22nd April 2021 | UPSC Current Affairs

22nd April Current Affairs MCQs 

Daily Current Affairs MCQsHistory MCQPolity MCQ Video Series


Helicopter Ingenuity

Relevance: Science and technology

Context: NASA successfully flew its tiny helicopter Ingenuity on Mars the first powered flight on another planet and a feat a top engineer called “our Wright brothers’ moment.”

More about the Helicopter Ingenuity

  • Ingenuity is a small robotic helicopter located on Mars.
  • It completed the first powered controlled flight using the atmospheric lift on any planet besides Earth.
  • This small coaxial drone rotorcraft is part of NASA’s Mars 2020 mission and is a technological demonstration for the possible use of flying samples on other worlds and will have a potential for scouting places of interest and to promote future drive track planning for Mars’s rovers
  • Ingenuity was attached to the underside of the Perseverance rover when it landed.
  • It is solar-powered, able to charge on its own.
  • It has a wireless communication system and is equipped with computers, navigation sensors, and two cameras.

NASA’s Perseverance Rover

  • Perseverance landed at the Jezero Crater (a former River Delta with rocks and minerals formed in the water) of mars.
  • It will last for about two years on the Red Planet and look for past life signs. The rover is intended for the investigation of signs of ancient life, the collection of samples that can be returned to the world during future missions, the testing of new technology that could benefit future robotics and human missions.


Prison Reforms

Relevance: Polity and Governance

Context: Continuing its ongoing commitment to bring well-being and immunity to prisoners across Tamil Nadu, Isha Foundation on Monday began special online yoga sessions for 10 days.

More about prison reforms

  • Prisons’ are a State subject under Seventh Schedule to the Constitution.
  • However, in various matters concerning prison and prison detainees, the Ministry of Home Affairs offers regular guidance and advice to States and UTs.
  • Earlier in 2013, the former CJI highlighted the inadequacy of reform schemes for offenders and other important issues such as prison overcrowding, unnatural deaths of prisoners, insufficient training of prison staff and present personnel.

Why is the need for Prison Reforms?

  • The Supreme Court identified various challenges which need immediate attention in its historic decision of Ramamurthy v. Karnataka (1996)
  • Some of the issues are:
    • Rampant Overcrowding
    • Delay in Trials
    • Severe staff crunch
    • Inadequate prison infrastructure
    • Neglect of Health, Hygiene, food, etc
  • Important Reform Measures are taken so far in India:
    • In 1835 TB Macaulay designed the modern prison system.
    • Prison Act, 1894 was passed for prisoners to function in India uniformly.
    • The Act provided for the classification of prisoners. A model prison manual is developed throughout India Jails Manual Committee 1957-59.
    • In 1980-83, under Justice A N Mulla, the Indian Committee to Reform the Jail suggested the establishment of a National Prison Commission as an ongoing body to modernize Indian prisons.
    • In 1987, the GoI nominated the Judicial Commission headed by Krishna Iyer to carry out an analysis on the situation of female prisoners in India.


Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN)

Relevance: Polity and Government initiatives

Context: The Nagaland government has decided to form a joint consultative committee (JCC) involving all traditional tribal bodies and, civil society organizations for taking an exercise to register the State’s indigenous inhabitants.

More about the RIIN

  • In 2019, the State government formed a three-member committee to study, examine, and recommend the implementation of RIIN.
  • The functions of the RIIN Committee was to determine:
    • The eligibility criteria to be an indigenous inhabitant.
    • Authority to authenticate claims of being indigenous.
    • Place of registration as indigenous inhabitant.
    • The basis of claims of being indigenous.
    • The nature of documents that will be accepted as proof of being indigenous.
  • The exercise, however, was halted due to protests from community-based and extremist organizations.
  • Since then, the Nagaland government has been attempting to resurrect the RIIN exercise, which was launched in July 2019 to prevent outsiders from obtaining fake indigenous certificates to gain access to government jobs and benefits.
  • The RIIN will be created following an extensive survey using a village-by-village and ward-by-ward list of indigenous inhabitants based on official records. It will also be prepared with the approval of each district administration.
  • After the RIIN is completed, no new indigenous inhabitant certificates will be issued, except children born to indigenous residents of the state, who will be issued indigenous certificates along with birth certificates. The RIIN database will be updated as needed.
  • The RIIN will also be integrated with the online system for the Inner-Line Permit, a temporary document required for non-residents to enter and travel in Nagaland.
  • Exclusion: If RIIN uses the 1st of December, 1963 (the day Nagaland attained statehood) as the cut-off date for determining permanent residents of the State, it is likely to exclude Nagas who have come from outside Nagaland.

 


Caribbean volcano

Relevance: Geography

Context: The sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions from a volcanic eruption in the Caribbean (La Soufriere Volcano)reached India in April 2021 sparking fear of increased pollution levels in the northern parts of the country and acid rain.

More about Caribbean Volcano

  • It is an active stratovolcano on the Caribbean island of Saint Vincent in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
  • It is the highest peak in Saint Vincent and has had five recorded explosive eruptions since 1718.
  • Soufrière is a stratovolcano with a crater lake and is the island’s youngest and northernmost volcano.
  • During periods of inactivity, visitors can view the volcanic crater by following a hiking trail that ascends through the rainforest to the rim.

