Current based PRELIMS QUESTION 20 July 2020

1. Consider the following statements with reference to ‘Earth Hour’:
1. It is an initiative of UNEP.
2. It is a movement in which the participants switch off the lights for one hour on a certain day every year.
3. It is a movement to raise the awareness about the climate change and the need to save the planet.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 and 3 only
(b) 2 only
(c) 2 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3
Answer-c
Explanation
Earth Hour
Earth Hour is a worldwide movement and organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature. The event is held annually in last Saturday of March for One Hour 8.30 to 9.30 PM, encouraging individuals, communities, and businesses to turn off non-essential electric lights and awareness regarding climate change.
Started by WWF and partners as a symbolic lights-out event in Sydney in 2007, Earth Hour is now one of the world’s largest grassroots movements for the environment.
Earth Hour engages millions of people in more than 180 countries and territories, switching off their lights to show support for our planet.
But Earth Hour goes far beyond the symbolic action of switching off – it has become a catalyst for positive environmental impact, driving major legislative changes by harnessing the power of the people and collective action.
Earth Hour is open-source and we welcome everyone, anyone, to take part and help amplify our mission to unite people to protect our planet.
Our mission: Then and now
In 2007, it encouraged people around the world to switch off their lights to call attention to climate change. More than a decade later, the climate crisis remains, made worse by another urgent threat: the rapid loss of biodiversity and nature.
Natural systems are vital for all our futures – and yet, the rate of global loss of nature during the past 50 years is unprecedented in human history. Nature not only provides us food, water, clean air, and other services worth over US$125 trillion a year – it is also one of our strongest allies against climate change. Protecting nature is one of the

most immediate, powerful, and cost-effective solutions to the climate crisis.
Today, Earth Hour aims to spark global conversations on protecting nature not only to combat the climate crisis, but to ensure our own health, happiness, prosperity and even survival.
https://www.earthhour.org/take-part

2. Consider the following statements regarding the Employees Provident Fund (Amendment) scheme, 2020.
1. Ministry of Finance has amended the EPF Scheme 1952 and issued a notification in this regard.
2. It allows withdrawal of non-refundable advance by EPF members in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
3. Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) is administered and managed by the Central Board of Trustees.
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-a
Explanation
Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF)
The Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) is a savings scheme introduced under Employees’ Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Act, 1952.
It is administered and managed by the Central Board of Trustees that consists of representatives from three parties, namely, the government, the employers and the employees.
The Employees’ Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) assists this board in its activities.
EPFO works under the direct jurisdiction of the government and is managed through the Ministry of Labour and Employment.
Ministry of Labour and Employment has amended the EPF Scheme 1952 and issued a notification in this regard.
It allows withdrawal of non-refundable advance by EPF members in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
The notification permits withdrawal not exceeding the basic wages and dearness allowance for three months or upto 75 per cent of the amount standing to member’s credit in the EPF account in the event of outbreak of epidemic or pandemic.
COVID-19 has been declared pandemic by appropriate authorities for the entire country and therefore employees working in establishments and factories across entire India, who are members of the EPF Scheme, 1952 are eligible for the benefits of non-refundable advance.
A sub-para(3) under para 68L has been ed in the EPF scheme,1952.
The amended scheme Employees Provident Fund (Amendment) scheme, 2020 has come into force from 28th March, 2020.
Following the notification, EPFO has issued directions to its field offices for promptly processing any applications received from EPF members to help them fight the situation.
In its communication EPFO has stated that officers and staff must process claims of EPF subscribers promptly so that relief reaches the worker and his family to help them fight with COVID-19.
http://newsonair.com/News?title=Ministry-of Labour%2c-Employment-amends-EPF-Scheme 1952-in-wake-of-COVID-19 pandemic&id=384129

3. Consider the following statements with reference to the Himalayan Ibex (Capra sibirica hemalayanus).
1. It is listed as Vulnerable in IUCN Red list.
2. It is regarded as a subspecies of the Siberian Ibex.
3. It is distributed in the trans-Himalayan ranges of Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh and Himachal Pradesh.
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-a
Explanation
Himalayan Ibex
A recent study by scientists of the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) has proved that Himalayan Ibex is a distinct species from the Siberian Ibex. The paper, ‘Genetic evidence for allopatric speciation of the Siberian Ibex (Capra sibirica) in India,’ has recently been published in Endangered Species Research journal.
The researchers, under a project funded through the National Mission on Himalayan Studies implemented by the Ministry of Environment, undertook field surveys and collected faecal samples from Lahaul and Spiti, Himachal Pradesh. Himalayan Ibex is distributed in the trans-Himalayan ranges of Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh and Himachal Pradesh up to the river Sutlej.
It is listed as Least Concern in IUCN Red list.

