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Daily Prelims Test – 02_August_2021

Consider the following statements:

  • Phosphate rock deposits can be sedimentary or igneous rocks.
  • More than 85% of the phosphate rock mined is used to manufacture phosphate fertilizers.
  • Phosphate rocks are majorly produced from only two states which are Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

  1. a) 1 and 2 only
  2. b) 2 only
  3. c) 1 and 3 only
  4. d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: (d) 1, 2 and 3

Explanation:

In NEWS: India to explore indigenous deposits of Phosphatic rocks, to boost fertilizers’ industry

  • India to explore indigenous deposits of phosphatic rock, a step towards becoming Atma Nirbhar in fertilizer production
  • Phosphatic rocks are ones that have high phosphorus content in them.
  • They are available in high, medium, and low grades. Some phosphate rocks are used for making calcium phosphate nutritional supplements for animals, while pure phosphorus is used to make chemicals for industrial use. However, the most important use of phosphorus is for the production of fertilizers for agriculture.
  • Phosphorus is important for plant’s growth and helps in retaining decaying soil fertility
  • Importance of Phosphorus for agriculture
  • Phosphorus cannot be substituted by any other mineral, as it is vital for a number of reasons in agriculture.
  • It plays a major role in photosynthesis and energy transfer in plants. Further, it is essential for the production of seed and root formation.
  • It promotes early plant maturity and stalks strength. It is also resistant to plant root diseases.

What are phosphorus rocks?

  • Phosphorus rocks or phosphate rocks are unprocessed ores. Phosphate rock deposits can be sedimentary (formed from sediment deposited by water or air) or igneous (having solidified from lava or magma).
  • However, the easiest way to obtain phosphorus is by way of mining and concentrating phosphate rock from the phosphate deposits.
  • Used in fertilizers
  • Worldwide, more than 85% of the phosphate rock mined is used to manufacture phosphate fertilizers. Hence statement (2) is correct.
  • All common fertilizers have an “N-P-K” rating. Phosphorus is the “P” in fertilizers, which is essential for plants.

Where is it found?

  • Phosphate rock deposits can be sedimentary or igneous and are mined from sedimentary deposits formed by the deposition of phosphate-rich materials in marine environments. Hence statement (1) is correct.
  • Large sedimentary deposits are located in China, Middle East, Northern Africa, and the United States. Meanwhile, the igneous deposits are mined in Brazil, Canada, Finland, Russia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.

Phosphorus in India

  • Phosphate rocks are majorly produced only from two States in India, namely Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. Hence statement (3) is correct.
  • Currently, there exists 30 lakh MT of phosphorite deposits in the country, for which important steps are being taken by the Government to ramp up its production.
  • These deposits are available in Rajasthan, central part of peninsular India, Hirapur (Madhya Pradesh), Lalitpur (Uttar Pradesh), Mussoorie syncline, and Cuddapah basin (Andhra Pradesh).

Source: https://newsonair.com/2021/07/27/india-to-explore-its-deposits-for-phosphatic-rocks-to-boost-fertilizers-industry/

Consider the following statements regarding All India Quota (AIQ) Scheme:

  • It provides for domicile-free merit-based opportunities to students from any State to aspire to study in a good medical college located in another State.
  • It was introduced in 1986 under the direction of the Supreme Court of India.
  • The state list of OBCs shall be used for this Quota reservation.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

  1. a) 1 only
  2. b) 2 and 3 only
  3. c) 1 and 3 only
  4. d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: (a) 1 and 2 only

Explanation:

In NEWS: Landmark decision taken by Government of India in Medical Education

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has taken a historic and a landmark decision for providing 27% reservation for OBCs and 10% reservation for Economically Weaker Section (EWS) in the All India Quota (AIQ) Scheme for undergraduate and postgraduate medical / dental courses (MBBS / MD / MS / Diploma / BDS / MDS) from the current academic year 2021-22 onwards.

All India Quota (AIQ) Scheme:

  • The All India Quota (AIQ) Scheme was introduced in 1986 under the directions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court to provide for domicile-free merit based opportunities to students from any State to aspire to study in a good medical college located in another State. Hence statements (1) and (2) are correct.
  • All India Quota consists of 15% of total available UG seats and 50% of total available PG seats in government medical colleges. Initially, there was no reservation in the AIQ Scheme up to 2007.
  • In 2007, the Hon’ble Supreme Court introduced a reservation of 15% for SCs and 7.5% for STs in the AIQ Scheme.
  • The Union Government has now taken a historic decision to provide for 27% reservation for OBCs and 10% reservation for EWS in the AIQ Scheme.
  • OBC and EWS students from across the country will now be able to take advantage of this reservation in the AIQ scheme to compete for seats in any state. Hence statement (3) is incorrect.
  • In the six years to 2020, MBBS seats in the country have increased by 56% to 84,649 and the number of postgraduate seats has increased by 80% to 54,275 seats.
  • During the same period, 179 new medical colleges have been established, for a total of 558 medical colleges (269 of them are run by private operators).

