Monthly current affairs summary – December 2020

Current affairs play a vital role in UPSC civil service exam preparation. The daily current affairs from the daily news’ are one of this important area. This section gives you a very brief summary of the important topics to be covered. You may use this section for revising your preparation. Nevertheless, we recommend you visit our daily current affairs section that gives a comprehensive analysis of the topics needed to be studied for the UPSC civil service exam.

Current affairs summary – 31 December 2020

1. Expansion of interest subvention scheme for ethanol production

In News:

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Hon’ble Prime Minister has approved the expansion of interest subvention scheme to provide financial assistance for enhancement of ethanol distillation capacity from grain-based distilleries along with molasses-based distilleries. The total outlay under the interest subvention scheme is estimated at Rs. 8460 cr.

Topics:

Ethanol Blending Program:(EBP)
  • The ethanol blending program was started in 2003 but the more progressive thrust was given during the Hon’ble PM Shri. Narendra Modi regime.
  • The National Policy on Biofuels-2018 approved by the Government envisages an indicative target of 20% blending of ethanol in petrol and 5% blending of biodiesel in diesel by 2030.

2. Cabinet approves Akash missile exports

In News:

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Hon’ble Prime Minister has approved the export of Akash missile and also has created a committee for faster approval of exports.

Topics:

Akash missile:
  • Akash is a Surface To Air Missile with a range of 25 Kms.
  • The missile was inducted in 2014 in IAF and in 2015 in the Indian Army.

Current affairs summary – 30 December 2020

1. Digital Ocean launched

In News:

Hon’ble Minister of Earth Sciences Dr.Harsh Vardhan launched ‘Digital Ocean’ -the first of its kind digital platform for Ocean Data Management developed by INCOIS of MoES.

Topics:

Digital Ocean:
  • Digital Ocean platform is a first of its kind platform for ocean data management (do.incois.gov.in).
  • It includes a set of applications developed to organize and present heterogeneous oceanographic data by adopting rapid advancements in geospatial technology.

Current affairs summary – 29 December 2020

1. Hon’ble PM to inaugurate New Bhaupur-New Khurja section of Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor

In News:

Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri. Narendra Modi will inaugurate the New Bhaupur-New Khurja section of Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor, EDFC. The section will decongest the existing Kanpur-Delhi mainline and will enable Indian Railways to run faster trains.

Topics:

Mains GS3 – Infrastructure

(Note: Benefits of DFCs are very important as this is a new concept in recent times.)

The mission of Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited(DFCCIL):

DFCCIL’s mission is:

  1. To build a corridor with appropriate technology that enables Indian railways to regain its market share of freight transport by creating additional capacity and guaranteeing efficient, reliable, safe, and cheaper options for mobility to its customers.
  2. To set up Multimodal logistic parks along the DFC to provide complete transport solutions to customers.

Current affairs summary – 28 December 2020

1. Kuttanad Below Sea Level Farming

In News:

In Today’s Newspaper, Kuttanad place is mentioned for some other reason not relevant to the exam. Hence, Argutes wanted to give you more insights on Kuttanad and related articles relevant to the exams.

Topics:

Kuttanad Below Sea Level Farming system:
  • Kuttanad is a delta region of about 900 sq. km situated on the west coast of Kerala State, India. The area is a larger mosaic of fragmented landscape patches and varied ecosystems such as coastal backwaters, rivers, vast stretches of paddy fields, marshes, ponds, garden lands, edges, corridors, and remarkably networked waterways.
  • The Kuttanad Below Sea-level Farming System (KBSFS) is unique, as it is the only system in India that practices rice cultivation below sea level.

2. GIAHS:

In News:

In Today’s Newspaper, Kuttanad place is mentioned for some other reason not relevant to the exam. Hence, Argutes wanted to give you more insights on Kuttanad and related articles relevant to the exams. Also, Agriculture related news is very important for the exams.

