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Daily Prelims Test – 5_April 2021

Consider the following Statements regarding India’s forests

As of 2019, about 21.67% of the country’s geographical area is identified as a forest

Forests of the Northeast and central India regions are the most vulnerable areas to forest fires

Forests in Assam, Mizoram and Tripura have been identified as ‘extremely prone’ to forest fire.

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

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

Answer: (d) 1,2 and 3 

Explanation:

In NEWS: Explained: Why forest fires break out in the spring, and why they have been so frequent this year

  • Uttarakhand has witnessed over 1,000 incidents of forest fire over the last six months, including 45 in the last 24 hours alone
  • January saw prolonged fires in Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh (Kullu Valley) and Nagaland-Manipur border (Dzukou Valley). The ongoing one in Nainital began in March-end. The Simlipal National Park in Odisha saw a major fire between February-end and early March.

Forest cover in India

  • As of 2019, about 21.67% (7,12,249 sq km) of the country’s geographical area is identified as forest, according to the India State of Forest Report 2019 (ISFR) released by the Forest Survey of India (FSI), Dehradun. Hence statement 2 is correct
  • Tree cover makes up another 2.89% (95, 027 sq km).

How prone to fire are India’s forests?

  • Based on previous fire incidents and recorded events, forests of the Northeast and central India regions are the most vulnerable areas to forest fires. Hence statement 2 is correct
  • Forests in Assam, Mizoram and Tripura have been identified as ‘extremely prone’ to forest fire. Hence statement 3 is correct
  • States with large forest areas under the ‘very highly prone’ category include Andhra Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Maharashtra, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. 
  • Western Maharashtra, Southern Chhattisgarh and areas of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, along with central Odisha, are turning into ‘extremely prone’ forest fire hotspots, the 2020-2021 annual report of the MoEFCC said.
  • Areas under the ‘highly prone’ and ‘moderately prone’ categories make up about 26.2% of the total forest cover — a whopping 1,72,374 sq km.
  • Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh are the two states that witness the most frequent forest fires annually.
  • Causes forest fires
  • Major fires in India are triggered mainly by human activities
  • Climate change to rising instances of fires globally
  • Extreme heat and dryness, friction created by rubbing of branches with each other
  • Lack of soil moisture too

Why are forest fires difficult to control?

  • Shortage of staff
  • Timely mobilization of forest staff, fuel and equipment through the thick forests remain challenges.
  • Impossible to transport heavy vehicles loaded with water

Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/why-forest-fires-break-out-in-the-spring-and-why-they-have-been-so-frequent-this-year-7259057/


Consider the following Statements regarding Fixed-term employment

  1. It is a contract in which a company or an enterprise hires an employee for a specific period of time.
  2. It is introduced in the Code on Industrial Relations 2020
  3. It will be entitled to all statutory benefits like a permanent worker.

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

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

Answer: (d) 1,2 and 3 

Explanation:

In NEWS: Labour Bureau inks agreement with BECIL for conducting all-India surveys

  • The surveys to be undertaken by the Bureau will be integrated with the technology provided by the BECIL, which will substantially reduce the time taken for completion of surveys by at least 30-40 per cent.
  • The ministry in order to implement the newly introduced category of ‘Fixed Term Employment’ (FTE) has decided that the manpower engaged through the IT partner for supporting these surveys will be offered Fixed Term Employment.

About Fixed-term employment

  • Fixed-term employment is a contract in which a company or an enterprise hires an employee for a specific period of time. Hence statement 1 is correct
  • Under the fixed-term employment contract, the payout or the payment is fixed in advance and is not altered till the term expires. In fixed-term employment, the employee is not on the payroll of the company.
  • The concept of fixed-term employment (FTE) introduced is a win-win situation where an employee gets all the benefits of a permanent employee and the employer can engage a worker without the intervention of a contractor.
  • An FTE worker will be entitled to all statutory benefits like a permanent worker. Further, an FTE worker has also been allowed the benefit of proportionate gratuity even if the contract is for a period of one year. Hence statement 3 is correct
  • With an aim to discourage the use of contract workers the government introduced the option of fixed-term employment in the Code on Industrial Relations (2020). Hence statement 2 is correct
  • With Industrial Relations (IR) Code 2020, firms can now directly hire contract workers\ through the fixed-term contract without a middle man in the way.
  • Advantages of Fixed-term Employment:
  • Fixed-term employment may allow employers the flexibility to hire workers for a fixed duration and for work that may not be permanent in nature.
  • Further, fixed-term contracts are negotiated directly between the employer and employee and reduce the role of a middleman such as an agency or contractor.
  • They may also benefit the worker since the Code entitles fixed-term employees to the same benefits (such as medical insurance and pension) and conditions of work as are available to permanent employees. This could help improve the conditions of temporary workers in comparison with contract workers who may not be provided with such benefits.

