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Daily Prelims Test – 15_September_2021

1. With reference to Fluoride, consider the following statements:

1) It is a carcinogenic substance.

2) It is an essential micronutrient and has both beneficial and detrimental effects on human health.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

a)  1 only

b) 2 only

c)  Both 1 and 2

d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: (b) 2 only

Explanation:

In NEWS: Not just groundwater, fluoride has poisoned agricultural soil, crops in Bengal

●    West Bengal has been grappling with groundwater contamination for decades. About 12 percent of the population in eight of the state’s 23 districts is impacted by water contaminated by fluoride. The contamination is higher in western parts of the state such as Purulia and Bankura.

●    The study investigated the magnitude of fluoride contamination in agricultural land soil and food crops in these two districts as well as its adverse impact on the health of locals.

●    The study found that the accumulation of fluoride was higher in leafy and non-leafy vegetables than in pulses and cereals from both districts. The maximum accumulation was found in onion, while being minimum in rice.

●    It also found that children were the most vulnerable to fluoride contamination due to their low body weight. Based on the daily dietary intake of our studied population, we calculated the non-carcinogenic risk factor. Fluoride is not carcinogenic like arsenic. It attacks the calcium in the body. Hence statement (1) is incorrect.

●    Fluoride is an essential micronutrient and has both beneficial and detrimental effects on human health. However, exposure to high levels of fluoride causes dental fluorosis, skeletal fluorosis and non-skeletal fluorosis. Hence statement (2) is correct.

●    Ligaments calcification, liver and kidney dysfunction, nerve weakness, developmental disorder, organ tissue damage, bending of legs, weakness, anemia, depression, gastrointestinal problems, loss of appetite, and brittle bone problems in children are some of the commonly seen health issues. 

●    It takes several years for skeletal fluorosis to show prominently. Children mostly suffer from dental fluorosis, a condition that is largely irreversible. Severe skeletal and non-skeletal issues become more prominent only after several years of continuous consumption of fluoride-contaminated food.

Source: https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/agriculture/not-just-groundwater-flouride-has-poisoned-agricultural-soil-crops-in-bengal-78996

2. The Groundswell report is released by which one of the following international organizations?

a)  United Nations Environment Programme

b) Food and Agriculture Organization

c)  World Food Programme

d) World Bank

Answer: (d) World Bank

Explanation:

In NEWS: Climate change can force 216 million people to migrate within their own countries by 2050

●    Sub-Saharan Africa will have the largest number of internal climate refugees by 2050 according to a new World Bank report.

●    Climate change can force some 216 million people in six world regions to move within their own countries by 2050, a recent report has stated. Hotspots of internal climate migration can emerge as early as 2030 and continue to spread and intensify by 2050, the report added.

●    It also found that immediate and concerted action to reduce global emissions and support green, inclusive and resilient development, could reduce the scale of climate migration by as much as 80 per cent.

●    The World Bank’s updated Groundswell report was released September 13, 2021. Hence option (d) is correct.

●    Climate change is a powerful driver of internal migration because of its impacts on people’s livelihoods and loss of livability in highly exposed locations

●    The Groundswell report is a stark reminder of the human toll of climate change, particularly on the world’s poorest — those who are contributing the least to its causes.

●    It also clearly lays out a path for countries to address some of the key factors that are causing climate-driven migration

Source: https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/climate-change/climate-change-can-force-216-million-people-to-migrate-within-their-own-countries-by-2050-79002

3. Lucknow Declaration is an outcome document of

a)  India-Africa Defence Dialogue

b) Climate Action and Finance Mobilisation Dialogue between India and USA

c)  India – Australia 2+2 dialogue

d) India –Maldives Maritime Dialogue

Answer: (a) India-Africa Defence Dialogue

Explanation:

In NEWS: India to hold biennial defence dialogue with African nations

●    India has proposed to make it a regular event, to be held with the biennial DefExpo military exhibition.

●    The first-ever India Africa Defence Ministers Conclave (IADMC) was held in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh in conjunction with DefExpo in 2020.

●    It was co-organised by the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of External Affairs.

