United Nations World Population Prospects


The 2022 edition of the United Nations’ World Population Prospects (WPP) was released.

  • India is projected to surpass China as the world’s most populous country in 2023.


GS II- Population & Associated Issues

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is the World Population Prospects?
  2. Main takeaways for the global population
  3. What is the significance of India overtaking China?

What is the World Population Prospects?

  • The Population Division of the UN has been publishing the WPP in a biennial cycle since 1951.
  • Each revision of the WPP provides a historical time series of population indicators starting in 1950.
  • It does so by taking into account newly released national data to revise estimates of past trends in fertility, mortality or international migration.

Main takeaways for the global population

Pace of growth is slowing down:

  • The global population is expected to grow to around 8.5 billion in 2030, 9.7 billion in 2050 and 10.4 billion in 2100. In 2020, the global growth rate fell under 1% per year for the first time since 1950.

Rates of population growth vary significantly across countries and regions:

  • More than half of the projected increase in global population up to 2050 will be concentrated in just eight countries: the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines and the United Republic of Tanzania.
  • Disparate growth rates among the world’s largest countries will re-order their ranking by size. The 46 least developed countries (LDCs) are among the world’s fastest-growing.
  • Many are projected to double in population between 2022 and 2050, putting additional pressure on resources and posing challenges to the achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The population of older persons is increasing both in numbers and as a share of the total:

  • The share of the global population aged 65 years or above is projected to rise from 10% in 2022 to 16% in 2050.
  • As such, the report warns that countries with ageing populations should take steps to adapt public programmes to the growing proportion of older persons, including by improving the sustainability of social security and pension systems and by establishing universal health care and long-term care systems.

A sustained drop in fertility :

  • A sustained drop in fertility has led to an increased concentration of the population at working ages (between 25 and 64 years), creating an opportunity for accelerated economic growth per capita.
  • This shift in the age distribution provides a time-bound opportunity for accelerated economic growth known as the “demographic dividend”.

 International migration

  • This is having important impacts on population trends for some countries.
  • For high-income countries between 2000 and 2020, the contribution of international migration to population growth (net inflow of 80.5 million) exceeded the balance of births over deaths (66.2 million).
  • Over the next few decades, migration will be the sole driver of population growth in high-income countries.
  • In many of these countries, the outflows were due to temporary labour movements, such as for Pakistan (net flow of -16.5 million), India (-3.5 million), Bangladesh (-2.9 million), Nepal (-1.6 million) etc.
How reliable is the UN projection, and how do they compare with India’s Census?
  • In India, of course, the Registrar General comes out with a population projection based on the Census.
  • The last such projection was released in 2019 and it was based on Census 2011.
  • The Census projection is slightly lower than the UN projection.
  • Still UN projection is widely acknowledged across the world

What is the significance of India overtaking China?

  • That India would overtake China has been known for a while.
  • Moreover, in the past, when the world population was still at 5-billion or 6-billion levels, there was a concern about overcrowding.
  • Those concerns no longer exist because the global population is already 8 billion and several countries (including India) have achieved a replacement rate of fertility.
  • The concern now is not about the absolute numbers — India’s population is already 1.4 billion and may go up to 1.6 billion before declining.

New Guidelines To Prevent Unfair Trade Practices


Recently, the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) announced five guidelines to prevent unfair trade practices and to protect consumer interests regarding the levy of service charges in hotels and restaurants.

  • The guidelines are in addition to the Centre’s 2017 guidelines which prohibit the levy of service charges on consumers by hotels and restaurants, and terms the charging for anything other than “the prices displayed on the menu card along with the applicable taxes” without “express consent” of the customer as “unfair trade practices”.


GS II- Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Central Consumer Protection Authority
  2. What is a service charge?
  3. What do the new guidelines specify? 
  4. Why were new guidelines issued?

About Central Consumer Protection Authority

  • CCPA is a regulatory body established in 2020 based on the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019.
  • CCPA works under the administrative control of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs.
  • To promote, protect and enforce the rights of consumers as a class.
  • To conduct investigations into violation of consumer rights and institute complaints/prosecution.
  • To order the recall of unsafe goods and services, discontinuation of unfair trade practices and misleading advertisements.
  • To impose penalties on manufacturers/endorsers/publishers of misleading advertisements.

What is a service charge?

  • A service charge is a tip or a direct transaction between the customer and the restaurant staff, specifically the wait staff.
  • It is a fee collected to pay for services associated with the purchase of a primary product or service.
  • It is collected by hospitality sectors and food and beverage industries as a fee for serving customers.

What do the new guidelines specify? 

  • As per the new guidelines, hotels or restaurants are prohibited from levying extra charges automatically or by default in the bill or by any other name.
  • Also, they are not allowed to force service charges, and must clearly inform the consumers that service charges are voluntary, optional, and at their discretion.
  • Most importantly, hotels and restaurants are no longer allowed to restrict entry or services based on the collection of service charges. Furthermore, hotels cannot add service charges to their bills and charge GST on the total.
  • The point here is that any tip, donation, token, gratuity, etc., is no longer permitted to be charged and shall be considered as a separate transaction between the consumer and the staff of the hotel and restaurant.
  • It is entirely up to the consumer to decide whether or not to tip. If a consumer enters a restaurant or orders something, the restaurant policy cannot require them to tip.
  • Therefore, consumers cannot be forced to pay a service charge without having the choice to decide whether they want to do so.

Why were new guidelines issued?

