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UPSC IAS Prelims 2019: GS Paper-I Important Current Affairs Questions

Practice Important Current Affairs Questions for IAS Prelims 2019 General Studies Paper I (GS). Are you preparing for UPSC IAS Prelims 2019? Have a look at these questions that cover sections like Current affairs, Economy, Science, Technology, Culture, Environment, and others. We have provided 40 Important Current Affairs Questions along with their answers and explanations.

May 29, 2019 15:28 IST
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UPSC IAS Prelims 2019
UPSC IAS Prelims 2019

The UPSC IAS Prelims 2019 are just around the corner! Only the books, notes and study material will not be enough now. The more one practice, the better he or she can score in the 2019 UPSC Prelims exam. This is the right time to indulge into the practice questions and test your knowledge. One gets to understand the trend of exams; tends to get more knowledge and gets updated with the latest developments by undertaking the practice papers. So, have a look at these 40 Important Current Affairs Questions along with their answers and explanations.

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1. With reference to the BIMSTEC group of countries, consider the following statements:
I. BIMSTEC stands for ‘Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation’
II. BIMSTEC member countries are Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan, and Nepal.
Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?
(a) Only 1
(b) Only 2
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) None
Answer. b
Explanation: The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) was founded in 1997. It is an international regional organisation of seven nations of South Asia and South East Asia. The BIMSTEC member countries are Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan, and Nepal. All these seven countries lie near the Bay of Bengal.
The first BIMSTEC summit was held in Thailand in 1997; second was held in 2008 in India; the third was held in 2014 in Myanmar and the fourth was held in 2018 in Nepal. Sri Lanka is the current Chair of the BIMSTEC.

2. Consider the following statements in context of Basel Convention:
I. Basel Convention is known as ‘Basel Convention on the Control of Trans-boundary Movements of Artilleries and Guns’
II. The Convention came into force in 1992.
III. Plastic Waste is included under the Basel Convention.
Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?
(a) Only I
(b) Only I and II  
(c) Only II and III
(d) I, II and III
Answer. c
Explanation: Recently, plastic waste was included in the 1989 Basel Convention. Adopted on March 22, 1989 by the Conference of Plenipotentiaries in Basel, Switzerland, the “Basel Convention on the Control of Trans-boundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal”, generally known as the Basel Convention, came into force in 1992.
The Convention came as a response to a public outcry in the 1980s after Africa and other developing countries discovered deposits of toxic wastes.

3. The Orchha town was added to the tentative list of World Heritage Sites of UNESCO. Where is the Orchha town located?
a) Andhra Pradesh
b) Madhya Pradesh
c) Uttar Pradesh
d) Himachal Pradesh
Answer. b
Explanation: The Orchha town of Madhya Pradesh has been included in tentative list of the World Heritage Sites of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). It is famous for its four palaces - Jahangir Palace, Rai Praveen Mahal, Raja Mahal, and Sheesh Mahal.

4. Which former Prime Minister’s death anniversary is observed on May 21?
a) Jawaharlal Nehru
b) Rajiv Gandhi
c) Lal Bahadur Shastri
d) Gulzarilal Nanda
Answer. b
Explanation: The 28th death anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was observed across the nation on May 21, 2019. Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated in a suicide bombing at Sriperumbudur of Tamil Nadu on this day in 1991.

5. Consider the following statements in context of Indian General Elections 2019:
I. The Lok Sabha Elections 2019 began on April 11 and concluded on May 19, 2019.
II. The Narendra Modi-led Bhartiya Janata Party won 302 seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections.
III. Narendra Modi won the elections from Varanasi constituency.
Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?
(a) Only I and II  
(b) Only I and III  
(c) Only II and III
(d) I, II and III
Answer: b
The Indian General Elections 2019 began on April 11 to elect people’s representatives in 542 Parliamentary constituencies for the 17th Lok Sabha. The Elections concluded on May 19, 2019. The Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) won 303 seats on its own, surpassing its previous record of 282 seats in 2014. Prime Minister Narendra Modi won from Varanasi constituency by fetching around 6,74,664 votes with vote share of 63.62 percent.

6. Which institution launched the 'Vision 2021' document for e-payment system?
a) FICCI
b) RBI
c) NITI Aayog
d) SEBI
Answer: b
The Reserve Bank of India released 'Payment and Settlement Systems in India: Vision 2019 – 2021' for safe, secure, quick and affordable e-payment system. The main agenda of the document is the 'no-compromise' approach towards safety and security of payment systems.

