1. Consider the following statements regarding Shankhalipi script:

1) It is an ornate spiral character assumed to be brahmi derivatives that look like conch shells.

2) They are found in inscriptions across north-central India.

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


In NEWS: Explained: How a Gupta era temple in Etah has put focus back on shankhalipi script

●        Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) discovered remains of an ancient temple dating back to the Gupta period (5th century) in a village in Uttar Pradesh’s Etah district.

●        The stairs of the temple had ‘shankhalipi’ inscriptions, which were deciphered by the archaeologists as saying, ‘Sri Mahendraditya’, the title of Kumaragupta I of the Gupta dynasty.

About Shankhalipi script

●    Shankhalipi or “shell-script” is a term used by scholars to describe ornate spiral characters assumed to be Brahmi derivatives that look like conch shells or shankhasHence statement (1) is correct.

●    They are found in inscriptions across north-central India and date to between the 4th and 8th centuries. Hence statement (2) is correct.

●        Both Shankhalipi and Brahmi are stylised scripts used primarily for names and signatures.

●        The inscriptions consist of a small number of characters, suggesting that the shell inscriptions are names or auspicious symbols or a combination of the two.

●        The script was discovered in 1836 on a brass trident in Uttarakhand’s Barahat by English scholar James Prinsep, who was the founding editor of the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal.

●        A year later, he came across two more similar scripts at Nagarjuna group of caves in the Barabar Hills near Gaya.

●        Prominent sites with shell inscriptions include the Mundeshwari Temple in Bihar, the Udayagiri Caves in Madhya Pradesh, Mansar in Maharashtra and some of the cave sites of Gujarat and Maharashtra.

●        In fact, shell inscriptions are also reported in Indonesia’s Java and Borneo.

●        Scholars have tried to decipher shell script but have not been successful.

Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/gupta-dynasty-temple-etah-shankhalipi-inscriptions-explained-7512236/

2. With reference to Mura-Drava-Danube, Consider the following statements:

1) It is the world’s first five-country biosphere reserve.

2) It stretches across Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary and Serbia.

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


In NEWS: UNESCO declares world’s first 5-country biosphere reserve in ‘Amazon of Europe’

●    UNESCO September 15, 2021, designated Mura-Drava-Danube (MDD) as the world’s first ‘five-country biosphere reserve’, according to a statement by the World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature. Hence statement (1) is correct.

●    The biosphere reserve covers 700 kilometres of the Mura, Drava and Danube rivers and stretches across Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary and Serbia. Hence statement (2) is correct.

●        The total area of the reserve — a million hectares — in the so-called ‘Amazon of Europe’, makes it the largest riverine protected area on the continent.

●        The strategy’s aim is to revitalise 25,000 km of rivers and protect 30 percent of the European Union’s land area by 2030.

●        The reserve is home to floodplain forests, gravel and sand banks, river islands, oxbows and meadows.

●        It is home to continental Europe’s highest density of breeding white-tailed eagle (more than 150 pairs), as well as endangered species such as the little tern, black stork, otters, beavers and sturgeons.

●        It is also an important annual resting and feeding place for more than 250,000 migratory birds, according to WWF. Almost 900,000 people live in the biosphere reserve.

●        Additional projects for nature and people are already being implemented in the area. They have a combined funding of around 20 million Euros and are co-financed by the European Union.

Source: https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/wildlife-biodiversity/unesco-declares-world-s-first-5-country-biosphere-reserve-in-amazon-of-europe–79056

3. Consider the following statements regarding Biosphere Reserve:

1) It is a designation by UNESCO for representative parts of natural and cultural landscapes extending over large areas of terrestrial or coastal/marine ecosystems or a combination of both.

2) It has a buffer zone around the core areas and is free from human interference.

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


In NEWS: UNESCO declares world’s first 5-country biosphere reserve in ‘Amazon of Europe’

●    Biosphere Reserve (BR) is a designation by UNESCO for representative parts of natural and cultural landscapes extending over large areas of terrestrial or coastal/marine ecosystems or a combination of both. Hence statement (1) is correct

●        Biosphere Reserves tries to balance economic and social development and maintenance of associated cultural values along with the preservation of nature.

It has three-part structure:

●        Core areas: It is the most protected area of a biosphere reserve and free from human interference. It may contain endemic plants and animals.

●    Buffer Zone: It is around the core areas and helps in the protection of core areas. Some activities like restoration, limited tourism, fishing, grazing, research and educational activities etc. are allowed. Hence statement (2) is incorrect

●        Transition zone: It is the zone of cooperation where human activities and conservation are done in harmony (Ex- settlements, croplands, managed forests and areas for intensive recreation and other economic uses etc. are done).

