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Daily Prelims Test – 10_February 2021

Which of the following best describes Ecozone?

a) It is a production process that would bring about minimum pollution or deterioration to the environment.

b) It is a process of recycling organic waste

c) It is a zone of junction or a transition area between two biomes

d)It is the broadest biogeographic division of the Earth’s land surface, based on distributional patterns of terrestrial organisms.

Answer: (d) It is the broadest biogeographic division of the Earth’s land surface, based on distributional patterns of terrestrial organisms

Explanation:

In NEWS: Ecozone proposals on 3 sanctuaries rejected

  • The exclusion of highly populated areas near the Thattekkad, Aralam and Idukki Wildlife Sanctuaries from the ambit of Eco-Sensitive Zone (ESZ) notification has been rejected by an expert committee.
  • The 44th meeting of the committee for the declaration of ESZ around protected areas wanted Kerala to reconsider the notifications of the above mentioned sanctuaries.
  • The State justified the marking of the zero zones in these sanctuaries by highlighting the high human density and popular apprehension that farming activities may be hit in these areas.
  • The panel observed that the justification given by the State Government was not acceptable and shall be re-examined.

What is an Ecozone?

  • An Ecozone or Biogeographic realms is the broadest biogeographic division of the Earth’s land surface, based on distributional patterns of terrestrial organismsHence option (d) is correct
  • The Ecozones delineate large areas of the Earth’s surface within which organisms have been evolving in relative isolation over long periods of time, separated from one another by geographic features, such as oceans, broad deserts, or high mountain ranges, that constitute barriers to migration.
  • The Ecozone designations are used to indicate general groupings of organisms based on their shared biogeography.

The Indian region is composed of two realms. They are:

  • the Himalayan region represented by Palearctic Realm and
  • the rest of the sub-continent represented by Malayan Realm

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/ecozone-proposals-on-3-sanctuaries-rejected/article33776612.ece


Consider the following Statements regarding SVAMITVA Scheme

    1)Ministry of Panchayati Raj (MoPR) is the Nodal Ministry for implementation of the scheme.

    2)It is a scheme for mapping the land parcels in rural inhabited areas using drone technology.

Which of the statement(s) given above 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: Around 2.30 lakh property cards distributed under SVAMITVA scheme

  • About 23,300 villages of nine states and property cards have been prepared and distributed/under distribution to about 2.30 lakh property holders of about 1,432 villages till last month
  • The pilot phase of SVAMITVA had been approved with a Budget outlay of Rs 79.65 crore.
    The pilot phase of this scheme is being implemented in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Maharashtra,
  • Likewise, 210 CORS (Continuous Operating Reference Stations) are being set up in the states of Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh and these are likely to be completed and operationalised by March 2021. The scheme would ensure CORS network coverage across the country by 2022

About Scheme

  • SVAMITVA Scheme is a Central Sector scheme launched by Hon’ble Prime Minister of India on National Panchayat Day i.e 24th April 2020.
  • The Ministry of Panchayati Raj (MoPR) is the Nodal Ministry for implementation of the scheme. Hence Statement 1 is correct
  • In the States, the Revenue Department / Land Records Department will be the Nodal Department and shall carry out the scheme with support of State Panchayati Raj Department. Survey of India shall work as the technology partner for implementation.
  • The scheme aims to provide an integrated property validation solution for rural India. The demarcation of rural abadi areas would be done using Drone Surveying technologyHence Statement 2 is correct
  • This would provide the ‘record of rights’ to village household owners possessing houses in inhabited rural areas in villages which, in turn, would enable them to use their property as a financial asset for taking loans and other financial benefits from Bank
  • The scheme seeks to achieve the following objectives: –
  • To bring financial stability to the citizens in rural India by enabling them to use their property as a financial asset for taking loans and other financial benefits.
  • Creation of accurate land records for rural planning.
  • Determination of property tax, which would accrue to the GPs directly in States where it is devolved or else, add to the State exchequer.
  • Creation of survey infrastructure and GIS maps that can be leveraged by any department for their use.
  • To support in preparation of better-quality Gram Panchayat Development Plan (GPDP) by making use of GIS maps.
  • To reduce property related disputes and legal cases

Source: https://realty.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/industry/around-2-30-lakh-property-cards-distributed-under-svamitva-scheme/80759210


Consider the following pairs of Heavy Metals and diseases

Heavy Metals               Diseases

 1)Arsenic             Black foot

 2)Mercury            Minamata

 3)Cadmium          Itai-Itai

 4)Nitrate             Blue Baby syndrome

 Which of the above pairs have been correctly matched?

