Current based PRELIMS QUESTION 13 June 2020

1. Consider the following statements regarding the Global Gender Gap Index 2020.
1. The Global Gender Gap Index is released by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
2. It measures gender-based gaps in access to resources and opportunities in countries, rather than the actual levels of the available resources and opportunities.
3. India has dropped four points from 2018, to take the 112th rank on the Index.
4. This Index benchmarks 153 countries on their progress towards gender parity in five dimensions.
Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?
(a) 1, 2 and 3 only
(b) 2, 3 and 4 only
(c) 1, 3 and 4 only
(d) All of the above
Answer-a
Explanation
Global Gender Gap Index 2020
India has been ranked 112th among 153 countries in the annual Global Gender Gap Index for 2020, published by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
The WEF published its first gender gap index in 2006.
The Global Gender Gap Index benchmarks 153 countries on their progress towards gender parity in four dimensions:
 Economic Participation and Opportunity,
 Educational Attainment,
 Health and Survival and
 Political Empowerment
The Index aims to serve as a compass to track progress on relative gaps between women and men on health, education, economy and politics. Through this annual yardstick, the stakeholders within each country are able to set priorities relevant in each specific economic, political and cultural context.
Over the Index, the highest possible score is 1 (equality) and the lowest possible score is 0 (inequality).
Globally, the average (population-weighted) distance completed to gender parity is at 68.6%, which is an improvement since the last edition.
It will take 99.5 years to achieve full parity between men and women at the current rate of change.
The largest gender disparity is in political empowerment. Only 25% of the 35,127 seats in parliaments around the world are occupied by women, and only 21% of the 3,343 ministers are women.
Iceland has been the frontrunner on the Global Gender Gap Index for 11 years in a row.
It has closed almost 88% of its gender gap, followed by Nordic neighbours Norway, Finland and Sweden.
Yemen is ranked the worst (153rd), while Iraq is 152nd and Pakistan 151st.
India- Specific
India has slipped to the 112th spot from its 108th position in the last edition. India was ranked relatively higher at 98th place in 2006 Report.
India has been ranked below countries like China (106th), Sri Lanka (102nd), Nepal (101st), Brazil (92nd), Indonesia (85th) and Bangladesh (50th).
Performance on Four Indicators: India has improved to 18th place on political empowerment but it has slipped to 150th on health and survival, to 149th in terms of economic participation and opportunity and to 112th place for educational attainment.
Economic
Among the 153 countries studied, India is the only country where the economic gender gap (0.354) is larger than the political gender gap (0.411).
India is among the countries with very low women representation on company boards (13.8%), while it was even worse in China (9.7%).
On health and survival, four large countries — Pakistan, India, Vietnam and China — fare badly with millions of women there not getting the same access to health as men.
http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GGGR_2020.pdf

2. Consider the following statements regarding the Real-Time Polymerase Chain (RT-PCR).
1. RT-PCR has revolutionized the 21st century of biological science due to its tremendous application in quantitative genotyping, genetic variation of inter and intra organisms, early diagnosis of disease, forensic and so on.
2. RT-PCR has been made for detecting or quantifying viruses from viral infected human specimens.
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
Answer-c
Explanation-
Real time polymerase chain reaction tests (RT-PCR)
The invention of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) by Kary Mullis in 1984 was considered as a revolution in science.
Real-time PCR, hereafter abbreviated RT PCR, is becoming a common tool for detecting and quantifying expression profiles of selected genes. This technology detects the PCR products in real-time, i.e. during the reaction.
RT-PCR has revolutionized the 21st century of biological science due to its tremendous application in quantitative genotyping, genetic variation of inter and intra organisms, early diagnosis of disease, forensic and so on.

