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Daily Prelims Test – 29_September 2020

1.Recently seen in the news, the Leuser Ecosystem is found in which of the following countries?

  1. Australia
  2. India
  3. Japan
  4. Indonesia

Answer: (d) Indonesia

Explanation:

In NEWS:Don’t eat the rainforests: Top brands complicit in Indonesia’s ecosystem destruction, probe alleges

  • An investigation by global watchdog Rainforest Action Network (RAN) has shown that food and cosmetic companies as well as financial institutions have links with companies implicated in the destruction of the Leuser Ecosystem, a forest area on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia.

About Leuser Ecosystem

  • The Leuser Ecosystem is an area of forest located within the province of Aceh on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. Hence option (d) is correct
  • The ecosystem (2.6 million h) stretches from the coast of the Indian Ocean to the Malacca Straits.
  • Leuser Ecosystem is among the most ancient and life-rich ecosystems ever documented by science and is a world-class hotspot of biodiversity and is widely acknowledged to be among the most important areas of intact rainforest left in all of Southeast Asia.
  • The ecosystem has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Clearing rainforest in the Leuser ecosystem to plant oil palm and building of road networks through the forest.
  • 70% of Aceh’s people live on the coastal plains of Sumatra, where many communities have established wet rice cultivation.

Source: https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/environment/don-t-eat-the-rainforests-top-brands-complicit-in-indonesia-s-ecosystem-destruction-probe-alleges-73523


Consider the following statements regarding Nagorno-Karabakh

  1. It is a territorial conflict region between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh
  2. This region is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan

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:Fighting erupts between Armenia, Azerbaijan; 16 killed

Fighting erupted anew Sunday between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces over the disputed separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh

  • The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is a territorial conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding districts.Hence statement 1 is correct
  • This region is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijanbut controlled by ethnic Armenians or self-declared Republic of Artsakh.Hence statement 2 is correct
  • Nagorno-Karabakh is a mountainous region that was traditionally inhabited by Christian Armenians and Muslim Turks. However, in Soviet times, it became an autonomous region within the republic of Azerbaijan.
  • Conflict in the Nagorno-Karabakh region began following the breakdown of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s and lasted till approximately 1994, with both Armenia and Azerbaijan claiming this strategic territory.
  • The situation worsened when the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast, an administrative unit, decided to vote to join Armenia given its large Armenian population. The conflict escalated into a full-scale war in the early 1990s.
  • In 1994, Russia mediated a ceasefire between Armenia and Azerbaijan, but the conflict has continued for three decades.
  • In 2016, the region was particularly tense because of violent fighting between the two countries in what came to be known as the Four-Day War.

Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/world/armenia-azerbaijan-nogorno-karabakh-war-fighting-tanks-emergency-6618019/


Consider the following statements regarding Uniform Code of Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices code

  1. It is a compulsory code issued by the Department of Pharmaceuticals
  2. At present, it is applicable on Pharmaceutical Companies, Medical Representatives and Pharmaceutical Manufacturer’s Associations

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: (b) 2 only

Explanation:

In NEWS:Doctors criticise govt. for backing out from making code on pharma firms mandatory

  • The Alliance of Doctors for Ethical Health Care (ADEH) has expressed anguish and disappointment over the recent reply by the Minister of Chemicals and fertilizers Sadanada Gowda in the Parliament that there is no decision yet from the part of the government to make Uniform Code of Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices (UCPMP) mandatory.
  • The alliance has said that UCPMP should be made mandatory to bring fairness in marketing of the drugs as the industry has failed to comply with the code on a voluntary basis.

About Uniform Code of Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices code

  • It is a voluntary code issued by the Department of Pharmaceuticals relating to marketing practices for Indian Pharmaceutical Companies and as well medical devices industry. Hence statement 1 is incorrect
  • UCPMP was launched as a Guideline effective from 2015.
  • At present, the UCPMP Code is applicable on Pharmaceutical Companies, Medical Representatives, Agents of Pharmaceutical Companies such as Distributors, Wholesalers, Retailers, and Pharmaceutical Manufacturer’s Associations. Hence statement 2 is correct

Important guidelines:

  • No gifts, pecuniary advantages, or benefits in any kind may be supplied to persons qualified to prescribe or supply drugs.
  • Gifts for the personal benefit of healthcare professionals and family members are not to be provided or offered.
  • Companies or their associations/representatives shall not extend any travel facility inside or outside the country.
  • Companies or their associations/representatives shall not extend any hospitality like hotel accommodation to healthcare practitioners and their family members under any pretext.
  • Companies or their associations/representatives shall not pay any cash or monetary grants to any healthcare professional under any pretext.