 a)1 only 

 b)1 and 3 only 

 c)1, 2 and 3 only 

 d)All of the above

 Answer: (d) All of the above

Explanation:

In NEWS: Lockdown reduced chemical concentration in Ganga by 50%: IIT-Kanpur study

  • A study by the Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur (IIT-K) carried out during the Covid-19 pandemic has shown that the lockdown ensured at least 50 per cent reduction in chemical concentration in the Ganga river.
  • The study was conducted by a team of scientists from IIT-K to ascertain the impact of restricted anthropogenic activities on the water chemistry resilience of large rivers. The site selected by the team of researchers was downstream of Ganga river at Prayagraj
  • In contrast, inputs from agricultural runoff and domestic sewage like nitrate and phosphate remained almost the same as these sources were not impacted by the nationwide confinement.

About Heavy metal

  • Heavy metal refers to any metal and metalloid element that has a relatively high density ranging from 3.5 to 7 g/cm3. Example: Arsenic, copper, mercury, lead, etc.
  • Iron was the most common contaminant found in rivers. Other major contaminants found in the samples were lead, nickel, chromium, cadmium and copper.
  • Main sources of heavy metal pollution: agriculture, mining, milling, plating and surface finishing industries that discharge a variety of toxic metals.
  • Impact: Long term exposure may result in slowly progressing physical, muscular, and neurological degenerative processes.

Heavy Metal         Disease

  • Arsenic           Black foot
  • Mercury         Minamata
  • Cadmium       Itai-Itai
  • Nitrate         Blue Baby syndrome (Methaemoglobinemia). Hence option (d) is correct

Source: https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/lockdown-reduced-chemical-concentration-in-ganga-by-50-iit-kanpur-study-121020800713_1.html


Consider the following Statements regarding Motion of Thanks

 1. Article 87 of the Constitution regulating the procedure of either House for the allotment of time for discussion of the matters referred to in the President’s Address.

 2. Three days are allotted for the discussion on the Motion of Thanks.

 3. It must be passed in the House

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct? 

 a) 1 and 2 only b) 2 and 3 only

 c) 3 only

 d) 1,2 and 3

Answer: (d) 1,2 and 3

Explanation:

In NEWS: PM Modi’s reply to motion of thanks to President’s address likely in Lok Sabha

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi may reply to the motion of thanks to the President’s address in the Lok Sabha

About Motion of Thanks

  • Motion of Thanks is a motion in Indian Parliament which follows the address of the President of India to the joint sitting of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha at the commencement of first session of a new Lok Sabha and first session of every year. 
  • President’s address is the speech delivered by the President of India to both Houses of Parliament assembled together at the commencement of the first session after each general election to Lok Sabha and at the commencement of the first session of each year (this is usually the budget session). This speech is a statement of the government policy and is approved by the cabinet. 
  • The president highlights legislative and policy activities of the government, achievements of the previous year and broad agenda of the upcoming year. 
  • This address is followed by a Motion of Thanks, which is moved in each house by an MP of the ruling party. 
  • The deliberations on this motion last for three to four days. The deliberations allow the opposition to critically discuss the government’s vision, scope and policies. Hence Statement 2 is correct
  • At the end of these discussions, the Prime Minister gives replies to the points or questions raised. 
  • After the reply of the PM is over, the Members of Parliament vote on this motion of thanks. This motion must be passed in both of the houses. A failure to get motion of thanks passed (which may happen rarely) amounts to defeat of government and leads to collapse of government. Hence Statement 3 is correct

Source: https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/pm-modi-s-reply-to-president-s-address-may-take-place-in-ls-tomorrow-101612887658595.html


Consider the following Statements regarding Floating Rate Bonds

 1)They are fixed income instruments offered by the Government of India which come with a lock-in period.

 2)All residents of India and Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) are eligible to invest in FRBs.

 3)Non-Resident Indian also invest in this bond.

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct? 

 a) 1 and 2 only

 b) 2 and 3 only

 c) 3 only

 d) 1,2 and 3

Answer: (a) 1 and 2 only

Explanation:

In NEWS: Government Of India Announces Sale Of Four Dated Securities For A Notified Amount Of Rs 26000 Crore

  • Recently, the Government of India (GoI) has announced the Sale (Re-issue) of:
  • ‘GoI Floating Rate Bonds, 2033’ for a notified amount of Rs 5,000 crore (nominal) through price based auction;

What is Floating Rate Bonds?

