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Daily Prelims Test – 22_August_2021

What is/are the purpose/purposes of launch of the International Bullion Exchange?

1) To provide an efficient price discovery and assurance in the quality of gold.

2) Help establish India’s position as a dominant trading hub in the world.

3) To bring all the market participants to a common transparent platform for bullion trading.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

a) 1 only

b) 2 and 3 only

c) 1 and 3 only

d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: (d) 1, 2 and 3

Explanation:

In NEWS: Pilot Launch of International Bullion Exchange – The Gateway for Bullion Imports

The International Bullion Exchange is scheduled to go live on October 1, 2021 the Foundation Day of IFSCA.

About International Bullion Exchange

  • This shall be the “Gateway for Bullion Imports into India”, wherein all the bullion imports for domestic consumption shall be channelized through the exchange.
  • The exchange ecosystem is expected to bring all the market participants to a common transparent platform for bullion trading.
  • It would provide efficient price discovery, assurance in the quality of gold, enable greater integration with other segments of financial markets and help establish India’s position as a dominant trading hub in the World. Hence option (d) is correct.
  • Bullion can sometimes be considered legal tender, most often held in reserves by central banks or used by institutional investors to hedge against inflationary effects on their portfolios.
  • Approximately 20% of mined gold is held by central banks worldwide.
  • This gold is held as bullions in reserves, which the bank uses to settle the international debt or stimulate the economy through gold lending.
  • The central bank lends gold from their bullion reserves to bullion banks at a rate of approximately 1% to help raise money.
  • About Bullion
  • Bullion is gold and silver that is officially recognized as being at least 99.5% and 99.9% pure and is in the form of bars or ingots.
  • Bullion is often kept as a reserve asset by governments and central banks.
  • To create bullion, gold first must be discovered by mining companies and removed from the earth in the form of gold ore, a combination of gold and mineralized rock.
  • The gold is then extracted from the ore with the use of chemicals or extreme heat.
  • The resulting pure bullion is also called “parted bullion.” Bullion that contains more than one type of metal, is called “unparted bullion.”

Source: https://www.pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1746963

Consider the following statements regarding Kigali agreement:

1) It is an amendment to the Kyoto Protocol.

2) It aims to phase down hydrofluorocarbons by curbing both their production and consumption.

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: National strategy for phase down of Hydrofluorocarbons after required consultation with all the industry stakeholders by 2023

  • The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister has given its approval for ratification of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer for phase down of Hydroflurocarbons (HFCs) by India, adopted by the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on October, 2016 at 28th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol held at Kigali, Rwanda.
  • A national strategy for phase down of hydrofluorocarbons will be developed after required consultation with all the industry stakeholders by 2023.
  • Amendments to the existing legislation framework, the Ozone Depleting Substances (Regulation and Control) Rules to allow appropriate control of the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons to ensure compliance with the Kigali Amendment will be done by mid-2024.
  • About Kigali Amendment
  • The Kigali agreement is an amendment to the Montreal ProtocolHence statement (1) is incorrect.
  • It aims to phase down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by curbing both their production and consumption. Hence statement (2) is correct.
  • To achieve over 80% reduction in HFC consumption by 2047 which will curb a global increase of temperature by up to 0.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.
  • India will complete its phase-down of HFCs in four steps from 2032 onwards with a cumulative reduction of 10% in 2032, 20% in 2037, 30% in 2042 and 80% in 2047.
  • About HFCs
  • HFCs are entirely man-made. They are primarily produced for use in refrigeration, air-conditioning, insulating foams and aerosol propellants, with minor uses as solvents and for fire protection.
  • HFCs were developed to replace stratospheric ozone-depleting substances (ODS) that are currently being phased out under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.
  • Though HFCs do not impact the ozone layer, many HFCs are very powerful greenhouse gases and a substantial number are short-lived climate pollutants with a lifetime of between 15 and 29 years in the atmosphere.
  • The main uses of ozone depleting substances include:
  • CFCs and HCFCs in refrigerators and air conditioners,    HCFCs and halons in fire extinguishers,
  • CFCs and HCFCs in foam,
  • CFCs and HCFCs as aerosol propellants, and
  • Methyl bromide for fumigation of soil, structures and goods to be imported or exported.

