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Daily Prelims Test – 12_July 2021

Consider the following statements regarding Rail Services Agreement (RSA), 2004:

  • It guides train movement between India and
  • It was launched for the introduction of Passenger train services.

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: (d) Neither 1 nor 2

Explanation:

NEWS: Rail Cargo movement between India and Nepal gets a big boost.

  • Recently, India and Nepal signed a letter of exchange(LoE) to revise the India-Nepal Rail Services Agreement (RSA), 2004. 
  • The revised agreement will facilitate the import and export of goods through the Indian railway freight services and will come into force from 9th July 2021.
  • The revised pact permits all types of cargo train operators(public, private, special freight, automobile) authorized by the Indian Railways (IR) to use the Indian Railway Network for carrying Nepal’s container and freight –  both bilateral between India & Nepal or Third country from Indian ports to Nepal.

India-Nepal Rail Services Agreement (RSA) 2004:

  • It was executed on 21st May 2004 between the Ministry of Railways, Government of India and the Ministry of Industry, Commerce & Supplies (now Ministry of Commerce), Government of Nepal.
  • It was launched for the introduction of freight train services between these two countries to and from Birgunj (Nepal) via Raxaul (India). Hence statement (2) is incorrect.
  • It guides movement between India and Nepal by rail. Hence statement (1) is incorrect.
  • Its rationale was to create a framework for operational and commercial aspects and procedures for customs clearances for rail-bound cargo.
  • It shall be reviewed every five years and may be modified by the Contracting Parties by mutual consent.

Significance:

  • The revised agreement aims to increase the efficiency, and cost-competitiveness of the rail freight sector.
  • It is seen as a step by India to enhance regional connectivity under the ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy.
  • It will reduce transportation costs for automobiles and certain other products whose carriage takes place in special wagons.

Source: https://www.aninews.in/news/world/asia/india-nepal-signs-rail-services-agreement20210709183643/

With respect to Lymphatic Filariasis, consider the following statements:

  • It is considered as a Neglected Tropical Disease.
  • They are caused only by parasitic worms.

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: Maharashtra resumes immunisation against filariasis

  • The Maharashtra government has flagged off its mass drug administration drive for the elimination of lymphatic filariasis and become the first State in the country to resume giving rounds of the drug after the second wave of Covid-19.

About Elephantiasis:

  • Lymphatic filariasis, commonly known as elephantiasis, is a neglected tropical disease caused by tiny parasitic worms spread by mosquitoeswhich leads to enlargement and hardening of limbs or body parts due to tissue swelling. Hence statements (1) and (2) are correct.
  • It impairs the lymphatic system and can lead to the abnormal enlargement of body parts, causing pain, severe disability and social stigma.
  • The worms can live for approximately 6–8 years and, during their lifetime, produce millions of microfilariae (immature larvae) that circulate in the blood.
  • The lymphatic system is a network of vessels and specialized tissues that are essential to maintaining the overall fluid balance and health of organs and limbs and, importantly, are a major component of the body’s immune defense system.
  • It is transmitted by different types of mosquitoes for example by the Culex mosquito, widespread across urban and semi-urban areas, Anopheles, mainly found in rural areas, and Aedes, mainly in endemic islands in the Pacific.
  • Most cases of lymphatic filariasis infection don’t have any symptoms at all.
  • Lymphatic filariasis is a vector-borne disease, caused by infection with parasites classified as nematodes (roundworms) of the family Filarioidea.

 There are 3 types of thread-like filarial worms which causes lymphatic filariasis:

  • Wuchereria Bancrofti is responsible for 90% of the cases.
  • Brugia Malayi causes most of the remainder of the cases.
  • Brugia Timori also causes the disease.

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/maharashtra-resumes-immunisation-against-filariasis/article35242990.ece

Consider the following statements regarding mangroves:

  • Mangroves is a small tree that grows in coastal saline water.
  • Mangroves occur worldwide in both the tropics and subtropics.
  • The greatest mangrove area lies within 5 degrees of the equator.

