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UPSC CURRENT AFFAIRS – 3 February 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 2:

  1. Key Highlights of the Interim Union Budget 2024-25 (Part 2)


Facts for Prelims (FFP)

  1. Bilateral investment treaty with U.A.E.
  2. Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund
  3. New guidelines for environmental regulatory bodies
  4. Black-crowned night heron
  5. Volt Typhoon



Key Highlights of the Interim Union Budget 2024-25 (Part 2)

GS Paper 3

 Syllabus: Indian Economy: Budgeting


Source: PIB

 Context: Read the first Part Here: Part 1


More about Interim Budget:

An interim budget, distinct from the regular annual budget, is presented in an election year (2024 is the election year for Lok Sabha). Similar to the Union budget, it undergoes debate in the Lok Sabha and remains valid for the entire year (even though it is meant to serve as a transitional arrangement for about 2-4 months). Commonly known as a ‘vote-on-account,‘ it authorizes specific expenditures until a new government takes charge. Article 116 allows an upfront allocation of funds from the ‘Consolidated Fund of India‘ to address immediate expenditure needs.”


Sector/Category-wise focus of the budget:

Social Justice: For PoorFocus area: Prime Minister focuses on the upliftment of ‘Garib’ (Poor), ‘Mahilayen’ (Women), ‘Yuva’ (Youth), and ‘Annadata’ (Farmer)
The government has helped 25 crore people to come out of multi-dimensional poverty in the last 10 years.
Direct Benefit Transfer of Rs. 34 lakh crore using PM-Jan Dhan accounts led to savings of Rs. 2.7 lakh crore for the Government.
For street vendors: PM-SVANidhi provided credit assistance to 78 lakh street vendors, with 2.3 lakh receiving credit for the third time.
PM-JANMAN Yojana aids the development of particularly vulnerable tribal groups (PVTG).
PM-Vishwakarma Yojana provides end-to-end support to artisans and craftspeople engaged in 18 trades
For Farmers: Welfare of ‘Annadata’PM-KISAN SAMMAN Yojana provided financial assistance to about 12 crore farmers.
Under PM Fasal Bima Yojana, crop insurance is given to 4 crore farmers.
Electronic National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) integrated 1361 mandis, providing services to about 2 crore farmers with a trading volume of Rs 3 lakh crore.
Other measures: Farmer-centric policies, income support, coverage of risks through price and insurance support, promotion of technologies and innovations through start-ups
Agriculture and Food ProcessingPradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana has benefited 38 lakh farmers and generated 10 lakh employment.
Pradhan Mantri Formalisation of Micro Food Processing Enterprises Yojana has assisted 2.4 lakh SHGs and 60,000 individuals with credit linkages.
Other measures: Application of Nano DAP on various crops will be expanded; Atmanirbhar Oilseeds Abhiyaan-Strategy to be formulated; Programme for dairy development to be formulated to control foot and mouth disease and increase productivity of milch animals
Pradhan Mantri Matsaya Sampada Yojana is to be expanded to enhance aquaculture productivity, double exports and generate more employment opportunities; 5 Integrated Aquaparks are to be set up
Crop insurance budgeted to increase by 41% from 2023 expenditure; 4 crore farmer’s benefit