Principle of PCR
The principle of PCR is based on the enzymatic replication of nucleic acids.
PCR involves the use of primer mediated enzymes for the amplification of DNA.
DNA polymerase synthesizes new strands of DNA complementary to the template DNA.
The DNA polymerase can add a nucleotide to the pre-existing 3’-OH group only. Therefore, a primer is required. Thus, more nucleotides are added to the 3’ prime end of the DNA polymerase.
Components of PCR
Components of PCR constitute the following:
DNA Template– The DNA of interest from the sample.
DNA Polymerase– Taq Polymerase is used. It is thermostable and does not denature at very high temperatures.
Oligonucleotide Primers- These are the short stretches of single-stranded DNA complementary to the 3’ ends of sense and anti-sense strands.
Deoxyribonucleotide triphosphate– These provide energy for polymerization and are the building blocks for the synthesis of DNA. These are single units of bases.
Buffer System– Magnesium and Potassium provide optimum conditions for DNA denaturation and renaturation. It is also important for fidelity, polymerase activity, and stability.
Real Time PCR Applications
1. Quantitative mRNA expression studies.
2. DNA copy number measurements in genomic or viral DNAs.
3. Allelic discrimination assays or SNP genotyping.
4. Verification of microarray results.
5. Drug therapy efficacy.
6. DNA damage measurement.
7. Disease diagnosis
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2430684/

3. Consider the following statements regarding the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
1. It is the only UN body with the authority to issue binding resolutions to member states.
2. The UNSC consists of fifteen members.
3. India was among the founding members of UN and is a one of the largest constant contributor of troops to United Nations Peacekeeping missions.
Which of the statements given above are correct?
(a) 2 and 3 only
(b) 1 and 2 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3
Answer-d
Explanation-
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is one of the organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security.
Its powers include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of international sanctions, and the authorization of military action through Security Council resolutions; it is the only UN body with the authority to issue binding resolutions to member states.
Members: The Security Council consists of fifteen members. Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, and the United States—serve as the body’s five permanent members. These permanent members can veto any substantive Security Council resolution, including those on the admission of new member states or candidates for Secretary-General.
The Security Council also has 10 non-permanent members, elected on a regional basis to serve two-year terms. The body’s presidency rotates monthly among its members.
Proposed reforms:
Reform of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) encompasses five key issues: categories of membership, the question of the veto held by the five permanent members, regional representation, the size of an enlarged Council and its working methods, and the Security Council-General Assembly relationship. There is also a proposal to admit more permanent members.
India’s demands:
India has been calling for the reform of the UN Security Council along with Brazil, Germany and Japan for long, emphasising that it rightly deserves a place at the UN high table as a permanent member.
Why India should be given a permanent seat in the council?
India was among the founding members of United Nations.
It is the second largest and a one of the largest constant contributor of troops to United Nations Peacekeeping missions.
It has been a member of UNSC for 7 terms and a member of G-77 and G-4, so permanent membership is a logical extension.
Notes-
The G4 Bloc: Group of 4 countries, (Germany, Japan, Brazil, India) bidding for permanent seats in the UN Security Council.
The Coffee Club or Uniting for Consensus: Group of countries opposed to the G4. They favoured the expansion of the non-permanent category of seats with members to be elected on a regional basis Italy, Spain, Argentina, Canada, Mexico, South Korea and Pakistan.

