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June 29 @ 7:00 am - 11:30 pm



Gestational diabetes is a significant concern, especially in low- and middle-income countries like India. Researchers from India, London, and Africa have proposed a shift from the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) to an HbA1c test for early detection of gestational diabetes 

This approach, published in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology, could offer a more practical and accessible solution for pregnant women, particularly in rural areas. 

Current Practice: OGTT 

  • The OGTT involves consuming a 75 g glucose solution after fasting. 
  • Requires a follow-up test 2-3 hours later. 
  • Typically administered between 24 to 28 weeks of pregnancy. 
  • Challenges include accessibility, especially for women in remote areas. 

Proposed Alternative: HbA1c Test 

  • Suggested to be used in the first trimester. 
  • Simplifies the screening process by using a single blood sample. 
  • Can be administered at the point of care, even in rural settings. 
  • Provides early identification of high-risk pregnancies. 

Advantages of HbA1c Testing 

  • Accessibility: Easier for rural healthcare workers to perform. 
  • Early Detection: Allows for intervention with diet and exercise. 
  • Reduced Need for OGTT: Only 25% of pregnant women would require further testing. 
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Although initially more expensive, increased usage could lower costs. 

Economic Impact 

  • Direct cost of HbA1c testing is higher, but total costs may be neutral due to reduced travel and lost wages. 
  • Wider use may lead to decreased costs over time. 

Public Health Implications 

  • Could prevent 50% to 64% of OGTTs currently performed. 
  • Enhances reach and coverage in public health settings. 
  • Early intervention potential to prevent the development of gestational diabetes. 


Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects how your body regulates blood sugar. Blood sugar is the main source of energy for your body’s cells. With diabetes, your body either doesn’t produce enough insulin or can’t use the insulin it produces effectively. 

The two main types of diabetes are: 

  • Type 1 diabetes: An autoimmune disease that destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. The body needs insulin to absorb glucose from the blood into the cells. 
  • Type 2 diabetes: The most common type of diabetes. In type 2 diabetes, your body either doesn’t produce enough insulin or your cells become resistant to insulin. 

Symptoms of diabetes 

  • Increased thirst 
  • Frequent urination 
  • Unexplained weight loss 
  • Extreme hunger 
  • Blurred vision 

Gestational Diabetes 

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that develops during pregnancy. It usually develops in the second or third trimester. If you have gestational diabetes, your body can’t make enough insulin to keep your blood sugar levels in the normal range during pregnancy. 

Risk factors for gestational diabetes 

  • Family history of diabetes 
  • Being overweight or obese before pregnancy 
  • Having had gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy 
  • Age 35 or older 
  • History of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) 

Symptoms of gestational diabetes 

  • There are usually no symptoms of gestational diabetes. It’s typically found during a routine prenatal screening test. 

Government offers several programs to support pregnant women. 

  • Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan (PMSMA): This program guarantees free, high-quality prenatal checkups on a designated day each month by a specialist or medical officer. 
  • Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY): This scheme aims to promote institutional deliveries by providing financial assistance to pregnant women choosing to deliver in a government or accredited healthcare facility. 
  • Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY): This maternity benefit program offers cash incentives to pregnant women, particularly those belonging to disadvantaged sections of society, to help meet nutritional needs and improve pregnancy outcomes. 
  • State-specific programs:  Some states, like Telangana, have additional programs like Arogya Lakshmi, which provides nutritious meals, eggs, and milk to pregnant and lactating women to combat malnutrition and improve child health. 


The transition from OGTT to HbA1c testing could significantly improve the management of gestational diabetes, particularly in resource-limited settings. By facilitating early detection and intervention, this approach may enhance maternal and fetal health outcomes.  

The study underscores the potential benefits of adopting the HbA1c test as a routine screening tool, thereby reducing the burden on healthcare systems and improving access for pregnant women in rural areas. 

Multiple Choice Question: 

  1. Consider the following statements regarding Diabetes:
  1. Gestational diabetes is a form of Type 1 Diabetes. 
  1. Insulin deficiency is a primary cause of both Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes. 
  1. Increased intake of sugary drinks is a major risk factor for Type 2 Diabetes. 

Which of the statements given above is/are correct? 

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



Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy and is not related to Type 1 diabetes. 

Type 1 diabetes is caused by insulin deficiency due to autoimmune destruction of insulin-producing cells. Type 2 diabetes primarily involves insulin resistance, not just insulin deficiency. 

High consumption of sugary drinks is associated with an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. 



India has achieved a remarkable result in the 2023-24 mutual evaluation by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), marking significant progress in combating money laundering and terrorist financing. 

