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March 28 @ 7:00 am - 11:30 pm



The India TB Report 2024, released by the Union Health Ministry, highlights significant improvements in narrowing the gap between estimated and actual cases of tuberculosis (TB), signaling enhanced detection and treatment efforts.


Reduction in Missing Cases: Tracking Progress:

  • The number of missing TB cases decreased from 2 lakh in the previous year to 2.3 lakh in 2023, showcasing a consistent decline attributed to the Ni-kshay portal’s effective surveillance.
  • Government’s Ni-kshay portal facilitates better tracking of TB patients, leading to improved surveillance and follow-up.

Increase in Private Sector Reporting: Changing Landscape:

  • Private sector reporting witnessed a notable increase, contributing to 33% of total reported cases in 2023, indicating a shifting trend in reporting patterns.
  • This shift signifies a growing involvement of the private sector in TB detection and reporting, supplementing efforts from government health centers.

Incidence and Mortality Rates: New Methodology:

  • Despite a slight increase in TB incidence to 27.8 lakh cases in 2023, the mortality rate remained constant at 3.2 lakh deaths, based on a new methodology accepted by the WHO.
  • India’s adoption of an in-country model for estimating TB cases and deaths resulted in a significant drop in mortality figures compared to the global report by WHO.

Achieving Treatment Targets: Focus on Drug Susceptibility Testing:

  • Treatment initiation for diagnosed TB patients reached 95%, meeting the 2023 target, showcasing significant progress in treatment accessibility.
  • Moreover, there has been a notable increase in drug susceptibility testing for diagnosed patients, emphasizing the importance of early detection of drug-resistant TB.


  • The India TB Report 2024 reflects positive trends in TB detection, treatment initiation, and mortality reduction, yet highlights the need for continued efforts to enhance private sector participation, expand drug susceptibility testing, and ensure access to appropriate therapies for all TB patients.

Steps to Address the TB Crisis:

  • Prioritizing Patients and Communities: Ensure a person-centered approach to TB care, addressing the diverse needs of patients and communities.
  • Bridging Policy Intent with Realities: Strengthen TB diagnosis and treatment interventions, particularly in rural areas, and ensure availability of free, quality-assured TB drugs.
  • Making TB Care Humane: Strengthen community-based TB care models to address social, economic, and mental health needs of patients.
  • Adopting Multi-Sectoral Approach: Address socio-economic determinants of TB through poverty alleviation, improved nutrition, and better living conditions.
  • Leveraging Technology: Utilize AI and digital health solutions for TB diagnosis, adherence, and surveillance, alongside investing in vaccine development for TB elimination.



The recent notification by the Ministry of Rural Development regarding new wage rates for unskilled manual workers under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) for the financial year 2024-2025 signifies efforts to address rural livelihood challenges.

The notification highlights state-wise variations in wage adjustments, reflecting diverse economic landscapes across India.

State-wise Variations in Wage Hikes:

  • Goa experienced the highest wage hike at 10.56%, while Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand recorded the lowest raises at 3.04% each.
  • Haryana boasts the highest NREGS wage rate at Rs 374 per day, contrasting with Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland’s lowest rate at Rs 234 per day.

Significant Increases in Wage Rates:

  • Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana saw substantial increases, with Karnataka reaching Rs 349 per day and Andhra Pradesh and Telangana fixed at Rs 300 per day, marking an increase of over 10%.
  • These adjustments aim to ensure equitable wages for unskilled manual workers and address rural livelihood challenges effectively.

Factors Influencing Wage Adjustments:

  • Wage adjustments are influenced by changes in the Consumer Price Index- Agriculture Labor (CPI-AL), indicating rural inflation rates.
  • Central government determines state-wise wage rates for NREGS workers based on this index, with an average increase of approximately 7% for the financial year 2024-25.

Election Commission Approval:

  • The Ministry of Rural Development obtained permission from the Election Commission to notify revised NREGA wages, highlighting the significance of administrative procedures in welfare scheme implementation, especially during electoral processes.


The notification of new wage rates under MGNREGA reflects varied adjustments across states, influenced by inflation rates and administrative procedures. These adjustments are pivotal in ensuring equitable wages for unskilled manual workers and addressing rural livelihood challenges effectively.

