# 26 May 2019: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

A. GS1 Related
WORLD GEOGRAPHY
1. Volcanic eruption in Bali causes flight cancellations
B. GS2 Related
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. NHRC serves notice on Gujarat govt.
2. Meghalaya HC sets aside controversial order
3. Women’s strength in Lok Sabha up to a record 14.4%
4. No question of an FIR into Rafale deal, govt. tells SC
5. EC yet to receive data on VVPAT slips
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Sirisena coming for swearing-in
2. Defying Congress, Trump decides to sell arms to Saudi Arabia, UAE
3. U.S. envoy calls on China to hold dialogue with Dalai Lama
C. GS3 Related
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
1. IISc researchers confirm superconductivity breakthrough
2. Russia launches Arctic icebreaker
SECURITY
1. Future combats will be more challenging, says Army chief
D. GS4 Related
E. Editorials
INTERNAL SECURITY
1. What killing of Zakir Musa means for militancy in Valley
INDIAN ECONOMY
1. Don’t forget political economy issues
F. Tidbits
G. Prelims Facts
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions


A. GS1 Related

1. Volcanic eruption in Bali causes flight cancellations

#### What’s in the news?

• Recently, a volcano erupted on the Indonesian holiday island of Bali, causing some overnight flight cancellations to and from Australia as an ash cloud rose into the sky.
• Mount Agung volcano spewed out lava and showers of rocks over a distance of about 3 km, with ash falling over dozens of villages.
• There were no reports of casualties.
• Photographs showed an ash column and glowing lava in the crater of the volcano.

B. GS2 Related

1. NHRC serves notice on Gujarat govt.

#### What’s in the news?

• The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) asked the Gujarat government to submit a detailed report on the fire that killed 22 students of a coaching centre in Surat on Friday (24th May, 2019).

What did the NHRC say?

• Taking suo motu cognisance of news reports, the NHRC said the incident amounted to a “grave violation of the human rights of the young students”.
• It asked the Chief Secretary to submit a report in four weeks, detailing criminal cases filed against the owner of the complex, where the centre was located, legal status of the building and the fire safety clearance given to it, and the relief granted to the families of the victims.

2. Meghalaya HC sets aside controversial order

#### What’s in the news?

• The Meghalaya High Court on 24th May, 2019 (Friday) set aside its December 2018 order that said India should have been declared a Hindu country just as Pakistan became an Islamic country.
• A Division Bench of Chief Justice Mohammad Yaqoob Mir and Justice H.S. Thangkhiew overruled former judge S.R. Sen’s order saying it was “legally flawed”, “inconsistent with the Constitutional principles” and offending India’s “secular colour”.

3. Women’s strength in Lok Sabha up to a record 14.4%

#### What’s in the news?

• The 17th Lok Sabha will have the highest number of women members amounting to a figure of 78. They will make up 14.4% of the strength of the Lower House, an increase from the 12.5% (65) in the previous Lok Sabha.
• As a matter of fact, Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned two important points in his speech to the newly elected National Democratic Alliance MPs and senior leaders in the Central Hall of Parliament. These statements were:
1. “This is the first time in Independent India that such a large number of women MPs are sitting in Parliament.”
2. “This has been made possible due to women power.”
• It is important to note that with 40 women, the BJP has the largest number of women representatives among the parties because of the sheer size of its victory.
• It is followed by the Trinamool (nine), the Congress (six), the Biju Janata Dal (five) and the YSR Congress Party (four), show data compiled by the Association for Democratic Reforms.
• However, it is the regional parties that has a higher ratio of MPs.
• Women account for 41.6% of the BJD’s 12 MPs and 40.9% of the Trinamool’s strength.
• It is important to note that Trinamool supremo Mamata Banerjee and BJD chief Naveen Patnaik had pledged to ensure 40% and 33% women’s representation among their respective party’s candidates.