Mutual Evaluation Report 

  • Adopted at the FATF plenary in Singapore (June 26-28, 2024). 
  • Places India in the “regular follow-up” category, shared by only four other G-20 countries. 
  • Highlights India’s high level of technical compliance with FATF requirements. 


  • Strong AML (Anti-Money Laundering) and CFT (Countering the Financing of Terrorism) frameworks. 
  • Effective CPF (Counter-Proliferation Financing) regime. 
  • International cooperation and access to beneficial ownership information. 
  • Use of financial intelligence and asset recovery. 

Areas for Improvement 

  • Strengthening supervision in some non-financial sectors. 
  • Addressing delays in money laundering and terrorist financing prosecutions. 
  • Enhancing measures to prevent the misuse of the non-profit sector for terrorist financing. 

Recognized Efforts 

  • Mitigating risks from corruption, fraud, and organized crime. 
  • Transitioning to a digital economy to reduce risks. 


FATF is an intergovernmental organization that sets international standards for how countries should prevent these financial crimes.  While the G7 initiated FATF, not all G7 countries are currently members. 

  • Full Name: Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering 
  • Founded: 1989 by the G7 countries 
  • Headquarters: Paris, France 
  • Goal: Fight against money laundering, terrorist financing, and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction 

FATF uses two lists to identify countries with weaknesses in their Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regimes: 

  • Black List: This list, formally called the High-Risk Jurisdictions subject to a Call for Action, identifies countries with significant strategic deficiencies in their AML/CFT regimes. These deficiencies pose a high risk of money laundering and terrorist financing. FATF calls on its members to apply enhanced due diligence measures to business relationships and transactions involving these countries. 
  • Grey List: This list, formally called Jurisdictions under Increased Monitoring, identifies countries that have committed to addressing strategic deficiencies in their AML/CFT regimes. These countries are working with FATF to implement action plans to strengthen their systems.  While FATF doesn’t call for enhanced due diligence measures for grey listed countries, they are subject to increased monitoring to ensure they are making progress on their commitments. 


This recognition reflects India’s rigorous measures over the past decade to protect its financial system from ML/TF threats, marking a significant milestone in its ongoing efforts. 

Multiple Choice Question: 

  1. With reference to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), consider the following statements:
  1. It is a multilateral organization established by the United Nations. 
  1. It maintains a blacklist of countries with weak Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) regimes. 
  1. India is a founding member of FATF. 

Which of the statements given above is/are correct? 

  1. 1 only 
  1. 2 only 
  1. 2 and 3 only 
  1. 1, 2 and 3 



FATF is an intergovernmental organization, not a multilateral organization established by the UN. The G7 countries founded FATF. 

FATF does maintain a blacklist (officially called High-Risk Jurisdictions subject to a Call for Action) for countries with weak AML/CFT regimes. 

India is not a founding member of FATF. It became a member in 2006. 



In the first two months of FY25, India’s fiscal deficit stood at ₹50,000 crore, representing 3% of the full-year target. 

  • Receipts: Achieved 18.6% of the target, aided by a ₹2.1 lakh crore dividend from the central bank. 
  • Expenditure: 13.1% of the projection, with capital expenditure at 12.9% compared to 16.8% by May 2023. 
  • Total Expenditure: ₹6.23 lakh crore, including ₹1.43 lakh crore on capital account. 

Revenue Deficit 

  • Definition: The excess of total revenue expenditure over total revenue receipts. 
  • Formula: 
  • Revenue Deficit = Total Revenue Expenditure – Total Revenue Receipts 
  • OR Revenue Deficit = Total Revenue Expenditure – (Tax Revenue + Non-Tax Revenue) 

Fiscal Deficit 

  • Definition: The excess of total expenditure over total receipts (excluding borrowings). 
  • Formula: 
  • Fiscal Deficit = (Revenue Expenditure + Capital Expenditure) – (Revenue Receipts + Capital Receipts Excluding Borrowings) 
  • OR Fiscal Deficit = Total Borrowing Requirement of the Government 
  • Implications: Indicates borrowing needs for financing expenditures, including interest payments. It reflects future liabilities for interest and loan repayment. 

Primary Deficit 

  • Definition: Fiscal deficit minus interest payments on past borrowings. 
  • Formula: 
  • Gross Primary Deficit = Fiscal Deficit – Interest Payments 
  • Net Primary Deficit = Fiscal Deficit + Interest Received – Interest Payments 
  • Purpose: Shows borrowing needs excluding interest payments. 

