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

Read about Demo-2 Mission, Helicopter Money, Operation Samudra Setu, and other important current affairs of the month of May 2020. Questions based on any of these current affairs topics can be asked in the UPSC IAS Prelims 2021

Sakshi Saroha
Apr 14, 2021, 18:46 IST
UPSC IAS Prelims Monthly Current Affairs & GK Topics May 2020
UPSC IAS Prelims Monthly Current Affairs & GK Topics May 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 May 2020. 

Science & Technology

Topic 1: Luhman 16: Binary Brown Dwarf System

The team of astronomers has recently discovered that Luhman 16A, the closest brown known dwarf, has been showing the signs of cloud bands. They are similar to those seen on Saturn and Jupiter.

Luhman 16A has been a part of the binary system that also contains a second brown dwarf i.e. Luhman 16B. After Alpha Centauri and Barnard’s star, it has been the third closest system to our sun, at a distance of 6.5 light-years.

Even having similar masses and temperature and presumably have been formed at the same time, Luhman 16A and 16B have shown different weather. Luhman 16B, instead of exhibiting the evidence of more irregular and patchy clouds, has not shown any signs of stationery cloud bands. Therefore, it has more noticeable brightness variations because of its cloudy features, unlike Luhman 16A. Read More

Topic 2: Demo-2 Mission

The SpaceX astronaut mission completed its first journey as the astronauts in the Crew Dragon Capsule entered the International Space Station (ISS) on May 31. Elon Musk’s SpaceX company built the Dragon module that lifted from Florida spaceport on May 30, 2020.

The spacecraft successfully docked with the orbiting laboratory at 10.16 am ET. Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley then disembarked Crew Dragon and joined the three crew currently onboard the International Space Station which was launched in 1998 and inhabited in 2000.

NASA’s astronaut Bob Behnken spoke from the spacecraft mentioning that it been a real honor to be a part of this nine-year endeavor since the United States docked with ISS. He also added that the men and women of SpaceX must be congratulated for their incredible efforts to make this possible.

Topic 3: COBAS 6800 Testing Machine 

Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare visited the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and dedicated the COBAS 6800 testing machine to the nation, here today. This is the first such testing machine that has been procured by the Government for testing of COVID-19 cases and is installed at the National Centre for Disease Control.

 COBAS 6800 is a sophisticated machine enabled with robotics that minimizes the chance of contamination as well as the risk of infection to the health care workers since it can be operated remotely with limited human intervention. As the machine requires a minimum BSL2+ containment level for testing, it cannot be placed at just any facility. COBAS 6800 can also detect other pathogens like Viral Hepatitis B & C, HIV, MTb (both rifampicin and isoniazide resistance), Papilloma, CMV, Chlamydia, Neiserreia etc.

Topic 4: Arogya Setu App

On May 11, 2020, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), Government of India, has issued a notification on the Aarogya Setu Data Access and Knowledge Sharing Protocol in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

As per the notification, individuals refer to those who are infected, at high risk of getting infected or who crossed paths with the infected individuals. Data refers to demographic data (name, mobile number, age, gender, profession and travel history), contact data (if an individual has crossed paths with an infected individual and the geographical location where the contact occurred), self-assessment data  (responses provided by the users of the Aarogya Setu app) and location data (geographical location in longitude and latitude of an individual). All these data are collectively called response data. Read details here

Topic 5: Tianwen-1

China's first ever mission to another planet has been successful this year. The Tianwen-1 spacecraft has made a close approach to Mars and sent back pictures from the red planet. It would be soon landing in the Red Planet and studying its surface and climate. Take a look at the details of the space craft and the mission below. 

Tianwen-1: Important dates

Tianwen-1 arrived at Mars on Wednesday, February 10, 2021

The mission was launched on July 23, 2020

The rover is not expected to land until May or June, 2021  read more


Environment & Ecology

Topic 1: Locusts Attack in India

arge swarms of Desert Locusts have entered India's Rajasthan through Pakistan in search of crops and greenery to satisfy their hunger. The locusts swarms began from Iran in 2019, migrating to Pakistan and now have entered India in Rajasthan, Punjab, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. These desert locusts have already infested areas of North & Central India and are slowly moving towards Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Maharashtra.

Desert Locusts are one of the most dangerous migratory pests.

They are known for damaging and consuming everything in their path especially all green areas.

Desert Locusts typically move in swarms and each swarm consists of 150 million locusts in every square kilometre.

They feed on green vegetation such as fodder, crops and pasture.

A locust swarm in one square kilometre can destroy crops meant for consumption by over 35,000 people in a day.

Abnormally heavy rains last year, which scientists say were made more likely by the long-term warming of the Indian Ocean, a hallmark of climate change, have exacerbated a locust infestation across eastern Africa. Read more

Topic 2: Etalin Hydroelectric Project

Location: Arunanchal Pradesh

A Wildlife Institute of India (WII) study has documented 413 plant, 159 butterfly, 113 spider, 14 amphibian, 31 reptile, 230 bird and 21 mammalian species within the project area. The WII has recommended a plan to prevent loss of animals and birds there, and the development of butterfly and reptile parks, nest boxes, habitat restoration etc.

No tiger presence has been documented at the project site through camera trapping. But Dibang Wildlife Sanctuary 12 km away has recorded tiger presence in the vicinity.

Topic 3: Punitus Sanctus

The silver-hued fish has been named Puntius Sanctus — ‘Sanctus’ is Latin for holy — after the popular pilgrim town.

Encountered in a small waterbody in Venlankanni, Puntius Sanctus is small, it grows to a length of 7 cm.

It found to use both as food and as an aquarium draw.

