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Daily Prelims Test – 01_September_2021

1. Consider the following statements:

1) India’s forex reserves covers both Foreign Currency Assets and Gold Reserves.

2) India has become the second largest country having foreign exchange reserves.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

a)  1 only

b) 2 only

c)  Both 1 and 2

d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: (a) 1 only

Explanation:

In NEWS: India’s foreign exchange reserves slide by over $2.47 billion

●    India’s foreign exchange reserves fell by $2.470 billion.

●    According to the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) weekly statistical supplement, the reserves decreased to $616.895 billion from $619.365 billion reported

●    India’s forex reserves comprise foreign currency assets (FCAs), gold reserves, special drawing rights (SDRs), and the country’s reserve position with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Hence statement (1) is correct.

●    Foreign exchange reserves are important assets held by the central bank in foreign currencies as reserves.

●    They are commonly used to support the exchange rate and set monetary policy.

●    Most of the reserves are usually held in US dollars, given the currency’s importance in the international financial and trading system.

●    Some central banks keep reserves in Euros, British pounds, Japanese yen or Chinese yuan, in addition to their US dollar reserves.

●    Currently, China has the largest reserves followed by Japan and Switzerland. India has overtaken Russia to become the fourth largest country with foreign exchange reserves. Hence statement (2) is incorrect.

Source: https://www.business-standard.com/article/finance/india-s-foreign-exchange-reserves-slide-by-over-2-47-billion-121082701207_1.html

2. Consider the following statements:

1) Leaded petrol improved the efficiency and fuel economy of the automobiles.

2) Lead is not a harmful substance for humans.

3) Leaded petrol is still being used in India.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

a)  1 only

b) 2 and 3 only

c)  1 and 2 only

d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: (a) 1 only

Explanation:

In NEWS: World freed from toxic leaded petrol: A global win

●    When service stations in Algeria stopped providing leaded petrol in July, the use of leaded petrol ended globally. This development follows an almost two decades long campaign by the UNEP-led global Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles (PCFV). Hence statement (3) is incorrect.

●    Since 1922, the use of tetraethyllead as a petrol additive to improve engine performance has been a catastrophe for the environment and public health. By the 1970s, almost all petrol produced around the world contained lead.

Tetraethyl lead additive:

●    Tetraethyl lead (TEL) is an organolead compound with the formula (CH3CH2)4.

●    TEL was first added to petrol in the early 1920s to improve the performance of car engines.

●    It helped increase the octane rating of the fuel. This helped increase the antiknock property of the fuel that allowed engine compression to be raised substantially. This in turn caused increased vehicle performance and fuel economy. Hence statement (1) is correct.

●    The usage of TEL was of particular value in an era of poorly-refined low-octane gasoline.

●    Lead is a highly toxic chemical for humans. Hence statement (2) is incorrect. Leaded petrol has caused more exposure to lead than any other product worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.

●    The use of tetraethyl lead as a petrol additive has been a catastrophe for the environment and public health. Experts linked its use in vehicles to premature death, health issues, soil and air pollution.

●    TEL has contributed to dangerously high levels of lead in human blood.

●    TEL is absorbed rapidly from the skin as well as the lungs and gastrointestinal tract and is converted to triethyl lead in the body. This form of lead is responsible for its toxic effects.

●    Leaded petrol causes heart disease, stroke and cancer. It also affects the development of the human brain, especially harming children, with studies suggesting it reduced 5-10 IQ points. Studies have noted that lead toxicity is greater in children than in adults.

●    Leaded gasoline contaminates air, dust, soil, drinking water and food crops.

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/leaded-petrol-eradicated-says-unep/article36192130.ece

3. Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles is an initiative of which one of the following international organizations?

a)  United Nations Environment Programme

b) UNESCO

c)  World Bank

d) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Answer: (a) United Nations Environment Programme

Explanation:

In NEWS:

●    The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) began its campaign to eliminate lead in petrol in 2002 via the global Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles (PCFV).

●    The end of leaded petrol follows a 19-year campaign led by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) led global Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles (PCFV).

●    The eradication of the usage of leaded petrol will help prevent more than 1.2 million premature deaths annually from heart disease, strokes and cancer and save world economies over $2.4 trillion annually.

Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles:

●    The Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles (PCFV) is the leading global public-private initiative promoting cleaner fuels and vehicles in developing countries and countries in transition.

●    UNEP hosted the Secretariat. Hence option (a) is correct.

●    Established at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002, the PCFV brings together 73 organizations representing developed and developing countries, the fuel and vehicle industries, civil society, and leading world experts on cleaner fuels and vehicles.

●    Our partners combine their resources and efforts to achieve cleaner air and lower greenhouse gas emissions from road transport.

