has
received FDI worth US$ 263 billion. This is 45 per cent of the FDI received in
the last 18 years.

FDI in India is at a record high and India is among the top two emerging
markets in the FDI Confidence Index.
Source: http://pib.nic.in/PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=1565886 and
https://globaledge.msu.edu/global-resources/resource/267

Q35) In the context of ‘Indus water treaty of 1960’, consider the following
statements.

1. As per the treaty, Beas, Ravi and Sutlej Rivers are governed by India,
whereas Indus, Chenab and Jhelum Rivers are governed by Pakistan.
2. India is allowed to use 50 per cent of the water from Indus for irrigation,
power generation and transport purposes.
3. The Treaty provides an arbitration mechanism to solve disputes
amicably.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

A. 1 only
B. 1 and 3 only
C. 2 and 3 only
D. 1, 2 and 3

Ans: (B)

Learning zone: The Indus Waters Treaty was signed on September 19, 1960,
by the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Pakistan's President Ayub
Khan. It was brokered by the World Bank.

According to the treaty, Beas, Ravi and Sutlej are to be governed by India,
while, Indus, Chenab and Jhelum are to be taken care by Pakistan. However,
since Indus flows from India, the country is allowed to use 20 per cent of its
water for irrigation, power generation and transport purposes.

A Permanent Indus Commission was set up as a bilateral commission to


implement and manage the Treaty. The Commission solves disputes arising
over water sharing. The Treaty also provides an arbitration mechanism to solve
disputes amicably.

Why is this question important?


Recently, Minister for Road Transport and Water Resources Nitin Gadkari said
that India will not allow its share of water from the Indus network of rivers to
flow into Pakistan.

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/india-will-stop-its-share-
of-indus-water-from-flowing-into-pakistan-nitin-gadkari/article26332065.ece

Q36) With reference to ‘Financial Action Task Force (FATF)’, which of the
following statements are correct?

1. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an inter-governmental body


established by the G-7 Summit in 1989.
2. FATF sets the standard and promote effective implementation of legal,
regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering,
terrorist financing and other related threats.
3. Both India and Pakistan are the members of the Financial Action Task
Force.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

A. 1 and 2 only
B. 2 and 3 only
C. 1 and 3 only
D. 1, 2 and 3

Ans: (A)

Learning zone: The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an inter-


governmental body established in 1989 by the G-7 Summit that was held in
Paris in 1989.

The objectives of the FATF are to set standards and promote effective
implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating
money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity
of the international financial system.

India is a member of the Financial Action Task Force; Pakistan is NOT a


member.

Why is this question important?


Condemning the February 14 Pulwama attack, the Financial Action Task Force
(FATF) has issued a stern statement to Pakistan to comply with an action plan
on terror financing or face further action.

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/terror-monitor-keeps-
pak-on-grey-list-seeks-action/article26346241.ece and http://www.fatf-
gafi.org/about/

Q37) Consider the following statements about ‘National Health Authority


(NHA)’.

1. National Health Authority is an attached office under the Ministry of


Health and Family Welfare.
2. National Health Authority is headed by Prime Minister.
3. NHA has the full accountability, authority and mandate to implement
Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY).

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

A. 3 only
B. 1 and 3 only
C. 1 and 2 only
D. 1, 2 and 3

Ans: (B)

Learning zone: The government has restructured the existing National Health
Agency as "National Health Authority" for better implementation of Pradhan
Mantri - Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY).

National Health Authority is an attached office under the Ministry of Health &
Family Welfare.

The Governing Board of the NHA is chaired by the Minister of Health & Family
Welfare, which will enable the decision making at a faster pace, required for
smooth implementation of the scheme.

National Health Authority has the full accountability, authority and mandate to
implement PM-JAY through an efficient, effective and transparent decision-
making process.
Why is this question important?

NHA was in news recently, due to its difference with the Health Ministry over
the strategy for implementation of Ayushman Bharat.

Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/india/nha-health-ministry-
differ-on-integration-of-two-arms-of-ayushman-bharat-5598321/ and
http://www.pib.nic.in/Pressreleaseshare.aspx?PRID=1558214

Q38) In the context of ‘Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)’, Which


of the following statement(s) is/are correct?

1. OIC is the second largest inter-governmental organization after the


United Nations with a membership of 57 countries.
2. OIC was formed following the resolution adopted in the first Islamic
Conference of Foreign Minister (ICFM), 1970.
3. India was granted the status of the observer by the OIC in February
2019.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

A. 1 only
B. 1 and 2 only
C. 3 only
D. 2 and 3 only

Ans: (A)

Learning zone: The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is the second


largest inter-governmental organization after the United Nations with a
membership of 57 states spread over four continents. The Organization is the
collective voice of the Muslim world.

