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20 JAN CURRENT AFFAIRS (MCQ)

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20 JAN CURRENT AFFAIRS (MCQ)

Q1. Consider the following statements with regard to the Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) in India

  1. India’s MMR has declined from 130 per 1 lakh live births in 2014-2016 to 122 per 1 lakh live births in 2015-2017.
  2. Jaya Jaitly task force is set up by the government of India to examine the correlation of age of marriage and motherhood with key parameters like Infant Mortality Rate (IMR), Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR), etc.
    Which of the above statement/s is/are correct?
    a) 1 Only
    b) 2 Only
    c) Both 1 and 2
    d) Neither 1 nor 2 Solution : c)
    Explanation :-
    About Jaya Jaitley Task Force:
    • The task force has been constituted with Ms. Jaya Jaitly as its Chairperson • The Terms of Reference of the Task Force are as follows:
    o To examine the correlation of age of marriage and motherhood with
     health, medical well-being and nutritional status of mother and neonate/infant/child, during pregnancy, birth and thereafter,
     key parameters like Infant Mortality Rate (IMR), Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR), Total Fertility Rate (TFR), Sex Ratio at Birth (SRB), Child Sex Ratio (CSR) etc.
    o To suggest measures for promoting higher education among women.
    o To suggest suitable legislative instruments and/or amendments in existing laws to support the recommendations of the Task Force.
    o To work out a detailed roll-out plan with timelines to implement the recommendations of the Task Force.
    Maternal Mortality Ratio(MMR)
    • MMR is a key performance indicator for efforts to improve the health and safety of mothers (before, during, and after childbirth).
    • It is calculated as the annual number of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births.
    • Maternal death is the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy.
    • According to the recently released Sample Registration System (SRS) 2015-2017 bulletin for MMR, India’s MMR has declined from 130 per 1 lakh live births in 20142016 to 122 per 1 lakh live births in 2015-2017.

Q2. Consider the following statements with respect to the Indian Innovation Index

  1. The index seeks to rank the states and union territories based on their relative performance of supporting innovation.
  2. It has been released by NITI Aayog since 2018 and is developed on the lines of the Global Innovation Index.
    Which of the following statement/s is/are correct?
    a) 1 Only
    b) 2 Only
    c) Both 1 and 2
    d) Neither 1 nor 2

Solution : a)
Explanation :-
About the India Innovation Index:
• Released by: National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Ayog along with the Institute for Competitiveness. The first edition was released in 2019. o The index is developed on the lines of the Global Innovation Index – published (since 2007) by Cornell University, INSEAD, and the World Intellectual Property Organization, in partnership with other organisations and institutions, and is based on both subjective and objective data derived from several sources, including the International Telecommunication Union, the World Bank and the World Economic Forum.
• Objective: The index seeks to rank the states and union territories based on their relative performance of supporting innovation.
• Mandate: To empower the states and union territories to improve their innovation policies by highlighting their strengths and weaknesses.
• The ranking methodology: It is designed in a way that states can draw lessons from the national leaders in innovation. o The states and union territories have been divided into 17 ‘Major States’, 10 ‘North-East and Hill States’, and 9 ‘City States and Union Territories’, for effectively comparing their performance.
o Categories: The states and union territories have been ranked on two broad categories – outcome and governance.
• Significance:
o This will lead to a healthy competition among the states and union territories, thereby fostering competitive federalism.
o The index analyzes various factors that drive innovation at the country, state, and district levels.
o This would enable policymakers in identifying catalysts and inhibitors of innovation at the national and sub-national levels.

Q3. Consider the following statements with respect to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose

  1. All India Forward Bloc, led by him, was a left wing nationalist political party in India which emerged as a faction outside the Indian National Congress in 1939.
  2. The government of India has recently announced to celebrate January 23 – birth anniversary of Subhas Chandra Bose as “Parakram Diwas”, to mark the day of courage every year.
    Which of the above statement/s is/are correct?
    a) 1 Only
    b) 2 Only
    c) Both 1 and 2
    d) Neither 1 nor 2

Solution : b)
Explanation :-

Recently, the Union Culture Ministry of India announced that January 23 – birth anniversary of Subhas Chandra Bose, would be celebrated as “Parakram Diwas”, to mark day of courage every year.
Formation of Forward Bloc:
• All India Forward Bloc, led by Netaji, was a left wing nationalist political party in India which emerged as a faction within the INC in 1939.
• The prime objective of the Forward Bloc was to bring all radical elements of the Congress party to spread the meaning of complete independence of India with adherence to the application of principles of equality and social justice.

