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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 5th August 2022

  • IASbaba
  • August 5, 2022
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(PRELIMS & MAINS Focus)


Udyam Sakhi Portal

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Syllabus

  • GS 2: Government schemes and policies

Context: Launched in 2018 to provide information regarding the financial schemes, policies and programmes of the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) to existing and prospective women entrepreneurs.

  • The portal helps women to start, build and grow their businesses.
  • A total of 4207 women have so far registered on the portal, out of which 943 women belong to the State of Bihar.

Source: PIB


Commonwealth & Commonwealth Advantage

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Syllabus

  • GS-2: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

About: The Commonwealth brings together a third of the world’s population, including some of its fastest-growing economies and cities. Investment is already 27 percent higher between Commonwealth countries and bilateral trading costs are on average a fifth lower due to shared language and legal and economic systems – known as the ‘Commonwealth Advantage’.

  • Rooted in the historical fabric of shared history, values, language, legal, institutional and government ties that influence commerce, trade and investment.
  • Traders and investors benefit from familiar legal and administrative systems, as well as similarities in business, commercial and legislative practice.
  • This cultural congruence extends to sporting rivalry and even to the family ties that have resulted from generations of intra-Commonwealth immigration.

Commonwealth Facts:

  • Founded: 1949
  • Head of the Commonwealth: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
  • Member-states: 53 (31 small states, many of them islands)
  • Population: 4 billion (60% under the age of 30)
  • Smallest country: Tuvalu (11,000); largest: India (1.3 billion)
  • GDP: $13 trillion by 2021
  • Commonwealth secretariat: Marlborough House, London

Since the London Declaration of 1949, which established the modern Commonwealth, India has held a pivotal position in this voluntary association of 54 independent sovereign states. It was India’s decision in 1948, as a newly independent Republic, to remain in the Commonwealth which influenced other Asian and African countries to join the organisation and which opened the era of the modern Commonwealth.

Since then, it was firmly established that joining the Commonwealth no longer necessarily involved continued allegiance to the British Crown. At the same time the word ‘British’ was dropped from the association’s title to reflect the Commonwealth’s changing character.

Source: The Hindu


Scheme for upliftment of daily wage workers

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Syllabus

  • GS 2: Government schemes and policies

Context: As per the Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act, 2008, the Government is mandated to provide Social Security to the workers of unorganised sector including daily wage workers by formulating suitable welfare schemes on matters relating to –

  1. Life and disability cover: provided through Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY) and Pradhan Mantri Suraksha BimaYojana (PMSBY).
  2. Health and maternity benefits: The Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY) provides an annual health cover of Rs. 5 lakhs per eligible family for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization corresponding to 1949 treatment procedures across 27 specialties. It is a completely cashless and paperless scheme. The beneficiary families under AB-PMJAY have been identified from Social Economic Caste Census (SECC) of 2011 basis 6 deprivation and 11 occupational criteria across rural and urban areas.
  3. Old age protection: provided through the Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-Dhan (PM-SYM) pension scheme in the form of monthly pension of Rs. 3,000/- after attaining the age of 60 years.

Education: The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009, mandates the appropriate Government to provide free and compulsory elementary education to every child of the age 6 to 14 years in a neighbourhood school. Education is a subject in the concurrent list of the Constitution and majority of the schools are under the control of the respective State Governments.

Others: Atal Pension Yojana, Public Distribution System under National Food Security Act, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gramin KaushalYojana, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, National Social Assistance Programme, Gareeb Kalyan Rojgar Yojana, Mahatma Gandhi Bunkar Bima Yojana, Deen Dayal Upadhyay Antyodaya Yojana, PMSVANidhi, Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana, are also available to the unorganised workers including daily wage workers depending upon their eligibility criteria.

Source: PIB


NavIC

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Syllabus

  • GS 3: Space and Tech

Context: Navigation with Indian Constellation (NAVIC) is India’s indigenous global navigation satellite system.

