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Daily Prelims Test – 18_October_2021

1. Consider the following:

1) Agar gel

2) Carrageenan

3) Alginate

4) Sagarika

Which among the above is/are extracted from sea weeds?

a)  2 only

b) 3 and 4 only

c)  1 and 2 only

d) 1, 2, 3 and 4

Answer: (d) 1, 2, 3 and 4

Explanation:

In NEWS: The blue revolution: Seaweed is the crop of the future

●    Seaweed has long been sourced by the food industry for its stabilising properties.

●    Industries related to seaweed processing also have a huge potential for those specialising in microbiology, chemistry and food technology.

●    Jayakumar, principal scientist, ICAR-CMFRI, Mandapam, points out that as the cultivation is less labour-intensive and less-technology driven, it has been taken up by almost 600 women in the region.

●    Industries related to seaweed processing also have a huge potential for those specialising in microbiology, chemistry and food technology.

Extract from Sea weeds: Hence option (d) is correct.

1. Agar Gel

●    When processed, it loses its pungency, and seaweed products such as agar gel can withstand high temperatures — it can be used as a stabiliser and thickener in pie fillings, icings and meringues.

●    It is tasteless, it does not interfere with the flavour of the food, and in ice creams it is used to inhibit the crystallisation of ice.

●    It is the main ingredient in falooda and jigarthanda is a seaweed-based product.

2. Carrageenan

●    Fisherwomen in the Tamilnadu coastal regions have been trained in cultivating a species of seaweed called Kappaphycus alvarezii that yields carrageenan.

●    Carrageenan is an additive used to thicken, emulsify, and preserve food and drinks — it’s a commercially viable venture.

3. Alginate

●    Alginate, another extract, is used in restructured and reformed food products such as chicken nuggets. As a binder and emulsifier, it helps meat retain its shape.

4. Sagarika

●    It is derived from the sap of red and brown algae, which acts as a bioenhancer and stimulates the internal growth of plants.

●    Researchers say that an extract from seaweed also helps in the faster germination of seeds, and this was successfully tested on cotton seeds.

●    As organic farming becomes the buzzword, seaweed is becoming the fertiliser of the future.

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/society/the-blue-revolution-seaweed-is-the-crop-of-the-future/article37000869.ece

2. Which of the following is correct with reference to the CSISA project?

a)  Its aim is to provide a platform to the students of Atal Tinkering Labs

b) It aims to facilitate maize cultivation for farmers.

c)  It aims to supply drinking water to Bengaluru

d) It aims to restore 100 million hectares of degraded land by 2030.

Answer: (b) It aims to facilitate maize cultivation for farmers.

Explanation:

In NEWS: International Day of Rural Women: A day in the life of a tribal woman farmer in Odisha

●    Anita Naik, a farmer living near Simlipal National Park, has become an entrepreneur after turning to maize instead of paddy

●    Over 70 per cent of rural women in India are engaged in agriculture.

●    Women carry out a large portion of the farm work as cultivators and agricultural labourers. Yet, in most instances, they are not even counted and recognised as farmers.

●    Millions of rural Indian women also shoulder the domestic work burden, a job that is undervalued and unrecognised economically.

●    Growing rice is quite taxing as paddy is a labour-intensive crop involving sowing, irrigating, weeding and harvesting. Yields can vary and are often low due to limited resources, lack of awareness and appropriate machinery.

CSISA project:

●    The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center’s (CIMMYT) CSISA project (Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia) facilitated maize cultivation for farmers, such as those in Anita’s village. Hence option (b) is correct.

●    The aim was for them to make maximum use of the land all year-round and to move beyond personal consumption towards commercial production.

●    CIMMYT’s CSISA project began its sustainable intensification programme in some parts of Odisha’s plateau region in early 2012.

●    The Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA) was established in 2009 with a goal of benefiting more than 8 million farmers by the end of 2022.

●    The project is led by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and implemented jointly with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI).

●    Operating in rural ‘innovation hubs’ in Bangladesh, India and Nepal, CSISA works to increase the adoption of various resource-conserving and climate-resilient technologies, and improve farmers’ access to market information and enterprise development.

●    CSISA supports women farmers by improving their access and exposure to modern and improved technological innovations, knowledge and entrepreneurial skills.

●    CSISA works in synergy with regional and national efforts, collaborating with myriad public, civil society and private-sector partners.

Source: https://www.downtoearth.org.in/blog/agriculture/international-day-of-rural-women-a-day-in-the-life-of-a-tribal-woman-farmer-in-odisha-79716

3. Consider the following statements:

1) Captive mines are mines from which the produced minerals could be used for its own consumption and as well as for selling it.

