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71 + 7 Questions from Insights Test Series 2016 and from Other initiatives of Insights Repeated Directly/Indirectly in UPSC Prelims – 2016

 

 

 

 


One could easily answer 71 questions in UPSC Prelims 2016 if they had enrolled and revised Insights Prelims 2016 test papers 2-3 times. It’s not a false claim. With proof we have reproduced questions and solutions from Insights test series which got repeated directly or indirectly in UPSC Civil Services Prelims exam 2016.

We have not unearthed this website to search for more repeated questions due to paucity of time. If we did, we would find more repetitions. 

 

NOTE: If you are doubtful, we request you to have patience and go through following proof before expressing your doubts.


 

Questions directly/indirectly from Insights Prelims Test Series

 

1) UPSC question

The term ‘Base Erosion and Profit Shifting’ is sometimes seen in the news in the context of

(a) mining operation by multinational companies in resource-rich but backward areas

(b) curbing of the tax evasion by multinational companies

(c) exploitation of genetic resources of a country by multinational companies

(d) lack of consideration of environmental costs in the planning and implementation of developmental projects

Solution: B

 

Insights question

Test Series 2016– Test 4- Q100

The term “Base Erosion and Profit System” is often in news. It is related to

a) How firms evade taxes by transferring profits from one subsidiary to the other

b) How firms collude and generate unfair profits by predatory pricing

d) How small scale industries’ profits are being affected by unfair corporate governance in MNCs

d) None of the above

Solution: a)

Justification: Consider a MNC X. ‘X’ is based in UK and also has a subsidiary in India. X is charged at 30% tax rate in UK, whereas its subsidiary in India is charged at only 10%.

  • X does not wish to pay the high taxes out of what it earns in the UK.
  • If X somehow manages to transfer its earnings from UK (high tax zone) to India (low tax zone), it will have to pay lower taxes overall if it shows lesser profits in UK (and more in India).
  • This practice is known as transfer pricing or BEPS as was referred to in G-20 summit recently.
  • Firms can avoid a lot of tax this way and have been doing so.  

Learning: G-20 leaders noticed the risks and uncertainties in financial markets and observed that geopolitical challenges are increasingly becoming a global problem.

G-20 has developed a package under the “Base Erosion and Profit System” project to tackle the problem of transferring profits to tax havens. The project urges the automatic exchange of tax-related information system and will come into force by 2018.

Q Source: http://www.newindianexpress.com/world/G-20-to-Combat-Terrorism-Tackle-Uneven-Global-Economic-Growth-Unitedly/2015/11/17/article3132623.ece

 


 

2) UPSC question

Why does the Government of India promote the use of Neem-coated Urea’ in agriculture?

(a) Release of Neem oil in the soil increases nitrogen fixation by the soil microorganisms

(b) Neem coating slows down the rate of dissolution of urea in the soil

(c) Nitrous oxide, which is a greenhouse gas, is not at all released into atmosphere by crop fields

(d) It is a combination of a weedicide and a fertilizer for particular crops

Solution: B

 

Insights question

Test Series 2016 – Test 21 – Q23

Neem-coating of Urea is an important recent reform in the fertiliser sector. This has been done to

  1. a) Improve the shell life of Urea
  2. b) Reduce the toxic effects of the urea on crops
  3. c) Reduce the cost of nitrogen-based fertilizers
  4. d) Prevent diversion of urea to industrial uses

Solution: d)

Justification & Learning: Urea is an important supplier of nitrogen, which is necessary for the development of plants. But only 30-40 per cent of nitrogen present in the urea is utilised by crops.

When farmers use conventional urea, about half the applied nitrogen is not assimilated by the plant and leaches into the soil, causing extensive groundwater contamination.

Spraying urea with neem oil also slows the release of nitrogen, by about 10 to 15 per cent, concomitantly reducing consumption of the fertiliser.

The neem-coating also precludes an age-old malpractice of this cheap fertiliser being diverted for use in the chemical industry and, most harmfully in states like Punjab and Haryana, as an additive in milk to whiten it.

Q Source: Chapter 9: Economic Survey 2015-16: Volume I

 


 

3) UPSC question

With reference to the ‘Gram Nyayalaya Act’, which of the following statements is/are correct?

  1. As per the Act, Gram Nyayalayas can hear only civil cases and not criminal cases.
  2. The Act allows local social activists as mediators/reconciliators.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Solution: B

 

Insights Question

Test Series 2016 – Test 19 – Q14

Consider the following about Gram Nyalayas as established under Gram Nyayalayas Act, 2008.

  1. They can act as mobile courts.
  2. They can exercise the powers of both Criminal and Civil Courts.
  3. The presiding officer of the Gram Nyalayas is appointed by the concerned Panchayat.
  4. No appeals lie to any court on a decree of Gram Nyalaya.
  5. They have been given power to accept certain evidences which would otherwise not be acceptable under Indian Evidence Act.

Select the correct answer using the codes below.

  1. a) 2 and 3 only
  2. b) 1, 2 and 5 only
  3. c) 3, 4 and 5 only
  4. d) 1, 2, 3 and 4 only

Solution: b)

Justification: Statement 1 and 2: Gram Nyayalaya is a mobile court and exercises the powers of both Criminal and Civil Courts; i.e., the seat of the Gram Nyayalaya will be located at the headquarters of the intermediate Panchayat, but they will go to villages, work there and dispose of the cases.

It can try criminal cases, civil suits, claims or disputes which are specified in the First Schedule and the Second Schedule to the Gram Nyayalaya Act and the scope of these cases can be amended by the Central as well as the State Governments, as per their respective legislative competence;

Statement 3: The Gram Nyayalayas are presided over by a Nyayadhikari, who will have the same power, enjoy same salary and benefits of a Judicial Magistrate of First Class. Such Nyayadhikari are to be appointed by the State Government in consultation with the respective High Court

Statement 4: Appeal in civil cases shall lie to the District Court, which shall be heard and disposed of within a period of six months from the date of filing of the appeal.

Statement 5: The Gram Nyayalaya will not be bound by the rules of evidence provided in the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 but shall be guided by the principles of natural justice and subject to any rule made by the High Court;

Q Source: Chapter 20: India Yearbook 2016

 


 

4) UPSC question

What is/are the purpose/purposes of Government’s ‘Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme’ and ‘Gold Monetization Scheme‘?

  1. To bring the idle gold lying with Indian households into the economy
  2. To promote FDI in the gold and jewellery sector
  3. To reduce India’s dependence on gold imports

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Solution: C

 

Insights question

Test Series 2016 – Test 8 -Q84

How would the Gold monetization scheme help Indian economy?

  1. It will help liquidate unproductive physical asset gold.
  2. It will free up idle gold to Gems and Jewellery industry use.
  3. It will help contain the current account deficit.

Select the correct answer using the codes below.

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

Solution: d)

Justification: The government’s gold monetisation scheme that will allow individuals to park a minimum of 30 grams of the yellow metal with banks and earn tax-free interests will help curb rising gold imports.

Higher gold imports—$56.5 and $53.8 billion in FY12 and FY13, respectively—resulted in record current account deficit of 4.2% and 4.8% of GDP in these two years. So, 3 is correct.

The scheme is intended to bring into circulation a part of the 20,000 tonnes of gold held by households and temple trusts. It will increase recycling of domestically held gold and reduce jewellers’ reliance on imported gold. So, 1 and 2 are correct.

The scheme’s success will depend on the attractiveness of interest rates offered by banks.

Q Source: Q7: GS – 3: CSM 2015

 

 

Test Series 2016 – Test 17 – Q3

Consider the following about Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme 2015.

  1. The Bond is issued by Reserve Bank on behalf of Government of India.
  2. Investors have to submit physical gold to designated entities to receive the sovereign              bond.
  3. 3. The investor is assured of a fixed return at maturity of the bond even if the       market price of gold declines.
  4. Individuals as well as charitable institutions and universities can buy such bonds.

Select the correct answer using the codes below.

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

Solution: c)

Justification & Learning: Statement 1 and 2: SGBs are government securities denominated in grams of gold. They are substitutes for holding physical gold. Investors have to pay the issue price in cash and the bonds will be redeemed in cash on maturity. The Bond is issued by Reserve Bank on behalf of Government of India.

Statement 3: There may be a risk of capital loss if the market price of gold declines. However, the investor does not lose in terms of the units of gold which he has paid for.

But, the SGB offers a superior alternative to holding gold in physical form. The risks and costs of storage are eliminated. Investors are assured of the market value of gold at the time of maturity and periodical interest.

SGB is free from issues like making charges and purity in the case of gold in jewellery form. The bonds are held in the books of the RBI or in demat form eliminating risk of loss of scrip etc.

Statement 4: Persons resident in India as defined under Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 are eligible to invest in SGB. Eligible investors include individuals, HUFs, trusts, universities, charitable institutions, etc.

Q Source: Improvisation and Current affairs: Chapter 15: External Sector of India: Indian Economy: Ramesh Singh

 


 

5) UPSC question

In the cities of our country, which among the following atmospheric gases are normally considered in calculating the value of Air Quality Index?

  1. Carbon dioxide
  2. Carbon monoxide
  3. Nitrogen dioxide
  4. Sulfur dioxide
  5. Methane

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1, 2 and 3 only

(b) 2, 3 and 4 only

(c) 1, 4 and 5 only

(d) 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

Solution: B

Insights Question

Test Series – Test 15 – Q66

The National Air Quality Index takes into account which of the following air pollutants?

  1. Particulate Matter
  2. Asbestos
  3. Ozone
  4. Lead
  5. Carbon dioxide

Select the correct answer using the codes below.

  1. a) 1, 3 and 4 only
  2. b) 2, 3 and 4 only
  3. c) 1 and 5 only
  4. d) 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

Solution: a)

Learning: The National AQI is published for every month by CPCB along with a numerical value and a colour code which helps in comparing air pollution levels in cities.

It is determined on the basis of concentration of 8 pollutants, including Particulate Matter (PM 2.5, PM 10), sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO), ozone (O3), ammonia (NH3) and lead (Pb).

The colour categories are classified into 6 categories depending upon numerical value as Good (0-50), Satisfactory (51-100), moderately polluted (101-200), Poor (201-300), Very poor (301-400) and Severe (401-500).

Q Source: Previous year Current affairs

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=110654

 

Another Insights question (January 2016) – The National Air Quality Index (AQI) measures air quality by taking into consideration which of the following pollutants?

  1. Ammonia
  2. Nitrogen Dioxide
  3. Sulphur Dioxide
  4. Carbon Monoxide
  5. Ozone
  6. Lead

Select the correct answer using codes given below:

  1. a) 1,2,3,4 and 5 only
  2. b) 1,2,3,4,5 and 6
  3. c) 1,3,4, 5 and 6 Only
  4. d) 2,3,4,5 and 6 Only

Ans: b.

 


 

6) UPSC question

With reference to the religious history of India, consider the following statements :

  1. The concept of Bodhisattva is central to Hinayana sect of Buddhism.
  2. Bodhisattva is a compassionate one on his way to enlightenment.
  3. Bodhisattva delays achieving his own salvation to help all sentient beings on their path to it.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 2 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Solution: B

 

Insights Question

Test 10- Q8. By the first century CE, there is evidence of changes in Buddhist ideas and practices. Under the new Mahanaya tradition, Bodhisattas were perceived as

  1. a) the ones who wish for the salvation of others before attaining final nirvana
  2. b) the ones who have transcended the world of senses
  3. c) those who have just begun their spiritual journey
  4. d) the ordained worshippers of Buddhist idols and sculptures

Solution: a)

Learning: The term Boddhisatvas have been subject to multiple interpretations.

  • In early Indian Buddhism, the term bodhisattva was primarily used to refer specifically to Gautama Buddha in his former life.
  • From this Jataka tales, Bodhisattva originally meant the Buddhism practitioner of austerities.
  • In later Theravada literature, the term “bodhisatta” is used fairly frequently in the sense of someone on the path to liberation.
  • According to some Mahāyāna sources a bodhisattva is someone on the path to full Buddhahood. Others speak of bodhisattvas renouncing Buddhahood.
  • However, under the new tradition most accepted definition is the one who aspires to become buddha as soon as possible and then help sentient beings in full fledge.

Q Source: Page 103: Chapter 4: 12th NCERT: Themes in Indian History – I

 


 

7) UPSC question

With reference to ‘Bitcoins’, sometimes seen in the news, which of the following statements is/are correct?

  1. Bitcoins are tracked by the Central Banks of the countries.
  2. Anyone with a Bitcoin address can send and receive Bitcoins from anyone else with a Bitcoin address.
  3. Online payments can be sent without either side knowing the identity of the other.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Solution: B

 

Insights question

Test Series 2016 – Test 21 – Q15

Which of the following statements about Bitcoins is INCORRECT?

  1. a) It can be traded on an open market.
  2. b) It is a peer-to-peer digital currency.
  3. c) It does not require any intermediary like a bank for transaction.
  4. d) It can only be used for speculation and not for any purchase.

Solution: d)

Justification: Bitcoin is a virtual currency that is unregulated by any central bank or government, but still works for purchasing goods and services from retailers willing to accept it. So, (d) is correct.

It can also be traded on an open market and its exchange rate fluctuates much like a stock market i.e. based on the demand.

Bitcoin is a distributed peer-to-peer digital currency that functions without the inter-mediation of any central authority.

Bitcoin is also called a “cryptocurrency” since it is decentralized and uses cryptography to prevent double-spending, a significant challenge inherent to digital currencies.

Q Source: http://www.thehindu.com/business/all-you-need-to-know-about-bitcoin/article8547440.ece

 


 

8) UPSC question

With reference to ‘Financial Stability and Development Council’, consider the following statements :

  1. It is an organ of NITI Aayog.
  2. It is headed by the Union Finance Minister.
  3. It monitors macro-prudential supervision of the economy.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 3 only

(c) 2 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Solution: C

 

Insights Question

Test Series 2016 – Test 21- Q47

Financial Stability and Development Council is an apex-level body constituted by the government of India. Its members is/are

  1. Governor Reserve Bank of India (RBl)
  2. Chief Economic Advisor, Ministry of Finance
  3. Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs (DEA)
  4. Asia Head, Financial Action Task Force (FATF)

Select the correct answer using the codes below.

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

Solution: b)

Learning: It is an autonomous body dealing with macro prudential and financial regularities in the entire financial sector of India.

The recent global economic meltdown has put pressure on governments and institutions across the globe to regulate their economic assets. This council is seen as India’s initiative to be better conditioned to prevent such incidents in future.

Chairperson is the Union Finance Minister of India.

Members are Governor Reserve Bank of India (RBl), Finance Secretary and/ or Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), Secretary, Department of Financial Services (DFS), Chief Economic Advisor, Ministry of Finance, Chairman, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), Chairman, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA), Chairman, Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA), Chairman, Forward Markets Commission (FMC).

Q Source: http://www.business-standard.com/article/government-press-release/13th-meeting-of-the-financial-stability-and-development-council-fsdc-held-115110501379_1.html

 

 


 

9) UPSC question

Satya Shodhak Samaj organized

(a) a movement for upliftment of tribals in Bihar

(b) a temple-entry movement in Gujarat

(c) an anti-caste movement in Maharashtra

(d) a peasant movement in Punjab

Solution: C

 

Insights Question

Test Series 2016 – Test 24 – Q23

Consider the following about Satyashodhak Samaj.

  1. It was established by Jyotirao Phule.
  2. The Samaj considered Vedas as sacrosanct but was against caste hierarchy.
  3. It replaced the idea of God with that of a Nirmik or Creator.
  4. SatyaShodhak Samaj merged with the Indian National Congress (INC) in 1930.

Select the correct answer using the codes below.