Source: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/indicators/labour-bureau-inks-agreement-with-becil-for-conducting-all-india-surveys/articleshow/81586788.cms


Consider the following Statements regarding Primary forest

  1. These forests are found only in tropical region
  2. These forests are composed of native species and the ecological processes are relatively intact with no major human activity.
  3. Share of world’s  primary forests are found in Brazil, Canada and the Russian Federation 

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

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

Answer: (b) 2 and 3 only

Explanation:

In NEWS: Rainforest destruction went up by 12% in 2020, says report

  • 2020 was meant to be a landmark year in the fight against deforestation because many companies, countries, and international organisations had pledged to halve or completely stop forest loss in 2020
  • The primary forest loss globally was 12% higher in 2020 compared to 2019 and the resulting carbon emissions from this are equivalent to the annual emissions of 570 million cars, or more than double their number on the US roads, the World Resources Institute (WRI)
  • As much as 12.2 million ha tree cover was lost in 2020, which included 4.2 million ha, or an area equal to the Netherlands, from tropical primary rainforests, according to University of Maryland data
  • A landmark year in the fight against deforestation because many companies, countries, and international organisations had pledged to halve or completely stop forest loss in 2020.
  • Tree cover can refer to trees in plantations as well as natural forests. Tree cover loss is the removal of tree canopy due to human or natural causes, including fire. The data does not take tree cover gain into account and is therefore not an indication of net change.
  • Brazil topped the list of countries with the highest primary forest loss—1.7 million ha in 2020.
  • Indonesia’s rate of primary forest loss decreased for the fourth year.

About India’s primary forests

  • Data from GFW suggests India also lost a larger area under tree cover in humid primary forests in 2020 (20.8 kilo hectares) compared to 17.3 kha in 2019. 
  • From 2002 to 2020, India lost 349 kilo hectares of humid primary forest, making up 19% of its total tree cover loss in the same time period. 
  • The total area of humid primary forest in India decreased by 3.4% during this period.

About Primary forest

  • Primary forests are forests of native tree species, where there are no clearly visible indications of human activities and the ecological processes are not significantly disturbed. Hence statement 2 is correct
  • Primary forests are found in all climates—tropical, boreal, and temperate—wherever there is sufficient rainfall to support a canopy of trees. Hence statement 1 is incorrect
  • Three countries – Brazil, Canada and the Russian Federation – host more than half (61 per cent) of the world’s primary forests. Hence statement 3 is correct
  • The world still has at least 1.11 billion ha of primary forest compared to the total forest area of 4.06 billion hectares. Roughly a quarter of the total forest area comprises primary forests.
  • The area of primary forest has decreased by 81 million ha since 1990, but the rate of loss more than halved in 2010–2020 compared with the previous decade.

Source: https://www.hindustantimes.com/environment/rainforest-destruction-went-up-by-12-in-2020-says-report-101617170691972.html


Consider the following Statements regarding Global Forest Watch

It is a dynamic online forest monitoring and alert system that empowers people everywhere to better manage forests.

It is released by World Resources Institute

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 lost 14% tree cover amid Covid, rainforest destruction up 12% in 2020

