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Daily Prelims Test – 02_November 2020

Loess Plateau, which was in news recently, is located in


Description
In NEWS: Number of leopards rises on China’s Loess Plateau
• The number of leopards has risen on the Loess Plateau in northern China, according to a recently published study by the University of Copenhagen and Chinese researchers. Hence option (a) is correct.
• The study found that the numbers of the North Chinese Leopard increased to 110 in 2017, from 88 in 2016, an increase of 25 per cent, according to a statement by the university.
• The researchers think that the numbers have continued to rise in the years since. The scientists covered 800 square kilometres of the Loess Plateau for the study.
• The rise in leopard numbers is being attributed to the reforestation of the plateau and restocking it with the natural prey of the leopard such as wild boar and deer 20 years by the Chinese government.
• As the landscape has recovered, the leopard population has bounced back.
About Leopard:
• It is a nocturnal animal.
• Nine subspecies of the leopard have been recognized, and they are distributed across Africa and Asia.
• The leopard is the smallest of the big cats, and known for its ability to adapt in a variety of habitats.
• Listed in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and included in Appendix I of CITES. In India, the leopard is found in all forest types, from tropical rainforests to temperate deciduous and alpine coniferous forests.
• The species status is now listed under vulnerable category from near-threatened by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Source: https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/wildlife-biodiversity/global-eco-watch-strongest-storm-on-earth-in-2020-slams-into-the-philippines-74037

A) China

B) Puerto Rico

C) Argentina

D) Russia

Correct Options: China


Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct regarding ‘Biodiversity Hotspot’?

1) It must have at least 1,500 vascular plants as endemics and 30% or less of its original natural vegetation.
2) Norman Myers coined the term “biodiversity hotspot” in 1988 as a region which is known for their high species richness and endemism.
Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?


  • Description
    In NEWS: Farms, cities eat up 148 million hectares of biodiversity hotspots in 24 years: Study
    • Top biodiversity hotspots of the world lost 148 million hectares (mha) of land to agriculture and urbanisation between 1992 and 2015, a global analysis released October 30, 2020 by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology
    • Most of the land lost — nearly 40 per cent, or 54 mha — was in the form of forests. The three largest losses in forest area occurred in the biodiversity hotspots of Sundaland (Indonesia), Indo-Burma (mainland southeast Asia) and Mesoamerica.
    • The three hotspots accounted for forest losses of 11 mha, 6 mha, and 5 mha respectively. This corresponds to a relative loss of 13 per cent, six per cent and seven per cent, respectively, of the forest area originally present in 1992
    • These areas compose 2.3 per cent of the Earth’s surface but have more than half of the world’s endemic plant species, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
    About Biodiversity Hotspot
    • Biodiversity hotspots are regions with high species richness and a high degree of endemism.
    • The British biologist Norman Myers coined the term “biodiversity hotspot” in 1988 as a biogeographic region characterized both by exceptional levels of plant endemism and by serious levels of habitat loss. Hence statement 2 is correct
    • Conservation International (CI) adopted Myers’ hotspots and in 1996, the organization made the decision to undertake a reassessment of the hotspots concept.
    According to CI, to qualify as a hotspot a region must meet two strict criteria:
    • It must contain at least 1,500 species of vascular plants (> 0.5% of the world’s total) as endemics – which is to say, it must have a high percentage of plant life found nowhere else on the planet. A hotspot, in other words, is irreplaceable.
    • It has to have lost at least 70% of its original habitat. (It must have 30% or less of its original natural vegetation). In other words, it must be threatened. Hence statement 1 is correct
    Biodiversity hotspots in India
    • Himalaya: Includes the entire Indian Himalayan region (and that falling in Pakistan, Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, China and Myanmar).
    • Indo-Burma: Includes entire North-eastern India, except Assam and Andaman group of Islands (and Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and southern China)
    • Western Ghats and Sri Lanka: Includes entire Western Ghats (and Sri Lanka).
    • Sundalands: Includes Nicobar group of Islands (and Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Philippines).
    Source: https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/wildlife-biodiversity/global-eco-watch-strongest-storm-on-earth-in-2020-slams-into-the-philippines-74037

A) 1 only

B) 2 only

C) Both 1 and 2

D) Neither 1 nor 2

Correct Options: Both 1 and 2


Which of the following sectors are comes under Index of Eight Core Sector Industries?