Topics:

(Note: GIAHS was asked in 2016 UPSC Prelims)

GIAHS:
  • GIAHS refers to Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems.
  • GIAHS was started by the Food and Agriculture Organisation(FAO)  to create awareness and safeguard Agriculturally Important Heritage sites.

3. Inner Line Permit

In News:

Hon’ble Home Minister has said that the Inner Line Permit(ILP) is the biggest gift by Hon’ble PM to Manipur.

Topics:

ILP:
  • An Inner Line Permit is an official travel document that allows an Indian citizen to visit or stay in a state that is protected under the ILP system.
  • The system is currently in force in three Northeastern states — Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, and Mizoram — and an Indian citizen cannot visit any of these states unless he or she belongs to that state, and he or she cannot stay beyond the period specified in the ILP.

Current affairs summary – 26 December 2020

1. OPEC and OPEC+

In News:

Russia plans to support an increase in oil production by the OPEC+ group from February 2021.

Topics:

OPEC:
  • The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was founded in Baghdad, Iraq, with the signing of an agreement in September 1960 by five countries namely the Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela. They were to become the Founder Members of the Organization.
  • Currently, 13 member countries are there in OPEC.

Current affairs summary – 24 December 2020

1. Revision in guidelines for providing Direct to Home (DTH) Services in India

In News:

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, has approved the proposal for revision of the guidelines for obtaining the license for providing Direct-To-Home (DTH) broadcasting service in India.

Topics:

Salient features of revised guidelines for DTH:
  • License for the DTH will be issued for a period of 20 years in place of the present 10 years. Further the period of License may be renewed by 10 years at a time.
  • The license fee has been revised from 10% of GR to 8% of AGR. AGR will be calculated by deduction of GST from GR.

Current affairs summary – 23 December 2020

1. Great Indian Bustard and firefly bird diverter

In News:

Great Indian Bustards in the Thar region faced a serious threat from the overhead wires and high voltage power transmission lines and this was causing mortality in the population of GIB. Now, to resolve these issues, the Ministry of Environment Forests and Climate Change(MoEFCC) along with the Wildlife Conservation Society has come up with a unique initiative of  ‘firefly bird diverters’ which would be installed on power transmission lines. These firefly bird diverters would act as reflectors and help birds even before 50m  which would help birds especially GIB in avoiding collision with the power transmission lines.

Topics:

Great Indian Bustard:
  • Great Indian Bustard Ardeotis nigriceps (GIB) is one of the rarest birds in the world.
  • With 200 individuals left, almost exclusively in India, the species is listed as Critically Endangered and Schedule I (Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972).

2. Status of Leopards in India 2018 report

In News:

Status of Leopards in 2018 report was released yesterday and Hon’ble Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Prakash Javadekar has said that increase in Tiger, Lion & Leopards numbers over the last few years is a testimony to the conservation efforts and of the fledgling wildlife & biodiversity of the country.

Topics:

Status of Leopards in India- Statistics:
  • India now has 12,852 leopards as compared to the previous estimate of 7910 conducted in 2014.
  • More than 60% increase in population has been recorded.

Current affairs summary – 22 December 2020

1. IBC suspension extended till March 2021

In News:

The Central government has suspended the operation of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC) till 31st March 2021 in order to protect companies in distress due to the COVID pandemic. The Code was earlier suspended from 25 March 2020 to help the firms recover from the financial distress due to the global pandemic. During the suspension of IBC codes, these firms are protected from being referred to insolvency proceedings.

Topics:

IBC:

(Note: Key points for Prelims have been covered very precisely below. Very important Article)

  • Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code is an Act to consolidate and amend the laws relating to reorganization and insolvency resolution of corporate persons, partnership firms, and individuals in a time-bound manner for maximization of value of assets of such persons, to promote entrepreneurship, availability of credit, and balance the interests of all the stakeholders including alteration in the order of priority of payment of Government dues and to establish an Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India, and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

2. MoA signed for High-Resolution Aquifer Mapping & Management in Arid Region of NW India

In News:

Central Ground Water Board, Ministry of Jal Shakti, and CSIR-NGRI, Hyderabad signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) for use of advanced heliborne geophysical survey and other scientific studies in parts of the States of Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Haryana covering Northwest India under the Aquifer Mapping Programme. This is the first time the Ministry of Jal Shakti has decided to use the State of the art technology for the identification of aquifers in such a large arid or semi-arid area of the country.