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

Solution: a)

Justification: Statement 2: The main objectives of the organisation were to liberate the Shudras and Ati Shudras and to prevent their exploitation by the Arya Brahmins. Through this SatyaShodhak Samaj, Jotirao refused to regard the Vedas as sacrosanct. He opposed idolatry and denounced the chaturvarnya system.  

Statement 3: Quite opposed to rekindling of devotional aspects of Hindu scriptures, as advocated by Bhakti poet-saints like Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Ramanuja , Vedanta Desika, Ramananda,etc, Phule instead called for creation of an alternate theology.

In this new parallel faith he coined a new name for God as ‘Nirmik’ rougly translating as ‘Creator’. He rejected all names of God which had roots in the accepted Hindu scriptures.

Statement 4: The SatyaShodhak Samaj movement was totally a social movement and nothing to do with the politics, but the members of SatyaShodhak Samaj dissolved SatyaShodhak Samaj and merged it with Congress party in 1930.

Q Source: UPSC CDS II 2015

 


 

 

10) UPSC question

Which of the following statements is/are correct?

  1. A Bill pending in the Lok Sabha lapses on its prorogation.
  2. A Bill pending in the Rajya Sabha, which has not been passed by the Lok Sabha, shall not        lapse on dissolution of the Lok Sabha.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Solution: B

 

Insights Question

Test Series 2016 – Test 16 – Q35

When the Lok Sabha is dissolved, all business including bills, motions, resolutions, notices, petitions and so on pending before it or its committees lapse. However, certain bills do not lapse on the dissolution of the Lok Sabha. They are?

  1. A bill passed by the Lok Sabha but pending in the Rajya Sabha
  2. A bill pending in the Rajya Sabha but not passed by the Lok Sabha
  3. A bill passed by both Houses but pending assent of the president

Select the correct answer using the codes below.

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

Solution: b)

Learning: Some pending bills and all pending assurances that are to be examined by the Committee on Government Assurances do not lapse on the dissolution of the Lok Sabha. The position with respect to lapsing of bills is as follows:

  • A bill pending in the Lok Sabha lapses (whether originating in the Lok Sabha or transmitted to it by the Rajya Sabha).
  • A bill passed by the Lok Sabha but pending in the Rajya Sabha lapses.
  • A bill not passed by the two Houses due to disagreement and if the president has notified the holding of a joint sitting before the dissolution of Lok Sabha, does not lapse.
  • A bill pending in the Rajya Sabha but not passed by the Lok Sabha does not lapse.
  • A bill passed by both Houses but pending assent of the president does not lapse.
  • A bill passed by both Houses but returned by the president for reconsideration of Houses does not lapse.

Q Source: Chapter 22: Indian Polity: M Laxmikanth

 

Test Series 2016 – Test 16 – Q34

Which of the following correctly point out the difference(s) between Adjournment and Prorogation of a house?

  1. Unlike Prorogation, Adjournment only terminates a sitting and not a session of the    House.
  2. Unlike Adjournment, Prorogation leads to lapse of all the bills or any other business pending before the House.

Select the correct answer using the codes below.

  1. a) 1 only
  2. b) 2 only
  3. c) Both 1 and 2
  4. d) None

Solution: a)

Justification: Statement 1: Prorogation not only terminates a sitting but also a session of the House.

Statement 2: Prorogation does not affect the bills or any other business pending before the House. This is the same as adjournment.

However, all pending notices (other than those for introducing bills) lapse on prorogation and fresh notices have to be given for the next session.

Q Source: Chapter 22: Indian Polity: M Laxmikanth

 


 

11) UPSC question

The `Swadeshi’ and ‘Boycott’ were adopted as methods of struggle for the first time during the

(a) agitation against the Partition of Bengal

(b) Home Rule Movement

(c) Non-Cooperation Movement

(d) visit of the Simon Commission to India

Solution: A

 

Insights Question

Test Series 2016 – Test 24- Q60

Which of the following movements was started immediately after the Partition of Bengal in 1905?

  1. a) Quit India movement
  2. b) Swadeshi and Boycott movement
  3. c) Civil Disobedience Movement
  4. d) Non-cooperation movement

Solution: b)

Learning: It was an economic strategy aimed at removing the British Empire from power and improving economic conditions in India by following the principles of swadeshi or self-sufficiency which had some success. Strategies of the Swadeshi movement involved boycotting British products and the revival of domestic products and production processes.

The Swadeshi movement started with the partition of Bengal by the Viceroy of India, Lord Curzon in 1905 and continued up to 1911. It was the most successful of the pre-Gandhian movement.

Q Source: 8th NCERT: Our Pasts –III

 


 

12) UPSC question

 

There has been a persistent deficit budget year after year. Which action/actions of the following can be taken by the Government to reduce the deficit?

  1. Reducing revenue expenditure
  2. Introducing new welfare schemes
  3. Rationalizing subsidies
  4. Reducing import duty

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2, 3 and 4

Solution: C

 

Insights Question

 

Test Series 2016 – Test 17 – Q34

Fiscal consolidation has been a priority for the government. Which of the following will lead to fiscal consolidation?

  1. Disinvestment of selected PSUs
  2. Allowing State governments to go for market borrowing for their plan expenditure
  3. Surplus forex reserves to be used in external lending
  4. Cutting down the wasteful subsidies

Select the correct answer using the codes below.

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

Solution: d)

Justification: Statement 1: It generates resources that can bridge the fiscal deficit as well as incentivize private investment in PSUs, thus reducing government burden.

Statement 2: A major part of the Union receipts go to states to fulfil their plan expenditure. Market borrowing will reduce such transfers and make states self reliant.

Statement 3: If idle forex reserves are lent, regular annual interest payment will accrue as revenue receipts thus filling the fiscal gap.

Statement 4: It reduces wasteful government expenditure and size of fiscal deficit.

Q Source: Chapter 18: Public Finance: Indian Economy: Ramesh Singh

 

 


 

13) UPSC question

‘Belt and Road Initiative’ is sometimes mentioned in the news in the context of the affairs of

(a) African Union

(b) Brazil

(c) European Union

(d) China

Solution: D

 

Insights Question

Test Series 2016 – Test 22- Q59

Consider the following about the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Project.

  1. It consists of transport as well as power projects.
  2. It is intended to link the Xinjiang province of China to Gwadar deep sea port close to                  Pakistan’s border with Iran.
  3. It is a part of China’s ‘One Belt One Road’ (OBOR) initiative.

Select the correct answer using the codes below.

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

Solution: d)

Learning: It refers to a clutch of major infrastructure projects currently under way in Pakistan. The corridor is mainly consists of road, rail and power projects.

  • The CPEC is part of China’s regional transnational ‘One Belt One Road’ (OBOR) initiative that connects large patch of Asia and Eastern Europe.
  • Gwadar Port is strategically located and lies close to the Strait of Hormuz (near Iran), a key international oil shipping lane.
  • It could open up an energy and trade corridor from the Gulf region across Pakistan to western China and also could be used by the Chinese Navy for military purpose.
  • The CPEC will give China land access to the Indian Ocean, cutting the nearly 13,000 km sea voyage through the Strait of Malacca (major chokepoint) and around India to 2,000 km road journey from Gwadar to Kashgar.
  • The development of Kashgar as a trade terminus will reduce isolation of the underdeveloped Xinjiang province and deepen its engagement with the rest of China.

Q Source: Often in news

 


 

14) UPSC question

The plan of Sir Stafford Cripps envisaged that after the Second World War

(a) India should be granted complete independence

(b) India should be partitioned into two before granting independence

(c) India should be made a republic with the condition that she will join the Commonwealth

(d) India should be given Dominion status

Solution: D

 

Insights Question

Test Series 2016 – Test 20 – Q96

The proposal of the Cripps mission was that

  1. India would be a dominion associated with the United kingdom.
  2. An elected body charged with the task of making the constitution would be setup immediately after the WW-II is stopped.

Which of the above is/are correct?

  1. a) 1 only
  2. b) 2 only
  3. c) Both 1 and 2
  4. d) None

Solution: c)

Learning: The main proposals of the mission were as follows:

  • An Indian Union with a dominion status; would be set up; it would be free to decide its relations with the Commonwealth and free to participate in the United Nations and other international bodies.
  • After the end of the war, a constituent assembly would be convened to frame a new constitution. Members of this assembly would be partly elected by the provincial assemblies through proportional representation and partly nominated by the princes.
  • The British Government would accept the new constitution subject to two conditions.
    • any province not willing to join the Union could have a separate constitution and form a separate Union, and (ii) the new constitution- making body and the British Government would negotiate a treaty to effect the transfer of power and to safeguard racial and religious minorities.
  • In the meantime, defence of India would remain in British hands and the governor-general’s powers would remain intact.

Q Source: Chapter 35: India’s Struggle for Independence: Bipin Chandra

 


 

15) UPSC question

Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana is aimed at

(a) bringing the small entrepreneurs into formal financial system

(b) providing loans to poor farmers for cultivating particular crops

(c) providing pensions to old and destitute persons

(d) funding the voluntary organizations involved in the promotion of skill development and employment generation

Solution: A

 

Insights Question

Test Series – Test 7 – Q56

The MUDRA banks will be set up under the Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana scheme. It will

  1. Provide its services to small entrepreneurs outside the service area of regular banks
  2. Finance local commercial bank from the savings generated in the rural areas
  3. Regulate micro-finance institutions (MFIs)

Select the correct answer using the codes below:

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

Learning: The MUDRA banks will be set up under the Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana scheme.

It will provide its services to small entrepreneurs outside the service area of regular banks, by using last mile agents (i.e. local last mile Financers). About 5.77 crore (57.7 million) small business have been identified as target clients using the NSSO survey of 2013 and Economic Survey 2014-15.

  • Only 4% of these businesses get finance from regular banks (and rest from exorbitant money lenders). The bank will also ensure that its clients do not fall into indebtedness and will lend responsibly.
  • The bank will initially function as a non-banking financial company and a subsidiary of the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI). Later, it will be made into a separate company

Eligible to borrow from MUDRA bank:

  • Small manufacturing unit
  • Shopkeepers
  • Fruits / Vegetable vendors
  • Artisans

Q Source: http://www.thehindu.com/business/budget/mudra-bankto-fund-the-missing-middle/article6946797.ece

 


 

16) UPSC question

‘Global Financial Stability Report’ is prepared by the

(a) European Central Bank

(b) International Monetary Fund

(c) International Bank for Reconstruction and Development

(d) Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development

Solution: B

 

Insights Question

Test Series 2016 – Test 27 – Q61

“Global Financial Stability” Report is published by

  1. a) World Bank
  2. b) IMF
  3. c) United Nations Economic and Social Council
  4. d) World Economic Forum

Solution: b)

Learning: The Global Financial Stability Report provides an assessment of the global financial system and markets, and addresses emerging market financing in a global context.

It focuses on current market conditions, highlighting systemic issues that could pose a risk to financial stability and sustained market access by emerging market borrowers.

The Report draws out the financial ramifications of economic imbalances highlighted by the IMF’s World Economic Outlook. It contains, as special features, analytical chapters or essays on structural or systemic issues relevant to international financial stability.

Q Source: IMF Website

 


 

17) UPSC question

With reference to ‘Agenda 21’, sometimes seen in the news, consider the following statements :

  1. It is a global action plan for sustainable development
  2. It originated in the World Summit on Sustainable Development held in Johannesburg in 2002.

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: A

 

Insights Question

Test Series 2016 – Test 17 – Q66

Agenda 21 document is related to

a) Tackling global epidemics

b) Women empowerment

c) Combating terrorism

d) Sustainable Development

Solution: d)

Learning: Agenda 21 is a non-binding, voluntarily implemented action plan of the United Nations with regard to sustainable development.

It is a product of the Earth Summit (UN Conference on Environment and Development) held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992.

  • It is an action agenda for the UN, other multilateral organizations, and individual governments around the world that can be executed at local, national, and global levels.
  • The “21” in Agenda 21 refers to the 21st Century. It has been affirmed and had a few modifications at subsequent UN conferences.

In 2012, at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development the attending members reaffirmed their commitment to Agenda 21 in their outcome document called “The Future We Want”. 180 leaders from nations participated.

Q Source: Improvisation: Chapter 19: Technology-Environment Dilemma: Indian Economy: Ramesh Singh

 


 

18) UPSC question

With reference to ‘Li-Fi’, recently in the news, which of the following statements is/are correct?

  1. It uses light as the medium for high-speed data transmission.
  2. It is a wireless technology and is several times faster than ‘WiFi’.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Solution: C

 

Insights Question

Test Series 2016 – Test 26 – Q16

Recent developments are pointing to a new-generation data transfer technology Li-Fi. Consider the following about it.

  1. It uses LED light to transmit data.
  2. It is slower but more secure than conventional data transfer mechanisms.
  3. It can replace telecom towers to supply internet connectivity to large metropolitan areas.

Select the correct answer using the codes below.

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

Solution: c)

Justification: Statement 1: Li-fi is loosely expanded to Light-Fidelity. Using precisely controlled light modulation, data can be transmitted using regular, visible light.

Statement 2: It will be 10-100 times faster than current-generation WiFi, but very secure.

Statement 3: Transmission range of this technology is limited compared to a radio frequency based technologies likeWi-Fi. Its because range is inversely proportional to frequency.

So, Li-Fi is a very short range technology, and light fluctuations that transfer data are highly subtle, fast and sensitive. There will be a lot of obstruction in using them practically in the telecom towers.

Q Source: http://www.techworld.com/big-data/what-is-li-fi-everything-you-need-know-3632764/


 

19) UPSC question

With reference to `IFC Masala Bonds’, sometimes seen in the news, which of the statements given below is/are correct?

  1. The International Finance Corporation, which offers these bonds, is an arm of the World Bank.
  2. They are the rupee-denominated bonds and are a source of debt financing for the public and private sector.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Solution: B

 

Insights Question

Test Series 2016 – Test 14 – Q3

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the investment arm of the World Bank Group has launched its first Uridashi Masala Bonds. Why corporate prefer Masala Bonds over External Commercial Borrowings (ECBs)?

  1. a) Masala bonds do not face currency fluctuation risks.
  2. b) There is no limit to borrowing under Masala bonds unlike ECBs.
  3. c) Masala Bonds are subsidized by the government.
  4. d) Masala bonds are not bought and sold under market mechanism unlike ECBs.

Solution: a)

Justification: Option (b) can be easily eliminated as India has quantitative restrictions over capital account (like foreign currency borrowing and lending).

Option (c) is wrong. Option (d) is also wrong, as Masala bonds are also market related instruments issued by the IFC.

Option (a): They are issued to foreign investors and settled in US dollars. Hence the currency risk lies with the investor and not the issuer, unlike external commercial borrowings (ECBs), where Indian companies raise money in foreign currency loans. While ECBs help companies take advantage of the lower interest rates in international markets, the cost of hedging the currency risk can be significant.

You can read all about Masala bonds in the Q Source.

Q Source: http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/columns/masala-bonds/article7194362.ece

 

 

Daily Quiz – 16th December 2015

Consider the following statements with regard to ‘masala bonds’:

  1. Offshore rupee bonds have not been issued before these came into being
  2. They are named so, because the term evokes the culture and cuisine of India
  3. The International Finance Corporation has issued them in the past

Which of the statements above is/are correct?

  1. a) 1 Only
  2. b) 2 and 3 Only
  3. d) 1 and 3 Only
  4. d) 1, 2 and 3

 


 

20) UPSC question

Recently, which one of the following currencies has been proposed to be added to the basket of IMF’s SDR?

(a) Rouble

(b) Rand

(c) Indian Rupee

(d) Renminbi

Solution: D

 

Insights Question

Test Series 2016 – Test 5- Q98

International Monetary Fund (IMF) has included China’s Yuan into its elite reserve currency basket. What implications can it have on the International reserve asset system?