●    A Joint Declaration, ‘Lucknow Declaration’ was adopted after the conclusion of IADMC 2020 as an outcome document. Hence option (a) is correct.

●    Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will host the Defence Ministers of African nations in the next India-Africa Defence Dialogue in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, in March 2022, the statement mentioned. It said the broad theme of the event will be ‘India-Africa: Adopting Strategy for Synergizing and Strengthening Defence and Security Cooperation’.

Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-to-hold-biennial-defence-dialogue-with-african-nations-7507120/

4. With reference to Armed Forces Special Powers Act, consider the following statements:

1) It was enacted by the Parliament and approved by the President in 1958.

2) It is enforced only in Nagaland state.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

a)  1 only

b) 2 only

c)  Both 1 and 2

d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: (a) 1 only

Explanation:

In NEWS: Assam govt. extends AFSPA for another six months

●        The Government of Assam in the exercise of powers conferred by Section 3 of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, has declared the entire State of Assam as a ‘Disturbed Area’ for up to six months with effect from August 28, 2021, 

●        The AFSPA was imposed in Assam in November 1990 and is extended every six months since then after a review by the State government.

Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA):

●        It was enacted by the Parliament and approved by the President in 1958. Hence statement (1) is correct.

●        It confers certain special powers on members of the Armed Forces (military forces, air forces operating on the ground as land forces and any other armed forces of the Union (CRPF, BSF, ITBP etc)for carrying out proactive operations against the insurgents in a highly hostile environment. They have the authority to prohibit a gathering of five or more persons in an area.

●        The AFSPA is also in force in the entire Nagaland, certain districts of Arunachal Pradesh, and most parts of Manipur barring the Imphal municipal areas. Hence statement (2) is incorrect.

Provisions:

●        Under Section 3, the Central Government or the Governor of the State or administrator of the Union Territory can declare the whole or part of the State or Union Territory as a disturbed area. An area can be disturbed due to differences or disputes between members of different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities. 

●        Section 4 gives the Army powers to search premises and make arrests without warrants, to use force even to the extent of causing death, destroy arms/ammunition dumps, fortifications/shelters/hideouts and to stop, search and seize any vehicle.

●        Section 6 stipulates that arrested persons and the seized property are to be made over to the police with the least possible delay.

●        Section 7 offers protection of persons acting in good faith in their official capacity. The prosecution is permitted only after the sanction of the Central Government.

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/assam-govt-extends-afspa-for-another-six-months/article36409699.ece

5. Consider the following statements regarding Cold Chain Scheme:

1) It is a component of Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana.

2) It was created to reduce post-harvest losses of horticulture and non-horticulture produce and provide remunerative prices to farmers for their produce.

Which of the above statements 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:

●    The Ministry of Food Processing Industries inaugurated a new unit of food processing in Morena, Madhya Pradesh.

●    The processing unit will benefit everyone at the local level. It will add to the development of India’s food processing sector.

●    The Ministry has approved 41 mega food parks, 353 cold chain projects, 63 Agro-processing clusters, 292 food processing units, creation of 63 backward and forward linkages projects, and 6 operation green projects across the country under Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana (PMKSY).

Cold Chain Scheme:

●    Cold Chain, Value Addition, and Preservation Infrastructure, is a centrally sponsored scheme launched in 2008. It is a component of Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana (PMKSY). Hence statement (1) is correct.

●    It was created to reduce post-harvest losses of horticulture and non-horticulture produce and provide remunerative prices to farmers for their produce. Hence statement (2) is correct.

●    An infrastructure facility is created for the entire supply chain, including pre-cooling, weighing, sorting, grading, packing facility, blast freezing, etc. of agricultural produce.

●    To provide integrated cold chain and preservation infrastructure facilities, without any break, from the farm gate to the consumer.

●    The scheme allows flexibility in project planning with special emphasis on creation of cold chain infrastructure at farm level.

●    It is set up by Partnership Firms, Companies, Corporations, Self Help Groups (SHGs), Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs), NGOs, Central / State PSUs, etc.