  • Key Provisions of MGNREGA:
  • Eligibility Criteria: Citizens of India, 18 years or above, belonging to rural households willing to undertake unskilled work.
  • Guaranteed Employment: 100 days of unskilled employment per household at government-set minimum wage.
  • Unemployment Allowance: Entitlement to an allowance if work is not provided within 15 days.
  • Social Audit: Mandated audit of all MGNREGA works for transparency and accountability.
  • Preference of Employment Near Residence: Work provided within a 5 km radius of the village.
  • Decentralized Planning: Panchayati Raj Institutions lead planning, implementation, and monitoring of works.
  • Implementing Agencies Responsibility: Ensuring proper working conditions, medical facilities, timely payments, and addressing complaints promptly.



The United States recently imposed sanctions on Russian shipping major Sovcomflot and its associated tankers, alleging violations of price caps. This move has significant implications for Indian refiners, prompting cautious responses to mitigate potential risks.

Indian Refiners’ Response:

  • Indian refiners, major buyers of Russian crude, are wary of accepting deliveries from Sovcomflot tankers to avoid potential secondary sanctions.
  • This cautious approach reflects India’s concern amid geopolitical tensions and the desire to evade sanctions-related risks.

Impact on Crude Oil Trade:

  • While Indian refiners’ reluctance may initially disrupt crude oil trade, the overall impact on Moscow-New Delhi trade is expected to be limited.
  • Potential deeper discounts on Russian oil are anticipated as buyers may demand compliance with the G7 price cap of $60 per barrel.

Shift in Delivery Patterns and Opaque Fleet:

  • With Indian refiners reducing purchases from Sovcomflot tankers, deliveries are shifting towards China, another major buyer of Russian oil.
  • The involvement of an opaque fleet in Russian oil trade suggests minimal impact on both markets from US sanctions due to obscure ownership structures and lax regulatory oversight.

Diversified Crude Oil Supplier Base:

  • India maintains a diversified crude oil supplier base, ensuring a steady supply even amidst disruptions from a major supplier.
  • Despite Russia being India’s largest crude source post-Ukraine conflict, New Delhi’s diversified procurement strategy ensures resilience in its energy supply chain.

Top Crude-Oil Suppliers for India:

  • Russia: India’s largest oil supplier, capitalizing on discounted offers post-Western sanctions due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
  • Iraq: The second-largest source of crude for India, aiming to diversify procurement channels to mitigate geopolitical risks.
  • Saudi Arabia: India’s third-largest oil supplier, maintaining its role in India’s energy security landscape.
  • UAE: Witnessing a surge in oil imports to India, emphasizing Abu Dhabi’s significance as India’s fourth-largest crude supplier.



Kerala Kalamandalam, a prestigious institution for arts and culture education, has made a significant decision to open Mohiniyattam courses to boys, removing gender restrictions. This decision follows a controversy involving derogatory remarks made by a dancer, sparking widespread debate.

Key Points:

Removal of Gender Restrictions:

  • Kerala Kalamandalam has unanimously decided to allow boys to enroll in Mohiniyattam courses starting from the upcoming academic year.
  • This decision was made in a governing council meeting, reflecting a progressive step towards gender inclusivity in classical dance education.

Controversy and Trigger:

  • The move follows controversy over alleged derogatory remarks made by dancer Kalamandalam Sathyabhama against R.L.V. Ramakrishnan.
  • Ramakrishnan’s performance at Kalamandalam led to heightened discussions, ultimately influencing the decision to open Mohiniyattam courses to boys.

Mohiniyattam Education at Kalamandalam:

  • Kerala Kalamandalam offers Mohiniyattam education up to the postgraduate level, emphasizing the institution’s commitment to preserving and promoting traditional art forms.
  • Mohiniyattam, known for its graceful movements and subtle expressions, celebrates feminine beauty and grace, making it an enriching experience for all learners.