Sourcehttps://www.pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1746946

Peechi-Vazhani Wildlife Sanctuary is located in which one of the following state in India?

a) Tamilnadu

b) Karnataka

c) Goa

d) Kerala

Answer: (d) Kerala

Explanation:

In NEWS: Mild earthquake felt in Thrissur district of Kerala

  • A moderate earthquake of 3.3 magnitude on the Richter scale was reported in Peechi-Vazhani Wildlife Sanctuary areas of Thrissur district. Hence option (d) is correct.
  • The sanctuary was established in 1958 consisting of Palappilli- Nelliyampathi forests including the area of Chimmony Wildlife sanctuary and is the second oldest sanctuary in Kerala.
  • Kuthiran Tunnel, first road tunnel in Kerala, runs through the Peechi-Vazhani wildlife sanctuary.
  • About Earthquake
  • An earthquake in simple words is the shaking of the earth. It is a natural event. It is caused due to release of energy, which generates waves that travel in all directions.
  • The vibrations called seismic waves are generated from earthquakes that travel through the Earth and are recorded on instruments called seismographs.
  • The location below the earth’s surface where the earthquake starts is called the hypocenter, and the location directly above it on the surface of the earth is called the epicenter.
  • There are four seismic zones (II, III, IV, and V) in India based on scientific inputs relating to seismicity, earthquakes occurred in the past and tectonic setup of the region.
  • Seismic Zone II:
  • Area with minor damage earthquakes corresponding to intensities V to VI of MM scale (MM-Modified Mercalli Intensity scale).
  • Seismic Zone III:
  • Moderate damage corresponding to intensity VII of MM scale.
  • Seismic Zone IV:
  • Major damage corresponding to intensity VII and higher of MM scale.
  • Seismic Zone V:
  • Area determined by pro seismically of certain major fault systems and is seismically the most active region.
  • Earthquake zone V is the most vulnerable to earthquakes, where historically some of the country’s most powerful shocks have occurred.
  • Earthquakes with magnitudes in excess of 7.0 have occured in these areas, and have had intensities higher than IX.

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/mild-earthquake-felt-in-thrissur-district-of-kerala/article35980309.ece#:~:text=A%20moderate%20earthquake%20of%203.3,houses%20upon%20hearing%20the%20sound.

Consider the following statements regarding Vriksharopan Abhiyan:

1) It is a tree plantation campaign to be organized by the Ministry of Coal.

2) It is expected to give a major boost to the Go Greening Initiative which has set an ambitious target to cover 2385 hectares of area under bio-reclamation/plantation.

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: Vriksharopan Abhiyan – 2021”of Coal Ministry to be Launched on 19th August, 2021 as part of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav Celebrations

  • Ministry of Coal have set an ambitious target under the “Go Greening” drive to cover 2385 hectares of area under bio-reclamation/plantationHence statement (2) is correct.
  • The “Go Greening” drive is to be provided the right impetus through launch of the “Vriksharopan Abhiyan 2021”
  • Under the initiative, large scale plantations will be carried out in colonies, offices, and mines and in other suitable areas of coal and lignite PSUs. Seedlings will also be distributed in the nearby areas for promoting plantation by society. Hence statement (1) is correct.
  • It is expected that more than 300 plantation sites in and around coalfields across the country will be connected during the Abhiyan.
  • Need for this initiatives
  • The Indian economy is facing the twin challenge of fulfilling its commitments for decarbonizing the energy sector on the one hand and, on the other, meeting the country’s rising energy demand.
  • But the energy demand would primarily be reliant on coal due to its affordability and substantial indigenous availability.
  • Thus, our coal sector has to play a very crucial role in the foreseeable future in fulfilling the country’s energy demand for meeting various developmental needs and at the same time, be responsible towards the environment and society.
  • Against this backdrop, India’s coal sector has been taking several innovative initiatives to promote sustainable mining.

Sourcehttps://www.pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1746648

 Consider the following statements:

1) Compostable plastics can only be composted only in industrial composting facilities.

2) Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules 2021 completely exempt compostable plastic under the rule.