Topics:

CGWB:
  • Central Ground Water Board is under the Ministry of Jal Shakti.
  • The mandate of CGWB is To Develop and disseminate technologies, and monitor and implement national policies for the Scientific and Sustainable development and management of India’s Ground Water Resources, including their exploration, assessment, conservation, augmentation, protection from pollution and distribution, based on principles of economic and ecological efficiency and equity.

Current affairs summary – 21 December 2020

1. Information Fusion Centre

In News

India is planning to bring in more nations to the coastal radar chain network to enable real-time monitoring of high seas for threats as well as to expand India’s assistance for capacity building in the Indian Ocean Littoral states. Liaison officers are soon expected to join IFC-IOR.

Topic:

Information Fusion Centre – Indian Ocean Region:(IFC-IOR)
  • The IFC-IOR stems from the importance of the Indian Ocean to world trade and security, and the need for the various maritime nations and organizations to collaborate towards enhancing maritime safety and security on the seas of this region.
  • IFC-IOR helps in promoting Maritime Domain Awareness.

Click here to know more about IFC-IOR on the official website.

2. Inclusion of Four Indigenous sports in Khelo India Youth Games 2021.

In News:

The Ministry of Sports has approved the inclusion of four indigenous Games to be a part of the Khelo India Youth Games 2021, scheduled to take place in Haryana. The games include Gatka, Kalaripayattu, Thang-Ta, and Mallakhamba.

Topics:

Khelo India:
  • The Khelo India program has been introduced to revive the sports culture in India at the grass-root level by building a strong framework for all sports played in our country and establish India as a great sporting nation.
  • Khelo India is the National Program for the Development of Sports.

Current affairs summary – 19 December 2020

1. E20 fuel

In News:

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has published a draft notification GSR 757(E) dated 11th December 2020, seeking comments from the public for the adoption of E20 fuel.

Topics:

E20 fuel:
  • E20 fuel is a blend of 20% of ethanol with gasoline.
  • It is proposed to be used as an automotive fuel.
  • E20 fuel will help in the development of E20 compliant vehicles.

2. Minimum Support Price

In News:

Hon’ble PM has said that MSP will continue and cautioned the farmers not to believe the false propaganda against the farm laws.

Topics:

(Note: Very important topic. Recent debates on farmer protests and farm laws may lead to a question regarding MSP)

MSP:
  • Minimum Support Price (MSP) is a form of market intervention by the Government of India to insure agricultural producers against any sharp fall in farm prices.
  • The minimum support prices are announced by the Government of India at the beginning of the sowing season for certain crops on the basis of the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP).

Current affairs summary – 18 December 2020

1. PSLV C50/CMS01 satellite launched

In News:

India’s communication satellite CMS-01 was successfully launched by PSLV-C50 on December 17, 2020, from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota. PSLV-C50 is the 52nd flight of PSLV and the 22nd flight of PSLV in ‘XL’ configuration (with 6 strap-on motors).

Topics:

(Note: Latest space advancements are important for both Prelims and Mains)

CMS-01:
  • CMS-01 is a communication satellite envisaged for providing services in the Extended-C Band of the frequency spectrum.
  • The Extended-C Band coverage will include the Indian mainland, Andaman-Nicobar & Lakshadweep Islands.

Current affairs summary – 17 December 2020

1. Human Development Index

In News:

India slipped 2 places down and ranked 131 out of 189 countries in the latest United Nations’ Human Development Index derived from Human Development Report 2020.

Topics:

HDI:
  • Human Development Report(HDR) is released by the United Nations Development Programme(UNDP).
  • The HDI was created to emphasize that people and their capabilities should be the ultimate criteria for assessing the development of a country, not economic growth alone.

