1. With respect to Commission for Air Quality Management, Consider the following statements:

1) It will be a non-statutory authority.

2) It will supersede the central and state pollution control boards of all the states.

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: (d) Neither 1 nor 2


In NEWS: Thermal plant closure on the cards when air quality worsens: Panel

●    The Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) is deliberating partial or complete shutdown of thermal power plants in Delhi-NCR, as part of its emergency measures when air pollution hits its peak in winter

●    Even if power production is cut by thermal power plants, the gap could be filled by renewable energy sources.

●    The emergency measure will be taken depending on pollution source data fed by a modelling portal called Decision Support System.

●    The incremental step was part of the now dissolved Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority’s Graded Action Plan until 2020.

Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM):

●        The Commission for Air Quality Management was formed by an ordinance in October 2020, the “Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Ordinance 2020”.

●        Chairperson: To be chaired by a government official of the rank of Secretary or Chief Secretary.

●        The Commission will be a statutory authority. Hence statement (1) is incorrect.

●        The Commission will supersede bodies such as the central and state pollution control boards of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, UP and Rajasthan. Hence statement (2) is incorrect.

●        It will have the powers to issue directions to these state governments on issues pertaining to air pollution.

●        Exclusive jurisdiction over the NCR, including areas in Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, in matters of air pollution, and will be working along with CPCB and ISRO, apart from the respective state governments.

CQMS Action Plan

●    Partial or complete shutdown of thermal power plants in the NCR region as an emergency measure in winter

●    Asking states to speed up EV policy

●    Directing coal-based industries to switch to PNG

●    Self-reporting by construction agencies to cut dust pollution

●    In-situ management of crop residue until collection point infrastructure is ready

●    Decision Support System, a real-time forecasting model on pollution sources. It will be upgraded by next year after which even ward level pollution sources could be identified.

●    Ban on vehicles entering Delhi without RFID tags

Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/thermal-plant-closure-on-the-cards-when-air-quality-worsens-panel-7518358/

2. Consider the following statements regarding Safdarjung Tomb:

1) It is a sandstone and marble mausoleum in New Delhi.

2) It was built in 1754 for the Mughal Emperor Safdarjung.

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: Safdarjung Tomb needs urgent care due to damage from weeds: Irfan Habib

●    Weeds growing on the dome of Safdarjung Tomb had damaged the monument which required urgent care from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), historian S. Irfan Habib

Safdarjung’s Tomb:

●    Safdarjung’s Tomb is a sandstone and marble mausoleum in Delhi, IndiaHence statement (1) is correct.

●    It was built in 1754 in the late Mughal Empire style for Nawab Safdarjung. Hence statement (2) is incorrect.

●    The monument has an ambience of spaciousness and an imposing presence with its domed and arched red brown and white coloured structures.

●    Safdarjung, Nawab of Oudh, was made prime minister of the Mughal Empire (Wazir al-Mamlak-i-Hindustan) when Ahmed Shah Bahadur ascended the throne in 1748.

●    The structure was constructed in 1754 in the late Mughal Empire style Safdarjung.

●    The Safdarjung tomb, the last monumental tomb garden of the Mughals, was planned and built like an enclosed garden tomb in line with the style of the Humayun tomb.

●    The tomb has four key features which are: The Char Bagh plan with the mausoleum at the center, a ninefold floor plan, a five-part façade and a large podium with a hidden stairway.

●    The slabs from the tomb of Abdul Rahim Khankhana were used in the construction of the tomb.

●    The tomb can not be compared to the Taj Mahal or the Humayun Tomb, as, at the time it was built, the Mughal Empire was on the decline and sandstone had to be used and lines were set improperly and the quality appeared “thread bare”.

●    It has several smaller pavilions with evocative names like Jangalmahal, (Palace in the woods), Moti Mahal (Pearl Palace) and Badshah Pasand (King’s favourite).

●    The complex also has a madarsa.

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/safdarjung-tomb-needs-urgent-care-due-to-damage-from-weeds-irfan-habib/article36538868.ece

3. Global Slavery Index is released by which one of the following international organisation?

a)  Walk Free Foundation

b) Reporters Without Borders

c)  Amnesty international

d) Human Rights Watch

Answer: (a) Walk Free Foundation


In NEWS: Denied education, Afghan girls at risk of exploitation, warns Kailash Satyarthi

●    The global community should make it clear to the Taliban that international assistance and recognition is conditional on a more moderate policy that includes allowing girls to go to school

●    Satyarthi, who was recently appointed as the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Advocate, also warned that if no concrete action is taken now, then Afghan children will suffer the most.

●    A “Global Slavery Index” survey used by ILO also said that India has the highest number of men, women and children in “modern slavery”.

About Global Slavery Index

Global Slavery Index is an index developed by Walk Free Foundation to measure the slavery in every country. Hence option (a) is correct.

The Global Slavery Index provides rankings across three dimensions:

●    Size of the problem: estimated prevalence in terms of percentage of the population and absolute numbers (by country)

●    Government response: How governments are tackling the problem

●    Vulnerability: Factors that explain or predict the prevalence.