For Women: Momentum for Nari Shakti30 crores Mudra Yojana loans given to women entrepreneurs.
Female enrolment in higher education increased by 28%
In STEM courses, girls and women constitute 43% of enrollment, one of the highest in the world.
Over 70% of houses under PM Awas Yojana(Gramin) are given to women from rural areas.
Other measures: Making ‘Triple Talaq’ illegal; Reservation of one-third of seats for women in the Lok Sabha and State legislative assemblies
For Women SHGsTo enhance the target for Lakhpati Didi from 2 crores to 3 crores (Lakhpati Didi refers to women members of Self-Help Groups (SHGs) who earn a sustainable income of at least Rs 1 lakh per year per household)
Rise in Female labour force participation Rate
For Youth: Yuva or Amrit PM Schools for Rising India (PM SHRI) ensures quality teaching and holistic development.
Skill India Mission: Trained 1.4 crore youth, Upskilled and reskilled 54 lakh youth, Established 3000 new ITIs
New Institutions: 7 IITs, 16 IIITs, 7 IIMs, 15 AIIMS, and 390 universities established
Start-Up Initiatives: Fund of Funds, Start-Up India, and Start-Up Credit Guarantee schemes supporting youth employment
Youth in Sports: Achieved highest-ever medal tally in Asian Games and Asian Para Games in 2023, Chess prodigy Praggnanandhaa showcased talent against World Champion Magnus Carlsen in 2023, India now boasts over 80 chess grandmasters, a significant increase from just over 20 in 2010
PM Awas Yojana (Grameen)Despite COVID challenges, the target of three crore houses under PM Awas Yojana (Grameen) will be achieved soon.
Two crores more houses to be taken up in the next five years.
Housing for middle-class scheme to be launched to promote middle class to buy/build their own houses
Renewable EnergyCommitment to meet ‘Net Zero’ by 2070; Viability gap funding for wind energy; Setting up of coal gasification and liquefaction capacity
Phased mandatory blending of CNG, PNG and compressed biogas
Financial assistance for procurement of biomass aggregation machinery
A new scheme of biomanufacturing and bio-foundry to be launched to support environment-friendly alternatives
Rooftop Solarization and Muft Bijli1 crore households to obtain 300 units of free electricity every month through rooftop solarization. Each household is expected to save Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 18,000 annually
Achievement in RenewablesPradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) has played a pivotal role in providing access to clean cooking fuel, releasing 10 crore LPG connections to households
Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA) program has contributed to energy efficiency by distributing over 37 crore LED bulbs, along with providing about 72 lakh LED tube lights and 23 lakh energy-efficient fans.
Street Lighting National Programme (SNLP) has illuminated public spaces with the installation of over 1.3 crore LED streetlights
Non-fossil fuel energy installed capacity increased from about 30% in 2004 to about 44% in 2023
Health: Ayushman BharatHealthcare cover under the Ayushman Bharat scheme is to be extended to all ASHA workers, Anganwadi Workers, and Helpers
Upgradation of Anganwadi centres under “Saksham Anganwadi and Poshan 2.0” will be expedited for improved nutrition delivery, early childhood care and development
More medical colleges will be set up by utilizing the existing hospital infrastructure.
Cervical Cancer Vaccination for girls in the age group of 9 to 14 years.
Maternal and child health care: Various schemes to be brought under one comprehensive programme for synergy in implementation
U-WIN platform will be rolled out for managing immunization and intensified efforts of Mission Indradhanush.
Research and InnovationA corpus of Rs. 1 lakh crore to be established with a fifty-year interest-free loan for long-term financing or refinancing with long tenors and low or nil interest rates for sunrise technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Quantum Computing, and Robotics
A new scheme is to be launched for strengthening deep-tech technologies for defence purposes and expediting ‘atmanirbharta’.
InfrastructureCapital expenditure outlay for infrastructure development and employment generation to be increased by about 11% to Rs. 11,11,111 crores, 3.4% of the GDP
Railways3 major economic railway corridor programs identified under the PM Gati Shakti are to be implemented.
Forty thousand normal rail bogies are to be converted to Vande Bharat standards.
Promotion of urban transformation via Metro rail and NaMo Bharat
Aviation SectorThe number of airports in the country doubled to 149, under the UDAN scheme
Five hundred and seventeen new routes are carrying over 1 crore passengers
Indian carriers have placed orders for over 1000 new aircraft
Tourism SectorStates to be encouraged to take up comprehensive development of iconic tourist centres
Framework for rating tourist centres based on the quality of facilities and services to be established.
Long-term interest-free loans are to be provided to States for financing such development on a matching basis.
Projects for port connectivity, tourism infrastructure, and amenities will be taken up for islands, including Lakshadweep
InvestmentsFDI inflow during 2014-23 of USD 596 billion was twice the inflow during 2005-14.
Reforms for ‘Viksit Bharat’A provision of Rs. 75,000 crore rupees as a fifty-year interest-free loan is proposed to support milestone-linked reforms by the State Governments
Development Mantra of Budget: Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, and Sabka Vishwas’ whole of nation’ approach of ‘Sabka Prayas’. It will cover all elements of inclusivity. Social inclusivity– through coverage of all strata of the society. Geographical inclusivity– through the development of all regions of the country.

