UPSC IAS Prelims 2021: Monthly Current Affairs & GK Topics for Preparation | June 2020

Read about Nature Index 2020, Indian Gas Exchange, PM SVANidhi and other important current affairs of the month of June 2020. Questions based on any of these current affairs topics can be asked in the UPSC IAS Prelims 2021

Created On: Apr 13, 2021 14:08 IST
UPSC IAS Prelims motnhly Current Affairs & GK Topics June 2020
UPSC IAS Prelims motnhly Current Affairs & GK Topics June 2020

UPSC IAS 2021: UPSC will conduct the IAS Civil Services Prelims 2021 exam on 27th June for the recruitment of candidates in the Civil Services of India. In IAS Prelims Paper 1 General Studies, questions are asked from Current Affairs and events, General Science, History, Geography, Polity, Economy and Environment. As per UPSC IAS Previous Years' Paper of the past few years, the current affairs section forms the major part of General Studies Paper 1. Going by this trend, it is highly expected that this year as well, questions might be asked on current events of the past year. Considering this, we have compiled below the important current affairs for the month of June 2020. 

Also Check: Month-wise Current Affairs Quiz for Preparation (May 2020-April 2021)

Science & Technology

Topic 1: DRDO’s Ultra Swachh

The Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) has developed a disinfection unit called ‘Ultra Swachh’ to disinfect a wide range of materials including Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), electronics items, fabrics and others.

The technology has been developed by a Delhi-based laboratory of DRDO, Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences along with industry partner Gel Craft Health care Private Ltd. The ‘ultra swachh’ uses an advanced oxidative process comprising of multiple barrier disruption approach using Ozonated Space Technology for disinfection.

It is double-layered with specialized Ozone sealant technology assuring trapping of Ozone for the necessary disinfection cycle. 

Topic 2: Nature Index 2020

The Nature Index provides a database of high-quality research output and collaboration at the institutional, national and regional level of institutions from different countries.

Recently, a journal of science i.e. the Nature Research, has released the Nature Index 2020.

The top three countries in the index are US, China and Germany respectively and India ranked at 12th position.

Top 3 Ranking of Institutions from india:

Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)

Indian Institute of Sciences (IISc)

Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR)

Topic 3: LiDAR Based Research 

LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) is a remote sensing method that uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure ranges & variable distances.

These light pulses—combined with other data recorded by the airborne system— generate precise, three-dimensional information about the shape of the Earth and its surface characteristics.

A LiDAR instrument principally consists of a laser, a scanner, and a specialized GPS receiver.

LiDAR is commonly used by geologists and surveyors to make high-resolution maps.

U.K.-based team of archeologists has continued its research over the Tamar Valley through LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) despite lockdown due to Covid-19 in the country.

Tamar Valley:

Tamar valley is located in the south of England and is a rich archaeological landscape with many sites belonging to the Iron Age and Roman era. The area is a World Heritage Site due to its historic mining activities.

Topic 4: Micius: World's first Quantum Communication Satellite

China on 16 August 2016 launched the world's first quantum satellite named Quantum Experiments at Space Scaler (QUESS) satellite. The satellite was launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in the remote northwestern province of Gansu. 

Highlights of the Quantum Experiments at Space Scaler (QUESS) satellite

• It is nicknamed Micius, after a 5th century BC Chinese philosopher and scientist who has been credited as the first one in human history conducting optical experiments.

• It is designed to establish hack-proof quantum communications by transmitting uncrackable keys from space to the ground.

• It will enable secure communications between Beijing and Urumqi, the capital of China's violence-prone far western region of Xinjiang.

• It will circle the Earth once every 90 minutes after it enters a sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 500 km.

 

Economics

Topic 1: SWADES: Skill Mapping Exercise for Returning Citizens

The Indian Government will conduct a skill mapping exercise under SWADES initiative to map the skills of the Indian workers returning from overseas. SWADES stands for Skilled Workers Arrival Database for Employment Support.

The SWADES initiative, which began under the Vande Bharat Mission, aims to create a database of qualified Indian citizens based on their experience and skillsets. The database can then be refered to fulfil the demand of Indian and foreign companies.

The maximum number of Indian returnees have been from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait. They were primarily employed in sectors including oil and gas, automotive, aviation, tourism, hospitality, IT and ITeS and construction. Read more

Topic 2: Indian Gas Exchange

Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Dharmendra Pradhan has launched India's Gas Exchange, the first nationwide online delivery-based gas trading platform on 15 June, 2020. India's Gas exchange (IGX) platform is incorporated by the Indian Energy Exchange (IEX). It is India's leading energy market platform commenced trading on the platform on Monday.