1)Fertilisers
2)Steel
3)Cement
4)Electricity
5)Agriculture
Select the correct options from the given below codes


  • Description
    In NEWS: Explained: How to read the Index of Eight Core Sector Industries
    • Office of Economic Adviser within the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade released the Index of Eight Core Industries (ICI) for September 2020.
    • Accordingly, when compared to September 2019, the ICI contracted by 0.8 per cent in September 2020. In terms of cumulative growth in the first half of the current financial year — that is, between April 2020 to September 2020 — this index contracted by 14.9 per cent
    About the Index of Core Industries:
    • It is an index of the eight most fundamental industrial sectors of the Indian economy and it maps the volume of production in these industries.
    • This means, if these eight industries are not growing fast enough, the rest of the economy is unlikely to either.
    • These eight sectors are Coal, Natural Gas, Crude Oil, Refinery Products (such as Petrol and Diesel), Fertilisers, Steel, Cement and Electricity. Hence option (d) is correct.
    • The eight core industries comprise 40.27% of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP).
    • The Base Year of the Index of Eight Core Industries has been revised from the year 2004-05 to 2011-12 from April, 2017.
    Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-how-to-read-the-index-of-eight-core-sector-industries-6910293/

A) 1, 3, 4 and 5 only

B) 2 and 3 only

C) 1, 2,3,4 and 5

D) 1,2,3 and 4 only

Correct Options: 1,2,3 and 4 only


Secure Application for Internet seen in news is launched by which of the following ministry in India


  • Description
    In NEWS: Army launches Secure Application for Internet (SAI)
    • In the quest for ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’, Indian Army has developed a simple and secure messaging application named the “Secure Application for Internet (SAI)”. The application supports end to end secure voice, text and video calling services for Android platform over internet. Hence option (b) is correct
    • The model is similar to commercially available messaging applications like Whatsapp, Telegram, SAMVAD and GIMS and utilises end to end encryption messaging protocol. SAI scores over on security features with local in-house servers and coding which can be tweaked as per requirements.
    • The application has been vetted by CERT-in empaneled auditor and Army Cyber Group. The process for filing Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), hosting the infrastructure on NIC and working on iOS platform is currently in progress. SAI will be utilised pan Army to facilitate secure messaging within the service.
    • The Raksha Mantri after reviewing the functionalities of the App complimented Col Sai Shankar for his skill and ingenuity for developing the application

    Source: https://pib.gov.in/PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=1668346

A)  Ministry of Science and Technology

B) Ministry of Defence

C)  Ministry of New and Renewable Energy

D)  Ministry of Health and Family Welfare


Correct Options: Ministry of Defence


The term 16 Psyche, is recently seen in the news , is related to:


  • Description
    In NEWS: Explained: What is 16 Psyche, the asteroid believed to be worth $10,000 quadrillion?
    • NASA scientists believe that the asteroid is made up of almost entirely of iron, nickel and several other rare materials like gold, platinum, cobalt, iridium and rhenium. Hence option (d) is correct
    • A recent study has found that asteroid 16 Psyche, which orbits between Mars and Jupiter, could be made entirely of metal and is worth an estimated $10,000 quadrillion — more than the entire economy of Earth
    • New images from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope offer a closer view of the mysterious asteroid 16 Psyche, whose surface may mostly comprise iron and nickel, similar to the Earth’s core
    What is asteroid 16 Psyche?
    • Located around 370 million kilometres away from Earth, asteroid 16 Psyche is one of the most massive objects in the asteroid belt in our solar system. The somewhat potato-shaped asteroid has a diameter of around 140 miles, according to NASA.
    • It was first discovered on March 17, 1853, by the Italian astronomer Annibale de Gasparis and was named after the ancient Greek goddess of the soul, Psyche.
    • Unlike most asteroids that are made up of rocks or ice, scientists believe that Psyche is a dense and largely metallic object thought to be the core of an earlier planet that failed in formation.
    Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/what-is-16-psyche-the-asteroid-believed-to-be-worth-10000-quadrillion-6911646/

A)  A disputed area near Crimea and Russia border

B)  A family of highly toxic nerve agents.

C)  A gravitational wave signal resulting from the merger of two black holes

D)  An asteroid which orbits between Mars and Jupiter

Correct Options: An asteroid which orbits between Mars and Jupiter


Consider the following statements regarding Psyche mission

1) It is a journey to a unique metal asteroid orbiting the Sun between Mars and Jupiter.
2) It is an initiative of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?


  • Description
    In NEWS: Rare metallic asteroid Psyche may be worth $10,000 quadrillion | Explained
    • National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (Nasa) Hubble Space Telescope has discovered a metal-rich asteroid ’16 Psyche’ which is orbiting the Sun, in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
    About Psyche Mission
    • The Psyche mission is a journey to a unique metal asteroid orbiting the Sun between Mars and Jupiter. Hence statement 1 is correct
    • Lindy Elkins-Tanton of Arizona State University is the principal investigator who proposed this mission for NASA’s Discovery Program. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) will manage the project. Hence statement 2 is correct
    • The Psyche mission aims to understand a “previously unexplored building block of planet formation: iron cores”.
    • The Psyche spacecraft is expected to be launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in 2022. According to the estimates, it will fly past Mars in 2023 and is expected to arrive in the asteroid’s orbit in 2026. It will then orbit the asteroid for 21 months.
    • Once the mission is complete, the spacecraft will stay in orbit around (16) Psyche, like a moon. This is also how NASA’s Dawn Mission ended.
    Source: https://www.indiatoday.in/science/story/nasa-rare-metallic-asteroid-psyche-worth-10-000-quadrillion-global-economy-explained-1737184-2020-11-02

A)  1 only

B)  2 only

C)  Both 1 and 2

D)  Neither 1 nor 2

Correct Options: Both 1 and 2


Consider the following statements regarding Social Security Code Act, 2020

1) It proposes to empower the centre to constitute a social security fund for provision of social security for the gig workers
2) It will extend the scope of the Employees State Insurance Corporation to all 740 districts in the country
Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?