2. National Hydrology Project Reviewed.

In News:

Hon’ble Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat has held a mid-term review of the National Hydrology Project (NHP).

Topics:

NHP:
  • National Hydrology Project(NHP) was started in 2016 as a Central Sector Scheme with a 100 percent grant to implementing agencies with a budget outlay of 3680 crore rupees to be spent over a period of 8 years.
  • The objective of NHP is to improve the extent, quality, and accessibility of water resources information and to strengthen the capacity of targeted water resources management institutions in India.

Current affairs summary – 16 December 2020

1. FSDC meeting held

In News:

The 23rd meeting of the Financial Stability and Development Council was held on December 15, 2020 under the chairmanship of the Hon’ble Union Finance Minister Smt.Nirmala Sitharaman. Discussions were held to ensure consistent support for the financial sector and maintaining financial stability.

Topics:

Financial Stability and Development Council:(FSDC)
  • With a view of strengthening and institutionalizing the mechanism for maintaining financial stability, enhancing inter-regulatory coordination, and promoting financial sector development, the Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC) was set up by the Government as the apex level forum in December 2010.
  • The Union Finance Minister is the Chairperson of the Financial Stability and Development Council(FSDC).

Current affairs summary – 15 December 2020

1. PM-JAY

In News:

Data released by the National Health Agency has shown that there are more takers for the Private Healthcare under PM-JAY and also mostly patients seeking care at private hospitals tend to be older and mostly men constitute part of such facilities.

Topics:

PM-JAY:
  • PM-JAY is the world’s largest health insurance/ assurance scheme fully financed by the government.
  • It provides a cover of Rs. 5 lakhs per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization across public and private empanelled hospitals in India.
  • Over 10.74 crore poor and vulnerable entitled families (approximately 50 crore beneficiaries) are eligible for these benefits.

Current affairs summary – 14 December 2020

1. ECLGS scheme

In News:

There was a slowdown in the loans sanctioned to MSMEs during the October and November months under the Rs.3 lakh crore ECLGS scheme which was announced by the government of India in May 2020.

Topics:

ECLGS scheme:
  • ECLGS refers to the “Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme”.
  • It is launched by the Government of India as a special scheme in view of the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Under the Scheme, 100% guarantee coverage to be provided by National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company Limited (NCGTC)  for additional funding of up to Rs. three lakh crore to eligible MSMEs and interested MUDRA. borrowers, in the form of a Guaranteed Emergency Credit Line (GECL) facility.

2. Myristica swamp treefrog

In News:

Rare Myristica swamp treefrog has been found in Kerala’s Thrissur district for the first time north of the Shencottah gap in the Vazhachal Reserve forest in 2018.

Topics:

Myristica swamp treefrog:
  • Scientific Name: Mercurana myristicapalustris
  • Myristica swamp treefrog is endemic to the Western Ghats.
  • It is a rare arboreal species.

Current affairs summary – 11 December 2020

1. RTGS to be available 24*7*365

In News:

The Reserve Bank of India(RBI) has said that the RTGS facility will also be available 24*7*365 from December 14 similar to that of the NEFT facility which was operationalized 24*7 last year. RBI has also said that round the clock availability of RTGS will provide extended flexibility to businesses for effecting payments. It added that the system can also be leveraged to enhance operations of Indian financial markets and cross-border payments

Topics:

RTGS:
  • RTGS’ stands for Real-Time Gross Settlement, which can be explained as a system where there is a continuous and real-time settlement of fund-transfers, individually on a transaction by transaction basis (without netting).
  • ‘Real Time’ means the processing of instructions at the time they are received; ‘Gross Settlement’ means that the settlement of funds transfer instructions occurs individually.

2. New Parliament Building of India – foundation laid by Hon’ble PM.

In News:

Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of the New Parliament Building at Sansad Marg, New Delhi on 10th December 2020. The new building is an intrinsic part of the vision of ‘AatmaNirbhar Bharat’ and will be a landmark opportunity to build a peoples’ Parliament for the first time after independence, one which will match the needs and aspirations of ‘New India’ in the 75th anniversary of independence in 2022.

