Current based PRELIMS QUESTION 25 MARCH 2020

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1. Consider the following statements regarding the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN.)
1. IUCN was established on 5 October 1948 in the French town of Fontainebleau.
2. IUCN played a fundamental role in the creation of key international conventions like Ramsar Convention, the World Heritage Convention, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, and the Convention on Biological Diversity.
3. In 1980, IUCN in partnership with the UNEP and the WWF published the World Conservation Strategy.
4. IUCN’s headquarters are located in Gland, Switzerland.
Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?
(a) 1, 2 and 3 only
(b) 1, 3 and 4 only
(c) 2 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2, 3 and 4

2. Which of the following statement is correct in reference to Countervailing Duty (CVD)?
(a) It is an additional import duty imposed on imported products when such products enjoy benefits like export subsidies and tax concessions in the country of their origin.
(b) The WTO does not permit member countries to impose countervailing duty when the exporting country gives export subsidy.
(c) It is essential as it brings price of an imported product to its true market price.
(d) Both a and c are correct.

3. Consider the following statements with respect to the active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs).
1. API is the term used to refer to the biologically active component of drug products.
2. India is currently dependent on China for imports of APIs to make certain essential medicines.
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

4. Consider the following statements with reference to the Biorock or mineral accretion technology.
1. It can be used to restore coral reefs.
2. Biorock is the name given to the substance formed by electro accumulation of minerals dissolved in seawater on steel structures that are lowered onto the sea bed and are connected to a power source.
3. This results in calcium carbonate (CaCO3) formation and coral larvae adhere to the CaCO3 and grow quickly.
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

5. Consider the following statements with respect to the National Air Quality Index.
1. AQI acts as ‘One Number- One Colour-One Description’ to judge the Air Quality for Common Man.
2. AQI consider eight pollutants mainly PM, NO2, SO2, CO, CO2, O3 etc.
3. AQI was launched as a huge initiative for Swachh Bharat.
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

 

1.Answer-d
Explanation
IUCN
It harnesses the experience, resources and reach of its more than 1,300 Member organisations and the input of more than 15,000 experts. This diversity and vast expertise makes IUCN the global authority on the status of the natural world and the measures needed to safeguard it.
IUCN is a membership union uniquely composed of both government and civil society organisations.
IUCN was established on 5 October 1948, it is the global authority on the status of the natural world and the measures needed to safeguard it.
IUCN’s headquarters are located in Gland, Switzerland, in one of Europe’s greenest office buildings: the IUCN Conservation Centre.
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species is the world’s most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of plant and animal species.
It uses a set of quantitative criteria to evaluate the extinction risk of species. These criteria are relevant to most species and all regions of the world.
The IUCN Red List Categories define the extinction risk of species assessed. Nine categories extend from NE (Not Evaluated) to EX (Extinct). Critically Endangered (CR), Endangered (EN) and Vulnerable (VU) species are considered to be threatened with extinction.

It is recognized as the most authoritative guide to the status of biological diversity.
It is also a key indicator for the SDGs and Aichi Targets.
IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, was established on 5 October 1948 in the French town of Fontainebleau.
During the first decade of its existence, IUCN’s primary focus was to examine the impact of human activities on nature. It flagged the damaging effects of pesticides on biodiversity, and promoted the use of environmental impact assessments, which have since become the norm across sectors and industries.
Much of IUCN’s subsequent work in the 1960s and 1970s was devoted to the protection of species and the habitats necessary for their survival.
In 1964, IUCN established the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™, which has since evolved into the world’s most comprehensive data source on the global extinction risk of species.
IUCN also played a fundamental role in the creation of key international conventions, including the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (1971), the World Heritage Convention (1972), the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, (1974) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (1992).
In 1980, IUCN – in partnership with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) – published the World Conservation Strategy, a ground-breaking document which helped define the concept of ‘sustainable development’ and shaped the global conservation and sustainable development agenda.
A subsequent version of the strategy, Caring for the Earth, was published by the three organisations in the run-up to the 1992 Earth Summit.
It served as the basis for international environmental policy and guided the creation of the Rio Conventions on biodiversity (CBD), climate change (UNFCCC) and desertification (UNCCD).