●    These partners are the driving force behind PCFV’s many accomplishments, and their commitment is key to the Partnership’s continued success.

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/leaded-petrol-eradicated-says-unep/article36192130.ece

4. With respect to Dara Shikoh, consider the following statements:

1) He translated the Upanishads from Sanskrit to Persian.

2) He is known as a pioneer of the academic movement for interfaith understanding in India.

3) He was the eldest son of Shah Jahan.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

a)  1 and 2 only

b) 2 only

c)  1 and 3 only

d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: (d) 1, 2 and 3

Explanation:

In NEWS: Dara Shikoh never became emperor. But he was a true child of India

●    At a time when incidents of intolerance in the name of faith are being reported from Afghanistan, Dara Shikoh, one of India’s most enlightened thinkers, needs to be remembered. He was a champion of interfaith understanding, philosopher, artist, architect, translator, poet and administrator. Hence statement (2) is correct.

●    Ministry of Culture recently set up a seven-member panel of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to locate the grave of the Dara Shikoh.

●    He is believed to be buried somewhere in the Humayun’s Tomb complex in Delhi, one of around 140 graves of the Mughal clan.

Dara Shikoh:

●    Dara Shikoh, who was Mughal emperor Shah Jahan’s son and expected heir, was killed on the orders of his brother Aurangzeb in 1659 after losing the war of succession. Hence statement (3) is correct.

●    He was the eldest son and heir-apparent of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan.

●    Dara was designated with the title Padshahzada-i-Buzurg Martaba (Prince of High Rank) and was favored as a successor by his father and his older sister, Princess Jahanara Begum.

●    In the war of succession which ensued after Shah Jahan’s illness in 1657, Dara was defeated by his younger brother Prince Muhiuddin (Aurangzeb).

●    He was executed in 1659 on Aurangzeb’s orders in a bitter struggle for the imperial throne.

●    He acquired proficiency in Sanskrit and Persian, which enabled him to play a key role in popularising Indian culture and Hindu religious thought.

●    He translated the Upanishads and other important sources of Hindu religion and spirituality from Sanskrit to Persian. Through these translations, he was responsible for taking the Hindu culture and spiritual traditions to Europe and the West. Hence statement (1) is correct.

●    His most important works, Majma-ul-Bahrain (Mingling of Two Oceans) and Sirr-i-Akbar (Great Mystery), are devoted to the cause of establishing connections between Hinduism and Islam.

Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/dara-shikoh-never-became-emperor-but-he-was-a-true-child-of-india-7479100/

5. Which one of the following articles entitled every citizen to move freely throughout the territory of the country?

a)  Article 19

b) Article 20

c)  Article 21

d) Article 22

Answer: (a) Article 19

Explanation:

In NEWS: Externment orders must be used only in exceptional cases: Supreme Court

●    The Supreme Court has held that the power of the State to pass an externment order or a direction barring certain people entry to specified areas should be exercised only in exceptional cases

Freedom to Move Freely Throughout the Territory of India:

●    Article 19(1)(d) of the Indian Constitution entitles every citizen to move freely throughout the territory of the country. Hence option (a) is correct.

●    This right is protected against only state action and not private individuals.

●    Moreover, it is available only to the citizens and to shareholders of a company but not to foreigners or legal persons like companies or corporations, etc.

●    The freedom of movement has two dimensions, viz, internal (right to move inside the country) and external (right to move out of the country and right to come back to the country).

●    According to Article 19(1)(e) of the Constitution, every citizen of India has the right “to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India.” The object of the clause is to remove internal barriers within India or any of its parts.

Sourcehttps://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/externment-orders-must-be-used-only-in-exceptional-cases-sc/article36188413.ece

6. Consider the following statements:

1) Pashmina Shawls are a fine variant of shawls spun from cashmere wool.

2) Traditional producers of pashmina wool are people known as the Changpa community.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

a)  1 only

b) 2 only

c)  Both 1 and 2

d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: (c) Both 1 and 2

Explanation:

In NEWS: New initiative in J&K to restore lost glory of Pashmina shawls

The Centre For Excellence (CFE) has been set up by shawl trader Mujtaba Kadri, who owns the ‘Me&K’ brand and Aadhyam-Aditya Birla Group at the old city’s Narwara area to restore the lost hand-driven processes involved in the intricate shawl weaving industry here. It will start enrolling women weavers from September 1.

Pashmina Shawls:

●        Pashmina Shawls are a fine variant of shawls spun from cashmere wools. Hence statement (1) is correct.

●        Cashmere wool itself is obtained from the Changthangi goat (Capra aegagrushircus) native to the high plateau of Ladakh.

●        Known for its soft features, the Pashmina Shawls himself had been a status symbol not just for the wealthy in Indian but even across the world.

