Current based PRELIMS QUESTION 4 June 2020

1. Consider the following statements regarding the Essential Commodities Act, 1955.
1. Under this, the government can fix the Maximum & Minimum Retail Price of any packaged product that it declares an essential commodity.
2. It is administered by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution.
3. The list of items under the Act includes drugs, fertilisers, pulses and edible oils, and petroleum and petroleum products.
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
Essential Commodities Act, 1955
Recently, the central government has notified that masks (2 ply and 3 ply surgical masks, N95 masks) and hand sanitizers as essential commodities up to June 30, 2020, under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 (EC Act).
The invocation of the EC Act aims to ensure that these products, key for preventing the spread of Covid-19 infection, are available to people at the right price and of the right quality.
The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution has also issued an advisory under the Legal Metrology Act, 2009 to ensure these items are not sold for more than the Maximum Retail Price (MRP).
The ECA was enacted way back in 1955.
It has since been used by the Government to regulate the production, supply and distribution of a whole host of commodities it declares ‘essential’ in order to make them available to consumers at fair prices.
The list of items under the Act includes drugs, fertilisers, pulses and edible oils, and petroleum and petroleum products.
The Centre can include new commodities as and when the need arises, and takes them off the list once the situation improves.
Under the Act, the government can also fix the maximum retail price (MRP) of any packaged product that it declares an “essential commodity”.
How it works?
If the Centre finds that a certain commodity is in short supply and its price is spiking, it can notify stock-holding limits on it for a specified period.

The States act on this notification to specify limits and take steps to ensure that these are adhered to.
Anybody trading or dealing in a commodity, be it wholesalers, retailers or even importers are prevented from stockpiling it beyond a certain quantity.
A State can, however, choose not to impose any restrictions. But once it does, traders have to immediately sell into the market any stocks held beyond the mandated quantity.

2. Consider the following statements regarding the National Crèche Scheme.
1. It aims to provide day care facilities to children of age group 6 months to 6 years of working mothers.
2. The Scheme is a centrally sponsored scheme being implemented by the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
3. NITI Aayog conducts the third party evaluation of the implementation of the scheme.
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
National Creche Scheme
The National Crèche Scheme is a centrally sponsored scheme being implemented by the Ministry of Women and Child Development. The scheme was earlier named as Rajiv Gandhi National Crèche Scheme.
It aims to provide day care facilities to children (age group of 6 months to 6 years) of working mothers.
Regulation and Monitoring
1. Monitoring of implementation of the scheme is being undertaken through meetings and video conferences with the officials of State Governments/ UT.
2. Ministry officials undertake field visits to ascertain the status of implementation of the scheme.
3. NITI Aayog conducts the third party evaluation.
The salient features of the National Crèche Scheme are as follows:
1. Day care Facilities including Sleeping Facilities.
2. Early Stimulation for children below 3 years and pre-school Education for 3 to 6 years old children.
3. Supplementary Nutrition (to be locally sourced)
4. Growth Monitoring
5. Health Check-up and Immunization
Further, the guidelines provide that:
1. Crèches shall be open for 26 days in a month and for seven and half (7-1/2) hours per day.
2. The number of children in the crèche should not be more than 25 per crèche.
3. User charges will be levied to bring in an element of community ownership.
4. The fund sharing pattern under National Crèche Scheme amongst Centre, States/UTs & Non Governmental Organisations/Voluntary Organisations is in the ratio of 60:30:10 for States, 80:10:10 for North Eastern States and Himalayan States and 90:0:10 for UTs.
Benefits of Crèche Facility
1. It helps women to manage both their career as well as their family responsibility.
2. It promotes gender diversity at workplaces.
3. Crèche facilities help promote gender equality and democracy by increasing participation of women in the economy.

3. Consider the following statements regarding the Official Languages in Indian Constitution.
1. Article 346 of the Indian Constitution recognizes Hindi in Devanāgarī script as the official language of central government India.
2. The Constitutional provisions relating to the Eighth Schedule occur in article 344(1) and 351 of the Constitution.
3. There are 22 official languages in India and they are covered under the 9th schedule of the Indian Constitution.
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-B
Explanation
Official Languages in Indian Constitution
https://mha.gov.in/sites/default/files/EighthSchedule_19052017.pdf

