20 May 2018: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis


A. GS1 Related
1. World Urbanization Prospects report 
B. GS2 Related
1. WHO launches 'REPLACE' to eliminate trans-fat in foods
2. Vitamin D /Sunshine Vitamin
C. GS3 Related
1. Ex-diplomat gets 3 years' jail for leaking info to ISI 
1. Zojila tunnel to bring Srinagar, Kargil and Leh closer
1. Himalayan Trillium
D. GS4 Related
E. Editorials
F. Prelims Fact
G. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
H. UPSC Mains Practice Questions 

A. GS1 Related


1. World Urbanization Prospects report

  • The Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations has been issuing since 1988 revised estimates and projections of the urban and rural populations of all countries in the world and of their major urban agglomerations.


  • According to it, India has one of the fastest-growing urban populations in the world.
  • India, China and Nigeria will together account for 35% of the projected growth of the world’s urban population between 2018 and 2050.
    • In scale, India will outstrip even China and Nigeria.
    • The report estimates that by 2050, India will have added 416 million urban dwellers, China 255 million and Nigeria 189 million.
  • Already Delhi — or the National Capital Region— is the world’s second-most populous urban agglomeration.
    • By 2028, in just a decade, Delhi will become the world’s most populous city, outstripping Tokyo.
  • By 2030, India will have seven cities with populations in excess of 10 million,
    • two cities in the 5-10 million bracket,
    • as many as 62 cities in the 1-5 million range, and
    • a staggering 70 more with populations between half and 1 million.


  • Currently, North America is the most urbanized region, with 82 percent of its population living in urban areas in 2018.
  • It is followed by Latin America and the Caribbean (81 percent), Europe (74 percent) and Oceania (68 percent).
  • Although Asia and Africa are expected to become highly urbanized over the next three decades, they currently have many people residing in rural areas.

Issue Area

  • India may be ratcheting up the number of mega-urban agglomerations, these cities will be megacities only in terms of sprawl and population and will sorely be lacking the kind of urban infrastructure as seen in global megacities like London, Tokyo, and New York.
  • India is heading towards an urban crisis of apocalyptic proportions.
    • India does not have the infrastructure to cater to the needs of so many people.
    • It does not have the resources — whether water, transport, housing, education or health care — that will be in demand then.

Policy Paralysis

  • we don’t appear to have a plan in place on how we are going to deal with this
  • In terms of Smart Cities, Less than 7% of the funds allocated for the entire project have been used so far.
    • in the three years since the programme was launched, completed projects account for only 1.4% of the total investment envisaged.
    • Many cities are still in the planning stage
  • complex, overlapping and often conflicting layers of authority in most of our cities
  • lack of institutional capacity within civic authorities, particularly when it comes to planning and project execution

Addressing Challenges

  • Water is going to be a critical challenge in virtually every city in India. This needs a holistic approach that integrates national, regional, State and local level initiatives.
  • Uncontrolled and unplanned urbanization and the near absence of reliable public transportation have added another mega problem to the list: pollution.

The point is that as a nation, our people, our political leadership and our policy planners need to act now.


B. GS2 Related

Category: HEALTH

1. WHO launches ‘REPLACE’ to eliminate trans-fat in foods


  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has launched a comprehensive plan to eliminate industrially-produced artificial trans fats from the global food supply by 2023.


  • Industrially-produced trans fats are contained in hardened vegetable fats such as margarine and ghee, and are often present in snack, baked, and fried foods.
  • Manufacturers often use them as they have a longer shelf life than other fats.


  • The WHO recommends that every country, including India, eliminate transfat by reducing the allowable level to less than 2% in fats, oils, and all food.
  • Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of deaths globally, accounting for one in every three deaths.
  • Artificial trans-fat raises bad cholesterol and lowers good cholesterol and is estimated to kill 540,000 people a year around the world.
  • trans fat kills more than 60,000 people a year in India.
  • Elimination of trans fats is key to protecting health and saving lives

REPLACE provides six strategic actions to ensure the prompt, complete, and sustained elimination of industrially-produced trans fats from the food supply:

REPLACE, which is an acronym for Review, Promote, Legislate, Assess, Create and Enforce, is the first global initiative to eliminate a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

  • REview dietary sources of industrially-produced trans fats and the landscape for required policy change.
  • Promote the replacement of industrially-produced trans fats with healthier fats and oils.
  • Legislate or enact regulatory actions to eliminate industrially-produced trans fats.
  • Assess and monitor trans fats content in the food supply and changes in trans-fat consumption in the population.
  • Create awareness of the negative health impact of trans fats among policy makers, producers, suppliers, and the public.
  • Enforce compliance of policies and regulations.

International Experience

  • In Denmark, the first country to mandate restrictions on industrially-produced trans fats, the trans-fat content of food products declined dramatically and cardiovascular disease deaths declined more quickly
  • New York city eliminated industrially-produced trans-fat a decade ago, following Denmark’s lead
  • Countries such as Canada and Argentina when they controlled transfat have provided technical assistance and funding to national industries to help them replace trans fat with healthier oils.

2. Vitamin D /Sunshine Vitamin

  • Vitamin D is formed in our skin under the influence of ultra-violet B (UVB) rays that are found in sunlight.


  • About 70% of urban Indians are deficient in this vitamin.


  • Vitamin D controls the absorption of calcium which is essential for the growth and maintenance of bones and muscles.
  • Its deficiency affects both children and adults, especially among populations that are starved of sun exposure, causing bone diseases such as rickets in children, and osteomalacia and osteoporosis in adults.
  • In addition, low vitamin D has been found to be associated with conditions such as asthma, infections, auto-immune disorders, depression and even cancer.

