Tuesday, 4th April 2023

Table of contents

1   Editorial of the day

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Wheat crisis - Edukemy Current Affairs

2   Daily Current Affairs

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Foreign Trade Policy 2023 - Edukemy Current Affairs

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ISRO Launch RLVLEX - Edukemy Current Affairs

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India's defence export reach an all-time high

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India celebrates 50 Successful years of project tiger

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Thirra Dance Form - Edukemy Current Affairs

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OPEC+ - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Advance Pricing Agreement (APA)

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Automated Testing Station (ATS)

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National Logistics Portal Marine (NLPM)

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Eravikulam National Park (ENP)

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Nagri DubRaj Rice - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Leishmaniasis or kala-azar - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Editorial of the day

Wheat crisis - Edukemy Current Affairs


Exam View: Issues due to unseasonal rains; Solutions to such issues; Wheat soil and climatic conditions

In News: Unseasonal rains have wreaked havoc on wheat farmers in India. Right policy instruments that are on-time can serve the farmers’ interests as well as the national interest of ensuring food security.

Background:

  • The unseasonal spell of rains and even hailstorms in some parts of the country in the second half of March have aggravated concerns about the rabi harvest, especially wheat.
  • Wheat, grown on almost 34 million hectares, is the second biggest staple after rice.
  • Punjab seems to have been hit a bit harder than many other states. The Government of Punjab (GoP) is currently assessing the damage by girdawari (field inspection) and patwari system.

Decoding the editorial:

Key issues

  • To know the extent of damage, in terms of quality and quantity of wheat and other crops. The quality loss (shrivelled grain, lustre loss, discolouration, etc), is likely to be more than the quantity loss.
  • Policy actions to be taken to help farmers and ensure food security

Solutions:

  • PM-Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY):
    • About: This was a major initiative that the government launched after two successive droughts of 2014-15 and 2015-16. Under this scheme, farmers bear only 1.5 per cent premium of the sum insured for rabi crops while the rest of the premium is equally shared between the Centre and the states as a subsidy on total premium.
    • States: Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Telangana, Jharkhand and West Bengal opted out of the scheme citing “financial constraints”. Punjab persistently opposed and never implemented the scheme.
      • The states should reconsider PM-FBY to ensure less money out from their own budget to compensate farmers for their losses. The frequency and intensity of such events is likely to increase in the face of worsening climate change.
    • Changes: PM-FBY needs to be made smart and transparent with the application of modern technologies to assess the damages.
      • The use of Drones and LEOS (Low Earth Orbit Satellites) with all weather stations spread all over the country is the solution.
      • The patwari system is not fool-proof and is ridden with corruption. This does not give confidence to reinsurers, which are critical players in this game, and therefore, the premium remains high.
    • Food Corporation of India (FCI) can relax quality specifications for its procurement operations with a view to meet its target of 34mmt.
      • Government of India (GoI) can also help by giving a bonus to farmers to sell it to FCI. This would ensure enough buffer with the FCI.
      • GoI can lower import duty and allow import of wheat. Last year (FY23), India exported more than 5 mmt of wheat and wheat flour despite a ban on wheat exports.
      • The rice stock with GoI’s central pool is more than three times the buffer stock requirements. FCI thus has the flexibility to substitute rice for wheat in its public distribution system (PM-Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana) wherever feasible, or give the option of direct cash transfers.

 

Keywords: GS Paper-3: Agriculture
Daily Current Affairs

Foreign Trade Policy 2023 - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News: Union Minister of Commerce and Industry launched the Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) 2023, which comes into effect from April 1, 2023.

Background:

  • Foreign Trade Policy is a policy document which is based on continuity of time-tested schemes facilitating exports as well as a document which is nimble and responsive to the requirements of trade. It is based on principles of ‘trust’ and ‘partnership’ with exporters.
  • The term of FTP 2015-20 ended in March 2020, however, it has been extended repeatedly in wake of Covid outbreak. The last extension was given in September 2022 till March 31, 2023.

Objectives of FTP- 2023:

  • To enhance the competitiveness of Indian exports in the global market
  • Promote sustainable development of the country’s trade sector
  • Increase India’s overall exports to USD 2 trillion by 2030, with equal contributions from the merchandise and services sectors.
  • To promote a digital economy and leverage technology to enhance the competitiveness of Indian exports.