  1. Nations will now prefer holding more Yuan in their forex Reserves.
  2. Yuan will now be used for calculation of the value of a SDR.

Which of the above is/are correct?

  1. a) 1 only
  2. b) 2 only
  3. c) Both 1 and 2
  4. d) None

Solution: c)

Justification & Learning: A reserve currency is one which is being used widely in international transactions, has a stable value and is freely usable and convertible. China’s Yuan satisfied all these criteria and thus IMF declared it to be an elite reserve currency.

With this declaration, nations will prefer holding Chinese Yuan as it gives more liquidity to their forex reserves. This is because the currency is now worldwide acceptable for settlement of trade payments. Hence, 1 is correct.

SDR is neither a currency nor a claim on the IMF. It is a potential claim on the freely usable currencies of IMF members, which holders of SDRs can obtain in exchange for their SDRs. Its value is based on the basket of the four major currencies, which now becomes five including Yuan. So, 2 is correct.

Q Source: http://indianexpress.com/article/explained/simply-put-dragon-now-in-basket-how-will-sdr-change/


 

 

21) UPSC question

Recently, for the first time in our country, which of the following States has declared a particular butterfly as ‘State Butterfly’?

(a) Arunachal Pradesh

(b) Himachal Pradesh

(c) Karnataka

(d) Maharashtra

Solution: D

 

Insights Question

Insights Current Events Quiz – 23rd June 2015

Consider the following statements regarding Blue Mormon:

It is the State Butterfly of Maharashtra.

It is found only in Western Ghats of India.

It has been declared as endangered species by the IUCN.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

  1. a) 1 Only
  2. b) 1 and 3 Only
  3. c) 2 and 3 Only
  4. d) All

 


 

22) UPSC question

With reference to the cultural history of medieval India, consider the following statements :

  1. Siddhas (Sittars) of Tamil region were monotheistic and condemned idolatry.
  2. Lingayats of Kannada region questioned the theory of rebirth and rejected the caste hierarchy.

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

 

Insights Question

We covered Lingayats and Siddhas separately. You could easily answer the above question had you solved the following ones.

 

Test Series 2016 – Test 30 -Q4

Consider the following about Virashaiva (Lingayats) movement.

  1. It was initiated by Basavanna.
  2. It began in Karnataka in the mid-eighteenth century.
  3. It was against Brahmanical ideas about caste and the treatment of women.
  4. It did not support rituals but was inclined towards idol worship as a symbol of the eternal truth.  

Select the correct answer using the codes below.

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

Solution: a)

Justification: Statement 1: It was initiated by Basavanna and his companions like Allama Prabhu and Akkamahadevi.

Statement 2: Being associated with the Bhakti movement, it could not be initiated in 18th century. You could have easily eliminated this option and got the right answer, which can only be (a). It was started in the mid-twelfth century.

Statement 3 and 4: The Virashaivas argued strongly for the equality of all human beings and against Brahmanical ideas about caste and the treatment of women. They were also against all forms of ritual and idol worship.

Q Source: NCERT 7th History

 

 

Test Series 2016 – Test 11- Q7

Lingayats do not practise funerary rites prescribed in the Dharmashastras because they believed

  1. a) Funerary rites lead to environmental pollution.
  2. b) After death a devotee will not return to this world.
  3. c) Funerary rites are not needed as the soul will take another birth soon.
  4. d) It was a Brahmanical practice and they opposed its domination.

Solution: b)

Justification: Lingayats believe that on death the devotee will be united with Shiva and will not return to this world. Therefore they do not practise funerary rites such as cremation, prescribed in the Dharmashastras. Instead, they ceremonially bury their dead.

Learning: The twelfth century witnessed the emergence of a new movement in Karnataka, led by a Brahmana named Basavanna (1106-68) who was initially a Jaina and a minister in the court of a Chalukya king. His followers were known as Virashaivas (heroes of Shiva) or Lingayats (wearers of the linga).

The Lingayats challenged the idea of caste and the “pollution” attributed to certain groups by Brahmanas. They also questioned the theory of rebirth.

Q Source: Page 147: Chapter 6: Themes in Indian History – II: 12th NCERT

 

 

Test Series 2016 – Test 1- Q41

As per the Nathpanthis and Siddhacharas, the way to salvation lies in

  1. a) Renouncing the world and meditating on formless reality
  2. b) Absolute devotion to a personal god, which is the path of Bhakti
  3. c) Severe penance, self-inflicted pain and leaving all desires
  4. d) following moderation in everything

Solution: a)

Explanation: Path of Bhakti was suggested by Alvars, Nayanars, Vaishnavites, Virashaivas, Ramanuja, Kabir, Mira and others. Therefore, option (b) can be eliminated.

Option (c) can also be eliminated as no path prescribes self-inflicted pain to attain salvation.

Option (d) was the path of the Buddha. So, this can be eliminated too.

The word ‘Siddha’ in Siddhacharas should then straight lead you to option (a).

Learning: A number of religious groups emerged during 13th-17th century that criticised the ritual and other aspects of conventional religion and the social order, using simple, logical arguments. Among them were the Nathpanthis, Siddhacharas and Yogis.

They advocated renunciation of the world. To them the path to salvation lay in meditation on the formless Ultimate Reality and the realisation of oneness with it. To achieve this they advocated intense training of the mind and body through practices like yogasanas, breathing exercises and meditation.

These groups became particularly popular among “low” castes. Their criticism of conventional religion created the ground for devotional religion to become a popular force in northern India.

Q Source: Page 110: Chapter 8: Our Pasts-II

 


 

23) UPSC question

Which of the following statements is/are correct?

Proper design and effective implementation of UNREDD+ Programme can significantly contribute to

  1. protection of biodiversity
  2. resilience of forest ecosystems
  3. poverty reduction

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 3 only

(c) 2 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Solution: D

 

Insights Question

Test Series 2016 – Test 29 -Q50

Consider the following statements about the United Nations REDD programme.

  1. It was launched at the first Rio Earth Summit.
  2. The UN-REDD Programme supports nationally led REDD+ processes.
  3. It focuses on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries.

Select the correct answer using the codes below.

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

Solution: c)

Justification: Statement 1: The United Nations Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries was launched in 2008.

Statement 2: The UN-REDD Programme supports nationally led REDD+ processes and promotes the informed and meaningful involvement of all stakeholders, including indigenous peoples and other forest-dependent communities, in the implementation of REDD+ activities agreed under the UNFCCC.

Statement 3: The overall development goal of the Programme is to reduce forest emissions and enhance carbon stocks in forests while contributing to national sustainable development.

The Programme has expanded steadily since its establishment and over 60 countries spanning Africa, Asia-Pacific and Latin America are now partners.

Learning: It supports partner countries through:

  • Direct support to the design and implementation of National REDD+ Programmes;
  • Complementary tailored support to national REDD+ actions; and
  • Technical capacity building support through sharing of expertise, common approaches, analyses, methodologies, tools, data, best practices and facilitated South-South knowledge sharing.

Q Source: UN-REDD Website

 


 

24) UPSC question

With reference to ‘Red Sanders’, sometimes seen in the news, consider the following statements:

  1. It is a tree species found in a part of South India.
  2. It is one of the most important trees in the tropical rain forest areas of South India.

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: A

 

Insights Question

Insights Daily Quiz – 30th September 2015

Consider the following statements about ‘Red Sanders’:

  1. It is endemic to the South-Eastern portion of the Indian peninsula
  2. It is used in the making of oriental musical instruments

Which of the above statements are incorrect?

  1. 1 Only
  2. 2 Only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. None of the above

Solution: D

http://www.moef.nic.in/downloads/public-information/Chap-8-new.pdf

 


25) UPSC question

Consider the following statements:

  1. The International Solar Alliance was launched at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in 2015.
  2. The Alliance includes all the member countries of the United Nations.

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: A

 

Insights Question

Test Series 2016 – Test 20 – Q50

Which of the following about International Solar alliance (ISA) is correct?

  1. 1. It was launched at the 2015 Paris Climate Change Summit.
  2. It will be the First International and Inter-Governmental Organisation to have                   Headquarters in India with UN as Strategic Partner.
  3. It seeks to empower solar-rich countries located between the tropic of Cancer and the tropic of Capricorn.

Select the correct answer using the codes below.

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

Solution: d)

Justification: The solar finance programme aims at lowering the cost of finance and facilitates the flow of more than 1 trillion dollars investment to members of the ISA.

  • The ISA was launched at the 2015 Paris Climate Change Summit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande.
  • It seeks to empower solar-rich countries located between the tropic of Cancer and the tropic of Capricorn to make collaborative efforts to harness solar energy to generate the electricity.

Under this alliance, 121 countries that fall within the tropics have been invited. Most of these countries fall within Asia, Africa and South America. Three Objectives: (i) To force down prices by driving demand, (ii) To bring standardization in solar technologies and thirdly and (iii) To foster research and development.

Q Source: http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=135794

 

26) UPSC question

With reference to the Agreement at the UNFCCC Meeting in Paris in 2015, which of the following statements is/are correct?

  1. The Agreement was signed by all the member countries of the UN and it will go into effect in 2017.
  2. The Agreement aims to limit the greenhouse gas emissions so that the rise in average global temperature by the end of this century does not                   exceed 2 °C or even 1.5 °C above               pre-industrial levels.
  3. Developed countries acknowledged their historical responsibility in global warming and committed to donate $ 1000 billion a year from                2020 to help developing countries to cope     with climate change.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 and 3 only

(b) 2 only

(c) 2 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Solution: B

 

Insights Question

 

Test Series 2016 – Test 19 – Q13

The Paris Agreement on climate change is considered as a milestone in global climate cooperation. Which of the following is/are the key features of the agreement?

  1. Developed countries will not be held responsible for their historical emissions.
  2. All nations will have equal responsibility and obligation in addressing climate change irrespective of their economic standing.

Which of the above is/are correct?

  1. a) 1 only
  2. b) 2 only
  3. c) Both 1 and 2
  4. d) None

Solution: d)

Justification: Statement 1 and 2: It reflects the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities especially in the light of different national circumstances. So, 2 is incorrect.

Moreover, it does not deny historical emissions of developed countries. The Paris Agreement for the first time brings all nations into a common cause based on their historic, current and future responsibilities. So, 1 is wrong too.

Q Source: http://newsroom.unfccc.int/unfccc-newsroom/finale-cop21/

 

 

April 2016 – Revision Test Compilation

With reference to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which 174 countries and the European Union signed recently, which of the following statements is/are incorrect?

  1. In India, approval of the Parliament will be required for the government to ratify it
  2. It requires the ratification by at least 55 countries which together account for at least 55 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, for its operationalisation

Select the correct answer using the code given below

(a) 1 Only

(b) 2 Only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Solution: a.

 

 

27) UPSC question

The establishment of ‘Payment Banks’ is being allowed in India to promote financial inclusion. Which of the following statements is/are correct in this context?

  1. Mobile telephone companies and supermarket chains that are owned and controlled by residents are eligible to be promoters of Payment Banks.
  2. Payment Banks can issue both credit cards and debit cards.
  3. Payment Banks cannot undertake lending activities.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 1 and 3 only

(c) 2 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Solution: B

 

Insights question

May Compilation – Revision questions – Insights 25th May 2016 – Q3

Consider the following statements with reference to Payment Banks (PB):

  1. They are not allowed to offer loans
  2. They cannot issue debit and ATM cards
  3. They are an authorised form of a Ponzi Scheme

Which of the statements above is/are correct?

(a) 1 Only

(b) 1 and 3 Only

(c) 1 and 3 Only

(d) 1,2 and 3

Solution: a.

A Ponzi Scheme is a form of fraud in which belief in the success of a non-existent

enterprise is fostered by the payment of quick returns to the first investors from money invested by later investors. PBs certainly are not an ‘authorised form of a Ponzi scheme’.

They can issue debit and ATM cards.

 

 

 

Test Series 2016 – Test 28 – Q60

Small and payments banks are niche banks that

  1. a) Lend large sums of money to MNCs and only cooperative banks
  2. b) Regulate local finance institutions
  3. c) Raise funding for Micro-finance Institutions operating in rural areas
  4. d) None of the above

Solution: d)

Learning: Small banks primarily undertake basic banking activities of acceptance of deposits and lending to small farmers, businesses, MSMEs and unorganized sector entities.

Payment bank is restricted to acceptance of demand deposits and provision of payments and remittances. It cannot lend money to people like small banks.

So, none of the options (a), (b) or (c).

They were setup based on Nachiket Mor panel on financial inclusion.

Q Source: In news

 

 

28) UPSC question

The term ‘Intended Nationally Determined Contributions’ is sometimes seen in the news in the context of

(a) pledges made by the European countries to rehabilitate refugees from the war-affected Middle East

(b) plan of action outlined by the countries of the world to combat climate change

(c) capital contributed by the member countries in the establishment of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

(d) plan of action outlined by the countries of the world regarding Sustainable Development Goals

Solution: B

 

 

Insights question

Test series 2016 – Test 23- Q60

The term “Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs)” often in news is related to

  1. a) Infrastructure financing
  2. b) Fund for poverty alleviation
  3. c) Climate change
  4. d) Peace Keeping Forces in conflict-ridden zones

Solution: c)

Learning: Countries across the globe committed to create a new international climate agreement by the conclusion of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris in December 2015.

In preparation, countries had agreed to publicly outline what post-2020 climate actions they intend to take under a new international agreement, known as their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs).

The process for INDCs pairs national policy-setting – in which countries determine their contributions in the context of their national priorities, circumstances and capabilities – with a global framework that drives collective action toward a low-carbon, climate-resilient future.

Q Source: Chapter 31: India Yearbook 2016

 

 

29) UPSC question

Which one of the following is a purpose of `UDAY’, a scheme of the Government?

(a) Providing technical and financial assistance to start-up entrepreneurs in the field of renewable sources of energy

(b) Providing electricity to every household in the country by 2018

(c) Replacing the coal-based power plants with natural gas, nuclear, solar, wind and tidal power plants over a period of time

(d) Providing for financial turnaround and revival of power distribution companies

Solution: D

 

Insights question

Test Series 2016 – Test 21- Q24

Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY) envisages

  1. Centre taking over all the debts of electricity DISCOMs
  2. Tiered electricity tariffs for different sections of Indian population
  3. Increased supply of domestic coal to substitute for imported coal.

Select the correct answer using the codes below.

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

Solution: c)

Justification: Statement 1: States shall take over 75 per cent of discom debt outstanding as of September 2015. States shall take over future losses of discoms in a phased manner.

Statement 2: No such provision. But, to maintain tarrifs at sustainable levels, there is provision or reduction of Aggregate Technical & Commercial (AT&C) losses to 15 per cent by 2018-19, and reduction in difference between average cost of supply and average revenue realized (ARR) by 2018-19

Statement 3: This is to reduce the cost of generating electricity as well as reduce dependence on imports.

Q Source: Chapter 10: Economic Survey 2015-16: Volume I

 

 

Daily Quiz – January Compilation

It is being said that the central government’s UDAY Scheme to aid ailing electricity distribution companies (discoms) has a better chance of succeeding than previous financial restructuring plans. Which of the following statements about the UDAY scheme is/are incorrect?

  1. 25% of debt held by discoms is to be serviced through state government-guaranteed bonds issued by discoms themselves
  2. 75% of debt held by discoms will be taken over by the central government

Select the correct answer using codes given below:

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

30) UPSC question

‘Gadgil Committee Report’ and ‘Kasturirangan Committee Report’, sometimes seen in the news, are related to

(a) constitutional reforms

(b) Ganga Action Plan

(c) linking of rivers

(d) protection of Western Ghats

Solution: D

 

Insights Question

Test Series 2016 – Test 26 – Q83

Which of the following was/were NOT the observations/recommendations of the Kasturirangan Panel Report (2013) submitted on Western Ghats?

