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Daily Prelims Test – 12 January 2022

1. Consider the following statement regarding Securities Appellate Tribunal:

1)   It is a statutory body established under the SEBI Act, 1992.

2)   It has the same powers as a criminal court.

3)   It aims to hear and dispose of appeals against orders passed by the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority.

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

Answer: (c) 1 and 3 only

Explanation:

In NEWS: Now, Securities Appellate Tribunal pulls up SEBI for ‘judicial indiscipline’

The ongoing friction between SEBI and Securities and Appellate Tribunal (SAT) has once again come to the fore with Justice Tarun Agarwala and judicial member MT Joshi of the appellate tribunal pulling up market regulator SEBI for errors in its administrative and legal work.

Securities Appellate Tribunal:

●      Securities Appellate Tribunal is a statutory body established under the provisions of Section 15K of the Securities and Exchange Board of India Act, 1992 to hear and dispose of appeals against orders passed by the Securities and Exchange Board of India or by an adjudicating officer under the Act. Hence statement (1) is correct.

●      The Securities Appellate Tribunal has only one bench which sits in Mumbai.

●      It has jurisdiction over the whole of India.

●      SAT has powers similar to a civil court. Appeals from its orders can be challenged in the Supreme Court. Hence statement (2) is incorrect.

Key Functions:

●      To hear and dispose of appeals against orders passed by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) or by an adjudicating authority under the Act.

●      To exercise jurisdiction, authority and powers conferred on the SAT by or under this Act or any other law for the time being in force.

●      To hear and dispose of appeals against orders passed by the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA). Hence statement (3) is correct.

●      To hear and dispose of appeals against orders passed by the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority of India (IRDAI).

Source: https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/markets/now-securities-appellate-tribunal-pulls-up-sebi-for-judicial-indiscipline/article38224145.ece

2. Consider the following statement regarding Model Code of Conduct:

  • It is a set of guidelines issued by the Election Commission to regulate political parties and candidates prior to elections.
  • It is enforceable by law.
  • Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
  • 1 only
    • 2 only
    • Both 1 and 2
    • Neither 1 nor 2
  • Answer: (a) 1 only
  • Explanation:
  • In NEWS: Assembly Elections 2022: What is EC’s Model Code of Conduct? Know why it’s imposed

●      Ahead of the Assembly elections 2022, know about the Election Commission’s Model Code of Conduct for the poll-bound states.

●      Political parties are campaigning and gearing up in full force for the upcoming Assembly elections 2022 in five states across India- Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, Punjab, and Manipur- which are set to be conducted in February and March.

Model Code of Conduct:

●      The MCC is a set of guidelines issued by the Election Commission to regulate political parties and candidates prior to elections, to ensure free and fair elections. Hence statement (1) is correct.

●      The MCC is in effect from the date of the notification of an election, whether for the Parliament, the State Assembly, or the Districts, and lasts until the election is completed.

●      This is in keeping with Article 324 of the Constitution, which gives the Election Commission the power to supervise elections to the Parliament and state legislatures.

●      The MCC is operational from the date that the election schedule is announced till the date that results are announced.

●      The form of the MCC was first introduced in the state assembly elections in Kerala in 1960.

●      The MCC is not enforceable by law. Hence statement (2) is incorrect.

●      The Election Commission issued the code for the first time in 1971 (5th Election) and revised it from time to time. 

Source: TH

  • 3. Consider the following statement regarding Dementia:
  • It mainly affects older people.
  • Currently it has no cure available.
  • It is used to describe a group of symptoms affecting memory, thinking, and social abilities severely enough to interfere with your daily life.
  • Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
  • 1 only
    • 2 and 3 only
    • 1 and 2 only
    • 1, 2 and 3
  • Answer: (c) 1 and 3 only
  • Explanation:
  • In NEWS: Dementia cases in India to double by 2050, Lancet study shows

Worldwide, the caseload is set to almost triple by 2050

●      The number of dementia cases in India is expected to almost double by 2050, according to a Lancet report. The tally will increase to 11,422,692 from 3,843,118 in 2019, according to the analysis published in January 2022.

●      Neighbouring countries Bangladesh, Bhutan, Pakistan and Nepal are likely to record an increase of 254 per cent, 351 per cent, 261 per cent and 210 per cent, respectively, the assessment found.

●      Worldwide, the caseload is set to almost triple to 153 million in 2050 from 57 million in 2019, said the report. Population growth and population ageing will be the leading cause behind this rise

●      A higher proportion of women than men will suffer from the disease during the period, the paper estimated. The projections were made based on data from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019 published in Lancet journal October 2020. 