7. India’s new species of reddish brown pit viper was discovered in which state?
a) Himachal Pradesh
b) Meghalaya
c) Arunachal Pradesh
d) Uttarakhand
Answer. c
Explanation: A new species of venomous reddish-brown pit viper was discovered in the West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh by a team of herpetologists led by Ashok Captain.

8. Which country recently became the world’s first to launch malaria vaccine?
a) Malawi
b) Serbia
c) Maldives
d) Nepal
Answer. a
Explanation: Malawi launched the world’s first malaria vaccine in a landmark pilot programme. The country is the first of three in Africa in which the vaccine, known as RTS,S, will be made available to children up to 2 years of age; Ghana and Kenya will introduce the vaccine later.

9. The ICC World Cup 2019 will begin in England and Wales on which among the following dates?
a) May 31
b) May 30
c) June 2
d) June 1
Answer. b
Explanation: The ICC World Cup 2019 will begin in England and Wales from May 30, 2019. The first match will be held between England and South Africa. Team India will begin the campaign on June 5.

10. Which IAF’s aircraft was recently certified to operate on indigenous Bio-Jet fuel?
a) MiG-21
b) CH-47 Chinook
c) Global 5000
d) AN-32
Answer. d
Explanation: Russian AN-32 aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) was certified by CEMILAC to fly on a blended bio-jet fuel. The fuel consists of 10 percent tree-derived and 90 percent conventional aviation fuel.

11. Who was elected as the President of Indonesia recently?
a) Joko Widodo
b) Prabowo Subianto
c) Sandiaga Uno
d) Ma'ruf Amin
Answer. a
Explanation: Joko Widodo was re-elected as President of Indonesia for the second term, defeating rival Prabowo Subianto. Widodo and his Vice-Presidential running mate Ma'ruf Amin won the election by a 55.5 percent to 44.5 percent margin over Prabowo Subianto and Sandiaga Uno.

12. Consider the following statements in context of the Menstrual Hygiene Day:
I. The Menstrual Hygiene Day is celebrated every year on 27 May.
II. The Day aims to create a world in which every woman and girl is empowered to manage her menstruation safely, hygienically with confidence.
Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?
(a) Only 1
(b) Only 2
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) None
Answer: b
Explanation: The Menstrual Hygiene Day is celebrated every year on May 28. The theme of this year’s Day was ‘It’s Time for Action!’ The day aims to ensure no girl is left behind. The Day is observed to create a world in which every woman and girl is empowered to manage her menstruation safely, hygienically, with confidence and without shame.

13. Which of the following statement(s) is/are true for "VVPAT"?
I. The VVPAT stands for Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail.
II. The VVPAT is an independent printer system attached with Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) that allows the voters to verify that their votes are cast as intended.
III. It provides feedback to voters using a ballot less voting system by generating a paper slip every time a voter casts his vote. It records the party to whom the vote was made.
 (a) Only I
(b) Only I and II  
(c) Only II and III
(d) I, II and III
Answer: d
Explanation: The Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) is an independent printer system attached with Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) that allows the voters to verify that their votes are cast as intended. It provides feedback to voters using a ballot less voting system by generating a paper slip every time a voter casts his vote. It records the party to whom the vote was made. The VVPAT slip is kept in a sealed cover. VVPAT slip counting takes place in the VVPAT counting booths under the close monitoring of the returning officer and direct oversight of the observer.

14. Consider the following statements in context of RISAT-2B satellite:
I. RISAT-2B is a radar imaging satellite launched by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
II. The satellite has a mass of 615 kg and features an X-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR).
III. The satellite is used for reconnaissance, strategic surveillance and disaster management.
Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?
(a) Only I
(b) Only I and II  
(c) Only II and III
(d) I, II and III
Answer: d
Explanation: Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launched its radar imaging satellite RISAT-2B on May 22, 2019. It is radar imaging earth observation satellite. The satellite has a mass of 615 kg and feature an X-band SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar). It is built for a 5 year operational life. It is used for regular remote-sensing or optical imaging satellites work like a light-dependent camera that cannot perceive hidden or surreptitious objects in cloudy or dark conditions.

15. The United Nations Security Council recently designated which organisation’s chief as a Global Terrorist?
a) Jaish-e-Mohammad
b) Tehreek-ul-Mujahideen
c) National Thawheed Jamath
d) Jamathei Milathu Ibrahim
Answer. a
Explanation: The 1267 Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee of the United Nations Security Council on May 1, 2019 designated Pakistan’s Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar as a Global Terrorist. With the addition of Azhar to the Al‑Qaida Sanctions List, he will be subject to the assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo. The Sanctions List currently contains the names of 262 individuals and 83 entities.