  • FRS bonds are fixed income instruments offered by the Government of India which come with a lock-in period. Hence Statement 1 is correct
  • Unlike regular bonds that pay a fixed rate of interest, floating rate bonds have a variable rate of interest.
  • The rate of interest of a floating rate bond is linked to a benchmark rate and is reset at a regular interval.
  • The interest rate risk is largely mitigated as these bonds will pay higher return when prevailing rates are high.
  • There is no certainty of the future stream of income when investing in a floating rate bond.
  • The best time to buy floating rate bonds is when rates are low and are expected to rise.
  • The FRBs are not listed on any secondary exchange which means that it does not offer any interim exit to the investor.
  • The FRS bonds are a 100% risk free investment option as interest payments on these are guaranteed by the Government of India.
  • The interest earned on FRBs will be taxed as per the existing tax slab.
  • Although TDS will be deducted on interest payment similar to an Fixed Deposit, the same can be claimed back while filing Income Tax returns.

Eligibility criterion for FRBs

  • All residents of India and Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) are eligible to invest in FRBsHence Statement 2 is correct
    • The minimum amount that a person can invest is INR 1,000 and in multiples of INR 1,000 thereof and there is no cap on investments that a person can make.
  • A Non-Resident Indian (NRI) cannot invest in the scheme. Hence Statement 3 is incorrect

Source: https://www.business-standard.com/article/news-cm/government-of-india-announces-sale-of-four-dated-securities-for-a-notified-amount-of-rs-26000-crore-121020900174_1.html


Consider the following Statements regarding Einsteinium

 1) It is a highly radioactive element.

 2) It was discovered in 1952 in the debris of the first hydrogen bomb.

Which of the statement(s) given above 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: Explained: What is Einsteinium, the mysterious element named after Albert Einstein?

  • A team of scientists at the Berkeley Lab has reported some of the properties of element 99 in the periodic table called “Einsteinium”, named after Albert Einstein.
  • It was discovered in 1952 in the debris of the first hydrogen bomb (the detonation of a thermonuclear device called “Ivy Mike” in the Pacific Ocean). Hence Statement 2 is correct
  • It was discovered as part of a test at a remote island location called Elugelab on the Eniwetok Atoll in the South Pacific.
  • It produced an explosion that was about 500 times more destructive than the explosion that occurred at Nagasaki.
  • The discovery of the element was not revealed for at least three years and it was first suggested that the element be named after Einstein in the Physical Review in 1955.
  • The scientists worked with less than 250 nanograms of the artificial element, which was manufactured at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s High Flux Isotope Reactor.
  • The team worked with einsteinium-254 which is one of the more stable isotopes of the element that has a half-life of 276 days.
  • The high radioactivity and short half-life of all einsteinium isotopes is the primary reason that it cannot be found in nature and needs to be manufactured using very precise and intense processes. Hence Statement 1 is correct
  • The element has been produced in very small quantities and its usage is limited except for the purposes of scientific research.

Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-what-is-einsteinium-the-mysterious-element-named-after-albert-einstein-7179967/


Consider the following Statements regarding Lokpal

 1) It is a statutory body constituted under the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act 2013

 2) It has Suo motu power to proceed against any public servant.

 3) Anonymous complaints are considered by the Lokpal.

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct? 

 a) 1 only

 b) 2 and 3 only

 c) 3 only

 d) 1,2 and 3

Answer: (a) 1 only

Explanation:

In NEWS: Centre need not disclose Lokpal selection committee minutes, rules CIC

  • The CIC has refused to allow disclosure of minutes of selection committee meetings to choose the chairperson and members of anti-graft body Lokpal.
  • Over two years since an application seeking records pertaining to the selection of the country’s Lokpal and other members was filed, the Central Information Commission (CIC) rejected it citing two Supreme Court judgments on contempt petitions over the non-appointment of Lokpal even after the apex court’s directives and transparency in the appointment of information commissioners.
  • The request included information about the number of meetings held, the dates of the meetings, copies of minutes or proceedings of the meetings and details of the attendees.
  • There is no provision in the RTI Act for denying information merely because the authorship does not vest in the public authority or because some document is shared as secret.

About Lokpal

  • Lokpal is a statutory body constituted under The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act 2013 to enquire into allegations of corruption against certain categories of public servants/ functionaries and for connected/incidental matters. Hence Statement 1 is correct
  • The Lokpal provides a mechanism for prompt and fair investigation and prosecution in cases of alleged corruption.
  • The Lokpal consists of a Chairperson with a maximum of 8 members of which 50% shall be judicial members.
  • 50% of the members of the Lokpal shall come from amongst the SCs, the STs, the OBCs, minorities, and women.
  • The selection of the Chairperson and the members of Lokpal shall be through a Selection Committee consisting of the Prime Minister, the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, the Chief Justice of India or a sitting Supreme Court Judge nominated by the Chief Justice of India and an eminent jurist to be nominated by the President of India on the basis of recommendations of the first four members of the selection committee.
  • The Prime Minister has been brought under the purview of the Lokpal with subject matter exclusions and specific process for handling complaints against the Prime Minister.
  • It incorporates provisions for attachment and confiscation of property of public servants acquired by corrupt means, even while the prosecution is pending.
  • Lokpal cannot suo motu proceed against any public servantHence Statement 2 is incorrect
  • Heavy punishment for false and frivolous complaints against public servants may deter complaints from being filed to Lokpal.
  • Anonymous complaints not allowedHence Statement 3 is incorrect