A Look at some Specifics:

• Women account for 18.2% of the winning candidates of the YSR Congress Party.
• Among the national parties, women make up a mere 13.3% of the BJP’s total strength in the Lok Sabha and 11.8% of the Congress MPs.
• Women candidates from the BJP also displayed a high winnability ratio, or strike rate, with 40 of the 53, or 75.5%, women fielded by the party bagging a Lok Sabha seat.
• Similarly, 71.4% of women candidates fielded by the BJD won.
• The Trinamool percentage was 39.1%. Further, all women candidates fielded by the YSRCP, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the Nationalist Congress Party were elected.
• The 78 women elected MPs were from a total of 716 women candidates who fought the election, which is a success rate of 10.9%. As a matter of fact, this is much higher than the 6.4% success rate for men.
• A higher success rate or winnability factor shown by women candidates is consistent with the past record.

4. No question of an FIR into Rafale deal, govt. tells SC

#### What’s in the news?

• The Government of India told the Supreme Court on Saturday (25th May, 2019) that there is no question of an FIR, much less a CBI investigation, into the purchase of 36 Rafale aircraft.
• There is no need for a probe as the Supreme Court itself, in a December 14, 2018 judgment, found it unnecessary to intervene, it said.
• The Union of India said the following in its 39-page page written submissions filed in the Supreme Court. It said,

“Once the Supreme Court had come to the conclusion that on all the three aspects i.e., the decision-making process, pricing and Indian Offset Partner, there is no reason for intervention on the sensitive issue of purchase of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft by the government, there is no question of registration of FIR much less any investigation by the CBI,”

• It is important to note that the submissions are in response to the review and perjury petitions filed by petitioners and former Union Ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie and lawyer Prashant Bhushan.

‘No criminality’:

• The government countered there was no element of criminality, as the Comptroller and Auditor-General (CAG) had rubbished claims that each jet was priced ₹1,000 crore more than the earlier aborted deal by the UPA government.
• The Government of India made the following submission: “In fact, the CAG has held that the 36 Rafale aircraft deal is 2.86% lower than the audit aligned price and in addition, there would be benefits on account of non-firm and fixed price. This itself negates the case of the petitioners.”
• Further, the government denied misleading the court into believing that the CAG report was already submitted in Parliament before the December 14, 2019 verdict was rendered.
• The petitioners had said the court was made to believe this by the government when the reality was there was no such report at that point of time. The report was filed in Parliament only on February 15th, 2019.
• However, the government dismissed the error as a “misunderstanding of language” about which the petitioners had created a “big hue and cry”.
• The Centre said the petitioners’ claim that the government tried to mislead the court was “completely false and preposterous”.

5. EC yet to receive data on VVPAT slips

#### What’s in the news?

• The Election Commission is yet to receive country-wide data on the mandatory matching of Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips with the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) results of five random polling booths in each Assembly segment.

#### Analysis:

• According to a senior Election Commission of India official, given that there are no adverse reports from any segment, presumably there has been a 100% tallying of the EVM votes with the slips. In the previous elections also, no discrepancy was reported in the matching.
• It is important to note that the slips of 20,625 VVPAT machines were counted in over 4,000 Assembly segments falling under the 542 Lok Sabha constituencies, as per the Supreme Court directive.

Keeping a Close watch:

• The Election Commission of India has laid down an elaborate procedure to ensure the integrity of VVPATs and EVMs.
• They are transported in GPS-fitted vehicles and their movement is kept under constant surveillance.
• Further, before the actual use of EVMs and VVPATs at polling stations, mock polls are conducted on the machines three times.
• The slips from each VVPAT machine are then counted and the result is tallied with the electronic result of control unit. The tally is shown to representatives of political parties.
• As a matter of fact, it was on August 14, 2013, that the Conduct of Election Rules was amended and notified to introduce VVPATs. These were first used in the byelection to the Noksen Assembly seat in Nagaland the same year.
• Then in October 2013, the Supreme Court directed the Election Commission to introduce the VVPAT in a phased manner.

