2th April 2021 | UPSC Current Affairs

29th April Current Affairs MCQs 

Daily Current Affairs MCQsHistory MCQPolity MCQ Video Series


Hindustani Music

Relevance: Art and Culture

Context: Hindustani classical vocalist Rajan Mishra passes away in Delhi due to COVID-19.

More about Hindustani Music

  • There are many types of music prevalent in the Indian sub-continent that belongs to different categories.
  • Over time, two distinct schools of Indian classical music evolved:
    • Hindustani Music: practiced in the Northern parts of India.
    • Carnatic Music: practiced in the Southern parts of India.
  • While the historical roots of both the music types belong to the Bharata’s Natyashastra, they diverged in the 14th century. The Hindustani branch of music focuses more on the musical structure and the possibilities of improvisation in it. The Hindustani branch adopted a scale of Shudha Swara Saptaka or the ‘Octave of Natural Notes’.
  • There are 10 main styles of singing in Hindustani music like the ‘Dhrupad’, ‘Dhamar’, ‘Hori’, ‘Khayal’, ‘Tappa’, ‘Chaturang’, ‘Ragasagar’, ‘Tarana’, ‘Sargam’ and ‘Thumri. Some of the major styles are discussed below:
  • Dhrupad: It is one of the oldest and grandest forms of Hindustani classical music and finds its mention even in Natyashastra (200 BC–200 AD). It is said that dhrupad owes its roots to older forms like Prabhanda and Dhruvapada. Although Dhrupad consolidated its position as a classical form of music in the 13th century, it reached its zenith in the court of emperor Akbar.
  • Khyal/Khayal: The word ‘Khyal’ is derived from Persian and means “idea or imagination”. The origin of this style was attributed to Amir Khusrau. This form is popular amongst the artists as this provides greater scope for improvisation.
  • Tarana Style: In this style, the rhythm plays a very crucial role. The structure consists of the main melody, usually short, repeated many times, with variation and elaboration at the performer’s discretion.
  • Thumri: It is based on mixed ragas and is commonly considered to be semi-classical Indian music. The compositions are either romantic or devotional. This was inspired by the Bhakti movement so much that the text usually revolves around a girl’s love for Krishna.
  • Tappa: In this style, the rhythm plays a very important role as the compositions are based on fast, subtle, and knotty constructions. It originated from the folk songs of the camel riders of North-West India but it gained legitimacy as a semi-classical vocal specialty once it was brought to the Mughal court of emperor Muhammad Shah.


Mission Vayu

Relevance: Industries and Civil societies

Context: Pune Platform for Covid-19 Response (PPCR), anchored by Mahratta Chamber of Commerce Industries and Agriculture (MCCIA), has launched ‘Mission Vayu’ to fulfill the oxygen shortages.

More about Mission Vayu:

  • As the demand for oxygen and ventilators increased due to the increase in Covid-19 caseloads, the Pune Platform for Covid-19 Response (PPCR), led by the Mahratta Chamber of Commerce Industries and Agriculture (MCCIA), launched ‘Mission Vayu,’ which included the procurement and donation of 250 bi-level positive airway pressure (BiPaPs) and 4,000 oxygen concentrators for the worst-affected areas and hotspots.
  • This is one of the largest industry-led initiatives to support the healthcare infrastructure and tackle the pertaining oxygen shortages.
  • These oxygen concentrators and BiPaPs will be donated to hospitals and institutions for charitable purposes and cannot be resold for commercial purposes.
  • Mission Vayu is supported by Amazon as a logistics partner. Amazon will be handling the entire logistics of airlifting the ventilators and oxygen concentrators from Singapore to India through designated Air India and other international carriers.
  • The initiative is also supported by Air India and the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Temasek Foundation-Singapore along with 250 members and donors of PPCR.


National Pension System (NPS)

Relevance: Government schemes

Context: PFRDA chairman said there will be a change in the limit of withdrawing amount from NPS.

More about the News:

  • The law regulating the NPS allows members to withdraw just 60% of their accumulated savings at the time of retirement. With the remaining 40%, it is mandatory to buy an annuity product that provides a fixed monthly income to retirees till their demise.
  • Members who accumulate up to ₹2 lakh in their NPS account at the time of retirement are exempted from the mandatory annuitization and can withdraw the full amount.
  • Now, this limit will soon be revised to ₹5 lakh. The PFRDA has decided that the annuity purchase stipulation for 40% of members’ retirement corpus should be dropped altogether. Legislative amendments to this effect are being worked out for Parliament’s approval.

