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Showing posts from March 17, 2017

Current Affairs MCQ for UPSC Exams – 14 February 2017

Q1 - Which of the following is correct regarding chemical weapons convention?

1. It is administered by United Nations Security council
2. Russia recently decided to remove its chemical weapon stockpiles
A. 1 only
B. 2 only
C. Both

Q2 - Which of the following state governments has recently launched e-Prison project?

A. Andhra Pradesh
B. Karnataka
C. Jammu and Kashmir
D. Tamil Nadu

Q3 - India recently signed Hague code of conduct. What is this code related to?

A. It prohibites the illegal trade of animal parts
B. It works to improve the banking regulations
C. It works to contain the spread of ballistic missiles
D. None of the above.
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 Answer 1-B,2-B,3-B

Current Affairs MCQ for UPSC Exams – 13 February 2017

Q.1- ‘Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action’, often seen in the news, is

(a) a strategy to tackle the regional terrorism, an outcome of a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization
(b) a plan of action for sustainable economic growth in the Asia-Pacific Region, an outcome of the deliberations of the Asia-Pacific Economic Forum
(c) an agenda for women’s empowerment, an outcome of a World Conference convened by the United Nations
(d) a strategy to combat wildlife trafficking, a declaration of the East Asia Summit

Q.2- Which of the following is part of Indradhanush plan to revamp banks?

1. It is applicable to both public and private sector to make them compatible to Basel III norms
2. An Independent authority Bank Board Bureau would be made under this plan
A. 1 only
B. 2 only
C. Both
D. None

Q.3- Bajaj commmittee os related to which of the following?

A. Tungabhadra water sharing
B. Krishna water sharing
C. Godavari water sharing
D. Relocation if resources between Telangana a…

Wolf at our doorDO ,(downtoearth,)

The big bad wolf will come. This is what has dictated global climate change narrative for so long. The world has tiptoed around actions that need to be taken at a certain speed and scale to curtail emissions; global agreements have been bent out of shape to appease climate deniers. And in Paris, the world literally scraped the bottom of the barrel to tie up a weak and unambitious agreement to control climate change. All this, because it believed that doing anything more would get the opposition, particularly in the US, riled up.

As a result, the US has made the multilateral world change rules; reconfigure agreements, mostly to reduce it to the lowest common denominator. Then when the world has stitched together a weak and worthless deal, the US has walked out of it. All this while, its powerful civil society and media has hammered home the point that the world needs to be accommodating and pragmatic. “Our Congress will not accept” or, worse, “Republicans will come” has been the commo…

Does 2017 Tamil Nadu budget address water crisis, agrarian distress? (downtoearth,)

Tamil Nadu is reeling under severe drought owing to a 62 per cent deficit in the rainfall collectively from the Southwest and Northeast Monsoon. The groundwater table has also gone down. Finance minister D Jayakumar, while presenting his maiden budget in the Tamil Nadu assembly on March 16, acknowledged the challenges that the government is faced with.

Stating that the storage in most of the reservoirs supplying water to Chennai is 10 to 20 per cent of their capacity, Jayakumar said that the state government has taken up work like digging up new deep borewells, rejuvenating existing borewells and replacing pump sets at a total cost of Rs 610 crore.

The minister proposed the following measures to allay farmers’ concern over water shortage and crop failure

Allocate Rs 615 crore to meet drought situation
Encourage sugarcane cultivation under the drip irrigation scheme
Allocate Rs 300 crore for Tamirabarani-Nambiyar River linking project
Use Rs 3,042-crore loan from World Bank for conse…

Scientists discover first fluorescent amphibian—a frog that glows in the dark ()downtoearth

A team of researchers has discovered the first naturally fluorescent frog in Argentina. The discovery was made when Argentine and Brazilian scientists at the Bernardino Rivadaiva Natural Sciences Museum were studying the metabolic origin of pigments in a tree-frog species common in South America.

According to the study published on March 13 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, it is the "first scientific record of a fluorescent frog".

Under normal light, the South American polka-dot tree frog (Hypsiboas punctatus) has a muted shade of greens, yellows and reds. But once the lights are dimmed, this little amphibian emits a bright blue and green glow.

