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Daily Prelims Test – 22_December_2021

1. Consider the following statements:

1)   The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation regulates the antibiotics used on crops.

2)   Antibiotics meant for plants or crops fall within the purview of Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940.

3)   The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India does not provide any separate tolerance limit for streptocycline in food products.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

a)    3 only

b)   2 and 3 only

c)    1 and 2 only

d)   1, 2 and 3

Answer: (a) 3 only

Explanation:

In NEWS: Union agriculture ministry prohibits use of TB antibiotics on crops

●      The Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare December 17, 2021, notified the draft order on ‘Prohibition of Streptomycin + Tetracycline in agriculture’, which prohibits import, manufacture or formulation of Streptomycin and Tetracycline for use in agriculture from February 1, 2022.

●      The draft order will come into force on the date of its final publication in the official gazette.

●      Streptomycin is used in the treatment of tuberculosis (TB). Tetracycline antibiotics find application in the treatment of bacterial infections. 

●      Streptomycin is a critically important antimicrobial while tetracycline belongs to the class of highly important antimicrobials

●      Although streptocycline use is allowed for eight crops by the CIBRC, it was found to be used on many more crops in practice.

Effects

●      The indiscriminate use of both antibiotics may lead to the development and spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

●      When used in crops, unspent antibiotics find their way into the surrounding environment.

●      Microorganisms exposed to this increasing load of antibiotics in soil and water can develop resistance to it.

●      The resistance can spread to other bacteria through transfer of genetic material.

●      When humans or animals get infected by such resistant microorganisms, their treatment becomes difficult as well as expensive.

●      There is a possibility that traces of antibiotics remain in edible parts of the plant long after streptocycline is sprayed, affecting human health or making them resistant to the antibiotics.

Reason For Ban

●      According to the research conducted by Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) in states of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh none of the farmers know that streptocycline is a combination of antibiotics and are routinely using it as any other pesticide.

●      According to CIBRC, streptocycline should be used when plants develop bacterial infections like leaf blight, fire blight, citrus canker, rotting of fruits and stems.

●      But CSE research has found the farmers using it even in the absence of disease symptoms.

●      Many farmers mix fungicides with streptocycline before spraying as they are unable to distinguish fungal or bacterial diseases.

●      Some farmers use concentration that is three to four times higher than what is recommended.

●      Many Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVK) recommend streptocycline on crops not listed for use by CIBRC.

●      Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), does not have any role in regulating antibiotics used on crops. Hence statement (1) is incorrect.

●      Antibiotics meant for plants or crops do not fall within the purview of Drugs and Cosmetics Act (D&C Act), 1940Hence statement (2) is incorrect.

●      State drug authority cannot exercise any control over companies that manufacture or sell antibiotics for use in crops as they manufacture and sell the product as pesticides. 

●      CIBRC has wrongly registered streptocycline as a fungicide and is assigned low toxicity, meaning no special precaution needs to be taken for its use. But this labelling does not consider health hazards like AMR.

●      The Food Safety and Standards Authority of Indian (FSSAI) does not provide any separate tolerance limit for streptocycline in food products.  Hence   statement (3) is correct.

Sourcehttps://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/agriculture/too-much-too-often-antibiotics-in-indian-crops-can-make-them-ineffective-67838

2. With respect to Central Insecticides Board & Registration Committee, Consider the following statements:

1)   It was set up by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.

2)   The insecticides are regulated under Insecticides Act, 1968 and Insecticides Rules, 1971.

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: Union agriculture ministry prohibits use of TB antibiotics on crops

●      The draft order is the fallout of the deliberations within the Central Insecticides Board and Registration Committee (CIBRC), where the registration committee (RC) in August 2021 had approved the recommendation for phasing out the use of streptomycin and tetracycline amid growing concerns over antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

●      The phase-out was considered “according to the availability of alternatives”.

●      The RC accepted the recommendation of a subcommittee in May 2020, saying that the use of streptomycin and tetracycline be completely banned with immediate effect on crops where alternatives are available.

●      The RC had set up the sub-committee to look into the possibility of phasing out the use of antibiotics or antibacterial substances in agriculture if alternatives were available.

●      The draft order, as informed by the notification, has been published for the information of those who would likely be affected. It would be taken into consideration after the expiry of 45 days from the date on which copies of the Gazette of India containing this order are made available to the public.

Central Insecticides Board and Registration Committee (CIBRC):

●      Based on the recommendations of the Expert Committee headed by Prof. M.S. Thacker, a comprehensive Insecticides Act was passed in 1968 to regulate the import, manufacture, sale, transport, distribution and use of insecticides.

