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.
1. Paris Agreement
The U.S. President-elect Mr. Joe Biden said that the U.S. is likely to rejoin Paris Agreement.
- At COP 21 in Paris, on 12 December 2015, Parties to the UNFCCC reached a landmark agreement known as the ‘Paris Agreement’ to combat climate change and to accelerate and intensify the actions and investments needed for a sustainable low carbon future.
- The Paris Agreement builds upon the Convention and for the first time brings all nations into a common cause to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects, with enhanced support to assist developing countries to do so.
2. Guru Nanak Jayanthi
551st birth anniversary of Guru Nanak is celebrated on November 30, 2020. Guru Nanak Jayanthi or Gurpurab is celebrated across India and the world today.
- Guru Nanak is the first Sikh Guru of ten Sikh Gurus.
- Guru Nanak was born at Talwandi (Nankana Sahib) in Pakistan in 1469 AD.
- He is the founder of Sikhism.
1. Eight core sectors – contraction
The combined Index of Eight Core Industries stood at 124.2 in October 2020, which declined by 2.5 (provisional) percent as compared to the Index of October 2019.
Index of Eight core industries:
- The Index of Eight Core Industries is released by the Office of the Economic Adviser, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry. (Note: UPSC Prelims Question expected)
- In the index of eight core industries, Refinery products have the highest weight followed by Electricity and Steel.
2. Fiscal deficit increases further
The fiscal deficit increased to Rs.9.53 lakh crore at the end of October month which is in other words almost 120% of the budget target for this fiscal year. The lockdown has majorly impacted business and in turn, led to poor revenue realization.
- A fiscal deficit is a shortfall in a government’s income compared with its spending.
- Fiscal Deficit is the difference between the total income of the government (total taxes and non-debt capital receipts) and its total expenditure.
3. India Climate Change Knowledge portal launched.
Hon’ble Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Shri. Prakash Javadekar launched the India Climate Change Knowledge Portal. The portal will have all the major steps the Government is taking at both national and international levels to address the climate change issues.
India Climate change Knowledge portal:
- The portal will be a “single point Information resource” which provides information on the different climate initiatives taken by various Line Ministries enabling users to access updated status on these initiatives.
- The portal captures sector-wise adaptation and mitigation actions that are being taken by the various line Ministries in one place including updated information on their implementation.
1. Information Management and Analysis Centre(IMAC)
Indian Navy’s Information Management and Analysis Centre will soon become a National Maritime Domain Awareness Centre(NMDA) as per the statement of two defense officials.
- Information Management and Analysis Centre(IMAC) is the nodal agency for maritime data fusion.
- IMAC was set up after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.
- It is located in Gurugram.
2. India – 4th largest producer of Renewable energy in the world
Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri. Narendra Modi said India’s renewable power capacity is the 4th largest in the world and it is growing at the fastest speed among all major countries at the virtual 3rd Global Renewable Energy Investment Meeting and Expo, RE-Invest 2020. He added that the renewable energy capacity in India is currently 136 Giga Watts, which is about 36 percent of the country’s total capacity.
Renewable energy sources:
- Renewable energy is the energy from sources that are naturally replenishing.
- Renewable resources are virtually inexhaustible in duration but limited in the amount of energy that is available per unit of time.
1. Equity infusion into NIIF’s platform
The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval to the proposal for equity infusion by the Government of Rs 6000 crores in NIIF Debt Platform sponsored by National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF), comprising of Aseem Infrastructure Finance Limited (AIFL) and NIIF Infrastructure Finance Limited (NIIF-IFL).
- National Investment and Infrastructure Fund Limited (NIIFL) is a collaborative investment platform for international and Indian investors, anchored by the Government of India.
- NIIFL invests across asset classes such as infrastructure, private equity, and other diversified sectors in India, with the objective to generate attractive risk-adjusted returns for its investors.
2. Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India
IBBI has proposed amendments in regulations for withdrawal from the voluntary liquidation process.