Q4. Consider the following statements:

  1. Question Hour in both Houses of Parliament is held on all days of the session.
  2. Zero Hour is not mentioned in the rules of procedure.
    Which of the above statements is/are correct?
    a) 1 Only
    b) 2 Only
    c) Both 1 and 2
    d) Neither 1 nor 2

Solution : c)
Explanation :-

Question Hour
• It is during this one hour that Members of Parliament ask questions of ministers and hold them accountable for the functioning of their ministries.
• The questions that MPs ask are designed to elicit information and trigger suitable action by ministries.
• Induces transparency: The questions asked have exposed financial irregularities and brought data and information regarding government functioning to the public domain.
o The live broadcast of Question Hour has become one the most visible aspects of parliamentary functioning.
• Question Hour in both Houses is held on all days of the session. 1 is correct.
• Exceptions:
o There is no Question Hour on the day the President addresses MPs from both Houses in the Central Hall.
o The President’s speech takes place at the beginning of a new Lok Sabha and on the first day of a new Parliament year.
o Question Hour is not scheduled either on the day the Finance Minister presents the Budget.
• The presiding officers of the two houses are the final authority with respect to the conduct of Question Hour. Zero Hour
• While Question Hour is strictly regulated, Zero Hour is an Indian parliamentary innovation which is not mentioned in the rules of procedure. 2 is correct.

• Usually Question Hour is the first hour of a parliamentary sitting. In 2014, Rajya Sabha Chairman shifted Question Hour in the House from 11 am to 12 noon. The move was to prevent the disruption of Question Hour.

Q5. Consider the following statements:

  1. Both India and Nepal are members of BBIN and BIMSTEC.
  2. India is Nepal’s second largest trade partner after China.
    Which of the above statements is/are correct?
    a) 1 Only
    b) 2 Only
    c) Both 1 and 2
    d) Neither 1 nor 2

Solution : a)
Explanation :-
• Both India and Nepal are members of BBIN (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal), BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation), Non Aligned Movement, and SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) etc. 1 is correct.
• India is Nepal’s largest trade partner and the largest source of foreign investments. 2 is incorrect.

Q6. Consider the following statements:

  1. The Public Debt Office (PDO) of the Reserve Bank of India acts as the depository of GSecs.
  2. Most Government bonds in India are issued as fixed rate bonds. 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

Solution : c)
Explanation :-
• The Public Debt Office (PDO) of the Reserve Bank of India acts as the registry / depository of G-Secs and deals with the issue, interest payment and repayment of principal at maturity. Most of the dated securities are fixed coupon securities.
Hence Statement 1 is correct.
• Most Government bonds in India are issued as fixed rate bonds. Fixed Rate Bonds are bonds on which the coupon rate is fixed for the entire life (i.e. till maturity) of the bond.
Hence Statement 2 is correct.

Q7. Jaya Jaitley task force, recently in news, is related to:
a) take a re-look at the age of marriage for women
b) working of capital market infrastructure institutions (MIIs)
c) decide the appropriate level of reserves that the RBI should hold
d) analyze Fund Requirement in Power Sector

Solution : a)
Explanation :-
The task force set up to take a re-look at the age of marriage for women has submitted its report to the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
• Chairperson of the committee Jaya Jaitley refused to comment on the contents of the report submitted after a delay of five months.
• When the panel was formed in June last year, it was given until July 31, 2020, to finalise its report.
• Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day speech last year spoke about a panel formed to decide on the “right age of marriage” for women.
• Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her Budget speech last year proposed a panel on the “age of a girl entering motherhood” to lower maternal mortality rates and improve nutrition levels.
• Women’s rights activists have opposed the suggestion of raising the age of marriage from 18 to 21 for women and have cited evidence to show that such a move may be used to incarcerate young adults marrying without parents’ consent.
• Hence, option (a) is the correct answer.