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/doctors-criticise-govt-for-backing-out-from-making-code-on-pharma-firms-mandatory/article32707336.ece


Consider the following statements regarding PUSA Decomposers

  1. It is a bio-decomposer technique for converting crop stubble into compost.
  2. It improves the fertility and productivity of the soil as the stubble works as manure and compost for the crops and lesser fertilizer consumption is required in the future.

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:Bio-decomposer technique will curb stubble burning pollution

  • The scientists have developed a bio-decomposer technique called ‘PUSA Decomposers’ for converting crop stubble into compost.Hence statement 1 is correct
  • Delhi and many other North Indian States are covered with smoke during winters due to stubble burning in the neighbouring States by the farmers.
  • PUSA Decomposers– The decomposers are in the form of capsules made by extracting fungi strains that help the paddy straw to decompose at a much faster rate than usual. The fungi helps to produce the essential enzymes for the degradation process.
  • Decomposer Mixture- It involves making a liquid formulation using decomposer capsules and fermenting it over 8-10 days and then spraying the mixture on fields with crop stubble to ensure speedy bio-decomposition of the stubble.

Significance:

  • The decomposer improves the fertility and productivity of the soil as the stubbleworks as manure and compost for the crops and lesser fertiliser consumption is required in the future.Hence statement 2 is correct
  • The soil loses its richness due to stubble burning and it also destroys the useful bacteria and fungi in the soil, apart from causing harm to the environment.
  • It is an efficient and effective, cheaper, doable and practical technique to stop stubble burning.
  • It is an eco-friendly and environmentally useful technology and will contribute to achieve Swachh Bharat Mission.

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/bio-decomposer-technique-will-curb-stubble-burning-pollution/article32689736.ece


Consider the following statements

  1. Cess is an earmarked tax that is collected for a specific purpose and ought to be spent only for that.
  2. Article 275 of the Constitution allows cess to be excluded from the purview of the divisible pool of taxes that the Union government must share with the States.

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:The Hindu Explains | Where are the funds collected through cess parked?

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, in its latest audit report of government accounts, has observed that the Union government withheld in the Consolidated Fund of India (CFI) more than ₹1.1 lakh crore out of the almost ₹2.75 lakh crore collected through various cesses in 2018-19

  • The Union government is empowered to raise revenue through a gamut of levies, including taxes (both direct and indirect), surcharges, fees and cess.
  • While direct taxes, including income tax, and indirect taxes such as GST are taxes where the revenue received can be spent by the government for any public purpose in any manner it deems appropriate for the nation’s good, a cess is a earmarked tax that is collected for a specific purpose and ought to be spent only for that.Hence statement 1 is correct
  • Every cess is collected after Parliament has authorised its creation through an enabling legislation that specifies the purpose for which the funds are being raised.
  • Article 270 of the Constitution allows cess to be excluded from the purview of the divisible pool of taxes that the Union government must share with the States. Hence statement 2 is incorrect.
  • The government has levied 42 cesses at various points in time since 1944.

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/business/Economy/the-hindu-explains-where-are-the-funds-collected-through-cess-parked/article32706024.ece


Consider the following statements regarding ESG funds

  1. ESG fund shortlists companies that score high on environment, social responsibility and corporate governancewhile picking stocks for investment.
  2. In India, the first ESG fund was launched by the State Bank of India

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:Explained: What are ESG funds – big abroad, now finding interest in India too

The ESG funds are increasingly becoming popular in the mutual fund industry in India.

What is ESG?

  • ESG investing is used synonymously with sustainable investing or socially responsible investing. While selecting a stock for investment, the ESG fund shortlists companies that score high on environment, social responsibility and corporate governance, and then looks into financial factors.Hence statement 1 is correct
  • While there are no strict norms on what constitutes ESG companies, each fund house follows different parameters to assign scores to companies on ESG to short-list stocks.
  • Most funds though exclude sectors that are deemed harmful from a social perspective such as tobacco, liquor and gambling.
  • In India, the concept is new, but several big lenders have rolled out their ESG funds. The first ESG fund was launched by the State Bank of India – SBI Magnum Equity ESG Fund.Hence statement 2 is correct
  • In India, as of now there are three schemes — SBI Magnum Equity ESG (Rs 2,772 crore), Axis ESG (Rs 1,755 crore) and Quantum India ESG Equity (Rs 18 cr) — following the ESG investment strategy.

Why is it important?

  • ESG investing is based on the idea that only pressure from large investors can force the corporate world to behave responsibly from a social, environmental and governance perspective.
  • Secondly, factors such as climate change, shifts in societal preferences and governance issues do pose risks to corporate earnings and thus to investors in stocks

Source: https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/columns/slate/all-you-wanted-to-know-about-esg-funds/article30965272.ece


Consider the following statements regarding Himalayan Chandra Telescope

  1. It is a 2.01-meter (6.5 feet) diameter optical-infrared telescope and is installed at the Indian Astronomical Observatory, Ladakh.
  2. Its primary goal is to study electromagnetic counterparts to gravitational wave sources, young supernovae and near-earth asteroids.

