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Environment + Current Affairs Most important Questions for UPSC 2020 #30

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Questions & Answers

1. Consider the following statements about Ethanol.

1)In India, ethanol is produced from sugarcane only.
2)It allows the engine to more completely combust the fuel.
3)Ethanol is considered as non-renewable fuel.
Which of the above statements is/are correct?

a) 1, 2
b) 2 only
c) 2, 3
d) 1, 2, 3

Solution: b)

  • Ethanol, an anhydrous ethyl alcohol having chemical formula of C2H5OH, can be produced from sugarcane, maize, wheat, etc which are having high starch content.
  • In India, ethanol is mainly produced from sugarcane molasses by fermentation process.
  • Ethanol can be mixed with gasoline to form different blends.
  • As the ethanol molecule contains oxygen, it allows the engine to more completely combust the fuel, resulting in fewer emissions and thereby reducing the occurrence of environmental pollution.
  • Since ethanol is produced from plants that harness the power of the sun, ethanol is also considered as renewable fuel.

2. Consider the following statements.

1)Microplastics are small pieces of plastic, less than 5 mm in length, that occur in the environment as a consequence of plastic pollution.
2)Microplastics are present in cosmetics, synthetic clothing, plastic bags and bottles.
3)Normal Plastic is not biodegradable, whereas Microplastics are biodegradable.
Which of the above statements is/are correct?

a) 1, 2
b) 1, 3
c) 2, 3
d) 1, 2, 3

Solution: a)

  • Microplastics, small pieces of plastic, less than 5 mm (0.2 inch) in length, that occur in the environment as a consequence of plastic pollution.
  • Microplastics are present in a variety of products, from cosmetics to synthetic clothing to plastic bags and bottles.
  • Microplastics are not biodegradable. Thus, once in the environment, primary and secondary microplastics accumulate and persist.

3. With reference to ecosystem service, which of the following are the examples of regulating services?

1)Carbon sequestration
2)Hydrological cycle
3)Ensuring genetic diversity
4)Provision of natural medicines
Select the correct answer code:

a) 1, 2, 3
b) 2, 4
c) 1, 3
d) 1, 2, 3, 4

Solution: a)

  • Regulating services are defined as the benefits obtained from the regulation of ecosystem processes such as climate regulation, natural hazard regulation, water purification and waste management, pollination or pest control.
  • Provisioning services are the products obtained from ecosystems such as food, fresh water, wood, fiber, genetic resources and medicines.

4. Consider the following statements.

1)Primary productivity depends on the plant species inhabiting a particular area and it varies in different types of ecosystems.
2)Since oceans occupy about 70 per cent of the surface, the productivity of the oceans is more compared to the productivity on the land.
Which of the above statements is/are correct?

a) 1 only
b) 2 only
c) Both
d) None

Solution: a)

  • Primary production is defined as the amount of biomass or organic matter produced per unit area over a time period by plants during photosynthesis.
  • Primary productivity depends on the plant species inhabiting a particular area.
  • It also depends on a variety of environmental factors, availability of nutrients and photosynthetic capacity of plants. Therefore, it varies in different types of ecosystems.
  • The annual net primary productivity of the whole biosphere is approximately 170 billion tons (dry weight) of organic matter.
  • Of this, despite occupying about 70 per cent of the surface, the productivity of the oceans are only 55 billion tons.
  • Rest of course, is on land.

5. Consider the following statements regarding Gold reserves, according to the latest release by the World Gold Council.

1)IMF is ranked first in the total gold reserves followed by US.
2)India is in the list of top ten countries in terms of total gold reserves.
3)India has more than 20% of the share held in gold in total foreign reserves.
Which of the above statements is/are correct?

a) 1, 2
b) 2, 3
c) 2 only
d) 1, 3

Solution: c)

  • As per the World Gold Council’s (WGC) data, India has 618.2 tonnes of the yellow metal as holdings, which is 6.9 per cent of the share held in gold in total foreign reserves.
  • United States (US) has the largest holding with 8133.5 tonnes, followed by Germany with 3366 tonnes and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) with 2814 tonnes.
  • India has pipped the Netherlands to move into the list of top ten countries in terms of total gold reserves.
  • In terms of individual countries, India actually ranks ninth since the International Monetary Fund (IMF) occupies the third position after the U.S. and Germany.

6. Consider the following statements about Advance Pricing Agreement (APA).

1)It is an ahead-of-time agreement between a taxpayer and a tax authority on an appropriate transfer pricing methodology.
2)It is only Unilateral in nature, that involves only the taxpayer and the tax authority of the country where the taxpayer is located.
3)In India, Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) signs the APA with the tax payer.
Which of the above statements is/are correct?

a) 1 only
b) 1, 2
c) 1, 3
d) 2, 3

Solution: a)

  • The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has entered into 26 Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs) in the first 5 months of the financial year (April to August, 2019).
  • An advance pricing agreement (APA) is an ahead-of-time agreement between a taxpayer and a tax authority on an appropriate transfer pricing methodology. An APA provides certainty with respect to the tax outcome of the tax payer’s international transactions.
  • An APA can be one of the three types – unilateral, bilateral and multilateral.
    • A Unilateral APA is an APA that involves only the taxpayer and the tax authority of the country where the taxpayer is located.
    • Bilateral APA (BAPA) is an APA that involves the tax payer, associated enterprise (AE) of the taxpayer in the foreign country, tax authority of the country where the taxpayer is located and the foreign tax authority.
    • Multilateral APA (MAPA) is an APA that involves the taxpayer, two or more AEs of the tax payer in different foreign countries, tax authority of the country where the taxpayer is located and the tax authorities of AEs.

7. Consider the following statements regarding WHO India Country Cooperation Strategy 2019–2023.

1)It is a strategic roadmap for the WHO to work with the Indian government towards achieving its health sector goals.
2)The India Country Cooperation Strategy is one of the first that fully aligns itself with the newly adopted WHO 13th General Programme of Work and its ‘triple billion’ targets.
3)WHO ‘Triple Billion’ targets aim for One billion more people to be benefitted from Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
Which of the above statements is/are correct?

a) 1, 2
b) 1, 3
c) 2, 3
d) 1, 2, 3

Solution: d)

  • ‘The WHO India Country Cooperation Strategy 2019–2023: A Time of Transition’ has been launched.
  • The India CCS is one of the first that fully aligns itself with the newly adopted WHO 13th General Programme of Work and its ‘triple billion’ targets, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and WHO South-East Asia Region’s eight Flagship Priorities.
  • WHO ‘Triple Billion’ targets: It is a strategic plan for the next five years.
  • It aims for:
    • One billion more people to be benefitted from Universal Health Coverage (UHC)
    • One billion more people to be protected from health emergencies
    • One billion more people to be covered for better health and well-being.

8. Consider the following statements regarding Measles and Rubella.

1)Measles is a viral infection of the respiratory system that can spread through contact with infected mucus and saliva.
2)Rubella is a contagious disease that mostly affects children.
3)Rubella is usually mild in kids, but it can be more serious in pregnant women.
Which of the above statements is/are correct?

a) 1, 2
b) 1, 3
c) 2, 3
d) 1, 2, 3

Solution: d)

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