Current based PRELIMS QUESTION 13 May 2020

1. Consider the following statements regarding the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).
1. It is an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission, the first of its kind in the world, dedicated to defending the universal right to freedom of religion or belief abroad.
2. It releases International Religious Freedom report biennially.
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

1.Answer-a
Explanation
United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)
It is an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission created by the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA), 1998. It monitors the universal right to freedom of religion or belief abroad.
USCIRF uses international standards to monitor religious freedom violations globally, and makes policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress.
USCIRF Commissioners are appointed by the President and Congressional leaders of both political parties.
Their work is supported by a professional, nonpartisan staff. USCIRF is separate from the State Department, although the Department’s Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom is a non-voting ex officio Commissioner.
Its recommendations are not binding and acts only as a conscience-keeper for the two branches in the US government — the legislature and the executive.
International Religious Freedom report, 2019
USCIRF releases International Religious Freedom report annually. The Report consists of country-wise chapters.
The 2019 report on India discussed mob-related violence, religious conversion, the legal status of minorities and government policies.
It has placed India on its Tier 2 category for engaging in or tolerating religious freedom violations that meet at least one of the elements of the “systematic, ongoing, egregious” standard for designation as a “country of particular concern,” or CPC, under the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA).

2. Consider the following statements about Amrita Sher-Gil.
1. Often referred to as India’s Frida Kahlo for aesthetically blending traditional and Western art forms, she was one of the most famous painters of India.
2. Her works have been declared as National Art Treasures by the Government of India.
3. In 2013, the 100th anniversary of her birth was declared as the international year of Amrita Sher-Gil by UNESCO.
4. Early paintings display a significant influence of the Western modes of painting with special influence of works of Hungarian painters, especially the Nagybanya School of painting.
Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?
(a) 1, 2 and 3 only
(b) 2, 3 and 4 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) All of the above
2.Answer-d
Explanation-
Amrita Sher-gil: An Artist Who Defied Norms
This Hungarian-Indian is considered a pioneer of Indian modern art and among the great avant-garde women artists of the 20th century. Hardly acknowledged in her lifetime, her work is considered among the most expansive by any Indian artist.
Sher-Gil was born on January 30, 1913 in Budapest, Hungary, to Umrao Singh Sher-Gil Majithia, a scholar in Sanskrit and Persian, and Marie Antoinette Gottesmann, a Hungarian-Jewish opera singer. She grew up in Budapest with her younger sister Indira. Sher-Gil’s artistic talent was first noticed by her uncle and Indologist Ervin Baktay.
In 1921, Sher-Gil’s family moved to Simla, Himachal Pradesh, after facing financial problems in Hungary. When she was around eight years old, she began attending formal lessons in painting from Major Whitmarsh. In 1924, Sher-Gil took admission in an art school in Florence, Italy, but returned to India soon. Aged 16, Sher-Gil again went to Europe to undergo training in Paris as an artist. She enrolled in the art college Academie de La Grande Chaumiere and later at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts.
Beginning
The early paintings by Sher-Gil displayed a huge western influence which she mainly practised around 1930s in the Bohemian circles of Paris. In 1932, her oil painting titled Young Girls became one of the major works to receive appreciation, including a medal and membership of the Grand Salon in Paris in 1933. Her work at that time included themes like self-portraits in various moods, life in Paris, and portraits of friends and other students.
Rediscovering India
In 1934, Sher-Gil returned to India and during the next year, she met with English journalist Malcolm Muggeridge and began working as assistant editor and writer at The Statesman newspaper. Around 1936, she met art collector Karl Khandalvala with whom she rediscovered Indian traditional art such as the cave paintings at Ajanta, Mughal and Pahari art.
Making of an artist
Her stay in India marked a new phase in her art journey. In 1937, she explored the southern parts of the country and made her famous trilogy of Bride’s Toilet, South Indian Villagers Going to Market and Brahmacharis.
These were distinct from her earlier work in Europe as they revealed her sense of colours and empathy for her subjects in despair which she imbibed in India.
Second Phase
At 25, Sher-Gil got married to Victor Egan and began living in Saraya, a village in Gorakhpur. Her works were later influenced by the Bengal School of Painting. During her stay in Saraya, she created her famous works such as In the Ladies Enclosure, Siesta and Village Scene. All three reflected the Indian traditional art.
In 1941, she and Egan moved to Lahore, which used to be cultural hub and main centre of art in pre-partition India. The same year, she organised her first solo exhibition in Lahore. But few days before the inauguration she fell seriously ill and passed away on December 5, 1941.
Recognition
A road in Delhi is named after Sher-Gil. Her entire work was declared as the National Art Treasures by the Union government. Her paintings influenced eminent Indian artists like Arpita Singh and Sayed Haider Raza. In 1978, the postal department released a stamp depicting her painting Hill Women.
Interesting Facts:
1. Sher-Gil’s works were considered revolutionary because they blended elements of the traditional Indian and western style. It evoked parallels with Frida Kahlo, whose portraits and other works were inspired by the artifacts of Mexico.
2. On Amrita Sher-gil’s 100th birth anniversary, Unesco had declared 2013 as the international year of Amrita Sher-Gil in honour of the artist who created a link between Indian and European art with her paintings.
3. She also knew how to play the piano and violin which she learned as a child. Around the age of 9, she and her sister Indira performed at the Gaiety Theatre on the Mall Road in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh.
4. In 2018, Sher-Gil’s painting The Little Girl in Blue fetched ₹18.69 crore during an auction by Sotheby’s titled Boundless: India. Created in 1934, the painting was a portrait of Sher-Gil’s 8-year-old cousin Babit.
5. Very few of Sher-Gil’s works have been sold globally due to a stipulation by the government that whenever her works are to be sold, they must stay in India because they are an important part of Indian culture.