1. Sirisena coming for swearing-in

#### What’s in the news?

• Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena will attend Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s swearing-in in New Delhi on May 30,
• Sirisena, had also sent a congratulatory message to Mr. Modi on the 24th of May, 2019.
• Sirisena said in a tweet, “It was a pleasure to congratulate Prime Minister Modi (@narendramodi) over the phone a while ago. I shared thoughts that Sri Lanka, too, celebrates along with the world’s largest democracy, on his re-election. We look forward to work together to further develop our bilateral ties.”
• In May 2014, following Mr. Modi’s election as Prime Minister for the first time, then President Mahinda Rajapaksa had attended the inaugural ceremony, along with other regional leaders.
• After Mr. Modi secured a resounding majority in the recently concluded general elections, all top Sri Lankan leaders in government and Opposition wished him, expressing their desire to work with him to take bilateral ties forward.
• However, MEA officials said since the conversation between the leaders was private, they were not in a position to confirm anything until formal invitations are sent out and accepted.

2. Defying Congress, Trump decides to sell arms to Saudi Arabia, UAE

#### What’s in the news?

• S. President Donald Trump’s administration on 24th May, 2019 (Friday) bypassed Congress to sell \$8.1 billion in arms to Saudi Arabia and other Arab allies, citing a threat from Iran. This infuriated lawmakers who fear the weapons could kill civilians in Yemen.
• Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the administration would circumvent the required review by Congress to approve 22 arms transfers to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan, saying that the freeze on sales by Congress could affect the Arab allies’ operational abilities.
• Pompeo said in a statement that the weapons, which include munitions and aircraft support maintenance, are meant “to deter Iranian aggression and build partner self-defence capacity.”

Not surprised: Senator

• The sale was announced earlier on the 24th of May, 2019 (Friday) by Senator Robert Menendez.
• Senator Robert Menendez is remarked to have said that he is disappointed, but not surprised, that the Trump administration has failed once again to prioritise America’s long-term national security interests or stand up for human rights, and instead is granting favours to authoritarian countries like Saudi Arabia.
• It is important to note that Mr. Menendez is a top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
• He further went on to add that the administration failed to meet the legal definition of an emergency as he vowed to work with lawmakers to counter the decision.
• The sales come after Mr. Trump vetoed an attempt by Congress to stop U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen, where tens of thousands have died and millions are at risk of starvation in what the UN calls the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis.

War in Yemen

• Pompeo has resolutely defended U.S. support for the Saudis, noting that the Houthi rebels who control much of Yemen are allied with U.S. adversary Iran and saying that Houthi rocket attacks into Saudi Arabia could kill Americans taking commercial flights.
• Trump has waged a major campaign to roll back Iran’s influence in West Asia and also announced recently that he was deploying 1,500 additional U.S. troops to the region.
• Pompeo said he considered the emergency sales to be a one-off and voiced frustration that the United States was no longer being seen as a “reliable security partner for our allies.”
• However, Mr. Menendez said that the administration was putting arms sales at risk by bypassing Congress.

3. U.S. envoy calls on China to hold dialogue with Dalai Lama

#### What’s in the news?

• The U.S. Ambassador to China, Terry Branstad has called on to open a “substantive dialogue” with the Dalai Lama in remarks made recently during a visit to Tibet. .

A Look at Specifics:

• Terry Branstad visited northwest China’s Qinghai province as well as the Tibet Autonomous Region.
• He encouraged the Chinese government to engage in substantive dialogue with the Dalai Lama or his representatives, without preconditions, to seek a settlement that resolves differences.
• It is important to note that since fleeing to India in 1959, the Dalai Lama has been trying to reach a compromise with the Chinese government over the fate of his people.
• Having initially called for Tibet’s independence, the Buddhist leader is now campaigning for greater autonomy. But negotiations with Beijing have stalled since 2010.

Mr. Branstad’s visit to Potala Palace:

• Branstad, during his visit to Lhasa, visited the Potala Palace, which is the former residence of the Dalai Lama, as well as Tibetan Buddhism’s holiest temple, the Jokhang.
• Branstad also expressed concerns regarding the Chinese government’s interference in Tibetan Buddhists’ freedom to organise and practise their religion.