Indian Classical Dances:

  • Bharatanatyam: Originating from Tamil Nadu, Bharatanatyam features intricate footwork, hand gestures, and expressive storytelling.
  • Kathak: Hailing from Northern India, Kathak is characterized by rhythmic footwork, storytelling through mime, and vibrant costumes.
  • Odissi: Originating from Odisha, Odissi showcases fluid movements, sculpturesque poses, and themes inspired by Hindu mythology.
  • Kuchipudi: Blend of dance, drama, and music from Andhra Pradesh, Kuchipudi features graceful movements and draws inspiration from mythology and folklore.
  • Kathakali: Highly stylized dance-drama from Kerala, Kathakali is known for elaborate makeup, powerful gestures, and stories from epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata.
  • Mohiniyattam: Originating from Kerala, Mohiniyattam celebrates feminine beauty and grace through gentle swaying movements, subtle expressions, and Carnatic music accompaniment.



Scientists discovered a 50,000-year-old sediment in the Bay of Bengal containing a giant magnetofossil.

About Magnetofossils

  • Magnetofossils are fossilized remains of magnetic particles created by magnetotactic bacteria found in geological records.
  • Magnetotactic bacteria are prokaryotic organisms that align themselves along the earth’s magnetic field.
  • They use tiny crystals made of iron-rich minerals like magnetite or greigite to navigate changing oxygen levels in water bodies.
  • The sediment core from the Bay of Bengal contained pale green silty clays and abundant foraminifera.
  • Microscopy confirmed the presence of conventional magnetofossils alongside giant ones.
  • The Bay of Bengal’s low oxygen concentration at depths of 1,000-1,500 m was evident.
  • Fluctuations in monsoon and distinct geological periods were confirmed through magnetic mineral particles.
  • Rivers like Godavari, Mahanadi, Ganga-Brahmaputra, Cauvery, and Penner played a vital role in magnetofossil formation.
  • Nutrient-rich sediment from these rivers combined with suboxic conditions in the Bay of Bengal favored magnetotactic bacteria growth.
  • Freshwater discharge and oceanographic processes sustained suboxic conditions, allowing bacteria to thrive.



External Affairs recently visited the Indian Coast Guard ship Samudra Paheredar in Manila Bay, Philippines, as part of its deployment to ASEAN countries.

Samudra Paheredar:

  • Samudra Paheredar is a specialized Pollution Control Vessel (PCV) of the Indian Coast Guard.
  • It is the second PCV of India, built by ABG Shipyard in Surat and commissioned in 2012.
  • The ship is stationed on the East Coast of India in Vishakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh.
  • Samudra Paheredar measures 94.10 meters in length, with a maximum displacement of 4,300 tons.
  • It is powered by 3,000-kilowatt twin diesel engines and twin shaft generators, enabling a maximum speed of 21 knots.
  • With an endurance of 6,500 nautical miles at economical speed, the ship can stay at sea for 20 days.
  • Its primary role is pollution response at sea, equipped with advanced equipment like hi-sprint booms, skimmers, and side sweeping arms for oil spill mitigation.
  • The ship has a storage capacity of 502 kilolitres for oil recovery operations.
  • Special features include an integrated platform management system, power management system, and high-powered external firefighting system.
  • Samudra Paheredar is capable of operating one twin-engine ALH/Chetak helicopter.



Meme coins, a unique category of cryptocurrencies, have gained significant popularity in the digital currency space, originating from the growth of meme culture on the internet.

About Meme coins:

  • Also known as ‘memetic tokens’ or ‘community coins’, meme coins are digital currencies created as satire or humorous tributes to internet culture.
  • They feature quirky names, logos, and branding referencing popular memes, jokes, or internet phenomena.
  • Meme coins are highly volatile, experiencing extreme changes in value over short periods, driven by current buzz surrounding the token.
  • Typically, they have a massive or uncapped supply, leading to very low values per token.
  • Leveraging blockchain technology, meme coins often use smart contracts on platforms like Ethereum and Solana.
  • Creating a meme coin is relatively easy compared to traditional cryptocurrencies, facilitated by blockchain platforms and decentralized finance (DeFi) tools.
  • Meme coins are primarily driven by speculation and community engagement, lacking fundamental value or unique use cases.
  • Investing in meme coins carries significant risk due to rapid price fluctuations.


March 28
7:00 am - 11:30 pm
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