Daily Current Affairs MCQ - January 31, 2021


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QUESTION: 1

With reference to the Pulse Polio Programme for 2021, consider the following statements:
1. Polio National Immunization Day is observed on the 31st January 2021 (Sunday), also popularly known as Polio Ravivar.
2. The Pulse Polio Immunization Programme strategy was conceived in December 1993 and it was rolled out from 2nd October, 1994 when the first child was immunized against Polio as part of this programme.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

Solution:

President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind launched the Pulse Polio Programme for 2021 by administering polio drops to children less than five years old at the Rashtrapati Bhawan.

  • The drops were administered to children on the eve of the Polio National Immunization Day, which is observed on the 31st January 2021 (Sunday), also popularly known as Polio Ravivar.

  • Around 17 crore children of less than 5 years of age will be given polio drops as part of India's drive to sustain polio free status of the country.

  • The Pulse Polio Immunization Programme strategy was conceived in December 1993 and it was rolled out from 2nd October, 1994 when the first child was immunized against Polio as part of this programme.

  • Before the start of the program, India had 60% caseload of Polio worldwide. With the last case of Polio reported in Howrah on 13th January, 2011, the country has been free of Polio for a decade now.

  • Polio-free certification’ of the entire South-East Asia Region of WHO including India on the 27th of March 2014 was a huge accomplishment in India and Global Public Health's history.

QUESTION: 2

Recently seen in news, the Lower Arun Hydro Electric Project is located in:

Solution:

Government of Nepal has allotted 679 MW Lower Arun Hydro Electric Project in Nepal to SJVN through competitive bidding.

  • The Lower Arun Hydro Electric Project is located in Sankhuwasabha and Bhojpur Districts of Nepal.

  • On completion 679 MW Lower Arun Hydro Electric Project will generate 3561 million units of electricity per annum.

  • The Projects being developed by SJVN in Nepal would result in overall development and boost mutual economic growth in India & Nepal.

  • SJVN is already constructing 900 MW Arun 3 HEP in Nepal and 217km 400 kV associated transmission system. With addition of Lower Arun Hydro Electric Project to its kitty, SJVN portfolio now stands at 8960.5 MW.

QUESTION: 3

With reference to the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY), consider the following statements:

1. The proportion of households with any usual member covered under health insurance or financing scheme increased by 54 per cent from NFHS 4 to NFHS 5 in the states that adopted PMJAY.

2. The reduction in Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) was 20 per cent vis-à-vis 12 per cent in PMJAY and non-PMJAY states respectively.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

Solution:

Key Finding of Economic Survey 2020-21 Reveals Strong Positive Impact of Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) on Health Outcomes.

  • The proportion of households with any usual member covered under health insurance or financing scheme increased by 54 per cent from NFHS 4 to NFHS 5 in the states that adopted PMJAY, it decreased by 10 per cent in the states that did not adopt PMJAY, reflecting the success of PMJAY in enhancing health insurance coverage.

  • The reduction in Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) was 20 per cent vis-à-vis 12 per cent in PMJAY and non-PMJAY states respectively, an increment of 8 per cent for states that adopted PMJAY versus those that did not.

  • The proportion of people ensuring family planning rose across all the states between the two surveys, the increase is much more significant in the states that adopted PM-JAY indicating its effectiveness.

  • The proportion of women with total unmet family planning needs decreased by 31 per cent in the PMJAY states, the decline in the non-PMJAY states was merely 10 per cent.

QUESTION: 4

Nearly 29 Central Labour laws being amalgamated, rationalized and simplified into which of the following labour codes?
1. the Code on Wages, 2019,
2. the Industrial Relations Code, 2020,
3. the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020,
4. the Code on Social Security, 2020

Select the correct answer using the code given below:        

Solution:

The Economic Survey 2020-21 states that the years 2019 and 2020 are landmark years in the history of labour reforms.

  • The country saw the nearly 29 Central Labour laws being amalgamated, rationalized and simplified into four labour codes viz.:

    1. the Code on Wages, 2019,

    2. the Industrial Relations Code, 2020,

    3. the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020 and

    4. the Code on Social Security, 2020.

  • COVID-19 has exposed urban casual workers' vulnerability, who account for 11.2 per cent of urban workforce (All-India) as per Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS), January-March, 2020.

