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Daily Prelims Test – 27_January 2021

Consider the following Statements

Genetic modification of plants involves adding a specific stretch of DNA into the plant’s genome, giving it new or different characteristics.

In India, the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee is the apex body that allows for commercial release of GM crops

Bt cotton is the only GM crop approved for commercial cultivation in India

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 only
  3. 2 and 3 only
  4. 1,2 and 3

Answer: (d) 1,2 and 3

Explanation:

In NEWS: Seed industry seeks action against illegal GM seed business, promoters

  • Seed industry players have objected to Shetkari Sanghatana President Anil Ghanwat’s inclusion in SC panel on farm laws saying Sanghatana has openly supported illegal GM seed business
  • Even as the government and farmers have locked horns over new farm laws, the National Seed Association of India (NSAI) has demanded action against the illegal Genetically Modified (GM) seed business and its promoter
  • Recently, the SC had appointed a panel to discuss the three farm reform laws with the protesting farmers. Shetkari Sanghatana President is one of the members in the panel.
  • For the last few years Shetkari Sanghatana has been demanding permission to cultivate GM crop.
  • In 2019, the Sanghatana launched a ‘civil disobedience’ movement by sowing GM HTBT cotton to protest against the Centre’s ban.
  • Since then, many Maharashtra farmers have been openly defying a ban on GM crops, daring

About Genetically Modified (GM) seeds

  • Conventional plant breeding involves crossing species of the same genus to provide the offspring with the desired traits of both parents.
  • Genetic engineering aims to transcend the genus barrier by introducing an alien gene in the seeds to get the desired effects.
  • Genetic modification of plants involves adding a specific stretch of DNA into the plant’s genome, giving it new or different characteristics Hence statement 1 is correct
  • The alien gene could be from a plant, an animal or even a soil bacterium.
  • The new DNA becomes part of the GM plant’s genome which the seeds produced by these plants will contain.
  • In India, the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC)is the apex body that allows for commercial release of GM crops.In 2002, the GEAC had allowed the commercial release of Bt cotton.Hence statements 2 is correct.
  • GM mustard would have been the first transgenic food crop to be allowed for commercial cultivation.Hence statement 3 is correct
  • Use of the unapproved GM variant can attract a jail term of 5 yearsand fine of Rs 1 lakh under the Environmental Protection Act, 1989.

Source: https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/agri-business/seed-industry-seeks-action-against-illegal-gm-seed-business-promoters/article33656448.ece


.Which of the following statements are correct regarding K2Mountain?

It is the second highest mountain in the world, after Mount Everest

It is located on the border between the Nepal and China

Both (a) and (b)

Neither (a) nor (b)

Answer: (a) It is the second highest mountain in the world, after Mount Everest

Explanation:

In NEWS: Meeting the last big challenge of mountaineering: What it took a Nepali team to climb K2 in winter

On January 16, a group of Nepali mountaineers became the first climbers to scale the K2 peak in winter

What is K2?

  • At 8,611 metres, K2 is the second highest mountain in the world, after Mount Everest whose height was recently revised to 8,848 m.Hence statement 1 is correct
  • K2 is located on the border between the Pakistan-occupied Gilgit-Baltistan region and China. K2 was first climbed in 1954, but all successful ascents have been in the warmer months — until now.
  • It has been tried only six times in the coldest months, and each effort ended in failure
  • Prone to avalanches, marked by forbidding temperatures and fierce winds, K2 is so formidable that it is called the ‘Savage Mountain’.
  • For every four climbers who reach its summit, one dies, The NYT said in another article; not even 400 climbers have reached the peak, fewer than the people who have been to outer space.
  • The week-long trek covered over 90 km. An expeditionist said the temperature along the route and the top was up to —65 to –70 degrees, and they had to negotiate the passage through blue ice and rocks.
  • They negotiated a notorious passage called the Bottleneck, mindful of the dangers of moving too fast, which could potentially cause constriction of the pulmonary blood vessels and eventually lead to death.

Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/meeting-the-last-big-challenge-of-mountaineering-what-it-took-a-nepali-team-to-climb-k2-in-winter-7161547/


Consider the following Statements

  • Off-Budget Financing refers to expenditure that’s not funded through the budget.
  • Off-budget borrowings are loans that are taken by the Central government directlyto fulfil the government’s expenditure needs.

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: (a) 1 only

Explanation:

In NEWS: Why govt borrows off-budget, and how

  • One of the most sought after details in any Union Budget is the level of fiscal deficit. It is essentially the gap between what the central government spends and what it earns. In other words, it is the level of borrowings by the Union government.
  • This number is the most important metric to understand the financial health of any government’s finances.
  • One of the ways to do this is by resorting to “off-budget borrowings”.
  • About Off-Budget Financing
  • This refers to expenditure that’s not funded through the budget. For example, the government sets up a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to construct a bridge.Hence statement 1 is correct

What are off-budget borrowings?

  • Every year, the Finance Minister announces the quantum of funds that will be raised by the government by borrowing from the market. This amount and the interest due on it is reflected in the government debt.
  • Off-budget borrowings are loans that are taken not by the Centre directly, but by another public institution which borrows on the directions of the central government. Such borrowings are used to fulfil the government’s expenditure needs.Hence statement 2 is incorrect
  • But since the liability of the loan is not formally on the Centre, the loan is not included in the national fiscal deficit. This helps keep the country’s fiscal deficit within acceptable limits.

How are off-budget borrowings raised?

  • The government can ask an implementing agency to raise the required funds from the market through loans or by issuing bonds. For example, food subsidy is one of the major expenditures of the Centre. In the Budget presentation for 2020-21, the government paid only half the amount budgeted for the food subsidy bill to the Food Corporation of India.
  • Public sector banks are also used to fund off-budget expenses. For example, loans from PSU banks were used to make up for the shortfall in the release of fertiliser subsidy.
  • Given the various sources of off-budget borrowing, the true debt is difficult to calculate. For instance, it was widely reported that in July 2019, just three days after the presentation of the Budget, the CAG pegged the actual fiscal deficit for 2017-18 at 5.85% of GDP instead of the government version of 3.46%.

Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/why-govt-borrows-off-budget-and-how-7162925/


Consider the following Statements regarding Disinvestment

It is the process of reducing the share of government in public sector undertakings

Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) has been made the nodal department for the strategic stake sale in the Public Sector Undertakings

Disinvestment proceeds are maintained separately in the National Investment Fund.

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 only
  3. 2 and 3 only
  4. 1,2 and 3

Answer: (d) 1,2 and 3

Explanation:

In NEWS: Why asset sale targets are important

  • Presenting the Union Budget last year, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had surprised everyone when she announced a disinvestment target of Rs 2.1 lakh crore.
  • What is disinvestment?
  • Disinvestment is the process of reducing the share of government in public sector undertakings (PSUs). It is the sale of shares of the government in these companies to financial institutions, employees or the public at large. Hence statement 1 is correct
  • In disinvestment, also called divestment, there is no change in the management of PSUs from the public to private hands as the government still holds majority equity (51 percent).

Why are PSUs up for sale?

Broadly speaking there are two main motivations behind disinvesting in PSUs.

  • One is to improve the overall efficiency of their functioning. As PSUs, they are managed by the government on a daily basis. There are chances of political considerations overshadowing economic and corporate interests. By disinvesting (or reducing the government stake), an attempt is made to make such a PSU more efficient as it would not be accountable to people and entities other than the government. The underlying hope is that private or corporate ownership will result in more efficient management.
  • The second factor is the government’s need to plug its deficit. Indian governments perennially run budget deficits. In other words, the government is unable to meet its expenditures just from its tax revenues. In times of extreme monetary stress, governments have thought of selling off their stake in PSUs to raise funds and meet the gap between its expenses and revenues.