●      The enforcement of the Act was transferred to the Ministry of Agriculture in the year 1970 by the Ministry of Health and family Planning. Hence   statement (1) is correct

●      All the provisions of the Insecticides Act were brought into force with effect from 1st August, 1971.

●      In the Act, there is compulsory registration of the pesticides at the Central level and licence for their manufacture, formulation and sale are dealt with at the State level.

●      For the effective enforcement of the Insecticides Act, 1968, the two bodies have been constituted at the Central level namely Central Insecticides Board and Registration Committee. Hence statement (2) is correct.

Source: https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/agriculture/union-agriculture-ministry-prohibits-use-of-tb-antibiotics-on-crops-80785

3. Bargi reservoir is located on which of the following rivers in India?

a)    Narmada River

b)   Mahanadi River

c)    Tapti River

d)   Mandovi River

Answer: (a) Narmada River

Explanation:

In NEWS:

The continuous decrease in the output of fish in Madhya Pradesh’s Bargi reservoir for the last seven years has created a livelihood crisis

The reservoir produced 432 tonnes of fish in 1994-95; in 2020-21, it produced only 28 tonnes.

Bargi Dam:

●      Bargi Dam on Narmada River. Bargi Dam of Jabalpur is an important dam out of 30 Dams on the river Narmada. Hence option (a) is correct.

●      The importance of this Dam also increases because it is a major source of water supply in Jabalpur and the surrounding areas.

●      Bargi Dam, also known as the Rani Avanti Bai Sagar Irrigation Project was the first major reservoir to be built on the Narmada river in Madhya Pradesh

Source: https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/economy/fishermen-move-out-as-output-of-fish-in-mp-s-bargi-reservoir-falls-80766

4. Consider the following statements:

1)   Representation of the People Act, 1950 provides for allocation of seats and delimitation of constituencies for elections, qualifications of voters, and preparation of electoral rolls.

2)   Representation of the People Act, 1951 provides for the conduct of elections, and offences and disputes related to elections.

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: Derek O’Brien suspended for the rest of the Winter Session

●      The Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021 that seeks to link electoral rolls to Aadhaar number, passed in the Lok Sabha amidst continued protests from Opposition members

●      The Bill allows electoral registration officers to ask for Aadhaar numbers of applicants wanting to register as voters to establish the identity of the applicant.

●      Law Minister Kiren Rijiju, however, clarified that linking Aadhar to Electoral Photo Identity Cards is voluntary.

Back ground:

●      The Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021 was introduced in the Lok Sabha on December 20, 2021.

●      The Bill amends the Representation of the People Act, 1950 and the Representation of the People Act, 1951 to implement certain electoral reforms.

●      The 1950 Act provides for allocation of seats and delimitation of constituencies for elections, qualifications of voters, and preparation of electoral rollsHence   statement (1) is correct.

●      The 1951 Act provides for the conduct of elections, and offences and disputes related to elections. Hence   statement (2) is correct.

About Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021

Linking electoral roll data with Aadhaar:

●      The Bill adds that the electoral registration officer may require a person to furnish their Aadhaar number for establishing their identity.   If their name is already in the electoral roll, then the Aadhaar number may be required for authentication of entries in the roll.  

●      Persons will not be denied inclusion in the electoral roll or have their names deleted from the roll, if they are unable to furnish Aadhaar number due to sufficient cause as prescribed.  

●      Such persons may be permitted to furnish alternate documents prescribed by the central government.

Qualifying date for enrolment in electoral roll:

●      Under the 1950 Act, the qualifying date for enrolment in the electoral roll is January 1 of the year in which such roll is being prepared or revised.

●      This implies that a person who turns 18 (i.e., eligible to vote) after January 1 can enrol in the electoral roll only when the roll is prepared/ revised the next year.

●      The Bill amends this to provide four qualifying dates in a calendar year, which will be January 1, April 1, July 1, and October 1.

Requisitioning of premises for election purposes:

●      The 1951 Act permits the state government to requisition premises needed or likely to be needed for being used as polling stations, or for storing ballot boxes after a poll has been conducted.

●      The Bill expands the purposes for which such premises can be requisitioned.

Gender-neutral provisions

●      The 1951 Act enables the wife of a person holding a service qualification to vote either in person or by postal ballot.  The Bill replaces the term ‘wife’ with ‘spouse’ in both the Acts.   

