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Fight against Tuberculosis

GS Paper II

Context:Although though the war against tuberculosis (TB) has been ongoing for more than 30 years since it was deemed a worldwide health emergency, the 2030 deadline for its eradication remains undetermined. To achieve the aim of eradicating TB by 2030, the fight against the disease requires a renewed focus on three crucial areas, namely vaccine development, the discovery of novel treatment drugs, and enhanced diagnostics.

What is Tuberculosis?

  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis is a bacterium that causes the infectious illness TB.
  • The lungs are the primary organs affected, but the kidneys, spine, and brain can also be impacted.
  • When a person with active TB illness in the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, or talks, TB can spread via the air.
  • TB symptoms include a persistent cough for three weeks or more, chest discomfort, blood in the cough, exhaustion, fever, and weight loss.
  • Antibiotics can be used to treat TB, however drug-resistant TB strains are a developing problem.


The 1993 World Development Report noted that adult TB treatment was the best investment out of all developmental strategies at the time the World Health Organization designated TB a worldwide health emergency.

Since then, there has been a lack of urgency and a delayed worldwide response to TB.

Global Fund:

  • The G7 summit in Okinawa, Japan, in 2001 issued a demand for action against TB, prompting the establishment of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria.
  • The Global Fund has emerged as the main source of new funds for the worldwide TB control effort.
  • Yet, it is constrained by the rivalry among the three illnesses it funds as well as zero-sum games from donor groups.

StopTB Partnership:

  • The StopTB Partnership was established to organise and coordinate a diverse group of stakeholders with the objective of putting an end to TB.
  • It has been adjusting to developments, such as leveraging social safety programmes to address the underlying drivers of the TB pandemic and using molecular diagnostic capabilities created to react to bioterrorism to detect tuberculosis.

Three key areas that need attention:
Vaccine development:

  • The first issue that need immediate attention is the creation of an adult TB vaccination.
  • The development and widespread use of an adult TB vaccination are crucial to putting an end to TB because the present vaccine is 100 years old.
  • The COVID-19 vaccine development method offers suggestions for quickening the procedure.
  • India has the capacity to make a significant contribution to the equitable distribution of vaccines.

Newertherapeutic agents for TB:

  • A few novel anti-TB medications are available, however they are limited by price and production issues.
  • In order to increase compliance and lessen patient weariness, shorter, injection-free regimens are required.
  • To combat drug resistance, a steady supply of new medications is required.

Improved diagnostics:

  • TB diagnosis may be revolutionised by AI-assisted handheld radiography and passive monitoring of cough sounds.
  • Encourage biotech startups to eliminate the hurdles of molecular testing’s complexity and cost.


India has the ideal opportunity to take the lead in putting an end to TB thanks to its G20 leadership position and the upcoming StopTB Partnership board meeting in Varanasi. It is possible to put an early end to TB with the collective will and action of leaders.

Source: The Hindu


Changing Geopolitics

GS Paper II

Context:In order to meet the difficulties posed by the expanding Sino-Russian relationship, India must be nimble, adaptable, and open-ended in its diplomacy in the face of the shifting geopolitical environment, which is marked by realignmentsand recalibrations among key powers.

Geopolitical Churn overview:

  • Fumio Kishida, the prime minister of Japan, wants to strengthen ties between India and the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping visits Moscow to cement the Eurasian alliance with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
  • Readjusting of ties between major middle powers, as shown in the warming of relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
  • Such occurrences represent the continuing realignment of key geopolitical powers.

Realignment and Dealignment:

  • Russo-Ukrainian aggression and the Taiwan-related conflict have expedited the disintegration of the post-Cold War global order.
  • Many nations are adjusting to the collapse of the old order at diverse rates and with various levels of urgency.
  • Certain patterns in the geopolitical scene are permanent, while others represent short-term adaptations.

Middle East Dynamics:

  • Thereconciliation between Saudi Arabia and Iran may be tactical or strategic, but the regional powers still have some negotiating leverage with both Russia-China and the West.
  • Turkey and Iran may be prompted to reduce their foreign policy adventure by domestic issues.

EastAsia Developments:

  • The most recent summit between South Korea and Japan was the pair’s first get-together in over a decade.
  • The regional dynamic is unpredictable due to South Korea’s unstable domestic politics and close economic ties to China.
  • India must use nimble diplomacy to handle the region’s evolving political terrain.

Russia-China Partnership:

  • For India, the growing relationship between China and Russia presents difficulties.
  • Various viewpoints on the potential impact of this alliance on relations between Russia and India.

