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

Read about UAE’s Hope Mars Mission, Kuaizhou-11 Rocket, AIM-crest and other important current affairs of the month of July 2020. Questions based on any of these current affairs topics can be asked in the UPSC IAS Prelims 2021

Created On: Apr 9, 2021 13:49 IST
UPSC IAS Prelims 2021: Monthly Current Affairs & GK Topics for Preparation | July 2020
UPSC IAS Prelims 2021: Monthly Current Affairs & GK Topics for Preparation | July 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 various subjects and Current Affairs related to Science & Technology, 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 July 2020. 

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

Science & Technology

Topic 1: Drug Discovery Hackathon

Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal has inaugurated the Drug Discovery Hackathon 2020. According to reports, the inauguration was done by the union minister along with the Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Harsh Vardhan and Minister of State, Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Sanjay Dhotre. The Drug Discovery Hackathon 2020 is an initiative taken by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to identify the Drug for COVID-19.

Topic 2: Flood Resistant Paddy

Recently, farmers from Golaghat district in Assam have cultivated new flood-resistant paddy varieties to shift from the traditional ones. The varieties called Ranjit Sub1, Swarna Sub1 and Bahadur Sub1 have been used by about 60% of farmers of the West Brahmaputra area.

Topic 3: Hope Mars Mission

The United Arab Emirates launched 'Hope' - an unmanned space probe to Mars from the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan on July 19, 2020. The historic space mission has made UAE the first Arab nation to achieve the feat.

Hope Probe Spacecraft will aim to study the atmosphere of the Red Planet. It was launched aboard H2A rocket from southern Japan at 6:58 am local time. The mission is the Arab world’s first interplanetary mission and it places UAE much ahead of all the gulf nations in the space sector. 

The probe's launch had been twice delayed earlier because of bad weather. The space probe is expected to reach the Red Planet by February 2021, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of UAE’s unification- an alliance of seven emirates. Read details

Topic 3: NEOWISE Comet

NASA's NEOWISE mission discovered Comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) in March 2020 and will be visible from India for 20 days from 14 July 2020.

On 27 March 2020, the comet was discovered by NASA's Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer or NEOWISE. Since then the comet is known as C/2020 F3 NEOWISE and is nicknamed as NEOWISE that has been spotted by various NASA spacecraft, including Parker Solar Probe, NASA's Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory, the ESA/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, and astronauts aboard the International Space Station. 

The glimpse of this celestial event will start from 14 July, 2020 onwards. The comet will be visible to the naked eye for 30 minutes every day for 20 days. An hour before the dawn sky, it will be visible on 14 July. This will continue in mid-July. Therefore, the comet will be visible in the evening later this month before it starts to fade away in August. Read more

Topic 4: Natanz: Underground Nuclear Facility of Iran

A mysterious fire reportedly broke out at Iran’s Natanz nuclear complex on July 2, 2020 causing major damage to a factory. This was revealed by a photo released by the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) of a building at the nuclear site, which is one of Iran’s main nuclear-fuel production sites. 

Highlights

• No casualties have been reported at the nuclear facility, which is located in Iran's Isfahan Province, south of Tehran. 


•  The incident is currently being investigated and according to security officials, there is no evidence of sabotage.


•  Iran’s Supreme National Security Council revealed on July 3 that the main cause of the fire has been determined and will be announced at an appropriate time.


•  Iranian experts are allegedly investigating "different hypotheses" about the incident immediately after it happened.

Topic 5: Kuaizhou-11 Rocket 

China on 9 January 2017 successfully launched first Chinese commercial mission using an updated version of the low-cost Kuaizhou-1A rocket. The mission was launched from northwestern China’s Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Gansu province. As a part of the mission, three satellites namely Jilin Linye-1 forestry satellite (JL-1), CubeSats XY-S1 and Caton-1 were launched into space.  

Highlights

• JL-1 Satellite is a multifunctional remote-sensing satellite which provides for high-definition video images.

• It can be used for environmental protection, land resource and forestry surveying, transport and disaster prevention and relief purposes.

• The JL-1 satellite is also known as Lingqiao 3. It is part of the Jilin constellation of commercial Earth observatories in orbit.