4. Consider the following statements regarding the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).
1. It is based on the principles of Open Regionalism for strengthening Economic Cooperation particularly on Trade Facilitation and Investment, Promotion as well as Social Development of the region.
2. It is an international organisation consisting of coastal states bordering the Indian Ocean.
3. All sovereign States of the Indian Ocean Rim are eligible for membership of the association.
4. It is a tripartite in nature, bringing together representatives of Government, Business and Academia, for promoting co-operation and closer interaction among them.
Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?
(a) 1, 2 and 4 only
(b) 2, 3 and 4 only
(c) 1 and 4 only
(d) All of the above
Answer-d
Explanation-
Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA)
It was established in 1997 and is a regional forum that seeks to build and expand understanding and mutually beneficial cooperation through a consensus-based, evolutionary and non-intrusive approach.
IORA has 22 member states, including Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Seychelles, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, UAE, and Yemen.
Its Secretariat is based in Cyber City, Ebène, Mauritius.
It manages, coordinates, services and monitors the implementation of policy decisions, work programmes and projects adopted by the member states.
The association gains importance by the fact that the Indian Ocean carries half of the world’s container ships, one-third of the world’s bulk cargo traffic and two-thirds of the world’s oil shipments.
It is a lifeline of international trade and transport and the Indian Ocean region is woven together by trade routes and commands control of major sea-lanes.
The Indian Ocean Rim Association was set up with the objective of strengthening regional cooperation and sustainable development within the Indian Ocean Region
The IORA is a regional forum, tripartite in nature, bringing together representatives of Government, Business and Academia, for promoting co-operation and closer interaction among them.
It is based on the principles of Open Regionalism for strengthening Economic Cooperation particularly on Trade Facilitation and Investment, Promotion as well as Social Development of the region.

https://www.iora.int/media/8249/iora-overview-min.pdf

5. Consider the following statements regarding the GSAT-09- South Asia Satellite (SAS).
1. It is providing significant capability to each of the participating countries in terms of DTH (direct-to-home), besides linking the countries for disaster information transfer.
2. The SAS is orbiting the Earth in its Geostationary Orbit (GSO).
3. The satellite has 12 Ku band transponders which the six nations can utilise to increase communications.
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-
GSAT-09-South Asia Satellite
The South Asia Satellite (GSAT-9) is a geosynchronous communications and meteorology satellite by the Indian Space Research Organisation.
It is launched for the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) region.
This idea was mooted by India in 18th SAARC summit.
Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives and Sri Lanka are the users of the multi-dimensional facilities provided by the satellite.
By launching the GSAT-9 ‘South Asia satellite’, India has reaffirmed the Indian Space Research Organization’s scientific prowess, but the messaging is perhaps more geopolitical than geospatial.
The initial proposal to name it as “SAARC Satellite” was changed to South Asia Satellite following Pakistan’s refusal. The satellite’s footprint, extending all over South Asia, is for use by neighbours. Globally, the gift has perhaps no precedent.
The 2,230-kg communication spacecraft, with a mission life of 12 years, will support effective communication, broadcasting and Internet services in a region that is geographically challenging, economically lagging with limited technological resources.
The SAS or GSAT-9 is a geosynchronous communications and meteorology satellite. It will provide significant capability to each of the participating countries in terms of DTH (direct-to-home), besides linking the countries for disaster information transfer.
It will help them in better governance, better banking and education in remote areas, more predictable weather forecasting and efficient natural resource mapping, linking people with top-end medical services through telemedicine and quick response to natural disasters. Its benefits also include deeper IT connectivity and fostering people-to-people contact.
The satellite has 12 Ku band transponders which the six nations can utilise to increase communications. Each South Asian country will get access to one transponder through which it will be able to beam its own programming, besides common “South Asian programming”. The countries will have to develop their own ground infrastructure. India is willing to extend assistance and knowhow.
The project cost India nearly RS 450 crore, with the satellite itself costing Rs 235 crore. This was GSLV’s 11th launch. The SAS was orbiting the Earth in its Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO). In the coming days, the satellite orbit would be raised to the final circular Geostationary Orbit (GSO) by firing the satellite’s Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM) in stages. It has been commissioned into service after the completion of orbit-raising operations and the satellite’s positioning in its designated slot in the GSO following in-orbit testing of its payloads.
What are the benefits of the launch?
The benefits the countries would receive in communication, telemedicine, meteorological forecasting and broadcasting.
China is planning to launch a cloud for the countries in the south east region, but India wisely took the lead by lunching the SAARC satellite.
It is prove once again that India is the only country in South Asia that has independently launched satellites on indigenously developed launch vehicles.
More than scientific endeavour, this geopolitically strengthens India’s Strong neighbor’s policy.
https://pib.gov.in/newsite/printrelease.aspx?relid=161611