Significance of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s visit to India:

Strengthening the Strategic Partnership: The visit contributes to the reaffirmation and growth of India and Japan’s strategic partnership, which is essential for preserving peace, stability, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region. The visit demonstrates their commitment to cooperating to address these issues, as both nations have shared worries about China’s increasing assertiveness and influence.

Increasing Defense Cooperation: Kishida’s visit to India gives both nations the chance to talk about ways to increase defence cooperation, such as through joint military exercises, the transfer of defence technology, and cooperation on defence research and development. Both nations may benefit from this cooperation as they develop their capacities to deal with regional security issues.

Increasing Economic Relations: The visit presents a chance to strengthen India and Japan’s already strong trade and investment ties. In order to lessen their reliance on China, both nations can investigate new opportunities for economic cooperation, such as supply chain diversification, infrastructure development, and technological cooperation.

Infrastructure and connectivity are the main points of discussion. Japan has actively participated in important infrastructure projects in India, including the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor and high-speed rail initiatives. As a result of Kishida’s visit, connectivity initiatives in India and the Indo-Pacific region may see increased cooperation.

Working together to combat climate change and advance sustainable development is a priority for both India and Japan. The visit of Kishida can improve collaboration in fields like clean energy, low-carbon technologies, and infrastructure that is climate resilient.

People-to-People Exchanges: The visit may also improve people-to-people contacts between India and Japan through intellectual and cultural interactions as well as tourist marketing. These exchanges may promote mutual understanding and goodwill.

India’s diplomacy in response to the changing geopolitical landscape:

Act East Policy: Through the Act East Policy, India has increased its economic and strategic attention to East and Southeast Asia. This strategy intends to strengthen India’s ties with the ASEAN nations, Japan, South Korea, and Australia while addressing common security concerns. It also promotes regional connectivity, commerce, and investment.

India has been actively engaging in regional forums and collaborations, such as the Quad, in recognition of the region’s strategic importance (comprising India, Japan, Australia, and the United States). In the face of China’s expanding influence, this strategy seeks to uphold a rules-based order, guarantee freedom of navigation, and advance regional stability.

Relationships with Major Powers: India has been juggling its relations with powerful nations like the US, Russia, and China. Notwithstanding Moscow’s expanding links to Beijing, India nonetheless maintains its long-standing relations with Russia while still strengthening its strategic cooperation with the US. At the same time, India aims to manage its complicated relationship with China by juggling antagonism and strategic rivalry with collaboration on regional and global concerns.

Neighbourhood First Policy: India has prioritised its ties with its close South Asian neighbours, putting an emphasis on improving connectivity, economic integration, and interpersonal interactions. This strategy intends to advance India’s leadership position in the region, maintain regional stability, and balance China’s expanding influence.

Multilateralism and Global Governance: India has been actively engaging in global governance institutions including the United Nations, World Bank, and International Monetary Fund, as well as pushing for reforms in these organisations. India’s desire to play a larger role in establishing international standards and solving common problems like climate change, sustainable development, and international terrorism is evident in its application for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.

Economic diplomacy: To entice international investment, boost its exports, and diversify its supply chains, India has been using economic diplomacy. India aspires to better integrate into the global economy and increase its economic competitiveness by cooperating with several regional trade blocs and negotiating bilateral trade agreements.


India must modify its diplomatic approach to successfully manage the shifting dynamics as the geopolitical landscape continues to change and evolve. India must reevaluate its strategic alliances in light of the expanding China-Russia connection and take a flexible stance when interacting with both established and new allies.

Source: The Hindu


Old Pension Scheme

GS Paper II

Context: India is seeing an increase in demand for the old pension scheme (OPS), especially after certain states declared plans to switch back to it. Inefficiency and worries over the budget deficit are the major foci of the mainstream criticism of OPS. Therefore, it is important to look at the policy from the viewpoints of class and welfare.

What is pension?

A pension is a retirement programme that gives people a regular income stream once they leave their jobs or professions. It is intended to provide a consistent income throughout retirement and may be supported by companies, governmental bodies, or unions.

What is Old Pension Scheme (OPS)?

  • The OPS, commonly referred to as the Defined Benefit Pension System, is a retirement programme offered by the Indian government to its staff members.
  • Government workers who have retired get a set monthly pension under the OPS depending on their final received pay and years of service.
  • Government funding and current revenue payments for this pension result in rising pension obligations.

The National Pension System (NPS):

  • The Old Pension Plan was replaced with the market-linked, defined contribution NPS pension scheme in India in 2004. (OPS).
  • All Indian citizens, including those who are employed by the government, the commercial sector, or are self-employed, would receive retirement income under the NPS.