Q8. With reference to the bad bank, consider the following statements:

  1. The bad bank is not involved in lending and taking deposits, but helps commercial banks clean up their balance sheets and resolve bad loans.
  2. The takeover of bad loans is normally below the book value of the loan and the bad bank tries to recover as much as possible subsequently. 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

Solution : c)
Explanation :-
As the problem of non-performing assets (NPAs), or loans on which borrowers have defaulted, persists in a sector stressed by the pandemic, the RBI Governor has agreed to look at a proposal for creating a bad bank.
• A bad bank conveys the impression that it will function as a bank but has bad assets to start with.
• Technically, a bad bank is an asset reconstruction company (ARC) or an asset management company that takes over the bad loans of commercial banks, manages them and finally recovers the money over a period of time.
• The bad bank is not involved in lending and taking deposits, but helps commercial banks clean up their balance sheets and resolve bad loans.
• The takeover of bad loans is normally below the book value of the loan and the bad bank tries to recover as much as possible subsequently.

• US-based Mellon Bank created the first bad bank in 1988, after which the concept has been implemented in other countries including Sweden, Finland, France and Germany.
• Hence both statements are correct.

Q9. Mount Semeru, recently seen in news, is located in:
a) Indonesia
b) Maldives
c) South Africa
d) Mexico

Solution : a)
Explanation :-
Indonesia’s Mount Semeru has erupted, pouring ash an estimated 5.6km (3.4 miles) into the sky above Java, the country’s most densely populated island.
• Semeru – also known as “The Great Mountain” – is the highest volcano in Java and one of the most active. It is also one of Indonesia’s most popular tourist hiking destinations.
• The volcano previously erupted in December, when about 550 people were evacuated.
• Within the last week, Indonesia has endured multiple landslides, a deadly earthquake on Sulawesi island, and the loss of a Sriwijaya Air Boeing 737 with 62 people on board.
• Indonesia sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire” where tectonic plates collide, causing frequent volcanic activity as well as earthquakes.
• Hence, option (a) is the correct answer.

Q10. With reference to the ‘Regulation S’ bonds, consider the following statements:

  1. Regulation S offerings are typically referred to as “Offshore Offering”.
  2. A Regulation S offerings is typical of many European offerings and the larger clearing firms in Europe, often grant access to their systems via a Regulation S offering. 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

Solution : c)
Explanation :-
State Bank of India (SBI) recently raised $600 million of ‘Regulation S’ bonds — via its London branch — at a coupon rate of 1.8%.
• The bond is priced at a spread of 140 basis points over the 5-year U.S. Treasury rate and will be listed on SGX-ST and India INX. The issuance represented SBI’s return to the international public bond markets after a gap of close to two years.
• Regulation S offerings are typically referred to as “Offshore Offering” because they mainly have to either do with a foreign company creating an offering, or an US company that is offerings its debt or equity overseas, i.e. outside the United States.
• A Regulation S offerings is typical of many European offerings and the larger clearing firms in Europe, often grant access to their systems via a Regulation S offering.
• Hence both statements are correct.

Q11. With reference to the monsoon, consider the following statements:

  1. The monsoon that concluded in 2020 was unique, in that with monsoon 2019, it was only the third time in a century that India saw back-to-back years of above normal rainfall.
  2. In 2019 and 2020 the IMD failed to forecast the magnitude of the excess and only indicated that the monsoon would be “above normal”. 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

Solution : c)
Explanation :-
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) may introduce new monsoon models this year to better forecast changes in rainfall.
• There were three different models that could be tested this year. Two of them were dynamical models and one a statistical model.
• In the former, the climate on any particular day is simulated on supercomputers and meteorologists observe the changing daily output.
• The other is the traditional statistical model that equates relationships of physical parameters, such as for instance sea surface temperatures, snowfall, the temperature of landmass etc, with the actual observed rainfall in the past.
• The three models under consideration are:
o 12 global circulation models (dynamical) whose outputs would be combined into a single one; o a model that gauges rainfall based on the sea surface temperature in the tropics (developed by Professor Sumant Nigam, University of Maryland, U.S.) and
o the statistical model based on climate variables observed during the pre-monsoon.
• All of them are ‘ensembles’ meaning smaller models are combined to arrive at an average value.
• The traditional statistical model would continue to be used this year.
• The monsoon that concluded in 2020 was unique, in that with monsoon 2019, it was only the third time in a century that India saw back-to-back years of above normal rainfall.
• In both years — and monsoon 2019 was a 25-year high — the IMD failed to forecast the magnitude of the excess and only indicated that the monsoon would be “above normal”.
• Hence both statements are correct.