Topics:

(As the news is related to the New Parliament building, a brief overview of Parliament is given below.) 

Parliament:
  • The Parliament of India consists of the President and two Houses known as the House of the People(Lok Sabha) and the Council of States(Rajya Sabha).
  • Article 79 deals with the Constitution of Parliament.

Current affairs summary – 10 December 2020

1. Cabinet approves setting up of Public Wifi Networks

In News:

Union Cabinet has approved setting up of public Wi-Fi networks to provide public Wi-Fi service through Public Data Offices without levy of any License Fee.

Topics:

Public Wifi Networks: (PM WANI)
  • Public Wi-Fi Access Network Interface will be known as PM-WANI.

PM-WANI eco-system will be operated by different players as described herein under:

  • Public Data Office (PDO): It will establish, maintain, and operate only WANI compliant Wi-Fi Access Points and deliver broadband services to subscribers.
  • Public Data Office Aggregator (PDOA): It will be an aggregator of PDOs and perform the functions relating to Authorization and Accounting.

2. Cabinet approves setting up of Atmanirbhar Bharat Rozgar Yojana

In News:

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Hon’ble Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval for Atmanirbhar Bharat RojgarYojana (ABRY) to boost employment in the formal sector and incentivize the creation of new employment opportunities during the Covid recovery phase under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Package 3.0.

Topics:

Atmanirbhar Bharat Rozgar Yojana:
  • Cabinet has approved an expenditure of Rs. 1,584 crore for the current financial year and Rs.22,810 crore for the entire Scheme period i.e. 2020-2023.
  • The salient features of the Scheme are as under:
  • The government of India will provide subsidy for two years in respect of new employees engaged on or after 1st October 2020 and up to 30th June 2021

Current affairs summary – 09 December 2020

1. 1000 Khelo India small centres to be launched

In News:

Hon’ble Union Sports Minister Shri Kiren Rijiju in his address to the 10th Global Sports Summit, TURF 2020, organized by FICCI,  said, that India is starting 1000 Khelo India small centres across the country that will help retired sportspersons get employment or some role in shaping the sports culture of the country.

Topics:

Khelo India:
  • The Khelo India program has been introduced to revive the sports culture in India at the grass-root level by building a strong framework for all sports played in our country and establish India as a great sporting nation.
  • Khelo India is the National Program for the Development of Sports.

Current affairs summary – 08 December 2020

1. Organic Farming

In News:

Lakshadweep islands have been declared as an Organic Agricultural area and only organic farming is allowed in the entire group of Lakshadweep islands.

Topics:

Organic Farming:
  • Organic Farming is a method of a farming system which is primarily aimed at cultivating the land and raising crops in such a way, as to keep the soil alive and in good health by use of organic wastes (crop, animal and farm wastes, aquatic wastes) and other biological materials along with beneficial microbes (biofertilizers) to release nutrients to crops for increased sustainable production in an eco-friendly pollution-free environment.

2. Invest India wins UN Investment Promotion Award 2020

In News:

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has declared ‘Invest India’ as winner of the 2020 United Nations Investment Promotion Award.

Topics:

Invest India:
  • Invest India is the National Investment Promotion and Facilitation Agency of India and acts as the first point of reference for investors in India.
  • Invest India, set up in 2009, is a non-profit venture under the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India.

Current affairs summary – 07 December 2020

1. ASI puts up a barricade in Hampi chariot

In News:

The Archaeological Survey of India(ASI) has put up a barricade in Hampi chariot, a UNESCO World Heritage site to prevent the people from damaging the chariot.

Topics:

ASI:
  • The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is under the Ministry of Culture.
  • It is the premier organization for the archaeological researches and protection of the cultural heritage of the nation.