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

a) 1 and 2 only

b) 2 and 3 only

c) 2 only

d) 1, 2and 3

Answer: (d) 1, 2 and 3

Explanation:

In NEWS: The genome of a Salt-secreting Mangrove Species Decoded by DBT-ILS

  • Tamil Nadu has reported for the first time a reference-grade whole genome sequence of a highly salt-tolerant and salt-secreting true-mangrove species, Avicennia marina
  • Mangroves are a unique group of species found in marshy intertidal estuarine regions and survive a high degree of salinity through several adaptive mechanisms.
  • Mangroves are important resources for the coastal region and are of great ecological and economic value.
  • They form a link between marine and terrestrial ecosystems, protect shorelines, and provide habitat for a diverse array of terrestrial organisms.

About Avicennia marina

  • Avicennia marina is one of the most prominent mangroves species found in all mangrove formations in India.
  • It is a salt-secreting and extraordinarily salt-tolerant mangrove species that grows optimally in 75% seawater and tolerates >250% seawater.
  • It is among the rare plant species, which can excrete 40% of the salt through the salt glands in the leaves, besides its extraordinary capacity to exclude salt entry to the roots.
  • Availability of water is a significant challenge to crop production in dryland areas, accounting for ~40 per cent of the world’s total land area.
  • Salinity is prevalent in ~900 million hectares globally (with an estimated 6.73 million ha in India), and it is estimated to cause an annual loss of 27 billion USD.
  • The genomic resources generated in the study will pave the way for researchers to study the potential of the identified genes for developing drought and salinity tolerant varieties of important crop species.
  • This is particularly important for the coastal region as India has 7,500m of coastline and two major island systems.

Mangroves:

  • A mangrove is a shrub or small tree that grows in coastal saline or brackish water. Hence statement (1) is correct.
  • Mangroves occur worldwide in the tropics and subtropics, mainly between latitudes 30° N and 30° S, with the greatest mangrove area within 5° of the equator. Hence statements (2) and (3) are correct.
  • Mangroves are salt-tolerant trees, also called halophytes, and are adapted to live in harsh coastal conditions.
  • They contain a complex salt filtration system and complex root system to cope with salt water immersion and wave action.
  • They are adapted to the low-oxygen conditions of waterlogged mud.
  • They are a unique group of species found in marshy intertidal estuarine regions and survive a high degree of salinity through several adaptive mechanisms.
  • They form a link between marine and terrestrial ecosystems, protect shorelines, and provide habitat for a diverse array of terrestrial organisms.

Source: https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1734363

Consider the following statements regarding ICESat-2:

  • It is a part of NASA’s Earth Observing System for measuring ice sheet elevation and sea ice thickness.
  • These maps will help scientists understand the water system in Antarctica.

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: NASA Maps Hidden Network of Lakes Beneath Antarctica’s Thick Ice Sheets

  • With the help of an advanced Earth-observing laser instrument, NASA scientists discovered two active subglacial lakes under the Antarctic ice sheet. According to a blog, glaciologist Helen Amanda Fricker back in 2007 had found that beneath the thousands of metres thick Antarctic ice-shelves lies a whole hidden network of interconnected lakes that actively fill and drain. Hence statement (2) is correct.
  • The presence of meltwater beneath the ice sheets was known to scientists, however, now, such a network with an active water system was a breakthrough.
  • NASA’s Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite 2, or ICESat-2, allowed scientists to precisely map the subglacial lakes. The ICESat-2 used laser pulses to measure elevation data for ice, clouds and land and their topography. It stands for “Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite”.
  • It is a part of NASA’s Earth Observing System for measuring ice sheet elevation and sea ice thickness. It also measures land topography, vegetation characteristics, and clouds.  This mission was launched on September 15, 2018 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Hence statement (1) is correct.
  • Presence of meltwater beneath ice sheets was known, but such a network of an active water system was a breakthrough. She had used data from NASA’s ICESat. This satellite used laser pulses to measure elevation data for ice, clouds & land.