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: Single-use plastic ban: Reading the fine print reveals ominous loopholes

  • Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change notified Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021, on August 12, 2021, prohibiting 20 identified single-use plastic items by 2022.
  • About Compostable plastics
  • All the 20 items that are proposed to be phased out are not applicable to commodities that are made up of compostable plastics. India does not have an existing labelling mechanism to differentiate fossil-based plastics from the compostable ones.
  • This will result in the old lot of 50-micron plastics being pushed into the market under the pretext of being “compostable”.
  • India used 18.45 million tonnes of plastic in the year 2018, according to industry estimates. The plastic produced in the same time period was 17 million tonnes. The global standard is that one per cent of all the plastic generated is biodegradable and can be composted.
  • This means, India needs to collect 170,000 tonnes of post-consumer compostable plastic and should have industrial composting units to deal with this stream of plastic waste.
  • Awareness around compostable plastics is very low. It is perceived that a compostable plastic can be littered or added to your home / community compost pit that will reduce it to simpler compounds like carbon-di-oxide and water vapour. 
  • It’s imperative to make consumers understand that this is not how it works: Compostable plastics can only be composted only in industrial composting facilities under the right set of controlled parameters. Hence statement (1) is correct
  • India, with its current waste management system, is not ready for compostable plastics as they end up contaminating the potentially recyclable plastic. This adds to labour costs and further reduces the overall efficiency of plastic waste recycling in the country.
  • Moreover, the number of industrial composting units present in the country is something that no one is talking about. 
  • Exemption of compostable plastic– Compostable plastic is exempted, but India does not have an existing labelling mechanism to differentiate fossil-based plastics from the compostable ones. This loophole could be misused to label 50-micron plastics as compostable. Hence statement (2) is correct

Sourcehttps://www.downtoearth.org.in/blog/waste/single-use-plastic-ban-reading-the-fine-print-reveals-ominous-loopholes-78496

Consider the following statements regarding UNITE AWARE Platform:

1) It is launched by the India in partnership with the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations.

2) It is a technology platform that utilises modern surveillance technology for real-time threat assessments to UN peacekeepers and helps them enhance their security.

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: Jaishankar announces rollout of tech to help protect U.N. peacekeepers

  • Presiding over a United Nations Security Council open debate on technology and peacekeeping, his first as External Affairs Minister, S. Jaishankar announced the rollout of a technological platform in partnership with the U.N
  • He was chairing the UN Security Council Open Debate on ‘Technology and Peacekeeping’ at UN headquarters in New York. Dr Jaishankar announced India’s support to UN in roll out of UNITE AWARE- a technology platform for peacekeeping missions.
  • India believes in walking the talk when it comes to the safety and security of UN peacekeepers. He said, peacekeeping continues to play a crucial role in India’s vision of ensuring international peace and security. Dr Jaishankar said, serving under the blue flag, 174 gallant Indian soldiers have made the supreme sacrifice, the largest number among troop contributing countries.
  • About UNITE AWARE Platform
  • Launched by: India in partnership with the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Operational Support. Hence statement (1) is correct.
  • UNITE Aware is a technology platform that utilises modern surveillance technology for real-time threat assessments to UN peacekeepers and helps them enhance their security. Hence statement (2) is correct.
  • The UNITE Aware platform will initially be rolled out in four UN Peacekeeping Missions: MINUSMA (Mali), UNMISS (South Sudan), UNFICYP (Cyprus) and AMISOM (Somalia).

Sourcehttps://newsonair.com/2021/08/19/eam-s-jaishankar-announces-indias-support-to-un-in-roll-out-of-unite-aware-a-technology-platform-for-peacekeeping-missions-2/

Consider the following statements regarding Jhum cultivation:

1) It is a dominant agricultural practice in the south India.

2) It is practiced to prevent soil erosion.

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

Explanation:

In NEWS: Traditional Pineapple Agro-forestry Systems can Address Twin Challenges of Climate Change and Biodiversity Loss

  • Pineapple-based agroforestry, traditionally practiced by ethnic “Hmar” tribe in southern Assam, can be a sustainable alternative to jhum cultivation for the North East India. This traditional practice can provide twin solutions for climate change and biodiversity loss
  • Pineapple agroforestry systems (PAFS) is a dominant form of land use in the Indian Eastern Himalayas and other parts of Asia. It is mostly grown in association with multipurpose trees.
  • Jhum cultivation also called swidden agriculture is a dominant agricultural practice in the NorthEast Region. Hence statement (1) is incorrect.
  • Under this, the farming community slashes secondary forests on a predetermined location, burns the slash and cultivates the land for a limited number of years.
  • The land is then left fallow and the farming community moves to the next location to repeat the process till they return back to the starting point.
  • However, this practise has become unsustainable due to the reduced fallow cycle resulting in depletion in soil fertility, severe soil erosion and low agronomic productivity. Hence statement (2) is incorrect.
  • Hence, North East India and many south Asian countries are shifting to agroforestry and high-value cropping systems from traditional jhum practices.
  • But the researchers are looking for other agroforestry options that can provide twin solutions for climate change and biodiversity loss.