  • The resulting carbon emissions from this primary forest loss (2.64 Gt CO2) are equivalent to the annual emissions of 570 million cars
  • Tropical forests across the world were destroyed at an alarming rate in 2020, despite the raging Coronavirus and the lockdowns as natural forces took over. India lost nearly 38.5 thousand hectares (Kha) of tropical forest between 2019 and 2020 making up nearly 14 per cent loss of its tree cover.
  • Meanwhile, the total tropical forest area in India fell by 0.38 per cent.
  • The new observations have been made by the Global Forest Watch
  • The new report comes on the heels of the Centre’s recent response in Parliament stating that India’s forest cover is continuously increasing and it has reached 24.56 per cent of the geographical area of the country.
  • The organisation also recorded a 0.67 percent decrease in tree cover across the country in the same period. Meanwhile, in the last decade, the country has seen a 16 per cent loss in forest cover with 223 Kha of tropical forest being lost to several human activities, primary among them deforestation.
  • Mizoram has witnessed the biggest decline in forest area with a loss of 47.2 Kha in the last year, followed by Manipur, Assam, Meghalaya and Nagaland. 
  • In India, the top four regions were responsible for 52 per cent of all tree cover loss between 2019 and 2020
  • One of the primary reasons for the loss of forest cover has been fires, caused due to changing weather patterns.

About Global Forest Watch

  • A dynamic online forest monitoring and alert system that empowers people everywhere to better manage forests. Hence statement 1 is correct
  • It is released by the World Resources Institute (WRI). Hence statement 2 is correct
  • The data used by Global Forest Watch for this analysis is very coarse for India as it doesn’t cover open forest and scrub forest which is a big composition of forests in India.
  • The Global Forest Watch uses a dataset collated by the University of Maryland, Google, US Geological Survey, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), besides satellite images, to map tree cover (at 30 metre resolution) globally for the years 2000 and 2010.

Source: https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/india-lost-14-tree-cover-amid-covid-rainforest-destruction-up-12-in-2020-121040200371_1.html


With reference to Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process, Consider the following Statements

It is initiated under the provisions of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016

The maximum time within which CIRP has to be mandatorily completed including any extension period is 1 year

The minimum amount of default for initiating CIRP is Rs. 1 lakh

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

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

Answer: (c) 1 and 3 only

Explanation:

In NEWS: Now, a pre-packaged insolvency process for MSMEs

  • The Centre has used the Ordinance route to introduce pre-packaged insolvency resolution process (pre-pack) for companies classified as micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
  • India currently has about 6-7 lakh companies classified as MSMEs, and potentially these many could benefit from the newly introduced pre-packaged insolvency framework.
  • Pre-packs are seen to be a viable alternative to the current corporate insolvency process and would be significantly less time-consuming and inexpensive as against the formal insolvency proceedings
  • The Centre has introduced a pre-pack for MSMEs through a unique model that is different from normal CIRP.

About Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process

  • Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process (CIRP) is the process of resolving the corporate insolvency of a corporate debtor in accordance with the provisions of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), 2016. Hence statement 1 is correct.
  • CIRP may be initiated by a financial creditor, an operational creditor and corporate applicant of the corporate debtor. Any person to whom a financial debt is owed and includes a person to whom such debt has been legally assigned or transferred to.
  • The minimum amount of default for initiating CIRP was ₹ 1 lakh . The Government vide notification dated 24th March 2020, has increased the minimum amount of default to ₹ 1 crore. Hence statement 3 is correct.
  • National Company Law Tribunal, having territorial jurisdiction over the place where the registered office of the corporate person is located serves as the Adjudicating Authority, in relation to insolvency resolution and liquidation for corporate persons.
  • As per section 12(1) of the Code, the CIRP shall be completed within a period of 180 days from the date of admission of the application to initiate such a process. The Adjudicating Authority may grant a one- time extension of 90 days. The maximum time within which CIRP has to be mandatorily completed, including any extension or litigation period, is 330 days. However, it can be withdrawn either before admission by the Adjudicating Authority or even after admission. Hence statement 2 is incorrect

Source: https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/companies/msme/now-in-india-a-pre-packaged-insolvency-process-for-msmes/article34242211.ece


Which of the following statements is correct relating to the Pre-Pack Insolvency Resolution Process?

  1. It is an agreement for the resolution of the debt of a distressed company through a public bidding process instead of between secured creditors and investors 
  2. It needs to be completed within 6 months from the commencement date.
  3. It is an insolvency regime that involves only formal processes.
  4. It is a viable alternative to the current corporate insolvency process

Answer: (d) It is a viable alternative to the current corporate insolvency process

Explanation:

In NEWS: Now, a pre-packaged insolvency process for MSMEs

  • The Centre has promulgated an ordinance to bring in pre-packaged insolvency resolution options for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), hit by the pandemic.
  • For filing an application for initiating the pre-packaged insolvency resolution process, a corporate debtor should get an approval from its financial creditors representing not less than 66% in value of the financial debt
  • The ordinance also says that the process will be completed within 120 days from the pre-packaged insolvency commencement date.