The ability to absorb light at short wavelengths and re-emit it at longer wavelengths, which is called fluorescence, is rare in terrestrial animals. Until now, this feature was unheard of in amphibians. Interestingly, this unique tree frog uses fluorescent molecules that are completely different from those found in…

Scientists use solar energy to produce clean hydrogen from biomass (downtoearth)

Scientists at the University of Cambridge have developed a sunlight-powered technology to produce clean fuel from unprocessed biomass.

The technology claims producing clean fuel, which is relatively cheap and sustainable, from biomass. The University of Cambridge said in a release that so far, lignocelluloses—the main component in plant biomass—was converted into hydrogen gas through a gasification process, which uses high temperatures for decomposition. However, the technology developed at the Christian Doppler Laboratory for Sustainable SynGas Chemistry uses a rather simple photocatalytic conversion process, said the release.

The joint lead author, David Wakerley from the Department of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge says, “There's a lot of chemical energy stored in raw biomass, but it is unrefined. So, you cannot expect it to work in complicated machinery such as a car engine.”

The new technology converts the long, messy structures that make up biomass into hydrogen g…

Centre gives six months to deal with cases of environmental clearance violations (downtoearth,)

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has issued a notification, giving a six-month window period to project proponents, who have been operating without obtaining a prior environmental clearance (EC), to apply for the same. The notification, issued on March 14, clarifies that this opportunity can only be availed for projects or activities which are observed to be in violation till the date of the notification, thus, making this a one-time opportunity.

The Ministry says that the notification has been issued because it is “necessary to bring such projects and activities in compliance with the environmental laws at the earliest point of time, rather than leaving them unregulated and unchecked, which will be more damaging to the environment”. Thus, it is “essential” to grant EC to these projects with adequate safeguards to make them compliant.

What prompted such move?

The recent move comes in response to certain proposals that the ministry and the State En…

Leaving no one behind (Hindu.)

The Vision 2030 document should formulate a disability-inclusive development agenda

The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog) is formulating a Vision 2030 document. This document is coterminous with the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), all 17 of which equally affect persons with disabilities as they do any other citizen.

The National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People conducted a seminar in December 2016. The government, the private sector, and leaders from various development fields participated to take stock of the current situation and deliberate on how disability could be integrated in Vision 2030. A starting point was that the government, the NITI Aayog, and all the associated stakeholders should interpret the provisions of the SDGs in line with the requirements and spirit of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). What may a road map for creating a disability-inclusive development agenda look l…

Are injectable contraceptives advisable? (Hindu)

The government is aiming to control women’s fertility rather than uphold their reproductive rights

The government is aiming to control women’s fertility rather than uphold their reproductive rights

Sulakshana Nandi

Instead of putting its efforts into improving the delivery of existing contraceptive methods, the government has recently chosen to introduce the injectable contraceptive, depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA), which is known to have adverse effects on women’s health.

Sulakshana Nandijpg
The articulation of population as a ‘problem’ or talking in terms of a ‘population explosion’ is deeply problematic, for it brings with it the spectre of ‘control’ and eventually, in a country like ours, control over women’s body and fertility. Countries that have achieved lower fertility rates have done so due to economic and social development and improvements in public services, including health services. Simply put, if a family is convinced that their one child or two children will…

Return to normal (Hindu)

By pointing to gradual rate increases, the Fed reassures markets and policymakers

The U.S. Federal Reserve has resumed normal monetary service by raising interest rates for the second time in three months. The Fed’s decision on Wednesday reflects its confidence in the continuing expansion and signals that its efforts to reflate the world’s largest economy are largely on track — with overall inflation seen to be stabilising around its longer-run target of 2% over the next couple of years. Significantly, Chair Janet Yellen stressed that policymakers expect the strengthening economy would warrant “gradual increases” in the benchmark federal funds rate to ensure that the monetary policy stance remains accommodative of growth, even as price stability is ensured. This emphasis on ‘gradual’ provides a degree of policy predictability that markets, for now, can broadly factor in two more rate increases of one quarter of a percentage point each for the rest of 2017 — especially when coupled wi…