Current based PRELIMS QUESTION 15 May 2020

1. Consider the following statements about Hydrogen-Enriched Compressed Natural Gas (HCNG).
1.  HCNG is still under research as though it increases fuel efficiency and reduce carbon emission but it  also led to increased NOx emissions.
2. HCNG which may be used as a fuel of Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) is considered a cleaner source of fuel, more powerful and offers more mileage then even CNG.
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-c
Explanation-
CNG bus in Delhi
Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) is methane (CH4) stored at high pressure. CNG as a fuel can be used in place of gasoline, diesel fuel and propane (C3H8) / LPG and its combustion produces fewer undesirable gases then the other mentioned fuels.
Combustion is a high temperature exothermic chemical reaction between a fuel and an oxidant that produces oxidized products.
HCNG is a mixture of compressed natural gas (CNG) and some % Hydrogen by energy.
HCNG = CNG + H2.
HCNG which may be used as a fuel of Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) is considered a cleaner source of fuel, more powerful and offers more mileage then even CNG.
Trials of HNCG have been held in countries like US, Brazil and South Korea.
Delhi Government has tied up with Indian Oil Corporation Limited to study the technology and infrastructure needs to induct 50 HCNG buses on a trial basis. IOCL has plans to mix (18-20) % Hydrogen in these buses.
The shift to HCNG buses in future will be the second big step in Delhi for public transport buses towards a cleaner fuel after the shift to CNG buses in 2002.
Delhi Government was earlier planning to shift towards electric buses to curb pollution. But, following the Supreme Court’s order to explore new cleaner fuels, it has made plans to run HCNG buses.
There has been a constant stress on reducing the Carbon footprints and stopping the effects of climate change. This has forced the research towards alternative fuels.
Advantages of HCNG:
HCNG reduces emissions of CO up to 70%.
Enables up to 5 % savings in fuel.
First step towards future Hydrogen economy.
Engines can be calibrated to release lower amounts of NO.
Engines need minimum modification to run on HCNG.
Ideal fuel for high load applications and heavy-duty vehicles.
Better performance due to higher Octane rating of H2.
Disadvantages of using HCNG:
Determining the most optimized H2/ NG (Natural Gas) ratio.
It requires new infrastructures for preparing HCNG.
Many steps need to be taken for commercializing it at a large scale.
Current cost of H2 is more than the cost of Natural Gas. So, HCNG’s cost is more than CNG.

Crude oil is a non-renewable source of energy and causes pollution. So, alternative and cleaner fuels like HCNG, CNG, LPG, Alcohol fuels, electricity and biofuels are being explored. Electricity can be generated by sources like nuclear energy, wind power, solar energy, etc as cleaner options.

2. Consider the following statements with respect to the Puri Jagannath Temple.
1. This is called ‘Yamanika Tirtha’ where, according to the Hindu beliefs, the power of ‘Yama’, the god of death has been nullified in Puri due to the presence of Lord Jagannath.
2. The temple is a part of Char Dham pilgrimages that a Hindu is expected to make in one’s lifetime.
3. The idol of Jagannatha is made of wood which is ceremoniously replaced in every twelve or nineteen years by using sacred trees.
4. The temple is believed to be constructed in the 12th century by King Anatavarman Chodaganga Deva of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty.
Which of the following statements 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-
Jagannatha temple, Puri, Odisha
This is called ‘Yamanika Tirtha’ where, according to the Hindu beliefs, the power of ‘Yama’, the god of death has been nullified in Puri due to the presence of Lord Jagannath.
It is also located on the eastern coast, at Puri, Odisha.
The temple is a part of Char Dham (Badrinath, Dwaraka, Puri, Rameswaram) pilgrimages that a Hindu is expected to make in one’s lifetime.
When most of the deities in the temples of India are made of stone or metal, the idol of Jagannatha is made of wood which is ceremoniously replaced in every twelve or nineteen years by using sacred trees.
The temple is believed to be constructed in the 12th century by King Anatavarman Chodaganga Deva of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty.
There are four gates to the temple- Eastern ‘Singhdwara’ which is the main gate with two crouching lions, Southern ‘Ashwadwara’, Western ‘Vyaghradwara and Northern ‘Hastidwara’. There is a carving of each form at each gate.
In front of the entrance stands the Aruna stambha or sun pillar, which was originally at the Sun Temple in Konark.
Jagannath Rath Yatra
The temple is famous for its annual Ratha Yatra or Chariot festival.
The festival is celebrated on the second day of Shukla Paksha of Ashadh, the third month, according to the traditional Oriya calendar.
The Rath Yatra (Chariot Festival) is 9 day-long event during which the three holy chariots carrying idols of Lord Jagannath, his brother Balaram (Balabhadra) and sister Subhadra are pulled by thousands of devotees from India and abroad.
