UPSC Pre 2019: Concepts/Definitions


.The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is a worldwide study by the OECD in member and non-member nations intended to evaluate educational systems by measuring 15-year-old school pupils’ scholastic performance on mathematics, science, and reading.

. India participated in 2009 and ranked 72/74 and discontinued post 2009.

. India has again decided to participate in the program.

  • NAQI:

.National Air Quality Index (AQI) launched by the Environment Minister AQI is a huge initiative under ‘Swachh Bharat’.

.AQI to act as ‘One Number- One Colour-One Description’ to judge the Air Quality for Common Man.

.The index will measure eight major pollutants, namely, particulate matter (PM 10 and PM 2.5), nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, ozone, carbon monoxide, ammonia and lead.

  • Angel Tax

.Angel Tax is a 30% tax that is levied on the funding received by startups from an external investor.

.The problem lies as there is no definitive or objective way to measure the ‘fair market value’ of a startup.

  • Click Farms

.It is is a business that pays employees to click on website elements to artificially boost the status of a client’s website or a product.

. They are usually based in developing countries, where wages are extremely low by Western standards.

  • Escrow account

.Escrow is a legal concept in which a financial instrument or an asset is held by a third party on behalf of two other parties that are in the process of completing a transaction.

.Under RERA builders need to park 70% of the amount received from buyers in escrow account.

  • Sandbox approach

.A sandbox approach means experimenting and learning before finally adopting a technology or system. This approach helps in containing the impact of failures.

.An expert panel has suggested to insurance regulator IRDAI to set up a core ‘Sandbox Committee’ to promote digital innovation in the sector while safeguarding the interest of policyholders.

  • SPV

.It is a subsidiary of a company which is protected from the parent company’s financial risk. It is a legal entity created for a limited business acquisition or transaction, or it can be used as a funding structure. It is sometimes called a special purpose entity (SPE).

.In India goverment has created SPVs for various initiatives, particularly in PPP projects. egs. smart city, Goods and Service Tax Network (GSTN) etc.

  • Differentiated Banks

.There are two kinds of banking licences that are granted by the Reserve Bank of India – Universal Bank Licence and Differentiated Bank Licence.

.Differentiated Banks (niche banks) are banks that serve the needs of a certain demographic segment of the population.

.The differentiation could be on account of capital requirement, the scope of activities or area of operations. As such, they offer a limited range of services.

.Recommended by the NachiketMor committee on financial inclusion.

example: small finance bank, wholesale bank, payment banks.

  • Net metering

.Net metering is a utility resource usage and payment scheme in which a customer who generates their own power is compensated monetarily.

.Net metering originated with electric companies as a way to encourage consumers to invest in renewable energy sources such as solar or wind power.


.A Radio Frequency Identification Tag (RFID tag) is an electronic tag that exchanges data with a RFID reader through radio waves.

.RFID tags have similar applications to barcodes, they are far more advanced. For instance, reading information from a RFID tag does not require line-of-sight and can be performed over a distance of a few meters.

.Application:Logistics & Supply Chain Visibility, inventory tracking, race timing etc

  • Ramjet & Scramjet engine

.A ramjet is a form of air-breathing jet engine that uses the vehicle’s forward motion to compress incoming air for combustion without a rotating compressor.

.A scramjet engine is an improvement over the ramjet engine as it efficiently operates at hypersonic speeds and allows supersonic combustion.

.ISRO has successfully tested Scramjet Engine Technology

  • Hidden hunger

.Hidden hunger is a lack of vitamins and minerals.Hidden hunger occurs when the quality of food people eat does not meet their nutrient requirements.

.Deficiencies of iron, iodine and vitamin A are the most widespread forms of micronutrient malnutrition. The external visible effects of micronutrient deficiencies like anaemia or goitre help to identify the presence of these disorders.

. Strategies to tackle the issue -supplementation, fortification, diet diversification.

  • Double burden of malnutrition

.The double burden of malnutrition is characterised by the coexistence of undernutrition along with overweight and obesity, or diet-related noncommunicable diseases.

.It can exist at the individual level – for example obesity with deficiency of one or various vitamins and minerals, or overweight in an adult who was stunted during childhood – at the household level – when a mother may be overweight or anaemic and a child or grandparent is underweight – and at the population level – where there is a prevalence of both undernutrition and overweight in the same community, nation or region.

Round Tipping

.Round tripping refers to money that leaves the country though various channels and makes its way back into the country often as foreign investment.

.This mostly involves black money and is allegedly often used for stock price manipulation. Round tripping is often done through a series of transactions that don’t have any substantial commercial purposes, which makes it fall within the trappings of GAAR.

.GAAR is General Anti Avoidance Rule and hence it is an anti-tax avoidance regulation.

  • Side pocketing

.Side pocketing is an accounting method used to separate illiquid investments from the more liquid and quality investments in a debt portfolio.

.Securities and Exchange Board of India has allowed debt mutual funds to adopt “side pocket” that will allow fund managers to separate their stressed assets from the portfolio.