Effect on global temperatures of the eruption

  • Volcanic emissions reaching the stratosphere can have a cooling effect on global temperatures.
  • Sulphur dioxide is converted into sulphuric acid, which condenses quickly into fine sulphate aerosols in the stratosphere.
  • The climate effects are most important as a result of volcanic injections into the stratosphere.
  • The aerosols increase the reflectiveness of radiation in space from the Sun, which cools the lower atmosphere or the troposphere in the Earth.
  • During the last century, bigger eruptions caused a temperature reduction of up to three years on the Earth of 0.27 degrees Celsius or more.


Great Indian Bustard

Relevance: Environment

Context: The recent shooting of two Great Indian Bustards (GIBs) in Pakistan’s Cholistan desert, with the poachers brazenly getting themselves photographed with the carcasses of birds in their hands and guns on their shoulders, has left wildlife activists in Rajasthan shocked and outraged.

More about Great Indian Bustard:

  • A large bird with a horizontal body and long bare legs, giving it an ostrich-like appearance, this bird is among the heaviest of the flying birds
  • The species is critically endangered by hunting and loss of its habitat, which consists of large expanses of dry grassland and scrub.

  • References:
    These birds are often found associated in the same habitat as blackbuck. It is protected under Wildlife Protection Act 1972.
  • Today the bustard is restricted to isolated pockets in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan
  • The habitat where it is most often found in arid and semi-arid grasslands, open country with thorn scrub, tall grass interspersed with cultivation.
  • It avoids irrigated areas. The major areas where they are known to breed are in central and western India and eastern Pakistan. The dry semi-desert regions where it was found in parts of Rajasthan have been altered by irrigation canals that have transformed the region into an intensively farmed area.

Current threats to the species include the development of linear infrastructure intrusions such as roads and electric power lines in the desert that lead to collision-related mortality.

 


Aditya-L1

Relevance: Science and technology

Context: ARIES facility will host the support center for Aditya-L1. The center will expand the visibility of Aditya-L1 in the international arena.

More about the News

  • The Indian program to study the Sun and the region between the Sun and the Earth from space – Aditya-L1 – is due to be launched next year.
  • It will carry seven payloads that have been developed by various institutions across the country. Once the mission is launched, there will be a need for a ground support center to monitor and coordinate the work on its various payloads.
  • This role will be played by the ARIES facility (short for Aryabhata Research Institute for Observational Sciences) which is situated near Nainital.
  • An ARIES team has recently developed an algorithm to study the accelerating solar eruptions in the lower corona called CMEs Identification in Inner Solar Corona (in short, CIISCO), where CME stands for coronal mass ejection.

More about Aditya-L1

  • Aditya L1 will be ISRO’s second space-based astronomy mission, following the launch of AstroSat in 2015.
  • Launch: Aditya L1 will be launched using the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) XL, which will carry seven payloads (instruments).
  • Objective: Aditya L1 will study the Sun’s corona (Visible and Near-Infrared rays), photosphere (soft and hard X-rays), chromosphere (Ultra Violet), solar emissions, solar winds and flares, and Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs), as well as perform round-the-clock imaging of the Sun.
  • The Sun’s distance from Earth poses a number of difficulties ( approximately 15 crore km on average, compared to the only 3.84 lakh km to the Moon). This enormous distance presents a scientific challenge.
  • Due to the risks involved, payloads have largely remained stationary in space in previous ISRO missions, although Aditya L1 is supposed to have some moving components that increase the collision risk.
  • Additional problems include super-hot temperatures and solar radiation. But Aditya L1 will remain much farther, and heat is not likely to be a major concern for onboard instruments.

Lagrange Point 1(L1)

  • Lagrange points are positions where the gravitational force of a two-body system (such as Sun and Earth) produces enhanced areas of attraction and repulsion, named after Josephy-Louis Lagrange, the Italian-French mathematician.
  • There are five such points in Sun-Earth system and they are denoted as L1, L2, L3, L4 and L5. A halo orbit is a periodic three-dimensional orbit near the L1, L2 or L3.


Newly discovered ‘Super’ Earth

Relevance: Science & Technology

Context: A student at the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias, a Canary Islands-based research center, has discovered a new super-Earth orbiting the red dwarf star GJ 740.

About GJ 740

  • GJ 740, a red dwarf star is cooler than the sun with surface temperature ranging from 2400 to 3700kelvin.
  • It is less massive than the sun.
  • It is 36 light-years away from the planet Earth and it has a very fast-moving planet called ‘super’ earth with about two days, nine hours, and thirty minutes long orbital period.
  • The planet super-earth is about three times the mass of the planet Earth.
  • Super-Earth is the planet with the second shortest orbital period around this type of dwarf star.

What is ‘super’ earth?

  • ‘Super’ earth is an exoplanet.
  • The name is derived because of its mass.
  • It has a mass heavier than earth but lighter than the ice giants Uranus and Neptune.

What is Red dwarf?