Various trends in the Indian Economy (through graphs):


Allocation to different ministries:

Revenue and Expenditure distribution:

Central Government Expenditure:

The trend of Tax receipt:

Trends in Fiscal Deficit:

Trends in deficit financing:

Trends in Gross NPA:

Trends in CapEx:

Bilateral investment treaty with U.A.E.

Facts for Prelims (FFP)


Source: TH

 Context: The Union Cabinet of India has approved a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) with the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), aiming to enhance bilateral economic engagement, particularly in manufacturing and foreign direct investment (FDI).

  • The approval is expected to boost investor confidence, attract large investments, and create opportunities for foreign investments and overseas direct investments.
  • The BIT aligns with the goal of Atmanirbhar Bharat, promoting domestic manufacturing, reducing import dependence, and increasing exports.
  • India and the U.A.E. had previously implemented a free trade agreement in May 2022


A bilateral investment treaty (BIT) is an agreement between two countries that establishes the terms and conditions for private investment by one country’s nationals and companies in the other country

More about India – UAE relations: Read Here

Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund

Facts for Prelims (FFP)


Source: PIB

 Context: The Union Cabinet, approved the extension of the Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund (AHIDF) to be implemented under the Infrastructure Development Fund (IDF).

  • The scheme aims to incentivize investments in various areas such as dairy processing, meat processing, animal feed plants, breed multiplication farms, agri-waste management, and veterinary vaccine and drug production facilities.


The Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund (AHIDF) was announced under the Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan stimulus package with a fund allocation of Rs. 15,000 crore.

The objective of AHIDF is to incentivize investments by various entities, including individual entrepreneurs, private companies, MSMEs, Farmers Producers Organizations (FPOs), and Section 8 companies, in establishing dairy processing and value addition infrastructure, meat processing and value addition infrastructure, and animal feed plants.

New guidelines for environmental regulatory bodies

Facts for Prelims (FFP)


Source: Hindustan Times

 Context: The Supreme Court of India has issued new guidelines for environmental regulatory bodies, emphasizing the importance of accountability, transparency, and efficiency in their functioning.

  • The court directed regular audits of their performance for the proper institutionalization of environmental regulatory bodies and authorities.
  • The decision came while approving the Centre’s notification, making the Central empowered Committee (CEC), an expert committee assisting the Supreme Court on environment and forest issues, a permanent body with members chosen by the Centre for a fixed tenure and specified functions.

Black-crowned night heron

Facts for Prelims (FFP)


Source: ABP News

 Context: The black-crowned night heron, locally known as ‘Chongkhu,’ that landed in Manipur and later died was banded at the Weishan Bird Banding Station in Beijing, China.

  • Despite the bird’s unfortunate death, the collaboration emphasizes the significance of global initiatives in tracking and preserving migratory species


About Black-crowned night heron:

The black-crowned night heron, known locally as ‘Chongkhu’ in Manipur, is a medium-sized species belonging to the heron family found in various parts of the world.

They prefer freshwater wetlands like swamps, marshes, and rice paddies, and are mainly nocturnal birds that feed on fish, frogs, insects, and other small animals.

These solitary hunters use sharp beaks to spear prey in shallow water.

Some populations are migratory, travelling long distances between breeding and wintering grounds.

The global population of black-crowned night herons is considered stable, classified as Least Concern by the IUCN, but they face threats such as habitat loss, pollution, and hunting.

Volt Typhoon

Facts for Prelims (FFP)


Source: BBC, Reuters

 Context: The U.S. government has initiated an operation against a pervasive Chinese hacking network called Volt Typhoon, compromising numerous internet-connected devices.

  • The Justice Department and FBI have obtained legal authorization to remotely disable aspects of the hacking campaign, which has raised concerns about compromising Western critical infrastructure.
  • Intelligence officials fear the hacking group could target naval ports, internet service providers, and utilities, and potentially impact U.S. military operations in the Indo-Pacific region, especially in case of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan.
  • The Chinese government denies the allegations, calling them groundless and irresponsible.


About Volt Typhoon:

  • The Volt Typhoon campaign, first identified in May 2023, expanded its operations and modified techniques, prompting the U.S. to seek assistance from private technology companies.
  • Volt Typhoon employs a botnet of vulnerable digital devices globally to conceal downstream attacks into sensitive targets, making it challenging for cyber defenders to detect foreign footprints


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