The Organization was established upon a decision of the historical summit


which took place in Rabat, the Kingdom of Morocco on 25 September 1969
following the criminal arson of Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

India is neither a member nor an observer at the OIC.

Why is this question important?


After 50 years, India was invited to OIC meet and External Affairs Minister
Sushma Swaraj attended the meet as a “guest of honour”.

Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/india/after-50-years-india-invited-
to-oic-meet-sushma-swaraj-to-attend-5598336/ and https://www.oic-oci.org

Q39) Which of the following are prohibited under the recently


promulgated ‘Banning of Unregulated Deposit Ordinance, 2019’?

1. Chit funds
2. Taking loans by small businesses from unrelated parties
3. Contributions towards the capital by partners of any partnership firm
4. Receiving any amount by an individual by way of loan from his relatives

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

A. 1 only
B. 2 and 3 only
C. 1, 2, 3 and 4
D. None of the given activities is prohibited

Ans: (D)

Learning zone: The Banning of Unregulated Deposit Ordinance puts a check


only on illicit deposit schemes that dupes gullible investors but it does not
prohibit those regulated by law like chit funds.

Chit fund is regulated by the Chit Fund Act, 1982 and is treated as Regulated
Deposit as per Schedule 1 of Banning of Unregulated Deposit Ordinance, 2019.

According to the Ordinance, the amounts received by way of contributions


towards the capital by partners of any partnership firm or limited liability
partnerships, loans taken by small businesses from unrelated parties and
enterprises are exempt.

Besides, the amount received by an individual by way of loan from his relatives
or amount received by any firm by way of loans from relatives of any of its
persons is exempt among other exemptions.

Why is this question important?


Recently, President promulgated Banning of Unregulated Deposit Ordinance,
2019. The Department of Financial Services issued certain clarification
regarding the ordinance amid rumours that deposits under chit funds and
loans taken by small businesses from unrelated parties and enterprises are
also prohibited.

Source:
https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/policy/unregulated-
deposit-ordinance-bans-only-ponzi-schemes-not-regulated-
deposits/printarticle/68136042.cms

Q40) Which of the following statement correctly describes the ‘Rail


Drishti’, launched recently by the Indian Railways?

A. A platform to receive innovative suggestions from the public, which are to


be incorporated in the railway’s vision document.
B. An electronic device which helps the loco pilots in improving the visibility
of tracks and signals during fog.
C. A dashboard aimed at improving accountability and transparency in
Railways by bringing information from various sources on a single
platform.
D. None of the statements (A), (B) and (C) given above is correct in this
context.

Ans: (C)

Learning zone: Rail Drishti dashboard encompasses all the digitization efforts
in Indian Railways and promotes transparency and accountability.

It brings information from various sources on a single platform and gives


access to key statistics and parameters to every citizen of the country.

This dashboard can be accessed using a desktop/laptop or a mobile device


such as a phone or tablet.

Why is this question important?

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal recently launched Rail Drishti Dashboard to


Promote Transparency and Accountability.
Source: http://pib.nic.in/PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=1566211

Q41) Recently, the Economist Intelligence Unit published the ‘Democracy


Index’. Which of the following parameters are used in computing this
index?

1. Electoral process and pluralism


2. Civil liberties
3. Functioning of the government
4. Political participation
5. Political culture

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

A. 1, 3 and 4 only
B. 2 and 5 only
C. 1, 3, 4 and 5 only
D. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

Ans: (D)

Learning zone: The Democracy Index ranks 165 independent countries based
on five parameters — namely, electoral process and pluralism, civil liberties,
the functioning of the government, political participation and political culture.

Based on a comprehensive survey containing 60 questions under five


categories, the index classifies countries into four types — Full Democracies,
Flawed Democracies, Hybrid Democracies and Authoritarian Regimes.

Why is this question important?

The Economist Intelligence Unit recently published its 11 th report on the “State
of Democracy in the World in 2018” and the “Democracy Index”.

Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/democracy-
index-economist-intelligence-unit-slipping-on-democracy-5600569/
Q42) In the context of the term ‘Instrument for supporting Trade
Exchanges (INSTEX)’, seen in the news recently, consider the following
statements.