C. GS3 Related

1. IISc researchers confirm superconductivity breakthrough

#### What’s in the news?

• Recently, a team from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru led by Prof. Anshu Pandey has confirmed that the material they tested exhibits major properties of superconductivity at ambient temperature and pressure.
• As a matter of fact, superconductivity at ambient temperature has been the holy grail in physics for about a century now.
• It is important to note that a material is said to be a superconductor if it conducts electricity with nil resistance to the flow of electrons.

How can Superconductors help?

• Superconductors will help build very high efficiency devices leading to huge energy savings.
• Until now, scientists have been able to make materials superconduct only at temperature much below zero degree C and hence making practical utility very difficult.
• This is where the IISc’s work becomes particularly important.
• The material that exhibited superconductivity is in the form of nanosized films and pellets made of silver nanoparticles embedded in a gold matrix.
• Interestingly, silver and gold independently do not exhibit superconductivity.
• The team examined 125 samples, of which 10 showed a drop in resistance, signalling the onset of superconductivity.
• The remaining samples were exposed to oxygen at the time of sample preparation leading to unsuccessful results.
• It is important to note that reproducibility and repeatability are the cornerstones of science, and the IISc team was able to achieve it.

The Significance of the work done: What do Scientists Say?

• “If this result is correct, it would be the greatest work done in India since the discovery of Raman effect,” said Professor T.V. Ramakrishnan from the Department of Physics at IISc. “They have found a sharp drop in resistivity [in their material]. This is potentially amazing.”
• “This looks like a case where granular superconductors play a role. I am excited that the key first step in this challenging field has been brought about by a systematic and detailed effort,” says Professor G. Baskaran from The Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai.

2. Russia launches Arctic icebreaker

#### What’s in the news?

• Russia launched a nuclear-powered icebreaker recently, part of an ambitious programme to renew and expand its fleet of the vessels in order to improve its ability to tap the Arctic’s commercial potential.
• The ship, dubbed the Ural and which was floated out from a dockyard in St Petersburg, is one of a trio that when completed will be the largest and most powerful icebreakers in the world.
• It is important to note that Russia is building new infrastructure and overhauling its ports as, amid warmer climate cycles, it readies for more traffic via what it calls the Northern Sea Route (NSR) which it envisages being navigable year-round.
• The Ural is due to be handed over to Russia’s state-owned nuclear energy corporation Rosatom in 2022 after the two other icebreakers in the same series, Arktika (Arctic) and Sibir (Siberia), enter service.

A Look at Specifics:

• The Ural together with its sisters are central to Russia’s strategic project of opening the NSR to all-year activity.
• President Vladimir Putin said in April 2019 that Russia was stepping up construction of icebreakers with the aim of significantly boosting freight traffic along its Arctic coast.
• The drive is part of a push to strengthen Moscow’s hand in the High North as it vies for dominance with traditional rivals Canada, the United States and Norway, as well as newcomer China.
• By 2035, Mr. Putin said Russia’s Arctic fleet would operate at least 13 heavy-duty icebreakers, nine of which would be powered by nuclear reactors.
• It is important to note that the Arctic holds oil and gas reserves equivalent to 412 billion barrels of oil, about 22 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas.
• Moscow hopes the route which runs from Murmansk to the Bering Strait near Alaska could take off as it cuts sea transport times from Asia to Europe.

1. Future combats will be more challenging, says Army chief

#### What’s in the news?

• The Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Bipin Rawat has recently said that future combats will become more challenging with technological advancements in warfare.