Analyzing the Impact of OPS on India’s Socio-Economic Landscape:

The Sixth Pay Commission raised the base pay of public employees under the National Pension System (NPS) in order to fund pension payments and encourage post-retirement savings. So, the average government employee makes more money than more than 90% of the population. Thus, the OPS functions as a regressive redistribution mechanism that benefits a wealthier class.

Rising Pension Liabilities: The Sixth Pay Matrix significantly increased the government’s pension liabilities, which now account for 9% of all state spending. If the current growth rate continues, by 2050, pension expenses will represent 19.4% of all state spending.

Disproportionate Burden on the Lower Class: The indirect tax burden is unfairly six times higher for the poorest 50% of the population than it is for them to earn. They are forced to subsidise the pensions of government employees as a result of OPS, which might make them further poorer.

Public Goods and Spending Challenges: OPS presents expenditure issues for delivering public goods as India’s population ages and public supply of healthcare and education becomes more crucial. Because of this circumstance, governments are forced to reduce social sector spending that is already low, further impoverishing vulnerable communities.

Future Labor Market Monopolization: The OPS allows the monopolisation of private sector future labour markets by a proprietary class, allowing the supervisory bureaucracy to strengthen its position and become the dominant group.

Recommendations for Equitable Resource Distribution:

  • The extension of universal public goods supply and equitable resource allocation should be the main points of opposition to the OPS.
  • To promote more equality, implement a participatory pension plan for public employees.
  • Change the NPS so that lower-level employees receive a monthly return that is guaranteed.
  • By implementing administrative changes, you can address compensation disparities between different employee levels.
  • Support the progressive taxation of the top 10% and the rationalisation of the extravagant spending and pensions of political leaders.


Recognizing the neoliberal disillusionment that is fueling the desire for the OPS is crucial. To overcome the obstacles provided by OPS and achieve pension changes that put social welfare, effective resource distribution, and fair distribution of resources first, government workers and policymakers must collaborate.

Source: The Hindu


Right to Health

GS Paper II

Context: The Right to Health (RTH) was approved by the Rajasthan Assembly despite doctors’ ongoing opposition to the Bill and demands for its total retraction.

Everyone has the right to the best possible level of bodily and mental health, which is a basic human right.

It is a fundamental component of the right to a minimum standard of life and is protected by international human rights legislation.

Scope of RTH:

  • RTH covers various health-related issues, including-
  • Access to healthcare services, clean water and sanitation, adequate nutrition, healthy living and working conditions, health education, and disease prevention.
  • Accessible, affordable, and quality healthcare services.
  • Eliminating barriers to healthcare access.
  • Informed consent to medical treatment and accessing information about their health.

What is the Rajasthan Right to Health Bill?

  • Free medical care: Under RTH, every state citizen has the right to receive free outpatient (OPD) and inpatient (IPD) treatments at all public health institutions and certain private ones.
  • A broader range of healthcare services will be provided for free, including consultations, medications, tests, emergency transport, surgeries, and emergency care. But, the regulations that will be developed have requirements that must be met.
  • Residents are entitled to emergency care and treatment without having to pay any fees or penalties in advance.
  • No treatment delay: In medico-legal circumstances, hospitals are not allowed to put off treatment due to a police clearance.
  • State reimbursement of fees: If patients do not pay required fees after receiving emergency care and stabilisation, healthcare professionals may be eligible for proper compensation from the state government.

Existing schemes in Rajasthan:

  • The new budget upped the free treatment cap under the flagship Chiranjeevi Health Insurance Program from Rs. 10 lakh to Rs. 25 lakh.
  • Government employees, ministers, current and past MLAs, and others are covered by the Rajasthan Government Health Program.
  • In addition to covering about 1,600 medications, 928 surgical procedures, and 185 sutures, the Nishulk Nirogi Rajasthan plan offers free OPD and IPD treatments in government hospitals.
  • 2.93 crore people have benefited from the Free Test scheme, which offers up to 90 free exams in government hospitals between March and December 2022.

Need for the RTH Scheme:

  • Rajasthan is to be a shining example of good health, and the state places a high priority on healthcare.
  • Several complaints regarding private hospitals requesting payment from Chiranjeevi cardholders have been made to the health minister.
  • In order to stop this, a new law is being introduced.
  • Future governments will be required to abide by the new rule and offer free healthcare to everybody as a result.

