DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 20th January 2021

  • IASbaba
  • January 20, 2021
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IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis
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Janshatabdi Express from Ahmedabad-Kevadia to have a Vistadome coach

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Infrastructure

In news 

  • Indian Prime Minister recently flagged off eight trains from different parts of the country to Kevadia in Narmada district, Gujarat. 
  • Out of these eight trains, the Janshatabdi Express from Ahmedabad-Kevadia has a Vistadome coach.

Key takeaways

  • The Vistadome coach is a state-of-the-art coach made by Indian Railways, designed to provide passengers with travel comfort as well as an enhanced viewing experience of their surroundings.
  • The Vistadome coach in the Janshatabdi Express has been manufactured at the Integral Coach Factory in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
  • It is for the first time that the Vistadome coach has been made on the Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) platform, made for passenger coaches for trains in India.
  • Some of the features of the Vistadome coach are an observation lounge with a large window for passengers to experience the scenic route to Kevadia.
  • The 44 recliner-180 degree rotatable seats ensure people can enjoy the view from both windows to their right and left, there are automatic sliding doors at both gates of the coach, glass rooftops offer a panoramic view, while there are five large windows on each side.

Related articles:

  • Indian Railway completes successful speed trials of the new design Vistadome Tourist Coaches: Click here

Market Infrastructure Institutions (MIIs)

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Economy

In news 

  • The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has floated a discussion paper on review of ownership and governance norms to facilitate new entrants to set up stock exchanges and depositories, otherwise called as market infrastructure institutions (MIIs).

Key takeaways

  • As per the key proposals, a resident promoter setting up an MII may hold up to 100% shareholding, which will be brought down to not more than either 51% or 26% in 10 years.
  • A foreign promoter from Financial Action Task Force (FATF) member jurisdictions setting up an MII may hold up to 49% shareholding, which shall be brought down to not more than either 26% or 15% in 10 years.
  • Foreign individuals or entities from other than FATF member jurisdictions may acquire or hold up to 10% in an MII.
  • Any person other than the promoter may acquire or hold less than 25% shareholding.
  • At least 50% of ownership of the MII may be represented by individuals or entities with experience of five years or more in the areas of capital markets or technology related to financial services.

Important value additions

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI)

  • It is the regulator of the securities and commodity market in India owned by the Government of India. 
  • It was established in 1988 and given statutory status through the SEBI Act, 1992. 
  • SEBI is responsible to the needs of three groups:
    • Issuers of securities
    • Investors
    • Market intermediaries
  • Functions: 
    • Quasi-legislative – drafts regulations 
    • Quasi-judicial – passes rulings and orders 
    • Quasi-executive – conducts investigation and enforcement action 
  • Powers:
    • To approve by−laws of Securities exchanges.
    • To require the Securities exchange to amend their by−laws.
    • Inspect the books of accounts and call for periodical returns from recognised Securities exchanges.
    • Inspect the books of accounts of financial intermediaries.
    • Compel certain companies to list their shares in one or more Securities exchanges.
    • Registration of Brokers and sub-brokers

Related articles:

  • Mutual Funds (MF) Risk-o-meter becomes effective: Click here
  • SEBI eases Fund-raising norms for firms: Click here

1st National Conference Of States On Logistics

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Economy

In news 

  • Union Minister of Commerce & Industry recently addressed the 1st National Conference of States on Logistics.

Key takeaways

  • National Logistics Policy, which is under consultation, along with the National Logistics Council and State Logistics Coordination Committee, will work as a template for better coordination and integrated development for logistics centre.
  • Logistics consists of 5R’s: Getting the Right product – In the Right condition – At the Right place – At the Right time – To the Right customer.

Do you know?

  • India has a $200 billion logistics ecosystem. 
  • A good part of it is supported by the Indian Railways.
  • About 13-14% cost of a product is logistics, and Ministry shall work towards bringing it down to about 8%.

Volcanic eruption at Mount Semeru

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-I – Geography

In news 

  • Indonesia’s Mount Semeru has erupted, pouring ash an estimated 5.6km (3.4 miles) into the sky above Java, the country’s most densely populated island.

