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Daily Prelims Test – 24_August_2021

Recently, the Panjshir Valley was seen in the news, it is located in which one of the following countries?

a) Afghanistan

b) China

c)  India

d) Nepal

Answer: (a) Afghanistan

Explanation:

In NEWS: ‘Hundreds of fighters’ heading to resistance stronghold Panjshir Valley: Taliban

The Taliban has sent hundreds of its fighters to the Panjshir Valley, one of the few parts of Afghanistan not yet controlled by the group.

Panjshir Valley

  • Located 150 km north of Kabul, the Valley is near the Hindu Kush Mountain range. Hence option (a) is correct.
  • It’s divided by the Panjshir river and ringed by the Panjshir mountains in the north and the Kuhestan mountains in the south.
  • The mountain tops are covered by snow throughout the year.
  • This difficult terrain makes the Valley a nightmare for invaders.
  • The Valley has repeatedly played a decisive role in Afghanistan’s military history, as its geographical position almost completely closes it off from the rest of the country.
  • The only access point to the region is through a narrow passage created by the Panjshir River, which can be easily defended militarily.
  • Famed for its natural defenses, the region tucked into the Hindu Kush mountains never fell to the Taliban during the civil war of the 1990s, nor was it conquered by the Soviets a decade earlier.
  • Panjshir Valley was among the safest regions in the country during the time of the NATO-backed government from 2001 to 2021.
  • The valley is also known for its emeralds, which were used in the past to finance the resistance movements against those in power.

Source: https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/hundreds-of-fighters-heading-to-resistance-stronghold-panjshir-valley-taliban-101629677321862.html

Consider the following statements with respect to the MALABAR Exercise:

1) It is a trilateral naval exercise involving the United States, Australia and India as permanent partners.

2) The 2021 edition of the Malabar naval exercise will be conducted on the coast of Guam.

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: Two Indian naval ships arrive in Guam to take part in Malabar exercise

  • The Quad countries — India, the U.S., Australia and Japan — will conduct the next edition of the high-voltage Malabar naval exercise from August 26 to 29 off the coast of Guam in the face of China’s growing military muscle-flexing in the Indo-Pacific

Malabar exercise:

  • It is a trilateral naval exercise involving the United States, Japan and India as permanent partners. Hence statement (1) is correct.
  • It began as a bilateral naval exercise between India and the USA in 1992 and was expanded into a trilateral format with the inclusion of Japan in 2015.
  • This annual exercise was conducted off the coast of Guam in 2018 and off the coast of Japan in 2019.    The Quad countries — India, the U.S., Australia, and Japan — will conduct the next edition of the high-voltage Malabar naval exercise from August 26 to 29 off the coast of Guam in the face of China’s growing military muscle-flexing in the Indo-Pacific.
  • Indian stealth frigate INS Shivalik and anti-submarine warfare corvette INS Kadmatt arrived in Guam, an island territory of the U.S. in the Western Pacific, on August 21 to take part in the exercise that will feature an array of complex drills. Hence statement (2) is correct.

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/two-indian-naval-ships-arrive-in-guam-to-take-part-in-malabar-exercise/article36044432.ece

Consider the following statements with respect to the Kartarpur Corridor:

1) It connects the Darbar Sahib Gurdwara in Pakistan with the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India’s Punjab province.

2) The corridor was built to commemorate 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev.

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: Guru Nanak death anniv: Pak allows fully vaccinated pilgrims to visit Kartarpur

  • Pakistan has decided to allow fully vaccinated Sikh pilgrims to visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, Kartarpur with strict COVID-19 protocols.

Kartarpur Corridor:

  • It connects the Darbar Sahib Gurdwara in Narowal district
  • of Pakistan with the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district in India’s Punjab province. Hence statement (1) is correct.
  • The corridor was built to commemorate 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev. Hence statement (2) is correct.    The gurdwara in Kartarpur is located on the bank of river Ravi in Pakistan. It is about four km from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine, and about 120 km northeast of Lahore. 
  • It was here that Guru Nanak assembled a Sikh community and lived for 18 years until his death in 1539.
  • The Kartarpur shrine has one of the last copies of the original Guru Granth Sahib.
  • It is believed that the Guru Granth Sahib contains not only the wisdom of the 10 Gurus but is itself the 11th and last Guru.