●      The highest increase in cases is projected for North Africa and the Middle East (367 per cent) and eastern sub-Saharan Africa (357 per cent), according to the assessment. High income countries in Asia-Pacific (53 per cent) and western Europe (74 per cent) are likely to report the least growth in dementia cases. 

Dementia:

●      It is used to describe a group of symptoms affecting memory, thinking, and social abilities severely enough to interfere with your daily lifeHence statement (3) is correct.

●      Dementia results from a variety of diseases and injuries that primarily or secondarily affect the brain.

●      Dementia is currently the 7th leading cause of death among all diseases and one of the major causes of disability and dependency among older people globally.

●      Currently, more than 55 million people live with dementia worldwide, and there are nearly 10 million new cases every year.

●      Dementia mainly affects older people. Hence statement (1) is correct.

●      Symptoms:  Memory loss, Difficulty communicating or finding words, Visual and spatial abilities, such as getting lost while driving, Reasoning or problem-solving, Handling complex tasks, Confusion, and disorientation.

●      Currently no cure is available. Hence statement (2) is correct.

Source: https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/health/dementia-cases-in-india-to-double-by-2050-lancet-study-shows-81048

4. Consider the following statement regarding National Ambient Air Quality Standards:

  • They are the standards for ambient air quality notified by the CPCB under the Air Act, 1981.
  • The current standards comprise 12 pollutants.
  • It aims to indicate necessary air quality levels required to ensure the protection of vegetation, health, and property.
  • Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
  • 1 and 3 only
    • 2 only
    • 1 and 2 only
    • 1, 2 and 3
  • Answer: (d) 1, 2 and 3
  • Explanation:
  • In NEWS: Ghaziabad most polluted city, says NCAP report
  • ●      Delhi and most of the other non-attainment cities under the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) have shown only a marginal improvement
  • ●      Cities are declared non-attainment if they consistently fail to meet the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) over a five-year period.
  • ●      The Centre’s NCAP was implemented across India in 2019 to reduce particulate matter levels in 132 cities by 20-30% in 2024.
  • ●      The analysis by NCAP Tracker, a joint project by news portal Carbon Copy and a Maharashtra-based start-up ‘Respirer Living Sciences’, designed to track India’s progress in achieving the clean air targets, ranked Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh as the most polluted city out of the 132 non-attainment cities with highest levels of PM 2.5 and PM 10.

National Ambient Air Quality Standards:

●      NAAQs are the standards for ambient air quality notified by the CPCB under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981. Hence statement (1) is correct.

●      The 2009 standards further lowered the maximum permissible limits for pollutants and made the standards uniform across the nation. Previously, industrial zones had less stringent standards as compared to residential areas.

●      The compliance of the NAAQS is monitored under the National Air Quality Monitoring Programme (NAMP).

Objectives:

●        To indicate necessary air quality levels required to ensure the protection of vegetation, health, and property. Hence statement (3) is correct.

●        To provide a uniform yardstick for the assessment of air quality at the national level.

●        To indicate the extent and need of the monitoring programme.

The current standards (2009) comprise 12 pollutants as follows. Hence statement (2) is correct.

●        Particulate Matter 10 (PM10)

●        Particulate Matter 2.5 (PM2.5) 

●        Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2)

●        Sulphur Dioxide (SO2)

●        Carbon Monoxide (CO)

●        Ozone (O3)

●        Ammonia (NH3)

●        Lead (Pb)

●        Benzene

●        Benzopyrene

●        Arsenic

●        Nickel

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/ghaziabad-most-polluted-city-says-ncap-report/article38230784.ece

5. Consider the following statements regarding Net Present Value of forest:

1)   It is a mandatory one-time payment that a user has to make for diverting forestland for non-forest use.

2)   It is calculated on the basis of the services and ecological value.

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

Answer: (c) Both 1 and 2

Explanation:

In NEWS: ‘Diverting forest land for other purposes to cost 1.5 times more’

●      In compliance with a Supreme Court order dated March 28, 2008 in T N Godavarman Thirumulpad vs. Union of India case, the environment ministry started imposing a net present value in lieu of diversion of forest land for various development projects

●      The ministry has processed this as business as usual without a reflection or evaluation of whether NPV has been an effective mechanism for forest conservation.

●      There has been an increasing demand world for governments to review their reliance on monetary offsets like compensatory afforestation or NPV

●      This is the first time NPV rates have been revised after 2009. The first letter with NPV rates was issued to states in 2009. The revision was long pending.

Net Present Value of forest:

●      The Net Present Value (NPV), as it is called, is a monetary approximation of the value that is lost when a piece of forest land has been razed. Hence statement (1) is correct.