More about NPS

  • It was first notified for all government employees joining service from Jan 1, 2004, and was later extended to all Indian citizens voluntarily from May 2009.
  • The scheme is regulated by Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA).
  • Individuals contribute to his retirement account and his employer can also co-contribute.
  • It is designed on a defined contribution basis wherein the subscriber contributes to his account, there is no defined benefit that would be available at the time of exit from the system and the accumulated wealth depends on the contributions made and the income generated from investment of such wealth.
  • The government has increased the income tax exemption limit on withdrawal from NPS to 60%, from 40%, on exiting the scheme, effectively making a withdrawal from the pension scheme 100% tax-free.
  • National Securities Depository Limited (NSDL) acts as the Central Recordkeeper for the NPS.
  • The subscriber is allotted a unique Permanent Retirement Account Number (PRAN) which can be used from any location in India.
  • NPS returns are market-linked. It offers 3 funds to subscribers: Equities, Corporate Bonds, Government Securities.
  • Subscriber can exit from NPS after 10 years of account opening or attaining 65 years of age whichever is early.
  • Apart from partially withdrawing money for exigencies like health, marriage, house, and education, subscribers can also withdraw 25% of the contributions after three years of joining for skill development activity like startups, new ventures.
  • In recent changes, Overseas Citizens of India may subscribe to the National Pension System provided such person is eligible to invest as per the provisions of the PFRDA Act and the annuity/accumulated saving will be repatriable, subject to Foreign Exchange Management Act guidelines.


Kashmir Stag (Hangul)

Relevance: Environment

Context: Wildlife authorities will carry out a population census of the unique Kashmiri royal stag, vernacularly known as the Hangul, which once ruled the Valley but has become a critically endangered species with sightings mostly reported in Srinagar’s Dachigam National Park.

More about Kashmir Stag

  • The Dachigam National Park, 15 kilometers northwest of Jammu & Kashmir’s summer capital Srinagar, is home to Hangul, the state animal of Jammu & Kashmir, and is the only surviving species of red deer in India.
  • The Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, includes the Hangul in Schedule I.
  • The Hangul script was once commonly used in Kashmir’s mountains and parts of Himachal Pradesh’s Chamba district.
  • The IUCN’s Red List has classified it as Critically Endangered and is similarly listed under the Species Recovery Programme of the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) and the Environmental Information System (ENVIS) of the MoEFCC.
  • Fawn is a young deer in its first year and Hind is a female deer, over three years old and her counterpart, the mature male, is called a
  • The male-female and fawn-female ratios are crucial for the management and conservation of deer populations.

The Dachigam National Park

  • The Dachigam National Park (which means “ten villages”) is about 22 kilometers from Srinagar, Jammu, and Kashmir.
  • The hangul, also known as the Kashmir stag, is the most popular animal species in Dachigam.
  • Flora: The park’s floral wealth is highly diverse and important to its ecosystem, including walnut, apricot, apple, pear, and wild cherry trees, as well as plum, chestnut, willow, oak, and birch trees.


Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG)

Relevance: Polity

Context: India’s Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) GC Murmu has been chosen as the external auditor by a prestigious intergovernmental organization working for the elimination of chemical weapons.

  • Comptroller and Auditor General of India (Article 148) provides for an independent office of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG). He is the head of the Indian Audit and Accounts Department.
  • He is the guardian of the public purse and controls the entire financial system of the country at both the levels—the Centre and the state. His duty is to uphold the Constitution of India and the laws of Parliament in the field of financial administration.
  • This is the reason why B R Ambedkar said that the CAG shall be the most important Officer under the Constitution of India.
  • The CAG is appointed by the president of India by a warrant under his hand and seal.
  • He holds office for six years or up to the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier. He can resign any time from his office by addressing the resignation letter to the president.
  • He can also be removed by the president on the same grounds and in the same manner as a judge of the Supreme Court. In other words, he can be removed by the president based on a resolution passed to that effect by both the Houses of Parliament with the special majority, either on the ground of proved misbehavior or incapacity.
  • The Constitution has made the following provisions to safeguard and ensure the independence of CAG:
    • He is provided with the security of tenure. He can be removed by the president only in accordance with the procedure mentioned in the Constitution.
    • He is not eligible for further office, either under the Government of India or of any state, after he ceases to hold his office.
    • His salary and other service conditions are determined by the Parliament. His salary is equal to that of a judge of the Supreme Court.
    • The administrative expenses of the office of the CAG, including all salaries, allowances, and pensions of persons serving in that office are charged upon the Consolidated Fund of India. Thus, they are not subject to the vote of Parliament.
  • Further, no minister can represent the CAG in Parliament (both Houses) and no minister can be called upon to take any responsibility for any actions done by him.
  • CAG has been described as a friend, philosopher, and guide to the Public Accounts Committee.
  • He audits all expenditures from the Contingency Fund of India and the Public Account of India as well as the contingency fund of each state and the public account of each state.
  • The CAG has more freedom with regard to the audit of expenditure than with regard to the audit of receipts, stores, and stock. Whereas in relation to expenditure he decides the scope of the audit and frames his audit codes and manuals, he has to proceed with the approval of the executive government in relation to rules for the conduct of the other audits.
  • The secret service expenditure is a limitation on the auditing role of the CAG. In this regard, the CAG cannot call for particulars of expenditure incurred by the executive agencies but has to accept a certificate from the competent administrative authority that the expenditure has been so incurred under his authority.


Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)

Relevance: International bodies

Context: India’s Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) GC Murmu has been chosen as the external auditor by a prestigious intergovernmental organization working for the elimination of chemical weapons.

More about OPCW

  • The Chemical Weapons Convention of 1997 created an international body to adopt and uphold the provisions of the non-proliferation treaty, which forbids signatory states from using, stockpiling, or transferring chemical weapons.
  • The OPCW is authorized to conduct inspections to verify compliance by the signatory states.
  • This includes an undertaking to provide full access to chemical weapons sites for inspectors.
  • The OPCW also conducts site tests and the victims of suspected attacks on chemical weapons.
  • The OPCW reports on its inspections and other operations to the UN through the Secretary General’s office, as per the 2001 Relationship Agreement between the OPCW and the UN.
  • In 2013, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) received the Nobel Peace Prize.
  • Its headquarters are in the Netherlands, in the city of The Hague.

Chlorine gas

  • Chlorine can cause choking. Shortness of breath, wheezing, respiratory failure, eye pain, vomiting, and death are all symptoms of the greenish-yellow gas

Sarin gas

  • Sarin is a nerve agent that is used in chemical weapons.
  • They work similarly to some types of insecticides (insect killers) known as organophosphates in terms of how they work and the damage they inflict.
  • It was first produced as a pesticide in Germany in 1938.
  • In its purest form, sarin is a smooth, colourless, and tasteless liquid with no odour.


The Asian Development Bank (ADB)

Relevance: International bodies

Context: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) agreed to a new partnership for action on nature-positive investments, environmental sustainability, and action on climate change throughout Asia and the Pacific.

More about the News

  • The partnership announced during Earth Day celebrations will focus on biodiversity and ecosystem protection and restoration; nature-based solutions and sustainable infrastructure etc.,
  • TNC and ADB are demonstrating to the world the power of cross-sector partnerships and community-based conservation to create a brighter future for people and nature.

More about ADB

  • The ADB is a regional development bank that was established on December 19, 1966.
  • The Asian Development Bank currently has 68 members, 49 of whom are from Asia.
  • Japan and the United States (each with 15.6 percent of total shares) are the two main shareholders in the Asian Development Bank as of December 31, 2020, followed by the People’s Republic of China (6.4 percent), India (6.3 percent), and Australia (6.3 percent) (5.8 percent).
  • It aims to help Asia’s social and economic growth.
  • The Asian Development Bank is dedicated to creating a stable, democratic, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific while continuing to fight extreme poverty.
  • It is headquartered in Manila,

Recent developments in the ADB-India relationship:

  • The Asian Development Bank and India have agreed to lend each other $206 million to improve urban services in five Tamil Nadu cities.
  • The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has listed its Rs 850 crore 10-year masala bonds on India’s global debt listing website. A Conceptual Development Plan (CDP) for the Vizag-Chennai Industrial Corridor was prepared by INX Asian Development Bank (ADB) (VCIC)
  • The Asian Development Bank has offered member countries USD 4 million to combat coronavirus outbreaks.
  • To combat the COVID-19 pandemic, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide a Rs 100 crore loan to the hospital chain Medanta for healthcare facilities and medical equipment.


Crystal blades technology

Relevance: Science and Technology

Context: Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed the Single Crystal Blades for helicopter engine application.

More on News:

  • DRDO has supplied 60 of these blades to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) as part of their indigenous helicopter development program for helicopter engine application.
  • It is part of a program taken up by Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory (DMRL), a premium laboratory of DRDO, to develop five sets (300 in number) of the single-crystal high-pressure turbine (HPT) blades using a nickel-based superalloy.
  • Helicopters used in strategic and defence applications need compact and powerful aero engines for their reliable operation in extreme conditions.
  • To achieve this, state-of-the-art Single Crystal Blades having complex shape and geometry, manufactured out of Nickel-based superalloys capable of withstanding high temperatures of operation are used.
  • Very few countries in the world such as the USA, UK, France, and Russia have the capability to design and manufacture such Single Crystal (SX) components.


Draft standards for road trains

Relevance: Economy

Context: Ministry of Road Transport & Highway has launched Draft Standards for Road-Trains.

