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UPSC Weekly Current Affairs Quiz | October 29 to November 04, 2023 | UPSC Current Affairs News


UPSC Weekly Quiz is a current affairs-based quiz on relevant topics from the past week, curated for the aspirants of competitive examinations. Attempt the weekly quiz every Saturday and find answers to the MCQs with explanations at the end of the article.

With reference to the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN), consider the following statements:

1. It was created in 2004 to promote cooperation among cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development.

2. It encourages a culture of creativity in urban planning and solutions to urban problems.

3. Kozhikode is the only Indian city included in the network.

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4. The cities which are part of the network have to achieve the UN agenda of sustainable development.

How many of the statements given above are correct?

(a) Only one

(b) Only two

(c) Only three

(d) All four

QUESTION 2

With reference to the annual report “Road Accidents in India – 2022”, consider the following statements:

1. The majority of the accidents and fatalities took place during cloudy and foggy nights.

2. Four-wheelers accounted for highest number of accidents and deaths.

3. Sikkim reported the highest fatality rate.

4. Maharashtra reported highest number of accidents.

How many of the statements given above are correct?

(a) Only one

(b) Only two

(c) Only three

(d) All four

QUESTION 3

Consider the following statements about CAR-T cell therapy:

1. It modifies immune cells by turning them into potent cancer fighters.

2. NexCar19 is a type of CAR-T therapy developed indigenously in India.

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

QUESTION 4

With reference to the Air Quality Index (AQI), consider the following statements:

1. It was launched by the central government in 2019 as part of the Swachh Bharat campaign.

2. The AQI transforms complex air quality data of various pollutants into a single number.

3. The pollutants measured include carbon dioxide.

4. Particulate matter, most harmful pollutants among Index causes respiratory problems and reduces visibility.

How many of the statements given above are correct?

(a) Only one

(b) Only two

(c) Only three

(d) All four

QUESTION 5

With reference to the Dengue, consider the following statements:

1. Dengue virus is transmitted through the bite of a male Aedes mosquito.

2. Dengue mosquitoes can breed even at very low temperatures of less than 4 degrees.

3. IgM and IgG test is used for diagnosing dengue antibodies.

How many of the statements given above are correct?

(a) Only one

(b) Only two

(c) All three

(d) None

QUESTION 6

With reference to the rice in India, consider the following statements:

1. India is the biggest exporter of rice in the world.

2. India has banned the export of non-basmati white rice.

3. India’s main export market for Basmati rice was China for FY 2022-23.

How many of the statements given above are correct?

(a) Only one

(b) Only two

(c) All three

(d) None

QUESTION 7

Consider the following statements:

1. The country lies to the south-west of the Indian mainland.

2. It comprises nearly 1,200 low-lying coral islands sprawled across 90,000 sq km in the Indian Ocean.

3. The Indian Navy initiated “Operation Cactus” in 1988 in response to a coup attempt.

The above-mentioned statements refer to which of the following country?

(a) Mauritius

(b) Fiji

(c) Maldives

(d) Madagascar

QUESTION 8

With reference to the SIM swap scam, consider the following statements:

1. It requires direct communication with the victims.

2. Duplicate SIM is not required for the SIM swap scam.

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

QUESTION 9

Consider the following places:

(Place)                                (Location)

1. Akhaura                            Nepal

2. Saada Governorate      Oman

3. Jumla                                Bhutan

How many of the pairs given above are correctly matched?

(a) Only one

(b) Only two

© All three

(d) None

QUESTION 10

Consider the following effects:

1. The domestic companies can tap foreign markets to raise funds.

2. It may benefit the startup and unicorn community.

3. It allows Indian companies another medium of raising capital.

How many of the above effects are the possible effects of direct listing of foreign exchanges?

(a) Only one

(b) Only two

(c) All three

(d) None

ANSWERS TO THE MCQs

1. (c)

FYI:

— The city of Kozhikode in Kerala and Gwalior from Madhya Pradesh was added in UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network (UCCN). Kozhikode was included in the category of literature and Gwalior in the category of music.

— The UCCN was created in 2004 to promote cooperation among cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development. Hence, statement 1 is correct.

— It now includes 350 cities in over a hundred countries. These cities have been carefully chosen to embody the seven creative domains: media arts, music, design, film, gastronomy, crafts and folk arts, and literature.