How are these revenues generated?

  • The Department of Disinvestment was set up as a separate department in December, 1999 and was later renamed as Ministry of Disinvestment in September, 2001. From 27th May, 2004, the Department of Disinvestment was brought under the Ministry of Finance.
  • The Department of Disinvestment has been renamed as Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) from 14th April, 2016 which has been made the nodal department for the strategic stake sale in the Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs).Hence statement 1 is correct
  • National Investment Fund (NIF) was constituted in November, 2005, into which the proceeds from disinvestment of Central Public Sector Enterprises were to be channelized.Hence statement 3 is correct
  • What are the implications of this shortfall for the Centre’s finances?
  • According to CGA, as of November, the Centre’s fiscal deficit had overshot its target by 35%. Of course, not all of the slippage would be due to the lack of revenues from disinvestment, but with 97% of the biggest target ever still unrealised till November, it is a matter of concern.

Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/budget-nirmala-sitharaman-psu-coronavirus-economy-disinvestment-7162876/


Consider the following Statements regarding Aligarh Movement

It was conceptualized and propagated by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan.

It was a systemic movement aimed at reforming the social, political and educational aspects of the Muslim community.

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: (c) Both 1 and 2

Explanation:

In NEWS: AMU buries ‘time capsule’ to mark its centenary year

  • The Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) will bury a time capsule recording the evolution of the varsity over the last 100 years of its existence on January 26 as part of its centenary celebrations.
  • The capsule, which weighs around 1.5 tonne, will contain documents showcasing the rich history of the AMU, that was established in 1920.
  • A time capsule is a collection of objects considered typical of the present period, which is buried so it can be discovered in the future
  • The papers which will be kept in the capsule will be preserved by making them acid-free and with addition of some chemicals.
  • Capsule buried on January 8, 1877, by Lord Lytton (the then Viceroy and GovernorGeneral of India) during the foundation stone ceremony of the MAO College

About the University:

  • Itgrew out of the work of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan and the Aligarh Movement.
  • Sir Syed Ahmad Khan was a great Muslim reformer and statesman, who after 1857 felt that it was important for Muslims to gain education and become involved in public life and government services in India.
  • It was founded as the Madrasatul Uloom in 1875in Aligarh and evolved into the Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental College.
  • In 1877, Sir Syed founded the Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College in Aligarh and patterned the college after Oxford and Cambridge universities that he had visited on a trip to England.
  • The objective was to build a college in tune with the British education system but without compromising its Islamic values. 
  • By 1920 the college was transformed into the Aligarh Muslim University.

What was the Aligarh Movement?

  •  It wasconceptualised and propagated by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan.Hence statement 1 is correct
  •  It wasa systemic movement aimed at reforming the social, political and educational aspects of the Muslim community.Hence statement 2 is correct
  •  In 1886, he set up the Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental Education Congresswhich was later renamed the Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental Educational Conference. It aimed to bring together education and culture. 
  •  Sir Syed alsoemphasised the need for an autonomous Muslim institution free of any government funding.
  •  It undertookto modernise Muslim’s education by adapting English as a medium of learning and western education rather than just focusing on traditional teachings.
  •  The movement helped the Muslims revival and gave them a common language Urdu.
  •  It motivated Muslims to help open a number of educational institutions. It was the first of its kind of such Muslim NGO in India, which awakened the Muslims from their deep slumber and infused social and political sensibility into them.

Source: TH


Consider the following Statements regarding UN Security Council

It is not a one among of the six principal organs of the United Nations.

It is made up of 15 non-permanent member states.

It authorizes to investigate any dispute or situation which might lead to international friction

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?