Sourcehttps://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/chandigarh-news/guru-nanak-death-anniv-pak-allows-fully-vaccinated-pilgrims-to-visit-kartarpur-101629657259113.html

Consider the following statements with respect to the Jan Shikshan Sansthan:

1) It provides vocational skills to non-literate, neo-literates as well as school drop-outs by identifying skills that have a market in the region of their establishment.

2) The priority groups are women, SC, ST, minorities and other backward sections of the society.

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: High-speed Net comes to a deep jungle

The Jan Shikshan Sansthan (JSS), a Union government initiative for skill development in rural areas, has brought high-speed internet to some of the remotest tribal hamlets deep inside the Nilambur jungle

Jan Shikshan Sansthan (JSS):

  • The Scheme of Jan Shikshan Sansthan (JSS) formerly known as Shramik Vidyapeeth was a unique creation of the Government of India and has been implemented through NGOs in the country since 1967. The scheme was renamed as Jan Shikshan Sansthan in 2000.
  • The JSS scheme was transferred from the Ministry of Education (erstwhile Ministry of Human Resource Development) to the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship in July, 2018.
  • At present, 233 JSSs in 25 States and 3 Union Territories are functional. The annual coverage of the beneficiaries is around 4 lakh, out of which 85% are women.
  • Jan Shikshan Sansthan (JSS) scheme is implemented through NGOs with 100% grants from the Government of India. Jan Shikshan Sansthans are registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860.
  • The mandate of the scheme is to provide vocational skills in non-formal mode to non-literate, neo-literates, persons with rudimentary level of education upto 8th and school drop-outs upto 12th standard in the age group of 15-45 yearsHence statement (1) is correct.
  • The priority groups are women, SC, ST, minorities and other backward sections of the society. Hence statement (2) is correct.
  • The scope of work of Jan Shikshan Sansthans (JSSs) includes the following:
  • Develop/Source appropriate curriculum and training modules covering vocational elements, general awareness and life enrichment components.
  • JESS’s are encouraged to undertake training equivalent to courses designed by the Directorate of Adult Education, National Institute of Open Schooling and Director General, Employment & Training.
  • Provide training to a pool of resource persons and master trainers for conducting training.
  • Administer simple tests and award certificates.
  • Network with employers and industries for trainees to get suitable placement.

Sourcehttps://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/high-speed-net-comes-to-a-deep-jungle/article36046892.ece

Consider the following statements with respect to the NDPS Act, 1985:

1) The Narcotics Control Bureau was constituted in 1986 under the provisions of this Act.

2) All the offences under this act are non-bailable.

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: Drug abuse on the rise with wide-ranging consequences, says Delhi HC

The Delhi High Court observed that the menace of drug abuse was on the rise in the country and its consequences “can be experienced across the board from causing economic issues to societal disintegration”.

Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act:

  • The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act is an Act of the Parliament of India that prohibits a person to produce/manufacture/cultivate, possess, sell, purchase, transport, store, and/or consume any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance.
  • As per the NDPS Act, narcotic drugs include coca leaf, cannabis (hemp), opium and poppy straw.
  • The Narcotics Control Bureau was constituted in 1986 under the provisions of this Act. Hence statement (1) is correct.
  • Psychotropic substance means any natural or synthetic material or any salt or preparation covered under the 1971 convention on Psychotropic substances.
  • NDPS Act has made stringent provisions for the control and regulation of operations relating to narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.
  • No bail is granted for those persons booked under this act. Hence statement (2) is correct.
  • In addition, no relief can be obtained by the drug convicts through suspension, remission and commutation of sentences passed.
  • NDPS Act prescribes  even though the offence cannot be called as a heinous crime.
  • The penalties under this Act are severe considering the consequences of drug abuse and its trafficking.
  • The offences under the Act attract jail terms ranging from one year to 20 years and fine depending on the crime. 
  • Under the Act, abetment, criminal conspiracy and even attempts to commit an offence attract the same punishment as the offence itself. 
  • Preparation to commit an offence attracts half the penalty. 
  • Repeat offences attract one and a half times the penalty and in some cases, the death penalty.