— The network is aimed at leveraging the creative, social, and economic potential of cultural industries.

— It was launched to promote UNESCO’s goals of cultural diversity and strengthen resilience to threats such as climate change, rising inequality, and rapid urbanisation. It encourages a culture of creativity in urban planning and solutions to urban problems. Hence, statement 2 is correct.

— Apart from Kozhikode and Gwalior, Varanasi (music), Srinagar (crafts and folk arts) and Chennai (music) are part of the network. Hence, statement 3 is not correct.

Objective of the CCCN

— The UNESCO Creative Cities Network allows member cities to recognise creativity as an essential component of urban development, notably through partnerships involving the public and private sectors and civil society.

— Its goals include creating centres of innovation and creativity and expanding opportunities for professionals and artists working in the cultural field. These cities must implement the sustainable development agenda of the UN. Hence, statement 4 is correct.

Therefore, option (c) is the correct answer.

2. (a)

FYI:

— The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways released their annual report titled ‘Road Accidents in India – 2022’.

— The report states that during the calendar year 2022, States and Union Territories (UTs) reported a total of 4,61,312 road accidents, resulting in 1,68,491 fatalities and 4,43,366 injuries. Compared to the prior year, there has been an increase of 11.9% in accidents, 9.4% in fatalities, and 15.3% in injuries.

Key takeaways from the report:

— In 2022, over speeding accounted for 72.3 percent of the total road accidents, 71.2 percent of total deaths and 72.8 percent of total injuries, up 12.8 percent, 11.8 percent and 15.2 per cent respectively when compared to the previous year.

— As per the data, 67 per cent of all accidents occurred on straight roads.

— Most collisions in 2022 were, what the report classifies as ‘hit from back’. These accounted for over 21 per cent of all collisions, followed by ‘head on collisions’ which accounted for 16.9 per cent.

— Almost three fourth of all accidents and fatalities took place under ‘sunny/clear’ weather. Hence, statement 1 is not correct.

— Two-wheelers accounted for highest number of accidents and deaths. Hence, statement 2 is not correct.

— Sikkim reported the highest fatality rate, standing at 17. UTs Ladakh and Daman & Diu had the lowest fatality rate at 0. The all India rate stood at 5.2. Hence, statement 3 is correct.

(Fatality rate is used to explain road accidents relative to vehicular population in a given location. It is measured by the number of road accident fatalities per 10,000 vehicles.)

— Tamil Nadu reported highest number of accidents. Hence, statement 4 is not correct.

Therefore, option (a) is the correct answer.

3. (c)

FYI:

— CAR-T is a revolutionary therapy that modifies immune cells, specifically T-cells, by turning them into potent cancer fighters known as CAR-T cells. Hence, statement 1 is correct.

— T-cells are special cells (white blood cells that find and fight illness and infection) whose primary function is cytotoxic, meaning it can kill other cells.

— Through genetic modification, cells are transformed into cancer-fighting cells in CAR-T therapy. Once the body has received these supercharged cells back, they target cancer cells, particularly those found in blood malignancies such as lymphomas and leukaemia.

— While chemotherapy and immunotherapy may add a few months or years to a cancer patient’s life, cell-and-gene therapy is designed to cure and provide lifelong benefit.

— It makes treatment easier with a one-time therapy [unlike several sessions of chemotherapy] that can be truly transformative [for a patient]. It’s a lifeline for non-responsive cancer patients.

— NexCar19 is a type of CAR-T and gene therapy developed indigenously in India by ImmunoACT, which is a company incubated at IIT Bombay. Hence, statement 2 is correct.

UPSC Weekly Current Affairs Quiz | October 29 to November 04, 2023 Treatment for specific B-cells cancers

— The therapy is for people with B-cell lymphomas who didn’t respond to standard treatments like chemotherapy, leading to relapse or recurrence of the cancer.

— The therapy is designed to target cancer cells that carry the CD19 protein. This protein acts like a flag on cancer cells, which allows CAR-T cells to recognise and attach themselves to the cancer cells and start the process of elimination.

Therefore, option (c) is the correct answer.

4. (b)

FYI:

— As the air pollution continued to get worse in Delhi-NCR and surrounding areas, the Air Quality Index (AQI) has once again come under the spotlight.

— AQI is a number, which is a measure of air quality. The higher the AQI, the worse the air. Hence, statement 2 is correct.