Biosphere Reserves in India

Source: https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/wildlife-biodiversity/unesco-declares-world-s-first-5-country-biosphere-reserve-in-amazon-of-europe–79056

4. Which organization has launched a unique Scheme called SPIN?

a)  Khadi and Village Industries Commission

b) Small Industries Development Bank of India

c)  Solar Energy Corporation of India

d) NITI Aayog

Answer: (a) Khadi and Village Industries Commission


In NEWS: On Prime Minister’s birthday, KVIC launches series of schemes to empower artisans in Varanasi

●        Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) launched a unique Scheme called SPIN (Strengthening the Potential of India) and set up a pottery cluster under SFURTI Scheme in Varanasi to empower over 1100 people of the marginalized potters’ community on the occasion of “Sewa Diwas”, the birthday of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. Hence option (a) is correct.

SPIN (Strengthening the Potential of India) Scheme

●        780 potters from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan and Jharkhand have registered for financial assistance from the bank to begin their own business.

●        Unlike Kumhar Sashaktikaran Yojana, which is a subsidy-based program, SPIN Scheme enables the registered potters to get a direct loan from the banks under Pradhan Mantri Shishu Mudra Yojana.

●        Under the SPIN Scheme, KVIC is acting as a facilitator for financial aid to potters through RBL bank and also providing training to the artisans, opting for this scheme.

●        Under this scheme, there will be no financial burden on the exchequer and the loan will be repaid by the potter in easy installments.

●        The SPIN scheme, thus, aims at infusing self-sustainability in the Indian pottery sector.

Source: https://pib.gov.in/PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=1755752

5. Sometimes Faroe Island is seen in news, is an autonomous territory of

a)  Japan

b) Denmark

c)  Australia

d) Mozambique

Answer: (b) Denmark


In NEWS:Slaughter of more than 1,400 dolphins in the Faroe Islands sparks condemnation worldwide

●        Hunters in the Faroe Islands riding speed boats and jet skis ambushed and slaughtered a super-pod of more than 1,400 white-sided dolphins on Sunday (Sept. 12), leading to outcry from conservationists and even some supporters of the archipelago’s centuries-old tradition of killing the marine animals for food.

●        Dolphin hunting is an ancient tradition in the Faroe Islands — an autonomous territory of Denmark located between Norway, Scotland and Iceland — that dates back to Viking times. Hence option (b) is correct.

●         Known as a Grindadráp, or just “the grind,” the controversial custom involves driving pilot whales or other large dolphin species into the islands’ fjords in order to kill them with a specialized lance. It is the only Indigenous whaling practice still undertaken in Western Europe.

●        Currently, dolphin hunting in the Faroe Islands is legal, though it does require a license and permission from local authorities.

Source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-58555694

6. With reference to Agni-V, Consider the following statements:

1) It is the intercontinental surface-to-surface non-nuclear capable ballistic missile.

2) It has a range of over 5,000 km and can carry about a 1500-kg warhead.

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


In NEWS: Countries in South Asia should make efforts for peace: China

China said on Thursday that all countries in South Asia should make efforts to maintain peace, security and stability in the region as it reacted to media reports on India’s plan to test nuclear-capable ICBM Agni-V ballistic missile, which has a range of 5,000 kms.

●        Maintaining peace, security and stability in South Asia means the common interest of all

●        Very few countries, including the US, China, Russia, France and North Korea, have intercontinental ballistic missiles.

●        As for whether India can develop ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons, the UNSC Resolution 1172 already has clear stipulations.

●        The UNSC resolution of 1172 is related to 1998 nuclear tests by both India and Pakistan.

●        It condemned the nuclear tests conducted by India and by Pakistan and asked the two countries to refrain from further nuclear tests. It also urged India and Pakistan to cease development of ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

●        China has come up with similar reactions during past tests of Agni-V by India


●        Agni-V is the most advanced surface-to-surface indigenously built ballistic missile.

●        It is a three-stage, solid fuel 17-metre tall, and is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead of about 1.5 tonnes.

●        Agni-V is a fire and forget missile, which once fired cannot be stopped, except by an interceptor missile.

●        It has been developed under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP).

●    Agni- 5 is the intercontinental surface-to-surface nuclear capable ballistic missile. It is the latest in India’s “Agni” family of medium to intercontinental range missiles. Hence statement (1) is correct.

●    Agni-5 has a range of over 5,000 km and can carry about a 1500-kg warhead. It can target almost all of Asia including Pakistan and China and EuropeHence statement (2) is correct.

●        The 17-metre long Agni-5 Missile weighs about 50 tonnes and is a very agile and modern weapon system.

Source: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/countries-in-south-asia-should-make-efforts-for-peace-china/articleshow/86259126.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst

7. Consider the following statements regarding Collective Security Treaty Organization:

1) It is a military alliance that promotes the collective defence of any member that comes under external aggression.