1. INSTEX enables the non-dollar trade between Europe and Iran.


2. INSTEX was established by France, Germany and the United Kingdom.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

A. 1 only
B. 2 only
C. Both 1 and 2
D. Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: (C)

Learning zone: France, Germany and the UK established INSTEX (Instrument


for supporting Trade Exchanges) as a special purpose vehicle to allow them to
bypass US sanctions on trade with Iran.

The INSTEX has been set up to enable non-dollar trade between Europe and
Iran, and as a mechanism, will deal with food and medicine (humanitarian
non-sanctioned categories by the US).

Why is this question important?

The first week of February saw three of the eight signatories to the Iran nuclear
deal – France, Germany and the UK – formally establishing the INSTEX.

Source: https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/todays-paper/tp-
opinion/article26381780.ece

Q43) Consider the following statements about ‘Scheme for Higher


Education Youth in Apprenticeship and Skills (SHREYAS)’.

1. It aims to provide industry apprenticeship opportunities to the general


graduates exiting in April 2019 through the National Apprenticeship
Promotional Scheme (NAPS).
2. The scheme will be implemented by the Ministry of Human Resource
Development in the coordination of the Ministry of Skills Development
and Entrepreneurship and the Ministry of Labour.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

A. 1 only
B. 2 only
C. Both 1 and 2
D. Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: (C)

Learning zone: SHREYAS programme provides for industry apprenticeship


opportunities to the general graduates exiting in April 2019 through the
National Apprenticeship Promotional Scheme (NAPS).

The program aims to enhance the employability of Indian youth by providing


‘on the job work exposure’ and earning of stipend.

Following are the objectives of SHREYAS:

 To improve the employability of students by introducing employment


relevance into the learning process of the higher education system
 To forge a close functional link between education and industry/service
sectors on a sustainable basis
 To provide skills which are in demand, to the students in a dynamic
manner
 To establish an ‘earn while you learn’ system into higher education
 To help the business/industry in securing good quality manpower
 To link student community with employment facilitating efforts of the
Government

The scheme would be operationalized by Ministry of Human Resource


Development in the coordination of Ministry of Skills Development and
Entrepreneurship (MSDE) and the Ministry of Labour.

Why is this question important?

The Minister for Human Resources Development recently launched the Scheme
for Higher Education Youth in Apprenticeship and Skills (SHREYAS) in New
Delhi.
Source: http://pib.nic.in/PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=1566528

Q44) Consider the following statements about ‘National Pharmaceutical


Pricing Authority (NPPA)’.

1. NPPA fixes/revise the prices of controlled bulk drugs and formulations


and monitors the prices of decontrolled drugs.
2. NPPA was established under the Drugs (Prices Control) Order, 1995.
3. NPPA has the power to recover the amounts overcharged by
manufacturers for the controlled drugs from the consumers.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

A. 1 and 2 only
B. 2 and 3 only
C. 1 and 3 only
D. 1, 2 and 3

Ans: (D)

Learning zone: NPPA is an organization of the Government of India which was


established, inter alia, to fix/revise the prices of controlled bulk drugs and
formulations and to enforce prices and availability of the medicines in the
country, under the Drugs (Prices Control) Order, 1995.

It also monitors the prices of decontrolled drugs in order to keep them at


reasonable levels.

The organization is also entrusted with the task of recovering amounts


overcharged by manufacturers for the controlled drugs from the consumers.

Why is this question important?

Recently, the NPPA has invoked extraordinary powers in public interest,


under Para 19 of the Drugs (Prices Control) Order, 2013 to bring 42 non-
scheduled anti-cancer drugs under price control through trade margin
rationalisation.

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/health/govt-brings-42-non-
scheduled-cancer-drugs-under-price-control/article26388320.ece
Q45) With reference to ‘Bioenergy Technology Collaboration Programme
(Bioenergy TCP)’, which of the following statements is/are correct?

1. It is an international platform aimed at improving cooperation and


information exchange between countries that have national programmes
in Bioenergy research, development and deployment.
2. It works under the framework of the International Energy Agency (IEA).
3. India is a member of the Bioenergy Technology Collaboration Programme.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

A. 1 only
B. 1, 2 and 3
C. 1 and 3 only
D. 2 and 3 only

Ans: (B)

Learning zone: International Energy Agency's Technology Collaboration


Programme on Bioenergy (IEA Bioenergy TCP) is an international platform for
co-operation among countries with the aim of improving cooperation and
information exchange between countries that have national programmes in
Bioenergy research, development and deployment.

IEA Bioenergy TCP works under the framework of International Energy Agency
(IEA) to which India has "Association" status since 30 th March 2017.

India is a member of the Bioenergy Technology Collaboration Programme.