Controversy with the RTH Law:

  • In the RTH, there was controversy over emergency care.
  • According to the provision, everyone has the right to emergency care and treatment in the event of an accident, a snake or animal bite, or any other emergency deemed necessary by the State Health Authority.
  • Without paying the necessary fee or costs in advance, emergency treatment and care are available.
  • Emergency care may be provided by public or commercial health facilities that are certified to do it based on their degree of medical care.

Issues raised by healthcare professionals:

  • Current load of programmes: Medical professionals are criticising the RTH because they don’t see a need for it since programmes like Chiranjeevi already cover the majority of the population.
  • Concerns about specialisation: They are also protesting some sections, such the definition of “emergency” and the requirement to treat patients outside of their expertise during an emergency.
  • Unneeded responsibilities: The Bill allows individuals at all healthcare facilities to select the source from which they will acquire their medications or testing, so hospitals cannot impose their own in-house medications or tests.

Way Forward:

  • Given the thorny nature of the Bill, it is crucial that all interested parties gather at the table and have a productive conversation to address the problems at hand.
  • Government, medical professionals, patient advocacy organisations, and other key parties should coordinate to debate the issues brought up by all parties and find viable solutions.
  • This might be followed by a rewrite of the Bill that takes into account the comments and recommendations of all parties involved and a new push to forge agreement and support for the law.
  • Also, more may be done to increase accountability and openness in the healthcare system, with an emphasis on informing people of their rights.

Source: Indian Express


Facts for Prelims

Sharda Peeth:

  • Hindu shrine Sharda Peeth is situated in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir’s Neelam Valley.
  • One of the 18 Maha Shakti Peethas, or important shrines, dedicated to the Hindu goddess Shakti.
  • For Hindus, especially those from the Kashmir Valley, the temple is a significant place of worship.
  • According to legend, the revered Hindu saint and scholar Adi Shankaracharya founded the temple in the sixth century AD.
  • Throughout the Middle Ages, Sharda Peeth developed into a significant hub of learning and research, drawing intellectuals from all across India and even from as far away as Central Asia.
  • During the years, the temple underwent extensive modifications and reconstructions after being repeatedly damaged by advancing armies.
  • During the colonial era, the temple’s significance decreased, and in the years after India’s 1947 split, it fell into ruin.
  • Now situated in an isolated and difficult area of Kashmir ruled by Pakistan, Sharda Peeth is the focus of political and religious debate.
  • The continuous strife and turmoil over Kashmir has made it difficult for the Indian government to realise its long-held goal of opening a pilgrimage route to Sharda Peeth for Hindu worshippers.
  • There have been requests in recent years for the temple to be given to India or to be transformed into a museum that is open to visitors from both sides of the border.
  • Sharda Peeth is a significant component of Kashmiri Hindu identity and culture, and the community has long called for its restoration and resuscitation.
  • Some Kashmiri Pandits feel that restoring the temple would be a step towards recovering their cultural and religious heritage since they see it as a representation of their exiled country.
  • Some, on the other hand, urge against politicisation of the temple and contend that it belongs to all Kashmiris, regardless of their political or religious connections.


Abel Prize:

  • The King of Norway bestows the Abel Prize on one or more outstanding mathematicians each year.
  • It is based on the Nobel Awards and is named for the Norwegian mathematician Niels Henrik Abel (1802–1829).
  • It includes a 7.5 million Norwegian kroner (NOK) monetary reward (increased from 6 million NOK in 2019).
  • When the Norwegian mathematician Sophus Lie discovered that Alfred Nobel’s plans for yearly prizes did not include a prize in mathematics, he urged that it be established.
  • The Abel Committee, whose members are chosen by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, chooses the laureates.
  • An Indian-American named Srinivasa Varadhan received the Abel Prize in 2007 for his important work in “probability theory and in particular for developing a unified theory of big deviation.”


Call Before u Dig (CBUD):

  • The Ministry of Communications’ Directorate of Telecommunications is responsible for the app.
  • Uncoordinated drilling and excavation contribute to losses of roughly Rs 3,000 crore annually by damaging underlying assets like optical fibre cables.
  • The software tries to reduce digging damage to utilities.
  • Because fewer critical utilities like roads, communications, water, gas, and electricity would be disrupted, it will save possible economic losses and lessen inconvenience for individuals.
  • Using click-to-call, SMS/Email notifications, and other methods, the CBuD app links excavators and asset owners.
  • It guarantees the protection of subsurface assets while ensuring scheduled excavations around the nation.
  • Before beginning excavation work, excavating contractors can find out whether there are any subterranean utilities present.
  • Utility owners can learn about upcoming construction at the site.

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