- The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India was established on 1st October 2016 under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (Code).
- It is a key pillar of the ecosystem responsible for the implementation of the Code that consolidates and amends the laws relating to reorganization and insolvency resolution of corporate persons, partnership firms, and individuals in a time-bound manner for maximization of the value of assets of such persons, to promote entrepreneurship, availability of credit and balance the interests of all the stakeholders.
1. Poshan Abhiyaan
A report by Niti Aayog has said that efforts must be stepped up in Poshan Abhiyan to meet the targets by the Centre to reduce stunting, wasting, and anemia by 2022.
- The Prime Minister’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nutrition or POSHAN Abhiyaan or National Nutrition Mission is the Government of India’s flagship program to improve nutritional outcomes for children, pregnant women, and lactating mothers.
- Poshan Abhiyaan was launched in 2018.
2. PM Kisan Sampada Yojana
Minister of Food Processing Industries Shri. Narendra Singh Tomar virtually chaired the Inter-Ministerial Approval Committee meeting yesterday. Proposals received under the Scheme for Creation of Infrastructure for Agro-Processing Cluster of Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana were considered.
PM Kisan Sampada Yojana:
- PM Kisan Sampada Yojana is a Central Sector Scheme.
- The Government of India (GOI) has approved Pradhan Mantri Kisan SAMPADA Yojana (Scheme for Agro-Marine Processing and Development of Agro-Processing Clusters) with an allocation of Rs. 6,000 crore for the period 2016-20 coterminous with the 14th Finance Commission cycle.
1. Current Account Surplus
Chief Economic Adviser Shri. Krishnamurthy Subramanian said that India is likely to record Current Account Surplus during the Financial Year 2021. COVID crisis is different from other market crisis. During other market crises, imports will exceed than the exports showing over-heating signs whereas, in the COVID crisis, the economy is showing a sign of ‘under-heating’.
Current Account Surplus:
- The current account measures a country’s imports and exports of goods and services over a defined period of time, in addition to earnings from cross-border investments, and transfer payments.
- Current account surplus refers to a country that has more exports than imports of goods and services.
2. National Crisis Management Committee
Cabinet Secretary Shri. Rajiv Gauba chaired a meeting of the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) to review the status of the impending cyclone with the Chief Secretaries of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Puducherry through video conferencing.
- National Crisis Management Committee is under the Chairmanship of the Cabinet Secretary of India.
- It is responsible for overseeing the management of the crisis in the country during natural disasters like cyclones, Tsunami, Floods, etc., and other man-made disasters like Gas leaks, Chemical leaks, etc.
3. Cyclone Nivar likely to hit Tamilnadu
Cyclonic storm found in the Bay of Bengal will soon become a severe cyclonic storm and will bring heavy rainfall to Tamilnadu and Puducherry regions. The Cyclone has been named Nivar and is likely to cross between Karaikal and Mamallapuram coasts.
- Cyclones are caused by atmospheric disturbances around a low-pressure area distinguished by swift and often destructive air circulation.
- Cyclones are usually accompanied by violent storms and bad weather.
Different names of cyclones:
- Typhoons – China Sea and Pacific Ocean
- Hurricanes – West Indian islands in the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean
1. SITMEX 2020
Indian Navy (IN) Ships including indigenously built ASW corvette Kamorta and missile corvette Karmuk participated in the 2nd edition of India, Singapore, and Thailand Trilateral Maritime Exercise SITMEX-20, from 21 to 22 November 20 in the Andaman Sea.
- SITMEX is a Trilateral Maritime Exercise between Singapore, India, and Thailand.
- SITMEX was first conducted off Port Blair in 2019.
2.G-20 summit in Riyadh
Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri. Narendra Modi has thanked Saudi Arabia for hosting G20 Summit in Riyadh successfully and welcomed Italy as it takes over the G20 presidency in 2021.G-20 Leaders’ Summit was held on 21st and 22nd November 2020 virtually.
