Current based PRELIMS QUESTION 18 June 2020

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1. Consider the following statements with reference to the Contact Tracing:
1. It is the process of identifying, assessing, and managing people who have been exposed to a disease to prevent transmission.
2. Contacts should be traced and monitored for at least 28 days after the last exposure to the case patient for evidence of COVID-19 symptoms to emerge.
3. This can be broken down into three basic steps i.e. Contact identification, Contact listing and Contact follow-up.
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-d
Explanation
What is contact tracing and why is it important?
Contact tracing is the process of identifying, assessing, and managing people who have been exposed to a disease to prevent transmission.
As per ICMR guidelines, which are also directions that have sound public health sense behind them, people who may have been exposed to the virus are to be followed for 28 days from the date of the probable last exposure/arrival from affected countries.
Contacts should be traced and monitored for at least 28 days after the last exposure to the case patient for evidence of COVID-19 symptoms to emerge. Case-wise line listing of all exposed contacts will be maintained, with the following information: demographic information, date of last exposure or date of contact with the case patient, and date of onset of fever or other symptoms, if any.
Symptomatic contacts
Persons who have fever and cough and a history of contact with a confirmed case within the last 28 days should be referred for isolation for strict infection control.
Samples must be collected and sent to the designated laboratory for testing, and appropriate medical management must begin. If contacts show symptoms, they may be isolated at a health care facility or at home until the results come in. Once confirmed as positive for SARS-CoV-2, they must be shifted to a proper health facility.

Asymptomatic contacts
They must remain at home (home quarantine) for at least 28 days after the last exposure with the patient. The contacts should start monitoring their health and watch for symptoms of fever and cough, within 28 days of the last exposure to the patient, and maintain a list of people they are in contact with, on a daily basis.
People in close contact with someone who is infected with a virus, such as the Coronavirus, are at higher risk of becoming infected themselves, and of potentially further infecting others.
Closely watching these contacts after exposure to an infected person will help the contacts to get care and treatment, and will prevent further transmission of the virus.
This monitoring process is called contact tracing, which can be broken down into 3 basic steps:
1. Contact identification: Once someone is confirmed as infected with a virus, contacts are identified by asking about the person’s activities and the activities and roles of the people around them since onset of illness. Contacts can be anyone who has been in contact with an infected person: family members, work colleagues, friends, or health care providers.
2. Contact listing: All persons considered to have contact with the infected person should be listed as contacts. Efforts should be made to identify every listed contact and to inform them of their contact status, what it means, the actions that will follow, and the importance of receiving early care if they develop symptoms. Contacts should also be provided with information about prevention of the disease. In some cases, quarantine or isolation is required for high risk contacts, either at home, or in hospital.
3. Contact follow-up: Regular follow-up should be conducted with all contacts to monitor for symptoms and test for signs of infection.

https://www.who.int/features/qa/contact-tracing/en/
https://www.thehindu.com/scitech/health/coronavirus-the-importance-of-contact tracing/article31104907.ece

2. Consider the following statements regarding the Disqualification of the legislative member.
1. By invoking some of its special power Supreme Court can remove a memeber of legislature from membership
2. Decision of the presiding officer with respect to disqualification under 10th schedule is  final and can not be questioned in any court in any case
3. The Speaker, in acting as a Tribunal under the Tenth Schedule, is bound to decide disqualification petitions within a reasonable period, which will depend on the facts of each case.
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-d
Explanation
Supreme Court invokes special powers, removes Manipur minister
Recently, the Supreme Court invoked its special powers under Article 142 of the Constitution to remove a Manipur minister.
The Supreme Court removed Thounaojam Shyamkumar Singh, from the state cabinet and restrained him “from entering the Legislative Assembly till further orders”.
A disqualification petition against the minister was pending before the Speaker since 2017 but the Speaker failed to take the decision within a reasonable time period.
The Speaker also failed to take any decision within the stipulated time period of 4 weeks as provided by the Supreme Court in the 21st January, 2020 order.
Article 212 of the Constitution bars courts from inquiring into proceedings of the Legislature.
In this case, however, prompted by the fact that the Speaker’s conduct has been called into question on several occasions, the Court said it was “constrained” to invoke the court’s extraordinary powers under Article 142 of the Constitution.
Earlier, the Manipur High Court, in this matter, had found grounds for disqualification under the Tenth Schedule but stopped short of issuing directions.
The reason being that question of whether a High Court can direct a Speaker to decide on a disqualification petition within a time frame is pending before a Supreme Court Bench.
Highlights of 21st January 2020 Order
The court in general said that “the Speaker, in acting as a Tribunal under the Tenth Schedule, is bound to decide disqualification petitions within a reasonable period”, which “will depend on the facts of each case.”
The Supreme Court also held that disqualification petitions under the tenth schedule should be adjudicated by a mechanism outside Parliament or Legislative Assemblies.
The Court has suggested a permanent tribunal headed by a retired Supreme Court judge or a former High Court Chief Justice as a new mechanism. However, this would require an amendment to the Constitution.
Currently, disqualification of members of a House/Assembly is referred to the Speaker of the House/Assembly.
Rationale behind Court’s suggestion was to ensure that such disputes are decided both swiftly and impartially, thus giving real teeth to the provisions contained in the Tenth Schedule.
https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/supreme-court-strips-manipur-minister-of-his-office/article31101756.ece
https://indianexpress.com/article/india/supreme-court-invokes-special-powers-removes-manipur-minister-thounaojam-shyamkumar-singh-6320920/