●        Pashmina shawls gained much prominence in the days of the Mughal Empire as objects of rank and nobility.

●        Through the enthusiastic use by Empress Joséphine – the wife of Napoleon Bonaparte – the pashmina shawl gained status as a fashion icon.

●        Traditional producers of pashmina wool are people known as the ChangpaHence statement (2) is correct.

Changthangi or Pashmina goat:

●        It is a special breed of goat indigenous to the high altitude regions of Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir.

●        They are raised for ultra-fine cashmere wool, known as Pashmina once woven.

●        These goats are generally domesticated and reared by nomadic communities called the Changpa in the Changthang region of Greater Ladakh.

●        The Changthangi goat grows a thick warm undercoat which is the source of Kashmir Pashmina wool – the world’s finest cashmere measuring between 12-15 microns in fiber thickness.

●        The Changthangi goats have revitalized the economy of Changthang, Leh and Ladakh region.

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/new-initiative-in-jk-to-restore-lost-glory-of-pashmina-shawls/article36191096.ece

7. With respect to Bonn Convention, consider the following statements:

1) It came into force in 1983.

2) There are four appendices under this Convention for protecting the migratory birds.

3) It is the only global treaty concerning the migratory species and works under the aegis of the United Nations Environment Programme.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

a)  1 and 2 only

b) 2 only

c)  1 and 3 only

d) 1,2 and 3

Answer: (c) 1 and 3 only

Explanation:

In NEWS: Land, freshwater species in Asia-Pacific impacted by plastic pollution: UN Study

●        Plastic pollution had impacted land and freshwater species in the Asia-Pacific region, in addition to marine species, a new study by the United Nations

●        Land and freshwater species were hugely under-represented in studies on the impacts of plastic pollution, the study by the Secretariat of the UN’s Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals

●        The study focused for the first time on the impacts that plastic pollution has on animals that live on land and in freshwater environments, in the Asia-Pacific region.

●        The study included case studies on the Ganges and Mekong river basins, which together contribute an estimated 200,000 tons of plastic pollution to the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean every year.

●        But not all plastic pollution reaches the oceans. The study found that species protected under CMS are impacted by plastic pollution in river ecosystems and on land, including freshwater species, land animals and birds.  

Bonn Convention:

●        Bonn Convention is a name of the international treaty on the conservation of migratory species of wild animals that was adopted in Bonn, Germany in 1979. It came into force in 1983.

●        The aim of the Bonn Convention is to protect the migratory species of wild animals and their habitats. It is the only global treaty concerning the migratory species and works under the aegis of the United Nations Environment Programme. Hence statement (3) is correct.

●        The highest numbers of members in the Bonn Convention are from African regions followed by Europe.

●        There are 131 parties under the Bonn Convention. The latest country to ratify CMS is the Central African Republic which has ratified the Bonn Convention on 1st September 2020. Hence statement (1) is correct.

●        The states and the range states from where the migratory species pass are brought together under CMS to enable measures for their conservation and protection.

●        India has been a part of the Bonn Convention since 1983.

There are two appendices under the Bonn Convention:

●        Appendix I (Endangered Species)- It comprises the list of those migratory species that are assessed as being in danger of extinction throughout their range or in some significant portion of their range. It also defines endangered species as those with a high risk of extinction in the wild in near future, as also defined by IUCN.

●        Appendix II – It comprises those migratory species that need conservation through international agreements and will significantly benefit from such conservational efforts. Hence statement (2) is incorrect.

Source: https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/pollution/land-freshwater-species-in-asia-pacific-impacted-by-plastic-pollution-un-study-78745

8. Consider the following statements regarding the fiscal deficit of the government:

1) A fiscal deficit is the difference between the government’s total expenditure and its total receipts, which excludes borrowing.

2) The Fiscal Responsibility and Budget management Act was enacted in 2003 to reduce the fiscal deficit of the Union government.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

(a)                     1 only

(b)                    2 only

(c)                     Both 1 and 2

(d)                    Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: (c) Both 1 and 2

Explanation:

IN news: Fiscal deficit touches 21.3% of target

●    The Centre’s fiscal deficit stood at ₹3.21 lakh crore or 21.3% of the budget estimates at the end of July, as per data released by the Controller General of Accounts on Tuesday.

●    The deficit figure this fiscal appears better than it did a year earlier, when it had soared to 103.1% of the estimate, mainly on account of a jump in expenditure to help deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

●    The Centre’s total receipts stood at ₹6.83 lakh crore or 34.6% of budget estimate (BE) up to July. Total receipts were 10.4% of BE a year earlier. Expenditure was ₹10.04 lakh crore or 28.8% of BE. It was 34.7% of BE a year earlier.