Source: https://newsonair.com/2021/09/13/reducing-food-wastage-empowering-locals-food-processing-unit-inaugurated-in-madhya-pradesh/

6. Consider the following statements regarding Similipal Tiger Reserve:

1) It is a national park and a tiger reserve in West Bengal.

2) This protected area has been part of the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves since 2009.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

a)  1 only

b) 2 only

c)  Both 1 and 2

d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: (b) 2 only

Explanation:

In NEWS: How and why these tigers in Odisha changed their stripes

●    An estimated 37% of tigers in the Similipal Tiger Reserve are pseudo melanistic i.e., characterised by wide, merged stripes.

●    This is the result of a rare mutation in one gene- Transmembrane Aminopeptidase Q or Taqpep.

●    They recessively inherited variants of which are responsible for the marks in domestic cats and king cheetahs.

●    The mutation (Taqpep p.H454Y) is likely absent or extremely rare in tigers outside of Similipal.

●    With shrinking habitats, the tiger population becomes increasingly isolated. This causes inbreeding, resulting in a lack of genetic variation, and inheriting the mutated gene.

Similipal Tiger Reserve:

●        Simlipal National Park is a national park and a tiger reserve in the Mayurbhanj district in Odisha. Hence statement (1) is incorrect.

●        It is part of the Mayurbhanj Elephant Reserve, which includes three protected areas — Similipal Tiger Reserve, Hadagarh Wildlife Sanctuary and Kuldiha Wildlife Sanctuary.

●        It derives its name from the abundance of red silk cotton trees (simal tree) growing in the area. It is the 7th largest National Park in India.

●        Fauna: Bengal tiger, Asian elephant, gaur, and chausingha

●        It hosts beautiful waterfalls like Joranda and Barehipani Falls.

●        This protected area is part of the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves since 2009. Hence statement (2) is correct.

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/how-and-why-these-tigers-in-odisha-changed-their-stripes/article36443586.ece

7. Recently, the term REX MKII is seen in news, it is related to

a)  An utility helicopter

b) A twin engine light aircraft

c)  An armed robot

d) An artillery gun

Answer: (d) An armed robot

Explanation:

In NEWS: Israeli firm unveils armed robot to patrol volatile borders

●    An Israeli defense contractor on Monday unveiled a remote-controlled armed robot it says can patrol battle zones, track infiltrators and open fire.

●    The unmanned vehicle is the latest addition to the world of drone technology, which is rapidly reshaping the modern battlefield.

●    The four-wheel-drive robot presented Monday was developed by the state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries’ “REX MKII.” Hence option (d) is correct.

●    It is operated by an electronic tablet and can be equipped with two machine guns, cameras and sensors, said Rani Avni, deputy head of the company’s autonomous systems division.

●    The robot can gather intelligence for ground troops, carry injured soldiers and supplies in and out of battle, and strike nearby targets.

●    The Israeli military is currently using a smaller but similar vehicle called the Jaguar to patrol the border with the Gaza Strip and help enforce a blockade Israel imposed in 2007, after the tiny territory was seized by the Islamic militant group Hamas.

Source: https://www.newindianexpress.com/world/2021/sep/13/israeli-firm-unveils-armed-robot-to-patrol-volatile-borders-2358182.html

8. With respect to Input Tax Credit, Consider the following statements:

1) It is the tax that a business pays on a purchase and that it can use to reduce its tax liability when it makes a sale.

2) A business under composition scheme cannot avail of input tax credit.

Which of the above statements 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: SC upholds Madras HC order on refund of unutilised input tax credit

●    The Supreme Court has confirmed a Madras High Court judgment which upheld a fiscal formula included in the Central Goods and Service Tax Rules to execute refunds of unutilised Input Tax Credit (ITC) accumulated on account of input services.

●    The Madras HC had held last year that Section 54(3) of the Central Goods and Service Tax (CGST) Act – which allows for a refund of Input Tax Credit (ITC) where the accumulation is due to an inverted duty structure – does not infringe on Article 14 of the Constitution.

●    It said that refund of tax paid on inputs and not input services was available under the inverted duty structure.