  • The size of labour force in 2018-19 was estimated at about 51.8 crore persons: about 48.8 crore employed and 3.0 crore unemployed.

  • Industry-wise estimates on workforce shows that the largest, about 21.5 crore persons are employed in 'Agriculture', which is still the largest employer with 42.5 per cent of workforce.

  • Next important industry is ‘other services’ where about 6.4 crore persons (13.8 per cent) were engaged.

  • 'Manufacturing' and ‘Trade, hotel & restaurants’ each employed about 5.9 crore persons with the share of nearly 12.1 per cent and 12.6 per cent respectively, while ‘Construction’ sector employed about 5.7 crore persons in 2018-19 with share of 12.1 per cent.

QUESTION: 5

With reference to the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana, consider the following statements:
1. It has total estimated outlay of Rs 22,810 crore for the scheme period i.e., up to wage month 31st May, 2023.
2. The scheme proposes to pay entire employees’ and employers’ contribution i.e. 24 per cent of wages towards EPF in respect of new employees in establishments employing up to 1000 employees during the period from October, 2020 to June, 2021

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

Solution:

The Economic Survey says that ABRY, a component of Aatmanirbhar Bharat package announced in November, 2020 has total estimated outlay of Rs 22,810 crore for the scheme period i.e., up to wage month 31st May, 2023.

The scheme proposes to pay:

  • Entire employees’ and employers’ contribution i.e. 24 per cent of wages towards EPF in respect of new employees in establishments employing up to 1000 employees during the period from October, 2020 to June, 2021 and also to re-employ who lost their jobs due to COVID-19.

  • Only employees' share of EPF contribution (i.e. 12 per cent) of wages in respect of new employees in establishments employing more than 1000 employee during the period from October 2020 to June 2021, and also to re-employee who lost their jobs due to COVID-19.

Other measures

  • To provide relief to the organized sector employees, a notification issued on 28th March, 2020 by the Government provisioning non-refundable advance of 75 per cent of outstanding balance or 3 months’ wages whichever is lower, allowed to the members of EPFO.

  • Under Prime Minister’s Garib Kalyan Package (PMGKP) financial assistance was given to building & other construction workers (BOCW) which largely included migrant workers from the funds collected under BOCW’s cess.

QUESTION: 6

With reference to the combined (Centre and States) social sector expenditure, consider the following statements:

1. The Economic Survey 2020-21 states that the combined (Centre and States) social sector expenditure as per cent of GDP has decreased in 2020-21 compared to last year.

2. According to the Survey, India’s rank in HDI 2019 was recorded 131 compared to 129 in 2018, out of a total 189 countries.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

Solution:

The Economic Survey 2020-21 states that the combined (Centre and States) social sector expenditure as per cent of GDP has increased in 2020-21 compared to last year.

  • The expenditure on social services (education, health and other social sectors) by Centre and States combined as a proportion of GDP increased from 7.5% in 2019-20 (RE) to 8.8% in 2020-21 (BE).

  • According to the Survey, India’s rank in HDI 2019 was recorded 131 compared to 129 in 2018, out of a total 189 countries.

  • By looking at the sub-component wise performance of HDI indicators, India's "GNI per capita (2017 PPP $)" has increased from US$ 6,427 in 2018 to US$ 6,681 in 2019, and "life expectancy at birth" has improved from 69.4 to 69.7 years respectively.

QUESTION: 7

With reference to the sovereign credit ratings, consider the following statements:
1. The Economic Survey 2020-21 has called for sovereign credit ratings methodology to be made more transparent, less subjective and better attuned to reflect an economy’s fundamentals.
2. According Economic Survey 2020-21 Sovereign Credit Ratings can be pro-cyclical and affect equity and debt FPI flows of developing countries, causing damage and worsening crisis.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

Solution:

The Economic Survey 2020-21 has called for sovereign credit ratings methodology to be made more transparent, less subjective and better attuned to reflect an economy’s fundamentals.

  • Never in the history of sovereign credit ratings, has the fifth largest economy in the world been rated at the lowest rung of the investment grade (BBB-/Baa3) except in the case of China and India.

  • Reflecting on the economic size and thereby ability to repay debt, at all other times, the fifth largest economy has been predominantly rated AAA.