More on News:

  • To revolutionize the transport of goods and reduce the overall logistic costs, the Automotive Industry Standards Committee has amended its AIS-113 Standard to include the safety requirements of Road-Trains and has hosted the draft on the Ministry of Road Transport & Highway’s website.
  • The standards have been prepared after examining European benchmarks, keeping in mind Indian operating conditions.
  • These standards shall pave the way for a breakthrough intervention for the fast and efficient movement of goods along the long-distance freight corridors.
  • Road-Train is a motor vehicle wherein the traction is provided by the puller, which is connected to a serial combination of trailers or semi-trailers.
  • These shall ply on select stretches to reduce congestion, save fuel and reduce noise & air pollution.


Second World Ocean Assessment (WOA II)

Relevance: International Relations

Context: United Nations (UN) has launched the Second WOA II Report.

More on News:

  • It is the major output of the second cycleof the Regular Process for Global Reporting and Assessment of the States of the Marine Environment, including Socioeconomic Aspects.
  • It is a global mechanism established after the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Developmentto regularly review the environmental, economic, and social aspects of the world’s oceans, both current and foreseeable.
  • It is accountable to the United Nations General Assembly, and its purpose is to contribute to the strengthening of the regular scientific assessment of the state of the marine environment to enhance the scientific basis for policymaking.
  • It provides scientific information on the state of the marine environment in a comprehensive and integrated manner to support decisions and actions for the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals, in particular goal 14, as well as the implementation of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.
  • WOA II is a collective effort of interdisciplinary writing teams made up of more than 300 experts, drawn from a pool of over 780 experts from around the world.

 


Liquid Oxygen

Relevance:  Science and Technology

Context: Centre has restricted the use of liquid oxygen for non-medical purposes.

More on News:

  • The Central Government has ordered States that all liquid oxygen, including the existing stock with private plants shall be made available to the government and will be used for medical purposes only.

About Liquid Oxygen:

  • Oxygen is the second-largest component of the atmosphere, comprising 20.8% by volume.
  • Liquid oxygen is a cryogenic liquid. Cryogenic liquids are liquefied gases that have a normal boiling point below -238°F (-150°C).
  • It has a boiling point of -297.3°F (-183.0°C). Because the temperature difference between the product and the surrounding environment is substantial—even in the winter—keeping liquid oxygen insulated from the surrounding heat is essential.
  • The product also requires special equipment for handling and storage. Oxygen is often stored as a liquid, although it is used primarily as a gas.
  • Liquid storage is less bulky and less costly than the equivalent capacity of high-pressure gaseous storage.
  • Medical Liquid Oxygen is supplied and stored as a liquid at very low temperatures, in vessels and storage tanks.
  • It is converted to Medical Oxygen, a gasat normal temperatures, for you to breathe when required.
  • In hospitals, the converted Medical Oxygen is supplied via a medical gaspipeline system.

 


Community Service Center

Relevance: Space Technology

Context: Community service center is going to set up to make data from India’s first solar space mission accessible for analysis.

More on News:

  • A community service center has been set up to bring all data onboard India’s first dedicated solar space mission to a single web-based interface enabling the users to quickly look at the data and identify interesting science cases.
  • The service center is called Aditya-L1 Support Cell(AL1SC), a joint effort of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES).
  • AL1SCset up at the transit campus of ARIES at Haldwani, Uttarakhand will jointly work with ISRO to maximize utilization of science data from Aditya-L1 and facilitate India’s first dedicated solar space mission- Aditya-L1.
  • The center will act as an intermediary between the users (student and faculty members from research Institutes/ Universities/ Colleges etc.) and payload teams of Aditya-L1 and the solar astronomy research community at large.
  • It is slated to develop specific tools to assist guest observers/researchers to prepare to observe proposals for Aditya-L1 observations and will assist ISRO with the design and development of the required analysis software for handling scientific data.
  • The center will also provide the co-aligned data from other observatories around the world that can complement the data obtained from Aditya-L1 allowing users to accomplish the science goals beyond the capabilities of the Aditya-L1.
  • The center will expand the reach of Aditya-L1 not only within India but also increase the visibility of the mission at the international level.
  • It will allow every interested individual to be able to perform a scientific analysis of the data.

 


Deep Time Project

Relevance: International Relations

Context: The Deep Time project in France’s Lombrives Cave came to an end.

About Deep Time project:

  • The project aimed at studying how people adapt to changes in living conditions, environments
  • It is an initiative of the Human Adaption Institute.
  • In this project for 40 days and 40 nights, the group lived in and explored the cave.
  • There was no sunlight inside, the temperature was 10 degrees Celsius and the relative humidity stood at 100%.
  • The cave dwellers had no contact with the outside world, no updates on the pandemic nor any communications with friends or family.


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