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UPSC CURRENT AFFAIRS – 31 January 2024

InstaLinks :  help you think beyond the issue but relevant to the issue from UPSC prelims and Mains exam point of view. These linkages provided in this ‘hint’ format help you frame possible questions ina your mind that might arise(or an examiner might imagine) from each current event. InstaLinks also connect every issue to their static or theoretical background. This helps you study a topic holistically and add new dimensions to every current event to help you think analytically

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 3:

  1. Economic Growth and Inequality


Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)

  1. Screen Time for Children


Facts for Prelims (FFP)

  1. Maratha Military Landscapes
  2. Default Bail
  3. E Ink displays
  4. Solid-state battery
  5. Laughing gull



Economic Growth and Inequality

GS Paper 3

 Syllabus: Economy: Inclusive Growth


Source: TH

 Context: The article warns against the obsessive pursuit of economic growth in India, emphasizing that despite ambitious projections, the associated rising inequality poses significant challenges.


Current Status of India’s Growth:

India’s recent economic growth has been robust, with an estimated 6.9% expansion in FY 2022/23, driven by strong domestic demand, increased infrastructure investment, and robust private consumption. For FY 2023/24, a growth of 7.3% is projected, maintaining India’s 5th position in the global GDP rankings. The economy has surged to $3.7 trillion. Future prospects indicate an ambitious target of reaching a $10 trillion economy by 2035, aligning with the government’s vision to transform India into a ‘developed country’ by 2047.


Status of Inequality in India:

Inequality AspectStatistics
Recent SBI ResearchAccording to a recent SBI Research report, income inequality in India has decreased, indicating a positive trend of upward mobility and the growth of the middle class.
Ginni Coefficient decreased from 0.472 in AY 2014-15 to 0.402 in AY 2022-23
Income Inequality The top 10% holds 57% of total income. The top 1% holds 22% of total income.  Bottom 50% share reduced to 13%
Tax Burden on PoorThe bottom 50% contributes 64% to GST. The top 10% contributes only 4%
Healthcare Accessibility 63 million pushed into poverty annually due to healthcare costs
Food Security and Nutrition74% of the population can’t afford a healthy diet. 39% lack a nutrient-adequate diet
Global Hunger Index 2023The 2023 Global Hunger Index gives India a rank of 111 out of 125 countries. Highest child-wasting rate
Gender InequalityIndia ranked 127 out of 146 countries in the Global Gender Gap Report, 2023. Faces issues of “missing women”


Causes of Increasing Inequality in India:

CausesFactors Contributing to Inequality
Concentration of wealthThe top 10% holds 77% of national wealth. The richest 1% owns 53%, while the poorer half has only 4.1%
Inadequate land reforms leading to landlessness and economic vulnerability
Crony capitalism fosters wealth accumulation in a select group, contributing to inequality
Policy issuesSkewed distribution of economic gains, favouring specific sectors or income groups
Regressive taxation policies that benefit the wealthy, contribute to income inequality
Wage gaps between skilled and unskilled workers, and informal labour markets widening income disparities
The absence of minimum wage regulations and limited collective bargaining rights lead to income disparities
Social ExclusionCaste discrimination marginalizing groups and limiting their access to opportunities, resources, and benefits
Gender inequality results in unequal access to employment opportunities and wage disparities
Unequal access to quality education, limiting upward mobility and reinforcing existing disparities
Technological advancements lead to job displacement and wage stagnation, exacerbating income inequality


Alternatives to GDP:

  1. Explore the use of Green GDP to account for environmental factors.
  2. Explore alternatives to GDP such as OECD’s “GDP alternatives” that adjust for leisure and other factors.
  3. Consider the “Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare” that accounts for pollution costs and income distribution.
  4. Explore the “Genuine Progress Indicator” that adjusts for income distribution, household work, and more.
  5. Explore well-being measures like the Happy Planet Index, Gross National Happiness, and National Well-Being Accounts.


Way forward:

Focus on Labor-Intensive ManufacturingPrioritize labour-intensive manufacturing, even for domestic consumption, to boost job creation.
Diversify Growth StrategiesDevelop diversified growth strategies that emphasize not just GDP growth but also the creation of high-quality jobs and addressing employment elasticity.
National Employment PolicyImplement a National Employment Policy to address both labour supply and demand, enhancing the quantity and quality of employment opportunities.
Explore Green ManufacturingExplore opportunities in green manufacturing to reshape India’s industrial development in a sustainable manner.
Address Structural IssuesTackle structural issues in the economy related to caste, gender, and religion to ensure equitable distribution of growth benefits.
Universal Access to Public ServicesEnsuring universal access to quality public services, including healthcare, education, social security, and employment guarantee schemes, significantly reduces inequality.


Insta Links:

Whose GDP is it anyway?


Mains Links:

What is Gross Domestic Product (GDP)? Examine the limitations pertaining to GDP as an economic performance measurement framework of the country. (250 words)


Prelims Links:

Consider the following statements:

  1. Nominal GDP is calculated in a way such that the goods and services are evaluated at some constant set of prices.
  2. If the Real GDP changes, it implies that the volume of production is undergoing changes.
  3. The ratio of nominal GDP to real GDP gives us an idea of how the prices have moved from the base year to the current year.


Which of the above statements is/are correct?

  1. a) 1, 2
  2. b) 1, 3
  3. c) 2, 3
  4. d) 1, 2, 3


Solution: c)

/ 31 January 2024, Today's Article

Screen Time for Children

Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)


Source: BS

Context: During the seventh edition of Pariksha Pe Charcha, the Prime Minister emphasized the importance of quality sleep for students, sharing a personal insight that he falls asleep within 30 seconds of going to bed.