  1. 2 only
  2. 3 only
  3. 2 and 3 only
  4. 1,2 and 3

Answer: (b) 3 only

Explanation:

In NEWS: Inclusive reforms must for UNSC to be effective

  • India has said that the UN Security Council is finding itself unable to act effectively to address increasingly complex issues of international peace and security as it lacked inclusivity of those who need to be members of the powerful organ of the world body

About UNSC:

  • The Security Council was established by the UN Charter in 1945. It is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations.Hence statement 1 is incorrect
  • The UNSC is composed of 15 members: five permanent members — China, France, Russian Federation, the US, and the UK — and 10 non-permanent members who are elected by the General Assembly.Hence statement 2 is incorrect
  • The non-permanent members are elected for two-year terms — so every year, the General Assembly elects five non-permanent members out of the total 10.
  • Each year the General Assembly elects five non-permanent members by 2/3rd majority (out of 10 in total) for a two-year term. A retiring member is not eligible for immediate re-election.
  • Each member of the Security Council has one vote. Decisions of the Security Council on matters are made by an affirmative vote of nine members including the concurring votes of the permanent members. A “No” vote from one of the five permanent members blocks the passage of the resolution.
  • Any member of the United Nations which is not a member of the Security Council may participate, without vote, in the discussion of any question brought before the Security Council whenever the latter considers that the interests of that member are specially affected.
  • The council’s presidency is a capacity that rotates every month among its 15 members.
  • The council is headquartered at NewYork.

Functions and powers 

  • to maintain international peace and security in accordance with the principles and purposes of the United Nations;
  • to investigate any dispute or situation which might lead to international friction;Hence statement 3 is correct
  • to recommend methods of adjusting such disputes or the terms of settlement;
  • to formulate plans for the establishment of a system to regulate armaments;
  • to call on Members to apply economic sanctions and other measures not involving the use of force to prevent or stop aggression;
  • to take military action against an aggressor;
  • to recommend the admission of new Members;
  • to recommend to the General Assembly the appointment of the Secretary-General and, together with the Assembly, to elect the Judges of the International Court of Justice.

Source: TH


Consider the following Statements regarding International Solar Alliance

All member states of the United Nations, including those lying beyond the tropics country can now join the International Solar Alliance

Island and village solar mini grids and solar e-mobility technologies is a major objective of ISA.

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: (c) Both 1 and 2

Explanation:

In NEWS: India will exceed its Paris Agreement targets, says PM Modi at Climate Adaptation Summit 2021

  • The PM said that India is targeting 450 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity by 2030. We are promoting LED lights and saving 38 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually
  • Listing out the actions planned by the country to meet the goals of sustainable development, the PM said that India is planning to restore 26 million hectares of degraded land by 2030.
  • He stated that India’s efforts are not restricted to the country. The International Solar Alliance and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure show the power of global climate partnership.
  • The steering committee of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) is set to meet shortly to clear the decks for the World Solar Bank (WSB), which is expected to be headquartered in India.
  • The country may become its lead member by taking a 30% stake in it through a $600 million equity commitment.
  • This would be the first multilateral development bank (MDB) headquartered in India and comes even as Beijing has taken the lead in creating the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the New Development Bank

About International Solar Alliance

  • The International Solar Alliance was launched jointly by the Indian Prime Minister and the French President during the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP21, in Paris.
  • Currently, India is the president of the alliance.
  • At present, 89 countries have signed the framework agreement of the ISA.
  • The ISA will provide a dedicated platform for cooperation among solar-resource-rich countries, through which the global community, including governments, bilateral and multilateral organizations, corporates, industry, and other stakeholders, can contribute to help achieve the common goal of increasing the use and quality of solar energy in meeting energy needs of prospective ISA member countries in a safe, convenient, affordable, equitable and sustainable manner.
  • All member states of the United Nations, including those lying beyond the tropics, can now join the International Solar Alliance (ISA) with an amendment to its framework agreement coming into effect recently. Earlier, the countries located fully or partially between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn were the members. Hence statement 1 is correct

Objective of ISA:

  • To mobilise member countries
  • Seek commitments from international organisations and mobilise private sector
  • To support rural and decentralised applications
  • Access to affordable finance
  • Island and village solar mini grids
  • Rooftop installations
  • and solar e-mobility technologies. Hence statement 2 is correct

Source: https://www.livemint.com/news/india/india-will-exceed-its-paris-agreement-targets-says-pm-modi-11611588765869.html


Consider the following Statements regarding Economic survey

It is prepared by the Economics Division of the Department of Economic Affairs under the guidance of the Chief Economic Advisor

It is a flagship annual document that reviews the development in the Indian economy.