Source: https://www.republicworld.com/technology-news/science/nasa-scientists-map-meltwater-lakes-under-antarcticas-thick-ice-sheets.html

Consider the following statements regarding Giant Panda:

  • It is native to South Central China.
  • It is listed as a vulnerable species under the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

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: Giant pandas no longer endangered but still vulnerable, says China

  • Giant pandas are no longer classified as endangered but are still vulnerable, Chinese officials say. Hence statement (2) is correct.
  • The classification was downgraded as their number in the wild has reached 1,800.
  • Experts say that the country managed to save its iconic animal through its long-term conservation efforts, including the expansion of habitats.
  • Number increased due to China’s devotion in maintaining nature reserves and other conservation initiatives during recent years.

About Giant panda

  • This bear, also known as panda bear, is native to South Central China. Bear is characterised by its bold black-and-white coat and rotund body. Hence statement (1) is correct.
  • Giant panda name is used to distinguish it from red panda. They belong to order Carnivora, but are also folivores.
  • Bamboo shoots and leaves make up more than 99% of their diet. They occasionally eat other grasses, wild tubers, or even meat in the form of birds, carrion or rodents.
  • They also eat (in captivity) honey, eggs, fish, yams, oranges, bananas or shrub leaves along with specially prepared food.
  • They live in a few mountain ranges of central China, mainly in Sichuan and neighbouring Shaanxi & Gansu.
  • They once lived in lowland areas but have been driven out because of farming, deforestation, and other development.
  • As per a 2007 report, 239 pandas were living in captivity inside China and 27 outside the country. Number of pandas increased to 49 by December 2014 in captivity outside China.

Source: TH

Consider the following statements regarding Chief Minister of a state:

  • The Constitution of India envisages that the Chief Minister shall be appointed by the governor.
  • The term of the Chief Minister is not fixed and he holds office during the pleasure of the governor.
  • A person who is not a member of the state legislature cannot be appointed as Chief Minister of a state.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

a) 1 and 2 only

b) 1 and 3 only

c) 2 and 3 only

d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: (a) 1 and 2 only

Explanation:

In NEWS: ‘High command will decide on CM change’

  • Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel said he was asked to take oath as the Chief Minister by the Congress high command, and it was for them to decide whether or not there should be a change of guard.

Appointment:

  • Article 164 of the Constitution envisages that the Chief Minister shall be appointed by the Hence statement (1) is correct.
  • A leader of the party that has got the majority share of votes in the assembly elections, is appointed as the Chief Minister of the state.
  • The Governor is the nominal executive authority, but real executive authority rests with the Chief Minister.
  • However, the discretionary powers enjoyed by the governor reduces to some extent the power, authority, influence, prestige and role of the Chief Minister in the state administration.
  • A person who is not a member of the state legislature can be appointed as Chief Minister for six months, within which time, he should be elected to the state legislature, failing which he ceases to be the Chief Minister. Hence statement (3) is incorrect.

Term of the CM:

  • The term of the Chief Minister is not fixed and he holds office during the pleasure of the governorHence statement (2) is correct.
  • He cannot be dismissed by the governor as long as he enjoys the majority support in the legislative assembly.

Source: TH Pg:No: 1

In which state Lemru Elephant Reserve is located at?

a) Chhattisgarh

b) Jharkhand

c) Madhya Pradesh

d) Uttarakhand

Answer: (a) Chhattisgarh

Explanation:

In NEWS: Explained: A proposed elephant reserve in Chhattisgarh, and its reduced area

  • In a letter on June 26, the state Forest and Environment Department asked the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) to make a presentation for decreasing the area of the proposed reserve from 1,995 sq km to 450 sq km.
  • The proposed Lemru Elephant Reserve in Chhattisgarh, in the pipeline for 20 years, has become the subject of yet another controversy. In a letter on June 26, the state Forest and Environment Department asked the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) to make a presentation for decreasing the area of the proposed reserve from 1,995 sq km to 450 sq km. Hence option (a) is correct.

What is Lemru Elephant Reserve?

  • The proposal for the reserve, in Korbadistrict, was passed unanimously by the Assembly in 2005 and got central approval in 2007.
  • Lemru is one of two elephant reserves planned to prevent human-animal conflict in the region, with elephants moving into Chhattisgarh from Odisha and Jharkhand.
  • Its area was then proposed to be 450 sq km.

Why does the government want to reduce the size of the reserve?