3. Consider the following statements regarding the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA).
1. It is a statutory authority of Ministry of Women & Child Development.
2. It functions as the nodal agency for adoption of Indian children and is mandated to supervise and regulate both in-country and inter-country adoptions.
3. It is also mandated to frame regulations on adoption related matters from time to time as per the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.
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
3.Answer-d
Explanation-
Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA)
Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) is a Statutory Body of Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India which promotes and facilitates In –country adoption and regulates Inter-country adoption as Central Authority under the Hague Convention for Inter-country adoptions.
It is also mandated to frame regulations on adoption related matters from time to time as per Section 68 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.

4. Which of the following are parameters of QS World University rankings?
1. Research & Development Expenditure
2. Citation per faculty
3. Academic reputation
4. Employer reputation
Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?
(a) 1, 2 and 3 only
(b) 2, 3 and 4 only
(c) 2 and 3 only
(d) All of the above
Answer-b
Explanation
QS University Ranking
QS University Ranking is an annual publication by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS).
The universities were ranked based on the parameters such as Academic reputation, Employer reputation, Citation per faculty Faculty-Student ratio and International students.
Key Findings:
• Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Stanford University and University of Cambridge has secured top three positions in the Engineering and Technology category. IIT Bombay (44), IIT Delhi (47), IIT Kharagpur (86), IIT Madras (88) and IIT Kanpur (96) found place in top 100 of this category.
• In the Natural Sciences category, three Indian institutions made it to the top 200: IIT-Bombay at 108th rank closely followed by the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore at the 111th position, while IIT-Madras scraped in at the 195th rank.
• Jawaharlal Nehru University remained the country’s top institution in the Arts and Humanities category, with a global ranking of 162, followed at a distance by Delhi University at 231.
• Delhi University topped the Social Sciences and Management category, with a global ranking of 160, followed by IIT-Delhi at 183.
• There are no Indian institutions in the world’s top 200 when it comes to Life Sciences and Medicine. The top institution in the country is the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, which had a global ranking of 231.
• The Jindal Global Law School (JGLS) has been ranked in the 101-150 band across all Law Schools that have been ranked in the world while the National Law School of India University (NLSIU), Bengaluru has been ranked in the 151-200 band.

5. Consider the following statements regarding the Companies (Second Amendment) Bill, 2019.
1. The Amendment Bill, inter alia, would enable the listing of Indian companies on stock exchanges in foreign jurisdictions.
2. It would remove criminality under the Act in case of defaults which can be determined objectively.
3. The Bill would also further increase difficulty of living for law abiding corporates.
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
5. Answer-b
Explanation-
Companies (Second Amendment) Bill, 2019
The Union Cabinet has approved the Companies (Second Amendment) Bill, 2019 to amend the Companies Act, 2013.
The Bill would remove criminality under the Act in case of defaults which can be determined objectively and which, otherwise, lack the element of fraud or do not involve larger public interest. This would also lead to further de-clogging of the criminal justice system in the country.
The Amendment Bill, inter alia, would enable the listing of Indian companies on stock exchanges in foreign jurisdictions.
The Bill would also further ease of living for law abiding corporates. Earlier, the Companies (Amendment) Act, 2015 amended certain provisions of the Act to remove difficulties faced in implementation of various provisions of the Act.