  • NAVIC consists of a constellation of three geostationary, four geosynchronous and two on-standby satellites.
  • NAVIC will facilitate accurate real-time positioning and timing services over India and the region around it extending to 1,500 km.
  • NavIC, is as good as GPS of the United States in terms of position accuracy and availability in its service region.
    • NavIC satellites are placed at a higher orbit than the GPS of United States. NavIC satellites are placed in geostationary orbit (GEO) & geosynchronous orbit (GSO) with an altitude of about 36,000 km; GPS satellites are placed in medium earth orbit (MEO) with an altitude of about 20,000 km.
  • NavIC uses dual frequency bands, which improves accuracy of dual frequency receivers by enabling them to correct atmospheric errors through simultaneous use of two frequencies. It also helps in better reliability and availability because the signal from either frequency can serve the positioning requirement equally well.

Applications of NAVIC

  • Terrestrial, aerial and marine navigation
  • Disaster management
  • Vehicle tracking and fleet management
  • Integration with mobile phones
  • Precise timing, mapping and geodetic data capture
  • Terrestrial navigation aid for hikers and travelers
  • Visual and voice navigation for drivers

Source: PIB


Freebies

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Syllabus

  • GS-2: Elections
  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Context: The Supreme Court has taken a decision to form a body of stakeholders to examine ‘the distribution or promise of ‘freebies’ ahead of elections’ issue. But this move raises the question of whether the legislature can be bypassed on such a far-reaching exercise.

  • The Court is not going to issue guidelines, but only ensure that suggestions are taken from stakeholders such as the NITI Aayog, Finance Commission, Law Commission, RBI and political parties. All these institutions can submit a report to the Election Commission of India (ECI) and the Government.
  • A suggestion that Parliament could discuss this issue was met with scepticism by the Bench, which felt that no party would want a debate on this, as all of them support such sops.
  • The Bench also disfavoured the ECI preparing a ‘model manifesto’ as it would be an empty formality.

The Court’s concern over populist measures seems to resonate with the Government too, as the Solicitor-General submitted that these distorted the voter’s informed decision-making; and that unregulated populism may lead to an economic disaster.

  1. Subramaniam Balaji vs Government of Tamil Nadu (2013)
  • The Supreme Court addressed these questions and took the position that these concerned law and policy.
  • Upheld the distribution of television sets or consumer goods on the ground that schemes targeted at women, farmers and the poorer sections were in furtherance of Directive Principles; and as long as public funds were spent based on appropriations cleared by the legislature, they could neither be declared illegal, nor the promise of such items be termed a ‘corrupt practice’.
  • It had, however, directed the ECI to frame guidelines to regulate the content of manifestos.
  • The ECI subsequently included in its Model Code of Conduct a stipulation that parties should avoid promises “that vitiate the purity of the election process or exert undue influence on the voters”.
    • It added that only promises which were possible to be fulfilled should be made and that manifestos should contain the rationale for a promised welfare measure and indicate the means of funding it.
    • Any further step, such as distinguishing welfare measures from populist sops and pre-election inducements, or adding to the obligations of fiscal responsibility and fiscal prudence ought to come from the legislature.

What are the criticisms of Freebie Culture?