Source: https://www.pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1740268

Consider the following statements regarding NISAR (NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar) Mission:

  • It is aimed at making global measurement of land surface changes using advanced radar imaging and is proposed to be launched in early 2023.
  • It is a joint Earth-Observation mission between ISRO and NASA for global observations over all land masses including the Polar cryosphere and the Indian Ocean region.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

  1. a) 1 only
  2. b) 2 only
  3. c) Both 1 and 2
  4. d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: (c) Both 1 and 2

Explanation:

In NEWS: Parliament proceedings | ISRO-NASA joint satellite project NISER proposed to

be launched early 2023: Jitendra Singh

  • In a written response to a question in the Lok Sabha, he said NISAR is a joint Earth-Observation mission between ISRO and U.S. space agency NASA for global observations over all land masses including the Polar cryosphere and the Indian Ocean region.
  • India and the U.S. had agreed upon this mission during then President Barack Obama’s visit to India in 2015

NISAR (NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar) Mission:

  • NISAR is a joint Earth-Observation mission between ISRO and NASA. It aims to make global measurements of land surface changes using advanced radar imaging. Hence statement (1) is correct.
  • Objective: To improve understanding of the impact of climate change on Earth’s changing Ecosystems, land and coastal processes, land deformations, and Cryosphere.
  • Features: It is a dual-band (L-band and S-band) Radar imaging mission with the capability of full polarimetric and interferometric modes of operation, to observe minor changes in land, vegetation, and cryosphere.
  • Contributions: NASA is developing L-band SAR and associated systems. While ISRO is developing S-band SAR, spacecraft bus, the launch vehicle, and associated launch services.
  • Launch Year: NISAR is proposed to be launched in early 2023. Hence statement (2) is correct.

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/parliament-proceedings-isro-nasa-joint-satellite-project-niser-proposed-to-be-launched-early-2023-jitendra-singh/article35627579.ece

Near-Surface Shear Layer (NSSL) was sometimes seen in the news. It is related to which of the following in the solar system?

  1. a) Mars
  2. b) Earth
  3. c) Jupiter
  4. d) Sun

Answer: (d) Sun

Explanation:

In NEWS: Intriguing layer where internal rotation profile of Sun changes theoretically explained

Indian astronomers have found a theoretical explanation for the existence of the Near-Surface Shear Layer (NSSL) of the Sun for the first time. Hence option (d) is correct.

What is a Near-Surface Shear Layer(NSSL)?

  • It has long been known that the sun’s equator spins faster than the poles.
  • However, a peek into the internal rotation of the sun using sound waves revealed the existence of an intriguing layer where its rotation profile changes sharply.
  • This layer is called the near-surface shear layer(NSSL) and exists very close to the solar surface, within which the angular velocity decreases rapidly with radius. Angular velocity is the time rate at which an object rotates or revolves, about an axis, or at which the angular displacement between two bodies changes.
  • Understanding NSSL is crucial for the study of several solar phenomena like sunspot formation and solar cycle.
  • Astronomers have provided an explanation of NSSL based on the thermal wind balance equation. It explains how the slight difference in temperature between solar poles and equator called thermal wind term is balanced by the centrifugal force appearing due to solar differential rotation.
  • Most scientists believe that this condition is true only in the interior of the Sun, and it does not hold near the solar surface.
  • But in this study, astronomers have shown that this belief actually holds near the solar surface as well. Hence, this is the reason for the existence of the Near-Surface Shear Layer(NSSL).

Source: https://www.pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1740238

With respect to PRIDE Guidelines, consider the following statements:

  • It has been developed by the Department of Biotechnology.
  • It is aimed at providing a well-defined framework and guiding principle to facilitate and enable sharing and exchange of biological knowledge, information and data.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

  1. a) 1 only
  2. b) 2 only
  3. c) Both 1 and 2
  4. d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: (c) Both 1 and 2

Explanation:

In NEWS: Guidelines to help in exchange of information to promote research and innovation in different research groups across the country

  • The Union Ministry for Science & Technology has released “Biotech-PRIDE (Promotion of Research and Innovation through Data Exchange) Guidelines”. Hence statement (1) is correct.

