Current based PRELIMS QUESTION 23 June 2020 – The Core IAS

Current based PRELIMS QUESTION 23 June 2020


1. Consider the following statements about International Space Station (ISS).
1. The ISS is a space station, or a habitable artificial satellite, in Geostationary Earth orbit.
2. The ISS serves as a microgravity and space environment research laboratory in which crew members conduct experiments in biology, human biology, physics, astronomy, meteorology, and other fields.
3. It is a joint project between five participating space agencies NASA (USA), Roscosmos (Russia), JAXA (Japan), ESA (Europe), and CSA (Canada).
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
The International Space Station (ISS)
The International Space Station (ISS) is a multi-nation construction project that is the largest single structure humans ever put into space.
Its main construction was completed between 1998 and 2011, although the station continually evolves to include new missions and experiments. It has been continuously occupied since Nov. 2, 2000.
Astronaut time and research time on the space station is allocated to space agencies according to how much money or resources (such as modules or robotics) that they contribute.
The ISS includes contributions from 15 nations. NASA (United States), Roscosmos (Russia) and the European Space Agency are the major partners of the space station who contribute most of the funding; the other partners are the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency and the Canadian Space Agency.
Current plans call for the space station to be operated through at least 2024, with the partners discussing a possible extension until 2028. Afterwards, plans for the space station are not clearly laid out. It could be deorbited, or recycled for future space stations in orbit.
Crews aboard the ISS are assisted by mission control centers in Houston and Moscow and a payload control center in Huntsville, Ala. Other international mission control centers support the space station from Japan, Canada and Europe. The ISS can also be controlled from mission control centers in Houston or Moscow.
The space station flies at an average altitude of 248 miles (400 kilometers) above Earth. It circles the globe every 90 minutes at a speed of about 17,500 mph (28,000 km/h). In one day, the station travels about the distance it would take to go from Earth to the moon and back.
The space station can rival the brilliant planet Venus in brightness and appears as a bright moving light across the night sky. It can be seen from Earth without the use of a telescope by night sky observers who know when and where to look. You can use this NASA app to find out when and where to spot the International Space Station’s location.
Crew composition and activities
The ISS generally holds crews of between three and six people (the full six-person size was possible after 2009, when the station facilities could support it). But crew sizes have varied over the years. After the Columbia space shuttle disaster in 2003 that grounded flights for several years, crews were as small as two people due to the reduced capacity to launch people into space on the smaller Russian Soyuz spacecraft. The space station has also housed as many as 13 people several times, but only for a few days during crew changeovers or space shuttle visits.
The space shuttle fleet retired in 2011, leaving Soyuz as the only current method to bring people to the ISS. Three astronauts fly to the space station in Soyuz spacecraft and spend about six months there at a time. Sometimes, mission lengths vary a little due to spacecraft scheduling or special events (such as the one-year crew that stayed on the station between 2015 and 2016.) If the crew needs to evacuate the station, they can return to Earth aboard two Russian Soyuz vehicles docked to the ISS.
Starting in 2019 or 2020, the commercial crew vehicles Dragon (by SpaceX) and CST-100 (by Boeing) are expected to increase ISS crew numbers because they can bring up more astronauts at a time than Soyuz. When the U.S. commercial vehicles are available, demand for Soyuz will decrease because NASA will purchase fewer seats for its astronauts from the Russians.
Astronauts spend most of their time on the ISS performing experiments and maintenance, and at least two hours of every day are allocated to exercise and personal care. They also occasionally perform spacewalks, conduct media/school events for outreach, and post updates to social media, as Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, an ISS commander, did in 2013. (However, the first astronaut to tweet from space was Mike Massimino, who did it from a space shuttle in May 2009.)
The ISS is a platform for long-term research for human health, which NASA bills as a key stepping stone to letting humans explore other solar system destinations such as the moon or Mars. Human bodies change in microgravity, including alterations to muscles, bones, the cardiovascular system and the eyes; many scientific investigations are trying to characterize how severe the changes are and whether they can be reversed. (Eye problems in particular are vexing the agency, as their cause is unclear and astronauts are reporting permanent changes to vision after returning to Earth.)
