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Daily Prelims Test – 28_July 2021

Consider the following statements regarding Agar Wood:

  • It is a natural incense and a product of religious and cultural significance native to Western Ghats.
  • It is protected under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

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

  1. a) 1 only
  2. b) 2 only
  3. c) Both 1 and 2
  4. d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: (d) Neither 1 nor 2

Explanation:

In NEWS: Tripura initiates steps to promote cultivation of Agar to transform the Economy

A crop that has no equals in the field of natural incense, Agarwood is known as the wood of the gods; a product of the religious and cultural aroma. It is said that the state capital of Tripura, Agartala has derived its name from Agarwood.

  • Scientific Name: Aquilaria malaccensis
  • It is native to North East Indiaand the distribution ranges from the foothills of the Himalayas to Papua New GuineaHence statement (1) is incorrect.
  • It is a natural incenseand a product of religious and cultural significance and is also known as the ‘Wood of the Gods’.
  • It is an economically importantand fast-growing evergreen tree 
  • It is listed as critically endangeredon the IUCN Red List and is listed on Appendix II of CITES.
  • Agarwood is not protected under the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. However, it is protected from extraction by state bans (under the Indian Forest Act) and by administrative orders of the state forest departments which vary throughout its range of occurence. Hence statement (2) is incorrect.
  • It is the most expensive raw materialin the world.
  • The fragrant Agarwood is formed due to complex biotic, abiotic and stress-induced resin on the Aquilaria trees.
  • In the formation of oils, the wood of the tree must first become infected with mold named Phialophora Parasitica.
  • Prior to the infection, the healthy wood was pale, odourless and relatively light in colour.

Source: https://newsonair.com/2021/07/24/tripura-initiates-steps-to-promote-cultivation-of-agar-to-transform-the-economy/

Consider the following statements regarding the gig economy:

  • Gig jobs do not require any specialized skills or expertise.
  • Gig workers include self-employed, freelancers, independent contributors and part-time workers.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

  1. a) 1 only
  2. b) 2 only
  3. c) Both 1 and 2
  4. d) Neither 1 nor 2
  5.  

Answer: (b) 2 only

Explanation:

In NEWS: Gig economy to boost employment of Indian women in formal sector post COVID: Study

  • Gig economy is a labour market characterised by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work as opposed to permanent jobs.
  • Alternative work arrangements in the gig economy have the potential to absorb more women and increase their participation in the workforce with some amount of reskilling, according to a latest study.
  • Gig economy is a labour market characterised by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work as opposed to permanent jobs.
  • A study on “The Impact of COVID 19 and Industry 4.0 on Future of Work for Women, An Insight from Formal Sector in India” underscores that alternative work arrangements in the gig economy have the potential to absorb more women and increase their participation in the workforce.
  • The survey also reflects that some key sectors that are likely to see an increase in women’s employment are health and pharmaceuticals (by 59 per cent), electrical and electronics (by 44 per cent) and fast-moving consumer goods (perishable goods) industry (by 41 per cent).
  • At the same time, women’s employment in the finance and accounting divisions may moderately change due to the adoption of new technology.

Gig Economy :

  • The Gig Economy is characterized by short-term contracts or freelance work as opposed to permanent jobs. It often involves connecting with customers through an online platform. Example: Delivery boys of app-based food, consultants, bloggers.
  • According to the World Bank, around 6% of the world’s labor force is part of the gig economy.
  • Gig workers include self-employed, freelancers, independent contributors and part-time workers. Hence statement (2) is correct.
  • More than half of gig jobs are driven by demand for low-skilled, low-wage work. But around 30% of them require specialized skills and expertise. Hence statement (1) is incorrect.

Source: https://www.newindianexpress.com/business/2021/jul/24/gig-economy-to-boost-employment-of-indian-women-in-formal-sector-post-covid-study-2334727.html

Consider the following statements regarding Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR):

  • It is the annual license fee and spectrum usage charges that telecom operators are charged by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).
  • 2.It comprises the revenues generated from telecom services and non-telecom revenues.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

  1. a) 1 only
  2. b) 2 only
  3. c) Both 1 and 2
  4. d) Neither 1 nor 2
  5.  