The festival honours the Lord Jagannath’s visit along with his siblings to the temple of Queen Gundicha, the place of their aunt’s house where they revel in a nine day stay.
Issue
Lord Jagannath’ is originally a tribal deity who has been incorporated into the brahminical fold over the years. As only people of the Hindu faith are currently being allowed into his shrine in Puri, some people have been expressing dissent.
Most theories have it that the main deity at Puri is a “Sabara Debata” (Adivasi god) who was named Jagannath (Lord of the Universe) by early Buddhists. Notably, Jagannath was established in Puri in the 9th century AD, and was usurped into the Brahminical fold after the decline of Buddhism. Some Hindutva ideologues decry this, but there is clear evidence that temple entry restrictions based on caste and religion was only after 16th century.

3. Consider the following statements about Lord Venkateswara Temple of Tirumala.
1. It was built on the Venkata Hill, which is a part of the famous Seshachalam Hills.
2. It built in accordance with the Dravidian style of architecture, the temple has three entrances, which lead to the sanctum sanctorum.
3. King Thondaiman of Tondaimandalam kingdom constructed the precincts and the towering gateway (Gopuram) of the temple.
Which of the following statements is/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-
Lord Venkateswara Temple
Lord Venkateswara Temple at Tirumala (Tirupati) was built on the Venkata Hill, which is a part of the famous Seshachalam Hills.
According to a legend, Lord Vishnu assumed the form of Sri Venkateswara to save mankind from the adversities of Kali Yuga.
History & Legends Associated with the Temple
The larger than life statue of the main deity is said to have formed on its own, making it one of the eight ‘Swayambhu Kshetras’ (self-manifested image) of Lord Vishnu.
Many ancient texts, including the Rig Veda mention the existence and prominence of the temple.
Written texts, which are dated back to the Mauryan and Gupta era, refer the temple as ‘Aadhi Varaha Kshetra’.
As far as the construction of the temple is concerned, King Thondaiman of Tondaimandalam kingdom constructed the precincts and the towering gateway (Gopuram) of the temple. The temple was later expanded by various kings and emperors who ruled over the place. Starting from 300 AD, the Tirupati Temple was built over a period of time.
One of the earliest recorded evidences state the generosity of Pallava queen Samavai; she had donated precious jewels and 23 acres of land for celebrating the major festivals of the temple. During the Chola dynasty, the temple was developed further as many Chola Kings embellished it with riches.
When the Vijayanagara Empire took over, diamonds and gold were donated to the temple. Krishnadevaraya, one of the famous Emperors of Vijayanagara, visited the temple on multiple occasions and contributed to the construction of the temple.
The East India Company then bestowed the administration of the temple to the chief priest of Hathiramji Muth. The Hathiramji Muth administered the temple until 1933, after which the ‘Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam’ (TTD) took over the administration of the temple.
In 1966, a court order transferred the administration of the temple to the government of Andhra Pradesh. This order was rolled back in 1979, when the administration of the temple was vested to the members of TTD. A committee, including a couple of members representing the government of Andhra Pradesh, was formed for running the day-to-day administration.
Architecture
Built in accordance with the Dravidian style of architecture, the temple has three entrances, which lead to the sanctum sanctorum.
The first entrance is called as ‘Mahadwaram.’ A towering gateway (Gopuram), measuring 50 feet high, is placed right in front of the first entrance. The temple has two circumambulation paths. While the first path houses many pillared halls, flagstaffs and a dedicated area to distribute the offertories, the second path has many sub-shrines, main kitchen, main hundi and many other important edifices.
A gold-plated tower inside the main shrine is called ‘Ananda Nilayam’ and is the most important part of the temple.
The inner temple of ‘Ananda Nilayam’ houses the main deity and was constructed around the 12th Century A.D. It was later reconstructed throughout late the 1950s to 1960s.
The temple also has a holy pond called Swami Pushkarni, located towards the northern side. Pushkarni, which covers a huge area of 1.5 acres, is one of the most sacred places of the temple.
There are shrines of many deities within the complex of the temple. One of them is the shrine of Lord Ram, Sita, Lakshmana and Hanuman. The temple also has shrines dedicated to Lord Krishna, along with his consort Rukmini, Vishvaksena, Sugriva and Angad.
While Sugriva and Angad are prominent figures from the Hindu epic Ramayanam, Vishvaksena is Lord Vishnu’s attendant who oversees the Lord’s wealth. Apart from these deities, there are five principal deities and they are mentioned below:
Tirumala Dhruva Bera – Dhruva Bera is the main deity and is considered a source of energy. The idol of Lord Venkateswara is fixed and is believed to be a Swayambhu (self-manifested image). It is said that Lord Vishnu reincarnated on earth and assumed the form of Srinivasa (human form). During his stay on earth, he married princess Padmavati. When Goddess Lakshmi got to know about her husband’s second marriage, she went in search of him. When confronted by both Mahalakshmi and Padmavati, Lord Vishnu, who had assumed the form of Srinivasa, turns into stone.