Minderoo Foundation’s Walk Free initiative is an independent, privately funded international human rights organisation based in Perth, Western Australia. Walk Free works towards ending modern slavery in all its forms by taking a strong, multifaceted and global approach.

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/denied-education-afghan-girls-at-risk-of-exploitation-warns-kailash-satyarthi/article36538462.ece

4. Consider the following statements regarding Tarballs:

1) They are dark-coloured, sticky balls of oil that form when crude oil floats on the ocean surface.

2) Tarballs are difficult to break down and travel from the open sea to the shores.

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: What are the tarballs that have resurfaced on Mumbai’s beaches?

In this month alone, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has removed over 20,000 kg of tarballs from Juhu and Versova beaches in Mumbai.

What are tarballs?

●    Tarballs are dark-coloured, sticky balls of oil that form when crude oil floats on the ocean surface. Hence statement (1) is correct.

●    Tarballs are formed by weathering of crude oil in marine environments.

●    They are transported from the open sea to the shores by sea currents and waves. Hence statement (2) is correct.

●    Tarballs are formed by weathering of crude oil in marine environments. They are also formed from oil-well blowouts, accidental and deliberate release of bilge and ballast water from ships, river runoff, discharges through municipal sewage and industrial effluents.

●    The NIO study states that wind and waves tear the oil slick into smaller patches that are scattered over a much wider area. Various physical, chemical and biological processes (weathering) change the appearance of the oil

●    It is suspected that the oil comes from the large cargo ships in the deep sea and gets pushed to the shore as tarballs during monsoon due to wind speed and direction.

●    All the oil spill in the Arabian sea eventually gets deposited on the western coast in the form of tarballs in the monsoon season when wind speed and circulation pattern favour transportation of these tarballs

Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/mumbai-beaches-tarballs-explained-7510246/

5. In which country the Mammoth Cave National Park is situated?

a)  USA

b) Germany

c)  Australia

d) Canada

Answer: (a) USA


In NEWS: The World’s Longest Cave System Just Got Even Bigger

●    The world’s longest known cave system just set a new record after surveyors spent hours mapping an additional 8 miles (13 kilometers) of the passageways at Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky. Hence option(a) is correct.

●    The corridors at Mammoth Cave now measure a whopping 420 miles (676 kilometers) in length, according to the National Park Service (NPS). That’s about the distance between New York City and Raleigh, North Carolina.

●    Mapping the cave system was a huge undertaking, carried out by volunteers at the Cave Research Foundation (CRF), a Kentucky-based nonprofit group, and other locals, including those from the Central Kentucky Karst Coalition.

●    It is a World Heritage Site (designated in 1981). It became an International Biosphere Reserve in 1990

Source: https://www.sciencealert.com/explores-have-mapped-even-more-hidden-passages-in-the-mammoth-cave-system

6. Consider the following statements regarding Black tigers:

1) The coat colouration and patterning of ‘black tigers’ are due to a single mutation in the Transmembrane Aminopeptidase Q gene.

2) The melanistic tiger is found only in 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: Why ‘black tigers’ sound a warning

●    They are found only in Simlipal. A study finds out what gives them their darker stripe pattern— how this is the result of inbreeding within Simlipal’s small and isolated tiger population

●    Scientists have unraveled the mystery behind Odisha’s ‘Black Tigers’ in Similipal Tiger Reserve (STR)

●    The STR is the only tiger habitat in the world with melanistic tigers, which have broad black stripes running across their bodies and thicker than those seen on normal tigers.

●    Black Tigers are a rare colour variant of the tiger and are not a distinct species or geographic subspecies.

●    The coat colouration and patterning that make the wild cats appear dark boil down to a single mutation in the Transmembrane Aminopeptidase Q (Taqpep) gene. Hence statement (1) is correct.

●    Pseudo-melanistic tigers are also present in three zoos in India — Nandankanan (Bhubaneswar), Arignar Anna Zoological Park (Chennai) and Bhagwan Birsa Biological Park (Ranchi) — where they were born in captivity. All of them have ancestral links to one individual from Simlipal.

●    Simlipal’s small and isolated tiger population led to inbreeding and the anomalous phenotype characterised by wide, merged stripes. The loss of genetic diversity is evident from the low heterozygosity — chances of inheriting different forms of a particular gene from each parent — in Simlipal (28%) compared to Central India (36%). Consequently, mean relatedness between Simlipal individuals (38%) is higher than those in Central (9%) or South India (13%). Hence statement (2) is correct.

What is pseudo-melanism? 

●    Tigers have a dark stripe pattern on a light background of white or golden. A rare pattern variant, distinguished by stripes that are broadened and fused together, is also observed in both wild and captive populations. This is known as pseudo-melanism.

●    It is a condition characterised by unusually high deposition of melanin, a dark pigment. Truly melanistic tigers are yet to be recorded. 

Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-why-black-tigers-sound-a-warning-7516323/

7. Consider the following statements regarding Agreement On Agriculture:

1) It is aimed to remove trade barriers and to promote transparent market access and integration of global markets.

2) It is an international treaty under the World Trade Organization.

3) It consists of domestic support, market access, and export subsidies as three pillars of the agreement.

Which of the above statements are correct?

a)  1 and 3 only

b) 2 and 3 only

c)  1 and 2 only

d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: (d) 1, 2 and 3


In NEWS: WTO agri agreement tilted against developing nations: Piyush Goyal

Goyal said that historical asymmetries and imbalances must be corrected to ensure a rule-based, fair and equitable order.

Agreement On Agriculture (AoA):

●        AoA is aimed to remove trade barriers and to promote transparent market access and integration of global markets. Hence statement (1) is correct

●        The AoA is an international treaty of the World Trade Organization. Hence statement (2) is correct

●        It was negotiated during the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, and entered into force with the establishment of the WTO on January 1, 1995.

●        The Agreement on Agriculture consists of three pillars—domestic support, market access, and export subsidies. Hence statement (3) is correct

Domestic support

●        AoA divides domestic support into two categories: trade-distorting and non-trade-distorting (or minimally trade-distorting).

It the classification of subsidies by “boxes” depending on consequences of production and trade:

●        Amber (most directly linked to production levels)

●        Blue (production-limiting programs that still distort trade)

●        Green (minimal distortion)

Market access

●        Market access refers to the reduction of tariff (or non-tariff) barriers to trade by WTO members.

●        Least developed countries (LDCs) were exempt from tariff reductions, but they either had to convert non-tariff barriers to tariffs—a process called tariffication—or “bind” their tariffs, creating a ceiling that could not be increased in future.

Export subsidies

●        The AoA required developed countries to reduce export subsidies by at least 36% (by value) or by 21% (by volume) over six years.

●        For developing countries, the agreement required cuts were 24% (by value) and 14% (by volume) over ten years.

Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/business/economy/wto-agri-agreement-tilted-against-developing-nations-piyush-goyal-7516568/

8. Exercise Surya Kiran is a joint military exercise between the India and

a)  Nepal

b) Bhutan

c)  Bangladesh

d) Sri Lanka

Answer: (a) Nepal



●        15th Edition of Indo – Nepal Joint Military Training, Exercise Surya Kiran between Indian Army and Nepali Army is commencing from 20 September 2021 at Pithoragarh (UK). Hence option(a) is correct.

●        The last edition of Exercise Surya Kiran was conducted in Nepal in 2019.

●        During this exercise, an Infantry Battalion from Indian Army and an equivalent strength from Nepali Army would be sharing their experiences gained during the conduct of various counter-insurgency operations over a prolonged period in their respective countries

●        Both the Armies would familiarise themselves with each other’s weapons, equipment, tactics, techniques and procedures of operating in a counter-insurgency environment in mountainous terrain.

●        There would be a series of Expert Academic Discussions on various subjects such as Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief, High Altitude Warfare, Jungle Warfare etc.

●        The exercise is part of an initiative to develop interoperability and sharing expertise between the two nations.

●        It is an important exercise in terms of the security challenges faced by both nations in the realm of changing facets of global terrorism. 

●        This joint military training will improve bilateral relations and also will be a major step towards further strengthening the traditional friendship between the two nations. 

Source: https://pib.gov.in/PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=1755783

9. Consider the following statements:

1) The Humboldt penguin is listed under ‘vulnerable’ in the IUCN list.

2) The Humboldt penguin is native to Chile and Peru.

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 are Humboldts different from other penguins?

Last week, Mumbai’s Byculla Zoo announced the addition of two new Humboldt penguin chicks this year.

Humboldt penguin:

●        Penguins are divided into six genera

●        The Humboldt penguin (Spheniscus humboldti) belongs to a genus that is commonly known as the ‘banded’ group.

●        Humboldt penguins are endemic to the Pacific coasts of Chile and Peru. Hence statement (2) is correct.

●        They are so named because their habitat is located near the Humboldt Current, a large oceanic upwelling characterised by cold waters.

●        Humboldt penguins have large, bare skin patches around their eyes, an adaptation to help keep them cool

●        The Humboldt is one of the most popular zoo penguins due to its ability to withstand warmer climates

●        The Humboldt penguin is listed under ‘vulnerable’ in the IUCN list. Hence statement (1) is correct.

●        The Humboldt Current System has alternating blooms and depletions of productivity triggered by El Niño-La Niña dynamics. 

Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-how-are-humboldts-different-from-other-penguins-7520251/

10. Atal Innovation Mission is set up under the

a)  Department of Science and Technology

b) Ministry of Labour and Employment

c)  NITI Aayog

d) Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship

Answer: (c) NITI Aayog


●        The Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) is a flagship initiative set up by the NITI Aayog to promote innovation and entrepreneurship across the length and breadth of the country.

●        AlM’s objectives are to create and promote an ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship across the country at school, university, research institutions, MSME and industry levels. Hence option (c) is correct.