- The Group of Twenty, or the G20, is the premier forum for international economic cooperation.
- The G20 brings together the leaders of both developed and developing countries from every continent.
1. Kala Azar disease
In a recent paper published in PLOS Neglected Tropical Disease, a team from Rajendra Memorial Research Institute of Medical Sciences has recently mentioned the success story of how Kala Azar was eliminated in Vaishali, Bihar by reducing the incidence of cases from 664 in 2014 to 163 in 2016 through Integrated Control Strategy.
- Kala Azar is also known as Visceral leishmaniasis.
- It is characterized by irregular bouts of fever, substantial weight loss, swelling of the spleen and liver, and anemia.
2. Prompt Corrective Action
Lakshmi Vilas Bank was recently placed under moratorium by the Central Government on the recommendation of the RBI. RBI initially placed LVB in the Prompt Corrective Action(PCA) framework which restricts certain operations of the bank depending on the severity of financial stress as the financial position of LVB deteriorated.
- Prompt Corrective Action (or PCA) is intended to intervene early and take corrective measures in a timely manner, so as to restore the financial health of banks that are at risk by limiting deterioration in their health and preserving their capital levels.
- PCA involves some restrictions on bank scope and expansion as not doing so would lead to excessive risks on the balance-sheets of these banks.
1. National Health Authority and National Digital Health Mission
National Health Authority Chairman Dr. Indu Bhushan at the Bangalore Tech Summit 2020 said that National Digital Health Mission will soon be ready for a nationwide roll-out.
- National Health Authority (NHA) is the apex body responsible for implementing India’s flagship public health insurance/assurance scheme called “Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana.”
- NHA has been set-up to implement PM-JAY, as it is popularly known, at the national level.
1. Chhath Festival
The Chhath Puja was celebrated on 20th November 2020 with devotees paying oblation to the rising Sun in different parts of the country.
- Chhath Puja which takes place after Diwali is dedicated to the Sun God and his wife Usha to thank them for sustaining life on earth and for granting wishes.
- Chhath Puja is held over the course of four days and is marked by various rituals, including fasting, standing in water for long periods of time, and making offerings to the Sun.
2. Digital India
Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that Digital India is now a way of life in a virtual address to the Bengaluru Tech Summit 2020.
- Digital India is a flagship program of the Government of India with a vision to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy.
- Digital India was launched in 2015.
Nine Pillars of Digital India:
Digital India aims to provide the much-needed thrust to the nine pillars of growth areas, namely
- Broadband Highways,
- Universal Access to Mobile Connectivity,…
1. World Toilet Day
November 19 is celebrated as World Toilet Day. Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation of Ministry of Jal Shakti will celebrate ‘World Toilet Day’ under ‘Swachh Bharat Mission-Grameen for promoting awareness on access to safe sanitation.
Prelims GS – Governance
Swachh Bharat Mission – Grameen:
- Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) was launched on 2nd October 2014 to ensure cleanliness in India and make it Open Defecation Free (ODF) in Five Years.
- Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Ministry of Jal Shakti is implementing this SBM- Gramin mission.
2. 33rd TB Partnership Board Meeting held
Hon’ble Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan has stressed the need to create a mass movement for the elimination of TB with strategized advocacy, thought leadership, disruptive social entrepreneurship, powerful, societal, and political commitment when he was addressing the 33rd Stop TB Partnership Board meeting in New Delhi through Video Conference on 18th November 2020. Dr. Harsh Vardhan also highlighted India’s “TB Harega, Desh Jeetega” campaign that targets to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal target related to TB by 2025, five years ahead of the global target of 2030.
Prelims GS – Governance(Health)
TB Harega Desh Jeetega:
- “TB Harega, Desh Jeetega” campaign was launched in 2019 as an Accelerator to National Strategic Plan with the objectives of:
- Promoting health-seeking behavior in the community for early case detection
- Preventing the emergence of new cases of TB
- The new TB campaign aims to improve and expand the reach of TB care services across the country, by 2022.