Astronauts also participate in testing out commercial products – such as an espresso machine or 3D printers – or doing biological experiments, such as on rodents or plants, which the astronauts can grow and sometimes eat in space.
Crews are not only responsible for science, but also for maintaining the station. Sometimes, this requires that they venture on spacewalks to perform repairs. From time to time, these repairs can be urgent — such as when a part of the ammonia system fails, which has happened a couple of times. Spacewalk safety procedures were changed after a potentially deadly 2013 incident when astronaut Luca Parmitano’s helmet filled with water while he was working outside the station. NASA now responds quickly to “water incursion” incidents. It also has added pads to the spacesuits to soak up the liquid, and a tube to provide an alternate breathing location should the helmet fill with water.
NASA is also testing technology that could supplement or replace astronaut spacewalks. One example is Robonaut. A prototype currently on board the station is able to flip switches and do other routine tasks under supervision, and may be modified at some point to work “outside” as well. [Infographic: Meet Robonaut 2, NASA’s Space Droid]
The space agencies did a comprehensive suite of experiments on the astronauts, including a “twin study” with Kelly and his Earth-bound former astronaut twin, Mark.
NASA has expressed interest in more long-duration missions, although none have yet been announced.
Biggest space gathering: 13 people, during NASA’s STS-127 shuttle mission aboard Endeavour in 2009. (It’s been tied a few times during later missions.)
Longest single spacewalk: 8 hours and 56 minutes during STS-102, for an ISS construction mission in 2001. NASA astronauts Jim Voss and Susan Helms participated.
The space station, including its large solar arrays, spans the area of a U.S. football field, including the end zones, and weighs 861,804 lbs. (391,000 kilograms), not including visiting vehicles. The complex now has more livable room than a conventional five-bedroom house, and has two bathrooms, gym facilities and a 360-degree bay window. Astronauts have also compared the space station’s living space to the cabin of a Boeing 747 jumbo jet.
The International Space Station was taken into space piece-by-piece and gradually built in orbit using spacewalking astronauts and robotics. Most missions used NASA’s space shuttle to carry up the heavier pieces, although some individual modules were launched on single-use rockets. The ISS includes modules and connecting nodes that contain living quarters and laboratories, as well as exterior trusses that provide structural support, and solar panels that provide power.
The first module, the Russia Zarya, launched on Nov. 20, 1998, on a Proton rocket. Two weeks later, space shuttle flight STS-88 launched the NASA Unity/Node 1 module. Astronauts performed spacewalks during STS-88 to connect the two parts of the station together; later, other pieces of the station were launched on rockets or in the space shuttle cargo bay.
The truss, airlocks and solar panels (launched in stages throughout the ISS lifetime; docking adapters were launched in 2017 for new commercial spacecraft)
Zvezda (Russia; launched in 2000)
Destiny Laboratory Module (NASA; launched 2001)
Canadarm2 robotic arm (CSA; launched 2001). It was originally used only for spacewalks and remote-controlled repairs. Today it also is regularly used to berth cargo spacecraft to the space station – spacecraft that can’t use the other ports.
Harmony/Node 2 (NASA; launched 2007)
Columbus orbital facility (ESA; launched 2008)
Dextre robotic hand (CSA; launched 2008)
Japanese Experiment Module or Kibo (launched in stages between 2008-09)
Cupola window and Tranquility/Node 3 (launched 2010)
Leonardo Permanent Multipurpose Module (ESA; launched for permanent residency in 2011, although it was used before that to bring cargo to and from the station)
Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (private module launched in 2016)
Spacecraft for the space station
Besides the space shuttle and Soyuz, the space station has been visited by many other kinds of spacecraft. Uncrewed Progress (Russia) vehicles make regular visits to the station. Europe’s Automated Transfer Vehicle and Japan’s H-II Transfer Vehicle used to do visits to the ISS as well, until their programs were retired.
NASA began developing commercial cargo spacecraft to the space station under the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program, which lasted from 2006 to 2013. Starting in 2012, the first commercial spacecraft, SpaceX’s Dragon, made a visit to the space station. Visits continue today with Dragon and Orbital ATK’s Antares spacecraft under the first stage of NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services program. Dragon, Antares and Sierra Nevada Corp.’s Dream Chaser all has received CRS-2 contracts expected to cover flights between 2019 and 2024.