The Indian Gas Exchange (IGX) is a digital trading platform that will allow buyers and sellers of natural gas to trade in both the market namely the spot market and the forward market. The gas exchange is going to be managed by India Energy Exchange. 

Through the exchange, imported Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) is going to be regasified and sold to buyers, removing the need for buyers and sellers to seek out one another. That is now buyers don't have to contact multiple dealers to ensure they find a fair price according to Rajesh Kumar Mediratta, the director of IGX. 

The exchange will also allow much shorter contracts for delivery on the next day, and up to a month and ordinarily, contracts for natural gas supply are as long as six months to a year. This will allow buyers and sellers greater flexibility. Read more

Topic 3: turant Customs

Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs, CBIC today launched its flagship programme Turant Customs, at Bengaluru and Chennai. Importers will now get their goods cleared from Customs after a faceless assessment is done remotely by the Customs officers located outside the port of import.

Now, the goods imported at Chennai may be assessed by the Customs officers located at Bengaluru and vice versa, as assigned by the Customs’ automated system. Turant Customs is a mega reform for the ease of doing business.

 

Environment & Ecology

Topic 1: Scorpionfish

Researchers at the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) have found a rare fish( Scorpionfish) from Sethukarai coast in the Gulf of Mannar. 

The band-tail scorpionfish (Scorpaenospsis neglecta) is camouflaged within the seagrass meadows It is a rare marine species well-known for its stinging venomous spines and ability to change colour and blend with its surrounding environment to escape from predators. The fish is called Scorpionfish because its spines contain neurotoxic venom that can be extremely painful to an individual and eating this fish would lead to death.

Topic 2: Biodiversity Park in Uttarakhand

Uttarakhand forest department has opened the state’s biggest biodiversity park in Haldwani. This biodiversity park was inaugrated on the occasion of World Environment Day, to encourage conservation of flora, especially medicinal plants.

The Uttarakhand Forest Research Wing Biodiversity Park is spread across 18 acres and has 40 thematic sections with around 500 species of plants. The objective of the park is to showcase the importance of each plant in human lives. The plant species in the biodiversity park is divided into spiritual & religious, scientific, human health, and aesthetic value sections.

Topic 3: Athirapally Hydel Electric Project

In 1996, the Athirappilly hydro-electric project was proposed to generate 163-MW of power to tide over the power deficit in the state. The project includes a 23-metre high dam on the Chalakudy river in Vazhachal Forest Division of Kerala. The storage capacity of the dam will be 8.44 MCM.

A few years ago, the Environmental Clearance and Techno-Economic Clearance of the project expired. The NOC is extended for 7 years allowing the KSEB (Kerala State Electricity Board) to apply afresh for the expired clearances. Read details

Topic 4: Malabar Gliding Frog 

Recently, a rare amphibian i.e. Malabar Gliding Frog (Rhacophorus malabaricus) was spotted in Pullad, Kerala. The amphibian is endemic to the rainforest of western ghats. In the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List , it is placed in the Least Concern category.

 

Polity & Governance

Topic 1: Vamsadhara River Water Dispute

The State of Orissa in February 2006 sent a complaint to the Central Government under Section 3 of the Inter-State River Water Disputes (ISRWD) Act, 1956 regarding water disputes between the Government of Orissa and Government of Andhra Pradesh pertaining to Inter-State River Vansadhara for constitution of a Inter-State Water Disputes Tribunal for adjudication.  The main grievance of the State of Orissa in the complaint sent to the Central Government is basically adverse effect of the executive action of Govt. of Andhra Pradesh in undertaking the construction of a canal taking off from the river Vansadhara called as flood flow canal at Katragada and failure of Govt. of Andhra Pradesh to implement the terms of inter-State agreement understanding etc. relating to use, distribution and control of waters of inter-State river Vansadhara and its valley.   Basic contention of State of Orissa in the complaint is that the flood flow canal would result in drying up the existing river bed and consequent shifting of the river affecting ground water table.  It has also raised the issue of scientific assessment of available water in Vansadhara at Katragada and Gotta Barrage and the basis for sharing the available water.

