TABLE OF CONTENTS
A. GS1 Related B. GS2 Related POLITY 1. SC seeks PNB probe report in sealed cover, Govt objects C. GS3 Related ECONOMY 1. India’s steel imports from S. Korea, Japan may rise DEFENCE 1. Navy’s all-woman crew begins return journey D. GS4 Related E. Editorials HEALTH ISSUES 1. The Fight against TB F. Prelims Fact G. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions H. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
A. GS1 Related
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B. GS2 Related
1. SC seeks PNB probe report in sealed cover, Govt objects
- The Supreme Court’s suggestion to file the probe report of the PNB scam in a sealed cover to it invited strong protests from the Centre which opposed this saying it would amount to a “parallel enquiry.”
- The AG was responding to the CJI’s suggestion while hearing a PIL — which sought directions to register cases against top officials of Punjab National Bank, deportation of Nirav Modi and directions to bank regarding grant of loans — that the Centre file the report in a sealed cover.
- At the outset, the AG apprised the court that the probe was on and 19 persons had been arrested so far, of whom eight were public servants and the rest private persons.
- The bench and adjourned it to April. Hearing on the petition last month too had witnessed strong comments from the bench which termed it a “publicity interest litigation” and a “misuse of PIL.”
- Justice Chandrachud had said then “we must not pre-empt the government and stop it from investigating” and that the forum of courts was always there if the investigation was not satisfactory.
C. GS3 Related
1. India’s steel imports from S. Korea, Japan may rise
- India is likely to witness an increase in steel imports from South Korea and Japan in the near term due to global readjustment of trade patterns after the U.S. imposed a 25% import tariff on the commodity, rating agency ICRA said in a note.
- Both South Korea and Japan, which have free trade agreements (FTA) with India, are expected to raise their exports to countries with which they have such pacts, following the move by the U.S.
- Together, the two countries exported about 5 million tonnes (mt) of steel to the U.S. in calendar 2017.
- ICRA, however, said the impact of U.S. tariffs may not be significant in the medium term as 26 mt of affected imports to that country would be absorbed by the 25 mt increase in the global demand elsewhere, especially in emerging economies.
- Also, Chinese steel exports had been declining in the last two years, reaching 75 mt in 2017 from a peak of 112 mt in 2015, providing an opportunity to other countries to fill this gap left by China, by diverting volumes away from the U.S.
- India’s steel exports to the U.S. remained a meagre 0.7 mt in 2017.India’s steel mills should be able to find an alternative market for its nominal U.S. export volumes without much difficulty.
- The National Steel Policy 2017 envisaged an additional investment of Rs. 10 lakh crore in capacity addition by FY31. Jobs generation would increase to about 36 lakh from the current 25 lakh.
1. Navy’s all-woman crew begins return journey
D. GS4 Related
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1. The Fight against TB
- The incidence rate of tuberculosis (TB) in India is estimated at 200-300 cases per 100,000 population per year. As a comparison, in western Europe it is five per 100,000 per year.
- Control in public health is deliberate reduction of incidence to a desired and defined level by specific interventions.
- Without monitoring incidence and defining the desired target, the Revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP) is not a valid control programme, but a great humanitarian programme of free diagnosis and treatment.
- India’s estimated annual TB burden is 28 lakh, 27% of the global total; our population is only 18%. Every day 1,200 Indians die of TB — 10 every three minutes. The tragedy 1,200 families face every day is beyond imagination.
- No other disease or calamity has such Himalayan magnitude. Had control efforts registered even pass grade, we would not have become the TB capital of the world.
- Infection with TB bacilli is the necessary cause of TB, a disease that mimics other diseases, confusing doctors and delaying diagnosis. Cough and blood in sputum occur only in lung TB.
- Pelvic TB is the commonest cause of female infertility in India. TB can affect the lungs, brain, bones, joints, the liver, intestines or for that matter any organ and can progress slowly or kill in weeks.
- In designing TB control three processes must be understood: infection, progression, transmission.
- Infection occurs when TB bacilli are inhaled. Bacilli may stay in the lungs or travel to other organs. Infection is lifelong, with bacilli lying dormant.
- This phase is “latent TB”, diagnosed by a tuberculin skin test (TST). The “annual rate of TB infection” (ARTI) is about 1%. Cumulatively, 40% to 70% of us are living with latent TB. From this reservoir pool, a few progress to TB disease, one by one, 5-30 years, average 20 years, later.
- Progression occurs when bacilli become active, multiply and cause pathology; now we have “active TB”. Only when active TB affects the lungs do bacilli find an exit route to the atmosphere, necessary for transmission.
- All of us, the public, health-care professionals, Health Ministry policy planners and implementers, must form a united battlefront. Beginning with schools, public education on TB and its prevention must replace ignorance and misconceptions.
- Transmission and infection are ends of a tunnel. If no one spits in public places and if everyone practises cough and sneeze etiquette (covering one’s mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing), the TB affected will also fall in line.
- A person with lung TB disseminates TB bacilli over several weeks. By the time treatment stops dissemination, unfortunately, all his close contacts would have been already infected. This is why TB treatment has not brought down the TB burden.
- To block transmission, treatment should begin as soon as a symptom shows up. RNTCP guidelines — for testing only after two weeks of cough — result in the loss of precious lead time.
- Some 70% of people seek health care in the private sector. As cough is a very common symptom of many diseases, doctors don’t think of TB until other treatments fail. Frustrated patients also shop around until someone thinks of TB; bingo, the sputum test is positive. While treatment is the patient’s urgent need, it will not control TB. It is like shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.
- Partnership with the private sector is essential for early diagnosis of TB. Delay in diagnosis, for which we are notorious, is a fallout of the lack of efficient primary health care. Universal primary health care, a basic human right, and a diagnostic algorithm for early diagnosis are essential for TB control. Every country that has reduced TB incidence practises universal health care.
- How can progression be retarded? The biomedical method is drug treatment of latent TB. Experts recommend an age window of 5-10 years when all children must be screened with TST; those with latent TB must be treated to prevent progression. The spin-off is in getting annual data on ARTI to track the trajectory of decline. A yearly 5% reduction of ARTI is achievable. In 20 years we can be on a par with western Europe in terms of infection incidence. Active TB will also decline, but more slowly.
- To outsmart TB bacilli, we must intercept infection, progression and transmission. While TB bacilli are efficient in all three, our weapons against them are blunt. Our only chance of victory is by the concerted use of all interventions — biomedical and socio-behavioural. There is no glamour in this long-drawn-out battle.
- Any further delay may convert a controllable disease into an uncontrollable one, because of increasing frequency of resistance to drugs against TB.
F. Prelims Fact
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G. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam
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H. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
General Studies III
- Dual control in public sector has made RBI toothless. Critically analyze.
- The appointment of the Fifteenth Finance Commission has come at a time of momentous changes in Indian fiscal federalism. What are the changes and what would be its implications?
Also, check previous Daily News Analysis
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