2. Consider the following statements with respect to the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA).
1. It is an association of Indian banks and financial institutions and it is based in Hyderabad .
2. It has object to strengthening, development and coordination of the Indian banking.
Which of the following statements is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b)   2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2 
(d) Neither 1 nor 2 
Indian Banks’ Association (IBA)
Established on September 26, 1946.
It is an association of Indian banks and financial institutions. It is based in Mumbai. Currently represents a total of 173 banking companies which are operating in India.
The Managing Committee of the IBA consists of a chairman, three deputy chairmen, one honorary secretary as well as 26 members.
Indian Banks’ Association (IBA)
To promote and develop in India sound and progressive banking principles, practices and conventions and to contribute to the developments of creative banking.2To render assistance and to provide various common services to Members and to the banking industry.
To develop and implement new ideas and innovations in banking services, operations and procedures.
To organize co-ordination and co-operation on procedural, legal, technical, administrative or professional problems and practices of banks and the banking industry.
To initiate advance planning for introduction of new systems or services in the banking industry.
To collect, classify and circulate statistical and other information on the structure and working of the banking system.
To act as a clearing house for dissemination and exchange of statistical data, information, views and opinions on the systems, procedures and practices, and organization and methods of banks and on the structure, working and operations of the banking system.
To explore, plan, co-ordinate and organize detailed surveys on banking, business, resources, personnel and management development programmes of banks and the banking industry.
To pool together talents and resources available with members and to organize exchange of expertise and experiences of members for simplifying forms and procedures, for reducing cost of operations, for increasing efficiency and productivity and for such other common purposes as may be necessary or relevant to banks and the banking industry.
To organize exchange of credit information and opinions, export information or information and views on any other aspects of interest to banks or the banking industry.
To promote education and knowledge of the law and practice of banking.
To issue periodical newsletters, bulletins or magazines and publish books, pamphlets or other literature on matters of interest to members and to the banking industry.
To project a good public image of banking as a service industry and develop good public relations.
To promote harmonious personnel relations in banking industry and to devise ways and means for involving banking personnel in the endeavours of banks for growth and development of banking and the economy of the country.
To organize, promote and afford facilities for indoor and outdoor games, any form of sports, recreation, sports competitions, events, cultural activities, social activities, fine arts, social meetings, entertainments and to organize meetings for the above purposes and to provide for purposes by purchasing, acquiring, taking on lease, own, hire or otherwise playing fields, grounds, buildings, pavilions and other facilities.
To give financial assistance to individuals or bodies, from out of its own funds, or by collection from its members, or from any other source, and for the purpose of such collection, to accept grants, donations, etc. in cash or kind from Government, its members, other organizations, members of the public, etc. and to collect subscriptions, membership and other fees and to levy fees or charges for the use of the facilities and to raise funds in any manner to strengthen the financial position of the Association, from time to time, for the purpose of providing education, training and facilities for imparting basic, advance knowledge and techniques in games, sports, cultural activities, social activities, fine arts, etc. and to give donations, technical and other assistance, sports equipments, sports facilities and expert guidance to organizers for this purpose whether its members or not and to conduct, organize, participate or to associate itself in State-Level, Nation, International Tournaments and competitions pertaining to sports, cultural activities, social activities, fine arts, etc., held in or outside India.
To found, establish, develop and finance a separate body for the promotion of objects contained in Clauses n, nn, nnn, and generally, and to register it as a Society and/or Public Trust, or a Company under the provisions or relevant Acts, as the case may be.
To maintain continuous communications with the representatives of bank employees, to conduct talks, discussions, and negotiations with them and to arrive at Settlements.
To provide assistance and guidance to members in interpretation and implementation of Awards, Settlements, etc.
To assist, advise and guide all members and the smaller members in particular on all their needs, difficulties and problems of growth, development and working.
To act as an agent or a representative of a member or members in respect of matters connected with any of their operations working or administration.
To maintain close co-ordination and liaison with Reserve Bank of India, All Financial Institutions, Chambers of Commerce, Organisations of Banking Industry, Management or Educational Institutes, Universities and such other Organisations for realizing the subject and purposes of the Association.
Generally to do all and any other thing that may be necessary or relevant for the realization of the objects and purposes of the Association directly or indirectly.
To carry on publicity for the purpose of educating public opinion with regard to the scope, importance and activities of the banking industry, for creative growth and development.
To do all and such other things as are incidental or conductive to the attainment of any or all of the above objects.