  • The Survey points out that the Sovereign Credit Ratings can be pro-cyclical and affect equity and debt FPI flows of developing countries, causing damage and worsening crisis. Hence, it has called for addressing the bias and subjectivity inherent in sovereign credit ratings methodology

  • India has already raised the issue of pro-cyclicality of credit ratings in G20.

QUESTION: 8

With reference to the monetary policy transmission, consider the following statements:
1. The repo rate has been cut by 115 bps since March 2020.
2. Weighted Average Domestic Term Deposit Rate increased by 81 bps during 2020-21.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?        

Solution:

The monetary policy was significantly eased from March 2020 onwards owing to the unprecedented COVID 19 pandemic and remained accommodative in 2020, states the Economic Survey 2020-21.

  • The repo rate has been cut by 115 bps since March 2020, with 75 bps cut in first Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in March 2020 and 40 bps cut in second meeting in May 2020.

  • Also, Systemic liquidity in 2020-21 remained in surplus while RBI undertook various conventional and unconventional measures to manage liquidity situation in the economy.

  • This year saw improvement in transmission of policy repo rates to deposit and lending rates, as reflected in the decline of 94 bps and 67 bps in Weighted Average Lending Rate on fresh rupee loans and outstanding rupee loans respectively from March 2020 to November 2020.

  • Similarly, the Weighted Average Domestic Term Deposit Rate declined by 81 bps during the same period.

QUESTION: 9

 With reference to the Economic Survey 2020-21, consider the following statements:
1. According to Economic Survey 2020-21, Gross Non-Performing Assets ratio of Scheduled Commercial Banks decreased from 8.21 per cent at the end of March 2020 to 7.49 per cent at the end of September 2020.
2. The recovery rate for the Scheduled Commercial Banks through Insolvency & Bankruptcy code-IBC (since its inception) has been over 45 per cent.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

Solution:

According to Economic Survey 2020-21, Gross Non-Performing Assets ratio of Scheduled Commercial Banks decreased from 8.21 per cent at the end of March 2020 to 7.49 per cent at the end of September 2020.

  • This has to be seen in conjunction with the asset classification relief provided to borrowers on account of the pandemic, says the Economic Survey.

  • Further, the Survey notes that Capital to risk-weighted asset ratio of Scheduled Commercial Banks increased from 14.7 per cent to 15.8 per cent between March 2020 and September 2020 with improvement in both Public and Private sector banks.

  • The recovery rate for the Scheduled Commercial Banks through Insolvency & Bankruptcy code-IBC (since its inception) has been over 45 per cent.

  • Due to the pandemic, initiation of Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process (CIRP) was suspended for any default. The suspension along with continued clearance has allowed a small decline in accumulated cases.

  • The financial flows to the real economy however remained constrained on account of subdued credit growth by both banks and Non-Banking Financial Corporations.

  • Credit growth of banks slowed down to 6.7 per cent as on January 1, 2021. The credit off take from banking sector also witnessed a broad-based slowdown in 2020-21.

QUESTION: 10

“Saving a life that is in jeopardy is the origin of Dharma”, this quote is from which Hindu epic?        

Solution:

“Saving a life that is in jeopardy is the origin of Dharma”, the Economic Survey quotes from the epic Mahabharat while explaining the India’s policy response to the pandemic wherein the trade-offs between lives and livelihood was inherent in the crisis triggered by COVID-19.

  • COVID-19 pandemic engendered a once-in-a-century global crisis in 2020 where 90 per cent of countries are expected to experience a contraction in GDP per capita and India’s efforts focused on saving lives and livelihoods by its willingness to take short-term pain for long term gain.

  • The Economic Survey states the example of Spanish Flu to prove the point that the timing matters - early and extensive lockdowns leading to greater delays in reaching peak mortality, lower peak mortality rates and overall lower mortality burden.

  • 40 day lockdown period was used for scaling up the necessary medical and para-medical infrastructure for active surveillance, expanding testing, contact tracing, isolation and management of cases and educating citizens about social distancing and masks.

  • The Survey credits the flattening of curve and lives saved to the early lockdown imposed by the government.

  • While the lockdown resulted in a 23.9 per cent contraction in GDP in Q1, the recovery has been a V-shaped one as seen in the 7.5 per cent decline in Q2 and the recovery across all key economic indicators.