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/parliament-proceedings-live-updates-december-21-2021/article38002286.ece

5. Which of the following items come under the GST Tax?

1)   Crude oil

2)   Aviation turbine fuel

3)   LPG

4)   Kerosene

Select the correct answer using the given below code.

a)    1 and 3 only

b)   3 and 4 only

c)    1 and 2 only

d)   4 only

Answer: (b) 3 and 4 only

Explanation:

In NEWS: Fuel taxes: Centre rakes in Rs 3.72 lakh crore, low basic excise duty limits states’ share

●      Taxes collected by the Central government on petrol went up nearly three times from Rs 9.48 per litre in 2014 to Rs 27.90 per litre in 2021; however, the states’ share in these tax collections rose from Rs 0.38 per litre to Rs 0.57 per litre during the same time period

●      In 2014-15, the states’ share in the net proceeds of shareable Central taxes and duties was at 32 percent, which now stands at 41 per cent. The Finance Ministry data also showed that the share of cesses and surcharges in gross tax collections went up more than four times over the last decade between 2011-12 and 2020-21.

Taxation Process

As per 101st Constitution Amendment Act, 2016 below mentioned goods have been outside the purview of GST;

●      Petroleum Crude;

●      High Speed Diesel Oil;

●      Motor Spirit;

●      Natural gas;

●      Aviation Turbine Fuel.

Some other products such as LPG, fuel oil, kerosene, naphtha etc are included in the GST regime. There are some direct and indirect impacts of the GST on the oil and gas sector. Hence option (b) is correct.

●      Currently, taxes on petroleum products are levied by both the Centre and the states.

●      While the Centre levies excise duty, states levy value-added tax (VAT).

●      As per recommendation of the 15th Finance Commission, the Centre shares 41 per cent of the tax receipts with states for award period 2021–26.

●      States’ share in central petroleum taxes remained low as the basic excise duty was not raised as much as other duties were hiked.

●      Petroleum taxes with states are shared only out of basic excise duty. The Centre also levies additional excise duty and cesses on petroleum products.

Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/business/fuel-taxes-centre-rakes-in-rs-3-72-lakh-crore-low-basic-excise-duty-limits-states-share-7682678/

6. Consider the following statements:

1)   Currently, Cess and surcharge is within the mandate of the Finance Commission.

2)   Cess and surcharge collections are part of the divisible pool.

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: (d) Neither 1 nor 2

Explanation:

In NEWS: Fuel taxes: Centre rakes in Rs 3.72 lakh crore, low basic excise duty limits states’ share

In 2020-21, the Centre collected Rs 4,09,481.16 crore as cesses and surcharges, up from Rs Rs 92,996.51 crore collected in 2011-12. These collections are not shared with states.

●      Rising collections through cesses and surcharges mean that the tax devolution to states falls proportionately.

●      Share of cesses and surcharges in gross tax revenue has jumped to 19.9 percent in FY21, from 10.4 per cent in FY12.

●      Several state finance ministers have argued recently that all or some portion of the cess and surcharges collected by the Central government should form part of the divisible pool, which is shared with the states.

●      The issue of cess and surcharge is currently not within the mandate of the Finance Commission, as these collections are not part of the divisible pool. Hence statement (1) is incorrect and statement (2) is incorrect.

●      The government will have to amend Article 269 and Article 270 of the Constitution to make these a part of the divisible pool.

●      A cess is imposed on the base tax liability of a corporation or an individual taxpayer, for a specific purpose.

●      Surcharge is a tax on tax that the Union government can use for whichever purpose it deems fit.

Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/business/fuel-taxes-centre-rakes-in-rs-3-72-lakh-crore-low-basic-excise-duty-limits-states-share-7682678/

7. With respect to Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative, Consider the following statements:

1)   In India, the initiative is applicable for both private and government hospitals.

2)   It is a worldwide programme of the WHO and UNICEF.

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: Private hospitals to be tagged for being breastfeeding-friendly

●      According to the National Family Health Survey-5 (2019-2021), while there were 88.6% institutional births, only 41.8% of infants were breastfed within the first one hour.

●      In fact, many States such as Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh have shown a decline in the proportion of children breastfed within the first hour

●      A new initiative will now help mothers identify “breastfeeding-friendly” hospitals before they give birth.

●      The Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India(BPNI) in collaboration with Association of Healthcare Providers of India (AHPI), which comprises more than 12,000 private hospitals, has launched an accreditation programme that will enable hospitals to get a “breastfeeding-friendly” tag. This programme is called Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative

●      It is a worldwide programme of the World Health Organization and UNICEF, launched in 1992 in India following the adoption of the Innocenti Declaration on breastfeeding promotion in 1990. Hence statement (2) is correct.

●      The initiative is only for private hospitals and is based on the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare’s MAA programme for government hospitals launched in 2016. Hence statement (1) is incorrect.

