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

Read about tick-borne virus, Military Coup in Mali, Partial credit guarantee scheme and other important current affairs of the month of August 2020. Questions based on any of these current affairs topics can be asked in the UPSC IAS Prelims 2021

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

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

Science & Technology

Topic 1: Tick-Borne Virus

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A disease has been reported in China known as Severe Fever with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (SFTS) which is caused by the tick-borne virus. It is said that the virus can be transmitted through tick bites that have been identified as 'Severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome' or SFTS virus. 

Ticks are basically insects that are commonly found outdoors. Usually, they live in grass, trees, shrubs, and leaf piles. Commonly they are also found in pets like dogs and cats. Ticks bites are caused when these insects bite the skin. Whereas tick bites are usually harmless and do not show symptoms but they may carry and transmit some diseases and infections that can be deadly. For example Lyme disease,  southern tick-associated rash illness (STARI), Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF), ehrlichiosis, and tularemia. Read more

Topic 2: Volcanoes on Venus

Scientists have identified as many as 37 volcanic structures on Venus which are believed to be recently active, with some of them even today. The finding, if true, tends to reshape redraw our understanding of the planet which has been believed to be a dormant one till date.

The study, led by geophysicist Anna Gulcher of ETH Zurich in Switzerland, focused on ring-like structures called coronae, caused by an upwelling of hot rock from deep within the planet's interior, and provided compelling evidence of widespread recent tectonic and magma activity on Venus's surface.

Topic 3: Asteroid 2018VP1 

The asteroid, dubbed 2018VP, was first discovered at the Palomar Observatory in California’s San Diego County two years ago. A 13-day observational arc followed, after which the asteroid was not detected again. 

When it was discovered, the asteroid — which has a two-year orbital period — was around 2,80,000 miles away from the Earth, according to Science Alert. This year, however, the asteroid could be as close as 4,700 miles according to NASA’s close approach database.


Environment & Ecology

Topic 1: BIS Draft Standard for Drinking Water

  1. Labelled ‘Drinking water supply quality management system — requirements for piped drinking water supply service’, the draft has been prepared by the BIS’ Public Drinking Water Supply Services Sectional Committee.
  2. It outlines the process of water supply, from raw water sources to household taps.
  3. It has been developed keeping in view the Centre’s Jal Jeevan Mission for providing safe and adequate drinking water to all rural households by 2024 through tap connections.
  4. It is expected to make the process of piped water supply more uniform, especially in rural and underdeveloped areas of the country where the system runs on various government orders and circulars.
  5. At present, the standard is expected not to be made mandatory.

Topic 2: NDC-Transport Initiative for Asia

NITI Aayog launched the India Component of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC)–Transport Initiative for Asia (TIA) on 27 August. 

With the aim to promote a comprehensive approach to decarbonize transport in India, Vietnam, and China, NDC–TIA is a joint programme, supported by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) and implemented by a consortium of seven organizations.

Topic 3: World Bio-Fuel day

The World Bio-Fuel Day was observed across the world on August 10 with an aim to create awareness about non fossil-fuels (green fuels). The day highlights the importance of non-fossil fuels as alternative to conventional fossil fuels and highlights the various efforts made by the Government in the bio-fuel sector.

On 10 August 1893, Sir Rudalph Diesel, inventor of the diesel engine, for the first time successfully ran mechanical engine with Peanut Oil.

His research experiment had predicted that vegetable oil is going to replace fossil fuels in the next century to fuel different mechanical engines.

Thus, to mark this extraordinary achievement, World Bio-fuel Day is observed every year on 10 August.

Topic 4: World Elephant Day

World Elephant Day 2020: The day focuses on bringing the world together to help elephants and also inform people and organisations about the threat that an elephant faces. Although, elephants are loved by most of the generations they are also on the verge of extinction.

The reason behind the poor condition of elephants is not only poaching and habitat loss but also due to the negligence of the people about the threats that elephant a magnificent animal faces.

On 12 August, 2012, the first international Elephant Day was celebrated. Since then, it is observed annually and this day is dedicated to the huge animal protection and preservation. Let us tell you that in 2011, World Elephant Day was conceived by the Elephant Reintroduction Foundation and filmmakers Patricia Sims and Michael Clark. It was officially launched on August 12, 2012.