Current Status: India’s fiscal deficit for FY24 (ending March 2024) was 5.63% of GDP, slightly better than the budgeted 5.8%. This shows some progress. 

Target: The government aims to bring down the fiscal deficit to 5.1% of GDP for FY25 (ending March 2025) and further to 4.5% by FY26. 

Here are some of the initiatives the Indian government to decrease the fiscal deficit: 

Increase Revenue: 

  • Improve tax collection efficiency. 
  • Introduce new taxes or broaden the tax base. 
  • Increase revenue from government-owned enterprises. 

Reduce Expenditure: 

  • Rationalize subsidies. 
  • Control wasteful spending. 
  • Improve targeting of social welfare programs. 

Boost Economic Growth: 

  • Higher economic growth would naturally lead to increased government revenue. 


  • Balancing these measures is important. 
  • Excessive spending cuts can hamper growth, while raising taxes can discourage investment. 


Economists suggest that these figures provide space for enhanced fiscal consolidation beyond the 5.1% of GDP target, with potential for increased expenditure. 

Multiple Choice Question: 

  1. With reference to fiscal deficit in India, consider the following statements:
  1. It is the difference between the government’s total revenue and total expenditure. 
  1. A high fiscal deficit can lead to inflation. 
  1. The Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act sets a target for maximum fiscal deficit as a percentage of GDP. 

Which of the statements given above is/are correct? 

  1. 1 only 
  1. 1 and 2 only 
  1. 1 and 3 only 
  1. 1, 2 and 3 



Fiscal deficit is indeed the difference between the government’s total revenue and total expenditure in a financial year. 

A high fiscal deficit can lead to inflation. When the government spends more than it earns, it often resorts to borrowing money. This increased money supply in circulation can lead to inflation. 

The Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act, enacted in 2003, sets a target for the maximum fiscal deficit of the central government as a percentage of GDP. This act aims to ensure fiscal consolidation and long-term macroeconomic stability. 



Steriphopus wangala is a newly discovered species of spider found in the West Garo Hills district of Meghalaya. It belongs to the Palp-Footed Spider family and is named after the Garo community’s harvest festival, the Wangala festival, also known as the 100 Drums Festival. 

About the Wangala Festival: 

Cultural Significance: 

  • The Wangala festival is celebrated by the Garo tribe in Meghalaya, marking the end of the agricultural season. 
  • It is a time to express gratitude to the spirits and deities for a successful harvest and to seek blessings for the upcoming year. 

Religious Rituals: 

  • During Wangala, offerings and sacrifices are made to the Garo tribe’s main deity, Saljong, who is revered as the Sun God. 
  • The festival also signifies the onset of winter in the region. 

Drumming Tradition: 

  • A highlight of the Wangala festival is the rhythmic beat of a hundred drums, hence its nickname, the 100 Drums Festival. 
  • These drums are traditionally crafted from tree trunks and play a central role in Garo cultural ceremonies. 

Dance and Celebration: 

  • The festival spans several days, culminating in a grand celebration where large groups of dancers, accompanied by the drums, perform ceremonial and traditional dances. 
  • The dance is characterized by synchronized movements to the drumming rhythms, reflecting the unity and cultural identity of the Garo community. 



Motor Neuron Diseases (MNDs) are a group of progressive neurological disorders that affect motor neurons, which are cells in the brain and spinal cord responsible for controlling muscles. These diseases gradually damage these neurons, leading to problems with movements like walking, speaking, and breathing. 

Characteristics and Causes of MNDs: 

Progressive Nature:  

  • MNDs are characterized by a progressive loss of motor neurons over time, causing muscles to weaken and eventually leading to paralysis.  
  • Symptoms typically appear after the age of 50, with early signs including muscle weakness and slurred speech. 

Gender and Genetics 

  • MNDs affect more males than females, and while most cases develop sporadically without a known cause, about 1 in 10 cases are familial, meaning they are inherited due to genetic mutations. 

Types of MNDs:  

  • Examples of MNDs include amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), progressive bulbar palsy, and spinal muscular atrophy.  
  • ALS is the most common type, affecting both upper and lower motor neurons and impacting muscles throughout the body. 

Management and Treatment of MNDs: 

Treatment Challenges 

  • Currently, there is no cure or standard treatment for MNDs due to their complex nature and unknown causes. 

Symptomatic and Supportive Care:  

  • Treatment focuses on managing symptoms and providing supportive care to improve quality of life.  
  • This includes medications to alleviate symptoms like muscle cramps and difficulty swallowing, as well as physical therapy and respiratory support to maintain muscle function and mobility. 


