Current based PRELIMS QUESTION 14 April 2020


1 . Consider the following Journals.
1. Indian Opinion
2. Navjivan
3. Harijan Bandhu
4. Golden Number
5. Harijan Sevak
Which of the the following Journals were related to editorship of Mahatma Gandhi Ji?
(a) 1, 3 and 5 only
(b) 1, 3, 4 and 5 only
(c) 1, 2, 3 and 5 only
(d) All of the above

  1. Answer-d

2. Consider the following statements regarding the Zonal Councils.
1. The Union Home Minister is the Chairman of each of these Councils.
2. Each Council is an advisory body and may discuss any matter in which some or all of the States represented in that Council, or the Union and one or more of the States represented in that Council, have a common interest and advise the Central Government and the Government of each State concerned as to the action to be taken on any such matter.
3. As per Section 17(1) of States Re-organisation Act, each Zonal Council shall meet at such time as the Chairman of the Council may appoint in this behalf.
4. In the light of the vision of Pandit Nehru, five Zonal Councils were set up vide Part-III of the States Re-organisation Act, 1956.
Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?
(a) 1, 2 and 4 only
(b) 1, 3 and 4 only
(c) 1, 2 and 3 only
(d) All of the above

Zonal councils
Statutory bodies established under the State’s Reorganisation Act 1956 and not constitutional bodies. They are only deliberative and advisory bodies.
Aim: to promote interstate cooperation and coordination.
There are 5 five Zonal councils namely:
1. The Northern Zonal Council, comprising the States of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan, National Capital Territory of Delhi and Union Territory of Chandigarh.
2. The Central Zonal Council, comprising the States of Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
3. The Eastern Zonal Council, comprising the States of Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, and West Bengal.
4. The Western Zonal Council, comprising the States of Goa, Gujarat, Maharashtra and the Union Territories of Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli.
5. The Southern Zonal Council, comprising the States of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and the Union Territory of Puducherry.
Committiees of zonal councils
Each Zonal Council has set up a Standing Committee consisting of Chief Secretaries of the member States of their respective Zonal Councils. These Standing Committees meet from time to time to resolve the issues or to do necessary ground work for further meetings of the Zonal Councils. Senior Officers of the Planning Commission and other Central Ministries are also associated with the meetings depending upon necessity.
Organisational structure of zonal councils
Chairman – The Union Home Minister is the Chairman of each of these Councils.
Vice Chairman – The Chief Ministers of the States included in each zone act as Vice-Chairman of the Zonal Council for that zone by rotation, each holding office for a period of one year at a time.
Members- Chief Minister and two other Ministers as nominated by the Governor from each of the States and two members from Union Territories included in the zone.
Advisers- One person nominated by the Planning Commission for each of the Zonal Councils, Chief Secretaries and another officer/Development Commissioner nominated by each of the States included in the Zone
Union Ministers are also invited to participate in the meetings of Zonal Councils depending upon necessity.
Role and objectives of the zonal councils
The Zonal Councils provide an excellent forum where irritants between Centre and States and amongst States can be resolved through free and frank discussions and consultations. Being advisory bodies, there is full scope for free and frank exchange of views in their meetings. Though there are a large number of other fora like the National Development Council, Inter State Council, Governor’s/Chief Minister’s Conferences and other periodical high level conferences held under the auspices of the Union Government, the Zonal Councils are different, both in content and character. They are regional fora of cooperative endeavour for States linked with each other economically, politically and culturally. Being compact high level bodies, specially meant for looking after the interests of respective zones, they are capable of focusing attention on specific issues taking into account regional factors, while keeping the national perspective in view.