Biotech-PRIDE Guidelines:

  • The Biotech-PRIDE Guidelines have been developed by the Department of Biotechnology(DBT).
  • The guidelines are aimed at providing a well-defined framework and guiding principle to facilitate and enable sharing and exchange of biological knowledge, information and data. Hence statement (2) is correct.
  • The guidelines will be implemented through the Indian Biological Data Centre(IBDC).
  • The exchange of information will help in promoting research and innovation in different research groups across the country.
  • India ranks number 4 amongst the top 20 countries contributing biological databases.
  • The Government invests a large number of public funds for biosciences to gain deep insights into intricate biological mechanisms and other processes and for translation

Source: https://www.pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1740712

Consider the following statements regarding UN Security Council:

  • It is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations.
  • The council’s presidency is a capacity that rotates every month among its 15 members.
  • A “No” vote from one of the five permanent members blocks the passage of the resolution.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

  1. a) 1 and 2 only
  2. b) 2 and 3 only
  3. c) 3 only
  4. d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: (d) 1, 2 and 3

Explanation:

In NEWS: India takes over UNSC presidency for August; maritime security, counter-terrorism key priorities

  • India on Sunday assumed the presidency of the United Nations Security Council for the month of August and is set to organise key events in three major areas of maritime security, peacekeeping and counter-terrorism.
  • It is a singular honour for us to be presiding over the Security Council the same month when we are celebrating our 75th Independence Day.
  • India is one of the top troop contributors to the U.N. missions. India is expected to deploy a mobile app — UNITE AWARE — that will provide terrain information and “improve situational awareness” for peacekeepers.

UNSC

  • The Security Council was established by the UN Charter in 1945. It is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations. Hence statement (1) is correct.
  • The other 5 organs of the United Nations are—the General Assembly, the Trusteeship Council, the Economic and Social Council, the International Court of Justice, and the Secretariat.
  • Its primary responsibility is to work to maintain international peaceand
  • The council has 15 members: the five permanent members and 10 non-permanent members elected for two-year term
  • The five permanent members are the United States, the Russian Federation, France, China andthe United Kingdom.
  • Each member of the Security Council has one vote. Decisions of the Security Council on matters are made by an affirmative vote of nine members including the concurring votes of the permanent members.
  • A “No” votefrom one of the five permanent members blocks the passage of the resolution. Hence statement (3) is correct.
  • Any member of the United Nations which is not a member of the Security Council may participate, without vote, in the discussion of any question brought before the Security Council whenever the latter considers that the interests of that member are specially affected.
  • The council’s presidency is a capacity that rotates every month among its 15 members. Hence statement (2) is correct.
  • The council is headquartered at New York.

Non-permanent member of the Security Council

  • The UNSC is composed of 15 members: five permanent members, and 10 non-permanent members who are elected by the General Assembly.
  • The non-permanent members are elected for two-year terms — so every year, the General Assembly elects five non-permanent members out of the total 10.
  • These 10 seats are distributed among the regions of the worldfive seats for African and Asian countries; one for Eastern European countries; two for Latin American and Caribbean countries; and two for Western European and Other Countries.
  • India has earlier been a non-permanent member of the Security Council in 1950-51, 1967-68, 1972-73, 1977-78, 1984-85, 1991-92 and 2011-12.
  • Even a country has been endorsed by its group, it still needs to secure the votes of two-thirds of the members present and voting at the General Assembly session— which is a minimum of 129 votes, if all 193 member states participate.

Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-takes-over-unsc-presidency-for-month-of-august-7432878/

Consider the following statements regarding permafrost:

  • Areas with ground temperatures that remain below zero degrees celsius for more than two years are called permafrost.
  • These are found in mountains as well as high latitude tundra and taiga regions.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

  1. a) 1 only
  2. b) 2 only
  3. c) Both 1 and 2
  4. d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: (c) Both 1 and 2

Explanation:

  • About 13% of permafrost, an area on Daisetsu Mountains in Japan, estimated to be approximately 150 sq. kms. in 2010 is likely to disappear by 2100 under business as usual scenario.
  • Rapid global warming is accelerating permafrost collapse (permafrost thawing) all over the world.
  • When thawing, permafrost releases its long-buried elements into the environment— its organic gas is converted into greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide and the extremely potent methane), its mercury can be toxic for humans and animals. It can also lead to the coming back to life of thousand-year-old viruses and lead to an outbreak of new diseases.
  • Permafrost thaw poses a significant threat to infrastructures in the mountainous regions as well as the arctic. This could lead to loss of life and property
  • About the permafrost:
  • Areas with ground temperatures thatremain below zero degrees celsius for more than two years are called permafrost. Hence statement (1) is correct.
  • It is composed ofrock, sediments, sand, dead plant and animal mattersoil, and varying degrees of ice and is believed to have formed during glacial periods dating several millennia. Hence statement (2) is correct.
  • It is mainly found near the polar zones and regions with high mountains covering parts of Greenland, Alaska, Russia, Northern Canada, Siberia and Scandinavia. These are found in mountains as well as high latitude tundra and taiga regions.
  • Its thickness reduces progressively towards the south and is affected by a number of other factors, including the Earth’s interior heat, snow and vegetation cover, presence of water bodies, and topography.