Why is this question important?

Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas, Government of India joined IEA


Bioenergy TCP as its 25th member on 25th January 2019.

Source: http://pib.nic.in/PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=1566787

Q46) The Union cabinet recently approved ‘National Policy on Software


Products 2019’. In this context consider the following statements.
1. The policy aims to double India’s share in the Global Software product
market by 2022.
2. A National Software Products Mission will be set up with participation
from Government, Academia and Industry, for the implementation of the
policy.
3. The policy provides for the creation of a Software Product Development
Fund (SPDF) with a corpus of Rs. 1000 Crore in the form of Fund of
Funds.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

A. 2 and 3 only
B. 1 and 2 only
C. 1 and 3 only
D. 1, 2 and 3

Ans: (A)

Learning zone: Important missions under the policy are,

 To promote the creation of a sustainable Indian software product


industry, driven by intellectual property (IP), leading to a ten-fold
increase in India share of the Global Software product market by 2025.
 To nurture 10,000 technology startups in the software product industry,
including 1000 such technology startups in Tier-II and Tier-III towns &
cities and generating direct and indirect employment for 3.5 million
people by 2025.
 To create a talent pool for software product industry through (i) up-
skilling of 1,000,000 IT professionals, (ii) motivating 100,000 school
and college students and (iii) generating 10,000 specialized professionals
that can provide leadership.
 To build a cluster-based innovation-driven ecosystem by developing 20
sectoral and strategically located software product development clusters
having integrated ICT infrastructure, marketing, incubation, R&D/test
beds and mentoring support.
 In order to evolve and monitor scheme & programmes for the
implementation of this policy, the National Software Products Mission
will be set up with participation from Government, Academia and
Industry.
A dedicated Software Product Development Fund (SPDF) with a corpus of Rs.
1000 Crore will be created in the form of Fund of Funds. SPDF will participate
in venture fund to provide risk capital so as to promote scaling up of market-
ready Software Products. The fund will fill the gap between the capital
requirements of technology and knowledge-based software product startup
enterprises and funding available from traditional institutional lenders such as
banks.

Why is this question important?

The Union Cabinet recently approved the National Policy on Software Products
2019 to develop India as a Software Product Nation.

Source: http://pib.nic.in/PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=1566747

Q47) Consider the following statements.

The National Mineral Policy 2019,

1. Proposes to grant the status of the industry to mining activity.


2. Introduces the concept of ‘Inter-Generational Equity’ that takes care of
the well-being of the generations to come.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

A. 1 only
B. 2 only
C. Both 1 and 2
D. Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: (C)

Learning zone: The National Mineral Policy 2019 proposes to grant the status
of the industry to mining activity to boost the financing of mining for the
private sector and for acquisitions of mineral assets in other countries by the
private sector.

 NMP 2019 aims to attract private investment through incentives while


the efforts would be made to maintain a database of mineral resources
and tenements undermining tenement systems.
 The new policy focuses on use of coastal waterways and inland shipping
for evacuation and transportation of minerals and encourages dedicated
mineral corridors to facilitate the transportation of minerals.
 NMP 2019 proposes a long term export-import policy for the mineral
sector to provide stability and as an incentive for investing in large scale
commercial mining activity.
 The 2019 Policy also introduces the concept of Inter-Generational Equity
that deals with the well-being not only of the present generation but also
of the generations to come and also proposes to constitute an inter-
ministerial body to institutionalize the mechanism for ensuring
sustainable development in mining.

Why is this question important?

The Union Cabinet has recently approved National Mineral Policy 2019.

Source: http://pib.nic.in/PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=1566733

Q48) Consider the following statements about ‘FAME India’ scheme.

1. FAME India scheme aims to incentivize faster adoption of electric and


hybrid vehicles in India.
2. It is a scheme launched by the Ministry of Power and implemented
through the Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL).

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

A. 1 only
B. 2 only
C. Both 1 and 2
D. Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: (A)

Learning zone: The main objective of the FAME India scheme is to encourage
Faster adoption of Electric and hybrid vehicle by way of offering upfront
Incentive on the purchase of Electric vehicles and also by way of establishing a
necessary charging Infrastructure for electric vehicles.
The scheme will help in addressing the issue of environmental pollution and
fuel security.

The FAME India Scheme was launched by the Ministry of Heavy Industries
and Public Enterprises.

Why is this question important?

The Union cabinet has approved the proposal for implementation of FAME
India Phase II for the promotion of Electric Mobility in the country.

Source: http://pib.nic.in/PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=1566757
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