Input Tax Credit (ITC):

●    It is the tax that a business pays on a purchase and that it can use to reduce its tax liability when it makes a sale.Hence statement (1) is correct.

●    In simple terms, input credit means at the time of paying tax on output, you can reduce the tax you have already paid on inputs and pay the balance amount.

●    Exceptions: A business under composition scheme cannot avail of input tax credit. ITC cannot be claimed for personal use or for goods that are exempt. Hence statement (2) is icorrect.

●    There could be a possibility of misuse of the provision by unscrupulous businesses by generating fake invoices just to claim tax credit.

●    As much as 80% of the total GST liability is being settled by ITC and only 20% is deposited as cash.

●    Under the present dispensation, there is no provision for real time matching of ITC claims with the taxes already paid by suppliers of inputs.

●    Currently there is a time gap between ITC claims and matching them with the taxes paid by suppliers. Hence there is a possibility of ITC being claimed on the basis of fake invoices.

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/sc-upholds-madras-hc-order-on-refund-of-unutilised-input-tax-credit/article36443050.ece

9. With reference to Index of Industrial Production (IIP), consider the following statements:

1) It is released by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

2) It calculates the index based on only eight core sectors of industries.

3) The base year to calculate the IIP is 2011-12.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a)                     1 only

(b)                    2 and 3 only

(c)                     1, 2 and 3

(d)                    3 only

Answer:(d) 3 only

Explanation:

News: India’s industrial output grew by 11.5% in July compared to a 10.5% contraction a year ago, as per quick estimates from the National Statistical Office (NSO). Hence statement (1) is incorrect.

Key Points:

●    Mining, manufacturing and electricity recorded growth of 19.5%, 10.5% and 11.1%, respectively, albeit driven by favourable base effects.

●    The country’s output of the eight core sectors – also known as the infrastructural output, grew 9.4% in July 2021.

●    The index substantially bridged the gap with the pre-pandemic level and remained only marginally lower than the July 2019 mark, suggesting a graded pick-up in industrial activities with the easing of curbs in key states as the Second Covid Wave waned.

●    This recovery is owing to the result of the Base Effect due to the Covid-19 lockdown that affected economic activity in 2020.


●    The base effect refers to the effect that the choice of a basis of comparison or reference can have on the result of the comparison between data points.

●    Index of Industrial Production:


●    IIP is an indicator that measures the changes in the volume of production of industrial products during a given period.

●    It is compiled and published monthly by the National Statistical Office (NSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.

●    It is a composite indicator that measures the growth rate of industry groups classified under:


○    Broad sectors, namely, Mining, Manufacturing, and Electricity.

○    Use-based sectors, namely Basic Goods, Capital Goods, and Intermediate Goods. Hence statement (2) is incorrect.

●    Base Year for IIP is 2011-2012. Hence statement (3) is correct.

●    Significance of IIP:


○    It is used by government agencies including the Ministry of Finance, the Reserve Bank of India, etc, for policy-making purposes.

○    IIP remains extremely relevant for the calculation of the quarterly and advance GDP (Gross Domestic Product) estimates.

●    About Eight Core Sectors:


●    These comprise 40.27% of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP).

●    The eight core sector industries in decreasing order of their weightage: Refinery Products> Electricity> Steel> Coal> Crude Oil> Natural Gas> Cement> Fertilizers.

10. Who of the following founded a new city on the south bank of a tributary to river Krishna and undertook to rule his new kingdom as the agent of a deity to whom all the land south of the river Krishna was supposed to belong? (UPSC- 2015)

a)  Amoghavarsha I

b) Ballala II

c)  Harihara I

d) Prataparudra II

Answer: (c) Harihara I

Explanation:

●    Harihara I was the founder of the Vijayanagara Empire. Hence option (c) is correct.

●    He founded a new city on the south bank of a tributary to river Krishna and undertook to rule his new kingdom as the agent of a deity to whom all the land south of the river Krishna was supposed to belong.

●    He initially established his control over the valley of Tungabhadra River and gradually he expanded his control to certain regions of Konkan and Malabar Coast.