Sourcehttps://www.pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1747115

Ratchet mechanism was seen in news recently. The mechanism is related to which of the following?

a)  Outer Space Treaty

b) International Border Dispute

c)  UN Refugee convention

d) Climate Change

Answer: (d) Climate Change

Explanation:

In NEWS: India, UK plan world bank for green energy

  • India and the United Kingdom plan to explore the possibility of setting up a world bank for green energy. This was discussed during a meeting of United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP-26)
  • Green hydrogen is produced by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen, using an electrolyzer powered by electricity from renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, and can be a game changer for India, which imports 85% of its oil and 53% of gas demand.
  • India has also rolled out a ₹18,100 crore production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme for building Tesla-style giga factories to manufacture batteries. The plan is to set up a 50 giga watt hour (GWh) manufacturing capacity for advance chemistry cell batteries by attracting investments totaling ₹45,000 crore.

Ratchet Mechanism:

  • Under the Paris Agreement, countries have submitted Intended nationally determined contributions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions compared to a “business as usual” scenario. Hence option (d) is correct.
  • The framework also expects each country to submit enhanced nationally determined contributions every five years to ratchet up the ambition to mitigate climate change. This process is informally known as the ratchet mechanism.
  • COP 26 is expected to be the first time that Parties are expected to commit to enhanced ambition since COP21. 

Sourcehttps://www.livemint.com/industry/energy/india-and-uk-to-explore-setting-up-a-global-bank-for-green-energy-11629198835168.html

Consider the following statements regarding National Atlas & Thematic Mapping Organisation:

1) It is a subordinate office under the Ministry of Earth Sciences.

2) It helps in increasing speed and efficiency in the field of mapping with the help of installation of Automated Mapping System.

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: Online applications inaugurated making geospatial data collected by government freely & easily available to citizens and organizations in India

Three online applications — Survey of India (SOI) GEO Spatial Data Dissemination Portal, SOI’s SARTHI: WEB GIS application and MANCHITRAN Enterprise Geoportal of National Atlas & Thematic Mapping Organisation (NATMO) were inaugurated, making geospatial data collected by government freely and easily available to citizens and organizations in India for the first time.

GEO Spatial Data Dissemination Portal:

  • Developed by: Survey of India(SOI).
  • Purpose: The portal is a rich repository of maps and functionalities. It will provide in various downloadable formats of 4,000 maps with national, state, district and tehsil level data.

SARTHI Portal:

  • Developed by: Survey of India(SOI).
  • Purpose: It is a geographic information system(GIS) that will help users in creating applications for geospatial data visualisation, manipulation and analysis without a lot of resources at their end.

MANCHITRAN Portal:

  • Developed by: National Atlas & Thematic Mapping Organisation (NATMO)
  • Purpose: It is a  geo-portal that showcases the huge, authenticated, and valuable data that NATMO acquired during its long 65 years of service. 

About National Atlas & Thematic Mapping Organisation(NATMO):

  • NATMO is a subordinate office under the Department of Science & Technology. Hence statement (1) is incorrect.
  • It is involved in the compilation of the National Atlas of India. Apart from that, it also makes National Atlas in regional languages. NATMO also helps in increasing speed and efficiency in the field of mapping with the help of installation of Automated Mapping System. It also offers training to geologists who want to venture into this field. Hence statement (2) is correct
  • Headquarters: Kolkata, West Bengal

Sourcehttps://pib.gov.in/PressReleseDetail.aspx?PRID=1746703

Consider the following:

1) Carbon monoxide

2) Methane

3) Ozone

4) Sulphur dioxide

Which of the above are released into atmosphere due to the burning of crop/biomass residue?

a) 1 and 2 only

b) 2, 3 and 4 only

c) 1 and 4 only

d) 1, 2, 3 and 4

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

Explanation:

  • Crop residues / biomass burning are cheap and easiest method to dispose the leftover crop residues (wheat, rice, sugarcane etc.) after harvesting, for land clearing and pest control. Burning of crop residues is a common approach to eliminate waste after harvesting all over the world.
  • Burning of these residues emit gases like sulphur dioxide (SO2), oxides of nitrogen (NOx), carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO), black carbon (BC), organic carbon (OC), methane (CH4), volatile organic compounds (VOC), non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHCs), ozone (O3), and aerosols etc which affect the global atmospheric chemistry and climate. Hence option (d) is correct.