  • Creates Private Benefits: Freebies violate the constitutional mandate of extending benefits for public purpose and instead create private benefits. The main beneficiaries of the freebies provided by government were the ruling party’s core supporters and swing voters who could be influenced easily.
  • Depoliticises Poor: Freebies will not only depoliticise the poor and marginalised communities but also indirectly deny them their due share of state resources.
  • Erases Rational Thinking: Freebie encourage personality cults in a democratic polity. Populism encourages mediocre political critics and erases critical and rational thinking, which are important to raise questions to people in power.
  • Patron-Client Syndrome: Unsolicited freebies cultivate a patron-client syndrome. Providing freebies is to treat people like subjects, whereas citizens are entitled to constitutional guarantees.
    • Clientelism is a political or social system based on the relation of client to patron with the client giving political support to a patron (as in the form of votes) in exchange for some special privilege or benefit (freebies).
  • Against Welfare Politics: Welfare initiatives are an embodiment of civil rights, whereas unsolicited freebies show benevolence at best and apathy at worst towards the poor by the ruling parties.
  • Doesn’t enhance Productivity: It was observed that distributing free laptops does not serve the purpose of increasing the quality of education. Also, free electricity, free water, farm loan waivers, etc. have not contributed to increased productivity.
  • Fiscal Burden: Freebies imposes burden on the state’s financial status contributing to huge fiscal debt.
  • Vulnerable to Corruption: Freebies culture paves way to corrupt practice because of the involvement of middle man.
  • Not Sustainable in Long Run: The social, political and economic consequences of freebies are very short-lived in nature. Also, they cannot be provided free forever, at some point these goods have to be rationalised.

Source:  The Hindu


Hasdeo Aranya

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Syllabus

  • GS-3: Climate Change, Conservation

Context: The Hasdeo Aranya forests are called the lungs of Chhattisgarh.

  • Over the past one year, protests against mining in this region have erupted several times and some still continue to sit-in demanding a complete stop to mining.
  • Amidst this, on July 26, the Chhattisgarh Legislative Assembly unanimously passed a private member resolution urging the Centre to cancel allocation of all coal mining blocks in the ecologically sensitive area.

Significance of the Hasdeo-Aranya region

  • The Hasdeo Aranya (Aranya means forest) lies in the catchment area of the Hasdeo river and is spread across 1,878 sq km in North-Central Chhattisgarh.
  • The Hasdeo river is a tributary of the Mahanadi river which originates in Chhattisgarh and flows through Odisha into the Bay of Bengal.
  • The Hasdeo forests are also the catchment area for the Hasdeo Bango Dam built across the Hasdeo river which irrigates six lakh acres of land, crucial to a State with paddy as its main crop.
  • Besides, the forests are ecologically sensitive due to the rich biodiversity they offer and due to the presence of a large migratory corridor for elephants.

What is a Private Member Resolution?

  • An MLA who is not a Minister — whether she happens to be from the ruling party or not — is a private member.
  • A private member resolution can be brought in by a private member and if passed, it becomes an expression of what the House thinks.
  • This is different from a private member bill which would become law in case of approval.

When did the controversy surrounding coal mining start?

  • Underneath the Hasdeo Aranya is a coalfield that comprises of 22 coal blocks. In 2010, the Centre categorised Hasdeo Aranya to be a “no-go” zone for mining. It ruled out mining in any of these blocks.
  • However, only a year later, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF) granted clearance for the mining for one coal block.
  • At present, of the 22 blocks, seven blocks have been allotted to different companies, says the resolution.

Source: The Hindu


The One-China Policy

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Syllabus

  • GS-2: India and its Neighbourhood

China’s One-China Policy: China views Taiwan as a breakaway province that will one day unite with it. Beijing has not ruled out the possible use of force to reunify the self-ruled island with the mainland. It routinely protests any foreign dignitaries’ visits to Taiwan, insisting that all countries follow the One-China Policy.

History

  • In 1949, at the end of the Chinese civil war, Mao Zedong’s communist forces ousted Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang (KMT)-led government of the Republic of China (ROC).
  • The defeated ROC forces escaped to Taiwan where they established their government, while the victorious Communists began ruling the mainland as the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
  • The two sides have been governed separately since, though a shared cultural and linguistic heritage mostly endures — with Mandarin spoken as the official language in both places.
  • For over seven decades, Beijing has continued to view Taiwan as a Chinese province and vows to “unify” it with the mainland. Beijing’s stance is that there is only “one China” and that Taiwan is part of it, a view that is not held by all within the island nation.