Answer: (c) Both 1 and 2

Explanation:

In NEWS: Govt should take control of Vodafone Idea, says Deutsche Bank report

  • The telecom company has sought an extension of the moratorium till April 2023 to pay over Rs 8,000 crore dues related to spectrum purchase
  • The bank suggested, would be the only viable solution in the backdrop of the Supreme Court dismissing the telecom company’s application for recomputation of adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues

What is AGR?

  • Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) is the usage and licensing fee that telecom operators are charged by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). It is divided into spectrum usage charges and licensing fees, pegged between 3-5 percent and 8 percent respectively.
  • Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) is the annual license fee (LF) and spectrum usage charges (SUC) that telecom operators are charged by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). Hence statement (1) is correct.
  • How is it calculated, and what’s the contention?
  • As per DoT, the charges are calculated based on all revenues earned by a telco – including non-telecom-related sources such as deposit interests and asset sales. On the other hand, telecoms insist that AGR should comprise only the revenues generated from telecom services. Hence statement (2) is correct.

Source: https://www.business-standard.com/article/companies/govt-should-take-control-of-vodafone-idea-says-deutsche-bank-report-121072601672_1.html

Consider the following statements regarding Kandla Special Economic Zone:

  • Kandla has become the first green industrial city in India.
  • It has received a platinum rating after a rigorous audit and inspections conducted by Indian Green Building Council.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

  1. a) 1 only
  2. b) 2 only
  3. c) Both 1 and 2
  4. d) Neither 1 nor 2
  5.  

Answer: (c) Both 1 and 2

Explanation:

In NEWS: Government of India working towards ensuring environmentally sustainable development

  • Kandla SEZ (KASEZ) was awarded IGBC Platinum Rating. KASEZ is the First Green SEZ to achieve the IGBC Green Cities Platinum Rating for Existing Cities.
  • Kandla Special Economic Zone(KASEZ):
  • Kandla has become the first green industrial city in India. It has received a platinum rating after a rigorous audit and inspections conducted by Indian Green Building Council (IGBC). Hence statements (1) and (2) are correct.
  • This has been possible because KASEZ has managed to grow 68 species of trees and attract 28 varieties of birds on a piece of land that was once a salt pan with almost no vegetation.
  • Kandla has halted the growth of salt pan beyond Kandla. This was done by planting trees, which helped reduce salinity and improved the quality of topsoil.
  • It has built water harvesting systems. Due to this, the water became less saline and the growth of the trees improved.
  • KASEZ is a hub of the used clothing recycling industry. There is a lot of cloth waste which is generated by this industry. The industry was finding it difficult to dispose of them in landfill sites. So, they took this cloth waste and used it for mulching during tree plantation.
  • KASEZ also used plastic waste to line the artificial water bodies created inside the area to prevent water seepage and mix with the saline water.

Source: https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1739154

With respect to Ramsar Convention, consider the following statements:

  • It is a convention on wetlands that was signed in 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar.
  • There are more than 50 Ramsar Sites in India listed under Ramsar Convention.
  • Wetlands include lakes and rivers, underground aquifers, swamps and marshes, rice paddies, and salt pans.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

  1. a) 1 only
  2. b) 2 and 3 only
  3. c) 1 and 3 only
  4. d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: (c) 1 and 3 only

Explanation:

In NEWS: Mangrove cell tables proposal to name flamingo sanctuary in Thane creek as ‘Ramsar site’

  • A proposal has been submitted to declare Thane creek Flamingo Sanctuary as a Ramsar site.
  • Maharashtra Mangrove Cell has submitted the proposal for approval to the State Wetland Authority.
  • With this, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region is likely to get its first Ramsar site at the Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary and third in Maharashtra to be designated as Wetlands of International Importance.
  • Nandur Madhameshwar became the first site designated from Maharashtra. The Lonar lake in Buldhana district was declared as the 41st Ramsar site of India and second in the state.
  • Ramsar Convention:
  • Ramsar Convention is a convention on wetlands that was signed in 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar. Hence statement (1) is correct.
  • The negotiations for the convention started in the 1960s by the different countries and NGOs for the protection of wetlands and their resources.
  • Finally, it came into force in 1975. There are 42 Ramsar Sites in India listed under Ramsar Convention. Hence statement (2) is incorrect.
  • Ramsar Convention is an intergovernmental environmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.
  • United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Convention for the conservation of wetlands was called the ‘Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat’.
  • As per the broad definition of Ramsar Convention, “Wetlands are “areas of marsh, fen, peatland or water, whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt, including areas of marine water the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six metres.” Hence statement (3) is correct.

Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/mangrove-cell-tables-proposal-to-name-flamingo-sanctuary-in-thane-creek-as-ramsar-site-7423953/

Consider the following statements:

  • In India, the largest resources of gold ore are located in Bihar.
  • Geological Survey of India (GSI) is actively engaged in geological mapping followed by mineral exploration survey for gold resources.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

  1. a) 1 only
  2. b) 2 only
  3. c) Both 1 and 2
  4. d) Neither 1 nor 2
  5.  

Answer: (c) Both 1 and 2

Explanation:

In NEWS: Gold Reserves In India

  • The Minister of Mines, Coal and Parliamentary Affairs Pralhad Joshi in a written reply in Rajya Sabha informed that as per National Mineral Inventory data, the total reserves or resources of gold ore (primary) in the country have been estimated at 501.83 million tonnes as of April 1, 2015.
  • The statement said, out of these, 17.22 million tonnes were placed under the reserves category and the rest 484.61 million tonnes under the remaining resources category.
  • In India, the largest resources of gold ore (primary) are located in Bihar (44%) followed by Rajasthan (25%), Karnataka (21%), West Bengal (3%), Andhra Pradesh (3% ), Jharkhand (2 %). Hence statement (1) is correct.
  • The remaining 2% resources of ore are situated in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu.
  • The mineral extraction costs including gold vary from mine to mine.

Mapping:

  • Geological Survey of India (GSI) is actively engaged in geological mapping followed by mineral exploration (survey) for various mineral commodities including goldHence statement (2) is correct.
  • GSI aims to identify potential mineral-rich zones and establish resources.
  • Every year, as per the approved annual Field Season Program, GSI takes up mineral exploration projects in various parts of the country for augmenting mineral resources.
  • Recently, GoI has amended the MEMC Rules to allow auction of composite licenses at G4 level for deep-seated minerals including Gold.

Source: Press Information Bureau

Consider the following statements regarding World Gold Council:

  • It is a Non-Profit association of the world’s leading gold producers and to promote the use of and demand for gold through marketing, research and lobbying.
  • It is headquartered in London.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

  1. a) 1 only
  2. b) 2 only
  3. c) Both 1 and 2
  4. d) Neither 1 nor 2
  5.  

Answer: (c) Both 1 and 2

Explanation:

In NEWS: Gold Reserves In India

  • According to World Gold Council (WGC) data, among the top 10 central banks with the largest gold reserves, India holds the number nine spot with over 658 tonnes of gold in its vaults and accounting for 8% of total reserves as of April 2021.
  • The United States has the largest gold reserve with more than 8,000 metric tons of gold and stands at the first spot. It accounts for 79% of total reserves.

World Gold Council:

  • The World Gold Council (WGC) is a nonprofit association of the world’s leading gold producers. Hence statement (1) is correct.
  • Headquartered in London, the WGC covers the markets which comprise about three-quarters of the world’s annual gold Hence statement (2) is correct.
  • It is a market development organization for the gold industry which includes 25 members and many gold mining companies as well.
  • The WGC was established to promote the use of and demand for gold through marketing, research and lobbying.

Source: PIB

Consider the following statements regarding Nauka:

  • It is the biggest space laboratory launched by Japan.
  • It is bringing to the International Space Station another oxygen generator, a spare bed, another toilet and a robotic cargo crane.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

  1. a) 1 only
  2. b) 2 only
  3. c) Both 1 and 2
  4. d) Neither 1 nor 2
  5.  

Answer: (c) Both 1 and 2

Explanation:

In NEWS: Explained: What is Nauka, the module Russia is sending to the International Space Station?