Important Statements made by the Chief of the Army Staff:

• We have to understand what the nature of warfare is, in what manner the war will be fought in the future.
• Enabling and empowering of soldiers would be possible only if they kept pace with evolving technology.
• As far as the Kashmir valley is concerned (a region which had been witnessing ups and downs in the insurgency because of support to militants from Pakistan), the COAS said that the armed forces were able to bring the situation there under control through coordinated efforts. And that as a result of the steps taken by the government and agencies such as the National Investigation Agency, funds available to terrorists were being cut off.
• He further went on to add that the government will be able to bring the situation under control in the near future.
• Further, noting that youths in the Kashmir valley were being misguided by false information, he said violence was affecting development in the State.
• In response to a question, the Army chief said there were more terrorist training centres across the border.
• Referring to the surgical strike at Balakot in Pakistan, he said the action had been taken to ensure that the terrorists under training did not survive or deliver action against the people in India.
• Furthermore, General Rawat said that foreign cadets were now coming to train in India because they realised that the training infrastructure here was possibly the best in world.
• To another question, he said the Army was looking for better clothing materials for soldiers’ uniforms that were more suitable for the environment in which the armed forces operate.

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

E. Editorials

1. What killing of Zakir Musa means for militancy in Valley

#### Note to the Students:

This analysis is taken from an article published in the Indian Express, titled, “What killing of Zakir Musa means for militancy in Valley” on the 25th of May, 2019.

#### Editorial Analysis:

Zakir’s killing is considered a big success for security forces as he was one of the longest surviving militants in valley and part of erstwhile Burhan Wani group.

• Zakir Rashid Bhat alias Zakir Musa, the head of Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind outfit who was killed in an encounter in South Kashmir Pulwama’s district on the 24th of May, 2019 (Friday), quit the Hizbul Mujahedeen (HM) in May 2017.
• He then took over as chief of Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind, which he claimed is a local affiliate of al-Qaeda.
• Zakir, who was a civil engineering student at a Chandigarh college before joining militancy, went missing from home in July 2013.
• Zakir initially joined Hizbul Mujahedeen and was considered close to Burhan Wani, the Hizb commander who was killed by the security forces in 2016 leading to an uprising in valley.
• After Wani’s killing in 2016, Zakir released an audio message in May 2017 and created a storm by threatening separatist political leaders in Valley.
• Zakir broke way with HM and soon came the news about the formation of Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind.
• Global Islamic Media Front, the online propaganda distribution arm of Al-Qaeda, released a statement on establishing the Ansar in Kashmir.

What did the statement say?

• “After the martyrdom of heroic Mujahid Burhan Wani, the jihad in Kashmir has entered a stage of awakening, as the Muslim Nation of Kashmir has committed to carry the flag of jihad to repel the aggression of tyrant Indian invaders, and through jihad, and with the aid of Allah only, we will liberate our homeland Kashmir,” the statement had said.
• By forming the Ansar, Zakir actually tried to internationalize the militancy in the Valley.
• However, on the ground, he failed to propound his ideology or attract youth to his outfit.
• Initially, 10-12 youth were associated with the outfit, but then the outfit suffered a huge blow in December 2018, when six of its group members were killed in an operation in Pulwama district. Most of Ansar’s cadre has come from Tral area because of Zakir’s hometown, where he managed to bring some locals in his outfit. The group has been almost wiped out by the security forces.
• While J&K police has claimed Zakir had a long history of crime records since 2013, his name, however, never cropped in any big militant attack in the Valley after he headed Ansar.
• His outfit’s name came in a grenade attack that took place in Punjab’s Jalandhar.
• Of late, Zakir had also stopped issuing audio messages and was off the radar of security forces for some time now.
• Zakir’s killing is considered a big success for security forces as he was one of the longest surviving militants in valley and part of erstwhile Burhan Wani group.
• “Musa’s name was often chanted at militant funerals and had become a kind of an icon among the youth…he had potential to recruit more people(into the militancy). His killing is a big success for us,” said a security official, adding that Zakir was also in the most wanted militant list.

Concluding Remarks:

• After killing of Zakir, the authorities also managed to control the law and order situation in the Valley, unlike in 2016 when the killing of Burhan Wani led to an uprising in valley.
• While clashes have been reported in various parts of the Valley on the 24th of May, 2019 (Friday), there has been no report of any serious law and order problem so far.