2) The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2021 eliminates the differential treatment between captive and merchant mines.

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: (b) 2 only

Explanation:

In NEWS:

●    The government has asked both private and state-owned companies with captive coal mines to produce 10 million tonnes more coal than targeted in the next six months to meet the increasing demand from consuming units.

●    The 40 captive coal mines in the country are likely to produce 70 mt of coal this fiscal against the earlier target of 60 mt, officials familiar with the development told ET. The proposed output is nearly double of last year’s 38 mt.

●    The coal ministry had allowed captive miners to sell 50% of their annual output in the open market amid an acute fuel shortage as inventories at thermal plants fell to multi-year lows.

Mines:

Captive Mines:

●    Captive mines are the mines that are owned by companies.

●    The coal or mineral produced from these mines is for the exclusive use of the owner company of the mines.

●    The company cannot sell coal or minerals outside. Some electricity generation companies used to have captive mines.

●    Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 empowered central to reserve any mine for the particular end-use. These were the captive mines.

Non- Captive Mines:

●    Non-captive Mines are mines from which the produced coals of minerals could be used for its own consumption and as well as for selling it. Hence statement (1) is incorrect

●    Now, the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2021 removed the distinction. Now captive mines will also be able to sell their stockHence statement (2) is correct

Source: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/indl-goods/svs/metals-mining/govt-asks-captive-coal-mines-to-boost-output-by-10-mt/articleshow/87034046.cms?from=mdr

4. With respect to Nihang, Consider the following statements:

1) It is an order of Sikh warriors.

2) Formation of the Nihang order can be traced back to the creation of the Khalsa by Guru Gobind Singh in 1699.

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: Explained: Who are Nihangs, the Sikh sect in spotlight after Singhu lynching?

●    A year and half after one of their groups chopped off the hand of an Assistant Sub Inspector of Punjab Police in Patiala after being intercepted to show a curfew pass during Covid lockdown, Nihang Sikhs are in spotlight again – for the early Friday morning brutal lynching of a man they accused of disrespecting holy scripture.

Nihang:

●    Nihang is an order of Sikh warriors, characterised by blue robes, antiquated arms such as swords and spears, and decorated turbans surmounted by steel quoits. Hence statement (1) is correct.

●    Etymologically the word Nihang stems more from the Sanskrit word nihshank which means without fear, unblemished, pure, carefree and indifferent to worldly gains and comfort.

●    The word Nihang also occurs in a hymn in the Guru Granth Sahib, where it alludes to a fearless and unrestrained person.

●    Formation of the Nihang order can be traced back to the creation of the Khalsa by Guru Gobind Singh in 1699. Hence statement (2) is correct.

How were Nihangs different from other Sikhs, and other Sikh warriors?

●    As per an account by the East India Company’s Colonel James Skinner (1778-1841), Khalsa Sikhs were divided into two groups.

●    Those who put on blue attire which Guru Gobind Singh used to wear at the time of battle and those who do not follow any restrictions on the colour of their dress.

●    Both of them follow the profession of soldiery and are brave without peer in the art of musketry and chakarbaz, and the use of quoits.

●    Nihangs observe the Khalsa code of conduct in its strictest sense.

●    They do not profess any allegiance to an earthly master. Instead of saffron they hoist a blue Nishan Sahib (flag) atop their shrines.

Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-nihangs-sikh-sect-singhu-lynching-7573241/

5. With reference to Endosulfan, Consider the following statements:

1) It occurs naturally in the environment.

2) It is used to control insects on food and non-food crops.

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: (b) 2 only

Explanation:

In NEWS: Call for returning endosulfan in Kasaragod warehouses to manufacturing firm for disposal

●    Disposal of endosulfan stocks faces a new hurdle, with a popular movement taking out a protest march to Plantation Corporation godowns in Kasaragod district.

●    The protesters have called for the endosulfan stocks to be returned to the company for safe disposal in the Kasaragod district.

Endosulfan

●    Endosulfan is a pesticide and it does not occur naturally in the environment. Hence statement (1) is incorrect

●    It is a cream-to-brown-coloured solid that may appear crystalline or in flakes.

●    It has a distinct odour similar to turpentine.

●    It is used to control insects on food and non-food crops and also as a wood preservativeHence statement (2) is correct

●    It is sold as a mixture of two different forms of the same chemical (referred to as α- and β-endosulfan).

●    Endosulfan can be released into the air, water, and soil in areas where it is applied as a pesticide.

●    The health effects of endosulfan depend on how much endosulfan you are exposed to and the length of that exposure.

●    Toxic by inhalation, skin absorption, or ingestion.