  1. a) Declare entire hill range of Western Ghats (WG) as Ecologically Sensitive Zone (ESZ)
  2. b) There should be a complete ban on mining, quarrying and sand mining in the Ecologically Sensitive Areas (ESAs)
  3. c) Constitution of a statutory Western Ghats Ecology Authority (WGEA) under the then Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF)
  4. d) Both (a) and (c)

Solution: d)

Justification: Gadgil Committee (not Kasturirangan) report specifies that the present system of governance of the environment should be changed. The commission recommended constitution of a Western Ghats Ecology Authority (WGEA). So, option (c) is incorrect.

The Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP) (Gadgil committee) designated the entire hill range as an Ecologically Sensitive Area (ESA).

Instead of the total area of Western Ghats, only 37% (i.e. 60,000 sq. km.) of the total area be brought under ESA under Kasturirangan report. So, (a) is also incorrect.

Q Source: http://www.rediff.com/news/interview/the-kasturirangan-report-is-a-disaster-for-the-western-ghats/20131230.htm

 

 

31) UPSC question

With reference to the ‘Trans-Pacific Partnership’, consider the following statements :

  1. It is an agreement among all the Pacific Rim countries except China and Russia.
  2. It is a strategic alliance for the purpose of maritime security only.

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: A

 

Insights question

Test Series 2016 – Test 12- Q77

Countries that are party to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement are

  1. Australia
  2. China
  3. Japan
  4. Germany
  5. Chile

Select the correct answer using the codes below.

  1. a) 1, 3 and 5 only
  2. b) 1, 2 and 4 only
  3. c) 3, 4 and 5 only
  4. d) 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

Solution: a)

Justification & Learning: All 12 Pacific Rim countries have recently signed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement in New Zealand making it one of the biggest trade deals in history.

These 12 countries are: Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei Darussalam, Japan, Canada, United States, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Australia and New Zealand.

TPP is Free Trade Area and these member countries across the Pacific Rim are home to 800 million people and account for 40% of global trade.

Objectives of TPP are:

  • (i) Lower trade barriers such as tariffs.
  • (ii) Establish a common framework for intellectual property
  • (iii) Enforce standards for labour law and environmental law
  • (iv) Establish an investor-state dispute settlement mechanism.

Q Source: http://www.thehindu.com/business/12-nations-sign-transpacific-partnership-trade-deal/article8191992.ece

 

 

 

32) UPSC question

Which of the following is/are included in the capital budget of the Government of India?

  1. Expenditure on acquisition of assets like roads, buildings, machinery, etc.
  2. Loans received from foreign governments
  3. Loans and advances granted to the States and Union Territories

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Solution: D

Insights question

We had dealt the capital budget (revenue + expenditure) separately.

Test Series 2016 – Test 11 – Q49

The main items of capital receipts of the government are

  1. Monetization of RBI’s reserves
  2. Market borrowings of the government from the public
  3. Earnings from import and export duties
  4. Loans received from international organisations
  5. Sale of shares in Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs)

Select the correct answer using the code below.

  1. a) 2, 4 and 5 only
  2. b) 1 and 2 only
  3. c) 1, 4 and 5 only
  4. d) 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

Solution: a)

Learning: The main items of capital receipts are loans raised by the government from the public which are called market borrowings, borrowing by the government from the Reserve Bank and commercial banks and other financial institutions through the sale of treasury bills, loans received from foreign governments and international organisations, and recoveries of loans granted by the central government.

Other items include small savings (Post-Office Savings Accounts, National Savings Certificates, etc), provident funds and net receipts obtained from the sale of shares in Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs).

Q Source: Page 63: Chapter 5: 12th Macroeconomics NCERT

 

 

 

Test Series 2016 – Test 21 – Q20

Which of these is/are a part of the capital receipts of the Government of India?

  1. Borrowings from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI)
  2. Money accrued from sale of government bonds to the public

Which of the above is/are correct?

  1. a) 1 only
  2. b) 2 only
  3. c) Both 1 and 2
  4. d) None

Solution: c)

Justification: A receipt is a capital receipt if it satisfies any one of the two conditions:

(i) The receipts must create a liability for the government. For example, Borrowings are capital receipts as they lead to an increase in the liability of the government. However, tax received is not a capital receipt as it does not result in creation of any liability.

(ii) The receipts must cause a decrease in the assets. For example, receipts from sale of shares of public enterprise is a capital receipt as it leads to reduction in assets of the government.

Since, both borrowing and sale of government bonds create liability, they are called capital receipts.

Q Source: Chapter on Public Finance: 12th Macroeconomics NCERT

 

 

This question dealt with “loans to state governments”.

Test Series 2016 – Test 13 – Q94

Which of the following form part of the revenue expenditure of the Government of India?

  1. Expenditure on social security
  2. Grants given to foreign countries and Indian states
  3. Subsidies forwarded to all sectors of the economy

Select the correct answer using the codes below.

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

Solution: d)

Justification: Loans given to Indian states qualify as capital expenditure. But grants to either an Indian or a foreign state qualify as revenue expenditure.

Generally, expenditure incurred on normal running of the government departments and maintenance of services is treated as revenue expenditure.

Examples of revenue expenditure are salaries of government employees, interest payment on loans taken by the government, pensions, subsidies, grants, rural development, education and health services, etc.

Q Source: 12th NCERT: Macroeconomics

 

 

33) UPSC question

The Parliament of India acquires the power to legislate on any item in the State List in the national interest if a resolution to that effect is passed by the

(a) Lok Sabha by a simple majority of its total membership

(b) Lok Sabha by a majority of not less than two-thirds of its total membership

(c) Rajya Sabha by a simple majority of its total membership

(d) Rajya Sabha by a majority of not less than two-thirds of its members present and voting

Solution: D

 

Insights question

Test Series 2016 Test 15 – Q67

The Constitution empowers the Parliament to make laws on any matter enumerated in the State List under which of the following extraordinary circumstances?

  1. When the President exhorts the Council of Ministers to do so in national interest
  2. When the lower house passes a resolution to this effect by special majority
  3. When a National Emergency is in operation
  4. When the National Security Council recommends so in the interest of national security

Select the correct answer using the codes below.

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

Solution: b)

Learning: If the Rajya Sabha declares that it is necessary in the national interest that Parliament should make laws on a matter in the State List, then the Parliament becomes competent to make laws on that matter. This cannot be declared by the President, Lok Sabha or the National Security Council. So, all statements except 3 are wrong.

The Parliament can make laws on any matter in the State List for implementing the international treaties, agreements or conventions.

Q Source: Chapter 14: Indian Polity: M Laxmikanth

 

 

34) UPSC question

In the context of which of the following do you sometimes find the terms `amber box, blue box and green box’ in the news?

(a) WTO affairs

(b) SAARC affairs

(c) UNFCCC affairs

(d) India-EU negotiations on FTA

Solution: A

 

Insights question

Test Series 2016 – Test 20 – Q13

Green Box subsidies under WTO are allowed because they are considered to be

  1. a) Minimally trade distorting.
  2. b) Higher among developed and relatively lower for developing countries.
  3. c) They are confined to agriculture sector.
  4. d) They are related to GATS provision.

Solution: a)

Justification: In WTO terminology, subsidies in general are identified by “boxes” which are given the colours of traffic lights: green (permitted), amber (slow down — i.e. be reduced), red (forbidden).

  • The Agriculture Agreement has no red box, although domestic support exceeding the reduction commitment levels in the amber box is prohibited; and there is a blue box for subsidies that are tied to programmes that limit production.
  • There are also exemptions for developing countries (sometimes called an “S&D box).
  • In order to qualify, green box subsidies must not distort trade, or at most cause minimal distortion. So, (a) is correct.
  • They have to be government-funded (not by charging consumers higher prices) and must not involve price support.
  • They also include environmental protection and regional development programmes. So, (c) is wrong.

Q Source: Often in news due to the food security issue raised by India recently before the final ratification of Trade facilitation agreement

 

 

35) UPSC question

What is/are the purpose/purposes of the `Marginal Cost of Funds based Lending Rate (MCLR)’ announced by RBI?

  1. These guidelines help improve the transparency in the methodology followed by banks for determining the interest rates on advances.
  2. These guidelines help ensure availability of bank credit at interest rates which are fair to the borrowers as well as the banks.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Solution: C

 

Insights question

Test Series 2016 – Test 31 – Q52

Marginal Cost of funds based Lending Rate (MCLR), as announced recently by the RBI, has replaced the

  1. a) Repo rate and CRR system
  2. b) Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR) system
  3. c) Base rate system
  4. d) Basel system

Solution: c)

Learning: The Reserve Bank of India has brought a new methodology of setting lending rate by commercial banks under the name Marginal Cost of Funds based Lending Rate (MCLR). It has modified the existing base rate system from April 2016 onwards.

  • As per the new guidelines by the RBI, banks have to prepare Marginal Cost of Funds based Lending Rate (MCLR) which will be the internal benchmark lending rates. Based upon this MCLR, interest rate for different types of customers should be fixed in accordance with their riskiness. The base rate will be now determined on the basis of the MCLR calculation.
  • The MCLR should be revised monthly by considering some new factors including the repo rate and other borrowing rates. Specifically the repo rate and other borrowing rates that were not explicitly considered under the base rate system.

The change was brought as: Commercial banks are significantly depending upon the RBI’s LAF repo to get short term funds. But they are reluctant to change their individual lending rates and deposit rates with periodic changes in repo rate.

Q Source: http://www.livemint.com/Money/Xizd6EP6QOnFTl7jtxbQSO/10-things-to-know-about-the-new-loan-rate.html

 

 

 

 

36) UPSC question

Which of the following is/are tributary/tributaries of Brahmaputra?

  1. Dibang
  2. Kameng
  3. Lohit

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

 

Insights question

Test Series 2016 – Test 25 – Q71

Which of the following is/are the principal tributaries of the Brahmaputra River?

  1. Sengar
  2. Lohit
  3. Uttangan
  4. Subansiri
  5. Dibang

Select the correct answer using the codes below.

  1. a) 1, 2 and 3 only
  2. b) 2, 4 and 5 only
  3. c) 1, 3 and 4 only
  4. d) 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

Solution: b)

Justification & Learning: Uttangan and Sengar are tributaries of Yamuna.

  • Brahmaputra basin is bounded by the Himalayas on the north, by the Patkari range of hills on the east running along the India-Myanmar border, by the Assam range of hills on the south and by the Himalayas and the ridge separating it from Ganga basin on the west.
  • The Brahmaputra River originates in the north from Kailash ranges of Himalayas at an elevation of 5,150 m just south of the lake called Konggyu Tsho.
  • The principal tributaries of the river joining from right are the Lohit, the Dibang, the Subansiri, the Jiabharali, the Dhansiri, the Manas, the Torsa, the Sankosh and the Teesta whereas the Burhidihing, the Desang, the Dikhow, the Dhansiri and the Kopili joins it from left.
  • Image below: view of a sunset captured from near Sukleswar ghat in Guwahati – Saraighat Bridge across the river Brahmaputra.

Q Source: 11th India Physical Geography NCERT

 

 

37) UPSC Question

With reference to ‘stand up India scheme’, which of the following statement is/are correct?

  1. Its purpose is to promote entrepreneurship among SC/ST and women entrepreneurs.
  2. It provides for refinance through SIDBI.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

 

Insights question

Test Series 2016 – Test 9 – Q44

The Union Cabinet has approved the Stand Up India Scheme to

  1. a) Promote entrepreneurship among Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST) and Women entrepreneurs
  2. b) Provide unemployment allowances to ensure a regular flow of income for the unemployed
  3. c) Grant scholarships to women to pursue education of their choice
  4. d) Fund the ideas of on-campus university students in India

Solution: a)

Learning: The Stand-up India is component of Start-up India, Stand up India slogan anchored by Department of Financial Services (DFS) to encourage greenfield enterprises by Women and SC/ST entrepreneurs.

  • It will refinance window through Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) with an initial amount 10,000 crore rupees.
  • Under it, a credit guarantee mechanism would be created through the National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company (NCGTC).
  • It will be the operating agency for the loan. It will provide handholding support to the borrowers at both pre loan stage and during operations stage.
  • The overall intent is to leverage the institutional credit structure to reach out to this under-served population. For this margin money of the composite loan will be up to 25%.

Q Source: http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=134220

 

 

 

 

Test Series 2016 – Test 19- Q21

The “Stand Up India Scheme” aims to promote entrepreneurship among SC/ST and Women entrepreneurs. Consider the following about it.

  1. It intends to facilitate at least two start-up projects per bank branch.
  2. It is applicable only to rural areas Greenfield enterprises in the non-farm sector.
  3. The loans under the scheme will be interest free subject to the condition that they are repaid after the firm’s break-even.

Select the correct answer using the codes below.

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

Solution: b)

Justification: Statement 1: The Scheme is intended to facilitate at least two such projects per bank branch, on an average one for each category of entrepreneur. It is expected to benefit at least 2.5 lakh borrowers.

Statement 2: The enterprise can be setup in the non-farm sector anywhere in India.

Statement 3: The loans are not interest free. But, the loan under the scheme would be appropriately secured and backed by a credit guarantee through a credit guarantee scheme for which Department of Financial Services would be the settler.

Q Source: Revision previous tests syllabus: Page 35: Yojana February 2016

 

 

 

38) UPSC question

With reference to ‘Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana’, consider the following statements:

  1. Under this scheme, farmers will have to pay a uniform premium of two percent for any crop they cultivate in any season of the year.
  2. This scheme covers post-harvest losses arising out of cyclones and unseasonal rains.

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: B

 

Insights question

January Compilation – Insights Questions on Current Events 2016

With regard to the recently approved ‘Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana’, which of the following statements is/are incorrect?

  1. For annual commercial and horticultural crops, the premium to be paid by farmers will be only 5%
  2. Farmers will get claim against full sum insured without any reduction
  3. Post-harvest losses coverage, unlike earlier, has been included in this scheme

Select the correct answer using codes given below:

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

 

Test Series 2016 – Test 9 – Q87

The Union Cabinet has recently approved Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana. How will it help the farmers?

  1. Reduce the premium burden on farmers
  2. Ensure early settlement of crop assurance claim

Which of the above is/are correct?

  1. a) 1 only
  2. b) 2 only
  3. c) Both 1 and 2
  4. d) None

Solution: c)

Learning: PMFBY will replace the existing two schemes National Agricultural Insurance Scheme as well as Modified NAIS which have had some inherent drawbacks.

Farmers’ premium has been kept at a maximum of 2 per cent for foodgrains and oilseeds and up to 5 per cent for horticulture/cotton crops.

According to sources, PMFBY will increase the insurance coverage to 50 per cent of the total crop area of 194.40 million hectare from the existing level of about 25—27 per cent crop area. The expenditure is expected to be around Rs 9,500 crore.

In PMFBY, there will not be a cap on the premium and reduction of the sum insured

Q Source: http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/govt-approves-new-crop-insurance-plan-for-farmers/article8102137.ece

 

 

Test Series 2016- Test 25 – Q10

Consider the following about the recently launched Pradhan Mantri Fasal Beema Yojana (PMFBY).

  1. It covers both food and commercial crops.
  2. Both Centre and states will bear the financial burden of the scheme.
  3. It will act as a supplement of the existing Modified National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (MNAIS).

Select the correct answer using the codes below.

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

Solution: a)

Justification: Statement 1: It covers rabi, kharif, commercial and horticultural crops.

