26th March, 2021 | UPSC Current Affairs

26th March Current Affairs MCQs 

Daily Current Affairs MCQs – History MCQ – Polity MCQ Video Series

National Portal for Transgender persons

Relevance: Government schemes and Initiatives

Context: Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment has informed the Rajya Sabha about the National Portal for Transgender persons.

More on News:

  • The Portal has been launched in 2020 by the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment.
  • It was functional in all districts of the country.
  • The portal has so far issued only 277 certificates of identity and identity cards.
  • Through the portal, transgender people can apply for identification certificates issued by district magistrates.

UN Institute for Training & Research (UNITAR)

Relevance: International Relations

Context: Prime Minister has expressed gratitude to UNITAR.

More on News:

  • UNITAR has commended India’s remarkable progress in reducing premature mortality from Non-Communicable Diseases.
  • As a response, Prime Minister has expressed gratitude to


  • UNITAR was created in 1963to train and equip young diplomats from newly-independent UN Member States with the knowledge and skills needed to navigate through the diplomatic environment.
  • It provides innovative learning solutions to individuals, organizations and institutions to enhance global decision-making and support country-level action for shaping a better future.
  • The Institute has launched a new four-year strategic framework, covering 2018-2021, which is aligned with the 2030 Agenda and uses the Sustainable Development Goals as the guiding principle for work with the strategic objectives organized around four out of five thematic pillars of the 2030 Agenda (PeacePeoplePlanet and Prosperity).
  • It also provides training and capacity development activities to assist mainly developing countries with special attention to Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and other groups and communities who are most vulnerable, including those in conflict situations.
  • The Institute is a project-based organization and does not receive any funds from the regular United Nations budget.
  • It is financed entirely from voluntary contributions derived mainly from the UN Member States, other UN agencies, international and intergovernmental organizations, foundations NGOs and the private sector.

Atal Beemit Vyakti Kalyan Yojana 

Relevance: Government schemes and Initiatives

Context: Ministry of Labour and Employment has informed the Rajya Sabha about the status of Atal Beemit Vyakti Kalyan Yojana.

About Atal Beemit Vyakti Kalyan Yojana:

  • The scheme was introduced in 2018 by the Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) on a pilot basis for a period of 2 years i.e., 2018-2020.
  • It has been for the period from 2020 to 2021.
  • It aims to provide relief to the Insured Persons (IPs) who have become
  • Under this scheme, relief in the form of cash compensation to the extent of 25 per cent of the average per day earning was paid up to a maximum of 90 days of unemployment.
  • This relief is provided subject to conditions that the employee should have completed two years of Insurable employment and has contributed not less than Seventy-Eight (78) days in each of the four consecutive contribution periods immediately preceding the claim of the relief.
  • To provide benefit to the IPs who have become unemployed during the Covid-19 pandemic, the rate of relief has been enhanced and the eligibility conditions have been relaxed as follows for the IPs who became unemployed from 24.03.2020 onwards:
  • The rate of relief has been doubled from 25 per cent to 50 per cent average per day earning of the employee.
  • The Claim shall become due 30 days after the date of unemployment. Earlier this period was 90 days.
  • The claim of the IP need not be forwarded by the employer. The claim may be submitted by an IP in the prescribed claim form duly completed online or directly to the branch office.
  • The Insured Person should have been in insurable employment for a minimum period of two years immediately before his/ her unemployment and should have contributed for not less than 78 days in the contribution period immediately preceding the unemployment and a minimum of 78 days in one of the remaining three contribution periods in two years before unemployment.

Poshan Abhiyan for the Elderly

Relevance: Government schemes and Initiatives

Context: Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment aims to launch a Poshan Abhiyan for the Elderly.

About Poshan Abhiyan for the Elderly:

  • It aims to provide nutrition support to the indigent elders, who are not staying in the Old Age Homes and are victims of severe malnutrition, by focusing on procuring locally available healthy food material and serving hot-cooked mid-day meals.
  • The Gram Panchayats and Urban Municipalities are the implementing agencies of the Scheme.
  • The funding for the Scheme is from the Senior Citizens Welfare Fund.

CBSE Assessment Framework for Science, Maths and English classes 

Relevance: Government schemes and Initiatives

Context: Union Ministry of Education launched CBSE Assessment Framework for Science, Maths and English classes as part of CBSE Competency-Based Education Project.

About the Framework:

  • The competency-based assessment framework has been launched to strengthen India’s existing school education system for secondary level (classes 6-10) and improve the overall learning outcomes of students across India, mainly covering three subjects: English (reading), Science, and Maths.
  • The framework is a part of the CBSE Competency-Based Education Project that aims to replace the existing rote learning model with a competency-based framework as directed in the National Education Policy (NEP), 2020 over the next 2-3 years.
  • The suggested assessment framework has been put in place to drive improvement in the quality of teaching and implementation of changes recommended in the NEP 2020.
  • British Council along with AlphaPlus as the UK knowledge partner, designed and developed this framework after extensive research and analysis of the current learning and assessment model in Indian schools.
  • This project will directly support 15 education leaders, 2,000 school principals; 15 senior government leaders; 180 test item writers; 360 master trainers.
  • This will further impact 25,000 CBSE schools that include 2,000 Navodaya Vidyalayas

(JNV’s) and Kendriya Vidyalayas (KV’s), 132,000 teachers and 20 million learners by 2024.