●    In 2012, when there was the threat of endosulfan leaks from old godowns, they were transferred to new godowns through a scheme called Operation Blossom Spring.

●    It aims to restore organic farming practices back in the district and preserve the ecological balance

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/call-for-returning-endosulfan-in-kasaragod-warehouses-to-manufacturing-firm-for-disposal/article37011345.ece

6. Consider the following statements regarding Green crackers:

1) They were researched and developed by CSIR-NEERI.

2) They are composed of chemicals like arsenic, lithium, barium, and lead.

3) They release water vapour which does not allow the dust to rise.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

a)  1 only

b) 1 and 3 only

c)  2 only

d) 3 only

Answer: (b) 1 and 3 only

Explanation:

In NEWS: What are green crackers? Know which states imposed rules on fireworks this year

●    In view of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) related situation and concerns surrounding the rising level of pollution due to firecrackers during the festive season, several states have imposed certain rules on fireworks this year.

●    These vary from either a complete or a partial ban on firecracker sales in these respective states to permitting the sale of ‘green crackers’ instead.

●    Rajasthan to allow ‘only’ green crackers.

●    The Delhi Pollution Control Committee has ordered a complete ban on the sale and bursting of firecrackers in the national capital till January 1, 2022.

●    Tamil Nadu CM urges counterparts to relax ban, allow green crackers

What are green crackers?

●    ‘Green crackers’ are low-emission fireworks permitted by the Supreme Court for celebrations to a moderate degree during festivals, relaxing the ‘complete ban’ on fireworks previously imposed in 2017.

●    These green crackers, researched and developed by experts at the CSIR-NEERI (Council of Scientific & Industrial Research – National Environmental Engineering Research Institute), a government-funded research institute in the field of environmental science, have a small shell size compared to normal crackers. Hence statement (1) is correct.

●    These green crackers are produced with less harmful raw materials, in accordance with instructions issued by the top court, and are made in a way that suppresses the dust when they are burnt – thus reducing emissions.

●    They also do not contain harmful chemicals such as lithium, arsenic, barium, and lead and instead release water vapour that does not allow the dust to riseHence statement (2) is incorrect and statement (3) is correct.

●    These green crackers are believed to cause 30 per cent less particulate matter pollution than traditional crackers and are thus considered generally less harmful than their conventional alternatives.

Source: https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/what-are-green-crackers-know-which-states-imposed-rules-on-fireworks-this-year-101634348648353.html

7. Consider the following statements regarding Foreign Currency Assets:

1) It is the largest component of the forex reserve.

2) It excludes the effect of appreciation or depreciation of non-US units like the euro, pound and yen held in the foreign exchange reserves.

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: (a) 1 only

Explanation:

In NEWS: India’s Forex reserves rise by $2.04 billion to $639.51 billion

●    The country’s foreign exchange reserves rose by $2.039 billion to $639.516 billion.

●    During the reporting week ended October 8, the rise in the reserves was on account of an increase in the Foreign Currency Assets (FCAs), Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) weekly data released

●    Gold reserves were up by $464 million to $38.022 billion in the reporting week.

●    The Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) rose by $28 million to $19.268 billion.

●    The country’s reserve position with the IMF declined by $3 million to $5.225 billion in the reporting week

Foreign Currency Assets

●    FCA are assets that are valued based on a currency other than the country’s own currency.

●    FCA is the largest component of the forex reserve. It is expressed in dollar terms. Hence statement (1) is correct

●    FCA includes the effect of appreciation or depreciation of non-US units like the euro, pound and yen held in the foreign exchange reserves. Hence statement (2) is incorrect

Source: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/finance/indias-forex-reserves-rise-by-2-04-billion-to-639-51-billion/articleshow/87041938.cms

8. Consider the following statements regarding Zeolites:

1) They are naturally formed when the volcanic rocks react with alkaline groundwater.

2) They do not have any harmful environmental effects.

3) They are used as sorbents and catalysts.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

a)  3 only

b) 1 and 3 only

c)  2 only

d) 1,2 and 3

Answer: (d) 1,2 and 3

Explanation:

In NEWS: Zeolite oxygen concentrators: chemistry in three dimensions

●    In biological systems, proteins are 1-dimensional polymers of amino acids.

●    In recent years, this has been taken to a new level by the creation of extended 2- or 3- dimensional structures from linking together molecular units just as was done for polymers, but in two or three dimensions.

●    Uses for these Covalent Organic Frameworks (COFs) take advantage of their stability, large surface area, controlled pore sizes, and tunable chemical environments

●    Metal Organic frameworks (MOFs) are structured like COFs but have metals in complexes with organic entities

Zeolites:

●    Zeolites are aluminosilicate minerals.