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: (c) Both 1 and 2

Explanation:

Budget 2021 will be presented on February 1 by the Union Finance & Corporate Affairs Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. A day before the historic paperless budget is presented, the Economic Survey

What is the Economic Survey?

  • The Economic Survey comprises a detailed report on the state of the economy in the past one year listing the key challenges expected and the way out.
  • The document is prepared by the Economic Division of the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) under the guidance of the CEA. After the document is prepared, the Survey gets approved by the Finance Minister. Hence statement 1 is correct
  • It’s interesting to note that the first Economic Survey was presented in 1950-51. Until 1964, the document was released at the time of the Budget.
  • However, the past few years, the Economic Survey has been presented in two volumes. For instance, in 2018-19, the Volume 1 was focussed on research and analysis of the challenges facing the Indian economy, while the Volume 2 offered an expansive review of the financial year, covering all the major sectors of the economy.

What is the importance of Economic Survey?

  • Economic Survey, the flagship document of the finance ministry, is a critical document from the government giving an insight into the country’s economic conditionHence statement 2 is correct
  • The Economic Survey analyses trends in money supply, infrastructure, agricultural and industrial production, employment, prices, exports, imports, foreign exchange reserves as well as other relevant economic factors that have a major focus on the Budget.
  • The document also focuses on key concerns of the economy.  It also reflects an allocation of resources in the Budget. 
  • Besides this, in 2018 the survey presented by the then CEA Arvind Subramanian was printed in pink to highlight the cause of gender equality. It was aimed on supporting women who suffer violence and to push for more gender equality

Source: MOF


Ageing Water Storage Infrastructure: An Emerging Global Risk report is given by

World Bank

World Economic Forum

United Nation

OECD

ANSWER: C. United Nation

EXPLANATION

In News: Ageing Water Storage Infrastructure: An Emerging Global Riskreport is given by United Nation .

  • UNU-INWEH is an integral part of the United Nations University (UNU) – an academic arm of the UN, which includes 13 institutes and programmes located in 12 countries around the world, and dealing with various issues of development. UNU-INWEH was established, as a public service agency and a subsidiary body of the UNU, in 1996. Its operations are secured through long-term host-country and core-funding agreements with the Government of Canada
  • The Report provides an overview of the current state of knowledge on the ageing of large dams –an emerging global development issue as tens of thousands of existing large dams have reached or exceeded an “alert” age threshold of 50 years, and many others will soon approach 100 years.
  • These aged structures incur rapidly rising maintenance needs and costs while simultaneously declining their effectiveness and posing potential threats to human safety and the environment.
  • The Report analyzes large dam construction trends across major geographical regions and primary dam functions, such as water supply, irrigation, flood control, hydropower, and recreation.

·        


.With reference to the provisions contained in Part IV of the Constitution of India, which of the following statements is/are correct?

  • They shall be enforceable by courts.
  • They shall not be enforceable by any court
  • The principles laid down in this part are to influence the making of laws by the State.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

  1. 1only
  2. 2 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 2 and 3 only

Answer: (d) 2 and 3 only

Explanation:

DPSPs, contained in Part IV (Article 36 –51) of the Constitution of India, are not enforceable by any court, but the principles laid down there in are considered in the governance of the country, making it the duty of the State to apply these principles in making laws to establish a just society. Hence statements 2 and 3 are correct and statement 1 is not correct.