— The colour-coded AQI index was launched in India in 2014 as part of the Swachh Bharat campaign and it helps the public and the government understand the condition of the air and what subsequent measures are to be taken to combat the situation, based on its severity. Hence, statement 1 is not correct.

— There are six categories of AQI, namely:

(i) Good (0-50)

(ii) Satisfactory (50-100)

(iii) Moderately polluted (100-200)

(iv) Poor (200-300)

(v) Very Poor (300-400)

(vi) Severe’ (400-500).

— The Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change’s Central Pollution Control Board claims that the AQI reduces complicated air quality data of different pollutants to a single number (index value), nomenclature, and colour. PM 10, PM 2.5, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, and other pollutants are measured. Carbon dioxide is not measured in the index. Hence, statement 3 is not correct.

— There are six or eight pollutants in the affected air and each of these pollutants is given a weight based on a formula.

— Among the more harmful pollutants are those of a smaller size, such as particulate matter (PM) 2.5, which is an atmospheric particulate matter of a diameter smaller than 2.5 micrometres (or around 3 per cent of the diameter of a human hair). It causes respiratory problems and reduces visibility. Hence, statement 4 is correct.

Therefore, option (b) is the correct answer.

5. (a)

FYI:

— Bihar has recorded more than 15,000 dengue cases with 59 deaths so far this year, according to the official records.

— These are the highest numbers of reported dengue cases and deaths in the state in at least five years — there has been an increase of 608% in the number of cases between 2018 and 2023.

— The primary reason for the rise in dengue cases and deaths in Bihar is the delayed monsoon season, which usually lasts till mid-September but this year continued till mid-October.

— Dengue virus is transmitted through the bite of a female Aedes (Ae.) mosquito. Aedes is a day time feeder and can fly up to a limited distance of 400 meters. Hence, statement 1 is not correct.

— Dengue mosquitoes can’t breed once the temperature falls below 16 degrees. Hence, statement 2 is not correct.

— IgM and IgG antibodies test, which detect dengue antibodies and NS1 antigen test. Both are done through ELISA kits and hence are popularly known as Elisa test. Hence, statement 3 is correct.

Therefore, option (a) is the correct answer.

6. (b)

FYI:

— In July this year, India banned the export of non-basmati white rice amid depleting public stock in the Central pool, elevated cereal prices, and looming threat of the uneven monsoon.

— The ministry has pegged rice production at 1063.13 Lakh Metric Tonnes (LMT) during Kharif 2023-24, 3.7 per cent lower than the 1105.12 LMT recorded in the same season last year.

— There has been no respite from the increase in the prices of rice despite the export ban. As per the data available on the Agriculture Ministry’s UPAg portal, the daily average wholesale price of rice was recorded at Rs 5,800 per quintal on October 24, 2023.

— India is the biggest exporter of rice in the world. As per the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), India accounted for about 40 per cent of the total rice exports (56 million tonnes) in the world during calendar year 2022. Hence, statement 1 is correct.

— India’s rice exports are broadly categorised into basmati and non-basmati rice. The non-basmati rice category includes 6 sub-categories— rice in husk of seed quality; other rice in husk; husked (brown) rice; rice parboiled; non-basmati white rice; and broken rice.

— The government has banned export of two sub-categories of broken rice and non-basmati white rice, there is no ban on the remaining four sub-categories. Hence, statement 2 is correct.

Basmati Rice

— In the financial year 2022-23, India’s basmati export stood at 45.61 lakh metric tonnes. Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, UAE, and Yemen were the top 5 destinations of Indian basmati during 2022-23. Hence, statement 3 is not correct.

Non-Basmati Rice

— Sona Masuri and Jeera rice are two types of non-basmati rice. India exported 177.91 lakh metric tonnes of non-basmati rice in the fiscal year 2022–2023 (April–March), with 78.48 lakh metric tonnes of that amount being parboiled rice. Non-basmati white rice came in second with 64.01 lakh metric tonnes, followed by broken rice with 30.49 lakh metric tonnes.

— The other three categories accounted for a lower quantity: other rice in husk (4.61 lakh metric tonnes); rice in husk of seed quality (19.68 thousand metric tonnes); and husked (brown) rice (11.65 thousand metric tonnes).

Non-basmati White Rice

— In all, India exported the non-basmati white rice to 142 countries during 2022-23. Most of these countries were poor, and were located in Africa.