●      This is on the basis of the services and ecological value and there are prescribed formulae for calculating this amount which depends on the location and nature of the forest and the type of industrial enterprise that will replace a particular parcel of forest. Hence statement (2) is correct.

●      The Supreme Court mandates this must be paid by those who use forest land for non-forestry purposes and only limited exemptions are permitted.

●      The Forest Advisory Committee constituted by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) decides on whether forests can be diverted for projects and the NPV to be charged.

●      For calculating the average NPV per hectare of forest in India, the monetary value of goods and services provided by the forest were considered by the committee, including the value of timber and firewood; non-timber forest products; fodder; ecotourism; ecological services of forest; and value of flagship species and carbon sequestration value. In effect, the amount has to reflect the current value of all these.

●      Some projects have been provided exemption from paying NPV like construction of Schools, Hospitals, village tanks, laying down of optical fibre etc. Projects like underground mining and wind energy plants have been given a 50% exemption from NPV.

Source: https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/diverting-forest-land-for-other-purposes-to-cost-1-5-times-more-101641893374570.html

6. Consider the following statements:

1)   The WTO has not defined what is meant by developed and developing countries.

2)   The WTO member countries are free to announce whether they are ‘developed’ or ‘developing’.

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

Answer: (c) Both 1 and 2

Explanation:

In NEWS: At WTO, China a ‘developing’ country: Why many nations are raising concerns

●      China’s status as a ‘developing country’ at the World Trade Organization (WTO) has become a contentious issue with a number of countries raising concerns over the upper middle-income nation deriving benefits reserved for developing countries under WTO norms.

●      Moreover, concerns have been raised over the ‘least developed country’ (LDC) status, with Bangladesh potentially losing this tag after surpassing India in terms of GDP per capita.

How is the selection made? 

●      There are no WTO definitions of “developed” and “developing” countries. Members announce for themselves whether they are “developed” or “developing” countries. Hence statement (1) is correct.

●      However, other members can challenge the decision of a member to make use of provisions available to developing countries. Hence statement (2) is correct.

What are the advantages of “developing country” status? 

●      Developing country status in the WTO brings certain rights.

●      There are for example provisions in some WTO Agreements which provide developing countries with longer transition periods before they are required to fully implement the agreement and developing countries can receive technical assistance.

●      That a WTO member announces itself as a developing country does not automatically mean that it will benefit from the unilateral preference schemes of some of the developed country members such as the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP).

●      In practice, it is the preference giving country which decides the list of developing countries that will benefit from the preferences. 

●      As WTO members can declare themselves developing nations, this provides an advantage to nations like China to expand their dominance in global trade even while classifying themselves as developing and thereby obtaining Special and Differentiated Treatment (S&DT).

Why are some countries against China being classified as one?

●      China is the second largest economy in the world. It is the largest when calculated by purchasing power parity.

●      The World Bank categorizes China as an “upper-middle-income” country.

●      China is a major source of foreign direct investment in all corners of the world and provides billions of dollars in overseas development assistance. 12 of the 100 largest companies in the world by total market capitalization are Chinese.

Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/at-wto-china-a-developing-country-why-many-nations-are-raising-concerns-7716778/

7. Consider the following statements regarding Digital embossing technology:

2)   It has been introduced, designed and implemented for the first time in India by National Atlas and Thematic Mapping Organisation.

1)   It is a technology that eliminates the need for printing plates, molds, chemicals, and solvents.

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

Answer: (c) Both 1 and 2

Explanation:

In NEWS: Visually challenged students will have access to user-friendly durable Braille maps using advanced technology

●      Visually challenged students from all over the country will have the access soon to Braille Maps designed and developed using Digital Embossing Technology, enabling them for ease of use, user friendly, better feeling and durable in terms of quality.

●      The digital embossing technology is a technology which eliminates the need for printing plates, moulds, chemicals, and solvents, emitting no pollutants or waste and reduces overall energy usage. Hence statement (1) is correct.

●      This innovative technology has been introduced, designed and implemented for the first time in India by National Atlas & Thematic Mapping Organisation (NATMO) functioning as the Attached Office of the Department of Science & Technology. Hence statement (2) is correct.

●      The maps produced using this technology are not only useful for high-speed production of the maps but can also produce Braille Maps that can be used by more people for years together.

●      It has been experienced that the maps produced with earlier technology have lost its readability and feeling experience within a very short span of time.

●      In this regard, it is also to mention that feedback from experts and students of the Braille community has encouraged and motivated us to prepare the low-cost state-of-art product in terms of reduction of volume of the atlas, enhancement of the readability features, ease of carrying the maps and atlas etc.