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/centre-need-not-disclose-lokpal-selection-committee-minutes-rules-cic/article33796767.ece


Sahtoot dam, which was in news recently is located in

 a) Iran

 b) Afghanistan c) Argentina 

  1.  d) New Zealand

Answer: (b) Afghanistan

Explanation:

In NEWS: PM Modi, Afghan Pres to ink Kabul dam agreement today: Why the Shahtoot dam project worries Pakistan

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will engage with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at a virtual summit today, where the two are expected to put pen to paper over the long-awaited Shahtoot dam, to be constructed on the Kabul river basin, one of the five river basins in Afghanistan.  Hence option (b) is correct
  • In mid-December, India’s External Affair Minister S Jaishankar, speaking at the Geneva Donors Conference, announced that India and Afghanistan had reached an agreement over a project that President Ghani has turned into a priority given Afghanistan’s persistent water shortages. 
  • In view of Kabul’s rising population rates, increasingly frequent drought conditions and the existential threat of climate change, President Ghani, reportedly, resolved to address the water scarcity problem facing the country as a national priority India’s hydrodiplomacy has political implications especially for Afghanistan’s neighbour, Pakistan
  • According to some Pakistani media reports, the construction of the Shahtoot dam, in conjunction with 12 others planned along the Kabul river, may reduce water flow into Pakistan by as much as 16 to 17 per cent

About Sahtoot Dam

  • It is a proposed dam in the Kabul river basin.
  • Construction of the dam will provide drinking, irrigation and Environmental water in the Kabul province of Afghanistan.
  • The dam will be completed at the cost of about US$120 to $305 million.
  • This dam will be constructed by India.
  • The design of the dam will be completed by Iranian firm. For this, the ministry of water and power have inked an agreement with the Poyab Company of Iran.
  • The dam will be constructed in order to provide potable water to around 2 million residents of Kabul.
  • It will provide waters to irrigate 4000 hectares of land in Charasiab and Khairabad districts of Kabul.
  • Further, the dam will provide drinking water to a New City at Deh Sabz.

Source: https://www.timesnownews.com/india/article/pm-modi-afghan-pres-to-ink-kabul-dam-agreement-today-why-the-shahtoot-dam-project-worries-pakistan/717933


India has recently agreed for development of an Enhanced Trade Partnership (ETP) with which of the following country?

 a) South Korea

 b) United Kingdom

 c) Japan

 d) Australia

Answer: (b) United Kingdom

Explanation:

In NEWS: India and the UK have held discussions on promoting bilateral trade and investments between the two countries, and decided to launch an Enhanced Trade Partnership (ETP) during the visit of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Hence option (b) is correct

  • In a significant step forward, the ministers agreed that this partnership would formally be launched during the visit of the UK Prime Minister to India, later this year
  • As per the statement, the two sides reviewed the ongoing engagements between the two sides for an ETP to develop a roadmap that would lead to a potential comprehensive FTA (free trade agreement), including considerations on an interim pact on a preferential basis.
  • India’s goods exports to the UK were $4.55 billion in April-November FY21 while imports were $2.61 billion.
  • They also reviewed progress in removing market access barriers on both sides and ongoing cooperation in response to Covid-19

Source: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/foreign-trade/india-uk-discusses-ways-to-promote-trade-investments/articleshow/80749897.cms


Regarding the taxation system of Krishna Deva, the ruler of Vijayanagar, consider the following statements:

 1)The tax rate on land was fixed depending on the quality of the land.

 2)Private owners of workshops paid an industries tax.

 Which of the statements given above is/are correct? 

  1. 1 only 
  2.  b) 2 only 

 c) Both 1 and 2 

 d) Neither 1 nor 2

 Answer: (c) Both 1 and 2

Explanation:

  • Vijayanagara rulers followed an oppressive taxation policy. The prosperity of the empire can be explained through their taxation principles in the following lines. They collected variety of taxes ranging on the nature of lands. The villages were classified into eight types for tax purpose.
  • The first four types prevailed prior to the Vijayanagar times. Private owners also paid industries taxes. Merchant guilds were empowered to levy taxes on goods manufactured, sold or transported