1. Don’t forget political economy issues

#### Note to the Students:

This editorial analysis is taken from the Hindu Business Line and was published on the 23rd of May, 2019.

#### Editorial Analysis:

• Experts opine that the new government will have its economic tasks cut out.
• There are a number of issues of development, ranging from slackening of growth rates in several sectors to the reliability of the numbers themselves, which needs urgent attention.
• These are issues that can no longer be brushed under the carpet.
• The main task of the government would have to be to move away from a fixation with overall growth rates.

Moving out of agriculture:

• India is undergoing a phenomenal transition with literally millions of agriculturists — both cultivators and agricultural labour — being forced by economic circumstances to move out of agriculture.
• While some of them are in a position to find an alternative livelihood in the cities, a substantial portion of them cannot do so.
• They tend to find less than perfect arrangements to meet the challenge, which includes the men moving to cities while retaining their households in the village.
• The success of a few more advanced sectors has ensured that these costs of the transition out of agriculture are not reflected in growth rates.
• However, as the distress in the rural economy grows and some of the advanced sectors grow less rapidly, the cover provided by growth rates could be blown away.

A Look at Specifics:

• The new government would need to address the rural challenge directly.
• As a first step they would need to reduce, to the extent possible, the uncertainties of agriculture.
• It is not often remembered that Indian agriculture’s major success story, the Green Revolution, was built around a strategy that included guaranteed procurement prices.
• The government of that time could afford to procure all that was offered because it could be sold in the Public Distribution System.
• With production exceeding what could be sold in the PDS this strategy became unviable.
• The government thus needs to find an alternative way of ensuring the farmers know the price they will get before they sow their crop.
• An effective forward market would ensure that the farmer has this information before he makes his investment decisions.
• Such a system would prevent dramatic losses of the kind that push cultivators to suicide, but it would still not be able to fully offset an increase in the number of people dependent on a unit of land.
• Since the land is divided among members of each new generation, the farm size decreases and is bound to decline further.
• Some of those who are dependent on agriculture would need to find non-agricultural options. And there are at least three major roadblocks in their path:
1. the lack of skills required to make the transition,
2. the slowdown in investment, and
3. the cost of moving to urban centres that house these non-agrarian options.

The skills factor:

• Skill development has been at the forefront of the rhetoric of recent governments, but most of the initiatives have been focused on what industry and services need.
• There has been much less attention paid to the constraints faced by those leaving agriculture in picking up non-agricultural skills.
• These constraints can be quite varied and severe, ranging from those in the cultural domain to the distance between the place of residence of the worker and the place of skill development.
• As a matter of fact, the new government would need to show a more explicit recognition of the fact that meeting industry’s demand for workers with the demand for work of those leaving agriculture, would require some attention being paid to the workers’ end of the problem as well.
• It is also not clear that acquiring the specified skills would substantially improve the likelihood of getting a job.
• Investment as a share of GDP is well below levels it had reached a decade or so ago.
• It would appear that an increasing reliance on foreign investment has begun to take its toll.
• It is not just that the pace of foreign investment is showing some signs of faltering, but there are few signs of substantial Indian investment.
• Many Indian corporate houses are beginning to find greener pastures outside the country. And there are also fewer stories of the more decentralised accumulation of capital from agriculture finding new avenues of industrial investment.
• The new government would need to develop, and in some cases revive, mechanisms that helped the emergence of new Indian industrial houses in the past.

The Case of Dispersed industrialization:

• The rise of new industrial houses emerging from new centres would also help the process of dispersed industrialisation.
• Such a process reduces the distance between the points where workers are being released from agriculture and the point where they can be absorbed into industry or services.
• This reduction of distance can play a significant role in reducing the costs of the transition to an industrial and services economy.
• If it is accompanied by an effective local transport system it raises the possibility of workers in new industrial units continuing to reside in their villages.
• Dispersed industrial units, and the associated urban centres, also reduce the pressure on our metropolises that are already becoming very expensive to maintain.
• The potentially lower costs of these centres can also make them affordable for migrant workers. Such a dispersed transition led industrialisation would also result in a set of priorities in terms of industries that will best suit this process.
• These priorities would include industries that are best suited to absorb the labour being released from agriculture.
• Concessions and facilities can be offered to attract these industries.
• Additional concessions could also be offered for those industries that are willing to locate closer to the points where labour is being released from agriculture.