Topic 1: Partial Credit Guarantee Scheme 2.0

Under PCGS 2.0, PSBs have approved purchase of bonds/ CPs rated ‘AA/AA-‘ issued by 28 entities, and bonds/CPs rated below AA- issued by 62 entities, amounting to ₹. 21,262 crore. The average ticket size of bonds/CPs rated below ‘AA-is significantly lower than the average ticket size of bonds/CPs rated ‘AA/AA-‘. Under SLS, proposals of ₹ 7,464 crore have been approved so far for purchase.

Topic 2: Export Preparedness Index 2020

Gujarat has topped the Niti Aayog's Export Preparedness Index 2020 followed by Maharashtra in second place and Tamil Nadu in the third place, as per a report released by NITI Aayog on August 26, 2020.

Speaking during the release of the report, NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar said that exports are an integral part of Aatmanirbhar Bharat and India will have to continue to strive to increase the share of exports in GDP and world trade. He said that we will try to double India's share in world trade in the coming years.

The report- Export Preparedness Index (EPI) 2020 was released by Niti Aayog in partnership with the Institute of Competitiveness. 

Topic 3: Expansion of credit guarantee scheme

The Government has decided to expand the scope of emergency credit guarantees to include 26 sectors that are stressed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This was announced during Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s press conference on November 12, 2020 when she had announced few new measures as a part of the new stimulus package worth Rs 2.65 lakh crore to boost the recovery of the Indian economy. 

Under the expansion of the credit guarantee scheme, the entities will get additional credit up to 20 percent of outstanding credit. The repayment can be done in five years, which includes 1-year moratorium and 4 years of repayment. 

The scheme will provide support to entities in the healthcare sector and 26 stressed sectors identified by the KV Kamath committee, which has been appointed by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). 

•It will also enable companies with outstanding credit up to Rs 50 crore previously covered under the existing scheme. 

•The scheme does not have any upper ceiling on the annual turnover of the entities. 

•The companies will get an additional credit up to 20 percent of outstanding as of February 29, 2020.  Read more


Polity & International Relations

Topic 1: Bhadbhut Project

The Gujarat government recently awarded the contract for a the Bhadbhut project in Bharuch, Gujarat. It has faced protests from local fishermen for its likely impact on fishing patterns, notably those of hilsa.

It is planned to be a 1.7-km causeway-cum-weir barrage with 90 gates, across the river Narmada, 5 km from Bhadbhut village, and 25 km from the mouth of the river, where it flows into the Gulf of Khambhat.

The barrage will stop most of the excess water flowing out of the Sardar Sarovar Dam from reaching the sea and thus create a “sweet water lake” of 600 mcm (million cubic metres) on the river.

Topic 2: National Digital Health Mission

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the launch of National Digital Health Mission on August 15, 2020 during his speech on India's 74th Independence Day. With the launch of the historic mission, every Indian will soon have a digital health account.

Under the National Digital Health Mission, every Indian will get a Health ID card that will work as a health account comprising information regarding the person's past medical conditions, treatment and diagnosis. Read more

Topic 3: National Council for Transgender Persons

The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has constituted the National Council for Transgender Persons, a requirement under the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019.

A notification by the Ministry on August 21 stated that the Social Justice Minister would be the chairperson of the Council and members would include officials of the Ministries of Health and Family Welfare, Home Affairs, Housing and Urban Affairs, Minority Affairs, Human Resources Development, Rural Development and Labour and Employment, the Department of Legal Affairs, the Department of Pensions and Pensioners Welfare and the NITI Aayog.

Topic 4: India Pulls Out of Kavkaz 2020

India has withdrawn its participation in Kavkaz 2020 multinational exercise in Russia in September citing logistics difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a defence official said. However, it is mainly due to the participation of Chinese troops amid the ongoing standoff in Ladakh, a defence source said.

It is a strategic command-post exercise, and also known as Caucasus-2020.

The tri-service exercise is part of a four-year exercise cycle of the Russian army. Previous editions of the exercise were held in 2012 and 2016.

Topic 5: Military Coup in Mali 

Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita announced his resignation and dissolved the Parliament on August 19, 2020 after he was reportedly detained at gunpoint by mutinying soldiers. 

Ibrahim Boubacar Keita announced early resignation from the post saying that he does not wish blood to be shed to keep him in power following an armed mutiny in the Bamako. Keita said that his resignation, which comes three years before his term was due to end, will be effective immediately. He also announced that his government and the National Assembly would be dissolved.

On August 18, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had demanded "the immediate and unconditional release" of Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and Prime Minister Boubou Cisse after they were "arrested" by the mutiny soldiers.

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 | September 2020

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

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