3. Consider the following statements with reference to the Elections of RajyaSabha.
1. NOTA vote is not applicable as a ballot option in the RajyaSabha polls.
2. The provisions of the 10th Schedule to the Constitution relating to disqualifications on the ground of defection are not applicable to open voting at elections to Council of States.
Which of the following statements is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Composition of RajyaSabha
Article 80 of the Constitution lays down the maximum strength of RajyaSabha as 250, out of which 12 members are nominated by the President and 238 are representatives of the States and of the two Union Territories.
The present strength of RajyaSabha, however, is 245, out of which 233 are representatives of the States and Union territories of Delhi and Puducherry and 12 are nominated by the President. The members nominated by the President are persons having special knowledge or practical experience in respect of such matters as literature, science, art and social service.
Allocation of Seats to RajyaSabha
The Fourth Schedule to the Constitution provides for the allocation of seats to the States and Union Territories in RajyaSabha. The allocation of seats is made on the basis of the population of each State. Consequent on the reorganization of States and formation of new States, the number of elected seats in the RajyaSabha allotted to States and Union Territories has changed from time to time since 1952.
Process of Rajya Sabha Election
The representatives of the States and of the Union Territories in the RajyaSabha are elected by the method of indirect election. The representatives of each State and two Union territories are elected by the elected members of the Legislative Assembly of that State and by the members of the Electoral College for that Union Territory, as the case may be, in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote.
Election to RajyaSabha: Procedure Illustrated with an Example
The RajyaSabha seat quota for each state is fixed as per Schedule 4 of the constitution. Elections to 1/3 of these seats occur every 2 years. Let’s take an example of a state where there is Rajya Sabha election for 3 seats. Let there be only two parties in the legislative assembly. Party A has 100 seats and party B has 40 seats. Both parties can field three candidates each for the three Rajya sabha seats.
To win a Rajya Sabha seat, a candidate should get a required number of votes. That number (quotient) is found out using the below formula.
Quotient = Total number of votes divided by (Number of Rajya Sabha seats + 1 ) + 1.
In the illustrated case, a candidate requires (140/4)+1, ie. 36 votes to win.
Open ballots are used in the Rajya Sabha elections.
The Supreme Court in its judgment dated 22 August 2006 in the matter of Kuldip Nayar Vs Union of India and Ors (AIR 2006 SC3127) observed that ‘The contention that the right of expression of the voter at an election for the Council of States is affected by open ballot in not tenable, as an elected MLA would not face any disqualification from the Membership of the House for voting in a particular manner.
He may at the most attract action from the political party to which he belongs.
Open ballot voting applies in election to Council of States only.
The Election Commission withdrew the ‘none of the above’ (NOTA) option from ballot papers of the Rajya Sabha and the Legislative Council polls following a Supreme Court directive.
On 21 August 2018, the apex court had said that NOTA will not be applicable as a ballot option in the Rajya Sabha polls.


4. Consider the following statements regarding the Bharat Stage (BS) norms.
1. BS-VI emission norms will be implemented from the year 2020.
2. BS-VI fuel will bring down sulphur content by 5 times from the current BS-IV levels.
3. These are applicable to all two wheelers, three wheelers, four wheelers and construction equipment vehicles.
4. BS-I was introduced in 2000 by the Central Pollution Control Board under the Union Ministry of Environment.
Which of the following statements is/are correct?
(a) 1, 2 and 4 only
(b) 1, 3 and 4 only
(c) 1, 2 and 3 only
(d) All of the above