16. In which year did the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre took place?
a) 1919
b) 1927
c) 1967
d) 1974
Answer. a
Explanation: The Year 2019 marks the Centenary of the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre, also known as the Amritsar Massacre that occurred on April 13, 1919. The massacre exposed the inhuman approach of the British when the British troop cold-bloodedly open fire into an unarmed crowd without any warning.

17. Lakshmi Vilas Bank announced its merger with which financier firm?
a) Bharat Financial Inclusion
b) Indiabulls Housing Finance
c) GRUH Finance
d) Capital First
Answer. b
Explanation: The Board of private sector lender, Lakshmi Vilas Bank Ltd (LVB) on April 5, 2019 approved its merger with the mortgage financier, Indiabulls Housing Finance Ltd in an all stock deal. As per the ‘Scheme of Amalgamation’ approved by the LVB board, for every 100 shares of Laxmi Vilas Bank held, shareholders will receive 14 shares of Indiabulls Housing Finance.

18. Which nation has become the 4th largest space power?
a) Japan
b) Germany
c) India
d) France
Answer. c
Explanation: Prime Narendra Modi on March 27, 2019 announced that India has established itself as the world's 4th largest space super power. The PM announced the success of ‘Mission Shakti’, in which Indian scientists successfully targeted and brought down a live satellite on a Low Earth Orbit with an anti-satellite missile (A-SAT) within a matter of just three minutes.

19. Consider the following statements in context of Lokpal in India:
I. Pinaki Chandra Ghose is India’s first Lokpal, the anti-corruption ombudsman.
II. The Lokpal is a multimember body with a Chairperson (who is or has been a Chief Justice or Judge of the Supreme Court) and Members (who are or have been Judges or Chief Justices of High Courts).
III. Lokpal is appointed under the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2012.
Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?
(a) Only I
(b) Only I and II  
(c) Only II and III
(d) I, II and III
Answer. b
Explanation: India got its first Lokpal six years after the passage of Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013. Former Supreme Court judge, Pinaki Chandra Ghose was on March 19, 2019 appointed as India’s first Lokpal also known as the anti-corruption ombudsman. The appointment to Lokpal is made by a high-level selection committee headed by Prime Minister, and is constituted of Lok Sabha Speaker, Leader of Opposition Party (LoP), Chief Justice of India and an eminent jurist.

20. Maharatna, Navratna & Miniratna Status of CPSEs: Consider the following statements:
I. The government grants the status of Maharatna, Navratna, and Miniratna to Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) and Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) based upon the profit made by these enterprises.
II. The Maharatna, Navratna and Miniratna statuses give financial and administrative power to the companies to a certain extent.  
III. As on August, 2018, there are 8 Maharatnas, 16 Navratnas and 60 Miniratna Category - I and 15 Miniratna Category - II Public Sector Enterprises (PSEs).
Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?
(a) Only I
(b) Only I and II  
(c) Only II and III
(d) I, II and III
Answer. d
Explanation: The Public Sector Enterprises are run by the Government under the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) of Union Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises.  The Department of Public Enterprises is the Nodal Government agency to issue guidelines and regulation for the various state-owned CPSEs in India. The government grants the status of Maharatna, Navratna, and Miniratna to Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) and Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) based upon the profit made by these enterprises.

21. The Reserve Bank of India categorised which bank as a Private Sector Bank for regulatory purposes?
a) Punjab National Bank
b) IDBI Bank
c) HDFC Bank
d) ICICI Bank
Answer. b
Explanation: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on March 14, 2019 categorised the IDBI Bank Limited as a ‘Private Sector Bank’ for regulatory purposes with effect from January 21, 2019. The Reserve Bank of India also named the State Bank of India (SBI), the ICICI Bank and the HDFC Bank as Domestic Systemically Important Banks (D-SIBs).

22. Which city was adjudged as India's Cleanest City for the third consecutive year as per Swachh Survekshan 2019?
a) Bhopal
b) Indore
c) Ambikapur
d) Mysuru
Answer. b
Explanation: Indore was adjudged as India's Cleanest City for the third consecutive year in the central government's Swachh Survekshan 2019 survey. Indore reported a 70 percent drop in vector-borne ailments in 2019, which is being attributed to Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.

23. When is the International Women’s Day celebrated across world?
a) 7 March
b) 8 March
c) 9 March
d) 10 March
Answer. b
Explanation: The International Women's Day 2019 was observed across the world on March 8, 2019 with an aim to empower women in all settings, be it rural and urban, and celebrate the activists who work constantly to assert women’s rights and realise their full potential.