1. OALP – a market-friendly policy
Hon’ble Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister of India Shri. Dharmendra Pradhan said at the signing of contracts for 11 oil and gas blocks offered under the OALP Bid Round-5 that Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP) is a market-friendly policy and it is driving self-reliance in the energy sector.
- Open Acreage Licensing Policy comes under the ambit of the Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy(HELP) which was launched in 2016.
- Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP) gives an option to a company looking for exploring hydrocarbons to select the exploration blocks on its own, without waiting for the formal bid round from the Government.
Salient features of HELP:
- Single Uniform License for all Hydrocarbons
- Revenue Sharing Model
- Pricing & Marketing Freedom
1. WPI at an 8-month high level
The rate of inflation, based on monthly WPI, stood at 1.48% (provisional) for the month of October 2020 (over October 2019) as compared to 0.00 % during the corresponding month of the previous year. This is the highest level reported in the last 8 months.
- WPI refers to the Wholesale Price Index.
- WPI is released by the Office of the Economic Adviser, Department for the Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
2. Hon’ble PM to attend BRICS virtual summit today
Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri. Narendra Modi will attend the 12th BRICS Summit today hosted by Russia, under the theme Global Stability, Shared Security, and Innovative Growth. The meeting will be held in a virtual format.
- BRICS refers to Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.
- It was the Russian side that initiated the creation of BRICS.
RCEP, a mega trade bloc of 15 countries led by China came into existence on 15th November 2020.
- Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), is a proposed Free Trade Agreement between ten ASEAN member states (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and VietNam) and their six Free Trade Agreement (FTA) partners namely India, Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, and the Republic of Korea.
- Members of RCEP account for 30% of the global GDP.
1. Hunar Haat and USTTAD
Hunar Haats will restart from November 11, 2020, after a gap of seven months due to corona. The Theme of Hunar Haats will be “Vocal for Local” where indigenous exquisite products made from “Maati (clay), Metal and Machiya (wooden & jute products)” will be a major attraction.
- Hunar Haat has become an “Empowerment Exchange” of artisans and craftsmen from across the country.
- “Hunar Haat”, which provides a market and opportunity to master artisans and craftsmen from remote areas of the country, has become a credible brand of rare exquisite indigenous handmade products.
- “USTTAD” scheme refers to Upgrading the Skills and Training in Traditional Arts/ Crafts for Development.
- USTTAD scheme aims to preserve the heritage of traditional arts and crafts of minority communities and build the capacity of traditional craftspersons and artisans and establish linkages of traditional skills with the global market.
Components of USTTAD:
The scheme will have the following programs:
- Up-gradation of Skills and Training in Traditional Arts/Crafts through Institutions
- USTTAD Fellowship for Research and Development.
1. Gig Economy
This year, the demand for contractual and specialized gig workers has increased by 30% compared to last year. This is further expected to increase as per the leading Business service provider Quess Corp.
- In a gig economy, temporary, flexible jobs are commonplace and companies tend toward hiring independent contractors and freelancers instead of full-time employees.
- This is helpful for both companies and employees as companies tend to spend comparatively lesser money on gig workers and employees have the option of switching over jobs easily from one company to another company as they are not bound by the notice period which is applicable to the permanent workers.
2. Kartarpur Corridor
India has condemned Pakistan’s decision to transfer management and maintenance of Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib from a body run by the Sikh community to a non-Sikh body. The statement said this unilateral decision by Pakistan runs against the spirit of the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor as also the religious sentiments of the Sikh community at large.
- Integrated Check Post in Kartarpur corridor would facilitate, Indian Pilgrims to visit Gurudwara Kartapur Sahib in Pakistan.
- India has signed the agreement with Pakistan on the 24th of October 2019 on the modalities for the operationalization of the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor at Zero Point, International Boundary, Dera Baba Nanak.
