UPSC IAS Prelims 2021: Monthly Current Affairs & GK Topics for Preparation | March’21

Read about Deepfake Technology, Voice Vote, Operation Green, and other important current affairs of the month of March 2021. Questions based on any of these current affairs topics can be asked in the UPSC IAS Prelims 2021 exam.

Created On: Apr 5, 2021 10:03 IST
UPSC IAS Prelims 2021: Monthly Current Affairs & GK Topics for Preparation | March’21
UPSC IAS Prelims 2021: Monthly Current Affairs & GK Topics for Preparation | March’21

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 March 2021. 

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

Science & Technology

Topic 1: New Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines And Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021

In February 2021, the Government notified Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021. 

  1. Basically, these rules require the big Social Media Giants to take down the unlawful content within a specific time frame of being served either a court order or a notice by a government agency. 
  2. Social media platforms can work in India as per the Government, but they need to follow the Constitution and laws of India. 
  3. The rules empower the ordinary users of social media by embodying a mechanism for grievance redressal 
  4. Rules about digital media and OTT focus more on in house and self-regulation
  5. The framework that has been proposed is very progressive

Read details on all the new rules here

Topic 2: Global Bio-India 2021

The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare inaugurated the second edition of Global Bio India 2021 in New Delhi through virtual mode.  It demonstrates the strength and opportunities of India's biotechnology sector at national and international level.  The National Biotech Strategy was also inaugurated and the Virtual Exhibition of Global Bio India on the occasion. Take a look at the tweet below:

  1. It is an international congregation of biotechnology. The stakeholders include international bodies, regulatory bodies, Central and State Ministries, SME's, research institutes, startups etc. 
  2. The congregation would help India be recognized as an emerging Innovation Hub globally. 
  3. The organizers for Bio India 2021 were 
  1. Department of Biotechnology, 
  2. Ministry of Science & Technology
  3. Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) 
  4. Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) 
  5. Association of Biotechnology Led Enterprises (ABLE)
  6. Invest India

Read more

Topic 3: DRDO Skill Development Centre for Fire Safety Training

Rajnath Singh, the Defence Minister of India inaugurated a DRDO Skill Development Centre for Fire Safety Training at Pilakhuwa in UP.

  1. The SDC DRDO facility would be helpful in developing trained human resources along with fire safety technology and products that can be used to save life and assets.
  2. The facility would be utilised for imparting fire prevention and fire-fighting training to the Fire Service personnel of Indian Armed Forces, DRDO, Ordnance Factories, Coast Guard and defence undertakings.
  3. First of its Kind: The facility is first of its kind developed by a Delhi based DRDO Lab called the Centre for Fire, Explosive and Environment Safety. The facility was established in 1992.
  4. Armaments Directorate of DRDO manages and administers CFEES
  5. The Skill development facility is spread in a 24 acres area at Pilkhuwa.
  6. As per the Govt of India, various trainees from Bhutan, Sri Lanka and other neighbouring countries would also be imparted training at the Centre.

Topic 4: Earth Observation Satellite

India has planned to launch an earth observation satellite that would provide it near real-time images of its borders and will also be helpful in monitoring natural disasters. It was planned to be launched on March 28, 2021. 


  1. GISAT-1 is planned to be sent into space by GSLV-F10 rocket from Sriharikota spaceport located in Andhra Pradesh's Nellore district
  2. It is a series of satellites with the first satellites named GISAT 1 and next being GISAT 2. These are earth observatory satellites (EOS-03)
  3. The satellite weighs as much as 2268 kilograms 
  4. It is the first state of the art agile Earth observation satellite
  5. It would be placed in a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit by GSLV-F10
  6. It would then be positioned in the geostationary orbit which is almost 36000 kilometres above the Earth's surface over the equator.
  7. An onboard propulsion system would be used to do so Read more

Topic 5: Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI)

The Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI) is a multi-stakeholder initiative. It aims to use the technology to bridge the gap between theory and practice on AI through research and applied activities on AI-related priorities.

GPAI is the implementation of the idea developed within the G7, under the Canadian and French presidencies.It was launched in June, 2020. Read more

Topic 6: Deepfake Technology

Deep fakes or deep nudes are computer-generated images and videos. Cybercriminals use AI softwares to superimpose a digital composite (assembling multiple media files to make a final one) onto an existing video, photo or audio. Deep fakes first came into notice in 2017 when a Reddit user posted explicit videos of celebrities. After that several instances have been reported.