24. Who became the 14th recipient of the 2018 Seoul Peace Prize?
a) Narendra Modi
b) Vladimir Putin
c) Donald Trump
d) Ban-Ki-Moon
Answer. a
Explanation: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 22, 2019 received the prestigious Seoul Peace Prize 2018 for his contribution to international cooperation and fostering global economic growth. The award was presented to him by Kwon E-hyock, the Chairman of the Seoul Peace Prize Cultural Foundation at a grand ceremony in Seoul, South Korea.

25. Which two companies together lost a market capitalisation of USD 50 billion on February 1, 2019 after the new FDI norms for the e-commerce sector came into effect in India?
a) Amazon and Walmart
b) Walmart and Flipkart
c) Flipkart and Myntra
d) Myntra and Jabong
Answer. a
Explanation: As the shares of Amazon and Walmart lost 5 percent and 2 percent, respectively, both the companies together lost a market capitalisation of USD 50 billion on February 1, 2019. The fall in stock prices can be attributed to disruption caused in their e-commerce operations in India after introduction of the new Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) norms for the e-commerce sector came into effect.

26. Consider the following statements in context of Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana:
I. The Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) Scheme was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 24, 2019 from Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh.
II. Under the Scheme, all Small and Marginal Farmers (SMF) with combined land holding or ownership of up to 2 hectares of cultivable land will be provided with income support of Rs 8000 per year.
III. The amount will be transferred directly into their account in 4 equal installments.
Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?
(a) Only I
(b) Only I and II  
(c) Only II and III
(d) I, II and III
Answer. a
Explanation: More than 2 crore small and marginal farmers have already been benefitted till date under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) Scheme. The Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana was announced in the Union Interim Budget 2019 by Finance Minister Piyush Goyal. Under the Scheme, all Small and Marginal Farmers (SMF) with combined land holding or ownership of up to 2 hectares of cultivable land will be provided with income support of Rs 6000 per year. The amount will be transferred directly into their account in 3 equal installments of Rs 2000 each. The Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) will ensure transparency in the entire process.

27. Which train was named as the ‘Vande Bharat Express’ by the Railways Ministry?
a) Train 18
b) 23 Humsafar Express
c) Antyodaya 10
d) Uday Express 1
Answer. a
Explanation: India's first engineless train, ‘Train 18’ was named as the ‘Vande Bharat Express’, acknowledging its made-in-India status. The train was manufactured by the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in the period of 18 months under the 'Make in India' initiative of PM Narendra Modi. The Vande Bharat Express currently runs between Delhi and Varanasi at maximum speed of 160 kmph. The scheduled commute between New Delhi and Varanasi takes approximately 8 hours, making it 40-50 percent faster than the fastest train currently connecting these two cities.

28. India ranked at which position on the Corruption Perceptions Index 2018?
a) 59th
b) 78th
c) 88th
d) 97th
Answer. b
Explanation: India improved its ranking on the 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) by three points and moved to 78th position with a score of 41. India ranked at 81st place on the Corruption Perceptions Index 2017. In the list of 180 countries, China and Pakistan lagged far behind India at 87th and 117th position, respectively.

29. The Constitution (103rd Amendment) Act, 2019 provides what percentage of reservation quota for the economically weaker sections in the general category?
a) 7 percent
b) 8.5 percent
c) 10 percent
d) 15 percent
Answer. c
Explanation: The Constitution (103rd Amendment) Act, 2019, the Act providing 10 percent reservation in government jobs and educational institutions to Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) of General Category, came into effect on January 14, 2019.

30. How much rent will now be exempted from the TDS as per the Interim Budget 2019?
a) Rs 2.4 lakh
b) Rs 3.2 lakh
c) Rs 4.0 lakh
d) Rs 4.5 lakh
Answer. a
Explanation: The Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) on fixed deposits and postal deposits will be exempted for interest earned up to Rs 40,000 from Rs 10,000 currently. The rent up to Rs 2.4 lakh will be exempted from TDS.

31. The Interim Budget 2019 allocated how much amount of capital support for the Indian Railways in 2019-20?
a) Rs 36,292 crore
b) Rs 58,166 crore
c) Rs 64,587 crore
d) Rs 1,58,658 crore
Answer. c
Explanation: The capital support from the budget for railways is proposed at Rs 64,587 crore in 2019-20. The railways’ overall capital expenditure programme is of Rs 1,58,658 crore.

