Flash Cards

[Current Affairs] Flash Cards Sample Set #5

Small Savings Schemes (SSSs); TD 6 — variety of raw jute; Tapan Ray panel recommendations; Shahtoosh - a specific kind of shawl; “Coffee Club”
By IT's Research Team
March 18, 2019



What are Small Savings Schemes (SSSs)? What are the significance of small savings schemes?

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  • Small Savings Schemes are government run social welfare schemes that provide higher interest rate.
  • Different small saving schemes have mobilized money from households and channelized it to government so that the centre and states can finance a prat of their expenditure.
  • The Central Government operates Small Savings Schemes (SSS) through the nationwide network of about 1.5 lakh post offices, more than 8,000 branches of the Public-Sector Banks and select private sector banks and more than 5 lakh small savings agents.

Classifications of Small Savings Schemes:

The Small Savings Schemes can be grouped under three:

Post office Deposits:

  • Post Office Savings Account, Post Office Time Deposits (1,2,3 and 5 years), Post Office Recurring Deposits, Post Office Monthly Account,

Savings Certificates:

  • National Savings Certificate and Kisan Vikas Patra

Social Security Schemes:

  • Public Provident Fund, Senior Citizens Savings Scheme, and Sukanya Samriddhi Account.

Significance of small savings schemes:

  • The Small Saving Schemes (SSSs) are important source of household savings in India.
  • Small savings schemes are designed to provide safe and attractive investment options to the public and at the same time to mobilise resources for development.
  • Small saving schemes helps to support the social security objectives at the same time, helping as a tool of resource mobilization for the government.



In parlance of international relations, what do you understand by the term “Coffee Club”?

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  • Uniting for Consensus (UfC) nicknamed the Coffee Club is a movement that developed in the 1990s in opposition to the possible expansion of permanent seats in the United Nations Security Council.
  • Italy along with Pakistan, Mexico and Egypt, in 1995 founded the “Coffee Club”.
  • Under the leadership of Italy, Coffee Club aims to counter the bids for permanent seats proposed by G4 nations (Brazil, Germany, India, and Japan) and is calling for a consensus before any decision is reached on the form and size of the Security Council.
  • The founders of the group were soon joined by other countries, including Spain, Argentina, Turkey, Canada, and South Korea, and in a short time the group came to include about 50 countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

Why they are against the expansion of permanent seats in UNSC?

  • The thesis of the Uniting for Consensus group is that the increase of permanent seats would have further accentuated the disparity between the member countries and resulted in the extension of a series of privileges with a cascade effect.
  • The new permanent members would have in fact benefited from the method of electing particularly advantageous in a number of specific organs of the United Nations System.



Shahtoosh is the name given to a specific kind of shawl, which is woven with the down hair of the Himalayan tahr. Right or Wrong?

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Right Answer:

Shahtoosh is woven with the down hair of the Tibetan antelope (chiru), by master craftsmen and women of Kashmir.

About Tibetan antelope (chiru):


  • Tibetan antelope (chiru) is a medium-sized bovid native to the Tibetan plateau.
  • It is classified as “near threatened” under the IUCN’s red list.

Tibetan antelope (chiru) iastoppers23

  • In recent years, they have become endangered due to poaching. Fewer than 75,000 individuals are left in the wild.
  • They are hunted for their soft and warm wool which is usually obtained after death. This wool is known as shahtoosh and is used to weave shawls.
  • The shahtoosh trade was banned globally in 1975 under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to which India is a signatory.
  • Chiru inhabits high altitude Tibetan Plateau and requires large expanse of land for its movement and ranging patterns to fulfil its feeding and breeding requirements and therefore rearing in captivity is extremely difficult.
  • Chiru is listed under Schedule- I of the India’s Wildlife (Protection) Act, granting it the highest level of protection.
  • They are found almost entirely in China, where they inhabit Tibet, southern Xinjiang, and western Qinghai; a few are also found across the border in Ladakh, India. Today, the majority are found within the Chang Tang Nature Reserve of northern Tibet.



Tapan Ray panel was constituted for which task? What are its recommendations?

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To suggest amendments in the Companies Act, 2013, a panel constituted by the Union government has submitted its report. The panel was headed by corporate affairs secretary Tapan Ray.

Key recommendations of the Tapan Ray panel

  • For managerial remuneration, shareholders’ approval should suffice and no government nod should be needed.
  • A firm to be called associate company only when the parent firm owns 20 per cent of voting power in it.
  • Insider trading and forward dealing provisions to be removed from the Act as SEBI regulations already exist.
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants of India’s regulatory powers to be taken away; National Financial Reporting Authority would be formed.
  • Independent directors should not have any pecuniary relationship – where it is getting material benefits – with the company.
  • Small frauds of less than Rs 10 lakh not to be considered under harsh provisions.
  • Private placement process to be simplified, doing away with separate offer letter, making valuation details public.
  • Incorporation process to be made easier, allowing greater flexibility to companies.
  • Self-declarations to replace affidavits from subscribers to memorandum and first directors.
  • Managerial remuneration to need only shareholders’ approval. No need for government approval.
  • Relaxing norms for start-ups to issue sweat equity. Now, 50 per cent of the paid up capital could be issued as sweat equity, against the existing norm of 25 per cent.



West Bengal is the hub of the low grade — TD 6 — variety of raw jute. In last few years, its demand has been declining. Why?

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  • This is because of the Textile Ministry’s specifications to the jute mills to make lighter bags in order to tackle competition. However, lightweight jute bags of 560 grams (replacing the earlier 665 grams) necessitates the use of better quality raw jute . This has led to a drop in demand for the TD-6 variety.

About TD 6:

  • TD 6 is a variety of raw jute, used mainly for making sacking and gunny bags.
  • Poor agricultural practices and lack of facilities for retting (a process of washing raw jute to get better fibre), has led to the farmers resorting to production of this variety. However, the demand for this type of the natural fibre has been declining since last year.

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