Fiscal Deficit:

●    The government describes the fiscal deficit of India as “the excess of total disbursements from the Consolidated Fund of India, excluding repayment of the debt, over total receipts into the Fund (excluding the debt receipts) during a financial year”. Hence statement (1) is correct.

●    In simple words, it is a shortfall in a government’s income compared with its spending.

●    The government that has a fiscal deficit is spending beyond its means.

●    It is calculated as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), or simply as total money spent in excess of income.

●    In either case, the income figure includes only taxes and other revenues and excludes money borrowed to make up the shortfall.

Formula:

●    Fiscal Deficit = Total expenditure of the government (capital and revenue expenditure) – Total income of the government (Revenue receipts + recovery of loans + other receipts).

●    Expenditure component: The government in its Budget allocates funds for several works, including payments of salaries, pensions, etc. (revenue expenditure) and creation of assets such as infrastructure, development, etc. (capital expenditure).

●    Income component: The income component is made of two variables, revenue generated from taxes levied by the Centre and the income generated from non-tax variables.

●    The taxable income consists of the amount generated from corporation tax, income tax, Customs duties, excise duties, GST, among others.

●    Meanwhile, the non-taxable income comes from external grants, interest receipts, dividends and profits, receipts from Union Territories, among others.

●    It is different from revenue deficit which is only related to revenue expenditure and revenue receipts of the government.

●    The government meets the fiscal deficit by borrowing money. In a way, the total borrowing requirements of the government in a financial year is equal to the fiscal deficit in that year.

●    A high fiscal deficit can also be good for the economy if the money spent goes into the creation of productive assets like highways, roads, ports and airports that boost economic growth and result in job creation.

●    The Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act, 2003 provides that the Centre should take appropriate measures to limit the fiscal deficit upto 3% of the GDP by 31st March, 2021. Hence statement (2) is correct.

●    The NK Singh committee (set up in 2016) recommended that the government should target a fiscal deficit of 3% of the GDP in years up to 31st March, 2020, cut it to 2.8% in 2020-21 and to 2.5% by 2023.

9. Chitkul village, is often seen in news, is located in

a)  Himachal Pradesh

b) Kerala

c)  Gujarat

d) Assam

Answer: (a) Himachal Pradesh

Explanation:

In NEWS: Conserving Chitkul: Why the ‘last village of India’ cannot be allowed to drown in plastic

●        Chitkul in Kinnaur district is home to an ancient mountain culture, high mountains and beautiful forests and is also the new outpost of the intrepid tourist. Hence option (a) is correct.

Chitkul village

●        Chitkul in Kinnaur district is home to an ancient mountain culture, high mountains and beautiful forests.

●        It is also an important religious site as the resident deity of the village, Goddess Mathi Devi, is revered across Sangla valley.

●        Scores of her devotees and those of Lord Badrinath, Nag Devta and Shamshare Devta visit the village each year.

●        The village is difficult to reach, yet, in 2018, the hamlet received most of the district’s 250,000 tourists, who bring with them plastic waste of every kind.

Adopting the principles of sustainable tourism offers an opportunity to mitigate the issue.

●        First, vehicles should not only pay user-fee for tourism development but also be vigorously checked for plastic wrappers, bottles and non-biodegradable material. 

●        Second, a carrying capacity assessment to fix a limit of tourist visitation should be undertaken.

●        Third, ecologically responsible construction should be adopted that restricts unsustainably built high rises, even by locals. New construction permits should be restricted and allowed under strictly agreed guidelines.

●        Fourth, activities such as loud music and campfires should be disallowed.

●        Finally, waste management should be adopted as a priority to ensure that the menace of plastic is addressed.

Source: https://www.downtoearth.org.in/blog/waste/conserving-chitkul-why-the-last-village-of-india-cannot-be-allowed-to-drown-in-plastic-78719

10. Which one of the following National Parks lies completely in the temperate alpine zone?

a)  Manas National Park

b) Namdapha National Park

c)  Neora Valley National Park

d) Valley of Flowers National Park

Answer: (d) Valley of Flowers National Park

Explanation:

●        The Valley of Flowers national park located in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand and is known for its meadows of endemic alpine flowers and the variety of flora.Situated approximately 3255m above sea level, this splendid park is spread across 87.5 sq km of land. Hence option (d) is correct.

●        The valley has three sub-alpine between 3,200m and 3,500m which is the limit for trees, lower alpine between 3,500m and 3,700m, and higher alpine above 3,700m.

●        The rich diversity of species reflects the valley’s location within a transition zone between the Zanskar and Great Himalayas ranges to the north and south, respectively, and between the Eastern Himalaya and Western Himalaya flora.