●      The certification process involves two stages — the first stage includes self-assessment by a hospital, followed by an external assessment by an authorised appraiser who interviews doctors, nurses and patients as well as reviews different practices and training of staff. This complete accreditation process costs ₹17,000 per hospital.

●      India adopted this initiative in 1993. But it fizzled out by 1998 and is now being revived after more than two decades.

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/pvt-hospitals-to-be-tagged-for-being-breastfeeding-friendly/article37991039.ece

8. Which of the following articles lays down the duties of the chief minister to furnish information to the Governor?

a)    Article 167

b)   Article 168

c)    Article 169

d)   Article 78

Answer: (a) Article 167

Explanation:

In NEWS: Dhankhar invokes Article 167 to seek Pegasus panel info

●      Claiming that Chief Secretary Hari Krishna Dwivedi failed to provide information on how the West Bengal government reached the decision of setting up a probe panel into the alleged phone tapping using Pegasus software

●      He has invoked Article 167 of the Constitution to seek documents related to the proceedings that led to the government constituting an inquiry commission.

Article 167 of the Constitution lays down the duties of the chief minister to furnish information to the GovernorHence option (a) is correct.

●      Duties of Chief Minister as respects the furnishing of information to Governor, etc It shall be the duty of the Chief Minister of each State

●      to communicate to the Governor of the State all decisions of the council of Ministers relating to the administration of the affairs of the State and proposals for legislation;

●      to furnish such information relating to the administration of the affairs of the State and proposals for legislation as the Governor may call for; and

●      if the Governor so requires, to submit for the consideration of the Council of Ministers any matter on which a decision has been taken by a Minister but which has not been considered by the Council 

Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/kolkata/dhankhar-invokes-article-167-to-seek-pegasus-panel-info-7683221/#:~:text=Article%20167%20of%20the%20 Constitution%20lays%20down%20the%20duties%20of,furnish%20information%20to%20the%20 Governor.&text=This%20has%20become%20 necessary%20as,to%20Chief%20Minister%20Mamata%20 Banerjee.

9. Consider the following statements regarding Chillai-Kalan:

1)   It is the traditional 40-day period of harshest winter in Kashmir.

2)   It is followed by Chillai-Khurd and Chillai-Bachha.

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: Chillai Kalan, harshest 40 days of winter begins in Kashmir: Interesting facts to know

●      December 21 winter solstice today, one of the harshest winter periods of 40 days, called Chillai Kalan, begins in Kashmir. Hence statement (1) is correct.

●      Chillai Kalan is a Persian term which means ‘major cold’.

●      The ongoing cold wave is said to reach its peak with Kashmir’s mountains covered in snow for weeks, and the famous Dal Lake also reaching freezing point until the fag end of January.

●      With maximum chances of snowfall during this period, sub-zero temperatures in the region make people in the hill areas carry firewood to their houses in large quantities that will be burnt and used for heating and cooking food.

●      During Chillai-Kalan, the weather in Kashmir valley continues to remain dry and cold with minimum temperatures hovering below the freezing point.

●      The bone-chilling cold conditions are followed by a 20-day-long ‘Chillai Khurd’ and 10-day-long ‘Chillai Bacha’Hence statement (2) is correct.

●      Kashmir is a sight to behold as long icicles form in the branches of the Chinar trees and apple orchards, and roofs of homes.

●      Chillai-Khurd (small cold), a 20-day long period which starts from January 31 to February 19.

●      Chillai-Bachha (baby cold), a 10-day long period follows which occurs between February 20 and March 2.

Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/life-style/chillai-kalan-harshest-40-days-winter-kashmir-interesting-facts-winter-solstice-7682873/

10. If another global financial crisis happens in the near future, which of the following actions/policies are most likely to give some immunity to India?

1)   Not depending on short – term foreign borrowings

2)   Opening up to more foreign banks

3)   Maintaining full capital account convertibility

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

a)    1 only

b)   1 and 2 only

c)    3 only

d)   1, 2 and 3

Answer: (a) 1 only

Explanation:

●      If a global financial crisis happens in the future, lesser exposure to the foreign financial markets is likely to give some immunity to India.

●      Option 1 is correct: Short -term borrowings would lead to the burden of paying back the debt, and could result in stressful conditions for the borrowing economy/ India.

●      Option 2 is incorrect: Opening up to more foreign banks would lead to an enhanced exposure to the global economy, and hence an increased risk.

●      Option 3 is incorrect: Currency convertibility refers to a situation in which a currency can be converted into a foreign currency, and vice -versa at the prevailing exchange rate without any government intervention. In India, we cannot completely convert rupees to dollars – There are restrictions to the same