Important value additions

  • Semeru – also known as “The Great Mountain” – is the highest volcano in Java and one of the most active. 
  • It is located in the subduction zone, where the Indo-Australia plate subducts under the Eurasia plate.
  • It is also one of Indonesia’s most popular tourist hiking destinations.
  • The volcano previously erupted in December, when about 550 people were evacuated.

Do you know?

  • Indonesia sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire” where tectonic plates collide, causing frequent volcanic activity as well as earthquakes.
  • Within the last week, Indonesia has endured multiple landslides, a deadly earthquake on Sulawesi island, and the loss of a Sriwijaya Air Boeing 737 with 62 people on board.

Related article: 

SBI raises $600 million of ‘Regulation S’ bonds 

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Banking; Economy

In news 

  • State Bank of India (SBI) recently raised $600 million of ‘Regulation S’ bonds — via its London branch — at a coupon rate of 1.8%.

Key takeaways

  • The bond is priced at a spread of 140 basis points over the 5-year U.S. Treasury rate and will be listed on Singapore Exchange Securities Trading Limited (SGX-ST) and India International Exchange Limited (India INX).
  • The issuance represented SBI’s return to the international public bond markets after a gap of close to two years.
  • Regulation S offerings are typically referred to as “Offshore Offering” because they mainly have to either do with a foreign company creating an offering, or an US company that is offerings its debt or equity overseas, i.e. outside the United States.
  • A Regulation S offering is typical of many European offerings and the larger clearing firms in Europe, often grant access to their systems via a Regulation S offering.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) may introduce new monsoon models 

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-I – Geography

In news 

  • The India Meteorological Department (IMD) may introduce new monsoon models in 2021 to better forecast changes in rainfall.

Key takeaways

  • There were three different models that could be tested this year. 
  • Two of them were dynamical models and one a statistical model.
  • In the former, the climate on any particular day is simulated on supercomputers and meteorologists observe the changing daily output.
  • The other is the traditional statistical model that equates relationships of physical parameters, such as for instance sea surface temperatures, snowfall, the temperature of landmass etc, with the actual observed rainfall in the past.
  • The three models under consideration are:
    • 12 global circulation models (dynamical) whose outputs would be combined into a single one;
    • a model that gauges rainfall based on the sea surface temperature in the tropics (developed by Professor Sumant Nigam, University of Maryland, U.S.) and
    • the statistical model based on climate variables observed during the pre-monsoon.
  • All of them are smaller models which are combined to arrive at an average value.
  • The traditional statistical model would continue to be used this year.

Do you know?

  • The monsoon that concluded in 2020 was unique, in that with monsoon 2019, it was only the third time in a century that India saw back-to-back years of above normal rainfall.
  • In both years, the IMD failed to forecast the magnitude of the excess and only indicated that the monsoon would be “above normal”.

Related articles:

  • Subdued Northeast Monsoon: Click here
  • Why predicting monsoons in India is a tricky job? Click here

Birthday of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose to be celebrated as Parakram Diwas

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-I – Modern History

In news 

  • Government of India has decided to celebrate birthday of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose on the 23rd day of January every year as ‘PARAKRAM DIWAS’.

Key takeaways

  • Government of India has decided to celebrate the 125th Birth Anniversary year of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose in a befitting manner at national and international level, beginning from 23rd January 2021.
  • A High Level Committee, headed by the Prime Minister has been constituted for deciding the programs, and to supervise and guide the commemoration.
  • Objective: To remember Netaji’s indomitable spirit and selfless service to the nation and to inspire people of the country, especially the youth, to act with fortitude in the face of adversity as Netaji did.

Important value additions

  • Subhash Chandra Bose was twice elected President of the Indian National Congress, (1938-Haripur and 1939-Tripuri).
  • Owing to political differences, he resigned from the Congress Presidentship in 1939 and organised the All India Forward Bloc a faction within the Congress in Bengal.
  • In Calcutta, Bose organised mass protests and was arrested. 
  • He was later put under house arrest from where he escaped. 
  • He went to Germany via Afghanistan.
  • However, in 1943 Bose lost hope that Germany could be of any help in gaining India’s independence. 
  • He then turned to Asia where he finally came at the helm of the Indian National Army (INA).
  • INA found support among expatriate Indians and Bose formed the Azad Hind government which came to produce its own currency, postage stamps, court and civil code. 
  • It was recognised by Axis states.
  • During the final two years of the war, Bose with considerable Japanese backing- led the forces of the Indian National Army into battle against the British.
  • The I.N.A. was essentially non-communal, with Muslims quite prominent among its officers and ranks, and it also introduced the innovation of a women’s detachment named after the Rani of Jhansi.