Q12. With reference to the 1st National Conference of States on Logistics, consider the following statements:

  1. India has a $200 billion logistics ecosystem.
  2. On 18th January, the average freight speed train speed was 46.77 kmph as compared to
    22.47 kmph last year in the same period.
    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

Solution : c)
Explanation :-
Union Minister of Commerce & Industry Piyush Goyal addressed the 1st National Conference of States on Logistics.
• He said that National Logistics Policy, which is under consultation, along with the National Logistics Council and State Logistics Coordination Committee, will work as a template for better coordination and integrated development for logistics centre.
• The Minister said that Logistics is all about 5R’s: Getting the Right product – In the Right condition – At the Right place – At the Right time – To the Right customer.
• India has a $200 billion logistics ecosystem. A good part of it is supported by the Indian Railways.
• Citing studies, the minister said that about 13-14 per cent cost of a product is logistics, and “we wish to bring it down to about 8 per cent”.
On 18th January, the average freight speed train speed was 46.77 kmph as compared to 22.47 kmph last year in the same period. Hence both statements are correct.

Q13. Exercise Desert Knight-21, is between Indian Air Force and which of the following country’s Air Force?
a) France
b) U.S.A
c) Germany
d) U.K

Solution : a)
Explanation :-
Indian Air Force and French Air and Space Force will conduct a bilateral Air exercise, Ex Desert Knight-21 at Air Force Station Jodhpur from 20 to 24 Jan 2021. The exercise is unique as it includes fielding of Rafale aircraft by both sides.
• As part of Indo-French defence cooperation, Indian Air Force and French Air and Space Force have held six editions of Air Exercises named ‘Garuda’, the latest being in 2019 at Air Force Base Mont-de-Marsan, France.
• As measures to further the existing cooperation, the two forces have been gainfully utilising available opportunities to conduct ‘hop-exercises’.
• The French Air and Space Force deployment while ferrying to Australia for Ex Pitchblack in 2018 was hosted by IAF at Air Force Stations Agra and Gwalior for exercise with fighters and MRTT aircraft.
• Presently, the French detachment for Ex Desert Knight-21 is deployed in Asia as part of their ‘Skyros Deployment’ and will ferry in forces to Air Force Station Jodhpur.
• Hence, option (a) is the correct answer.

Q14. Rooftop Solar Scheme is launched by
a) Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology
b) Ministry of Science & Technology
c) NITI Aayog
d) Ministry of New and Renewable Energy

Solution : d)
Explanation :- Rooftop Solar Scheme:
Objective:
• Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has released an advisory on the rooftop solar scheme.
• To generate solar power by installing solar panels on the roof of the houses, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is implementing Grid-connected Rooftop Solar Scheme (Phase II).
• Grid-Connected Rooftop Solar Scheme (Phase II):
• It aims to achieve a cumulative capacity of 40,000 MW from Rooftop Solar Projects by the year 2022.
• In a grid-connected rooftop or small Solar Photovoltaic (SPV) system wherein the DC power generated from the SPV panel is converted to AC power using the power conditioning unit and is fed to the grid.

Q15. Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project is between India and
a) Myanmar
b) Bangladesh
c) Bhutan
d) Nepal

Solution : d)
Explanation :-
Recent developments between India and Nepal:
The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nepal visited New Delhi for the sixth meeting of the IndiaNepal Joint Commission.
• The timing of the high-profile visit was strategically important as Nepal is giving signs engaging with India at the top decision-making level.
Key points:
• Development partnership front: Following projects were discussed:
o The expansion of the Motihari-Amlekhganj petroleum products pipeline to Chitwan and the establishment of a new pipeline on the eastern side connecting Siliguri to Jhapa in Nepal The upgraded first passenger railway line between India and Nepal from Jaynagar to Kurtha via Janakpur. o Other “cross-border rail connectivity projects, including a possible RaxaulKathmandu broad gauge railway line”.
o The construction of a third integrated check post at Nepalgunj has already commenced, while the new integrated check post at Bhairahwa would begin shortly.
o The joint hydropower projects, including the proposed Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project.
o Cultural heritage projects in Nepal- the Pashupatinath Riverfront Development and the Bhandarkhal Garden Restoration in Patan Durbar