Current based PRELIMS QUESTION 5 FEB 2020

  1. Paraquat sometimes seen in the news, which of the following statement is incorrect regarding this?

(a) Paraquat is a toxic chemical that is widely used as an herbicide, primarily for weed and grass control.

(b) Paraquat is listed in the prior informed consent (PIC) of Rotterdam Convention.

(c) So far in India, only Kerala has banned the Paraquat.

(d) None of the above

Answer-b

Explanation-

Paraquat is a toxic chemical that is widely used as an herbicide (plant killer), primarily for weed and grass control. It has been banned in 32 countries including Switzerland, where herbicide producing company Sygenta is based. Paraquat also figures on the list of 99 pesticides and herbicides the Supreme Court to ban in an ongoing case. Paraquat dichloride is being used for 25 crops in India, whereas it is approved to be used on only nine crops by the Central Insecticide Board and Registration Committee. This is a violation of the Indian Insecticides Act. So far in India, only Kerala has banned the herbicide.

Paraquat is yet to be listed in the prior informed consent (PIC) of Rotterdam Convention, is an international treaty on import/export of hazardous chemicals signed in 1998. If a chemical figures in the PIC, the exporting country has to take the importing nation’s prior consent before exporting it.

Rotterdam Convention

  • This is formally known as the Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade.
  • It is a multilateral convention to promote shared responsibilities in relation to import of hazardous chemicals.
  • The convention promotes open exchange of information and calls on exporters of hazardous chemicals to use proper labeling, include directions on safe handling, and inform purchasers of any known restrictions or bans.
  • Signatory nations can decide whether to allow or ban the importation of chemicals listed in the treaty, and exporting countries are obliged to make sure that producers within their jurisdiction comply.
  • India is a party to the convention, with 161 other parties.

 

2.Consider the following statements regarding Finance Commission (FC).

1.The FC has recommended recently one percentage point reduction in the vertical split of the divisible pool of tax revenues accruing to States.

2.The FC is a constitutionally mandated body that is set up under Article 280 of the Constitution.

3.The first Finance Commission was set up in 1951 and there have been fifteen so far.

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

The interim report of the 15th Finance Commission, tabled in Parliament recently, has largely preserved the devolution mathematics of its predecessor, belying concerns of a sizeable cut in States’ share. The commission has recommended a one percentage point reduction in the vertical split of the divisible pool of tax revenues accruing to States to 41%.

The Finance Commission is a constitutionally mandated body that is at the centre of fiscal federalism. Set up under Article 280 of the Constitution, its core responsibility is to evaluate the state of finances of the Union and State Governments, recommend the sharing of taxes between them, and lay down the principles determining the distribution of these taxes among States. Its working is characterised by extensive and intensive consultations with all levels of governments, thus strengthening the principle of cooperative federalism. Its recommendations are also geared towards improving the quality of public spending and promoting fiscal stability. The first Finance Commission was set up in 1951 and there have been fifteen so far. Each of them has faced its own unique set of challenges.

 

3.Consider the following statements with respect to Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).

1.Provide 100 days of guaranteed wage employment to only rural skilled labour.

2.The MGNREGA has been allocated higher budget allocation for next year than the current fiscal year.

3.GramSabhas are free to accept or reject recommendations from Intermediate and District Panchayats.

4.The scheme has also diminished wage volatility and the gender pay gap in labour.

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?

(a) 1, 3 and 4 only

(b) 3 and 4 only

(c) 2, 3 and 4 only

(d) 1, 2, 3 and 4

Answer-b

Explanation-

Budgetary allocations for the PMKISAN and the MGNREGA are disappointing. The MGNREGA is allocated ₹61,500 crore, which is less than ₹71,000 crore for the current fiscal year. Going by the last year, disbursement under the PMKISAN will also be less than budgeted, unless the beneficiary base is expanded. These two schemes are good instruments for income transfers to small and marginal farmers, landless labour who spend most of their income and generate demand for a wide range of goods and services. Higher disbursement under these schemes would have benefited most sectors of the economy.

Objectives of MGNREGA:

  • Provide 100 days of guaranteed wage employment to rural unskilled labour
  • Increase economic security
  • Decrease migration of labour from rural to urban areas
  • A grassroots-driven approach to employment generation
  • Legal provisions for appeal in case, work is not provided or payments are delayed.
  • The scheme is funded by the central government which bears the full cost of unskilled labour and 75% of the cost of material for works undertaken under this law.
  • It gives a significant amount of control to the Gram Panchayats for managing public works, strengthening Panchayati Raj Institutions. GramSabhas are free to accept or reject recommendations from Intermediate and District Panchayats.
  • It incorporates accountability in its operational guidelines and ensures compliance and transparency at all levels.
  • Successful in enhancing economic empowerment in rural India and helping overcome the exploitation of labour. The scheme has also diminished wage volatility and the gender pay gap in labour.

4. Consider the following statements with economic growth.

1.Tax reduction is aimed at boosting expenditure to revive demand in economy.

2.Disposable personal income (DPI) is declined to least level in 2019-20 at nominal term since 2005.

3.DPI is an important measure of household financial resources.

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-

Disposable income, also known as disposable personal income (DPI), is the amount of money that households have available for spending and saving after income tax have been accounted for. Disposable personal income is often monitored as one of the many key economic indicators used to gauge the overall state of the economy.

DPI=Personal Income−Personal Income Taxes​

 

5. Consider the following statements regarding Global Misery Index (GMI).

1.GMI is used to gauge the overall health of the global economy.

2.The lower the index, the more is the misery felt by average citizens.

3.A variation of the original misery index is the Bloomberg misery index.

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-c

Explanation-

According to economists, India’s economy needs to be calculated in terms of the global misery index (GMI).

GMI

  • The first GMI was created by Arthur Okun in the 1960s and was equal to the sum of inflation and unemployment rate. It has broadened in recent times to include other economic indicators, such as bank lending rates.
  • The higher the index, the more is the misery felt by average citizens.
  • A variation of the original misery index is the Bloomberg misery index, developed by the online publication.
  • In recent times, variations of the original misery index have become popular as a means to gauge the overall health of the global economy.