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


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 September 2020. 

Also check:  Monthly Current Affairs & GK Topics of December 2020 for UPSC

Topic 1: HSTDV technology

HSTDV is developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and is based on hypersonic propulsion technologies. It will help India to develop futuristic space assets like long-range missile systems and aerial platforms.

On 7 September 2020, DRDO successfully flight tests Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV) from Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Launch at Wheeler Island, off the coast of Odisha. 

The hypersonic cruise vehicle was launched by using a proven solid rocket motor, which took it to an altitude of 30 kilometres. Here, at hypersonic Mach number, the aerodynamic heat shields were separated. Then, the cruise vehicle separated from the launch vehicle and the air intake opened as planned. Read more

Topic 2: India based Neutrino Observatory

The central government is planning to set up a Neutrino Observatory in the country. The India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) will be a world-class underground laboratory with a rock cover that will study the neutrinos produced in the atmosphere of the Earth. The observation will help researchers understand more about the properties of neutrino particles, whose main source is the Sun and the Earth’s atmosphere.

• One of the most important open problems in physics today is the determination of neutrino masses and mixing parameters. Though neutrinos are found in abundance, their weak interacting nature makes studying these particles in a laboratory extremely difficult. Read details

Topic 3: Biotech-KISAN Program

Biotech-KISAN programme is a farmer-centric scheme for farmers, developed by and with farmers under the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology. It is a pan-India program, following a hub-and-spoke model and stimulates entrepreneurship and innovation in farmers and empowers women farmers.

Topic 4: Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Center (IN-SPACe)

Recently, the Government of India has created the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Center (IN-SPACe), an independent nodal agency under the Department of Space. It has been set up for allowing space activities and usage of DOS-owned facilities by NGPEs as well as to prioritize the launch manifest.


Topic 1: Project Lion and Project dolphin

Project Lion: As per the official from Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Project Lion announced by PM Modi will involve the conservation of Asiatic Lion and its landscape. The project will involve habitat development by engaging modern technologies in management as well as in addressing the issue of diseases in lion and its associated species through veterinary care and advanced world-class research.

Project Dolphin: The Gangetic Dolphin is one of those indicator species whose status provides information on the overall condition of the ecosystem. They also provide the status of other species in that ecosystem, for the Ganga Ecosystem as they are extremely vulnerable to the changes in water quality and flow. Read more

Topic 2; First World Solar Technology Summit

The first-ever World Solar Technology Summit began on September 8. 2020. The summit was organised by the International Solar Alliance (ISA) on a virtual platform. Union Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Steel, Dharmendra Pradhan addressed the inaugural session as well as the valedictory session of the First World Solar Technology Summit.

The first World Solar Technology Summit aims to focus on state-of-the-art technologies and next-generation technologies that will help boost efforts towards harnessing solar energy more efficiently. Read details

Topic 3: Low ozone layer found over Brahmaputra river valley

Scientists at the Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES), Nainital an autonomous research institute under the Department of Science and Technology (DST) Government of India have evaluated the near-surface ozone in the Brahmaputra River Valley (BRV) and found a relatively low concentration of Ozone over Guwahati compared to the other urban locations in India.

Tropospheric, or ground-level ozone, is created by chemical reactions between oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOC). It usually increases when pollutants emitted by cars, power plants, industrial boilers, refineries, chemical plants, and other sources chemically react in the presence of sunlight, impacting human health.

Topic 4: Lantana Removal from Rajasthan Grasslands- Mission Lantana

A special drive to uproot the invasive lantana bushes in the famous Sajjangarh wildlife sanctuary in Rajasthan’s Udaipur district has helped in ecological restoration of grasslands and saved biodiversity. The month-and-a-half-long campaign was accompanied by the plantation of native species on the cleared patches of land.