2. PM Khanij Kalyan Kshetra Yojana

In News:

Rat-hole mining in Meghalaya is a very common scene. But after the reforms made by the National Green Tribunal(NGT), Moolamylliang village in Meghalaya which was once polluted is now returning back to a clean area.

Topics:

PM Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojana:

The Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojana (PMKKKY) is a scheme by the Ministry of Mines, Government of India for the welfare of people & affected areas by using the funds accrued under District Mineral Foundation (DMF).

Overall Objective of PMKKKY:
  • To implement various developmental and welfare projects/programs in mining-affected areas that complement the existing ongoing schemes/projects of State and Central Government.

Current affairs summary – 05 December 2020

1. Introduction of Risk-based Internal Audit (RBIA) in large UCBs and NBFCs

In News:

RBI announced the following measures to improve governance, supervisory focus, and encourage financial stability:

(i)Introduction of Risk-based Internal Audit (RBIA) in large UCBs and NBFCs and

(ii) harmonization of guidelines on the appointment of Statutory Auditors for commercial banks, UCBs, and NBFCs to improve the quality of financial reporting.

Topics:

NBFC and UCBs- a complete overview:
NBFC:
  • A Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC) is a company registered under the Companies Act, 1956 engaged in the business of loans and advances, acquisition of shares/stocks/bonds/debentures/securities issued by Government or local authority or other marketable securities of a like nature, leasing, hire-purchase, insurance business, chit business but does not include any institution whose principal business is that of agriculture activity, industrial activity, purchase or sale of any goods (other than securities) or providing any services and sale/purchase/construction of the immovable property.

Current affairs summary – 03 December 2020

1. China imports Indian rice

In News:

China has imported Indian rice for the first time in the last 30 years. Due to tightened supplies from Thailand, Myanmar, and Vietnam and the price was costlier than India, China has resorted to this move of buying rice from India.

Topics:

Rice cultivation in India:
  • India is the World’s biggest exporter of Rice. (Note: 2019 UPSC Prelims Question)
  • Rice cultivation in India extends from 8 to35ºN latitudes and from sea level to as high as 3000 meters.
  • Rice crop needs a hot and humid climate.

Current affairs summary – 02 December 2020

1. GST collections over Rs.1 lakh crore for the second consecutive month.

In News:

Revenue from the Goods and Services Tax(GST) exceeded One Lakh Crore Rupees for the second consecutive month in November. GST collections were Rs.1,04,963 crore in November which is 1.4% higher than the previous year. This indicates the resumption of economic activity after the COVID-19 lockdown.

Topics:

GST:
  • GST was introduced by the 101st Amendment act 2016
  • Goods and Service Tax is a One Nation One Tax
GST COUNCIL :
  • Constitutional Body
  • Art 279A deals with GST Council
  • It is a joint Forum of the Centre and the States

Current affairs summary – 01 December 2020

1. SCO meeting

In News:

Hon’ble Vice President Shri. Venkaiah Naidu chaired the SCO Heads of Government meeting comprising India, Pakistan, Russia, and four Central Asian states. He specified that Cross-Border terrorism is the biggest challenge for countries of SCO and also stated that India was concerned about state-sponsored terrorism.

Topics:

Shanghai Cooperation Organisation:
  • The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is a permanent intergovernmental international organization.
  • Its creation was announced on 15 June 2001 in Shanghai (China) by the Republic of Kazakhstan, the People’s Republic of China, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan, and the Republic of Uzbekistan.

2. Agriculture Infrastructure Fund

In News:

Agriculture Infrastructure Fund(AIF) is an important link in agricultural reforms.

(Note: In the current wake of news related to Agricultural reforms, this fund assumes greater significance.)

Topics:

Agriculture Infrastructure Fund:
  • Hon’ble Finance Minister announced on 15.05.2020 a Rs 1 lakh crore Agri Infrastructure Fund for farm-gate infrastructure for farmers.
  • Accordingly, the Central Sector Scheme of Financing Facility under Agriculture Infrastructure Fund was approved by Cabinet on 08.07.2020.