4. Consider the following statements regarding the Ajanta Caves.
1. Ajanta is a series of rock-cut caves in the Sahyadri ranges onthe bank of  Tapti River in Maharashtra.
2. The Ajanta caves were inscribed by the Buddhist monks, under the patronage of the Vakataka kings.
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
Answer-B
Explanation-
Ajanta Caves
Location: Ajanta is a series of rock-cut caves in the Sahyadri ranges (Western Ghats) on Waghora River near Aurangabad in Maharashtra.
Number of Caves: There are a total of 29 caves (all Buddhist) of which 25 were used as Viharas or residential caves while 4 were used as Chaitya or prayer halls.
Time of Development
The caves were developed in the period between 200 B.C. to 650 A.D.
The Ajanta caves were inscribed by the Buddhist monks, under the patronage of the Vakataka kings – Harishena being a prominent one.
Reference of the Ajanta caves can be found in the travel accounts of Chinese Buddhist travellers Fa Hien (during the reign of Chandragupta II; 380- 415 CE) and Hieun Tsang (during the reign of emperor Harshavardhana; 606 – 647 CE). .
Painting
The figures in these cases were done using fresco painting.
The outlines of the paintings were done in red colour. One of the striking features is the absence of blue colour in the paintings.
The paintings are generally themed around Buddhism – the life of Buddha and Jataka stories.
UNESCO Site: The caves were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983.
Ellora Caves
Location: It is located nearly 100 Kms away from Ajanta caves in the Sahyadri range of Maharashtra.
Number of Caves: It is a group of 34 caves – 17 Brahmanical, 12 Buddhist and 5 Jain.
Time of Development
These set of caves were developed during the period between the 5th and 11th centuries A.D. (newer as compared to Ajanta Caves) by various guilds from Vidarbha, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
That is why the caves reflect a natural diversity in terms of theme and architectural styles.
UNESCO Site: The Ellora complex was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983.
The most remarkable of the cave temples is Kailasa (Kailasanatha; cave 16), named for the mountain in the Kailasa Range of the Himalayas where the Hindu god Shiva resides.
https://knowindia.gov.in/culture-and-heritage/monuments/ajanta-and-ellora-caves.php

5. Consider the following statements regarding the National Health Profile (NHP), 2019.
1. The NHP is prepared by the Central Bureau of Health Intelligence (CBHI).
2. It covers comprehensive information on demographic, socio-economic health status, health finance indicators, health infrastructure and health of human resources in the country.
3. The Total Fertility Rate (TFR) for the country was 3.2 whereas in rural areas it was 2.5 and 1.8 in urban areas during 2016 as per the latest available information.
Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?
(a) 2 and 3 only
(b) 1 and 2 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3
Answer-b
Explanation-
National Health Profile (NHP) 2019
Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare released the 14th National Health Profile (NHP) 2019 & its e-book (digital version).
The NHP is prepared by the Central Bureau of Health Intelligence (CBHI) and covers comprehensive information on demographic, socio-economic health status, health finance indicators, health infrastructure and health of human resources in the country. This 14th edition of NHP is the continuation of the publication since 2005.
It helps in understanding the goals, our strengths and weaknesses and is also an important means to strategize area specific interventions.
The NHP highlights substantial health information under major indicators viz. demographic indicators (population and vital statistics), socio-economic indicators (education, employment, housing and amenities, drinking water and sanitation) and health status indicators (incidence and prevalence of common communicable and non-communicable diseases and RCH) etc.
The health finance section provides an overview of health insurance and expenditure on health, both public and Out of Pocket Expenditure (OOP) etc.
The section on human resources provides an overview of availability of manpower working in the health sector, while health infrastructure section provides details of Medical and Dental Colleges, AYUSH Institutes, Nursing Courses and Paramedical Courses etc.
Key findings:
Life expectancy in India has increased from 49.7 years in 1970-75 to 68.7 years in 2012-16. Life expectancy for females is 70.2 years and 67.4 years for males.
Diabetes and hypertension rate are high among Indians while dengue and chikungunya are a cause of great concern to public health.
Highest population density of 11,320 people per square kilometre was reported by the National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCT) whereas Arunachal Pradesh reported the lowest population density of 17.
High incidence in the young and economically active population.
There has been consistent decrease in the birth rate, death rate and natural growth rate in India since 1991 to 2017:
As on 2017, India has registered birth rate of 20.2 per population of 1,000 and death rate of 6.3 while the natural growth rate was 13.9 per population of 1,000.
The birth rate in rural areas was higher than in the urban.
The death rate and natural growth rate were also higher in rural areas as compared to the urban.
The population, however, continues to grow, as the decline in the birth rate is not as rapid as the decline in the death rate.
The infant mortality rate (IMR) has declined considerably (33 per 1,000 live births in 2016), however differentials of rural (37) and urban (23) are still high.
The Total Fertility Rate (TFR) for the country was 2.3 whereas in rural areas it was 2.5 and 1.8 in urban areas during 2016 as per the latest available information.
https://pib.gov.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=194101