Where do other countries stand?

International inter-governmental bodies like the United Nations and the World Trade Organization don’t officially recognise the ROC. Only 15 countries recognise it.

 USA:

  • Initially, the United States recognised Taiwan as they shied away from Communist China. However, diplomatic winds shifted and the US seeing a need to develop relations with China, recognised the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and derecognised the Republic of China (ROC) in 1979 under President Jimmy Carter. The US also moved its embassy to Beijing from Taipei.
  • However, the US Congress passed the Taiwan Relations Act in 1979 to protect the significant US security and commercial interest in Taiwan.
  • To this day, the US “One China” position stands: the United States recognises the People’s Republic of China as “the sole legal government” of China but only acknowledges the Chinese position that Taiwan is part of China.

India’s Stand

India, which was one of the first non-communist countries to recognise Zedong’s PRC in 1950, has also stuck by the One-China Policy. However, for New Delhi, the One-China Policy doesn’t just govern Taiwan but also Tibet. While India doesn’t recognise Taiwan or any Tibetan authority as independent of China, there has been a clamour for India to revisit its stance over China’s continuing aggression at Indian borders.

  • 2010: Over the years, meetings between leaders of India and China routinely reaffirmed the One-China Policy, However, India stopped doing so in 2010 after then Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s visit.
  • But India declined to reaffirm the policy after Beijing issued “stapled visas” instead of normal visas to Jammu and Kashmir residents travelling to China.
  • 2014: When Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister in 2014, he invited Taiwanese Ambassador Chung-Kwang Tien and Lobsang Sangay, the president of Central Tibetan Administration to his swearing-in ceremony.
  • 2020: BJP’s Meenakshi Lekhi and Rahul Kaswan attended the swearing-in of Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen through virtual mode.
  • India’s relations with China strained after the Galwan clashes in 2020, and New Delhi picked Gourangalal Das – then joint secretary (Americas) in the Ministry of External Affairs – as the ambassador to Taipei.

Indian Government facilitates and promotes interactions in areas of trade, investment and tourism, culture and education, and people-to-people exchanges. India has one office in Taipei for diplomatic functions. The India-Taipei Association (ITA) and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Center in New Delhi were both established in 1995.

Source: News 18


Carbon markets

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Syllabus

  • GS-3: Environment, Climate Change
  • GS-3: Energy

In News: In order to facilitate the achievement of more ambitious climate change targets and ensure a faster transition to a low-carbon economy, the government is seeking to strengthen a 20-year law, called the Energy Conservation Act of 2001, which has powered the first phase of India’s shift to a more energy-efficient future.

The Bill to amend the Energy Conservation Act, 2001 –

  • First, it seeks to make it compulsory for a select group of industrial, commercial and even residential consumers to use green energy. A prescribed minimum proportion of the energy they use must come from renewable or non-fossil fuel sources.
  • Second, it seeks to establish a domestic carbon market and facilitate trade in carbon credits.

Importantly, the amendment Bill seeks to widen the scope of energy conservation to include large residential buildings as well. Till now, the energy conservation rules applied mainly on industrial and commercial complexes.

What are carbon markets?

Carbon markets allow the trade of carbon credits with the overall objective of bringing down emissions.

  • These markets create incentives to reduce emissions or improve energy efficiency.
    • For example, an industrial unit which outperforms the emission standards stands to gain credits.
    • Another unit which is struggling to attain the prescribed standards can buy these credits and show compliance to these standards.
    • The unit that did better on the standards earns money by selling credits, while the buying unit is able to fulfill its operating obligations.
  • Under the Kyoto Protocol, the predecessor to the Paris Agreement, carbon markets have worked at the international level as well.
    • As the world negotiated a new climate treaty in place of the Kyoto Protocol, the developed countries no longer felt the need to adhere to their targets under the Kyoto Protocol.
    • A similar carbon market is envisaged to work under the successor Paris Agreement, but its details are still being worked out.