• The Jilin satellites are built and operated by the state-owned Chang Guang Satellite Technology Co Ltd.

• On the other hand, XY-S1 and Caton-1 Satellites are experimental satellites aimed at testing the technologies of low-orbit narrow-band communication and VHF Data Exchange System (VDES) respectively. Read more

Topic 6: Hiroshima Black Rain

  1. An estimated 69 per cent of the buildings in Hiroshima were destroyed by the atomic bomb.
  2. The debris and soot from this, mixed with the radioactive fallout from the bomb, raised high into the atmosphere in the form of a mushroom cloud.
  3. This material combined with the vapour in the atmosphere and came down as dark drops of liquid that have been called black rain.
  4. Survivors of the black rain described it as consisting of large, greasy drops that are much heavier than normal raindrops.
  5. It is full of highly radioactive material, and studies have shown that exposure to it can result in serious illnesses.

 

Environment & Ecology

Topic 1: Reconstitution of Central Zoo Authority

The CZA is the body of the government responsible for oversight of zoos constituted under the section 38A of Wild Life (Protection) Act 1972. The main objective of the authority is to complement the national effort in the conservation of wildlife. Standards and norms for housing, upkeep, health care and overall management of animals in zoos have been laid down under the Recognition of Zoo Rules, 1992.

The Environment Ministry has reconstituted the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) to include an expert from the School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi, and a molecular biologist.

Topic 2: Golden Birdwing: India’s Largest Butterfly

A Himalayan butterfly named golden birdwing is now India’s largest, a record the southern birdwing held for 88 years.

The male golden birdwing is much smaller at 106 mm.

Topic 3: Rewa Solar Project 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the 750 MW Rewa Ultra Mega Solar Power Project in Madhya Pradesh through video conferencing on July 10, 2020. 

• The ultra-mega solar power project comprises three solar units of 250 megawatt each on a 500 hectare plot inside the Solar Park. It is expected to help reduce carbon emission equivalent to about 15 lakh ton of CO2 per year. 

• The project will be the first renewable energy project to supply institutional customers outside the state, including Delhi Metro. 

Topic 4: Bon bibi

Bon Bibi is a deity of the forest and the central character of Bon Bibir Palagaan, a musical drama unique to the Sundarbans. They believe that only Bon Bibi protects them when they enter the forest and survive in tiger dominated areas.

Topic 5: KURMA App

KURMA is a mobile-based application aimed at turtle conservation. It was launched on the occasion of World Turtle Day (23rd May).

It is developed by the Indian Turtle Conservation Action Network (ITCAN) in collaboration with the Turtle Survival Alliance-India and Wildlife Conservation Society-India.

 

History

Topic 1: Hagia Sophia Museum

The centuries-old Hagia Sophia, listed as a Unesco World Heritage site, was originally a cathedral in the Byzantine Empire before it was turned into a mosque in 1453, when Constantinople fell to Sultan Mehmet II’s Ottoman forces.

In the 1930s, however, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey, shut down the mosque and turned it into a museum in an attempt to make the country more secular.

Many Greeks continue to revere the Hagia Sophia, and view it as a key part of Orthodox Christianity. So, when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ordered the structure open to Muslim worship in June 2020, tensions escalated.

Topic 2: Mongolian Kanjur

The first set of five volumes of Mongolian Kanjur published under the National Mission for Manuscripts (NMM) was presented to the President of India Shri Ram Nath Kovind on 4 July, 2020 on the occasion of Guru Purnima also known as Dharma Chakra Day. 

A set was then handed over to His Excellency Mr. Gonching Ganbold, Ambassador of Mongolia to India by the Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Ministry of Culture and Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Ministry of Tourism, Shri Prahlad Singh Patel in presence of Minister of State for Minority Affairs, Shri Kiren Rijiju.

The Ministry of Culture has taken up the project under the National Mission for Manuscripts (NMM) of reprinting of 108 volumes of Mongolian Kanjur. It is expected that all Mongolian Kanjur 108 volumes will be published by March 2022.

 

Polity & International Relations

Topic 1: Digital Accountability and Transparency Act

Recently, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has suggested a three-phase transition to mandatory digital payments, accounting, and transactions for the Central government under a proposed project and law called Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA).