Concluding Remarks:

• As the government works out such a bottom-up development strategy it would need to be acutely aware that there are no shortcuts in this process.
• It would need to avoid the temptation of schemes that it believes will act as a magic wand, particularly ones that would not stand economic scrutiny like demonetisation.

F. Tidbits

Nothing here for today!!!

G. Prelims Facts

Nothing here for today!!!

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. ‘Mount Agung volcano’ was recently in the news. Where is it located?

(a) Indonesia
(b) Hawaiian Islands
(c) Thailand
(d) Vietnam

See

Explanation:

‘Mount Agung volcano’ is located in Indonesia.

Q2. Consider the following statements:

1. An EVM is designed with two units: the control unit and the balloting unit. These units are joined together by a cable.

2. The control unit of the EVM is kept with the presiding officer or the polling officer. The balloting unit is kept within the voting compartment for electors to cast their votes.

3. VVPAT’s were first used in the byelection to the Noksen Assembly seat in Nagaland in the year 2013.

Which among the above statements is/are incorrect?
a) 1 and 2 Only
b) 2 and 3 Only
c) All 1, 2 and 3
d) Neither 1 nor 2 nor 3

See

Explanation:

An EVM is designed with two units: the control unit and the balloting unit. These units are joined together by a cable. The control unit of the EVM is kept with the presiding officer or the polling officer. The balloting unit is kept within the voting compartment for electors to cast their votes.
VVPAT’s were first used in the byelection to the Noksen Assembly seat in Nagaland in the year 2013.

Q3. Consider the following statements:

1. Superconductivity is a phenomenon in which the resistance of the material to the electric current flow is zero.
2. The uniqueness of superconductivity compared to all other physical phenomena is that the phenomenon is not relatable to periodic table, such as atomic number, atomic weight, electro-negativity, ionization potential etc. In fact, superconductivity does not even correlate with normal conductivity.
Which among the above statements is/are correct?
a) 1 Only
b) 2 Only
c) Both 1 and 2
d) Netither 1 nor 2

See

Explanation:

Superconductivity is a phenomenon in which the resistance of the material to the electric current flow is zero.
The uniqueness of superconductivity compared to all other physical phenomena is that the phenomenon is not relatable to periodic table, such as atomic number, atomic weight, electro-negativity, ionization potential etc. In fact, superconductivity does not even correlate with normal conductivity.

Q4. Consider the following statements:

1. The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India was established on 12 October, 1993. The statute under which it is established is the Protection of Human Rights Act (PHRA), 1993 as amended by the Protection of Human Rights (Amendment) Act, 2006.
2. The Commission consists of a Chairperson, four full-time Members and four deemed Members.
Which among the above statements is/are correct?
a) 1 Only
b) 2 Only
c) Both 1 and 2
d) Neither 1 nor 2

See

Explanation:

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India was established on 12 October, 1993. The statute under which it is established is the Protection of Human Rights Act (PHRA), 1993 as amended by the Protection of Human Rights (Amendment) Act, 2006.
The Commission consists of a Chairperson, four full-time Members and four deemed Members.

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

1. Achieving Superconductivity at room temperature would signal a remarkable breakthrough in Science and Technology with far-reaching applications. Comment. (10 Marks, 250 Words)
2. The recently concluded general elections to the 17th Lok Sabha, has registered a higher number of women members in Parliament as compared to the 2014 general elections. Although this is an encouraging sign, there is much more needed to be done towards achieving the goal of women empowerment in India. Examine. (10 Marks, 250 Words)