https://www.greathimalayannationalpark.org/himalayan-ibex/

4. Consider the following statements with reference to the India VIX index.
1. It measures the degree of volatility or fluctuation that active traders expect in the Nifty50 over the next 30 days.
2. The VIX calculation is based on the Black Scholes Model which is used to price options contracts.
3. It is the important parameters that are taken into account for pricing of derivative instruments. 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-
India VIX index
India VIX is the pet name for the India Volatility Index, an index disseminated by the NSE.
It measures the degree of volatility or fluctuation that active traders expect in the Nifty50 over the next 30 days.
It was the Chicago Board Options Exchange which originally came up with the term VIX in 1993 and the NSE, with the CBOE’s permission, kicked off the India VIX a few years ago in 2010.
The VIX calculation is based on the Black Scholes Model which is used to price options contracts. The Black Scholes model uses five key variables to arrive at the ‘fair price’ of an options contract: the strike price of the contract, the market price of the stock, the time to expiry, the risk-free rate and volatility.
The VIX arrives at the volatility expected by the traders in the market by back-working from buy-sell prices of Nifty options contracts.
Why is it important?
The India VIX is a good indicator of whether participants in stocks are feeling fearful or complacent about the near future.
One way to understand the VIX is that it represents the expected annualised change in the Nifty50 over the next 30 days.
The other way to read the VIX is to compare its current value to it’s high and low points during the last 52 weeks or even its entire life-time.
The relatively benign VIX is just another indicator that should have you treading cautiously at this point in time. However, as the mood of the markets can change in the blink of an eye, it wouldn’t take much for complacency to give way to fear. So, whether you’re already heavily invested in equities or sitting on the fence, keeping a hawk eye on the VIX would be good idea as it would provide indications of choppy markets ahead.
VIX value is among the important parameters that are taken into account for pricing of options contracts, which are one of the most popular derivative instruments.
https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/columns/aarati-krishnan/all-you-wanted-to-know-aboutthe-india-vix/article22080461.ece#

5. Consider the following statements regarding the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR).
1. It envisages a research based management system where strategies of air pollution mitigation go along with nation’s economic development.
2. It was developed indigenously by Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune and operationalized by India Meteorological Department (IMD).
3. It monitors all weather parameters like temperature, rainfall, humidity, and wind speed and wind direction.
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-
System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR)
SAFAR is a national initiative introduced by the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) to measure the air quality of a metropolitan city, by measuring the overall pollution level and the location-specific air quality of the city.
The system is developed by Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune, along with ESSO partner institutions namely India Meteorological Department (IMD) and National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF).
It has a giant true color LED display that gives out real-time air quality index on a 24×7 basis with color-coding (along with 72 hours advance forecast).
The ultimate objective of the project is to increase awareness among the general public regarding the air quality in their city so that appropriate mitigation measures and systematic action can be taken up.
It organizes awareness drive by educating the public (prompting self-mitigation), and
It also helps the policy-makers to develop mitigation strategies keeping in mind the nation’s economic development.
SAFAR is an integral part of India’s first Air Quality Early Warning System operational in Delhi.
It monitors all weather parameters like temperature, rainfall, humidity, wind speed, and wind direction, UV radiation, and solar radiation.
Pollutants monitored: PM2.5, PM10, Ozone, Carbon Monoxide (CO), Nitrogen Oxides (NOx), Sulfur Dioxide (SO2), Benzene, Toluene, Xylene, and Mercury.
The World Meteorological Organization has recognized SAFAR as a prototype activity on the basis of the high-quality control and standards maintained in its implementation.
SAFAR system would benefit cost savings to several other sectors like agriculture, aviation, infrastructure, disaster management, tourism, etc. which directly or indirectly gets affected by air quality and weather.
http://safar.tropmet.res.in/ABOUT%20SAFAR-1-2-Details