Salient features of FTP-2023:

  • Process Re-Engineering and Automation:
    • It codifies implementation mechanisms in a paperless, online environment, building on earlier 'ease of doing business' initiatives.
    • Reduction in fee structures and IT-based schemes will make it easier for MSMEs and others to access export benefits.
    • Duty exemption schemes for export production will be implemented through a rule-based IT system environment, eliminating the need for manual interface.
  • Towns of Export Excellence
    • Four new towns, Faridabad, Mirzapur, Moradabad, and Varanasi, have been designated as Towns of Export Excellence (TEE) in addition to the existing 39 towns.
    • They will have priority access to export promotion funds under the MAI scheme and will be able to avail Common Service Provider (CSP) benefits for export fulfilment under the EPCG Scheme.
  • Recognition of Exporters

    • Exporter firms recognized with 'status' based on export performance will now be partners in capacity-building initiatives.
    • The status holders would be encouraged to provide trade-related training to interested individuals.
  • Promoting export from the districts:
    • The FTP aims at building partnerships with State governments and taking forward the Districts as Export Hubs (DEH) initiative.
  • Streamlining SCOMET Policy
    • India is placing more emphasis on the "export control" regime as its integration with export control regime countries strengthens.
    • There is a wider outreach and understanding of SCOMET (Special Chemicals, Organisms, Materials, Equipment and Technologies) among stakeholders.
  • Facilitating E-Commerce Exports
    • FTP 2023 outlines the intent and roadmap for establishing e-commerce hubs and related elements such as payment reconciliation, book-keeping, returns policy, and export entitlements.
    • The consignment wise cap on E-Commerce exports through courier has been raised from Rs. 5 Lakh to Rs. 10 Lakh.
  • Facilitation under Export Promotion of Capital Goods (EPCG) Scheme
    • The EPCG Scheme, which allows import of capital goods at zero Customs duty for export production, is being further rationalized.
    • PM Mega Integrated Textile Region and Apparel Parks (PM MITRA) scheme has been added as an additional scheme eligible to claim benefits under CSP Scheme of EPCG.
  • Facilitation under Advance authorization Scheme:
    • Advance authorisation Scheme accessed by DTA units provides duty-free import of raw materials for manufacturing export items and is placed at similar footing to EOU and SEZ Scheme.
  • Merchanting trade:
    • FTP 2023 has introduced provisions for merchanting trade where trade of restricted and prohibited items under export policy would now be possible.
    • It involves shipment of goods from one foreign country to another foreign country without touching Indian ports, involving an Indian intermediary.
  • Amnesty Scheme:
    • The government is introducing a special one-time Amnesty Scheme under the FTP 2023to address default on Export Obligations.
    • This scheme is intended to provide relief to exporters who have been unable to meet their obligations under EPCG and Advance Authorizations, and who are burdened by high duty and interest costs associated with pending cases.

Source: 

https://pib.gov.in/PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=1912572

Keywords: GS-3 Fiscal Policy, Government Policies & Interventions
Daily Current Affairs

ISRO Launch RLVLEX - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News: Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)’s Reusable Launch Vehicle Mission RLV LEX

About

  • ISRO has recently demonstrated a precise landing experiment for a Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) at the Aeronautical Test Range (ATR), Chitradurga, Karnataka.
  • The RLV LEX test was the second of five tests that are a part of ISRO’s efforts to develop RLVs, or space planes/shuttles, which can travel to low earth orbits to deliver payloads and return to earth for use again.
  • The experiment has been carried out to achieve the autonomous landing of a space vehicle and to develop essential technologies for a fully reusable launch vehicle to enable low-cost access to space.

RLV TD Project:

  • The first experiment was done in 2016 when a rocket carrying the 1.75-tonne RLV-TD was launched into space for 91.1 seconds and reached a height of about 56 km.
  • It validated critical technologies such as autonomous navigation, guidance and control, reusable thermal protection system, and re-entry mission management.
  • The Second RLV Experiment was carried recently using a Chinook Helicopter of the Indian Air Force lifting the RLV LEX to a height of 4.5 km and releasing the RLV, based on a command from Mission Management Computer.
  • It carried out an autonomous landing “under the exact conditions of a Space Re-entry vehicle’s landing including high speed, unmanned, precise landing from the same return path.
  • It will be used to develop technologies like hypersonic flight (HEX), autonomous landing (LEX), return flight experiment (REX), powered cruise flight, and Scramjet Propulsion Experiment (SPEX).
  • In the future, this vehicle will be scaled up to become the first stage of India’s reusable two-stage orbital (TSTO) launch vehicle.

 

https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-sci-tech/isro-reusable-launch-vehicle-mission-rlv-lex-explained-8534520/

 

Keywords: GS-3 Science and Technology
Daily Current Affairs

India's defence export reach an all-time high


In News: India has recently achieved an all-time high level of defence exports worth approximately 16,000 crore rupees to over 85 countries.