Where else can we see Carbon Markets?

  • Domestic or regional carbon markets are already functioning in several places, most notably in Europe, where an emission trading scheme (ETS) works on similar principles. Industrial units in Europe have prescribed emission standards to adhere to, and they buy and sell credits based on their performance. China, too, has a domestic carbon market.
  • A similar scheme for incentivising energy efficiency has been running in India for over a decade now. This BEE scheme, called PAT, (or perform, achieve and trade) allows units to earn efficiency certificates if they outperform the prescribed efficiency standards.

Source: Indian Express


Leading people-powered climate action: “Lifestyle for the Environment” (LiFE)

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Syllabus

  • GS 3: Climate Change

Context: In November 2021, at the CoP 26 in Glasgow, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in addition to announcing the panchamrit, or five climate-related commitments of the country, also articulated the concept of “Lifestyle for the Environment” (LiFE) — advocating for “mindful and deliberate utilisation” by people worldwide, instead of “mindful and wasteful consumption”.

Over the last two decades, many countries have attempted policies and actions to address climate change. However, the positive impact that individual and community behaviours can have on climate action has remained under realised. According to the United Nation Environment Programme (UNEP), if one billion people out of the global population of close to eight billion adopt eco-friendly behaviours in their daily lives, global carbon emissions could drop by approximately 20 per cent.

There is an urgent need for individuals to transcend geographical, social and economic boundaries, and come together as a global community to tackle the climate crisis. India can lead the global climate debate by nudging the world towards a new model of sustainable and inclusive development through the Lifestyle for the Environment (LiFE) movement.

Lifestyle for the Environment (LiFE)

  • Launched on June 5, 2022, World Environment Day
  • Vision: To harness the power of individual and collective action across the world to address the climate crisis.
  • The objective of the movement is to nudge individuals and communities to adopt simple and specific climate-friendly behaviours in their daily lifestyles.

Precedents of pro-planet initiatives around the world

  • Denmark promotes the use of bicycles by limiting parking within the city centre and providing exclusive bike lanes.
  • Japan has its unique “walk-to-school” mandate, which has been in practice since the early 1950s.

LiFE, however, is planned as a first-of-its-kind global movement, led by India in partnership with other countries, that will provide the world with a unique people-powered platform to relentlessly focus on bringing individual and collective actions to the core of the climate action narrative.

  • Consume responsibly: LiFE plans to nudge the world to consume responsibly, rather than consuming less. Building on the unique insights from India’s recent jan andolans such as the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), LiFE will deploy a range of tested behavioural techniques, including nudges, social and behaviour change communication and norm influencing to make mindful consumption a mass movement.
  • Produce responsibly: By nudging the consumption patterns of the society at scale, LiFE can also trigger a huge boost for the sustainability market. Several green industries and a large number of jobs are likely to be initiated as a positive externality of LiFE.
  • Live responsibly: Through its multi-dimensional, multi-cultural and global approach, the LiFE movement can play a pivotal role in not merely reversing the effects of climate change but, at a broader level, mainstream a harmonious and mindful way of living — a staple of Indian culture and tradition, practised by its people over centuries.

Conclusion

As the world moves in fits and starts towards its shared commitment to achieve ambitious climate goals, the time is ripe for India to lead the LiFE movement and mainstream it into the climate narrative. LiFE could arguably become the very heart of that model.

Source: Indian Express


Withdrawal of Personal Data Protection Bill

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Syllabus

  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation. 
  • GS-2: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies

Context: After nearly four years of being in the works, the Personal Data Protection Bill was withdrawn from Parliament by the government, after stating that the government will come out with a “set of fresh legislations” that will fit into the comprehensive legal framework for the digital economy.

Genesis of the Bill 

  • The genesis of this Bill lies in the report prepared by a Committee of Experts headed by Justice B.N. Srikrishna.
  • The committee was constituted by the government in the course of hearings before the Supreme Court in the right to privacy case (Justice K.S. Puttaswamy v. Union of India).

Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 proposed

  • The withdrawn Bill had proposed restrictions on the use of personal data without the explicit consent of citizens.
  • It had also sought to provide the government with powers to give exemptions to its probe agencies from the provisions of the Act, a move that was strongly opposed by the opposition MPs who had filed their dissent notes.
  • Also proposed to specify the flow and usage of personal data, protect the rights of individuals whose personal data are processed, as it works out the framework for the cross-border transfer, accountability of entities processing data, and moots remedies for unauthorised and harmful processing.
  • The Bill sets out certain rights of the individual (or data principal). These include the right to:
    • Obtain confirmation from the fiduciary on whether their personal data has been processed
    • Seek correction of inaccurate, incomplete, or out-of-date personal data
    • Have personal data transferred to any other data fiduciary in certain circumstance
    • Restrict continuing disclosure of their personal data by a fiduciary, if it is no longer necessary or consent is withdrawn.

The original Bill, which was first tabled in 2019, included exemptions for processing data without an individual’s consent for “reasonable purposes”, including security of the state, detection of any unlawful activity or fraud, whistle-blowing, medical emergencies, credit scoring, operation of search engines and processing of publicly available data.

Contentious Section 35 & Article 12(a)

  • According to Article 35, the central government could exempt any government agency from the law’s provisions “in the interest of India’s sovereignty and integrity, the state’s security, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, and if it is satisfied that it is necessary or expedient to do so, subject to procedures, safeguards, and oversight mechanisms to be prescribed by the Government.”
  • Article 12(a), meanwhile, eliminated the need for the data principal’s informed consent for the processing of their data when it is required “for the performance of any function of the state authorised by law for I the provision of any service or benefit to the data principal from the state; or (ii) the issuance of any certification, licence, or permit by the state for any action or activity of the data principal by the state.”

Conclusion

Members of the erstwhile Joint Committee on Personal Data Protection Bill as well as industry leaders have welcomed the government’s move to withdraw the legislation, saying it was better to bring a new legislation after more than 80 amendments suggested by the panel.

Source: News 18


Baba’s Explainer – Carbon Markets

Carbon Markets

Syllabus

  • GS-3: Environmental Conservation

Context: In order to facilitate the achievement of more ambitious climate change targets and ensure a faster transition to a low-carbon economy, the government is seeking to strengthen a 20-year law, called the Energy Conservation Act of 2001.

The Bill to amend the Energy Conservation Act, 2001 has two main objectives.

  • First, it seeks to make it compulsory for a select group of industrial, commercial and even residential consumers to use green energy. A prescribed minimum proportion of the energy they use must come from renewable or non-fossil fuel sources.
  • Second, it seeks to establish a domestic carbon market and facilitate trade in carbon credits.

Read Complete Details on Carbon Markets


Daily Practice MCQs

Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) Which committee is related with the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019?

  1. Justice Iyer Committee
  2. Justice J.S. Verma Committee
  3. Justice B.N. Srikrishna Committee
  4. Justice Rajinder Sachar Committee

Q.2) Consider the following statements with respect to ‘Living Lands Charter’

  1. It is a non-binding agreement adapted by all the members of the Commonwealth
  2. It aims to support member countries to effectively deliver their commitments under UNFCCC

Select the correct statement(s)

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Q.3)River Hasdeo which flows through the Hasdeo Aranya forests of Chhatisgarh, is a tributary of which major river of India?

  1. River Jhelum
  2. River Ganga
  3. River Satluj
  4. River Mahanadi

Comment the answers to the above questions in the comment section below!!

ANSWERS FOR ’5th August 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs’ will be updated along with tomorrow’s Daily Current Affairs.


ANSWERS FOR 4th August 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs

Answers- Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) – b

Q.2) – b

Q.3) – a

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