Statement 2: There will be a uniform premium of only 2% to be paid by farmers for all Kharif crops and 1.5% for all Rabi crops. The government liability on premium subsidy will be shared equally by the Centre and states.

Statement 3: It will replace two schemes National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (NAIS) and the modified NAIS (MNAIS).

Learning: Schemes targets to cover half of India’s cropped area in the next three years. Present coverage is 23% approximately.

The new scheme will also seek to address a long-standing demand of farmers and provide farm-level assessment for localized calamities, including hailstorms, unseasonal rains, landslides and inundation.

Q Source: January current affairs: http://www.pmindia.gov.in/en/news_updates/nda-govt-launches-new-crop-insurance-scheme-minimum-premium-maximum-insurance-for-farmers/

 

 

 

39) UPSC question

Consider the following pairs:

                  Terms sometimes               Their origin seen in the news

  1. Annex—I Countries   :     Cartagena Protocol
  2. Certified Emissions Reductions :   Nagoya Protocol
  3. Clean Development Mechanism : Kyoto Protocol

Which of the pairs given above is/are correctly matched?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

 

Insights question

We have dealt with the three protocols/mechanisms separately. Nonetheless, you could easily answer the above having read the following.

Test Series 2016 – Test 7- Q55. Consider the following about the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).

  1. It related to the Kyoto Protocol.
  2. Only industrialized countries can participate in it.
  3. Certified emission reduction (CER) credits are associated with CDM.

Select the correct answer using the codes below:

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

Solution: c)

Learning: The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), defined in Article 12 of the Protocol, allows a country with an emission-reduction or emission-limitation commitment under the Kyoto Protocol (Annex B Party) to implement an emission-reduction project in developing countries. Such projects can earn saleable certified emission reduction (CER) credits, each equivalent to one tonne of CO2, which can be counted towards meeting Kyoto targets.

  • A CDM project activity might involve, for example, a rural electrification project using solar panels or the installation of more energy-efficient boilers.
  • The CDM allows industrialized countries to buy CERs and to invest in emission reductions where it is cheapest globally. The CDM is designed to start off developing countries on a path towards less pollution, with industrialised (Annex B) countries paying for these reductions.

Q Source: http://unfccc.int/kyoto_protocol/mechanisms/clean_development_mechanism/items/2718.php

 

 

Test Series 2016 – Test 12 – Q20. Consider the following with reference to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.

  1. It seeks to promote genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in order to ensure biological diversity.
  2. It restricts countries from banning any imports of GMOs.
  3. It acts as a supplement to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

Select the correct answer using the codes below.

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

Solution: b)

Justification and Learning: The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity is an international agreement on biosafety as a supplement to the Convention on Biological Diversity effective since 2003. So, 3 is correct.

  • The Biosafety Protocol seeks to protect biological diversity from the potential risks posed by genetically modified organisms resulting from modern biotechnology. So, 1 is incorrect.
  • The Biosafety Protocol makes clear that products from new technologies must be based on the precautionary principle and allow developing nations to balance public health against economic benefits.
  • It will for example let countries ban imports of a genetically modified organisms if they feel there is not enough scientific evidence that the product is safe and requires exporters to label shipments containing genetically altered commodities such as corn or cotton. So, 2 is incorrect.
  • It is implemented by the Ministry of Environment and Forests.

Q Source: SET A: Improvisation: Q80: CSP 2009

 

 

Test Series 2016 – Test 17 – Q82. Nagoya Protocol relates to

  1. a) Access to genetic resources and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from their utilization
  2. b) Reducing incidents of poaching, killing and torture of animals in major hotspots
  3. c) Transboundary movements of hazardous wastes and their disposal
  4. d) Post-Kyoto management of GHG emissions

Solution: a)

Learning: It is a 2010 supplementary agreement to the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

Its aim is the implementation of one of the three objectives of the CBD: the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources, thereby contributing to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity

It is the second Protocol to the CBD; the first is the 2000 Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.

Q Source: Improvisation: Chapter 12: India Yearbook 2016

 

 

40) UPSC question

‘Project Loon’, sometimes seen in the news, is related to

(a) waste management technology

(b) wireless communication technology

(c) solar power production technology

(d) water conservation technology

Solution: B

 

Insights question

Test Series 2016 – Test 8 – Q76

“Project Loon” of Google X aims at

  1. a) Providing Internet access to rural and remote areas
  2. b) Upgrading e-government applications on request
  3. c) Developing critical e-infrastructure for governments on request
  4. d) Supporting the principle of net neutrality by providing zero-rating apps

Solution: a)

Learning: Project Loon is a research and development project being developed by Google X with the mission of providing Internet access to rural and remote areas.

The project uses high-altitude balloons placed in the stratosphere at an altitude of about 32 km to create an aerial wireless network with up to 3G-like speeds.

Union Government has given in principle approval to work on Loon project of internet search engine giant Google for providing Internet connectivity by using large balloons.

The project will be started on a pilot basis and state run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) will be partner with the project in order to expand Internet connectivity in the country.

Q Source: http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/its-a-bird-its-a-plane-its-the-loon/article8008652.ece

 

 

41) UPSC question

Consider the following statements:

  1. The Sustainable Development Goals were first proposed in 1972 by a global think tank called the ‘Club of Rome’.
  2. The Sustainable Development Goals have to be achieved by 2030.

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: B

 

Insights question

If you had done these three questions, the answer would not have been difficult to find.

 

Test Series 2016 – Test 29 – Q56

Millennium Development Goals Reports were published by

  1. a) World Bank
  2. b) United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
  3. c) UNICEF
  4. d) United Nations Development Commissioner

Solution: b)

Learning: This annual report (no longer published now as SDGs have replaced MDGs) presents the most comprehensive global assessment of progress to date, based on data provided by a large number of international organizations within and outside the United Nations system.

The 2030 Agenda comprises 17 new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), or Global Goals, which will guide policy and funding for the next 15 years, beginning with a historic pledge to end poverty.

Q Source: http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/librarypage/mdg/

 

 

Prelims 2016 – Test 7 – Q51

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted from 2015 do NOT deal with?

  1. Education for all
  2. Reduced inequalities among citizens
  3. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Select the correct answer using the codes below:

  1. a) 1 only
  2. b) 2 and 3 only
  3. c) 3 only
  4. d) They deal with all of the above

Solution: d)

Justification: SDGs consist of 17 goals and 169 targets in contrast to 8 goals and 18 targets in MDGs set to expire in 2015.

It will apply to all UN member states and not just those in the developing world. In this way, we hope they will become as “universal” as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights—a vital element of the civic armoury in the fight for fairness.

Goals are related to ending poverty; sustainable development; universal enrolment; improving implementation etc. These goals are similar to MDGs, while others like reducing inequality are new to SDGs.

Learning: What is required for SDGs success?

  • MDGs success, in part, lie in China reducing poverty by nearly 30% since the beginning of MDG in 2000. Similarly, experts opine, India’s performance will be crucial to the success of SDGs.
  • As per WB President, one state, UP, in India houses 8% of world’s BPL population. UP’s progress will push SDGs success.
  • Instead of top-down approach in implementation of SDGs, bottom-up approach is needed. Hence, state and local governments in participation with civil society (NGOs, think tanks, social activists) will achieve greater progress than Central government alone can do.
  • NITI Aayog, India, can play a crucial role in monitoring SDGs progress. Ministries and departments can align social welfare scheme with SDGs. This will lessen the administrative burden of implementation of SDGs.

Q Source: http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/

 

Insights Revision Plan for Prelims 2016: Test – 12

The Club of Rome is mainly famous for

  1. a) Its philanthropic work in the field of sustainable development
  2. b) Its aid activities in Africa’s poorest nations
  3. c) Its book on limited availability of natural resources and its impact on economic growth
  4. d) None of the above

 

42) UPSC question

The term ‘Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership’ often appears in the news in the context of the affairs of a group of countries known as

(a) G20

(b) ASEAN

(c) SCO

(d) SAARC

Solution: B

 

Insights Question

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a proposed free trade agreement between

  1. All member states of ASEAN
  2. Japan
  3. South Korea
  4. Australia
  5. New Zealand
  6. India
  7. China

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 2,3,4,5,6 and 7

(b) 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 7 only

(c) All

(d) 1, 3, 4, 5 and 7

Solution: c.

 

 

43) UPSC question

Consider the following statements:

The Mangalyaan launched by ISRO

  1. is also called the Mars Orbiter Mission
  2. made India the second country to have a spacecraft orbit the Mars after USA
  3. made India the only country to be successful in making its spacecraft orbit the                Mars in its very first attempt

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Solution: C

Insights question

Test Series 2016 – Test 22 – Q74

Mars Orbiter Mission is ISRO’s first interplanetary mission to planet Mars. What will it help us understand?

  1. Possibility or the past existence of life on planet Mars
  2. Role of Martian corona in affecting long-term climate change on earth

Which of the above is/are correct?

  1. a) 1 only
  2. b) 2 only
  3. c) Both 1 and 2
  4. d) None

Solution: a)

Justification: MOM will explore and observe Mars surface features, morphology, mineralogy and the Martian atmosphere. Further, a specific search for methane in the Martian atmosphere will provide information about the possibility or the past existence of life on the planet.

The enormous distances involved in interplanetary missions present a demanding challenge; developing and mastering the technologies essential for these missions will open endless possibilities for space exploration.

Q Source: Chapter 25: India Yearbook 2016

 

 

44) UPSC question

On which of the following can you find the Bureau of Energy Efficiency Star Label?

  1. Ceiling fans
  2. Electric geysers
  3. Tubular fluorescent lamps

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 3 only

(c) 2 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Solution: D

 

Insights question

The explanation covers the answer for the above.

Test Series 2016 – Test 27 – Q41

Standards and Labelling programme for equipment and appliances in 2006, including the energy star rating standards, was initiated by

  1. a) FICCI
  2. b) Bureau of Energy Efficiency
  3. c) Indian Solar Alliance (ISA)
  4. d) Ministry of Commerce

Solution: b)

Learning: The Bureau initiated the Standards and Labeling programme for equipment and appliances to provide the consumer an informed choice about the energy saving and thereby the cost saving potential of the relevant marketed product.

The scheme is invoked for 19 equipment/appliances, i.e. Room Air Conditioners, Fluorescent Tube Lights, Frost Free Refrigerators etc.

Most of the appliances are presently under voluntary labelling phase.

As a result, the least-efficient products are removed from the market and more efficient products are introduced.

The most recent additions to the list of labeled products are Diesel Pumpsets & Diesel Generating Set.

Q Source: Ministry of New and Renewable Energy Website

 

45) UPSC question

With reference to ‘Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)’, consider the following statements :

  1. It is an organization of European Union in working relation with NATO and WHO.
  2. It monitors chemical industry to prevent new weapons from emerging.
  3. It provides assistance and protection to States (Parties) against chemical weapons            threats.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Solution: B

 

Insights question

The question on OPCW basis and the later question on Chemical weapons convention would have led you straight to the answer.

 

Test Series 2016 – Test 12- Q98

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is

  1. a) An intergovernmental organisation that verifies the adherence to the Chemical Weapons Convention
  2. b) An international non-profit body that monitors global proliferation of chemical weapons
  3. c) A subsidiary organization of the UN reporting to the UNSC on matters related to Chemical weapons
  4. d) An arm of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to prevent access of harmful chemical weapons in wrong hands

Solution: a)

Learning: The organisation was awarded the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.

The activities of the OPCW and its core organisational structure are described in the Chemical Weapons Convention (whose members are all in OPCW).

The principal body is the conference of states parties, which normally is convened yearly, and in which all countries participate and have equal voting rights.

All States Parties make contributions to the OPCW budget, based on a modified UN scale of assessments.

Q Source: Page 85: Chapter 6: 12th NCERT: Contemporary World Politics

 

Test Series 2016 – Test 28 – Q79

Consider the following about Chemical Weapons Convention.

  1. It bans the possession and development of Chemical weapons for countries other than P-5 members of the UNSC.
  2. India is a signatory to the convention.
  3. It was negotiated at UN only after some concerns were raised about the use of Chemical weapons in the Syrian Civil War.

Select the correct answer using the codes below.

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

Solution: b)

Justification: Statement 1: It is a universal non-discriminatory, multilateral, Disarmament Treaty which bans the development, production, acquisition, transfer, use and stockpile of all chemical weapons. The Treaty puts all the States Parties on an equal footing.

Countries having stockpiles of chemical weapons are required to declare and destroy them.

Statement 2 and 3: The Convention was opened for signature on 13th January, 1993 in Paris. India signed the Convention on in January, 1993. Syrian Civil war is recent post-Arab spring (2011 onwards).

Q Source: Ministry of chemicals & Fertilizers website

 

46) UPSC question

‘Mission Indradhanush’ launched by the Government of India pertains to

(a) immunization of children and pregnant women

(b) construction of smart cities across the country

(c) India’s own search for the Earth-like planets in outer space

(d) New Educational Policy

Solution: A

 

Insights question

10 April 2015 – Current Events Daily Quiz

Consider the following statements with reference to the Mission Indradhanush:

  1. Mission Indradhanush was launched by the Health & Family Welfare Ministry.
  2. The Mission aims to cover all those children by 2020 who are either unvaccinated, or are partially vaccinated against seven vaccine preventable diseases.

Which of the above statements is/are true?

  1. a) Only 1
  2. b) Only 2
  3. c) Both
  4. d) None

 

Test Series 2016 – Test 1 – Q2

Indradhanush strategy recently launched by the government relates to

  1. a) improving the vaccination rates in rural India
  2. b) making solar power more accessible to canal irrigated areas
  3. c) revamping of Public sector Banks in India
  4. d) increasing rain in water deficient areas through cloud seeding

Solution: c)

Explanation: Option (a) related to Mission Indradhanush which was launched in December 2014. Hence, it is incorrect.

Options (b) relates to solar park projects, thus incorrect.

Option (d) is also incorrect as GoI does not have any mission/scheme that targets increasing rain in water deficient areas through cloud seeding.

Learning: Major points under the Indradhanush strategy are:

  • Bank Investment Company will be setup. It will have holding interest in PSBs.
  • Bank Boards bureau to be setup to search for head of banks; advise banks on ways to raise capital; and monitor key performance indicators.
  • Repeal of the Banking Companies (Acquisition and Transfer of Undertakings), 1969
  • State-owned banks will be incorporated under the Companies Act
  • Capitalization of state-owned banks
  • Speedy project approvals to reduce the NPAs of banks
  • More flexibility to banks for hiring staff

Q Source: http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2015-08-16/news/65525479_1_public-sector-banks-rating-agency-crisil-raman-uberoi

 

 

47) UPSC question

Who of the following had first deciphered the edicts of Emperor Ashoka?

(a) Georg Bilhler

(b) James Prinsep

(c) Max Muller

(d) William Jones

Solution: B

 

Insights Question

Answer was given in the explanation. We never thought UPSC would ask such a trivial question on Ashokan edicts, given there are so many other important things to ask. We had covered many other questions on Ashokan edicts in the tests.

 

Test Series 2016 – Test 8- Q 52

Consider the following about the edicts of Ashoka.

  1. They are written in vernacular Sanskrit.
  2. In the northwestern India Asokan inscriptions were found in Karoshti script.
  3. Edicts do not give any information apart from Ashoka’s ‘Dhamma’.

Select the correct answer using the codes below.

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

Solution: d)

Justification: Statement 1: They are written in Pali language and in some places prakrit was used. The Brahmi script was employed for writing. So, 1 is wrong.

Statement 2: There are minor Rock Edicts and minor pillar Edicts. These Edicts of Asoka deal with Asoka’s Dhamma and also instructions given to his officials. The XIII Rock Edict gives details about his war with Kalinga. So, 3 is not correct.