The following conventions various forms of control to limit the use of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances

o    The UN Single Convention on Narcotics Drugs 1961

o    The Convention on Psychotropic Substances, 1971

o    The Convention on Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, 1988

India is a signatory to all these three.

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/drug-abuse-on-the-rise-with-wide-ranging-consequences-says-delhi-hc/article36047995.ece

Consider the following statements regarding Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS):

1) Under this, all resident individuals are allowed to freely remit up to USD 2,50,000 per financial year for any permissible current account transaction.

2) The Scheme is not available to corporations, partnership firms, Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) and Trusts.

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: Unlocks loosen purse strings: Outward forex remittances bounce back in Q1

  • With the unlocking and fall in Covid cases in many countries, remittances from India rose to $3.67 billion in the April-June period of 2021-22 as against $1.89 billion a year ago.
  • The outflow of foreign exchange under the Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS) of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has bounced back in the first quarter ended June 30, 2021 after a steep fall during the year-ago period when the Covid pandemic hit countries across the world and travel was banned.

Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS):

  • The Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS) of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) allows resident individuals to remit a certain amount of money during a financial year to another country for investment and expenditure.
  • This is the scheme of the Reserve Bank of India, introduced in the year 2004.
  • According to the prevailing regulations, resident individuals may remit up to $250,000 per financial year permissible for current or capital account transactions or a combination of both and this money can be used to pay expenses related to travelling (private or for business), medical treatment, studying, gifts and donations, maintenance of close relatives and so on. Hence statement (1) is correct.
  • The Scheme is not available to corporations, partnership firms, Hindu Undivided Family (HUF), Trusts. Hence statement (2) is correct.
  • The remitted amount can be invested in shares, debt instruments, and can be used to buy immovable properties in the overseas market.
  • Individuals can also open, maintain and hold foreign currency accounts with banks outside India for carrying out transactions permitted under the scheme.
  • It is mandatory for the resident individual to provide his/her Permanent Account Number (PAN) for all transactions under LRS made through Authorized Persons.

Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/business/unlocks-loosen-purse-strings-outward-forex-remittances-bounce-back-in-q1-7465963/

Consider the following statements regarding Istanbul Canal:

1) It aims to minimize shipping traffic in the Bosporus.

2) It is a project for the artificial sea-level waterway connecting the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara.

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: Explained: What is Kanal Istanbul, and why is Erdogan keen on seeing the project through?

  • The Kanal Istanbul, an under-construction shipping route running parallel to the strategically critical Bosphorus Strait, is fast gaining prominence as a major divisive issue in Turkey. Hence statement (1) is correct.
  • The Istanbul Canal is a project for the artificial sea-level waterway, which is planned by Turkey on East Thrace, connecting the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara, and thus to the Aegean and Mediterranean seas. Hence statement (2) is correct.
  • The canal, once described by Erdogan himself as a “crazy project”, is being seen as a lifeline for the leader, who has been at Turkey’s helm since 2003 (first as Prime Minister and then as President), but has seen his popularity decline amid a sharp rise in pandemic deaths coupled with economic decline.
  • The planned canal will run parallel to the Bosphorus Strait, a natural waterway that separates Europe and Asia, which for centuries has served as a key outlet for Russian ships entering the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Turkish leaders say that the new canal, which will run on the European side of Bosphorus, will be safer and faster to navigate compared to the Bosphorus, making it a more attractive option for commercial ships, who will pay to pass through.
  • Analysts also believe that Erdogan would use the canal to circumvent Montreux Convention, by marketing the mega project to NATO allies as a legally kosher way of sending their warships into the Black Sea to counter Russia, their major geopolitical rival, all while attracting Chinese investment.

Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-what-is-kanal-istanbul-and-why-is-erdogan-so-keen-on-seeing-the-project-through-7465902/

Consider the following statements regarding Ubharte Sitaare Alternative Investment Fund:

1) It has been set up jointly by Exim Bank and SIDBI.

2) It was launched by the Ministry of Finance to facilitate debt and equity funding to export-oriented MSMEs.