  • The area proposed under the reserve is part of the Hasdeo Aranya forests, a very diverse biozone that is also rich in coal deposits.
  • Of 22 coal blocks in the area, seven have already been allotted with mines running in three, and in the process of being established in the other four.
  • Under the ‘No-Go Area’ policy from the UPA area, the entire area was considered out of bound for mines, but in 2020, five coal blocks from the region were put on the auction list.

Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-a-proposed-elephant-reserve-in-chhattisgarh-and-its-reduced-area-7400025/

Consider the following statements regarding Kesariya Stupa:

  • The first construction of the Stupa is dated to the 3rd century CE.
  • The original Kesariya stupa probably dates to the time of Ashoka Empire.
  • 3.It is regarded as the largest Buddhist stupa in the world.

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

a) 2 only

b) 2 and 3 only

c) 1 and 2 only

d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: (b) 2 and 3 only

Explanation:

In NEWS: Bihar’s Kesaria Buddha stupa waterlogged

  • The world-famous Kesaria Buddha stupa in east Champaran district of Bihar is waterlogged following floods in some parts of the district after heavy rainfall in the catchment areas of river Gandak in neighbouring Nepal.
  • The stupa, located about 110 km from the State capital Patna, has a circumference of almost 400 feet and stands at a height of about 104 feet. The first construction of the nationally protected stupa is dated to the 3rd century BCE. Hence statement (1) is incorrect.
  • It is regarded as the largest Buddhist stupa in the world and has been drawing tourists from across several Buddhist countries. Hence statement (3) is correct.
  • The stupa’s exploration had started in the early 19th century after its discovery led by Colonel Mackenzie in 1814. Later, it was excavated by General Cunningham in 1861-62 and in 1998 an ASI team led by archaeologist K.K. Muhammad had excavated the site properly.
  • The original Kesaria stupa is said to date back to the time of emperor Ashoka (circa 250 BCE) as the remains of an Ashokan pillar was discovered there. The local people call the stupa “devalaya,” meaning “house of gods”. Hence statement (2) is correct.
  • The ASI has declared it a protected monument.
  • Two great foreign travelers, Faxian (Fahien) and Xuan Zang (Hsuan Tsang), had visited this place in ancient times and have left interesting and informative accounts of their travels. They have written at length about Kesaria’s unique geographical location, cultural vibrancy, and ancient heritage.

Source: TH Pg:No: 8

What is the Karman Line?

a) A boundary between Earth’s atmosphere and outer space

b) A land border between Nepal and China

c) The outermost layer of the earth

d) None of the above

Answer: (a) A boundary between Earth’s atmosphere and outer space

Explanation:

In NEWS: Richard Branson takes off first in space tourism race

  • The nearly 71-year-old Mr. Branson and five crewmates from his Virgin Galactic space tourism company, including Indian-origin aeronautical engineer Sirisha Bandla, reached an altitude of about 88 kilometres over the New Mexico desert — enough to experience three to four minutes of weightlessness and see the curvature of the earth — and then safely gilded back home to a runway landing.
  • Bezos’ Blue Origin company intends to send tourists past the so-called Karman line 100 kilometres above earth, which is recognised by international aviation and aerospace federations as the threshold of space.
  • The Kármán line is an attempt to define a boundary between Earth’s atmosphere and outer space,which is important for legal and regulatory purposes: aircraft and spacecraft fall under different jurisdictions and are subject to different treaties. Hence option (a) is correct.
  • But NASA, the Air Force, the Federal Aviation Administration and some astrophysicists consider the boundary between the atmosphere and space to begin 80 kilometres up.

Source: TH Pg:NO: 11

With reference to the economic history of medieval India, the term ‘Araghatta’ refers to

a) bonded labour

b) land grant made to military officers

c) waterwheel used in the irrigation of land

d) wasteland converted to cultivated land

Answer: (c) waterwheel used in the irrigation of land

Explanation:

The ‘ara-ghatta’ originates from the blend of the words “ara” which means talk and “ghatta” which means pot. There is confirmation to contend that this arrangement of lifting water from open wells was presumably designed in the India of the past. Hence option (c) is correct.