Bhoga Srinivasa – This is a small silver idol of the Lord which is always placed near the left foot of the main deity. This idol was donated to the temple by Queen Samavai of the Pallava dynasty in 614 A.D. The idol is usually swayed in a silver cradle and is made to sleep in a golden cot. Since the idol experiences all the worldly pleasures, it is called as Bhoga Srinivasa.
Ugra Srinivasa – The idol of Ugra Srinivasa is kept inside the sanctum sanctorum and is cleansed everyday with holy water, milk, ghee, curd, etc. Originally, the idol was used in the processions, but was later replaced by Utsava Beram. It is said that whenever the idol of Ugra Srinivasa was taken out for processions, fire accidents would take place inevitably. Hence, this idol was considered as the fierce from of Lord Venkateswara.
Utsava Beram – When the devotees could no longer use the idol of Ugra Srinivasa for processions, they offered their prayers to the Lord, requesting Him to suggest them an alternative. The Lord then appeared in one of His devotees’ dream and told him about another idol that can be used for processions. The devotees then found the idol of Utsava Beram in the hills of Seshachalam. The same idol is being used for processions to date.
Koluvu Srinivasa – Made from a combination of five metals, Koluvu Srinivasa is considered as the guardian deity who supervises all the activities, including the finances of the temple. The idol closely resembles Dhruva Bera and is also called Bali Beram.
The Tirupati Temple celebrates a staggering 433 festivals in a year, practically turning every day into a festival. Out of all those festivals, ‘Brahmotsavam’ is the most famous festival of Tirupati. ‘Brahmotsavam’ is celebrated in a grand style over a period of nine days. The festival attracts pilgrims and tourists from all over the country.
Another important festival which is celebrated in the temple is called ‘Vaikunta Ekadashi.’ It is believed that the gates of heaven (Lord Vishnu’s abode) will remain open on this particular day. Hence the festival holds great significance. Significance
Legend has it that the main deity of the temple has stood through epochs (Yugas). Since it is believed that Lord Vishnu turned Himself into stone in order to help mankind in the Dark Age, devotees often experience a state of bliss after visiting the temple. The temple also plays a vital role in the economy of the local people in general and the government of Andhra Pradesh in particular. Being the world’s richest temple, it creates job opportunities for thousands and is the only source of income to many.

4. Consider the following statements regarding the Mineral Laws (Amendment) Bill 2020.
1. This Bill amends the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 (MMDR Act) and the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015 (CMSP Act).
2. This will speed up the process of implementation of projects, ease of doing business, simplification of procedure and benefit all the parties in areas where minerals are located.
3. Companies will be allowed to carry on coal mining operation for own consumption, sale or for any other purposes, as may be specified by the central government.
Which of the following statements is/are correct?
(a) 2 and 3 only
(b) 1 and 2 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3
4.Answer-d
Explanation-
Mineral Laws (Amendment) Bill 2020
The Bill amends the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 (MMDR Act) and the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015 (CMSP Act).
Allocation of coal/lignite blocks for composite prospecting licence cum mining lease has been provided.
Requirement of previous approval in cases where allocation of blocks was made by GoI has been dispensed with.
Removal of restriction on end-use of coal: Companies will be allowed to carry on coal mining operation for own consumption, sale or for any other purposes, as may be specified by the central government.
Transfer of statutory clearances to new bidders: The Bill provides that the various approvals, licenses, and clearances given to the previous lessee will be extended to the successful bidder for a period of two years. During this period, the new lessee will be allowed to continue mining operations.
Advance action for auction: Under the MMDR Act, mining leases for specified minerals (minerals other than coal, lignite, and atomic minerals) are auctioned on the expiry of the lease period. The Bill provides that state governments can take advance action for auction of a mining lease before its expiry.
Significance:
This will speed up the process of implementation of projects, ease of doing business, simplification of procedure and benefit all the parties in areas where minerals are located.
Background
In 2018, the government had allowed commercial mining by private entities but non-coal companies couldn’t participate in the auction.
In August 2019, the government announced 100 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) under the automatic route in coal mining for open sale, besides creating associated infrastructure, such as washeries.
This opens up the sector to players outside steel and power as well as removes end-use restrictions.
It will create an efficient energy market and bring in more competition as well as reduce coal imports. India imported 235 million tonnes (mt) of coal last year, of which 135 mt valued at Rs 171,000 crore could have been met from domestic reserves.
It might also put an end to Coal India Ltd’s monopoly in the sector.