●    The Zeolites are naturally formed when the volcanic rocks react with alkaline groundwater. Hence statement (1) is correct.

●    However, naturally occurring zeolites are rarely pure and are contaminated to varying degrees by other minerals. For this reason, naturally occurring zeolites are excluded from important commercial applications.

●    The zeolites are also produced by the process of slow crystallisation of silica-alumina gel.

●    Zeolites are not reactive and are obtained from naturally occurring minerals, they do not have any harmful environmental effects. Hence statement (2) is correct.

Application

●    Zeolites are widely used as ion-exchange beds in domestic and commercial water purification, softening, and other applications.

●    They have the potential of providing precise and specific separation of gases. This includes the removal of H2O, CO2, and SO2 from low-grade natural gas streams.

●    Zeolites are also marketed as dietary supplements to treat cancer, diarrhoea, autism, herpes, and hangover. It is also used to balance pH and remove heavy metals in the body.

●    Also, they are used as sorbents and catalysts. Hence statement 3 is correct

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/zeolite-oxygen-concentrators-chemistry-in-three-dimensions/article37027644.ece

9. Consider the following statements:

1) Hypersonic weapons travel faster than five times the speed of sound.

2) India has become the fourth country after the United States, Russia and China to develop and successfully test hypersonic technology.

3) India is involved in developing a hypersonic cruise missile in cooperation with the USA.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

a)  1 and 2 only

b) 1 only

c)  3 only

d) 1,2 and 3

Answer: (a) 1 and 2 only

Explanation:

In NEWS: China tested ‘nuclear capable hypersonic missile’, says report

●    China’s military has carried out its first-ever test of a nuclear capable hypersonic missile

●    Several countries, including the US, Russia and China, are developing hypersonic missiles which travel at a speed five times that of sound. Though slower than ballistic missiles, they are harder to intercept and can be manoeuvred. Hence statement (2) is correct.

●    According to the FT report, the missile, whose launch was kept a secret by China, circled the globe before cruising towards its target, though missing its mark by around 24 miles.

About Hypersonic weapons

●    Hypersonic weapons travel faster than five times the speed of soundHence statement (1) is correct.

●    There are generally two categories of hypersonic weapons, cruise missiles powered by engines, and glide vehicles, which are launched nearly into space before diving back down to their targets.

●    Hypersonic cruise missiles are maneuverable and fly at lower altitudes, making them more difficult to detect, whereas ballistic missiles fly on more predictable trajectories.

●    India is involved in developing a hypersonic cruise missile in cooperation with Russia. That system, known as the Brahmos II, is based on a supersonic cruise missile. Hence statement (3) is incorrect.

●    The hypersonic vehicle India tested is powered by a supersonic combustion ramjet, or scramjet, engine after being launched by a solid-fueled ballistic missile rocket motor. The test vehicle flew at an altitude of 30 kilometers at six times the speed of sound for about 20 seconds after separating from the launcher

Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/world/china-tested-hypersonic-missile-in-august-says-ft-report-7576171/

10. With reference to casual workers employed in India, consider the following statements:

1) All casual workers are entitled for Employees Provident Fund coverage.

2) All casual workers are entitled for regular working hours and overtime payment.

3) The government can by a notification specify that an establishment or industry shall pay wages only through its bank account.

Which of the above statements are correct?

a)  1 and 2 only

b) 2 and 3 only

c)  1 and 3 only

d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: (d) 1, 2 and 3

Explanation:

Code on Social Security, 2020:

●    The Code replaces nine laws related to social security. These include the Employees’ Provident Fund Act, 1952, the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, and the Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act, 2008 among others.

●    The code is applicable to any establishment (subject to size – threshold as may be notified by the central government).

●    Social security fund: The code states that the central government will set up such a fund for unorganized workers, gig workers and platform workers.

●    Further, state governments will also set up and administer separate social security funds for unorganized workers.

●    Code on Wages, 2020 ,Section 6 & 7 are related to the number of regular working hours and Weekly day of rest & overtime provisions respectively. Hence statements (1) & (2) are correct.

●    The Payment of Wages Act, 1936 has been amended by Payment of Wages (Amendment) Act, 2017 (effective from 28.12.2016) to enable the employers to pay wages to their employees by (a) cash or (b) cheque or (c) crediting to their bank account.

●    The amendment in the Act also enables the appropriate Government to specify the industrial or other establishment, by notification in the Official Gazette, which shall pay to every person employed in such industrial or other establishment, the wages only by cheque or by crediting in his bank account. Hence statement (3) is correct.