The small sanctuary in the southern Aravalli hills, spread over 5.19 sq. km, is home to a large number of herbivores. Lantana camara, a thicket forming shrub, has covered vast tracts of land in the sanctuary, stopping the natural light and nutrition for flora and fauna.

The toxic substance in its foliage and ripe berries affected the animals, while its expansion stopped the natural growth of grass and other shrubs. With the herbivores not getting sufficient forage, the prey base for carnivorous animals was declining, leading to ecological disturbances in the food chain.


Topic 1: Revised Priority Sector Lending Guidelines

Revised Guidelines:

Fresh Categories: Bank finance to start-ups up to Rs. 50 crore, loans to farmers for installation of solar power plants for solarisation of grid connected agriculture pumps and loans for setting up Compressed BioGas plants have been included as fresh categories eligible for finance under priority sector.

Farmers’ Related: Higher credit limit has been specified for Farmers Producers Organisations (FPOs) undertaking farming with assured marketing of their produce at a predetermined price.

It seeks to address the issues concerning regional disparities in the flow of priority sector credit at the district level.

Topic 2: EASE 2.0 Banking Reforms Index

Recently, the EASE (Enhanced Access and Service Excellence) 2.0 Banking Reforms Index on the performance of Public Sector Banks (PSB) from March 2018-2020 was released and best-performing banks on EASE were felicitated.

Performance of PSB on EASE 2.0 Index:

  1. The Public Sector Banks (PSBs) have shown a healthy trajectory as their overall score increased by 37% between March-2019 and March-2020.
  2. The PSBs have adopted tech-enabled, smart banking in all areas, setting up retail and MSME Loan Management Systems for reduced loan turn-around time and and TReDS for digital lending.
  3. The Bank of Baroda, State Bank of India, and erstwhile Oriental Bank of Commerce were felicitated for being the top three in the ‘Top Performing Banks’ category.
  4. The Bank of Maharashtra, Central Bank of India & erstwhile Corporation Bank were awarded in the ‘Top Improvers’ category.

Topic 3: New FDI Policy in Defence Sector

The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) has issued a note on September 17, 2020, permitting the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) above 74% in the defence production on the automatic route.

The permission for FDI by DPIIT has been subjected to the access to modern technology or for other reasons that need to be recorded. As per the press note, FDI up to 74% under the automatic route shall be permitted for companies seeking industrial licenses.

Till now, 100% of foreign investments were permitted in the defence industry, where 49% was under the automatic route and government approval was required beyond that. Read more

Topic 4: ESG funds

ESG stands for Environment Empathy, Social Responsibility and Corporate Governance. These parameters are used as filters for the investments in stocks. In simple words, ESG investing is sustainable or socially responsible investing. 

The ESG fund shortlists the companies which rate high on the environment, social responsibility and corporate governance. In other words, the scheme focuses on those companies which have environment-friendly practices, ethical business practices and an employee-friendly record. 

Like any other funds, the investors make investments in the ESG funds. The experts of the ESG funds will then invest your money in different companies which meets all three–Environment Empathy, Social Responsibility and Corporate Governance. Here, the fundamentals and financial parameters are secondary. Read more

Topic 5: Plastic Parks Scheme

Union Minister for Chemicals & Fertilizers Shri D. V. Sadananda  Gowda has said that to consolidate and synergize the capacities of the domestic downstream plastic processing industry, Government has come up with a scheme of Setting up of Plastic Parks with an state-of-the-art infrastructure through cluster development approach.

Details of the 6 Plastic Parks are as under:

1. Madhya Pradesh: Plastic Park at Tamot has completed physical infrastructure and purchase of equipment for common facility centers (CFC) is in progress. One unit is functional in the Plastic Park.

2. Madhya Pradesh: Plastic Park at Bilaua is at implementation stage and work of development of physical infrastructure is in progress.

3. Odisha: Plastic Park at Paradeep is at implementation stage and work of development of physical infrastructure is almost completed.