  • Description
    In NEWS: A secure future for platform workers
    The Code on Social Security Bill, 2020, for the first time in Indian law, attempted to define ‘platform work’ outside of the traditional employment category.
    About Social Security Code Act, 2020
    • The Act defines Platform work as a work arrangement outside of a traditional employer-employee relationship in which organisations or individuals use an online platform to access other organisations or individuals.
    • Social security funds for unorganised workers, gig workers and platform workers: It proposes to empower the centre to constitute a social security fund for provision of social security for the unorganised workers, platform workers or gig workers or any such class of workers. Hence statement 1 is correct
    • National Social Security for gig workers and platform workers: It proposes to bring unorganised sector, gig workers and platform workers under the ambit of social security schemes, including life and disability insurance, health and maternity benefits, provident fund and skill upgradation.
    • It proposes to form a National Social Security Board that would recommend suitable schemes for the different sections of unorganised sector workers.
    • Extending the reach of Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC): The Social Security Code will extend the scope of the Employees State Insurance Corporation to all 740 districts in the country and that of the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation to all institutions with 20 or more workers as well as the self-employed. Hence statement 2 is correct
    Source: https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/a-secure-future-for-platform-workers/article32998179.ece

A)  1 only

B)  2 only

C)  Both 1 and 2

D)  Neither 1 nor 2

Correct Options: Both 1 and 2


Which of the following statements are correct regarding Criteria for designation of Biosphere Reserve under MAB programme?

1) A site that must contain an effectively protected and minimally disturbed core area of value of nature conservation.
2) It should be large enough to sustain viable population
3) The management authority to ensure the involvement/cooperation of local communities
Select the correct option from the given below codes


  • Description
    In NEWS: Twenty-five sites join UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves
    • UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) programme added 25 new sites, one of them transboundary, in 18 countries to the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, which now numbers 714 biosphere reserves in 129 countries around the globe.
    • UNESCO allots India’s Panna Tiger Reserve ‘Biosphere Reserve’ status after it brought its tiger population back from zero to 54 in ten years. In Madhya Pradesh, Panna Tiger Reserve, which once saw its entire tiger population disappear, has now been declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
    Criteria for designation of BR
    • A site that must contain an effectively protected and minimally disturbed core area of value of nature conservation.
    • The core area should be typical of a bio-geographical unit and large enough to sustain viable populations representing all trophic levels in the ecosystem.
    • The management authority to ensure the involvement/cooperation of local communities to bring variety of knowledge and experiences to link biodiversity conservation and socio-economic development while managing and containing the conflicts.
    • Areas potential for preservation of traditional tribal or rural modes of living for harmonious use of environment. Hence option (d) is correct
    Source: https://en.unesco.org/news/twenty-five-sites-join-unescos-world-network-biosphere-reserves#:~:text=Andorra%2C%20Cabo%20Verde%2C%20Comoros%2C,East%20Tobago%20Biosphere%20Reserve%20respectively.

A)  1 only

B)  2 only

C)  3 only

D)  1,2 and 3

Correct Options: 1,2 and 3


Consider the following activities :

1) Spraying pesticides on a crop field
2) Inspecting the craters of an active volcano
3) Collecting breath samples from spouting whales for DNA analysis
At the present level of technology, which of the above activities can be successfully carried out using drones?


Description
The whale spray collected by a drone contains DNA, proteins, lipids and types of bacteria. Hence option 3 is correct. Drones have also been used to study the craters of active volcanoes to know about their recent activities, a place which human beings cannot directly access. Hence option 2 is correct. Recently, the use of drones to spray pesticides (in Telengana) was in the news. It is considered illegal in India. But in the US it is legally practised in many states. Hence option 1 is correct.

A)  1 and 2

B)  2 and 3

C)  1 and 3

D)  1, 2 and 3

Correct Options: 1, 2 and 3


Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA)’ is sometimes seen in the news in the context of negotiations held between India an


Description
The FTA talks with EU have been deadlocked since 2013 after 16 rounds of negotiations. Last year EU raised its concern over what it called India’s “unilateral termination” of existing Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) with “a significant number of” EU member countries.Hence option (a) is correct

A)  European Union

B)  Gulf Cooperation Council

C)  Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development

D)  Shanghai Cooperation Organization

Correct Options: European Union