Therefore, option (b) is the correct answer.

7. (c)

FYI:

— ‘India Out’ was a campaign slogan for Maldives president-elect Mohamed Muizzu, who will take over the country’s reins on November 17.

— Yet, 35 years after the fact, India’s intervention in the 1988 coup attempt in Malé — codenamed Operation Cactus — continues to be remembered with gratitude and fondness.

— Maldives lies to the south-west of the Indian mainland, with its capital Malé slightly more than 600 km away from Thiruvananthapuram. It comprises nearly 1,200 low-lying coral islands sprawled across 90,000 sq km in the Indian Ocean.

— Maumoon Abdul Gayoom (born 1937) was elected president of the Maldives in 1978, amid economic and political turmoil. Gayoom eventually went on to rule his country for 30 years, but in the 1980s, he faced three attempted coups (in 1980, 1983, and 1988), all of which were led by Maldivians who were dissatisfied with his rule.

Therefore, option (c) is the correct answer.

8. (d)

FYI:

— A North Delhi-based advocate lost money from her bank account and received three missed calls from unknown numbers earlier this month, making her the most recent victim of the “SIM swap scam” in the capital of the country.

— Similarly, last year, a South Delhi-based businessman lost more than Rs 50 lakhs to unknown scamsters. He received at least seven missed calls before the amount was deducted from his bank account.

What is the SIM swap scam?

— Cybercriminals are abusing the connection between actual SIM cards and banking applications due to the advancements in banking services, simple payment apps, and seamless smartphone transactions.

— All banking applications are linked to phone numbers which help in generating OTPs or receiving important bank-related messages.

— In the SIM swap scam, scammers initially obtain personal information via phishing or vishing, including phone numbers, bank account information, and addresses. Phishing is a tactic used by con artists to send malicious links to their targets via email or text messages. The malware collects all of the victim’s data as soon as the link is clicked.

— According to an advisory by the HDFC bank, after receiving the personal information, fraudsters visit the mobile operator’s retail outlet, posing as the victim with a forged ID proof and report a fake theft of the victim’s SIM card and/or mobile phone.

— By doing this, they attain a duplicate SIM. Notably, scamsters can get a duplicate SIM even when the original is working as they reported a theft of the original SIM card. All the activation messages and details go to the scamster and not the victim. Hence, statement 2 is not correct.

— Unlike other scams, where scamsters trick people into giving OTPs and private information on a phone call, SIM swap scam doesn’t require direct communication with the victims. Hence, statement 1 is not correct.

— Fraudsters do, however, leave missed calls for their victims so that they will put down their phones and disregard the deteriorating network connectivity.

Therefore, option (d) is the correct answer.

9. (d)

FYI:

Therefore, option (d) is the correct answer.

10. (c)

FYI:

— The government recently permitted certain Indian companies to directly list on select foreign stock exchanges, which will allow these companies to access global capital and boost capital outflows.

— In July, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced that the government had decided to enable listed and unlisted domestic companies to directly list their equity shares on the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC), Ahmedabad.

— The amendment empowered the central government to allow certain classes of public companies to list prescribed classes of securities in foreign jurisdictions. This essentially means certain classes of domestic public companies can be listed on prescribed foreign stock exchanges, including GIFT IFSC, Ahmedabad.

— Section 5 also allows the government to exempt such listing from certain procedural requirements (such as prospectus, share capital, beneficial ownership requirements, failure to distribute dividend), according to Manendra Singh, Partner, Economic Laws Practice.

How do companies currently list on foreign bourses?

— Domestic listed companies would use depository receipts — American Depository Receipts (ADR) or Global Depository Receipts (GDR) — to list in the overseas market.

— Under this route, Indian companies wanting to get listed on foreign stock exchanges would give their shares to an Indian custodian, and depository receipts would be issued to foreign investors.

How will direct foreign listing benefit Indian companies?

— The domestic companies can tap foreign markets to raise funds. It will offer them better valuation and exposure to trade in foreign currency such as the dollar.

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— It may also benefit the startup and unicorn community as another avenue to raise funds and increase their profile globally. It will also add to India’s foreign exchange kitty.

— This allows Indian companies another medium of raising capital. It would also need them to meet governance norms at such specified jurisdictions.

Therefore, option (c) is the correct answer.

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