Source: TH

Stellar gyrochronology sometimes seen in news is used to determine:

  1. a) Venus Ring-shaped volcanic structures
  2. b) Biological contamination of a planetary body
  3. c) Magnetic field of the Sun‘s corona
  4. d) Age of stars

Answer: (d) Age of stars

Explanation:

In NEWS: Stellar mid-life crisis: Why the middle-aged Sun may sink into a period of low activity

  • IISER scientist’s study peeks into Sun’s ‘stellar midlife crisis’ The Sun and other stars constantly spew electrically-charged particlesalso called the stellar wind. This steady drain causes stars to slow down their rotation over billions of years. Hence option (d) is correct.
  • Calcutta scientists have proposed an explanation for a mysterious phenomenon called the stellar midlife crisis under which the Sun and many other stars display abrupt, dramatic declines in their output of high energy particles and radiation.
  • At about 4.6 billion years of age, the sun is middle aged, that is, it will continue to live for roughly the same period. There are accurate methods for estimating the age of the Sun, such as by using radioactive dating of very old meteorites that have fallen on the Earth.
  • However, for more distant stars which are similar in mass and age to the Sun, such methods are not possible. One of the methods used is called ‘stellar gyrochronology’. There is a relationship between rotation rate and age,that is the rotation rate of a star slows down with age.
  • Recent observations, however, indicate that this intimate relationship breaks down around middle age because after midlife, a star’s rate of spin does not slow down with age as fast as it was slowing down earlier.
  • This allows stars to exist in two distinct activity states – low activity mode and active mode. A middle-aged star like the sun can often switch to low activity mode resulting in drastically reduced angular momentum losses by magnetised stellar winds.

What is Stellar Gyrochronology?

  • It is a term used by the astrophysicists to estimate the age of a star based on a measurement of their rotational period.
  • This relationship breaks down when the star becomes middle aged and gyrochronology does not work for them any longer. 

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/stellar-mid-life-crisis-why-the-middle-aged-sun-may-sink-into-a-period-of-low-activity/article35625651.ece

Consider the following statements regarding Secured Logistics Document Exchange:

  1. It is a solution to replace the present manual process of generation, exchange and compliance of logistics documents with a digitized, secure and seamless document exchange system.
    1. It is set to improve logistics efficiency, reduce logistics cost and promote multi-modality and sustainability in a big way.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

  1. a) 1 only
  2. b) 2 only
  3. c) Both 1 and 2
  4. d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: (c) Both 1 and 2

Explanation:

In NEWS: Government launches digital tools to improve logistics efficiency, sustainability

The government has launched the Secured Logistics Document Exchange (SLDE) along with a Calculator for GreenHouse Gas Emission to improve ease of doing business, logistics efficiency, reduce logistics cost, and promote multi-modality and sustainability.

Secured Logistics Document Exchange (SLDE)

  • The SLDE platform is a solution to replace the present manual process of generation, exchange and compliance of logistics documents with a digitized, secure and seamless document exchange system. Hence statement (1) is correct.
  • It is set to improve logistics efficiency, reduce logistics cost, and promote multi-modality and sustainability in a big way. Hence statement (2) is correct.
  • This will enable generation, storage and interchange of logistics-related documents digitally using Aadhaar and blockchain-based security protocols for data security and authentication.
  • It will also provide a complete audit trail of document transfer, faster execution of transactions, lower cost of shipping and overall carbon footprint, easy verification of authenticity of documents, lowered risk of fraud, etc.
  • The proof of concept of the platform has been developed and executed with banks (ICICI, Axis Bank, State Bank of India and HDFC Bank) and stakeholders including freight forwarders, exporters, importers and vessel operators.

GreenHouse Gas (GHG) Emission Calculator

  • The GHG Calculator is an efficient, user-friendly tool and provides for calculating and comparing GHG emissions across different modes.

Source: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/policy/government-launches-digital-tools-to-improve-logistics-efficiency-sustainability/articleshow/84830253.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst

In the Indian context, what is the implication of ratifying the ‘Additional Protocol’ with the ‘International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)’?

  1. The civilian nuclear reactors come under IAEA safeguards.
    1. The military nuclear installations come under the inspection of IAEA.
    1. The country will have the privilege to buy uranium from the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
    1. The country automatically becomes a member of the NSG.

Answer: (a) The civilian nuclear reactors come under IAEA safeguards.

Explanation:

  • India has ratified the Additional Protocol, a commitment given under India-U.S. nuclear deal by the previous dispensation to grant greater ease to the International Atomic Energy Agency to monitor India’s civilian atomic programmeHence option (a) is correct.
  • The IAEA had in March 2009 approved an additional protocol to India’s safeguards agreement consequent to a pact reached with the agency the previous year to place its civilian nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards.
  • That agreement had paved the way for the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group to grant India specific waiver for it to have commercial relations with other countries in the civilian atomic field.