 

2.Answer-d
Explanation
Countervailing duty (CVD)
CVD is an additional import duty imposed on imported products (by the importing country) when such products enjoy benefits like export subsidies and tax concessions in the country of their origin (i.e., where it is produced and exported). CVD is thus an import tax by the importing country on imported products. It is an attempt to ensure fair and market oriented pricing of imported products and thereby protecting domestic industries and firms. The most popular example for CVD is the imposition of additional duty by an importing country when the product has given export subsidy by the exporter/producer country.
What is the purpose of Countervailing Duty?
The objective of CVD is to nullify or eliminate the price advantage (low price) enjoyed by an imported product when it is given subsidies or exempted from domestic taxes in the country where they are manufactures. Often countries give subsidies to their exported products so that they can compete in the international market at a reduced price. Similarly, several countries exempt exportable products from excise duties (production tax) at home. In the home market, often domestic commodities may not get subsidies and they have to pay excise duties. The CVD as a tax raises the price of the imported products. It brings price of an imported product to its true market price. In this way, it provides a level playing field for the domestic products.
When CVD can be imposed?
The WTO permits member countries to impose countervailing duty when the exporting country gives export subsidy. Export subsidy will help the exporters to sell the product at a lower price in the international market. A parity between the price of imported products (that enjoys export subsidy) and the domestic products (that doesn’t enjoy any subsidy) has to be ensured. For this, a CVD is essential as it can raise the price of the imported product. Here, CVD is imposed to countervail (overcome) export subsidy.
CVD to countervail excise duty exemption enjoyed by an imported product
In India, the CVD is imposed as additional duty of customs on imported products when such products are given tax concession at the country of their origin. On the other hand, the Indian goods have to give excise duties. The CVD effectively nullifies the low-price advantage of the imported products (that doesn’t pay any excise duties in the foreign country).

 

3.Answer-c
Explanation
Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API)
The Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB) — India’s apex drug advisory body — has recommended to the Health Ministry to make it mandatory for companies to include codes to track-and-trace APIs to ensure authenticity of drugs manufactured here.
All drugs are made up of two core components: (1) Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API), which is the central ingredient, and (2) excipients.
The Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) is the part of any drug that produces its effects. Some drugs, such as combination therapies, have multiple active ingredients to treat different symptoms or act in different ways.
Excipients are substances other than the drug that helps deliver the medication to your system. Excipients are chemically inactive substances, such as lactose or mineral oil. Example: For instance, if you have a headache, acetaminophen is the API, while the liquid in the gel-capsule or the bulk of a pill is the excipient.
Raw material vs. API: API and raw material are often confused due to the similar usage of the two terms. Raw material refers to chemical compounds that are used as a base to make an API.
Indian scenario: India is currently dependent on China for imports of APIs to make “certain” essential medicines, with around Rs 12,255 crore worth of these ingredients imported from the country in 2016-17, as per government data.

 

4.Answer-d
Explanation-
Biorock or mineral accretion technology
The Zoological Survey of India (ZSI), with help from Gujarat’s forest department, is attempting for the first time a process to restore coral reefs using biorock or mineral accretion technology in the Gulf of Kachchh.
Biorock is the name given to the substance formed by electro accumulation of minerals dissolved in seawater on steel structures that are lowered onto the sea bed and are connected to a power source, in this case solar panels that float on the surface.
The technology works by passing a small amount of electrical current through electrodes in the water. “When a positively charged anode and negatively charged cathode are placed on the sea floor, with an electric current flowing between them, calcium ions combine with carbonate ions and adhere to the structure (cathode).
This results in calcium carbonate formation. Coral larvae adhere to the CaCO3 and grow quickly.
Fragments of broken corals are tied to the biorock structure, where they are able to grow at least four to six times faster than their actual growth as they need not spend their energy in building their own calcium carbonate skeletons.
The location for installing the biorock had been chosen keeping in mind the high tidal amplitude in the Gulf of Kachchh. The low tide depth where the biorock has been installed is four metres, and at high tide it is about eight metres.

 

5.Answer-c
Explanation-
National Air Quality Index (AQI)
National Air Quality Index (AQI) was launched by the Environment Minister AQI, a huge initiative under ‘Swachh Bharat’.
AQI acts as ‘One Number- One Colour-One Description’ to judge the Air Quality for Common Man.
Air pollution has been a matter of environmental and health concerns, particularly in urban areas.
Central Pollution Control Board along with State Pollution Control Boards has been operating National Air Monitoring Program (NAMP) covering 240 cities of the country. In addition, continuous monitoring systems that provide data on near real-time basis are also installed in a few cities. Traditionally, air quality status has been reported through voluminous data. Thus, it was important that information on air quality is put up in public domain in simple linguistic terms that is easily understood by a common person.
Air Quality Index (AQI) is one such tool for effective dissemination of air quality information to people.
There are six AQI categories, namely Good, Satisfactory, Moderately polluted, Poor, Very Poor, and Severe. The proposed AQI will consider eight pollutants (PM10, PM2.5, NO2, SO2, CO, O3, NH3, and Pb) for which short-term (up to 24-hourly averaging period) National Ambient Air Quality Standards are prescribed.