●      NATMO started the journey in the year 1997, however, it has become popularized with the publication of Braille Atlas for Visually Impaired (India), edition 2017 in English Braille Script which received a huge response from the visually impaired community. It was developed with an indigenous manual embossing method.

Source: https://dst.gov.in/visually-challenged-students-will-have-access-user-friendly-durable-braille-maps-using-advanced

8. With respect to Brahmos, Consider the following statements:

1)   It is a supersonic cruise missile.

2)   It can attain a maximum speed of Mach 3.

3)   The propellant used in the first stage is solid fuel and that used in the second stage is liquid fuel.

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

Answer: (d) 1, 2 and 3

Explanation:

In NEWS: Naval variant of BrahMos supersonic missile test-fired from INS Visakhapatnam

●      An extended range sea-to-sea variant of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile was successfully test-fired by India from the Indian Navy’s newly commissioned INS Visakhapatnam

●      Advanced sea to sea variant of BrahMos Supersonic Cruise missile was tested from INS Visakhapatnam. Hence statement (1) is correct.

BrahMos:

●      BrahMos, deployed by the Navy on its warships first in 2005, has the capability to hit sea-based targets beyond radar horizon.

●      This version of the missile has been designed to launch either in a vertical or a horizontal mode from moving/stationary assets to target both land and sea targets.

●      The missiles, fired at a speed of 2.8 Mach or nearly three times the speed of sound, significantly increase the capability of the ships in engaging long-range targets. Hence statement (2) is correct.

●      BrahMos missiles are designed and developed by BrahMos Aerospace, a joint venture company set up by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Mashinostroyenia of Russia.

●      The first stage of the Brahmos engine is fired by solid rocket booster, second stage by liquid ramjet.

●      The propellant used in the first stage is solid fuel and that used in the second stage is liquid fuelHence statement (3) is correct.

Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/sea-to-sea-variant-of-brahmos-cruise-missile-successfully-tested-from-newly-commissioned-ins-visakhapatnam-7717819/

9. Consider the following statements regarding Sea Dragon exercise:

1)   It is a US-led multinational exercise.

2)   This exercise primarily focuses on anti-submarine warfare (ASW) training.

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

Answer: (c) Both 1 and 2

Explanation:

In NEWS: India joins Quad partners, Japan and South Korea for Sea Dragon exercise

●      India and its partners in the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or Quad along with Canada and South Korea are participating in the multinational exercise Sea Dragon at Guam in the Western Pacific.

●      It is a US-led multinational exercise designed to practice and discuss Anti-submarine warfare tactics to operate together in response to traditional and non-traditional maritime security challenges in the Indo-Pacific region. Hence statement (1) is correct.

●      The exercise, primarily focused on anti-submarine warfare (ASW) training. Hence statement (2) is correct.

●      It will involve more than 270 hours of in-flight training and activities ranging from tracking simulated targets to tracking a US Navy submarine.

●      Each event will be graded and the country scoring the highest points will receive the Dragon Belt award.

●      The Royal Canadian Air Force won the Dragon Belt at last year’s exercise and is defending the title at Sea Dragon 2022.

●      The wargame includes contingents from the Indian Navy, the US Navy, Royal Australian Air Force, Royal Canadian Air Force, Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force and the South Korean Navy.

Source: https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/india-joins-quad-partners-japan-and-south-korea-for-sea-dragon-exercise-101641496355667.html

10. Bollgard I and Bollgard II technologies are mentioned in the context of

a)    clonal propagation of crop plants

b)   developing genetically modified crop plants

c)    production of plant growth substances

d)   production of biofertilizers

Answer: (b) developing genetically modified crop plants

Explanation:

  • ●      Bollgard I Bt cotton (single-gene technology) is India’s first biotech crop technology approved for commercialization in India in 2002, followed by Bollgard II – double-gene technology in mid2006, by the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC), the Indian regulatory body for biotech crops.
  • ●      Bollgard cotton provides in-built protection for cotton against destructive American Bollworm Heliothis Armigera infestations, and contains an insecticidal protein from a naturally occurring soil microorganism, Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt).
  • ●      Bollgard II technology contains a superior double-gene technology – Cry1Ac and Cry2Ab which provides protection against bollworms and Spodoptera caterpillar, leading to better boll retention, maximum yield, lower pesticides costs, and protection against insect resistance.
  • ●      Both, Bollgard II and Bollgard insect -protected cotton are widely planted around the world as an environmentally friendly way of controlling bollworms. Hence option (b) is correct.