Learning: The inscriptions of Asoka were first deciphered by James Princep in 1837.

There are fourteen Major Rock Edicts. The Pillar Edict VII gives a summary of his efforts to promote the Dhamma within his kingdom.

Thus the Asokan inscriptions remain valuable sources for the study of Asoka and the Mauryan Empire.

Q Source: Page 60: Chapter 6: 11th Std. TamilNadu History Textbook

 

 

48) UPSC question

Regarding DigiLocker’, sometimes seen in the news, which of the following statements is/are correct?

  1. It is a digital locker system offered by the Government under Digital India Programme.
  2. It allows you to access your e-documents irrespective of your physical location.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Solution: C

 

Insights Question

 

Test Series 2016 – Test 30 – Q35

The DigiLocker scheme of the Government of India is related to

  1. a) Securing online banking transactions
  2. b) Gold bonds
  3. c) Sharing of e-signed personal documents
  4. d) Armed forces cyber security

Solution: c)

Learning: Digital Locker is one of the key initiatives under the Digital India Programme. Its major objectives are:

  • Enable digital empowerment of residents by providing them with Digital Locker on the cloud
  • Enable e-Signing of documents and make them available electronically and online Minimize the use of physical documents
  • Ensure authenticity of the e-documents and thereby eliminate usage of fake documents
  • Secure access to Govt. issued documents through a web portal and mobile application for residents
  • Reduce administrative overhead of Govt. departments and agencies and make it easy for the residents to receive services
  • Anytime, anywhere access to the documents by the resident
  • Open and interoperable standards based architecture to support a well-structured standard document format to support easy sharing of documents across departments and agencies
  • Ensure privacy and authorized access to residents’ data.

Q Source: https://digitallocker.gov.in/

 

49) UPSC question

What is/are the purpose/purposes of `District Mineral Foundations’ in India?

  1. Promoting mineral exploration activities in mineral-rich districts
  2. Protecting the interests of the persons affected by mining operations
  3. Authorizing State Governments to issue licences for mineral exploration

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Solution: B

 

Insights Question

The explanation and the question statements of the following cover the issue. Another question below this one deals in more detail about District Mineral foundation.

 

Test Series 2016 – Test 25 – Q8

The Government has recently amended the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act 1957 in 2015 for promoting the mining sector. Which of the following is/are the salient features of the MMDR Act 2015?

  1. The grant of mineral concessions will be through auction by competitive bidding.
  2. A District Mineral Foundation is to be established in each mining affected district.
  3. Mineral concessions granted by the government will be non-transferrable between parties to reduce corruption and boost FDI in this sector.

Select the correct answer using the codes below.

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

Solution: a)

Justification: Statement 1: It will be a transparent and non-discriminatory method and which will also obtain for the state government its fair share of value of the mineral resources.

Statement 2: The mineral foundation would invest in the welfare of the district.

Statement 3: It provides for assured tenure and easy transferability of mineral concessions granted through auction to attract private investments and FDI, and Transition provisions for extension of existing leases to obviate disruptions in supply of ore and to ensure regular supply of raw material to industry.

Q Source: Economic Survey 2015-16: Chapter “Industrial, Corporate, and Infrastructure Performance– Vol II”

 

 

 

Test Series 2016 – Test 5 – Q15

Funds under the PM Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojana (PMKKKY) can be utilized for

  1. Improving physical infrastructure of the region
  2. Subsidizing economically non-viable mining units
  3. Enhancing quality of environment in mining districts

Select the correct answer using the codes below.

  1. a) 1 and 2 only
  2. b) 2 and 3 only
  3. c) 1 and 3 only
  4. d) All of the above

Solution: c)

Justification: The PMKKKY fund is obtained after imposing royalty payments on the miners. So, the funds will not be used to subsidize mining company or units. It will be used exclusively for the welfare of the citizens affected by mining. So, statement 2 is incorrect.

Welfare would involve overall development, i.e. watershed development, reducing pollution, improving health indicators, education etc. So, 1 and 3 are correct.

Learning: Areas of focus:

  • High priority areas like drinking water supply, health care, sanitation, education, skill development, women and child care, welfare of aged and disabled people, skill development and environment conservation will get at least 60 % share of the funds.
  • For creating a supportive and conducive living environment, balance funds will be spent on making roads, bridges, railways, waterways projects, irrigation and alternative energy sources.

About District Mineral Foundations (DMFs):

  • The Mines and Minerals (Development & Regulation) Amendment Act, 2015, mandated the setting up of District Mineral Foundations (DMFs) in all districts in the country affected by mining related operations.

Q Source: Yojana November 2015 – Page 62

 

 

50) UPSC question

Which of the following is/are the indicator/indicators used by IFPRI to compute the Global Hunger Index Report?

  1. Undernourishment
  2. Child stunting
  3. Child mortality

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1, 2 and 3

(d) 1 and 3 only

Solution: C

 

Insights Question

Here the explanation covers the answer.

Revision Important questions (extra questions) – Part 2 – Published in August first week at Insights

Q32. Global Hunger Index (GHI) Report is published by which of the following organizations?

  1. a) International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
  2. b) Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO)
  3. c) United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
  4. d) It is a joint publication of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and World Bank

Solution: a)

Learning: The Global Hunger Index (GHI) is a multidimensional statistical tool used to describe the state of countries’ hunger situation. The GHI measures progress and failures in the global fight against hunger

The GHI combines 4 component indicators:

  • the proportion of the undernourished as a percentage of the population;
  • the proportion of children under the age of five suffering from wasting;
  • the proportion of children under the age of five suffering from stunting;
  • the mortality rate of children under the age of five.

The 2015 GHI was calculated for 117 developing countries and countries in transition, 80 of which with alarming or serious hunger levels

In addition to the yearly GHI, the Hunger Index for the States of India (ISHI) was published in 2008.

The Index ranks countries on a 100-point scale, with 0 being the best score (no hunger) and 100 being the worst.

Q Source: http://ghi.ifpri.org/trends/

 

 

 

51) UPSC question

With reference to `Astrosat’, the astronomical observatory launched by India, which of the following statements is/are correct?

  1. Other than USA and Russia, India is the only country to have launched a similar observatory into space.
  2. Astrosat is a 2000 kg satellite placed in an orbit at 1650 km above the surface of the Earth.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Solution: D

 

Insights Question

While UPSC asked trivial details about Astrosat, you needed to know only few things about this observatory to eliminate both options in the UPSC question.

An earth observatory (in space) is generally kept at polar orbits (so, it should be somewhere near 650 Km, and not 1650 Km as given in the question)

Secondly, a space observatory is not uncommon in space agencies, so 1 could also be eliminated, as India cannot be the one right after USA and Russia to have launched it. Many other advanced agencies would have surely launched it before.

Test Series 2016 – Test 22- Q22

Endeavour of the ASTROSAT mission launched by Indian Space and Research Organization (ISRO) is to

  1. a) Provide better agricultural forecasts for improving crop yields
  2. b) Give us a more accurate estimate of impending climate changes on earth
  3. c) Understand the Universe in more detail
  4. d) Plan positions for future satellite orbits so as to shield them from large astronomical objects

Solution: c)

Learning: ASTROSAT is India’s first dedicated multi wavelength space observatory. This scientific satellite mission endeavours for a more detailed understanding of our universe.

ASTROSAT will observe universe in the optical, Ultraviolet, low and high energy X-ray regions of the electromagnetic spectrum, whereas most other scientific satellites are capable of observing a narrow range of wavelength band.

The scientific objectives of ASTROSAT mission are:

  • To understand high energy processes in binary star systems containing neutron stars and black holes
  • Estimate magnetic fields of neutron stars
  • Study star birth regions and high energy processes in star systems lying beyond our galaxy
  • Detect new briefly bright X-ray sources in the sky
  • Perform a limited deep field survey of the Universe in the Ultraviolet region

Q Source: Current Affairs & Improvisation: Chapter 25: India Yearbook 2016

 

 

 

 

52) UPSC question

Which of the following is not a member of `Gulf Cooperation Council’?

(a) Iran

(b) Saudi Arabia

(c) Oman

(d) Kuwait

Solution: A

 

Insights question

Test Series 2016 – Test 31 – Q41

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is a/an

  1. a) Intergovernmental political and economic union of Arab states
  2. b) Trade cartel that regulates oil prices in international markets
  3. c) Informal grouping of all West Asian nations for promoting cultural contact
  4. d) Community of immigrant labour working in Gulf countries aimed at improving work conditions in the Middle-east

Solution: a)

Learning: It consists of all Arab states of the Persian Gulf, except for Iraq.

  • Its member states are Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
  • All current member states are monarchies.
  • A 2011 proposal to transform the GCC into a “Gulf Union” with tighter economic, political and military coordination has been advanced by Saudi Arabia, a move meant to counterbalance the Iranian influence in the region.
  • Objections have been raised against the proposal by other countries.
  • A common market was launched on 1 January 2008 with plans to realise a fully integrated single market. A nominal GCC single currency is also used to some extent.
  • GCC is a major trade partner of India.

Q Source: http://www.mea.gov.in/regional-organisations.htm

 

 

53) UPSC question

The FAO accords the status of ‘Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System (GIAHS)’ to traditional agricultural systems. What is the overall goal of this initiative?

  1. To provide modern technology, training in modern farming methods and financial support to local communities of identified GIAHS so as to greatly enhance their agricultural           productivity.
  2. To identify and safeguard eco-friendly traditional farm practices and their associated landscapers, agricultural biodiversity and knowledge systems of the local communities
  3. To provide Geographical Indication status to all the varieties of agricultural produce in such identified GIAHS

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 and 3 only

(b) 2 only

(C) 2 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

 

Insights Question

If you knew what the GIAHS of FAO is, you could easily mark the correct answer in UPSC by elimination. The question below would have straight lead you to the answer.

Revision Important questions (extra questions) – Part 1 – Published in August first week at Insights

The Kuttanad region of Kerala is known for a special type of rice farming that has been recognized by FAO as Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS). What is unique about it?

  1. It is the only system in India that practices rice cultivation below sea level.
  2. The system uses the least water per unit of rice produced.

Which of the above is/are correct?

  1. a) 1 only
  2. b) 2 only
  3. c) Both 1 and 2
  4. d) None

Solution: a)

Justification: Kuttanad (a Ramsar site) is a delta region of about 900 sq. km situated in the west coast of Kerala State, India.

  • The area is a larger mosaic of fragmented landscape patches and varied ecosystems such as coastal backwaters, rivers, vast stretches of paddy fields, marshes, ponds, garden lands, edges, corridors and   remarkably networked water ways.
  • The Kuttanad Below Sea-level Farming System (KBSFS) is unique, as it is the only system in India that practices rice cultvation below sea level.
  • The major land use structure of KBSFS is flat stretches of rice fields in about 50,000 ha of mostly reclaimed delta swamps.
  • The rice fields, which are popularly known as “Puncha Vayals” exist in three landscape elements: Karapadam (upland rice fields), Kayal (wetland rice fields) and Kari (land buried with black coal like materials).
  • Farmers of Kuttanad have developed and mastered the spectacular technique of below sea level cultivation over 150 year ago.
  • They made this system unique as it contributes remarkably well to the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services including several livelihood services for local communities.      
  • The below sea-level farming practised in Kuttanad is of great interests to countries such as Malaysia, Bangladesh and the Maldives.

Q Source: http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/global-centre-for-below-sealevel-farming-soon/article8047556.ece

 

54) UPSC question

Consider the following statements :

  1. New Development Bank has been set up by APEC.
  2. The headquarters of New Development Bank is in Shanghai.

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: B

 

Insights question

Insights Test Series 2015 – Q54

Consider the following about the BRICS New Development Bank.

  1. Agreement for establishing NDB was made at Fortaleza.
  2. Bank will be headquartered in Shanghai.
  3. Bank’s first President will be Kundapur Vaman Kamath from India.
  4. All member nations will have an equal say in Bank’s management.
  5. All member nations will contribute equally to Bank’s start-up capital.

Choose the correct answer using the codes below.

  1. a) 1 , 4 and 5 only
  2. b) 2 and 3 only
  3. c) 1, 2, 3 and 4 only
  4. d) All of the above

Solution: d)

Agreement for establishing NDB was signed during the 6th BRICS Summit being held in Fortaleza, Brazil in April, 2014. It was formally launched at the 7th BRICS summit held in Ufa, Russia in July 2015.

Purpose: To fund infrastructure projects in the emerging economies. It is seen as an alternative institute to west dominated World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Capital: It will have initial capital of US 50 billion dollars and will be raised to US 100 billion dollars within the next couple of years.

Each member’s role:  They will have an equal say in the bank’s management, regardless of GDP size and contribute an equal share in establishing a startup capital.

President: Eminent banker Kundapur Vaman Kamath from India is President of Bank for the first five years i.e. till 2020.

 

55) UPSC question

What was the main reason for the split in the Indian National Congress at Surat in 1907?

(a) Introduction of communalism into Indian politics by Lord Minto

(b) Extremists’ lack of faith in the capacity of the moderates to negotiate with the British Government

(c) Foundation of Muslim League

(d) Aurobindo Ghosh’s inability to be elected as the President of the Indian National Congress

Solution: B

 

Insights Question

Insights Test Series 2015 – Test 13 – Q96

Which of the following points of differences between the moderates and extremists led to the Surat split?

  1. Moderates were not in favour of extending the boycott movement beyond Bengal.
  2. Moderates were totally opposed to the boycott of councils, extremists were not.
  3. Different meanings of “Swaraj”

Choose the correct answer using the codes below.

  1. a) 1 and 2
  2. b) 2 and 3
  3. c) 1 and 3
  4. d) All of the above

 

 

56) UPSC question

What is/are common to the two historical places known as Ajanta and Mahabalipuram?

  1. Both were built in the same period.
  2. Both belong to the same religious denomination.
  3. Both have rock-cut monuments.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) None of the statements given above is correct

Solution: B

 

Insights question

The two questions on Ajanta and Mahabalipuram (and the explanations) clearly address all the demands of the above question.

 

Test Series 2016 – Test 28 – Q41

Consider the following statements.

  1. They are cut into the volcanic lava of the Deccan in the forest ravines of the Sahyadri Hills.
  2. These caves contain carvings that depict the life of Buddha.
  3. The carvings and sculptures in the cave are considered to be the beginning of classical Indian art.

The above refers to?

  1. a) Ajanta caves
  2. b) Barabar caves
  3. c) Nural caves
  4. d) Kailasha Caves

Solution: a)

Justification: The question seems to be very factual on first glance, but elimination can easily give the correct answer.

Barabar caves are in Bihar. So, (b) can’t be the answer, as Sahyadri hills do not pass through Bihar.

Nural caves is a made up name, and Varaha Cave, as also clear from the name, hosts sculptures of Lord Vishnu. So, the only possible answer is (a), which is also quite renowned.

Learning: The style of Ajanta has exerted a considerable influence in India and elsewhere, extending, in particular, to Java.

The caves include paintings and sculptures described by the government Archaeological Survey of India as “the finest surviving examples of Indian art, particularly painting”, which are masterpieces of Buddhist religious art, with figures of the Buddha and depictions of the Jataka tales.

The caves were built in two phases starting around the 2nd century BCE, with the second group of caves built around 400–650 CE.

The site is a protected monument in the care of the Archaeological Survey of India, and since 1983, the Ajanta Caves have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Q Source: http://www.indiaculture.nic.in/ajanta-caves

 

Test Series 2016 – Test 10 – Q91

In the sculptures found at Mahabalipuram, you are likely to find the depiction of which of these figures?

  1. Elephants
  2. Serpents
  3. Birds

Select the correct answer using the codes below.