National Livestock Mission

Relevance: Government schemes and Initiatives

Context: Ministry of fisheries, animal husbandry and dairying has informed about the details of projects undertaken under the National Livestock Mission in the State of West Bengal.

About National Livestock Mission:

  • The mission has been launched in 2014 by the Department of Animal Husbandry, Ministry of Agriculture.
  • It aims to ensure quantitative and qualitative improvement in livestock production systems, especially in Sheep, Goat, Pig, Poultry, Feed and Fodder sector.
  • The capacity building of stakeholders, strengthening of infrastructure in the related sectors and Livestock insurance are also covered under the Mission
  • The scheme is being implemented as a sub-scheme of White Revolution – Rashtriya Pashudhan Vikas Yojana since April 2019.
  • It aims to promote initiatives for conservation and genetic up-gradation of indigenous breeds of livestock (except bovines which are being covered under another scheme of the Ministry) in collaboration with farmers/farmers’ groups/cooperatives, etc.
  • It promotes applied research in prioritized areas of concern in animal nutrition and livestock production.
  • It also involved in activities to control and prevent animal diseases, environmental pollution, promoting efforts towards food safety and quality, and supply of quality hides and skins through the timely recovery of carcasses.
  • It aims to encourage community participation in sustainable practices related to animal husbandry, involvement of the community in breed conservation and creation of resource map for the states.


  • Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying is a newly formed ministry in India. It was formed in May 2019 by the Government of India from the department of the same name under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
  • Therefore, the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying is the implementing agency of the Livestock Mission although it was launched by the Ministry of Agriculture.

Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY)

Relevance: Government schemes and Initiatives

Context: Ministry of Women and Child Development has informed that more than 68.33 lakh beneficiaries were provided maternity benefits under the PMMVY.

About Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY):

  • The scheme has been launched in 2017 by the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
  • PMMVY is a Maternity Benefit Programme that is implemented in all the districts of the country in accordance with the provision of the National Food Security Act, 2013.
  • It is a conditional cash transferscheme for pregnant and lactating women of 19 years of age or above for the first live birth.
  • It provides partial wage compensation to women for wage-loss during childbirth and childcare and to provide conditions for safe delivery and good nutrition and feeding practices.
  • The Government implements PMMVY with the objectives of
  • Providing partial compensation for the wage loss in terms of cash incentive so that the woman can take adequate rest before and after delivery of the first child.
  • Providing cash incentive to improve health-seeking behaviour amongst Pregnant Women & Lactating Mothers.
  • The eligible women desirous of availing maternity benefits are required to register under the scheme at the Anganwadis Centre (AWC) / approved Health facility depending upon the implementing department for that particular State /UT.
  • The eligible beneficiaries would receive the incentive given under the Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY) for Institutional delivery and the incentive received under JSY would be accounted towards maternity benefits so that on average a woman gets Rs 6000.
  • The Beneficiaries receive a cash benefit of  5,000 in three instalmentson fulfilling the following conditions:
  • Early registration of pregnancy
  • Ante-natal check-up
  • Registration of the birth of the child and completion of the first cycle of vaccination for the first living child of the family.

Target Beneficiaries:

  • All Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers, excluding PW&LM who are in regular employment with the Central Government or the State Governments or PSUs or those who receive similar benefits under any law for the time being in force.
  • All eligible Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers who have their pregnancy on or after 01.01.2017 for the first child in the family.
  • In the case of Infant Mortality, a beneficiary is eligible to receive benefits under the scheme only once. 

Finance Bill 2021

Relevance: Economy

Context: Lok Sabha passed the Finance Bill 2021

Finance Bill

  • Financial Bills (I): It is a bill that contains not only any or all the matters mentioned in Article 110 but also other matters of general legislation.
  • For instance, a bill that contains a borrowing clause, but does not exclusively deal with borrowing.
  • In two respects, a financial bill (I) is similar to a money bill—(a) both of them can be introduced only in the Lok Sabha and not in the Rajya Sabha, and (b) both of them can be introduced only on the recommendation of the president.
  • In all other respects, a financial bill (I) is governed by the same legislative procedure applicable to an ordinary bill.
  • Financial Bills (II): It contains provisions involving expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of India, but does not include any of the matters mentioned in Article 110.
  • It is treated as an ordinary bill and in all respects, it is governed by the same legislative procedure which applies to an ordinary bill.
  • The only special feature of this bill is that it cannot be passed by either House of Parliament unless the President has recommended to that House the consideration of the bill.