About Pre-Pack Insolvency Resolution Process

  • A pre-pack is an agreement for the resolution of the debt of a distressed company through an agreement between secured creditors and investors instead of a public bidding process.
  • This system of insolvency proceedings has become an increasingly popular mechanism for insolvency resolution in the UK and Europe over the past decade.
  • Pre-Pack usually requires services of an insolvency practitioner to assist the stakeholders in the conduct of the process.
  • Pre-pack envisages a consensual process – prior understanding among or approval by stakeholders about the course of action to address stress of a Corporate Debtor (CD), before invoking the formal part of the process.
  • It is a blend of informal and formal mechanisms, with the informal process stretching up to NCLT admission, followed by the existing NCLT supervised process for resolution as specified under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code
  • Pre-packs are seen to be a viable alternative to the current corporate insolvency process and would be significantly less time-consuming and inexpensive as against the formal insolvency proceedings. Hence option (d) is the correct answer
  • Some limitations
  • The key drawback of a pre-packaged insolvency resolution is the reduced transparency compared to the CIRP.
  • Financial creditors would reach an agreement with a potential investor privately and not through an open bidding process.
  • This could lead to stakeholders such as operational creditors raising issues of fair treatment when financial creditors reach agreements to reduce the liabilities of the distressed company.

Source: https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/companies/msme/now-in-india-a-pre-packaged-insolvency-process-for-msmes/article34242211.ece


Consider the following Statements with respect to rubber plantation in India

The Rubber Act 1947 stipulates that registration of rubber plantations was mandatory and the Board was able to maintain an elaborate database.

The growing temperature for the rubber plant is from 10 to 15°C.

The rubber plantation requires a hot and humid climate with heavy and well-distributed rainfall of 200 cm to 300 cm

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

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

Answer: (c) 1 and 3 only

Explanation:

In NEWS: Rubber Board to conduct census on natural rubber plantations, prepare database

  • The Rubber Board plans to conduct a census on natural rubber plantations in the country in a phased manner that will help it prepare a database for rubber.
  • The census aims to ascertain the actual area under rubber, the age profile of rubber trees, discarded area, level of adoption of new clones and the influence of improved clones in production and productivity etc.
  • A pilot census work is scheduled to be conducted in the Kottayam and Kannur districts of Kerala and Tripura
  • The Board plans to conduct the database generation of rubber holdings with the help of extension officers and the active participation of Rubber Producers’ Societies.
  • Section 10 of the Rubber Act 1947 stipulates that registration of rubber plantations was mandatory and the Board was able to maintain an elaborate database. Hence statement 1 is correct
  • The rubber census focuses on the collection of details of rubber area including total planted area, immature area, mature area, tapping area, the number of trees, year of planting, clones, tapping system and the rain guarding status of the holdings.

About rubber plantation in India

  • Rubber is a coherent elastic solid obtained from the latex of a number of tropical trees of which Hevab brasiliensis is the most important.
  • The first rubber plantation in India was set up in 1895 on the hill slopes of Kerala and its cultivation on a commercial scale was introduced in 1902.
  • The Indian rubber plantation sector, he said, is dominated by smallholders and accounts for 92 per cent of the production and 91 per cent of the planted area in the country. 
  • The sector has 1.32 million small rubber growers, and their planted area comes around 8.2 lakh hectares.

Climatic condition for Rubber Farming:

  • The rubber plantation requires a hot and humid climate i.e. heavy and well-distributed rainfall of 200cm  to 300 cm having a humidity of about 75%. Hence statement 3 is correct
  • The rainfall should be best distributed throughout the year.
  • Dry spell and low temperatures are harmful.
  • Daily rainfall followed by the strong sun is very useful, at least 5 to 6 hours of sunlight daily. 
  • The best growing temperatures for the rubber plant is from 25 to 35°C. Freezing temperatures will halt the growth of rubber plants and strong wind areas are not suitable for rubber farming. Hence statement 2 is correct
  • June to July is the best season for its plantation
  • Rubber Plants require highly deep weathered soils which consist of laterite and lateritic soils.