Exercise Desert Knight-21

  • Indian Air Force and French Air and Space Force will conduct a bilateral Air exercise, Ex Desert Knight-21 at Air Force Station Jodhpur from 20 to 24 Jan 2021. 
  • The exercise is unique as it includes fielding of Rafale aircraft by both sides.

(Mains Focus)


Topic: General Studies 2:

  • India and its neighbourhood

India-Nepal Developments


  • Close cooperation between the two sides in combating the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Early provision of vaccines to Nepal.
  • Expansion of the Motihari-Amlekhganj petroleum products pipeline to Chitwan
  • Establishment of a new pipeline on the eastern side connecting Siliguri to Jhapa in Nepal
  • Upgraded first passenger railway line between India and Nepal from Jaynagar to Kurtha via Janakpur
  • Cross-border rail connectivity projects, including a possible Raxaul-Kathmandu broad gauge railway line
  • Joint hydropower projects, including the proposed Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project
  • Nepal expressed support for India’s permanent membership of an expanded UN Security Council (UNSC) to reflect the changed balance of power.

Way Ahead

  • Need for facilitating cross-border movement of people and goods
  • Recently inaugurated Integrated Check Posts (ICPs) at Birgunj and Biratnagar have helped in the seamless movement of people and trade between the two countries.
  • Nepal relies on India’s seaports in a big way for trading, and goods are transported by road, the integrated check posts are expected to ease trade and transit.
  • India’s support to two more cultural heritage projects in Nepal, namely, the Pashupatinath Riverfront Development and the Bhandarkhal Garden Restoration in Patan Durbar.
  • India’s Nepal policy is heading very clearly towards deeper engagement with all sections.


Topic: General Studies 2:

  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation

Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (RERA)


  • The Act stipulates that no project can be sold without project plans being approved by the competent authority and the project being registered with the regulatory authority, putting to an end the practice of selling on the basis of deceitful advertisements.
  • Promoters are required to maintain “project based separate bank accounts” to prevent fund diversion. 
  • The mandatory disclosure of unit sizes based on “carpet area” strikes at the root of unfair trade practices. 
  • The provision for payment of “equal rate of interest” by the promoter or the buyer in case of default reinforces equity.


  • These and many other provisions have empowered consumers, rectifying the power asymmetry prevalent in the sector.
  • RERA has infused governance in a hitherto unregulated real estate sector. 
  • Along with demonetisation and GST, it has, to a large extent, cleansed the real estate sector of black money. 
  • It has transformational provisions, conscientiously addressing issues which have been a constant bane for the sector.

Cooperative Federalism

  • RERA is a seminal effort in cooperative federalism. 
  • Though the Act has been piloted by the Central government, the rules are to be notified by state governments, and the regulatory authorities and the appellate tribunals are also to be appointed by them.


  • RERA is to the real estate sector what SEBI is to the securities market.


Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)


  • Correct answers of today’s questions will be provided in next day’s DNA section. Kindly refer to it and update your answers. 
  • Comments Up-voted by IASbaba are also the “correct answers”.

Q.1 Consider the following statements regarding Vistadome coaches:

  1. These coaches shall have 360-degree rotatable seats.
  2. It was recently installed in Janshatabdi Express from Ahmedabad-Kevadia.

Which of the above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2 
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Q.2 Mount Semeru was recently in news. Where is it situated?

  1. Singapore
  2. Japan
  3. Vietnam
  4. Indonesia

Q.3 Which of the following is related with the Southern Oscillation?

  1. El Nino
  2. Jet Stream
  3. South-west monsoon
  4. Western Disturbance

Q.4 Exercise Desert Knight-21 is being held between which of the following countries?

  1. France and China
  2. India and France
  3. Russia and Pakistan
  4. USA and India


1 A
2 C
3 B
4 D

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