32. As per the Interim Budget 2019-20, Individual tax payers with taxable income of up to what amount will get full tax rebate from now on?
a) Rs 3 lakh
b) Rs 5 lakh
c) Rs 7 lakh
d) Rs 9 lakh
Answer. b
Explanation: Individual tax payers with taxable income of up to Rs 5 lakh will get full tax rebate from now on. Those earning Rs 6.5 lakh will not have to pay tax, if they invested in specified savings such as PF, PPF, etc.

33. The Pradhan Mantri Shram-Yogi Maandhan scheme was announced in the Interim Budget 2019-20. Under the scheme, the workers will get what amount of pension after attaining the age of 60 years?
a) Rs 1500
b) Rs 3000
c) Rs 4500
d) Rs 6000
Answer. b
Explanation: Considering that half of the GDP comes from the unorganised sector, Finance Minister announced the launch of the mega pension scheme ‘Pradhan Mantri Shram-Yogi Maandhan’ for the unorganised sector workers with income of less than Rs 15,000. Under the scheme, the workers will be able to earn Rs 3000 after attaining the age of 60 years.

34. The 22nd All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) will be set up in which state, as per the Interim Budget 2019-20?
a) Haryana
b) Punjab
c) Telangana
d) Rajasthan
Answer. a
Explanation: There are 21 All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) functioning currently in India. Of these 21, 14 AIIMS were set up under the present government. The 22nd AIIMS will come up in Haryana.

35. Who is the first RBI Governor since 1990 to resign before completion of term?
a) Urjit Patel
b) Raghuram Rajan
c) Viral Acharya
d) Swaminathan Gurumurthy
Answer. a
Explanation: Urjit Patel on December 10, 2018 resigned as the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) with immediate effect, citing personal reasons. With his resignation, Patel became the first RBI governor since 1990 to resign before the completion of the term. Patel’s three-year term was to end in September 2019.

36. Consider the following statements in context of Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC):
I. OPEC was founded in 1960 by Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, five major oil-producing countries.
II. OPEC is the bloc of 15 oil-producing countries that account for a significant percentage of the world's oil production.
III. Qatar is the first Gulf country to leave the OPEC.
Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?
(a) Only I
(b) Only I and II  
(c) Only II and III
(d) I, II and III
Answer. d
Explanation: Qatar’s Energy Minister Saad Sherida al-Kaabi on December 3, 2018 announced that the country will withdraw from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in January 2019. OPEC is an organisation of 15 oil-exporting countries and has its headquarters in Vienna. It hosts regular meetings among the oil ministers of its member nations. The main aim of the OPEC is to coordinate and unify the petroleum policies of its Member Countries and ensure the stabilisation of oil markets in order to secure an efficient, economic and regular supply of petroleum to consumers.

37. When is the Indian Constitution Day observed every year?
a) 26 November
b) 27 November
c) 28 November
d) 29 November
Answer. a
Explanation: The 69th Constitution Day was observed across India on November 26, 2018 to mark the adoption of the Indian Constitution by the Constituent Assembly. The Constitution of India was adopted by the Constituent Assembly on November 26, 1949 and it came into force on January 26, 1950.

38. The world’s tallest statue has been built in which country?
a) India
b) Nepal
c) US
d) Japan
Answer. a
Explanation: Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the ‘statue of unity’, a bronze statue of India’s first deputy prime minister, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel at Kevadia in Gujarat's Narmada district, India. The structure is double the size of the Statue of Liberty in New York City in the United States.

39. What was India’s rank in the Ease of Doing Business Index 2019?
a) 104th
b) 96th
c) 77th
d) 59th
Answer. c
Explanation: As per the 2019 Report, India jumped 23 places on the Ease of Doing Business Index to 77th rank, up from 100th rank last year. This year, India’s Distance to Frontier score improved to 67.23 from 60.76 in the previous year.

40. Consider the following statements in context of Central Bureau of Investigation:
I. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is the premier investigating agency of India
II. It operates under the jurisdiction of the Union Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions.
III. CBI is headed by the Director, who is an IPS officer with a rank of Director General of Police or Commissioner of Police (State) and is appointed for a term of two years.
Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?
(a) Only I
(b) Only I and II  
(c) Only II and III
(d) I, II and III
Answer. d
Explanation: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is the premier investigating agency of India. CBI is headed by the Director. The Delhi Special Police Establishment Act empowers a high-power Committee to appoint the Director of CBI. The committee comprises Prime Minister (Chairperson), Leader of Opposition, Chief Justice of India or a Supreme Court Judge recommended by the Chief Justice.

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