He cautioned against excessive screen time, noting its potential to disrupt sleep patterns, and advocated for a balanced lifestyle. The message serves as a timely reminder for students, parents, and teachers to prioritize restful sleep as a crucial component of overall well-being.


Excessive screen time among children has been associated with a range of negative impacts on their physical and mental well-being. The prolonged use of screens, particularly for activities such as gaming or social media, has been linked to health issues like obesity, sleep disorders, depression, and anxiety. Moreover, it negatively influences their cognitive development, reducing essential social skills such as empathy by limiting face-to-face interactions.

To address these concerns, WHO guidelines recommend no screen time for babies under 2 years old, with limited screen time for those aged 2 to 4. Additionally, implementing parental controls and filters can help block access to unsuitable content and products, ensuring a healthier screen time experience for children.

Maratha Military Landscapes

Facts for Prelims (FFP)


Source: TH

 Context: India has proposed the ‘Maratha Military Landscapes’ as its nomination for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List for the 2024-25 cycle.

AboutThe Maratha military landscape was conceived by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in 1670 CE. Crafted between the 17th and 19th centuries, the Maratha Military Landscapes represent an exceptional fortification and military system envisioned by the Maratha rulers.
There are three categories of nomination- cultural, natural and mixed. Maratha Military landscapes (developed between the 17th and 19th centuries) are nominated in the cultural category.
ComponentsHill Forts: Salher, Shivneri, Lohgad, Raigad, Rajgad, and Gingee forts; Hill-forest fort: Pratapgad; Hill-plateau fort: Panhala; Coastal fort: Vijaydurg; Island forts: Khanderi, Suvarnadurg, and Sindhudurg
Geographical DistributionAcross diverse regions in Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. Except for Gingee Fort, all forts are from Maharashtra
Establishment PeriodIn 1670 CE during the reign of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, persisted until 1818
SignificanceStrategic Utilization of Terrain: Utilized existing terrain for guerrilla warfare against Mughals and European coastal powers
Unique Military LegacyThe Maratha Empire’s warfare strategy is a unique example with global significance
RecognitionIncluded in the Tentative List of World Heritage Sites in 2021
Major FortsRaigad: Coronation site of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj; Shivneri: Birthplace of Shivaji; Sindhudurg: Built on an island in the Konkan region; Pratapgarh: Site of the encounter between Shivaji and Afzal Khan
Nomination CategoryCultural property for UNESCO World Heritage List


India has 42 World Heritage Sites (WHS), with 34 cultural sites, seven natural sites, and one mixed site. In Maharashtra, cultural WHS include Ajanta Caves, Ellora Caves, Elephanta Caves, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus), and Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensembles of Mumbai. The natural WHS is the Western Ghats spanning Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala.

Default Bail

Facts for Prelims (FFP)


Source: The Week

Context: The Supreme Court of India ruled that an accused cannot seek default bail based on the grounds that the investigation is pending against other accused or that the charge sheet filed by the probe agency is incomplete.

  • The court stated that the benefit of the proviso appended to sub-section (2) of Section 167 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) is available to the offender only when no charge sheet is filed, and the investigation is pending against them.
  • Once a charge sheet is filed, this right cease, and the accused cannot claim default bail on the grounds of an incomplete charge sheet or pending investigation against other accused.


Default bail, also known as statutory bail, is a right to bail that arises when the police fail to complete an investigation within a specified period. This right is enshrined in Section 167(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). 

E Ink displays

Facts for Prelims (FFP)


Source: IE

 Context:  A new crowdfunded phone, called the Minimal Phone, has featured a white E Ink display. E Ink displays, used in devices like the Kindle, are based on technology developed in the 1990s at MIT and owned by E Ink Corporation.


Functioning of E Ink Displays:

  • These displays utilize microcapsules filled with positively charged white particles and negatively charged black ones suspended in fluid.
  • By applying electrical charges, the particles rise to the surface, creating text and images on the display.
  • E Ink reflects light like paper, making it easier on the eyes, consuming little power as it doesn’t require backlighting, and offering better readability under bright lighting conditions.
  • E Ink has advantages like low power consumption and reduced eye strain but has downsides such as a slower refresh rate, colour limitations, and higher costs.

Solid-state battery

Facts for Prelims (FFP)


Source: IE

 Context: Toyota aims to launch next-generation solid-state batteries within three years, with the potential for two sets of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in its line-up—one using existing lithium-ion batteries and another featuring the new solid-state batteries.

  • The breakthrough technology could revolutionize EVs by doubling range and significantly reducing charging time compared to traditional lithium-ion batteries.


Solid-state batteries use solid electrodes and a solid electrolyte, instead of the liquid or polymer gel electrolytes found in lithium-ion or lithium polymer batteries.

Solid-state batteries use a variety of materials, including ceramics, solid polymers, and glass. 

The working principle of a solid-state battery is similar to a conventional lithium-ion battery. During discharge, the cathode is reduced and the anode is oxidized. Lithium ions move from the anode to the cathode through the solid electrolyte. The reverse process occurs during charge.

Laughing gull

Facts for Prelims (FFP)


Source: TH

 Context: A Laughing Gull, a migratory bird native to North America, has been sighted for the first time in India.

The bird is known for its unique laughter-like calls, resembling human laughter.


Protection Status: 

IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern.

CITES and CMS Status: Not Evaluated

Range: They are most common on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of North America, the Caribbean, Central America and northern South America.


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