  • A red dwarf is the smallest and coolest kind of star.
  • There are by far the most common type of stars in the Milky Way, at least in the neighborhood of the Sun.
  • Due to their low luminosity, individual red dwarfs cannot be easily observed.
  • Proxima Centauri, the nearest star to the Sun, is a red dwarf.


India Bangladesh trade remedial measures

Relevance: International Relations

Context: Union Cabinet has approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Bangladesh on the establishment of a framework of cooperation in the area of trade remedial measures.

 More on News:

  • The primary objective of the MOU is to promote cooperation between the two countries in the area of Trade Remedies, covering the broad activities related to the exchange of information, undertaking capacity building activities in accordance with the provisions of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
  • The MOU seeks to foster better cooperation between the relevant authorities of both countries to discourage unfair trade practices and promote rule-based bilateral trading between the two countries.


Vande Bharat Mission (VBM)

Relevance: Government schemes and Initiatives

Context: The VBM of India has turned out to be one of the largest evacuations of civilians by a country.

About VBM:

  • VBM has been launched in 2020 to bring back stranded Indians from foreign destinations due to Covid -19 pandemic.
  • It is a massive evacuation programme.
  • The first phase of the VBM, which lasted 11 days from May 7 to 17, was aimed at destinations with a high concentration of Indians.
  • The current VBM Phase 10 has international and domestic schedules operating till October 31.


Table mountain national park

Relevance: International Relations

Context: The wildfire has started at Table Mountain National Park.

 

About Table mountain national park:

  • This national park is located in Cape Town in South Africa.
  • It is included as part of the UNESCO Cape Floral RegionWorld Heritage Site.


Human rights watch

Relevance: International Relations

Context: The report of Human Rights Watch said that the Chinese government is committing crimes against humanity against Uyghurs/Uighurs and other Turkic Muslims in the northwest region of Xinjiang.

 About Human Rights Watch:

  • Human Rights Watch was founded in 1978 as “Helsinki Watch.
  • It is an international non-governmental organization.
  • It investigates and reports on abuses happening in all corners of the world.
  • Their researchers work in the field in 100 countries, uncovering facts that create an undeniable record of human rights abuses.
  • It also works to address abuses against those likely to face discrimination, including women, LGBT people, and people with disabilities.


Currency Watch List

Relevance: International Relations

Context: America retains India in the currency manipulator watch list due to huge dollar purchases.

More on News:

  • The US treasury department has retained India in the currency manipulator watch list in its semi-annual report submitted to Congress since COVID-19 induced global lockdown since March’2020.
  • The reason being higher dollar purchases by RBI of close to 5% of GDP large on account of huge capital inflows, which is higher than its threshold of 2% of GDP.
  • In addition, India has had a trade surplus with the United States.
  • In this report, the monitoring list comprises China, Japan, Korea, Germany, Ireland, Italy, India, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Mexico.


Asset reconstruction companies (ARCs)

Relevance: Economy

Context: Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has set up to undertake a comprehensive review of the working of ARCs in the financial sector.

More on News:

  • The six-member committee will be headed by Sudarshan Sen.
  • As per the terms of reference of the committee, the panel will review the existing legal and regulatory framework applicable to ARCs and recommend measures to improve the efficacy of ARCs.
  • It will also review the role of ARCs in the resolution of stressed assets, including under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), and give suggestions for improving liquidity in and trading of security receipts.
  • Besides, it has also been asked to review the business models of ARCs.

About ARC:

  • An asset reconstruction company is a special type of financial institution that buys the debtors of the bank at a mutually agreed value and attempts to recover the debts or associated securities by itself.
  • The asset reconstruction companies or ARCs are registered under the RBI and regulated under the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Securities Interest Act, 2002 (SARFAESI Act, 2002).
  • The ARCs take over a portion of the debts of the bank that qualify to be recognized as Non-Performing Assets. Thus ARCs are engaged in the business of asset reconstruction or securitization or both.
  • All the rights that were held by the lender (the bank) in respect of the debt would be transferred to the ARC. The required funds to purchase such debts can be raised from Qualified Buyers.
  • The ARC can take over only secured debts which have been classified as non-performing assets (NPA).
  • In case debentures/bonds remain unpaid, the beneficiary of the securities is required to give a notice of 90 days before it qualifies to be taken over.
  • Important Terms:
  • Asset Reconstruction: It is the acquisition of any right or interest of any bank or financial institution in loans, advances granted, debentures, bonds, guarantees, or any other credit facility extended by banks for its realization. Such loans, advances, bonds, guarantees, and other credit facilities are together known by a term – ‘financial assistance.
  • Securitization: It is the acquisition of financial assets either by way of issuing security receipts to Qualified Buyers or any other means.
  • Qualified Buyers: Qualified Buyers include Financial Institutions, Insurance companies, Banks, State Financial Corporations, State Industrial Development Corporations, trustees or ARCs registered under SARFAESI, and Asset Management Companies registered under SEBI that invest on behalf of mutual funds, pension funds, FIIs, etc. The Qualified Buyers (QBs) are the only persons from whom the ARC can raise funds.


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