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:

  • The Ministry of Finance has launched ‘Ubharte Sitaare’ Alternative Investment Fund to facilitate debt and equity funding to export-oriented MSMEs (Micro Small and medium Enterprises). Hence statement (1) is correct.
  • The fund is expected to identify Indian enterprises with potential advantages, but which are currently underperforming or unable to tap their latent potential to grow.
  • Under the scheme, an identified company is supported even if it is currently underperforming or may be unable to tap its latent potential to grow.
  • The scheme diagnoses such challenges and provides support through a mix of structured support covering equity, debt and technical assistance.
  • It will also have a Greenshoe Option of Rs 250 crore.
  • A greenshoe option is an over-allotment option, which is a term that is commonly used to describe a special arrangement in a share offering for example an IPO (Initial Public Offering) that will enable the investment bank to support the share price after the offering without putting their own capital at risk.
  • The fund has been set up jointly by Exim Bank and SIDBI (Small Industries Development Bank of India) which will invest in the fund by way of equity and equity-like products in export-oriented units, in both manufacturing and services sectors. Hence statement (2) is correct.

Consider the following statements regarding Saltwater Crocodile:

1) They are believed to be the largest crocodile species living on Earth.

2) They inhabit coastal brackish mangrove swamps and river deltas.

3) It has been listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

a) 1 only

b) 2 and 3 only

c) 1 and 2 only

d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: (d) 1, 2 and 3

Explanation:

In NEWS: Around 2,500 crocodiles born in Odisha’s Bhitarkanika National Park

  • Around 2,500 hatchlings were found in 84 nests of saltwater crocodiles at the Bhitarkanika National Park in Odisha this year, according to the state’s forest department.
  • In 2020, the number of estuarine crocodile nests was 103 nests and 3,000 hatchlings were counted in them, said JD Pati, divisional forest officer (DFO) of the park.
  • Inundation of the stretches in the park and tidal waves during Cyclone Yaas in May 2021 are some of the reasons behind the decline, added the forest officer.
  • In May and June, the crocodiles build nests with mangrove twigs, leaves and mud on high ground, which will remain dry and get direct sunlight. “Heavy tidal waves during Cyclone Yaas damage many nests

Saltwater Crocodile:

  • Also known as a maneater, the saltwater crocodiles are believed to be the largest crocodile species living on Earth. Hence statement (1) is correct.
  • They are also known as the estuarine crocodile.
  • The saltwater crocodile inhabits coastal brackish mangrove swamps and river deltas. Hence statement (2) is correct.
  • In India, it inhabits Odisha’s Bhitarkanika National Park, the Sundarbans in West Bengal and the Andamans and Nicobar Islands. They can also be found across Southeast Asia and northern Australia
  • It is capable of prevailing over almost any animal that enters its territory and ambushes most of its prey and then drowns or swallows it as a whole
  • Found in coastal areas of Odisha, WB and TN.
  • They have the broadest distribution of any modern crocodile, ranging from the eastern coast of India, throughout most of Southeast Asia, and northern Australia.
  • They are apex predators.
  • It has been listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List since 1996Hence statement (3) is correct.

Source: https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/wildlife-biodiversity/around-2-500-crocodiles-born-in-odisha-s-bhitarkanika-national-park-78598

The Gandhi-Irwin Pact included which of the following?

1) Invitation to Congress to participate in the Round Table Conference.

2) Withdrawal of Ordinances promulgated in connection with the Civil Disobedience Movement.

3) Acceptance of Gandhi’s suggestion for enquiry into police excesses.

4) Release of only those prisoners who were not charged with violence.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

a) 1 only

b) 1, 2 and 4 only

c) 3 only

d) 2, 3 and 4 only

Answer: (b) 1, 2 and 4 only

Explanation:

  • The Gandhi-Irwin Pact was concluded on 5th March 1931 and is also known as the Delhi Pact.
  • Solution by Viceroy Irwin – proposed Congress to suspend civil disobedience movement and participate in the Second Round Table Conference.
  • It included the withdrawal of Ordinances promulgated in connection with the Civil Disobedience Movement.
  • Gandhiji demanded the release of political prisoners not convicted of violence from jails. Hence option (b) is correct.