Source: https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/rubber-board-to-conduct-census-on-natural-rubber-plantations-prepare-database/article34212911.ece


.Consider the following Statements with respect to Sankalp se Siddhi

  1. It is an initiative of Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation Ltd
  2. It is a Village and Digital Connect Drive.

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: SANKALP SE SIDDH – TRIFED’S VILLAGE AND DIGITAL CONNECT DRIVE LAUNCHED

  • TRIFED under Ministry of Tribal Affairs has now launched “Sankalp se Siddhi” – Village & Digital Connect Drive
  • TRIFED’s initiatives that have been put in place to help the disadvantaged tribal sections of the society, the Scheme, Mechanism for Marketing of Minor Forest Produce (MFP) Through Minimum Support Price (MSP) & Development of Value Chain for MFP’ that provides MSP to gatherers of forest produce and introduces value addition and marketing through tribal groups and clusters and Van Dhan Vikas Kendras has found widespread acceptance across the country
  • The objective of the MSP for MFP scheme is to establish a framework for ensuring fair prices for the tribal gatherers, primary processing, storage, transportation etc

About Sankalp se Siddhi

  • It is an initiative of Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation Ltd (TRIFED), Ministry of Tribal Affairs. Hence statement 1 is correct
  • It is a Village and Digital Connect Drive. Hence statement 2 is correct
  • It is a 100 day drive which will entail 150 teams (10 in each region from TRIFED and State Implementation Agencies/Mentoring Agencies/Partners) visiting ten villages each.
  • The 100 villages in each region and 1500 villages in the country will be covered in the next 100 days.
  • The primary objective Sankalp se Siddhi is to activate the Van Dhan Vikas Kendras in these villages.
  • It is expected that Sankalp Se Siddhi will aid in effecting a complete transformation of the tribal ecosystem across the country.

Source: https://pib.gov.in/PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=1709433


Consider the following Statements with respect to E-Courts Project

  1. It is a mission mode project undertaken by the Department of Justice
  2. It is being implemented in by the High Courts as well as the District/Subordinate Courts of the Country

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: e-Committee Supreme Court of India calls for comments suggestions and inputs on the draft vision document for its 3rd phase of eCourts project

  • eCommittee Supreme Court has prepared the draft vision document  for Phase III of the eCourts Project under the auspices of the Supreme court of India.
  • The eCommittee of the Supreme Court has been overseeing the implementation of the eCourts Project, conceptualized under the “National Policy and Action Plan for Implementation of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the Indian Judiciary-2005”.
  • A solid foundation for the objectives of the eCommittee has been substantially achieved in the first two phases of the Project.

About E-Courts Project

  • The e-Courts Mission Mode Project, is a pan-India Project, monitored and funded by the Department of Justice, Ministry of Law and Justice, for the District Courts across the country. Hence statement 1 is correct
  • It was conceptualized on the basis of the “National Policy and Action Plan for Implementation of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the Indian Judiciary – 2005” submitted by e-Committee, Supreme Court of India with a vision to transform the Indian Judiciary by ICT enablement of Courts.
  • Under the e-Courts MMP, it is proposed to implement ICT in Indian judiciary in 3 phases over a period of 5 years.
  • It is being implemented in by the High Courts as well as the District/Subordinate Courts of the Country. Hence statement 2 is correct

Objectives of the Project

  • To provide efficient & time-bound citizen-centric services delivery as detailed in e-Court Project Litigant’s Charter.
  • To develop, install & implement decision support systems in courts.
  • To automate the processes to provide transparency and accessibility of information to its stakeholders.
  • To enhance judicial productivity, both qualitatively & quantitatively, to make the justice delivery system affordable, accessible, cost-effective, predictable, reliable and transparent.

Source: https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasPage.aspx?PRID=1709477


The term ‘West Texas Intermediate’, sometimes found in news, refers to a grade of 

  1. Crude oil
  2. Bullion
  3. Rare earth elements
  4. Uranium

Answer: (a) Crude oil

Explanation:

  • West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil is a specific grade of crude oil and one of the main three benchmarks in oil pricing, along with Brent and Dubai Crude. WTI is known as a light sweet oil because it contains 0.24% sulfur and has a low density, making it “light.” Hence option (a) is the correct answer

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