2) India is a part of this organization.

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


In NEWS: Global community must ensure Afghan soil is not used for terrorism: Modi at SCO-CSTO meet

●        The world community must decide collectively on recognising the new setup in Kabul in view of questions about its legitimacy because the change of power in Afghanistan was “not inclusive” and done “without negotiation”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said

●        In his virtual address to a joint meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) that was convened in Dushanbe to discuss the situation in Afghanistan, Modi said the international community must ensure Afghan soil is not used to spread terrorism.

About Collective Security Treaty Organization

●    CSTO is an intergovernmental military alliance that was signed on 15 May 1992. Hence statement (1) is correct.

●    In 1992, six post-Soviet states belonging to the Commonwealth of Independent States—Russia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan—signed the Collective Security Treaty. Hence statement (2) is incorrect.

●        This is also referred to as the “Tashkent Pact” or “Tashkent Treaty”.

●        Three other post-Soviet states—Azerbaijan, Belarus, and Georgia—signed the next year and the treaty took effect in 1994.

●        Five years later, six of the nine—all but Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Uzbekistan—agreed to renew the treaty for five more years, and in 2002 those six agreed to create the CSTO as a military alliance.

Source: https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/global-community-must-ensure-afghan-soil-is-not-used-for-terrorism-modi-at-sco-csto-meet-101631889445538.html

8. The term AUKUS, seen in the news, is related to which of the following options?

a)  It is a new trilateral security partnership for the Indo-Pacific

b) It is a new mango variety

c)  It is an international organisation for auditing stock market share

d) It is a COVID vaccine drive portal

Answer: (a) It is a new trilateral security partnership for the Indo-Pacific


In NEWS: Explained: The AUKUS agreement to equip Australia with n-subs, and why it has upset France

●        The United States, United Kingdom, and Australia announced a new defence deal , under which America and Britain will help Australia deploy nuclear-powered submarines in the Pacific region.

●        China has nuclear-powered submarines, as well as submarines that can launch nuclear missiles. The three signatories to the AUKUS deal have made it clear though, that their aim is not to arm the new subs with nuclear weapons.

●        This alliance does not and will not supersede or outrank existing arrangements in the Indo-Pacific region such as the Quad, which the US and Australia form with India and Japan, and ASEAN.

●        AUKUS will complement these groups and others.

●        In the context of the AUKUS agreement, nuclear-powered submarines will give the Royal Australian Navy the capability to go into the South China Sea, where China is increasingly getting aggressive, to protect its assets and conduct patrols — even though this has not been spelt out by the three countries.

What is AUKUS?

●        AUKUS, as the partnership is being called, will strive over the next 18 months to equip Australia with nuclear propulsion technologyHence option (a) is correct

●        As part of this, Australia will acquire nuclear-powered submarines with help from the UK and the US.

●        It will also involve a new architecture of meetings and engagements between the three countries, as well as cooperation across emerging technologies (applied AI, quantum technologies and undersea capabilities).

●        Australia’s nuclear-powered submarines, when they deploy, will be armed with conventional weapons only and not nuclear weapons.

Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/aukus-agreement-to-equip-australia-with-nuclear-submarines-7513013/

9. Exercise Peaceful Mission is associated with which one of the following international organizations?

a)  Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

b) South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation

c)  Association of Southeast Asian Nations

d) IBSA Dialogue Forum

Answer: (a) Shanghai Cooperation Organisation


In NEWS: Indian Military Contingent Participates in the 6th Edition of Exercise SCO Peaceful Mission 2021 at Orenburg, Russia

●        The 6th edition of the Peaceful Mission is being hosted by Russia in the Orenburg Region of South-West Russia from September 13 to 25.

●        The aim of the exercise is to foster close relations between SCO member states and to enhance the abilities of the military leaders to command multinational military contingents.

●        Joint Counter Terrorism Exercise PEACEFUL MISSION is a Multilateral Exercise, which is conducted biennially as part of military diplomacy between Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) member states.

●        The exercise will enable sharing of best practices between the Armed Forces of SCO nations. The exercise will also provide an opportunity to the Armed Forces of SCO Nations to train in Counter-Terrorism Operations in an urban scenario in a multinational and joint environment.

Source: https://pib.gov.in/PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=1755021

10. The crop is subtropical in nature. A hard frost is injurious to it. It requires at least 210 frost-free days and 50 to 100 centimeters of rainfall for its growth. A light well-drained soil capable of retaining moisture is ideally suited for the cultivation of the crop.” Which one of the following is that crop ?

a)  Cotton

b) Jute

c)  Sugarcane

d) Tea

Answer: (a) Cotton