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

Solution: d)

Learning: Observe these two images below are from Mahabalipuram. If you can’t see the images, refer to the Q source.

  • By the 7th century Mahabalipuram was a port city of South Indian dynasty of the Pallavas.
  • It has a group of sanctuaries, which was carved out of rock along the Coromandel coast in the 7th and 8th centuries : rathas (temples in the form of chariots), mandapas (cave sanctuaries), giant open-air rock reliefs such as the famous Descent of the Ganges, and the Shore Temple, with thousands of sculptures to the glory of Shiva.
  • The Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Q Source: Page 109 (Fig 4.30): Chapter 4: 12th NCERT: Themes in Indian History – I

 

 

57) UPSC question

Consider the following pairs :

                  Community sometimes In the affairs of mentioned in the news

  1. Kurd         :   Bangladesh
  2. Madhesi     :   Nepal
  3. Rohingya     :   Myanmar

Which of the pairs given above is/are correctly matched?

(a) 1 and 2

(b) 2 only

(c) 2 and 3

(d) 3 only

Solution: C

 

Insights Question

Insights Daily Quiz Current Affairs – 29th September 2015

Nepal recently unveiled its new Constitution. With reference to communities that have refused to sign it, consider the following statements:

  1. Both, the Tharu and the Madhesi people are present in India
  2. In India, the Tharu people have been given Scheduled Tribe status but not the Madhesi

Which of the above statements are correct?

  1. a) 1 Only
  2. b) 2 Only
  3. c) Both 1 and 2
  4. d) Neither 1 or 2

 

Also, Rohingyas were covered frequently in Insights Current Events and Secure- https://www.insightsonindia.com/2016/03/30/5-comment-myanmars-rohingya-problem-examine-community-alienated-indias-response-rohingya-problem/

So, it was pretty easy to answer this question.

 

 

 

 

58) UPSC question

The Montague-Chelmsford Proposals were related to

(a) social reforms

(b) educational reforms

(c) reforms in police administration

(d) constitutional reforms

Solution: D

 

Insights question

Montague proposals and report were covered in numerous forms in the Test Series.

Test Series 2016 – Test 16 -Q31

The institutions of Speaker and Deputy Speaker originated in India in 1921 under

  1. a) A Charter issued by the British crown for improving legislative business in British India
  2. b) Provisions of the Government of India Act of 1919 (Montague–Chelmsford Reforms)
  3. c) An order issued by the then Governor-General of India to manage the Central Legislative Assembly better
  4. d) Amendments made to the Charter Act of 1891 that created the office of President and Vice-President of Legislative assemblies

Solution: b)

Learning: At that time, the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker were called the President and Deputy President respectively and the same nomenclature continued till 1947.

Before 1921, the Governor- General of India used to preside over the meetings of the Central Legislative Council.

In 1921, the Frederick Whyte and Sachidanand Sinha were appointed by the Governor-General of India as the first Speaker and the first Deputy Speaker (respectively) of the central legislative assembly.

In 1925, Vithalbhai J. Patel became the first Indian and the first elected Speaker of the central legislative assembly.

The Government of India Act o 1935 changed the nomenclatures of President and Deputy President of the Central Legislative Assembly to the Speaker and Deputy Speaker respectively.

Q Source: Chapter 22: Indian Polity: M Laxmikanth

 

 

Test Series 2016 – Test 29 – Q84

The origin of the second Chamber – the ‘Council of States’ which is also known as Rajya Sabha – can be traced to

  1. a) Charter Act 1833
  2. b) Act of 1861
  3. c) Morley-Minto Act 1909
  4. d) Government of India Act, 1919

Solution: d)

Learning: It can be traced to the Montague-Chelmsford Report of 1918.

The Government of India Act, 1919 provided for the creation of a ‘Council of State’ as a second chamber of the then legislature with a restricted franchise which actually came into existence in 1921.

The Governor-General was the ex-officio President of the then Council of State.

The Government of India Act, 1935, hardly made any changes in its composition.

Q Source: Rajya Sabha Website

 

 

59) UPSC question

In which of the following regions of India are shale gas resources found?

  1. Cambay Basin
  2. Cauvery Basin
  3. Krishna-Godavari Basin

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 3 only

(c) 2 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Solution: D

 

 

Insights question

Test Series 2015 – Test 24- Q15

The shale gas potential as estimated by the government lies in which of the following selected sedimentary basins/ sub basins?

  1. Cambay
  2. Damodar
  3. Cauvery
  4. Krishna-Godavari

Select the correct answer using the codes below.

  1. a) 1 and 2 only
  2. b) 1 and 3 only
  3. c) 2 and 4 only
  4. d) All of the above

Solution: d)

The Minister of State (I/C) for Petroleum & Natural Gas Shri Dharmendra Pradhan informed the Rajya Sabha in a written reply that various agencies have estimated the shale gas and oil resource potential in selected sedimentary basins/ sub basins in India as per the details below:

  1. i) 300 to 2100 tcf of shale gas in the country (as available in public domain);
  2. ii) 290 tcf of shale gas in four basins namely, Cambay, KG, Cauvery and Damodar;

iii) 6.1 tcf of technically recoverable shale gas in 3 basins, namely, Cambay, KG & Cauvery.

  1. iv) 584 tcf of sale gas and 87 Billion barrel of shale oil in 4 basins namely,  Cambay, KG, Cauvery and Damodar;
  2. v) 187.5 tcf of shale gas in 5 basins namely, Cambay, KG, Cauvery, Ganga & Assam and Assam – Arakan;
  3. vi) 45 tcf of Shale Gas in Gondwana basin (including Damodar).

 

 

60) UPSC question

India is an important member of the ‘International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor’. If this experiment succeeds, what is the immediate advantage for India?

(a) It can use thorium in place of uranium for power generation

(b) It can attain a global role in satellite navigation

(c) It can drastically improve the efficiency of its fission reactors in power generation

(d) It can build fusion reactors for power generation

Solution: D

 

Insights Question

Insights Test Series 2015 – Test 8 – Q2

Consider the following statements about International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) being constructed presently.

  1. It is established for studying the dynamics of fission reaction in greater scientific detail.
  2. It is predicted that it will consume more energy than it will intend to produce.
  3. It is being constructed in France.

Choose the correct answer using the codes below:

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

Solution: d)

ITER is an experimental Fusion Reactor being constructed presently in France for future production of electricity from fusion energy. ITER is expected to produce at least ten times more energy than the energy required to operate it. In future demo or commercial reactors based on fusion, this energy can be converted to electricity. Nuclear energy based on fusion may end energy crisis of the world and would revolutionize the energy scenario.

 

 

61) UPSC question

Regarding ‘Atal Pension Yojana’, which of the following statements is/are correct?

  1. It is a minimum guaranteed pension scheme mainly targeted at unorganized sector workers.
  2. Only one member of a family can join the scheme.
  3. Same amount of pension is guaranteed for the spouse for life after subscriber’s death.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Solution: C

 

Insights Question

Insights Test Series 2015 – Test 24 – Q45

The Atal Pension Yojana launched in the Union Budget 2015-16 is focused on

  1. a) all citizens in the unorganized sector
  2. b) all income tax payer citizens of India who contribute voluntarily
  3. c) all BPL citizens in the unorganized sector
  4. d) all women citizens and BPL citizens

Solution: a)

To address the longevity risks among the workers in unorganized sector and to encourage the workers in unorganized sector to voluntarily save for their retirement

  • The APY is focussed on all citizens in the unorganized sector. All bank account holders may join APY. APY is applicable to all citizen of India aged between 18-40 years.
  • The scheme is administered by the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) through NPS architecture.
  • Under the APY, there is guaranteed minimum monthly pension for the subscribers ranging between Rs. 1000 and Rs. 5000 per month. GoI will also co-contribute 50% of the subscriber’s contribution or Rs. 1000 per annum, whichever is lower. Government co-contribution is available for those who are not covered by any Statutory Social Security Schemes and is not income tax payer. The pension is guaranteed by GoI.

 

 

62) UPSC question

`SWAYAM’, an initiative of the Government of India, aims at

(a) promoting the Self Help Groups in rural areas

(b) providing financial and technical assistance to young start-up entrepreneurs

(c) promoting the education and health of adolescent girls

(d) providing affordable and quality education to the citizens for free

Solution: D

 

Insights Question

2015 Test Series – Test 29 (Full syllabus Test)-Q28

The scheme called ‘Swayam’ provides for

  1. a) a mass-scale online open educational course platform
  2. b) scholarships to meritorious students in pursuing higher education
  3. c) compulsory leadership development courses in all higher educational universities
  4. d) growth opportunities for children from BPL families by way of Central assistance and mentor support

Solution: a)

The human resource development ministry has launched the Study Webs of Active-Learning for Young Aspiring Minds (SWAYAM), a Web portal where Massive Open On-line Courses (MOOCs) will be available on all kinds of subjects.

MOOCS or massive open online courses have made access to top university-level content for every learner possible. By providing free online courses on demand, MOOCS enable learners to learn from anywhere irrespective of their situation as long as they have internet access.

It will be hosted on a virtual cloud and have provision for the beneficiaries to get certificates following tests at the end of the courses.

http://edtechreview.in/trends-insights/trends/1598-indian-hrd-ministry-launches-a-mooc-platform-swayam

 

 

63) UPSC question

In which of the following regions of India are you most likely to come across the `Great Indian Hornbill’ in its natural habitat?

(a) Sand deserts of northwest India

(b) Higher Himalayas of Jammu and Kashmir

(c) Salt marshes of western Gujarat

(d) Western Ghats

Solution: D

 

Insights Question

Hornbill’s natural habitat was covered in the explanation.

2015 Test Series – Test 24: Q5

Which of the following is/are the reasons for the growing threat to Great Indian Hornbills?

  1. Habitat loss
  2. Reduction in wild berries in forests
  3. Global warming
  4. Poaching

Select the correct answer using the codes below.

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

Justification: The magnificent birds which were a common sight in the evergreen rain forests of the Western Ghats are now forced, due to deforestation, to adapt themselves to hollows in silver oak trees which form part of thick coffee plantations in Singara and Moyar and some tea plantations in the lower part of the Nilgiri hills.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/growing-threat-to-great-indianhornbills/article7137163.ece

 

 

64) UPSC question

With reference to pre-packaged items in India, it is mandatory to the manufacturer to put which of the following information on the main label, as per the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011?

  1. List of ingredients including additives
  2. Nutrition information
  3. Recommendations, if any, made by the medical profession about the possibility of any               allergic reactions
  4. Vegetarian/non-vegetarian

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1, 2 and 3

(b) 2, 3 and 4

(c) 1, 2 and 4

(d) 1 and 4 only

Solution: C

 

Insights Question

This was close, although not the same as the UPSC question. It would have surely helped to mark the above question. Our approach, though, was very similar.

Test Series 2016 – Test 31 – Q 56

Consider the following about food safety logos used in India.

  1. Green mark logo is found on the label of pre-packaged vegetarian food product.
  2. “India Organic” logo certifies that the food product is organically grown.
  3. ISI mark logo should be available on the packaged drinking water.

Select the correct answer using the codes below.

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

Solution: d)

Justification: India has a comprehensive system of product certifications governed by laws.

  • ISI mark : For industrial product. Certifies that a product conforms to a set of standards laid by the Bureau of Indian Standards.
  • FPO mark : A mandatory mark for all processed fruit products in India. Certifies that the product was manufactured in a hygienic ‘food-safe’ environment.

Others can be seen in the image below.

Q Source: Agritech website + UPSC past year papers

 

 

65) UPSC question

Consider the following statements :

  1. The Chief Secretary in a State is appointed by the Governor of that State.
  2. The Chief Secretary in a State has a fixed tenure.

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

 

Insights Question

In the question and explanation below, we covered most useful pieces of information about Chief Secretary, unfortunately barring the two statements asked by UPSC. Since we covered this topic (Chief Secretary) comprehensively, we have given in under questions indirectly covered by us.

 

Test Series 2016 – Test 7 – Q37

Consider the following about the office of Chief Secretary (CS) in the State Government.

  1. It is not mentioned in the Constitution.
  2. The CS acts as the secretary to the State cabinet.

Which of the above is/are correct?

  1. a) 1 only
  2. b) 2 only
  3. c) Both 1 and 2
  4. d) None

Solution: c)

Learning: About Chief Secy:

  • Administrative head of state admin In India.
  • In many ways counterpart of Cabinet Secy.
  • Chief Coordinator of State secretariat and other administrative departments
  • Attends cabinet meetings
  • Role in policy formulation both formal and informal substantial + supervisory role
  • Head of Civil Services in the state and Cabinet Secretariat
  • Status equal to that of Secretary to the GoI
  • Different from Principal Secy to the CM (he may also attend cabinet meetings)

 

Functions

  • Not mentioned in the Constitution, but in Rules of Business of State govt.
  • Some functions customs and convention
  • Alter-ego of the CM
  • to the cabinet
  • Head of Cabinet Secretariart
  • Role in Policy formulation – ensuring implementation of decisions (supervisory role – whereas Cabinet Secy only coordination)
  • Matters affecting centre-state and inter-state relations (like water disputes); zonal councils (secy.)
  • All important decisions regarding adoption of new schemes
  • Head of a few administrative depts. also like DoPT, Planning dept. (traditionally put under him – also 1st ARC) (cabinet secy only head of cabinet secretariat)
  • Responsible for personnel matters of state cadre officers of the IAS, and any other services if given +Admin. Reforms
  • Consulted by CM in appointing members of SPSCs, Lokayuktas in some states.

Q Source: Often in news, and based on previous year questions on Cabinet Secretary

 

 

66) UPSC question

Which of the following is/are the advantage /advantages of practising drip irrigation?

  1. Reduction in weed
  2. Reduction in soil salinity
  3. Reduction in soil erosion

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) None of the above is an advantage of practising drip irrigation

Solution: C

 

Insights Question

The same options could not be found in the Test Series, but the information below in form of questions and explanations would have greatly helped you in picking the right answer.

 

Test Series 2016- Test 30- Q36

In the technique of drip irrigation

  1. a) Water is applied to the crops using a sprinkler
  2. b) Plants are watered by narrow tubings which deliver water directly at the base of the plant
  3. c) Canal water is directly supplied to crops
  4. d) Plants are dipped in high water for long

Solution: b)

Learning: Drip irrigation is a form of irrigation that saves water and fertilizer by allowing water to drip slowly to the roots of many different plants, either onto the soil surface or directly onto the root zone, through a network of valves, pipes, tubing, and emitters.

  • It is done through narrow tubes that deliver water directly to the base of the plant.
  • Water is applied close to plants so that only part of the soil in which the roots grow is wetted unlike surface and sprinkler irrigation, which involves wetting the whole soil profile.
  • With drip irrigation water, applications are more frequent (usually every 1-3 days) than with other methods and this provides a very favourable high moisture level in the soil in which plants can flourish.

Drip irrigation is most suitable for row crops (vegetables, soft fruit), tree and vine crops where one or more emitters can be provided for each plant. Generally only high value crops are considered because of the high capital costs of installing a drip system.

Q Source: General Agricultural techniques

 

 

April 2016 Compilation – Revision Questions

Consider the following statements:

  1. An efficient drip irrigation system can help reduce consumption of fertilizer through fertigation
  2. The Prime Minister’s Krishi Sinchayi Yojana seeks to consolidate/amalgamate ongoing irrigation schemes

Which of the statements above is/are correct?

(a) 1 Only

(b) 2 Only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

 

67) UPSC question

With reference to the cultural history of India, the memorizing of chronicles, dynastic histories and Epictales was the profession of who of the following?