The technology becomes vulnerable because deep fake images, audio and videos are very realistic and can be used by cybercriminals to spread misinformation to intimidate or blackmail people, seek revenge or commit fraud on social networking and dating sites. Read more

 

Geography

Topic 1: Space Hurricane spotted over North Pole

A 620-mile-wide swirling mass of plasma was observed rolling for almost 8 hours in the Earth's upper atmosphere. This is called space hurricane by the scientists. The hurricane was spotted by a team of researchers led by China's Shandong University. The team noticed an unusual swirling mass of plasma in the Earth's upper atmosphere, precisely the ionosphere. The phenomenon was similar to the hurricanes on earth, but it rained electrons. The Hurricane spread across a 1000 kilometre area over the north pole and lasted for 8 long hours before it broke and spread. The scientists found the phenomenon by piecing together the data obtained in 2014 from the satellite. The storm took place in August that year. Read more

Topic 2: China's Polar Silk Road in the Arctic Ocean

  1. China has flagged its interest to take part in building “Polar Silk Road”, raising prospects for the emergence of a new sea route
  2. It was quoted in the draft outline of the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025)
  3. China has revealed that it would be good for national economic and social development and the long-range objectives to the year 2035
  4. The route would be starting from Dalian and would cover the whole Pacific Ocean to Arctic Ocean to meet Rotterdam in the Netherlands.
  5. Three oceans namely, Pacific, Arctic and the Atlantic Ocean would be covered

Read more

 

Polity & International News

Topic 1: Voice Vote

As per the Rules 252, 253, 254 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Rajya Sabha, there are various methods for Division in the House. These are:

i) Voice Vote- 252

ii) Counting

iii) Section 253: Division by automatic vote recorder

iv) Section 254: Division by going into the Lobbies 

Rule 252: 

  1. The Chairman puts up a question at the end of the debate, before the house and invites all those who are in favour of the motion to say 'Aye' and those against the motion to say 'Nay'/ ‘No’.
  2. It is based on voice vote and the chairman only would decide to look into any opposition against the bill. In case he decides to address the bill, the members who said Aye or No are respectively asked to rise on their places. No names of the voters are still recorded. 

Voice Vote is turning Second House to secondary house: It is evident that Second House does not have many powers. They only have the power to stay the bill till 4 months at maximum. The voice vote has given unattended power to the Chairman of the House which can be misused. Read details

Topic 2: Draft National Policy on Migrant Workers

NITI Aayog has launched first migrant policy draft. It enables to vote, map skill, inter state teams.

There were two approaches put forward by NITI Aayog

i) Handout Approach- This means usage of all the facilities provided by the Indian Government to migrants

ii) Rights based approach- This approach means the rights must be ensured in all states

As per NITI Aayog, the Government's goal must be to provide a limited approach. This means 'Don't give the boy a fish, rather teach him fishing'. The Government must not provide permanent or social aids to migrant workers rather create opportunities for them. 

Migration must be acknowledged as a process and integral part of development. Moreover Government policies must be such that they do not hinder migration. Read more

Topic 3: Maitri Setu Bridge between India and Bangladesh

Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has virtually inaugurated Maitri Setu also called as India Bangladesh Friendship Bridge to give a boost to the relationship between the two countries. 

About Maitri Setu:

  1. The bridge is 1.9 kilometres long
  2. It is built over Feni river and connects Sabroom in south Tripura to Ramgarh in Bangladesh.
  3. It was constructed at a cost of INR 133 crore by the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL)
  4. Maitri Setu was inaugurated in June 2017 and the project is fully funded by the central government
  5. Maitri Setu is the fastest land route to connect the landlocked Northeast region through Sabroom to Chittagong port
  6. Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, in a video message, said, "the inauguration of the 1.9-km- long ‘Maitri Setu’ would herald a new chapter in relations between the two neighbours." Read more

Topic 4: United Nations Genocide Convention

The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Genocide Convention) is an instrument abiding by the international law which codified the crime of genocide for the first time. 

Genocide Convention can be seen as a crucial step towards the making and development of international human rights and international criminal law. 