Highlights of the Kartarpur Agreement are: –
- Indian pilgrims of all faiths and persons of Indian origin can use the corridor;
- The travel will be Visa-Free;
- Pilgrims need to carry only a valid passport
1. Vulture Conservation Plan and the issue of Diclofenac
The National Board for Wildlife(NBWL) has cleared the Vulture Conservation plan. The drugs used in treating cattle that are poisonous to the vultures will be banned by the Drug Controller General of India.
Vulture Conservation Plan:
- The “Action Plan for Vulture Conservation 2020 – 2025” has proposed to establish Vulture Conservation Breeding Centres in five states of Uttar Pradesh, Tripura, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu.
- Regular surveys have been planned to track the population of vultures.
- Diclofenac is a drug that is used to treat cattle and is a painkiller.
- Diclofenac is very harmful to vultures.
1. Fortification of Rice-a complete overview
Anganwadis and Government schools will soon be receiving fortified rice as per the statement by the Food Ministry. The government is planning to distribute fortified rice to combat chronic anaemia and undernutrition through the Integrated Child Development Services and Mid-Day Meal schemes across the country from next year, with a special focus on 112 aspirational districts.
- Fortification is the practice of deliberately increasing the content of an essential micronutrient, i.e. vitamins and minerals (including trace elements) in food, so as to improve the nutritional quality of the food supply and provide a public health benefit with minimal risk to health.
- Rice can be fortified by adding a micronutrient powder to the rice that adheres to the grains or spraying the surface of ordinary rice grains in several layers with a vitamin and mineral mix to form a protective coating.
Recommendations of WHO for Rice Fortification:
- Fortification of rice with iron is recommended as a public health strategy to improve the iron status of populations, in settings where rice is a staple food.
- Fortification of rice with vitamin A may be used as a public health strategy to improve the iron status and vitamin A nutrition of populations.
Fortified Food in India:
- In October 2016, FSSAI operationalized the Food Safety and Standards (Fortification of Foods) Regulations, 2016 for fortifying staples
1. Fugitive Economic Offenders Act
A news item related to Vijay Mallya who was declared the first Fugitive Economic Offender of India in 2019.
Fugitive Economic Offenders Act:
- Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018 has been enacted for effective action against economic offenders fleeing Indian jurisdiction.
- It provides for attachment and confiscation of property of fugitive economic offenders and disentitles them from defending any civil claim.
Features of the Act:
- “Fugitive economic offender” means any individual against whom a warrant for arrest in relation to a Scheduled Offence has been issued by any Court in India, who—
(i) has left India so as to avoid criminal prosecution; or
(ii) being abroad refuses to return to India to face criminal prosecution
- “Scheduled Offence” means an offense specified in the Schedule, if the total value involved in such offense or offenses is one hundred crore rupees or more(100 crore rupees or more).
1. GST collection at an 8 month high
The Ministry of Finance has said that the GST collection in October has crossed Rs. 1.05 lakh crore in October and has been recorded the highest collection since February 2020. Finance Secretary has said that the interventions of the government have led to a positive growth trajectory.
- 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
2. Cabinet approves Mechanism for procurement of Ethanol by Public Sector Oil Marketing Companies
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, CCEA today approved the Mechanism for procurement of ethanol by Public Sector Oil Marketing Companies under Ethanol Blended Petrol Programme.
Newly approved mechanism highlights:
- Earlier, there used to be one rate for ethanol but now there will be different prices.
- Now, the new Price fixed for Ethanol produced from sugar will be Rs. 62.65 per liter, ethanol manufactured from B heavy molasses will be Rs. 57.61 per liter and ethanol manufactured from C heavy molasses will be Rs. 45.69 per liter.
Ethanol Blended Petrol Programme:
- The government has been implementing Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme wherein OMCs sell petrol blended with ethanol up to 10 percent.
- This program has been extended to the whole of India except the Union Territories of Andaman Nicobar and Lakshadweep islands with effect from 1st April 2019 to promote the use of alternative and environment-friendly fuels.