  • Pirs, a Russian module on the International Space Station (ISS) used as a docking port for spacecraft and as a door for cosmonauts to go out on spacewalks, was detached from the 22-year-old floating laboratory.
  • In its place, Russia’s space agency Roscosmos will be attaching a significantly larger module called Nauka, which will serve as the country’s main research facility on the space station.
  • Nauka
  • Nauka, which was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on July 21 using a Proton rocket, is scheduled to be integrated with the ISS on Thursday.
  • Nauka, which is 42 feet long and weighs 20 tonnes, was supposed to be launched as early as 2007, as per the ISS’s original plan.
  • Nauka meaning “science” in Russian is the biggest space laboratory Russia has launched to date, and will primarily serve as a research facility. Hence statement (1) is correct.
  • It is also bringing to the ISS another oxygen generator, a spare bed, another toilet, and a robotic cargo crane built by the European Space Agency (ESA). Hence statement (2) is correct.
  • This new module was sent into orbit using a Proton rocket the most powerful in Russia’s space inventory on July 21, and will take eight days to reach the ISS
  • On the ISS, Nauka will be attached to the critical Zvezda module, which provides all of the space station’s life support systems and serves as the structural and functional centre of the Russian Orbital Segment (ROS) (the Russian part of the mammoth floating laboratory.

Source: TH

Consider the following statements regarding Agriculture Infrastructure and Development Cess:

  • It was introduced in the Budget 2021-2022.
  • The new cess will be levied on 29 products and is aimed at not only boosting production but also in helping conserve and process farm output efficiently.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

  1. a) 1 only
  2. b) 2 only
  3. c) Both 1 and 2
  4. d) Neither 1 nor 2
  5.  

Answer: (c) Both 1 and 2

Explanation:

In NEWS: Govt cuts basic import duty on masoor dal to zero to tame prices

  • The Centre reduced the import duty on masoor dal to zero and also halved the Agriculture Infrastructure Development Cess on the lentil to 10 per cent, in a bid to boost domestic supply and check rising prices.
  • The Minister said that the basic customs duty has been reduced from 10 per cent to nil on lentils (masoor dal) originated in or exported from countries other than the US.

Agriculture Infrastructure Development Cess:

  • Cess is a kind of special-purpose tax which is levied over and above basic tax rates. The AIDC was introduced in the Budget 2021. Hence statement (1) is correct.
  • The purpose of the new AIDC is to raise funds to finance spending on developing agriculture infrastructure. Due to low private investment in agriculture, the Centre now seeks to raise a dedicated fund to meet these expenses. Hence statement (2) is correct.
  • The new cess will be levied on 29 products, prominent among which are gold, silver, imported apple, imported alcohol (excluding beer), imported pulses, imported palm oil, imported urea, and petrol/diesel including branded ones
  • The AIDC is proposed to be used to improve agricultural infrastructure aimed at not only boosting production but also in helping conserve and process farm output efficiently.

Source: https://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/govt-reduces-basic-customs-duty-on-imports-of-masur-dal-to-zero-121072601292_1.html

As per the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 in India, which one of the following statements is correct?

  1. Waste generator has to segregate waste into five categories.
  2. The Rules are applicable to notified urban local bodies, notified towns and all industrial townships only.
  3. The Rules provide for exact and elaborate criteria for the identification of sites for landfills and waste processing facilities.
  4. It is mandatory on the part of the waste generator that the waste generated in one district cannot be moved to another district.

Answer: (c) The Rules provide for exact and elaborate criteria for the identification of sites for landfills and waste processing facilities.

Explanation:

Under the Solid Waste Management, Rules 2016, waste processing facilities will have to be set up by all local bodies having 1 million or more population within two years.

  • In case of census towns below 1 million population, setting up common, or stand-alone sanitary landfills by, or for all local bodies having 0.5 million or more population and for setting up common, or regional sanitary landfills by all local bodies and census towns under 0.5 million population will have to be completed in three years. Hence, rules provide for exact and elaborate criteria for identification of landfill sites and waste processing facilities. Hence option (c) is correct.
  • Waste generators would now have to now segregate waste into three streams- Biodegradables, Dry (Plastic, Paper, metal, Wood, etc.) and Domestic Hazardous waste (diapers, napkins, mosquito repellants, cleaning agents etc.) before handing it over to the collector.