Topic 2: ASEEM Portal

ASEEM 'is a digital platform providing jobs where both the job seeker and the employer can interact with each other. Overall, it is a platform similar to that provided by private job companies in India such as Naukri.com, or Times Job.com etc.

The purpose of this portal is to provide a digital medium to the skilled and non-skilled people who have returned home or country due to COVID 19 pandemic. So this portal will help these workers to get a job as per their experience and ability.

The full form of ASEEM is ‘Aatamanirbhar Skilled Employee Employer Mapping (ASEEM)’. 

The database of migrants labourer who returned to India under the Vande Bharat Mission and filled the SWADES skill cards have also been integrated with the ASEEM portal.

Thus ASEEM portal will have data of millions of unemployed skilled and unskilled migrant workers. So this portal will ease the problem of many corporate houses to find suitable employees at a single platform. Read more

Topic 3: PRAGYATA Guidelines on Digital Education

Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ has released ‘Pragyata’ Guidelines for Online Education that can help balance screen time allowed for various classes of school students. The guidelines are important, especially during the current times of COVID-19 pandemic, when online education and digital classrooms have become a norm due to school closure and travel restrictions announced by the governments. As part of the ‘Pragyata’ Guidelines released today, the HRD Ministry has recommended cap on the screen time allotted to the students of different classes and develop holistic learning and teaching methodologies that suit distance learning mode.

According to the ‘Pragyata’ Guidelines, HRD Ministry has recommended a cap on screen time allotted to the students of different classes as part of their online learning through digital classrooms. The guidelines recommend that for pre-primary school students, the screen time should be limited to 30 minutes per day. On similar lines, for students of 1st to 8th Class, two online sessions of up to 30-45 minutes each should be conducted, whereas for Classes 9th to 12th, four sessions of up to 30-45 minutes each have been recommended.

Topic 4: AIM-iCREST: NITI Aayog

Niti Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) has launched AIM-iCREST- an incubator capabilities enhancement program for an ecosystem which will be focused on creating high performing startups.

The step has been taken to encourage and enable the holistic progress in the incubator ecosystem across India making it the first kind of initiative for advancing innovation at scale in the country.

Atal Innovation Mission has joined hands with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Wadhwani Foundation who can lend credible support and expertise in entrepreneurship and the innovation space. Read more

Topic 5: G20 Digital Economy Ministers Meeting

G20 Digital Minister’s Meet: The G20 Digital Minister's meeting  is currently underway. The virtual meeting is taking place as a part of the Sherpa Track for the G20 Leaders Summit 2020, which will be hosted by Saudi Arabia.

The Digital Economy Ministers meeting saw participation from the Union IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. While addressing the G20 Digital Economy Ministerial Meeting through video conference, the Union IT Minister spoke about India's effective efforts for management of coronavirus under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Ravi Shankar Prasad also highlighted the use of digital technologies in India's battle against COVID-19. He noted that we all need to acknowledge that digital economy must go hand in hand with data economy. 

Topic 6: Azad Pattan and Kohala Hydropower Projects

On July 6, 2020, Pakistan and China signed an agreement for the construction of Azad Pattan Hydel Power Project of 700.7 megawatts of electricity as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Kohala Hydroelectric Power Project

The Kohala Hydroelectric Power Project will be built on Jhelum River in PoK (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir) and is being implemented by the Kohala Hydropower Company Private Limited (KHCL). It is roughly 7 km upstream of Azad Pattan Bridge in the Sudhanoti District (PoK) and 90 km from Islamabad, the capital city of Pakistan. The project is expected to be completed by the year 2026. The project will be sponsored by China Three Gorges Corporation, International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Silk Road Fund.

Azad Pattan Hydroelectric Power Project

The Azad Pattan hydroelectric power project will be built on the dual boundary between Rawalpindi district (Punjab) and Sudhnoti district (PoK) on Jhelum river. It is 40 km upstream from Muzaffarabad and has a 20 km long tunnel connecting to the powerhouse which is located at Barsala 7 km upstream from Kohala Bridge. It is being developed by Azad Pattan Power Private Limited (APPL). The project will be sponsored by the China Gezhouba Group Company (CGGC). 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 | September 2020

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

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