4. Answer-d
BS-VI Emission Norms
The Union Environment Minister has recently announced that the BS-VI emission norms will be implemented from the year 2020, and this will drastically reduce vehicular pollution.
In order to comply with BS-VI norms, the vehicle manufacturers need to move to the new technology to make vehicles compliant with the BS VI standards.
The switch to BS-VI vehicles was to happen in 2022 but looking at the poor air condition, the move was advanced by four years.
All vehicles will have to follow new standards (BS -VI) from 1st April, 2020. The standards cover four and two-wheelers and commercial vehicles.
At present, BS IV and BS III fuels are available across India.
Due to their use, hazardous pollutants in the air are increasing leading to health ailments like Asthma, Bronchitis, heart diseases and even cancer.
Bharat Stage Emission Standards
The Bharat Stage (BS) is emission standards instituted by the Government of India to regulate the output of air pollutants from motor vehicles.
The Environment Ministry is responsible for deciding the fuel standard in the country. The Central Pollution Control Board implements these standards.
The BS regulations are based on the European emission standards.
Companies can come up with new vehicles with BS VI fuel standards even before the April 2020 deadline. But after the deadline, vehicles that do not comply with BS VI standards will not be registered.
With the implementation of new norms, pollution levels are expected to come down significantly as the particulate matter (PM) will decrease. About one-third of the air pollution is caused by cars and motor vehicles.
Advantages of BS-VI fuel over BS-IV Fuel
In BS-VI fuel, the volume of PM 2.5 ranges from 20 to 40 micrograms per cubic metre whereas in BS-IV fuel it is up to 120 micrograms per cubic metre.
BS-VI fuel will bring down sulphur content by 5 times from the current BS-IV levels. It has 10 ppm of sulphur as against 50 ppm in BS-IV.
Sulphur in the fuel contributes to fine particulate matter emissions. High sulphur content in the fuel also leads to corrosion and wear of the automobile engine.
With BS-VI fuel, for every one kilometre, a car will emit 80% less particulate matter and nearly 70% less nitrogen oxide.
Air pollutants in BS-VI fuel are much less as compared to BS-IV fuel.
BS-VI norms also seek to reduce the level of certain harmful hydrocarbons in the emissions that are produced due to incomplete combustion of fuel.
Shift from BS-IV to BS-VI Norms
The shift from BS-IV to BS-VI compliant vehicles, in less than a year’s time poses a challenge for India’s automotive sector
This will be the first time that the auto industry will follow a sales bound rather than the production-bound deadline.
In all previous instances, manufacturers were allowed to exhaust their stock of older generation inventory after the onset of new emission standards.
The refineries have also been undergoing major upgradation to produce BS VI fuel.
Car makers will have to start producing BS VI fuel compliant engines as quickly as possible to avail benefits of the cleaner fuel.
The shift makes on-board diagnostics (OBD) mandatory for all automobiles.
The OBD unit will be able to identify likely areas of malfunction by means of fault codes stored on a computer ensuring that sophisticated emission control device which is fitted in a BS-VI vehicle runs at optimum efficiency throughout the life of the vehicle.
Apart from engine calibration, there will be various after treatment additions such as selective catalytic reduction and diesel particulate filters to meet carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, nitrous oxide and particulate matter limit of BS VI norms.
Migration to BS VI norms necessitates the use of oxygen sensors, a complex coding of the electronic control unit and ignition control.
The cost of producing BS VI grade fuels will be higher compared to BS IV fuels.
The two-wheelers predominantly used carbureted engines (air and fuel for internal combustion are mixed in the proper air–fuel ratio) and they have to now move to fuel injection engine systems (an injector is used to introduce the fuel for internal combustion).
So, the after sales and service network and manpower will need to be upgraded for the skills and troubleshooting of this new technology.
Diesel hydro-treating units that will ensure the reduction of sulphur concentration to stipulated limits are being created or their capacity is being augmented.
For meeting gasoline fuel quality, desulphurisation technologies along with octane boosting units are being installed.
Impact of the Shift
Making automobiles BS VI compatible will increase the cost of production for the manufacturing companies which in turn will make the vehicles costlier for the buyers.
This includes making changes to their production line to turn out BS VI fuel friendly engines that will become mandatory by the year 2020.
Some companies may even have to import engines and other parts but in the end it will be the car buyer’s burden because vehicles with BS VI engines will cost more than the BS IV vehicle.
Diesel vehicles and economy segment motor cycles will also see a sharp increase in their prices.
Using a pre BS IV car using BS VI fuel can be detrimental to the engine life. There may be trouble with injection pumps, oil seals and injectors leading to higher wear and tear, consequently higher emissions.
It is said that by 2020, all vehicles that will be seen on Indian roads would have BS VI engines, however, the government has not announced any new rule for old vehicles a scrap policy for outdated automobiles.
Advantages of the Shift
By reducing toxic substances in the air, BS-VI will help reduce air pollution.
BS-VI will reduce NOx drastically, thus improving air quality.
NOx is the primary cause of a lot of health issues, especially respiratory issues.
The lower sulphur in BS VI will help reduce harmful exhaust emissions like NO2, CO, SO2.
Vehicles that have emission control systems will perform even better with BS-VI.
For old vehicles, BS-VI standards open up an option of retrofitting.
Oil companies are making significant changes in their oil refining technique. The new standard requires that the use of sulphur in diesel should come down to 10 PPM, whereas according to the BS -II, it was up to 500 PPM. This change will affect the density of diesel oil. The usual density of BS IV fuel diesel ranges from 820 to 845 kg/ cubic metre but now it has to be increased to 860 kg/ cubic metre.
The change in density will help improve the quality of oil as well as help reduce air pollution.
The Auto Fuel Vision Policy, 2025 in June 2014 had recommended a 75 paise cess to recoup additional investments projected for producing cleaner fuels.


5. The Idlib city sometime seen in news recently, this is located in which country?
(a) Lebanon
(b) Syria
(c) Philistine
(d) Iraq

5. Answer-b
A humanitarian crisis is unfolding in northern Syria after the government’s attempt to take back the opposition-held city of Idlib. Idlib is a city in northwestern Syria.
The area is the country’s last rebel-controlled stronghold and the Syrian government’s military campaign there, backed by Russia, and has created a humanitarian catastrophe with nearly 1 million people displaced.
Most of them are now crowding areas close to the border with Turkey, living in camps, shelters, abandoned homes and in open fields.
It is the largest single displacement of Syria’s war, now in its ninth year.
Tensions have been running high between Turkey and Russia, which support opposing sides of the war in Syria.