3. Consider the following statements regarding the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sector.
1. The MSME sector currently contributed 24% of the GDP growth and 48% of exports, with an annual turnover of ₹3 lakh crore in FY20.
2. The new definition of MSMEs will be linked to turnover and do away with the current system of classifying units based on the capital deploy in plant and machinery.
3. Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development (MSMED) Act, 2006 which was notified in 2006, deals with the definition of MSMEs.
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
New definition of MSMEs
The new definition of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) will be linked to turnover and do away with the current system of classifying units based on the capital deployed in plant and machinery.
Government has accepted 39 suggestions by the U.K. Sinha committee appointed by RBI, including the setting up a “fund of funds” for MSME sector.
The MSME sector currently contributed 24% of the GDP growth and 48% of exports, with an annual turnover of ₹1 lakh crore in FY20.
The Classification of MSMEs

Government schemes to promote MSMEs
Udyami Mitra Portal: launched by SIDBI to improve accessibility of credit and handholding services to MSMEs.
MSME Sambandh: To monitor the implementation of the public procurement from MSMEs by Central Public Sector Enterprises.
MSME Samadhaan -MSME Delayed Payment Portal –– will empower Micro and Small entrepreneurs across the country to directly register their cases relating to delayed payments by Central Ministries/Departments/CPSEs/State Governments.
Digital MSME Scheme: It involves usage of Cloud Computing where MSMEs use the internet to access common as well as tailor-made IT infrastructure
Prime Minister Employment Generation Programme: It is a credit linked subsidy program under Ministry of MSME.
Revamped Scheme of Fund for Regeneration of Traditional Industries (SFURTI): organizes traditional industries and artisans into clusters and make them competitive by enhancing their marketability & equipping them with improved skills.
A Scheme for Promoting Innovation, Rural Industry & Entrepreneurship (ASPIRE): creates new jobs & reduce unemployment, promotes entrepreneurship culture, facilitates innovative business solution etc.
National Manufacturing Competitiveness Programme (NMCP): to develop global competitiveness among Indian MSMEs by improving their processes, designs, technology and market access.
Micro & Small Enterprises Cluster Development Programme (MSE-CDP) – adopts cluster development approach for enhancing the productivity and competitiveness as well as capacity building of MSEs.
Credit Linked Capital Subsidy Scheme (CLCSS) is operational for upgradation of technology for MSMEs.
Other recent initiatives to promote MSMEs
In June 2019, RBI committee headed by former SEBI Chairman UK Sinha suggested a Rs 5,000 crore stressed asset fund for the MSME sector to provide relief to small businesses hurt by demonetisation, GST, and an ongoing liquidity crisis.
It has also recommended doubling the cap on collateral-free loans to Rs 20 lakh from the current Rs 10 lakh extended to borrowers falling under the Mudra scheme, self-help groups, and MSMEs.
MSME Ministry announced in June 2019 to lift the ban on entry of corporates and private players in the MSME sector to pave way for the formation of 700 clusters to reduce dependence on imports as well as for job creation.
MSME Ministry is also planning to set up enterprise facilitation centres across the country to make smaller businesses more competitive and help them integrate with big enterprises.
Therefore, the government should continue to put concerted efforts for holistic development of MSMEs in key areas like human capacity development, knowledge services, and access to finance, technology, infrastructure, market access, and ease of doing business.

