January 14, 2020 – UPSC Current Affairs: Key Prelims News Topics

Impeachment of US President

  • Impeachment in the United States is a process that allows Congress to remove the President for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” The House of Representatives holds the power to impeach, while the Senate has the authority to try impeachments.
  • Notably, impeachment doesn’t require a violation of a criminal statute but can include any abuse of power.
  • Recent discussions about impeachment were prompted by allegations against President Donald Trump regarding his role in the attack on the Capitol.

Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960

  • The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, emphasizes preventing unnecessary pain or suffering to animals.
  • The Act led to the creation of the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI).
  • A recent controversy arose over the 2017 rules under this Act, differentiating between seizure and confiscation of animals in cases of cruelty, and their impact on cattle traders and transporters.

India-China LAC Dispute

  • The Line of Actual Control (LAC) between India and China has been a point of contention, with differing perceptions about its alignment, particularly around the Pangong Tso lake region.
  • China’s recent withdrawal of troops from certain areas along the LAC has brought attention back to this long-standing dispute.
  • The strategic significance of the Pangong Tso area, close to the Chusul Valley, and its historical context in the India-China conflict, continues to make it a critical area of interest.

India at the UN Security Council

  • India’s entry into the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member marks its eighth tenure.
  • Over the years, India has been a vocal advocate for global peace and security, supporting resolutions on issues like the Korean War and apartheid.
  • India’s role at the UNSC has evolved, reflecting its growing global influence and consistent push for UN reforms, including its demand for permanent membership.


  • Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) is a central sector scheme providing income support to small and marginal farmer families.
  • The scheme, offering Rs.
  • 6000 per year, covers farmers irrespective of landholding size, with certain exceptions.
  • However, recent reports of funds being disbursed to ineligible beneficiaries have raised concerns about the scheme’s implementation.

Gaganyaan Mission: Training of Flight Surgeons in Russia

  • As part of the Gaganyaan mission, India’s first manned space program, two Indian Air Force flight surgeons will receive training in space medicine in Russia.
  • These surgeons will be responsible for the health of astronauts before, during, and after the flight, marking a significant step in India’s ambitious space exploration plans.

Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA)

  • The Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) is designed to prevent unlawful activities in India.
  • It empowers the government to declare organizations and individuals as terrorists and has provisions for punishment, including death penalty and life imprisonment.
  • The Act has been controversial, with debates over its impact on fundamental rights and recent amendments like the inclusion of individual designation as terrorists.

Dzukou Valley Fire

  • Dzukou Valley, located on the Manipur-Nagaland border, recently witnessed a significant wildfire.
  • Known for its unique Dzüko Lily and scenic beauty, the valley’s fire was successfully doused after two weeks, highlighting the challenges in managing natural disasters in ecologically sensitive areas.

US Presidential Impeachment Process

  • The US House of Representatives can impeach a president for “high crimes and misdemeanors,” a broad category that includes abuse of power.
  • The Senate then conducts a trial.
  • If convicted, the president is removed from office.
  • This process underscores the checks and balances in the US political system, most recently invoked against President Donald Trump.

1Animal Welfare and Legal Challenges

  • The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act in India, aimed at safeguarding animal welfare, has sparked legal debates, particularly regarding the seizure and confiscation of animals in cases of alleged cruelty.
  • This has affected various stakeholders, including cattle traders and transporters, leading to petitions and government responses clarifying the legal nuances.

Statue of Unity included in 8 Wonders of SCO

  • The Statue of Unity, a monumental tribute to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, has been recognized as one of the ‘8 Wonders of SCO’ (Shanghai Cooperation Organization).
  • Inaugurated on Patel’s 143rd birth anniversary, it’s the world’s tallest statue and has attracted significant tourism, reflecting India’s cultural and historical significance.

SCO Heads Meet in India

  • India hosted the heads of government meet of SCO countries for the first time.
  • This event brought together leaders from eight SCO countries, including India, Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan, highlighting India’s growing diplomatic and strategic role in the region.

Phase 2 of e-Office Execution between Indian Railways and RailTel

  • Indian Railways, in collaboration with RailTel, initiated Phase 2 of the e-Office project to digitize official processes.
  • The project aims to register additional users across various railway divisions, enhancing efficiency, transparency, and promoting a paper-less work culture.

Unique Identification Number for Drones and Operators

  • The Ministry of Civil Aviation introduced a Unique Identification Number (UIN) for drones and their operators to streamline and regulate their usage.
  • The move aims to enhance safety and security, requiring all drones in India to be registered and comply with Directorate General of Civil Aviation guidelines.

Commitment to Road Safety in India

  • India’s Union Minister for Road Transport reaffirmed the commitment to enhancing road safety through stakeholder engagement and awareness activities.
  • The Integrated Road Accident Database project was launched to systematically address road safety and manage accident data effectively.

Armed Forces Veterans Day

  • Armed Forces Veterans Day is observed annually on January 14th to honor the services of military veterans.
  • It marks the retirement day of Field Marshal KM Cariappa, the first Indian Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, recognizing the sacrifices and contributions of the armed forces personnel.

SC/ST Entrepreneurs: National Vendors Development Program

  • A National Vendor Development Program focusing on sectors of Petroleum and Steel for SC/ST entrepreneurs was conducted, reflecting the government’s commitment to inclusive growth.
  • The program aims to foster entrepreneurship and ownership among SC/ST communities, offering significant opportunities in the upcoming National Infrastructure Pipeline project.

Regulations for Drones in India

  • The Indian Aviation Ministry mandated the registration of all drones to regulate their use and ensure safety.
  • This move requires drone owners to obtain necessary permits and adhere to guidelines, with non-compliance attracting legal consequences under the Aircraft Act and IPC.

Island Development Agency’s Progress Review

  • The Island Development Agency, chaired by India’s Union Home Minister, reviewed progress on the ‘Holistic Development of Islands’ program.
  • The meeting focused on sustainable development initiatives across selected islands in Lakshadweep and Andaman & Nicobar, enhancing connectivity and infrastructure for the benefit of islanders.

Oldest Material on Earth in Meteorite

  • Researchers discovered ‘Stardust’ in a meteorite that crashed in Australia in 1969, containing the oldest material ever found on Earth.
  • The study, published in the National Academy of Sciences, revealed that these grains are about 7 billion years old, offering insights into the early universe.

1GSAT-30 Satellite Launch

  • ISRO scheduled the launch of the GSAT-30 communication satellite from French Guiana.
  • This satellite, aimed at enhancing communication services, represents a significant step in India’s space endeavors, showcasing advancements in satellite technology and telecommunications.

1US Drops Currency Manipulation Charge Against China

  • Ahead of the US-China trade deal, the United States Treasury Department removed the label of ‘currency manipulator’ from China.
  • This decision came before the signing of the trade agreement, indicating a potential easing of economic tensions between the two countries.

Centre of Excellence for Classical Telugu

  • The Centre of Excellence for Studies in Classical Telugu in Andhra Pradesh was inaugurated to promote research and development in the Telugu language.
  • This initiative highlights the importance of preserving and promoting classical languages in India.

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