  • The CCPA has taken cognisance of various grievances that were registered on the National Consumer Helpline (NCH) related to the unnecessary levying of service charges in the bill.
  • Usually, this charge is levied in addition to the total price of the food items mentioned on the menu and applicable taxes, often in the guise of some other fee.
  • The said guidelines now consider charging a customer other than the price of food items displayed on the menu along with applicable taxes, as an ‘unfair trade practice’ under the CPA.
  • In general, the price of any product covers both the cost of the product and the cost of the service.
  • This implies that the price of food and beverages served in the hotels and restaurants includes the price of the ‘service’.
  • There is no restriction on hotels or restaurants to set the prices at which they want to offer food or beverages to consumers.
  • Placing an order involves consent to pay only the prices of food items displayed on the menu along with applicable taxes.
  • Charging anything other than the said amount would amount to ‘unfair trade practice’ under the Act.

What Is The Sarfaesi Act?


Banks have invoked the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest (Sarfaesi) Act against telecom infrastructure provider GTL to recover their pending dues.

GS III- Indian Economy

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is the Sarfaesi Act?
  2. Why was such a law needed?
  3. What powers do banks have under the law?

What is the Sarfaesi Act?

  • The Sarfaesi Act of 2002 was brought in to guard financial institutions against loan defaulters.
  • To recover their bad debts, the banks under this law can take control of securities pledged against the loan, manage or sell them to recover dues without court intervention.
  • The law is applicable throughout the country and covers all assets, movable or immovable, promised as security to the lender.

Why was such a law needed?

  • Before the law was enacted in December 2002, banks and other financial institutions were forced to take a lengthy route to recover their bad debts.
  • The lenders would appeal in civil courts or designated tribunals to get hold of ‘security interests’ to recovery of defaulting loans, which in turn made the recovery slow and added to the growing list of lender’s non-performing assets.

What powers do banks have under the law?

  • The Act comes into play if a borrower defaults on his or her payments for more than six months.
  • The lender then can send a notice to the borrower to clear the dues within 60 days.
  • In case that doesn’t happen, the financial institution has the right to take possession of the secured assets and sell, transfer or manage them.
  • The defaulter, meanwhile, has a recourse to move an appellate authority set up under the law within 30 days of receiving a notice from the lender.
  • According to a 2020 Supreme Court judgment, co-operative banks can also invoke Sarfaesi Act.
  • According to the Finance Ministry, the non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) can initiate recovery in Rs 20 lakh loan default cases.

What Is Dark Matter & Why Is It So Elusive?


Many physicists strongly believe that the entire visible part of the universe forms only 5% of all matter in it. They believe the rest is made up of dark matter and dark energy.

  • The latest to hit the news in the field of dark matter is a dark matter detector experiment named LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ) in South Dakota in the U.S. As of today this is the most sensitive dark matter detector in the world.


GS III- Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Details
  2. What is dark matter and why is it so elusive?
  3. Why do physicists believe strongly that dark matter exists?
  4. What are the evidences from other distance scales?


  • To give an idea of the degree of difficulty in measuring evidence of a dark particle, it is said that the chamber of this LZ detector, can contain only one gram of dust if it is to detect a dark matter particle.
  • This is the extent to which researchers have to go to rule out unwanted signals coming from other entities.

What is dark matter and why is it so elusive?

  • All interactions in the universe are a result of four fundamental forces acting on particles —
    • Strong nuclear force
    • Weak nuclear force
    • Electromagnetic force
    • Gravitation
  • Dark matter is made up of particles that do not have a charge — which means they do not interact through electromagnetic interactions.
    • So, these are particles that are “dark”, namely because they do not emit light, which is an electromagnetic phenomenon, and “matter” because they possess mass like normal matter and hence interact through gravity.
  • Gravitational force, besides not being fully integrated and understood by particle physicists, is extremely weak.
  • For one thing, a particle that interacts so weakly becomes rather elusive to detect.
  • This is because interactions from other known particles could drown out signals of dark matter particles.

Why do physicists believe strongly that dark matter exists?

  • There is strong indirect evidence for dark matter, and this evidence is reflected at various levels. At the shortest distance scale, consider the rotation of galaxies.
  • If you look at stars all the way from the centre of any galaxy to its rim, the way the velocities of the observed stars change may be plotted.
  • In the lab this same function may be plotted on a graph by assuming the visible matter is all that exists.
  • There is a marked difference between the observed plot of star speeds and the calculated value as you move from the inner part of the galaxy towards its rim.
  • Now if you assume there is a certain fraction of matter which exerts a gravitational pull on the rest of the stars in the galaxy, for it cannot be seen in any other way, and recalculate the plot, it fits in with the observed value.
    • This means that there is a definite amount of dark matter in the galaxy. 
  • One may argue that it is the model that is at fault and there is some other way to reconcile this discrepancy between the calculated and observed value of velocities in rotating galaxies. This is where evidence from other distance scales comes up.

What are the evidences from other distance scales?

  • The universe can be observed at various levels — at the level of electrons and nuclei or atoms, or galaxies, or galaxy clusters, or even larger distances where the entire universe can be mapped and studied.
  • Cosmologists, people who study the physics of the universe, typically work in the last mentioned three scales, and particle physicists study the lowest and even smaller scales.
  • In this context, the second evidence came from observations of the so-called Bullet cluster of galaxies.
    • The Bullet cluster is formed through the merging of two galaxy clusters.
    • Physicists found from their calculations that the way these mergers took place could not be fully explained if we believed that the visible universe were all that existed.
    • Therefore, there should be something like dark matter as well as an estimate of how much dark matter there should be in the universe.
  • Similar arguments exist from mappings of the universe such as the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and studies of the filamentous nature of the universe at a closer look.
  • While fixing the model could help explain away one of these discrepancies, not all of them can be explained in the same manner. Hence physicists now take the concept of dark matter very seriously.


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