Issue Area

  • dietary sources of the vitamin are fatty fish such as salmon and tuna. However, Indians rarely consume these fish
  • Indians rarely consume these fish, and typically demonstrate ‘sun-fleeing behaviour’, especially in the urban areas, in order to avoid the heat and skin darkening
  • Atmospheric pollution too makes it difficult for UV rays to reach the earth’s surface which further aggravates the problem

Overcoming vitamin D deficiency

  • There is a need for awareness about the need for sunlight exposure between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. However, it is often impractical to implement this for the typical, office-going urban Indian; atmospheric pollution is also a barrier.
  • Food fortification or enrichment is the process of adding micronutrients (essential trace elements and vitamins) to food.
  • In the United States, fortification of milk with vitamin D was started as far back as 1933 which reduced the prevalence of several types of bone disease dramatically

Steps taken by Govt

  • Recognising the benefits of fortification, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, in late 2016, set standards and safety guidelines for fortifying milk and edible oil with vitamins D and A.
  • States such as Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and parts of Haryana have already introduced fortified edible oil in the public distribution system and mid-day meal programmes
  • well-known dairy chains in India have also initiated the fortification of milk.

Way forward

  • Raising awareness about the benefits of vitamin D fortified food in building better bones is an important component of these efforts.
  • India already has an impressive record with iodine-fortified salt, which has virtually eradicated goitre and cretinism. In a similar effort to promote widespread use of vitamin D fortified milk and edible oil can result in a marked reduction in the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency across India.

C. GS3 Related

Category: SECURITY

1. Ex-diplomat gets 3 years’ jail for leaking info to ISI

  • A Delhi court sentenced former diplomat Madhuri Gupta to three years’ imprisonment in a case of passing on sensitive official information to Pakistani intelligence officials.



  • Stating that her actions caused a “severe security threat”, she was awarded the maximum sentence for the offences of spying and wrongful communication of information protected under the law, observing that an educated woman like her did not deserve any leniency
  • She was held guilty under various provisions of the Official Secrets Act
    • The conduct of the accused in passing on sensitive/secret information in light of evidence by the prosecution categorically proves the charge under the second part of Section 3(1)(c) [obtaining, publishing or communicating to any person any secret official information which is useful to an enemy] of the Official Secrets Act, punishable by up to a period of three years in jail, as well as under Section 5 of the Act read with Section 120-B [criminal conspiracy] of the IPC




Category: ECONOMY

1. Zojila tunnel to bring Srinagar, Kargil and Leh closer


  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Zojila tunnel project, which will provide all-weather connectivity to Srinagar, Kargil and Leh. At 14.15 km, it will be the country’s longest road tunnel.


1. Himalayan Trillium

  • The Himalayan trillium — found across India, Bhutan, Nepal and China — is a natural source of steroidal saponins which are important components of steroidal drugs.
  • This helps the body create steroids to stimulate muscle growth and raise testosterone levels.
  • The plant is popular in traditional Chinese medicine.

occurrence and regeneration of the plant

  • trilliums grow mostly in moist hill slopes with dense tree cover.
  • The plants germinated from underground tubers immediately after snowmelt in April and became dormant in September as winter set in.
  • Mature plants (which can live to 30 years or more) usually produce only one flower per year and vegetative reproduction through tubers occurs only in very old plants

Issue Area

  • Increased demands have made its illegal collection from the wild a lucrative business in India
    • a kilogram fetch about Rs. 3,000-5,000.
  • Traders, who buy the plants in sacks from villagers then moves through a well-established illegal network to Tibet.
  • Unregulated harvests combined with such low levels of reproduction and other pressures like grazing could cause local extinction of the plant in many regions.

Way forward

  • The government of Himachal Pradesh, J&K, are taking crucial steps to stop illegal trade of Trillium and there are also many police cases behind its large collection and transportation from one place to other.

It would be important to include it as a schedule species under the Wildlife Protection Act to ensure more protection

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

E. Editorials

Nothing here for today!!!


F. Prelims Fact

Nothing here for today!!!

G. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1. Consider the following statements about South Africa
  1. Orange and Vaal flow from Drakensburg to Southern Ocean
  2. Veld is a flat area covered in grass or low scrub

Which of the following statements are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. None of the above




Question 2. Khamsin in Geography refers to
  1. Showers that help crops grow during spring
  2. Grasslands in Mid Africa
  3. Hot dusty wind in North Africa
  4. A rift valley lake




Question 3. Look at the following statements about Nigeria  
  1. It is named after river Niger which drains into Gulf of Guinea
  2. Kainji Dam is constructed on River Niger
  3. Marked dry season in summer with hot and dust laden winds called Harmattan

The incorrect code is:

  1. 1 and 3 only
  2. 3 only
  3. 2 only
  4. None of the above


Question 4. Tropic of Capricorn passes through:
  1. Mozambique
  2. South Africa
  3. Zambia
  4. Namibia
  5. Botswana

The correct code is

  1. 2,3,4 and 5 only
  2. All of them
  3. 1,2,3 and 4 only
  4. 1,2,4 and 5 only



H. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

 General Studies I
1. Our people, our political leadership, and our policy planners need to act now to prevent urban migration. What are the various issues this could give rise to and how can it be addressed?
 General Studies II
2. The REPLACE initiative of WHO helps in solving the issue of Trans fat. Explain.


Also, check previous Daily News Analysis

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