The genocides that have been associated with India are Godhara Riots in 2002 or Sikh Violence in the 1980s among others.  Being colonial laws, IPC and Cr. P C do not include any provisions pertaining to offences by the state. Moreover, both of these laws are not fit to deal with crimes committed by large gatherings of people or mass crimes. What is saddening is that even after decades, the judiciary has failed in its duty and the cases are still getting investigated and recommendations are being made by the committees. Read more

Topic 5: Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill 2020

Medical Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Bill 2020 was passed in Lok Sabha recently. The Bill seeks to amend the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971. The Act increases the time period within which an abortion may be carried out. 

  1. As per the Act, the pregnancy can be terminated within up to 20 weeks by a married woman in the case of failure of contraceptive method or device. 
  2. This same Bill also allows unmarried women to terminate her pregnancy for the above mentioned reason.
  3. The opinion of a registered medical practitioner is required for termination of pregnancy up to 20 weeks of gestation. Earlier it was for two or more. 
  4. However, the opinion of two registered medical practitioners would be required for the termination of pregnancy of 20-24 weeks of gestation.
  5. Moreover for the pregnancy cases of over 24 months, the state level medical board's opinion is required for its termination. 

Read details

 

Economics

Topic 1: Operation Green

  1. It was launched initially in 2018 by Late Mr. Arun Jaitley
  2. It is a price fixation scheme that aims to ensure farmers get the right price for the crops they produce. 
  3. The scheme focuses on organized marketing of tomatoes, onions and potatoes by establishing connections between farmers and consumers. 
  4. This scheme aims to promote Farmer Producers Organizations, Agri-logistics, processing facilities and professional management of Agri produce. 
  5. Those that can avail financial assistance under the scheme are State Agriculture and other Marketing Federations, Farmer Producer Organizations (FPO), cooperatives, companies, Self-help groups, food processors, etc.

The Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, while announcing the Union Budget said that Operation Green would be expanded beyond TOP (Tomatoes, Onions, Potatoes), to almost 22 perishable commodities. The commodities are still unknown. Read more

Topic 2: AT1 Bonds 

Government has recently asked Securities and Exchange Board of India to withdraw/ revoke 100 year maturity rule on AT1 Bonds. 

AT1 bonds are unsecured bonds with perpetual tenure. These bonds thus do not have any maturity date. They have a call option and can be used by the banks to buy them back from various investors. These bonds are used by the banks so that they can bolster their core capital.

AT1 bonds are subordinate to all other debt and only senior to common equity. These bonds give better returns than the rest of the bonds but have no maturity date like other bonds. 

Topic 3: Non Fungible Tokens (NFTs)

Recently a painting has been sold for 69 million dollars but in the form of a Non Fungible Token. The painting has been bought by Meta Kovan.  He would get a token in place of the money he spent.

  1. NFT is a class of cryptocurrency that has no standard value but a unique value that is provided for the commodity exchanged against it. 
  2. NFT can be understood as a digital file whose unique identity and ownership are verified on a blockchain. 
  3. The blockchain is a kind of a public ledger on which anyone can verify the authenticity of a NFT and check its ownership. 

 

Environment

Topic 1: New Alpine Plant Species in India

New Alpine Plant Species has been discovered in India. It is called Cremanthodium indicum and it has been observed in Arunachal Pradesh. It is a species of Himalayan Sunflower. The plant species generally flowers from July to August. Read more

Topic 2: New plant species with potential anti-cancer properties

A new species of plants has been found in Assam, India which can prove to be an anticancer. In case this is proved, this would be a great breakthrough for India and the world where Cancer happens to be the second leading cause of death. 

Key Details:

  1. Ophiorrhiza recurvipetala has been found at 675 metres above the mean sea level. 
  2. It belongs to same family of plants that yield coffee
  3. Recurvipetala is the name used for plants where the petals are curved back
  4. Every member of this group has a secondary metabolite called Camptothecin used in colon cancer
  5. In India, 47 species and nine varieties of Ophiorrhiza have been recorded 
  6. Ophiorrhiza recurvipetala is a perennial herb with a maximum height of 60 cm 
  7. It is branched and bears cream flowers
  8. As per the world checklist of selected plant families, it is a species rich and taxonomically complicated genus. 
  9. There are almost 318 varieties of this species worldwide. 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 | December 2020

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






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