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:Workshop to mark 20 years of Himalayan Chandra Telescope to highlight the science it produced

On this occasion, to mark the 20 years of the first light event of the 2m HCT, IIA, an autonomous institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), has organized a two-day online science workshop

About Himalayan Chandra Telescope

  • The Himalayan Chandra Telescope is a 2.01-meter (6.5 feet) diameter optical-infrared telescope named after India-born Nobel laureate Subrahmanyam Chandrasekhar.Hence statement 1 is correct
  • It was installed at the Indian Astronomical Observatory (IAO), Mt. Saraswati, Digpa-ratsa Ri, Hanle, Ladakh at an altitude of 4500 m (15000 ft) above mean sea level (msl) by the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA), Bangalore, in August 2000.
  • Its primary goal is to study electromagnetic counterparts to gravitational wave sources, young supernovae and near-earth asteroids.Hence statement 2 is correct
  • It contains a modified Ritchey-Chretien system with a primary mirror made of ULE ceramic which is designed to withstand low temperatures it experiences.
  • The telescope is remotely operated via an INSAT-3B satellite link which allows operation even in sub-zero temperatures in winter.
  • This dedicated link is provided by the Centre for Research & Education in Science & Technology (CREST), Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore.
  • It is the country’s first robotic telescope and the first one designed to observe dynamic or transient events in the universe.
  • The telescope is expected to generate enormous amounts of data — over one thousand gigabytes in a year.

Source: https://www.pib.gov.in/PressReleseDetail.aspx?PRID=1659849


Consider the following statements regarding SAMVEDNA

  1. It is the tele-counselling service will provide psychological first-aid and emotional support to children who are in quarantine or at COVID care centers
  2. It has launched by the National Human Rights Commission of India

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: NCPCR launches toll-free tele-counselling number for children affected during COVID-19

  • The apex child rights body NCPCR has launched a toll-free tele-counselling helpline number 1800-121-2830 for children affected during COVID-19 for providing counselling and psycho-social support.Hence statement 2 is incorrect
  • The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), in a statement, said the tele-counselling service will provide psychological first-aid and emotional support to children who are in quarantine or isolation or at COVID care centres and children who have COVID positive parents or family members or children who have lost their parents due to COVID-19.
  • The Commission acknowledges that all children have unique vulnerabilities owing to specific needs and demands at different stages of growth till the time they reach adulthood
  • SAMVEDNA (Sensitizing Action on Mental Health Vulnerability through Emotional Development and Necessary Acceptance), Toll Free Tele counseling -18001212830 (from Monday to Saturday 10 am – 1 pm and 3 pm to 8 pm) will be able to address the stress, anxiety, fear and other issues among children. Hence statement 1 is correct

Source: https://www.outlookindia.com/newsscroll/ncpcr-launches-tollfree-telecounselling-number-for-children-affected-during-covid19/1940144


Consider the following statements regarding Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize

  1. It is given each year to recognize outstanding Indian work in various disciplines of Science and Technology.
  2. Any citizen of India engaged in research in any field of science and technology up to the age of 45 years is eligible for the prize excluding Overseas citizen of India and Persons of Indian Origin

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:Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize 2020: 12 researchers receive India’s highest science award

  • The names of 12 scientists who received the country’s highest science award Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for 2020 were announced during the foundation day of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)

About Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize

  • The Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize is named after the founder Director of the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), Dr. Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar.
  • The Prize is given each year to recognize outstanding Indian work in various disciplines of Science and Technology.Hence statement 1 is correct
  • It was first awarded in 1958.
  • The prize is given to Indian scientists below the age of 45 for outstanding research in seven fields—Biology, Chemistry, Environment Science, Engineering, Mathematics, Medicine and Physics.
  • Any citizen of India engaged in research in any field of science and technology up to the age of 45 years is eligible for the prize.Overseas citizen of India (OCI) and Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) working in India are also eligible.Hence statement 2 is incorrect

Source: https://www.hindustantimes.com/science/shanti-swarup-bhatnagar-prize-2020-12-researchers-receive-india-s-highest-science-award/story-mpguVPsNq7U60SY8fnXo4K.html


The Partition of Bengal made by Lord Curzon in 1905 lasted until

  1. The First World War when Indian troops were needed by the British and the partition was ended.
  2. King George V abrogated Curzon’s Act as the Royal Durbar in Delhi in 1911
  3. Gandhiji launched his Civil Disobedience Movement.
  4. The Partition of India in 1947 when East Bengal became East Pakistan.

Answer: (b) King George V abrogated Curzon’s Act as the Royal Durbar in Delhi in 1911