Passing of Finance Bill

  • It is introduced to give effect to the financial proposals of the Government of India for the following year.
  • It is subjected to all the conditions applicable to a Money Bill.
  • Unlike the Appropriation Bill, the amendments (seeking to reject or reduce a tax) can be moved in the case of the finance bill.
  • According to the Provisional Collection of Taxes Act of 1931, the Finance Bill must be enacted (i.e., passed by the Parliament and assented to by the president) within 75 days.
  • The Finance Act legalizes the income side of the budget and completes the process of the enactment of the budget.

Muthuswami Dikshitar

Relevance: Art and culture

Context: March 24th marks the birth anniversary of the great Carnatic musician Muthuswami Dikshitar

Muthuswami Dikshitar

  • He was a South Indian poet, singer, and veena player, and a legendary composer of Indian classical music, who is considered one of the musical trinities of Carnatic music.
  • His compositions are noted for their elaborate and poetic descriptions of Hindu gods and temples and for capturing the essence of the raga forms through the vainika (veena) style that emphasizes gamakas.
  • He is also known by his signature name of Guruguha which is also his mudra (and can be found in each of his songs).
  • His compositions are mostly in
  • He also composed some of his Kritis in Manipravalam (a combination of the Sanskrit and Tamil languages).

Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO)

Relevance: Government Bodies

Context: Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, EPFO added around 62.49 lakh subscribers during the current financial year.


  • It was established by an act of the Parliament of India, to provide social security to workers working in India. It came into force by Employee Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provision Act, 1952.
  • EPFO comes under the control of the Ministry of Labour and Employment.
  • EPFO is the regulatory body responsible for the overall supervision and regulation of provident funds in India.
  • EPFO assists the Central Board in administering a compulsory contributory Provident Fund Scheme, a Pension Scheme, and an Insurance Scheme for the workforce engaged in the organized sector in India.
  • It is also the nodal agency for implementing Bilateral Social Security Agreements with other countries on a reciprocal basis.
  • The schemes cover Indian workers as well as International workers (for countries with which bilateral agreements have been signed. As of now 19 Social Security Agreements are operational). The EPFO’s apex decision-making body is the Central Board of Trustees (CBT).
  • On 1 October 2014, the government of India launched Universal Account Number for Employees covered by EPFO to enable Provident Fund number portability.

Indian monsoon 25 million years ago resembled present-day Australia.

Relevance: Geography

Context: A recent research paper published in a journal shows that the Indian monsoon 25 million years ago resembled present-day Australia

Indian Monsoon:

  • The climate of India is described as the ‘monsoon’ type. In Asia, this type of climate is found mainly in the south and the south-eastern countries.
  • The southwest monsoon season – Rainfall received from the southwest monsoons is seasonal, which occurs between June and September.
  • The retreating monsoon season – The months of October and November are known for retreating monsoons.
  • Factors Influencing South-West Monsoon Formation
    • The differential heating and cooling of land and water
    • The shift of the position of the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ)
    • The presence of the high-pressure area, east of Madagascar.
    • Tropical Easterly Jet (African Easterly Jet).
    • The Tibetan plateau gets intensely heated during summer etc.,
    • El-Nino and La-Lina.


This is a name given to the periodic development of a warm ocean current along the coast of Peru as a temporary replacement of the cold Peruvian current. ‘El Nino’ is a Spanish word meaning ‘the child’, and refers to the baby Christ, as this current start flowing during Christmas. The presence of the El Nino leads to an increase in sea-surface temperatures and the weakening of the trade winds in the region.

Tulip garden

Relevance: Geography

Context: Prime Minister asked everyone to visit the tulip garden, located at the foothills of the Zabarwan range in Jammu and Kashmir, and enjoy the warm hospitality of the people of the Union territory.

What is a Tulip garden?

  • Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip garden, previously Model Floriculture Center, is a tulip garden in Srinagar, Jammu, and Kashmir.
  • It is the largest tulip garden in Asia spread over an area of about 30 ha (74 acres).
  • It is situated on the foothills of the Zabarwan Range with an overview of Dal Lake.
  • The garden was opened in 2007 to boost floriculture and tourism in Kashmir Valley.
  • Tulip Festival is an annual celebration that aims to showcase the range of flowers in the garden as a part of tourism efforts by the Government of Jammu and Kashmir.

Digital Services Tax (DST)

Relevance: Economy

Context: The government has decided not to levy a 2% digital service tax if goods and services are sold through an Indian arm of foreign e-commerce players.

What is Digital services tax?

  • The DST is aimed at ensuring that non-resident, digital service providers pay their fair share of tax on revenues generated in the Indian digital market.
  • India’s 2% DST is levied on revenues generated from digital services offered in India, including digital platform services, digital content sales, and data-related services.
  • India was one of the first countries in the world to introduce a 6% equalization levy in 2016, but the levy was restricted to online advertisement services.
  • In March 2020, it expanded the scope of the existing equalization levy to a range of digital services that includes e-commerce platforms. Any payment made by non-residents in connection with an Indian user will now attract a 2% levy. The transactions were to be taxed at 2 per cent if businesses earned more than Rs 2 crore.
  • Now the government has decided not to levy a 2% digital service tax if goods and services are sold through an Indian arm of foreign e-commerce players.



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