(a) Shramana

(b) Parivraajaka

(c) Agrahaarika

(d) Maagadha

Solution: D

 

Insights Question

If you had gone through these questions, you could easily eliminate options (a) and (b) in the above question, since the questions below tell you who were “Shramanas” and “Agraharikas”. The other option Parivraajaka could be eliminated by additional knowledge to arrive at the right answer.

 

Test Series 2016 – Test 12 – Q25

The Shramaṇa tradition is related to

  1. a) The path of seeking the ultimate truth
  2. b) Social service amongst the most vulnerable
  3. c) Occult practices in the Tibetan region
  4. d) Martial arts taught to princes in Gurukuls

Solution: a)

Learning: Shramana means “seeker, one who performs acts of austerity, ascetic”.

The term refers to several Indian religious movements parallel to but separate from the historical Vedic religion.

The Śramaṇa tradition includes Jainism of 9th-century BCE, Buddhism of 6th-century BCE, and others such as Ajivika and Carvaka.

The Sramaṇa movements arose in the same circles of mendicants in ancient India that led to the development of Yogic practices, as well as the popular concepts in all major Indian religions such as saṃsāra (the cycle of birth and death) and moksha (liberation from that cycle).

Q Source: Page 128-30: Chapter 8: 11th NCERT: An Introduction to Indian Arts

 

 

Test Series 2016 – Test 10 – Q43

Consider the following about Agrahara of the ancient period.

  1. It was land granted to a Brahmana who was usually exempted from paying land        revenue.
  2. The land holder could collect land dues from the local people.

Which of the above is/are correct?

  1. a) 1 only
  2. b) 2 only
  3. c) Both 1 and 2
  4. d) None

Solution: c)

Justification: An agrahara was land granted to a Brahmana, who was usually exempted from paying land revenue and other dues to the king, and was often given the right to collect these dues from the local people. So, both 1 and 2 are correct.

Learning: Agraharams were also known as Chaturvedimangalams in ancient times. They were also known as ghatoka, and boya.

In the medieval period Agraharas became the foremost educational institutions in southern India during the medieval period.

They were group settlements of brahmins who formed a corporate body and administered all affairs of the agrahara, including education.

Q Source: Improvisation: Page 41: Chapter 2: 12th NCERT: Themes in Indian History – I

 

 

68) UPSC question

Regarding the taxation system of Krishna Deva, the ruler of Vijayanagar, consider the following statements:

  1. The tax rate on land was fixed depending on the quality of the land.
  2. Private owners of workshops paid an industries tax.

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

 

Insights Question

We covered many questions on Vijayanagar Empire including their revenue systems. But, the details as such asked by UPSC were not covered. However, the explanation to this question partly answers the UPSC question.

 

Test Series 2016- Test 9 – Q100

Which of the following statements about the administration under the Vijayanagar Empire is INCORRECT?

  1. a) The king enjoyed absolute authority in executive, judicial and legislative matters.
  2. b) The King was the highest court of appeal.
  3. c) The succession to the throne was on the principle of merit.
  4. d) The king was assisted by a council of ministers in his day to day administration.

Solution: c)

Justification: The succession to the throne was hereditary. So, (c) is the answer. However, sometimes usurpation to the throne took place as Saluva Narasimha came to power by ending the Sangama dynasty.

Learning: The Empire was divided into different administrative units called Mandalams, Nadus, sthalas and finally into gramas. The governor of Mandalam was called Mandaleswara or Nayak. ijayanagar rulers gave full powers to the local authorities in the administration.

In the matter of justice, harsh punishments such as mutilation and throwing to elephants were followed.

Besides land revenue, tributes and gifts from vassals and feudal chiefs, customs collected at the ports, “taxes on various professions” were other sources of income to the government.

Q Source: Page 212: Chapter 19: Class XIth: TamilNadu History Textbook

 

 

69) UPSC question

Which of the following statements is/are correct?

Viruses can infect

  1. bacteria
  2. fungi
  3. plants

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Solution: D

 

Insights Question

This question was given in a different form in the Test Series. We asked about bio-pesticides where Viruses are used to kill bacteria, fungi or plant pests.

 

Test Series 2016 – Test 9 – Q64

Which of these can be used as a bio-pesticide [that which kills or affects plants and other organisms like bacteria etc – emphasis added here]?

  1. Bacteria
  2. Viruses
  3. Fungi
  4. Insects

Select the correct answer using the codes below.

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

Solution: d)

Justification: An example of microbial biocontrol agents that can be introduced in order to control butterfly caterpillars is the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis. So, 1 is correct.

Microbial pesticides also include viruses for e.g. entomopathogenic fungi or viruses. So, 2 is correct.

A biological control being developed for use in the treatment of plant disease is the fungus Trichoderma. Trichoderma species are free-living fungi that are very common in the root ecosystems. They are effective biocontrol agents of several plant pathogens. So, 3 is correct.

The very familiar beetle with red and black markings – the Ladybird, and Dragonflies are useful to get rid of aphids and mosquitoes, respectively. So, 4 is also correct.

Q Source: Page 187: Chapter 10: NCERT XIIth: Biology

 

 

70) UPSC question

Recently, linking of which of the following rivers was undertaken?

(a) Cauvery and Tungabhadra

(b) Godavari and Krishna

(c) Mahanadi and Sone

(d) Narmada and Tapti

Solution: B

Insights Question

Although we did not cover the exact project, this was covered DIRECTLY in Secure question (https://www.insightsonindia.com/2015/09/17/1-do-you-think-interlinking-of-rivers-as-done-in-the-krishna-godavari-linking-project-through-the-pattiseema-scheme-would-benefit-people-critically-examine/)

The question in the Test Series focussed more on the elements of the Inter-linking programme broadly rather than asking the list of actual inter-links.

 

Test Series 2016 – Test 27 – Q67

Consider the following about Interlinking of Rivers (ILR) Programme.

  1. Its mission is to ensure greater equity in the distribution of water by enhancing its availability in drought prone and rainfed regions.
  2. It covers only Peninsular Rivers and leaves Himalayan Rivers to preserve the pristine ecological balance in the Himalayan region.

Which of the above is/are correct?

  1. a) 1 only
  2. b) 2 only
  3. c) Both 1 and 2
  4. d) None

Solution: a)

Learning: Statement 1: Interlinking of River (ILR) programme is of national importance and has been taken up on high Priority. Minister for Water Resources, RD & GR is monitoring the progress of ILR on weekly basis.

Statement 2: Under the National Perspective Plan (NPP) prepared by Ministry of Water Resources, NWDA has already identified 14 links under Himalayan Rivers Component and 16 links under Peninsular Rivers Component for inter basin transfer of water based on field surveys and investigation and detailed studies.

Out of these, Feasibility Reports of 14 links under Peninsular Component and 2 links (Indian portion) under Himalayan Component have been prepared.

Q Source: Frequently in news

 

71) UPSC question

‘Net metering’ is sometimes seen in the news in the context of promoting the

(a) production and use of solar energy by the households/consumers

(b) use of piped natural gas in the kitchens of households

(c) installation of CNG kits in motor-cars

(d) installation of water meters in urban households

Solution: A

The whole point behind net metering is allowing two way communication between utilities and consumers (who also produce), so that consumers can sell any extra electricity they produce.

 

Insights Question

The term was covered in Insights Current events few times, like here https://www.insightsonindia.com/2014/11/02/indias-energy-security-renewable-sources-of-energy/

Thane named India’s Earth Hour Capital: The city plans solar rooftop net metering-based power generation and regular energy audits: https://www.insightsonindia.com/2015/04/10/insights-daily-current-events-10-april-2015/

 

Also, it was covered in a different terminology (Smart grids instead of Net Metering) in the Test Series 2016

Test Series 2016 – Test 28 – Q100

The Government is promoting National Smart Grids Mission (NSGM) to give a fillip to the power sector for its modernization. Which of the following best describes a “smart grid”?

  1. a) Any power grid that runs only on renewable energy
  2. b) Power grids with open access and free user charges with access to remote areas
  3. c) Grids that allow for two-way communication between the power utility and its customers for better power management
  4. d) Grids that are wireless and do not require any power source

Solution: c)

Learning: The digital technology that allows for two-way communication between the utility and its customers, and the sensing along the transmission lines is what makes the grid smart.

Like the Internet, the Smart Grid will consist of controls, computers, automation, and new technologies and equipment working together, but in this case, these technologies will work with the electrical grid to respond digitally to our quickly changing electric demand.

The benefits associated with the Smart Grid include:

  • More efficient transmission of electricity; quicker restoration of electricity after power disturbances; reduced operations and management costs for utilities, and ultimately lower power costs for consumers
  • Reduced peak demand, which will also help lower electricity rates; Increased integration of large-scale renewable energy systems

Better integration of customer-owner power generation systems, including renewable energy systems and improved security

Because of its two-way interactive capacity, the Smart Grid will allow for automatic rerouting when equipment fails or outages occur (see here how https://www.smartgrid.gov/the_smart_grid/smart_grid.html – explanation take from here)

  • This will minimize outages and minimize the effects when they do happen. When a power outage occurs, Smart Grid technologies will detect and isolate the outages, containing them before they become large-scale blackouts.
  • The new technologies will also help ensure that electricity recovery resumes quickly and strategically after an emergency.

Q Source: http://powermin.nic.in/sites/default/files/uploads/National_Smart_Grid_Mission_OM.pdf

 

 


 

Questions 72-78 (From website – Current Events, Editorials, Mindmaps etc)

 

INS Astradharini

UPSC Question

Which one of the following is the best description of ‘INS Astradharini’, that was in the news recently?

(a) Amphibious warfare ship

(b) Nuclear-powered submarine

(c) Torpedo launch and recovery vessel

(d) Nuclear-powered aircraft carrier

Solution: C

Insights Coverage

The Indian Navy has commissioned the first indigenously-designed and built torpedo launch and recovery vessel INS Astradharini: https://www.insightsonindia.com/2015/10/07/insights-daily-current-events-07-october-2015/

 

 

India-Africa Summit

UPSC question

Consider the following statements :

The India-Africa Summit

  1. held in 2015 was the third such Summit
  2. was actually initiated by Jawaharlal Nehru in 1951

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: A

Insights Coverage

The 3rd India-Africa Forum Summit, which concluded recently in New Delhi, was the largest gathering of foreign dignitaries in New Delhi since the 1983 Non-Aligned Summit.

The India-Africa Forum Summit serves as the official platform for the African-Indian relations. It will be held once in every three years and was first held in 2008: https://www.insightsonindia.com/2015/11/02/insights-into-editorial-reaching-out-to-africa/

https://www.insightsonindia.com/2015/11/14/insights-into-editorial-does-india-really-need-a-start-up-act-mindmaps-on-issues/india-africa-forum-summit-and-relationsupdated/

 

 

 

Ease of Doing Business Index

UPSC Question

India’s ranking in the ‘Ease of Doing Business Index’ is sometimes seen in the news. Which of the following has declared that ranking?

(a) Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)

(b) World Economic Forum

(c) World Bank

(d) World Trade Organization (WTO)

Solution: C

Insights Coverage

https://www.insightsonindia.com/2016/02/29/insights-into-editorial-get-down-to-business/ (Feb, 2016)

Ease of Doing Business:

Given the global interest, the World Bank group took up the task of mapping “ease of doing business” across the world 13 years ago.

  • Doing Business: Measuring Regulatory Quality and Efficiency”, the annual report of the Bank, evaluates regulations that enhance business activity and those that constrain it.
  • It studies 11 areas of the life of a business. These cover the spectrum from starting a business, obtaining necessary permissions, getting credit, protecting minority investors and taxes to enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency.
  • Presenting these indicators in quantitative terms, it compares and ranks 189 economies from one to 189.
  • A high ease-of-doing-business ranking (say, one) implies that the regulatory environment, relative to other countries, is conducive to the starting and operation of a local firm.

 

India’s notorious red tape, complex investment rules and poor infrastructure have long posed huge obstacles for companies, with the World Bank ranking it 142 out of 189 countries in its Ease of Doing Business index: https://www.insightsonindia.com/2015/10/15/insights-daily-current-events-15-october-2015/

 

 

Green India Mission

UPSC question

Which of the following best describes/ describe the aim of ‘Green India Mission’ of the Government of India?

  1. Incorporating environment al benefits and costs into the Union and State Budgets thereby implementing the `green accounting’
  2. Launching the second green revolution to enhance agricultural output so as to ensure food security to one and all in the future
  3. Restoring and enhancing forest cover and responding to climate change by a combination of adaptation and mitigation measures

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Solution: C

Insights Coverage

Mindmap: https://www.insightsonindia.com/2016/01/27/insights-mindmaps-on-current-issues-23-january-2016/national-mission-for-green-india/

http://i1.wp.com/www.insightsonindia.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/National-Mission-for-Green-India.jpg

 

Green India Mission Plans of Four States Approved:

 

Core Banking Solutions

UPSC question

The term ‘Core Banking Solutions’ is sometimes seen in the news. Which of the following statements best describes/describe this term?

  1. It is a networking of a bank’s branches which enables customers to operate their accounts from any branch of the bank on its network regardless of where they open their accounts.
  2. It is an effort to increase RBI’s control over commercial banks through computerization.
  3. It is a detailed procedure by which a bank with huge non-performing assets is taken over by another bank.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Solution: A

Insights Question

Insights Secure Prelims – 2014: MCQs On Current Events: With reference to NABARD and its various development initiatives , consider the following statements

  1. NABARD is the National Implementation Entity for the overall management of the projects and programmes financed by the Adaptation Fund under UNFCC
  2. Rural Innovation Fund (RIF), an initiative of NABARD is a fund designed to support innovative, risk friendly, unconventional experiments in Farm, Non-Farm and micro-Finance                sectors
  3. 3. NABARD has helped every cooperative bank in India to adopt Core Banking Solution
  4. Core Banking Solution is when a customer can avail bank facilities from any branch from any bank from anywhere in the country

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 and 2 Only
  2. 1, 2 and 3 Only
  3. 2, 3 and 4 Only
  4. All

https://www.insightsonindia.com/2014/05/15/insights-secure-prelims-2014-mcqs-on-current-events-15/

 

 

National Ganga River Basin Authority

UPSC Question

Which of the following are the key features of ‘National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA)?

  1. River basin is the unit of planning and management.
  2. It spearheads the river conservation efforts at the national level.
  3. One of the Chief Ministers of the States through which the Ganga flows becomes the Chairman of NGRBA on rotation basis.

Select the correct answer using the code given Below.

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Solution: A

Insights Current Events

The Prime Minister is ex-officio Chairperson of the Authority, and it has as its members, the Union Ministers Concerned and the Chief Ministers of states through which Ganga flows, viz., Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, among others. The objective of the Authority is to ensure effective abatement of pollution and conservation of the river Ganga by adopting a holistic approach with the river basin as the unit of planning.

https://www.insightsonindia.com/2014/09/13/insights-current-events-13-september-2014/

 

 

Import Cover

UPSC question

Which of the following best describes the term ‘import cover’, sometimes seen in the news?

(a) It is the ratio of value of imports to the Gross Domestic Product of a country

(b) It is the total value of imports of a country in a year

(c) It is the ratio between the value of exports and that of imports between two countries

(d) It is the number of months of imports that could be paid for by a country’s international reserves

Solution: D

Insights Coverage

According to the commerce ministry, a part of India’s foreign exchange (forex) reserve can be used for loans as the forex reserve has now increased to a record high of around $360 billion.

The ministry argues that higher import cover indicates greater currency stability and India’s capacity to absorb external shocks, such as the impact of an outflow of funds following a rate hike by the US Fed, and support its domestic economy.

https://www.insightsonindia.com/2016/04/13/insights-daily-current-events-13-april-2016/