Topic 2: PM SVANidhi

Pradhan Mantri Street Vendor's Atmanirbhar Nidhi is a special micro-credit facility scheme for providing affordable loan to street vendors. The scheme enabled the street vendors to resume their livelihoods that have been adversely affected due to COVID-19 lockdown. The scheme was launched in pursuance of the announcement made by the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman last month.

The rationale behind the scheme is to provide working capital loan to the street vendors. As we know that street vendors usually work with a small capital base which that might have consumed during the lockdown period. So, the scheme will be helpful to resume their livelihoods. Read more

Topic 3: Re-establishment of PCIM&H

he Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, gave its approval to re-establish  Pharmacopoeia Commission for Indian Medicine & Homoeopathy (PCIM&H) as Subordinate Office under Ministry of AYUSH.

This was done by merging into it the Pharmacopoeia Laboratory for Indian Medicine and Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia Laboratory. These central labs were established at Ghaziabad in 1975.

As of now, PCIM&H is an autonomous body, under the Ministry of Ayush, for about 10 years. The merger will help in optimising the use of infrastructural facilities available and improve the use of technical manpower, financial resources of the organisations. This will aid the standardization outcomes of Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani, and Homoeopathy drugs towards their effective regulation and quality control. The merger will also assign a legal status to the merged structure of PCIM&H and its laboratory by making amendments in the Drugs and Cosmetic Rules, 1945.

Topic 4: Amendments in Postal Ballot System

According to a notification issued by the Ministry of Law and Justice, coronavirus patients, suspects and people above 65 years of age will be eligible for postal ballot.

Before this, only people over the age of 80 and those working in essential services department and posted outside their home state were allowed to vote by postal ballot.

Topic 5: Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 20 launched Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan in six states through video conferencing. This massive rural public works scheme aims at boosting the livelihood opportunities in Rural India for rural citizens and migrants returning to their home states.

The launch of the scheme was attended by Narendra Singh Tomar the Union Minister of Rural Development, Chief Minister of Bihar Nitish Kumar, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Chief Minister of Rajasthan Ashok Gehlot. 

The Abhiyaan was launched by PM Modi from Village Telihar of Khagaria District of Bihar. As per the government, around 39 crore people have received the financial assistance of Rs. 34,800 crore under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package (PMGKP) amid COVID-19 lockdown.

Topic 6: YUKTI 2.0: Platform for Higher Education Institutes

Union HRD Minister, Ramesh Pokriyal ‘Nishank’ launched MHRD’s new programme called Yukti 2.0. The Ministry of Human Resource and Development’s programme is an online depository created by AICTE innovation cell for ideas aimed at inculcating and promoting innovation among teachers and students. Yukti 2.0 was initially promoted by MHRD as Massive Indian Novelty Depository (MIND).

 

Indian Heritage & Culture

Topic 1: NAIMISHA 2020

National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi has announced ONLINE NAIMISHA 2020- Summer Art Program from 8th June 2020 to 3rd July 2020. During this pandemic situation and lockdown, museums and cultural institutions cannot serve visitors and audiences as usual. It led NGMA to explore new areas and platforms to reach to its audiences. In the last two month or so NGMA has organised many programs and exhibitions virtually. The technological development  provides  an opportunity to organise such programs digitally.  So, NGMA is making an endeavour to host its most popular summer art program NAIMISHA digitally.

The month-long ONLINE summer program by NGMA, New Delhi is an initiative to provide a chance to its participants to create and learn from practicing artists without compromising their health.  Four inclusive workshops have been planned by NGMA to engage and increase engagement virtually. 

Topic 2: Kodumanal Excavation

The Kodumanal excavation of 10 pots and bowls, instead of the usual three or four pots, placed outside three-chambered burial cists and inside the cairn-circle, threw light on burial rituals and the concept of afterlife in megalithic culture.


A team from the State Department of Archaeology, Chennai, led by J. Ranjith, Archaeology Officer and Project Director for the Kodumanal excavation, has identified 250 cairn-circles at the village in Erode district. Earlier excavations revealed that the site served as a trade-cum-industrial centre from 5th century BCE to 1st century BCE.

We sincerely hope that the given topics would have helped you in your Prelims preparation. You can also check the below link to keep yourself updated on the latest GK quiz and events. 
Also Check: Month-wise Current Affairs & GK Topics for Preparation (May 2020-April 2021)

UPSC Civil Services (IAS) Prelims 2021: Subject-wise Study Material for Complete Preparation






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