4. Jharkhand: Plastic Park at Deoghar is at implementation stage and work of development of physical infrastructure is in progress.

5. Tamil Nadu: The work at Plastic Park at Thiruvallur has started recently and   land filling on the site is in progress.

6. Assam: Plastic Park at Tinsukia is at implementation stage and work of development of physical infrastructure is in progress.


Polity & International Relations

Topic 1: Mission Karmayogi for Civil Servants

On September 2, 2020, the Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister has approved to launch ‘Mission Karmayogi’- National Programme for Civil Services Capacity Building (NPCSCB) for civil servants pan India to help them meet the challenges of the society. An Integrated Government Online Training-iGOTKarmayogi Platform will be set up to deliver the program. 

The mission aims at setting up a Capacity Building Commission, ensuring a uniform approach in managing and regulating the capacity building ecosystem on a collaborative and co-sharing basis.

The mission will be governed by Prime Minister’s Human Resource Council including Chief Ministers, Union Cabinet Ministers and experts on the topic. The Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) will govern the iGOT-Karmayogi Platform.

Read more

Topic 2: Launch of Bamboo Clusters

Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Rural Development & Panchayati Raj Shri Narendra Singh Tomar today inaugurated by virtual mode 22 bamboo clusters in 9 States (Gujarat, MP, Maharashtra, Odisha, Assam, Nagaland, Tripura, Uttarakhand and Karnataka). A logo for the National Bamboo Mission was also released. Lauding the success of the National Bamboo Mission, Shri Tomar said that the country is now gearing up to increase the export of bamboo products.

Topic 3: SAROD-Ports

Union Minister of State for Shipping (I/C) Shri Mansukh Mandaviya today launched ‘SAROD-Ports’ (Society for Affordable Redressal of Disputes – Ports) through virtual ceremony today in New Delhi.

Speaking at the launching, Shri Mansukh Mandaviya termed SAROD-Ports as a game changer and added that it will become the pivotal mechanism of ummeed (hope), vishwas(trust) and nyaya (justice) in the Port sector of India. Shri Mandaviya also added that enforcement of concession agreements in the letter and spirit is on the utmost priority. SAROD-Ports will resolve the disputes in fair and just manner while saving huge amount of legal expenditure and time.

Topic 4: Sanskrit Grams Programme

After noting significant progress in a pilot programme to teach Sanskrit to residents of two villages in Uttarakhand, the state government on Tuesday gave it a go-ahead to authorities to develop ‘Sanskrit grams’ across the state.

Sanskrit is the second official language in Uttarakhand. At a meeting of the Uttarakhand Sanskrit Academy, chaired by Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, a list of villages was selected for the program — to be run first at the district level and then at the block level for promotion of the language. 

Topic 5: Five Star Villages Scheme: India Post

The Department of Posts has launched a scheme known as Five Star Villages. It bridges the gaps for generating public awareness and reach of postal products and services, mainly in interior villages.

Under the Five Star Village scheme, all postal products and services are going to be made available and marketed and publicized at the village level. To cater all post office related needs of villagers, branch offices will function as one-stop shop.

Three components are Product and Service Availability, Product and Service Publicity and Product and Service Marketing. Read more

Topic 6: YuWaah Platform

UNICEF’s YuWaah! Initiative: UNICEF’s YuWaah! Initiative: UNICEF has always been at the forefront of ushering in transformative change initiatives with respect to the Youth and their issues. In India, the UN Agency has launched YuWaah!, a unique initiative which aims to groom India’s youth into change-leaders of tomorrow by providing them the mindset and skillset to flourish in a rapidly changing world. In an exclusive interview with, Ms. Dhuwarakha Sriram – Chief of ADAP and Generation Unlimited with UNICEF India, shares details about its YuWaah! Initiative, its key goals and the steps it is taking to prepare India’s youth for the challenges of the future. Read more

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: Monthly Current Affairs Questions for Preparation | December 2020

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


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