UPSC 2017: Comprehensive News Analysis - December 31


A. GS1 Related
1. Cities need a sustainable transport update
B. GS2 Related
1. Bill plans synergies among medical streams
1. Palestine recalls Pakistan envoy who attended Hafiz Saeed rally as India objects
1. India and the future of life sciences innovation
C. GS3 Related
D. GS4 Related
E. Prelims Fact
F. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
G. UPSC Mains Practice Questions 

B. GS1 Related


1. Cities need a sustainable transport update

In news:

  • Bengaluru is engulfed in a never-ending traffic jam, Delhi’s pollution is at world-beating levels and Mumbai was never famous for its fast roads
  • This decade has made it resoundingly clear that the present model of urban transport is unsustainable
  • And the only way out of the cycle of rising incomes and more cars on the road—is an efficient public transport alternative

Collective action problem

  • It’s not rational for anyone to switch to public transport until everyone else also follows
  • An individual will stop using his car if the bus is faster, but that is possible only if others also get their cars off the road


  • Bengaluru has seen an increase in the number of private vehicles from 2.7 million in 2008 to 6 million in 2017
  • Meanwhile, roughly half the city’s passenger trips (5 million) are via a fleet of 6,000 Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation buses

How the problem starts?

  • The problem starts with the way cities are governed in India
  • Municipal corporations lack adequate transparency and accountability, and urban governance is a tangled web of overlapping jurisdictions

The correct hierarchy of needs

  • The urban transport policy must rethink the hierarchy of needs; pedestrians and cyclists must be on top, followed by buses and then motor vehicles

What should be done?


  • It is absolutely clear that there isn’t enough space for everyone to drive a car, and the government must pivot the policy to delivering reliable public transport
  • The metro project is a step in the right direction, but it needs complementary changes that improve the citizens’ experience
  • For starters, the metro system needs a bus system to provide last-mile connectivity
  • The bus system also needs to be reliable


  • The government must resist using attractive-sounding propositions, like pushing electric and hybrid buses, to give the impression that there is political will to improve urban transport
  • Changing the fuel of the bus will reduce emissions
  • But there will be dramatically bigger gains if we are able to prompt even a quarter of the private vehicle-using population to use public transport


  • India has plenty of assets that are decaying due to poor maintenance
  • Policymakers will do well to make space for depreciation accounts in their budgets to pay for maintenance and replacement of public assets

The way forward

  • India is a growing economy, and census data suggests that only 31% of the population lives in urban centres
  • Another 300 million people will be added by 2050 and the planning for carrying those people in our cities must begin now
  • Public transport can easily be the cheaper, faster and economical alternative if policymakers plan for tomorrow’s problems today

B. GS2 Related

Category: POLITY

1. Bill plans synergies among medical streams

The National Medical Commission Bill, 2017:

  • Introduced in the Lok Sabha.
  • Seeks to replace the Medical Council of India (MCI) with a new body
  • Doctors pursuing the Indian systems of medicine, including Ayurveda, and homoeopathy may be allowed to practise allopathy after clearing a bridge course.
  • Joint sittings: Bill calls for a joint sitting of the National Medical Commission, the Central Council of Homoeopathy and the Central Council of Indian Medicine at least once a year “to enhance the interface between homoeopathy, Indian Systems of Medicine and modern systems of medicine”.
  • The Bill has also proposed that specific educational modules or programmes for developing bridges across the various systems and promotion of medical pluralism, can be done with the approval of all the members present in the joint sitting.
  • It provides for the constitution of four autonomous boards entrusted with conducting undergraduate and postgraduate education, assessment and rating of medical institutions and registration of practitioners under the National Medical Commission.
  • National Medical Commission: The commission will have a government-nominated chairman and members, and the board members will be selected by a search committee under the Cabinet Secretary.
  • The Bill also proposes a common entrance exam and licentiate (exit) exam which all medical graduates will have to clear to get practising licences.

Opposition from the Indian Medical Association: it will “cripple” the functioning of the profession by making it answerable to the bureaucracy and non-medical administrators.