4. Consider the following statements regarding the Committee to review the fiscal consolidation roadmap.
1. The Chairman of the Fifteenth Finance Commission has constituted a Committee to review the fiscal consolidation roadmap of the general government.
2. Analytical and data support to the Committee will be provided by a team from National Institute of Public Finance & Policy, New Delhi.
3. It is mandated to make recommendations on the definition of deficit and debt for the Central government, overall states, and the General Government and public sector enterprises.
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
Finance Commission constitutes Committee to Review Fiscal Consolidation Roadmap of the General Government
The Chairman of the Fifteenth Finance Commission has constituted a Committee to review the fiscal consolidation roadmap of the general government. The Terms of Reference of the Committee are –
The Committee shall make recommendations on the definition of deficit and debt for the Central government, overall states, and the General Government and public sector enterprises by considering all explicit and measurable liabilities of the sovereign and by bringing in consistency between the definition of debt (stock) and deficit (flow).
The Committee shall also lay down the principles for arriving at the debt of the general government debt and consolidated public sector with appropriate netting to avoid double-counting.
The Committee shall define contingent liabilities, provide quantifiable measures of such liabilities, wherever possible, and specify conditions under which “contingent” liabilities become “explicit” liabilities of the public sector.
Based on the above definition, the Committee shall review the current status of deficit and debt at different levels.
Based on the above, the Committee shall recommend a debt and fiscal consolidation roadmap for FY21-FY25 for the Central Government, overall States and General Government and attempt building up scenarios for public sector enterprises.
The Committee will be chaired by Chairman Sh. N. K. Singh. The other Members of the Committee will be Shri A. N. Jha and Dr. Anoop Singh, Members of 15th Finance Commission, one representative each from the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India and the Controller General of Accounts, the Joint Secretary (Budget) of the Department of Economic Affairs in the Ministry of Finance. Two outside experts, namely, Dr. Sajjid Z Chinoy & Dr. Prachi Mishra will also be Members of the Committee; further, the Committee will include as Members the representatives from State Governments Shri. S. Krishnan, Additional Chief Secretary, Government of Tamil Nadu and Sh. Anirudh Tiwari, Principal Secretary, Government of Punjab.
Analytical and data support to the Committee will be provided by a team from National Institute of Public Finance & Policy, New Delhi. The Economic Division of the Finance Commission Secretariat shall facilitate and support the working of the Committee.

5 Consider the following statements regarding the Article 142 of the Constitution.
1. Article 142 “provide(s) a unique power to the Supreme Court, to do complete justice between the parties.
2. The provision vests sweeping powers in the Supreme Court however through this it cannot encroach on legislative domain that is exclusively prohibited

Which of the following statements is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2
What is Article 142 of the Constitution?
Article 142 provides discretionary power to the Supreme Court as it states that the court in the exercise of its jurisdiction may pass such decree or make such order as is necessary for doing complete justice in any cause or matter pending before it.
Such decree shall be enforceable throughout the territory of India in such manner as may be prescribed by or under any law made by Parliament.
The provision vests sweeping powers in the Supreme Court for the end of ensuring “complete justice” and is usually used in cases involving human rights and environmental protection.
Article 142 “provide(s) a unique power to the Supreme Court, to do “complete justice” between the parties, i.e., where at times law or statute may not provide a remedy, the Court can extend itself to put a quietus to a dispute in a manner which would befit the facts of the case.
Article 142(1) states that “The Supreme Court in the exercise of its jurisdiction may pass such decree or make such order as is necessary for doing complete justice in any cause or matter pending before it, and any decree so passed or order so made shall be enforceable throughout the territory of India in such manner as may be prescribed by or under any law made by Parliament and, until provision in that behalf is so made, in such manner as the President may by order prescribe”.

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