3. Consider the following statements regarding the Open Market Operations (OMOs).
1. It is the sale and purchase of government securities and treasury bills by RBI or the central bank of the country.
2. It is one of the tools that RBI uses to smoothen the liquidity conditions through the year and minimise its impact on the interest rate and inflation rate levels.
3. It is one of the qualitative monetary policy tools which are employed by the central bank of a country to control the money supply in the economy.
Which of the statement(s) given above is/are incorrect?
(a) 2 and 3 only
(b) 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) None of the above
Answer-b 
Explanation
Open Market Operations
Recently, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has decided to infuse Rs.10, 000 crore liquidity in the banking system by buying government securities through Open Market Operations (OMO).
Key Points
Open Market Operations (OMOs) are market operations conducted by RBI by way of sale/purchase of government securities to/from the market with an objective to adjust the rupee liquidity conditions in the market on a durable basis.
If there is excess liquidity, RBI resorts to sale of securities and sucks out the rupee liquidity. Similarly, when the liquidity conditions are tight, RBI buys securities from the market, thereby releasing liquidity into the market.
It is one of the quantitative (to regulate or control the total volume of money) monetary policy tools which is employed by the central bank of a country to control the money supply in the economy.
https://www.thehindu.com/business/rbi-to-infuse-10000-crore-via-omo/article31101875.ece
https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/rbis-open-market-operations-all-you-need-to-know/articleshow/73029776.cms

4. Consider the following statements regarding the Reciprocal trade agreements (RTAs).
1. RTAs include many types of agreements, such as preferential arrangements, free trade agreements, customs unions, and common markets, in which members agree to open their markets to each other’s exports by lowering trade barriers.
2. They have become an increasingly prominent feature of the multilateral trading system in recent years, in part, because of stalled global negotiations taking place under the auspices of the WTO.
3. Reciprocity agreements may be made between individual countries or groups of countries.
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-d
Explanation-
Reciprocal trade agreements (RTAs)
Reciprocity, in international trade, the granting of mutual concessions in tariff rates, quotas, or other commercial restrictions.
Reciprocity implies that these concessions are neither intended nor expected to be generalized to other countries with which the contracting parties have commercial treaties.
Reciprocity agreements may be made between individual countries or groups of countries.
The logical extension of reciprocity is the development of a full customs union that eliminates by progressive mutual concessions all tariffs and other restrictions between participating countries
Countries use bilateral/regional trade agreements to increase market access and expand trade in foreign markets. These agreements are called reciprocal trade agreements (RTAs) because members grant special advantages to each other.
RTAs include many types of agreements, such as preferential arrangements, free trade agreements, customs unions, and common markets, in which members agree to open their markets to each other’s exports by lowering trade barriers.
Why is there a need for RTAs?
They have become an increasingly prominent feature of the multilateral trading system in recent years, in part, because of stalled global negotiations taking place under the auspices of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Many observers believe that RTAs deepen market integration and complement efforts by the WTO to liberalize international markets.
While acknowledging that RTAs can open up markets, other observers contend that these agreements also distort trade and discriminate against nonmember countries.
The Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act:
The Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act of 1934 is a federal statute.
This Act aims to make provisions for negotiation of tariff agreements between the U.S. and other nation
Through negotiation the Act brings reduction of duties.
The provisions of the Act encompass rules for the principal-supplier relationship.
The major provisions of the Act later formed the part of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) Agreement.
Thus Act through reduction in tariff encourages the trade relation between U.S. and other foreign countries.
The Act in fact amended the Tariff Act of 1930 and this Act was later amended by the Trade Expansion Act of 1962.
https://www.ers.usda.gov/webdocs/publications/44819/7552_err113.pdf?v=0

5. Consider the following statements regarding the National Backward Classes Finance & Development Corporation (NBCFDC).
1. It is a Govt. of India Undertaking under the aegis of Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
2. It was incorporated under Section 25 of the Companies Act 1956 in 1992 as a Company not for profit with an objective to promote economic and developmental activities for the benefit of Other Backward Classes (OBCs).
3. It provides financial assistance through State Channelizing Agencies (SCAs) nominated by the State Governments/UTs and Banks (RRBs & PSBs).
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
Answer-d
Explanation-
National Backward Classes Finance & Development Corporation (NBCFDC)
is a Govt. of India Undertaking under the aegis of Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. NBCFDC was incorporated under Section 25 of the Companies Act 1956 on 13th January 1992 (now section 8 of Companies Act 2013) as a Company not for profit with an objective to promote economic and developmental activities for the benefit of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and to assist the poorer section of these classes in skill development and self-employment ventures. NBCFDC provides financial assistance through State Channelizing Agencies (SCAs) nominated by the State Governments/UTs and Banks (RRBs & PSBs). NBCFDC also provides Micro Financing through SCAs/ Self Help Groups (SHGs). The Corporation can assist a wide range of income generating activities to assist the poorer section of these classes in self-employment ventures under following broad sectors:
Agriculture and Allied Activities
Small Business/Artisan and Traditional Occupation
Transport and Service Sector etc.
Technical, Vocational and Professional Trades/Courses
The Corporation additionally facilitates skill development of poor persons belonging to OBCs, persons of Economically Backward Classes (EBCs), De-notified Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribe, Sr. Citizen, Beggars and Transgender.
Objective
• To Promote economic & development activities for the benefit of Backward Classes.
• To assist, subject to such income and/or economic criteria as may be prescribed by government from time to time, individuals or groups of individuals belonging to Backward Classes by way of loans and advances for economically and financially viable schemes and projects.
• To provide for gainful employment and skill development to the target group.
• To grant concessional finance in selected cases for poor persons belonging to Backward Classes as per an annual income criteria defined from time to time (presently Rs. 3.00 lakh).
• To extend loans to the Backward Classes for pursuing general/professional/vocational/technical education or training at graduate and higher level.
• To assist in the upgradation of technical and entrepreneurial skills of Backward Classes for proper and efficient management of production units.
https://nbcfdc.gov.in/corporate/en