1. Palestine recalls Pakistan envoy who attended Hafiz Saeed rally as India objects

In news:

  • Palestine recalled its ambassador to Pakistan after India expressed anger and concern over his presence next to Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed at a rally organised by extremist and radical groups in Rawalpindi.
  • The Palestinian ambassador to India, Adnan Abu Al Haij, was quoted as saying that his government supported India “in its fight against terrorism” and had decided to call back its Pakistan envoy.



1. India and the future of life sciences innovation

Condition of the Indian Pharmaceutical Sector:

  • The Indian pharmaceutical industry is a world leader in bringing generic drugs to the market in a cost-effective way
  • Additionally, many Western pharmaceutical companies have established small-molecule development and manufacturing in India
  • More recently, Indian pharma companies have demonstrated the capability to develop biosimilars for global healthcare markets
  • These activities are highly valuable, providing essential and established medicines at more affordable prices to people around the world

What lies ahead?

  • The future of India will go beyond generics and biosimilars
  • There are many attractive features that the existing Indian ecosystem can offer the life sciences industry
  • And India will eventually play a critical role in the advancement of innovative medicines

How is India a fertile ground for Medical Innovations?

  • Sixty years ago, the total number of physicians in India was less than 50,000; today there has been a 16-fold increase to nearly 800,000 registered medical practitioners
  • Public health centres, the foundation of rural healthcare in the country, have increased from less than 100 to more than 23,000
  • This explosive growth is fertile ground for thought leaders, investors, regulators and medical centres to collaborate on developing

(1) The capabilities to nurture the type of start-up environment that will focus on innovation and

(2) Better ways of healthcare delivery, with an eye on long-run rather than short-term profitability

What should be done?

  • There are a number of steps that India can take.For example, incentives for start-up biotech firms, and commitment to rigorous global compliance standards that help increase trust in the Indian life sciences industry
  • These trends are under way globally, but, in some respects, have yet to be initiated by experts with roots in India

The way forward

  • The medical innovations don’t happen in isolation
  • They emerge from collaborative networks
  • Today, innovation occurs in a global village, not in a single country
  • With so much to offer the life sciences, India is poised to become a dominant player
  • The potential for this groundswell to materialize is happening today. It’s exciting to be a part of it


D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for Today!!!

E. Prelims Fact

Nothing here for Today!!!


F. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1. Which of these regions of India is most suitable for growing rice for all three cropping seasons –kharif, rabi and zaid?
  1. North-western India
  2. Eastern India
  3. Southern India
  4. Western India




Question 2. Which of the following is NOT an example of ‘sunrise’ industry?
  1. Information Technology Industry
  2. Wellness and Hospitality
  3. Renewable energy industry
  4. Automobile industry




Question 3.Consider the following statements about National Agricultural Policy, 2000.
  • This was the first ever National Agricultural Policy announced in India.
  • The Policy aims at a growth rate in excess of four per cent per annum in the agriculture sector
  • It explicitly prohibits the use of contract farming and land leasing in India.

Which of the above statements are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 2 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3




Question 4. Consider the following statements. Sacred groves
  • Are pristine stretches of forests that must be registered under National parks
  • Have been left untouched by the local tribals as any interference with them is banned by the local community

Which of the above statements are correct?

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




Question 5. What is the impact of SAUNI Yojna?
  • The project will make the longest conventional open canal system in India which would increase groundwater recharge in nearby regions.
  • The project requires a very large land area to be acquired which would result in large scale development displacement.
  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2




G. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

GS Paper II
  1. ‘The Supreme Court of India keeps a check on arbitrary power of the Parliament in amending the Constitution.’ Discuss critically.
GS Paper IV
  1. One of the scientists working in the R & D laboratory of a major pharmaceutical company discovers that one of the company’s bestselling veterinary drugs, B has the potential to cure a currently incurable liver disease that is prevalent in tribal areas. However, developing a variant of the drug suitable for human beings entailed a lot of research and development having a huge expenditure to the extent of 50 crores rupees. It was unlikely that the company would recover the costs as the disease was rampant only in poverty-stricken area having very little market otherwise. If you were the CEO, then—(a) Identify the various actions that you could take; (b) Evaluate the pros and cons of each of your actions.



Also, check previous Daily News Analysis

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