It would also help India gain access to high-end technology for underground mining used by miners across the globe.
New mining target:
In 2018, the government allowed commercial mining by private entities and set a mining target of 1.5 billion tonnes by 2020. Out of this, 1 billion tonnes was set to be from Coal India, while 500 million tonnes was to be from non-Coal India entities. This target has now been revised to 1 billion tonnes by 223-24.
Who grants permission for mining?
The state governments grant permission for mining, known as mineral concessions, for all the minerals located within the boundary of the state, under the provisions of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 and Mineral Concession Rules, 1960.
However, for minerals specified in the First Schedule to the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957, Central government approval is necessary before granting the mineral concession.
Minerals specified under the First Schedule include hydrocarbons, atomic minerals and metallic minerals such as iron ore, bauxite copper ore, lead precious stones, zinc and gold.
https://www.prsindia.org/billtrack/mineral-laws-amendment-bill-2020

5. Consider the following statements regarding the National Payments Corporation India (NPCI).
1. It is an  organisation established RBI and Indian Banks’ Association for operating retail payments and settlement systems in India.
2. It has been incorporated as a “Not for Profit” Company under the provisions of Section 8 of Companies Act 2013.
3. NPCI has developed the National Electronic Toll Collection program to meet the electronic tolling requirements of the Indian market.
Which of the following statements 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-d
Explanation-
National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI)
NPCI, an umbrella organisation for operating retail payments and settlement systems in India, is an initiative of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) under the provisions of the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007, for creating a robust Payment & Settlement Infrastructure in India.
Considering the utility nature of the objects of NPCI, it has been incorporated as a “Not for Profit” Company under the provisions of Section 25 of Companies Act 1956 (now Section 8 of Companies Act 2013), with an intention to provide infrastructure to the entire Banking system in India for physical as well as electronic payment and settlement systems.
The Company is focused on bringing innovations in the retail payment systems through the use of technology for achieving greater efficiency in operations and widening the reach of payment systems.
The ten core promoter banks are State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, Canara Bank, Bank of Baroda, Union Bank of India, Bank of India, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Citibank N. A. and HSBC. In 2016 the shareholding was broad-based to 56 member banks to include more banks representing all sectors.
Dedicated to the nation by our former President, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, endorsed by the Hon’ble Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi and later made the card of choice for the ambitious Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, RuPay is now a known name.
RuPay is an Indigenously developed Payment System – designed to meet the expectation and needs of the Indian consumer, banks and merchant eco-system.
RuPay supports the issuance of debit, credit and prepaid cards by banks in India and thereby supporting the growth of retail electronic payments in India.
RuPay is well poised to explore innovative payment opportunities such as Contactless – offline and online to drive adoption of low value payments. All RuPay Cards will now have the functionality of NCMC which can enable low value contactless payments (like transit, toll, parking, retail) using Offline technology.
The alliances with international network partners (Discover Financial Services, Japan Credit Bureau and China Union Pay) provide valuable access to global acceptance footprint and offer world class payment solutions to RuPay cardholders.
With Immediate Payment Service (IMPS), India has become the leading country in the world in real time payments in retail sector. National Automated Clearing House (NACH), an offline web based system for bulk push and pull transactions. NACH provides electronic mandate platform to register mandates facilitating paper less collection process for the corporates and banks. It provides for both account based and Aadhaar based transactions.
Aadhaar Payment Bridge (APB) System is helping the Government and Government agencies in making the Direct Benefit Transfers for various Central as well as State sponsored schemes. To access these funds at door step & drive the financial inclusion in India, Aadhaar enabled Payment System (AePS) has been introduced. Since inception it has become instrumental to increase accessibility of basic banking services in underserved areas. To extend the convenience of biometric to merchant payments, BHIM Aadhaar has been launched.
National Financial Switch (NFS) is the largest network of shared Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in India facilitating interoperable cash withdrawal, card to card funds transfer and interoperable cash deposit transactions among other value added services in the country.
Unified Payments Interface (UPI) has been termed as the revolutionary product in the payment system and Bharat Bill Payment System is currently offering one-stop bill payment solution with 150+ Billers in the five approved categories Viz. Electricity, Gas, Water, Telecom and DTH across India.
National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has developed the National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC) program to meet the electronic tolling requirements of the Indian market.
It provides an electronic payment facility to customer to make the payments at national, state and city toll plazas by identifying the vehicle uniquely through a FASTag.
FASTag are Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) stickers which are affixed on the vehicle windshield and enable the driver to make toll payments electronically while the vehicle is in motion without stopping at the Toll plazas by saving Fuel and Time.
With these products the aim is to transform India into a ‘less-cash’ society by touching every Indian with one or other payment services. With each passing year we are moving towards our vision to be the best payments network globally.