  • The prognosis for individuals with MNDs varies, with average survival rates ranging from 3 to 5 years after diagnosis for ALS.  
  • However, with comprehensive supportive care, some people can live longer, highlighting the importance of early detection and ongoing management. 



ABHYAS is a High-Speed Expendable Aerial Target (HEAT) developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in India. Recently, DRDO successfully conducted six consecutive developmental trials of ABHYAS at Chandipur, Odisha. 

About ABHYAS: 

  • ABHYAS serves as an expendable aerial target designed to simulate realistic threat scenarios for testing weapon systems.  
  • It was developed by DRDO’s Aeronautical Development Establishment in Bengaluru, with production support from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Larsen & Toubro. 


  • Autonomous Flying: ABHYAS operates autonomously using an autopilot system, facilitating pre-flight checks and autonomous flight. 
  • Data Recording: It includes features to record flight data for detailed analysis after missions. 
  • Components: The booster system was designed by the Advanced Systems Laboratory, while the navigation system was developed by the Research Centre Imarat. 

Key Facts about DRDO: 

  • Formation: Established in 1958, DRDO was formed by merging the Technical Development Establishment (TDEs) of the Indian Army and the Directorate of Technical Development and Production (DTDP) with the Defence Science Organisation (DSO). 
  • Mission and Vision: DRDO operates as the research and development wing of India’s Ministry of Defence. Its mission is to achieve self-reliance in critical defence technologies, aiming to empower India with cutting-edge defence capabilities. 
  • Research and Development: DRDO comprises a network of laboratories across India dedicated to advancing defence technologies in areas such as aeronautics, armaments, electronics, and more. 
  • Headquarters: The headquarters of DRDO is located in New Delhi, overseeing its diverse research and development activities aimed at bolstering India’s defence capabilities. 



Raimona National Park is situated in Assam along the Indo-Bhutan border, known for its diverse flora and fauna. Recently, scientists recorded a lone mainland serow within this park at an elevation of 96 meters above sea level. 

About Raimona National Park: 

  • Located along the Indo-Bhutan border in Assam. 
  • Northern boundary shares with Phibsoo Wildlife Sanctuary in Bhutan. 
  • Western boundary marked by the Sankosh River and the inter-state boundary of West Bengal and Assam. 
  • Eastern part is defined by the Saralbhanga River flowing southward from Bhutan’s Sarphang district. 

Vegetation and Flora: 

  • Encompasses twelve types of forests including moist sal forests, semi-evergreen forests, savannah forests, and more. 
  • Rich in orchid species, tropical rainforest flora, and riverine grasslands. 


  • Home to diverse wildlife including the Golden Langur, Asian Elephant, Royal Bengal Tiger, Clouded Leopard, and Indian Gaur. 

Key Facts about Mainland Serow: 

  • Resembles a hybrid between a goat and an antelope. 
  • Typically found at altitudes ranging from 200 to 3,000 meters. 


  • Habitat spans across the India-Bhutan border, including areas like Phibsoo Wildlife Sanctuary in Bhutan and Royal Manas National Park. 
  • Other species include the Japanese serow, red serow (found in eastern India, Bangladesh, Myanmar), and Taiwan or Formosan serow. 

Conservation Status: 

  • IUCN: Classified as Vulnerable due to habitat loss and hunting. 
  • CITES: Listed under Appendix I, highlighting its endangered status and the need for international protection. 



The Rhisotope Project, initiated in 2021 in South Africa, aims to combat rhinoceros poaching by injecting low-dose radioactive material into live rhinoceros horns. This innovative approach seeks to enhance detection at border posts and render rhino horns useless for human consumption. 

About the Rhisotope Project: 


Developed to deter poaching of rhinos by making their horns easier to detect and less valuable in illegal markets. 


  • The project includes implanting two small radioactive chips into the horns of 20 rhinos.  
  • This radioactive material emits detectable signals using radiation sensors at international borders, ensuring it does not harm the rhinos or their surroundings. 

Duration and Effectiveness: 

  • The radioactive material is expected to remain effective for five years on the horn, providing a longer-term solution compared to frequent dehorning every 18 months. 
  • Each treated horn is also sprayed with 11,000 microdots for additional identification purposes. 

Monitoring and Follow-up: 

  • Scientists will conduct follow-up blood samples to ensure the effectiveness of the radioactive treatment in protecting the rhinoceroses from poaching attempts. 

Context in South Africa: 

  • South Africa hosts the majority of the world’s rhino population and faces a severe poaching crisis fuelled by demand primarily from Asian countries, where rhino horns are used in traditional medicine. 


June 29
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