“The Puntius species are known locally as ‘Paral’ in Kerala and ‘Kende’ in Tamil Nadu.

Topic 4: International Day for Biological Diversity 

2 May has been observed as International Day of Biodiversity to raise awareness about several biodiversity issues. On 29 December, 1993 it was first created by the Second Committee of the UN General Assembly. Since 2001, it is celebrated every year. 



Topic 1: Helicopter Money 

The term 'Helicopter Money' was coined by the famous economist Milton Friedman. This means an unconventional monetary policy in which printed money is distributed among the public to recover an economy from the depression.

Helicopter Money is symbolically like pouring money from the sky from a helicopter. The general public was not expecting this money from the government that is why this money is like an unexpected raining of the money from the sky.

The general public will use this money to fulfil their basic demands which will further increase production and employment in the economy.

So Helicopter Money is used with the intention of lifting a struggling economy out of a deep recession or to avoid recession-like situation in the economy. Read more

Topic 2: ReStart Programme for MSMEs

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy has launched a new programme christened ‘ReStart’ to support the MSME sector in the State.

The programme is expected to benefit 98,000 units that provide employment to more than 10 lakh people. The government will spend ₹1,100 crore on revival of the sector.

As part of the package, the Chief Minister released ₹450 crore towards the first instalment at a review meeting on Friday. In addition, a special fund of ₹200 crore would be created to provide input capital loan to the firms at low interest rates.


Polity & Governance


Smart Advanced Manufacturing and Rapid Transformation Hub (SAMARTH) Udyog Bharat 4.0 is an initiative by the Department of Heavy Industry (DHI) under the aegis of Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, Government of India. 

The initiative by the Department of Heavy Industry aims to raise awareness about Industry 4.0 among the Indian manufacturing industry to reach 25% of the total GDP by 2025 with the help of demonstration centres. 

Centres of SAMARTH Udyog Bharat 4.0

1- Center for Industry 4.0 (C4i4) Lab Pune

2- IITD-AIA Foundation for Smart Manufacturing

3- I4.0 India at IISc Factory R & D Platform

4- Smart Manufacturing Demo & Development Cell at CMTI. read more

Topic 2: Epidemic Disease Act, 1897 

This act has 4 sections in total and is probably the shortest act in India. There are some powers have been given to the State government under Section 2 of this Act and some powers to the central government under Section 2 (A) to implement this act to control any epidemic.

Amendments in Epidemic Disease Act, 1897:-

The Union Cabinet has approved promulgation of an Ordinance to amend the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 to protect healthcare service personnel and their property including living/working premises during epidemics.The President of India has also given his assent to this ordinance. Read details

Topic 3: CoAST India

The platform is a map reflecting the movement of migrants in real-time on their long journeys, often on foot, along with facilities and relief organisations on their routes.

It is a collaboration with Anand-based Forest Ecological Security (FES) as its main nodal point.

It draws information from 55 organisations on the ground, mostly in villages, and aims to make such data available so that it would enable governments and small local civil society groups to be of assistance.

The map matches time and spatial data, on administrative facilities in the area, transportation and healthcare facilities of an area and summaries, on the fly, in real-time of people passing by.

Topic 4: Star Rating of Garbage Free Cities

•  The central government has declared six cities- Ambikapur, Rajkot, Surat, Mysore, Indore and Navi Mumbai as five-star garbage-free cities.

•  The star rating of garbage-free cities was announced by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs on May 19, 2020. Overall, six cities were rated 5-star, 65 cities were rates 3-star and 70 cities were rated with one star. 

•  The Housing and Urban Affairs Minister, Hardeep Singh Puri also launched the revised protocol for the star rating of garbage free cities. The Ministry has now brought importance of sanitation and effective solid waste management to the forefront due to the coronavirus crisis.

•  The star rating protocol was launched by the Ministry in January 2018 to institutionalize a mechanism for cities to achieve garbage free status and motivate other cities to achieve higher degrees of cleanliness.

Topic 5: National Migrant Information System 

The central government on May 16 launched the ‘National Migration Information System’  to facilitate the smooth movement of migrant workers traveling across the country.

The online dashboard has been developed by National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) on the existing NDMA-GIS portal. It will help in capturing the information regarding the movement of workers who have been stranded in different states.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has informed the states to upload data on NMIS to ensure better coordination, contact tracing, and movement monitoring of the migrant workers.

Topic 6: Chardham Pariyojana

Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari inaugurated the 440 meter long tunnel at Chamba under the Chardham Sampark Project on 26 May 2020. This tunnel will save a lot of time for passengers on the Rishikesh-Dharsu and Gangotri route of the Chardham highway.

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari praised the Border Roads Organization (BRO) for constructing a 440-meter-long tunnel under the busy Chamba town on the Rishikesh-Dharasu road and termed it an 'extraordinary achievement' towards nation-building during the epidemic.

Topic 7: Operation Samudhra Setu

Indian Navy has launched Operation 'Samudra Setu' as a part of national effort to repatriate Indian nationals stranded in the Maldives due to the COVID-19 chaos. Two ships of Indian Navy are en route for this Operation and are a part of 'Vande Bharat Mission'. 

Indian Naval Ships-- Jalashwa and Magar are en route to Male, the Republic of Maldives to start evacuation of Indian citizens stranded there from May 8, 2020, under the first phase. Today morning, INS Jalashwa has entered Male port under the first phase of 'Operation Samudra Setu'. On the other hand, INS Jalashwa is en route to the Maldives from Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu. The Indian Naval Ship is loaded with supplies along with the medical personnel who boarded the ship. 

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: Month-wise Current Affairs & GK Topics for Preparation (May 2020-April 2021)

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

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