About

  • The achievement is seen as a clear manifestation of India’s talent and enthusiasm towards ‘Make in India’.
  • To realise this government has taken several steps including simplified Export procedures, end-to-end online export authorisation for Ease of Doing Business.
  • The government has also notified three Open General Export Licenses (OGEL) for the export of Parts and Components, transfer of technology and major platforms and equipment.

Key Points:

  • In only six years, defence exports surged over 10 times amid a number of reforms and policy initiatives taken by the government.
  • The rising defence exports and participation of over 100 countries in Aero India 2023 are proof of the country's growing defence manufacturing capabilities.
  • Indian Defence sector is undergoing a revolution with government's 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat' or Self-Reliant India initiative focuses on Defence and Aerospace sector.
  • Goal is to achieve a turnover of $25 Bn including export of $5 Bn in Aerospace and Defence goods and services by 2025.
  • India is the 3rd largest military spender in the world with its defence budget accounting for 2.15% of the country’s total GDP.
  • Govt also plans to spend $ 130 Bn for fleet modernisation across all armed services over the next 5-7 years with industry getting INR 5.94 lakh crore in Budget 2023-24, a jump of 13% over previous year.

Important government steps for Defense Sector

  • Ministry of Defence has notified three 'Positive Indigenization lists' comprising of 310 defence equipment to be manufactured locally.
  • FDI in Defence Sector has been enhanced up to 74% through the Automatic Route and 100% by Government Route.
  • Government has announced 2 dedicated Defence Industrial Corridors in the States of Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh as a clusters of defence manufacturing to leverage existing infrastructure and human capital.
  • Government has also launched supportive government schemes such as iDEX (Innovations for Defence Excellence) and DTIS (Defence Testing Infrastructure Scheme) to enable innovation within Defence & Aerospace eco-system.
  • At present, India exports various defence products including Brahmos Missiles, Akash Missile System, Radars, PINAKA Rockets & Launchers, LCA-Tejas, Light Combat Helicopters and Aircraft Carriers.

 

https://newsonair.gov.in/News?title=India%26%2339%3Bs-defence-exports-reach-all-time-high-of-Rs-16%2C000-crore&id=458648#:~:text=India%20has%20achieved%20a%20remarkable,initiatives%20taken%20by%20the%20government

 

Keywords: GS-3 Science and Technology
Daily Current Affairs

India celebrates 50 Successful years of project tiger


In News: IIndia has recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of “Project Tiger” marking five decades of tiger conservation.

Project Tiger:

  • India launched Project Tiger on 1 April 1973 to initially cover nine tiger reserves spread over 18,278 sq km.
  • At present, India has 53 reserves covering more than which is approximately 2.4% of the country’s geographical area.
  • Project Tiger has been successful in bringing tigers back from the brink of extinction
  • India along with other countries, including Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand, and Vietnam, committed to doubling their number of big cats in 2010 by 2022.
  • India met its doubling the population target in 2018 itself and at present is home to more than 70% of the global tiger population, with a current population of about 3,000 tigers, which is increasing by 6% per annum.

 

https://theprint.in/world/india-celebrates-50-successful-years-of-project-tiger/1490932/

 

Keywords: GS-3 Environment and Ecology
Daily Current Affairs

Thirra Dance Form - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News: Recently, ‘Nagaraja Thira’ was celebrated at the Sree Muchilottu temple at Kuthiravattom in Kozhikode.

About Thirra Dance Form:

  • ‘Thira’, like Theyyam, is a dance that is part of a religious ritual. While the person participating in Theyyam is considered god, the person taking part in ‘Thira’ is considered as possessed by god.
  • Thirra is a ritual dance performed in “Kaavu” (grove) & temples of the Malabar region in Kerala State, South India.
  • This art form is performed by the artists of malaya
  • This art is performed during Utsavam (annual temple festival). Clan deities such as Bhagavathi, Shiva are worshipped in these forms.
  • Thira brings the gods to life.
  • Performers dress up with ceremonial facial paint and loud clothing and dance in front of the deity, the bhagavathi.
  • The objective clearly is to bring a sense of awe to the proceedings.
  • Each performer represents a particular deity and is sponsored by devotees as a prayer offering.
  • The performers belong to the “Peruvannan” caste of, who are given prime importance in Thira.

 

Source:

https://epaper.thehindu.com/ccidist-ws/th/th_delhi/issues/30910/OPS/GTKB2GR0B.1+GU6B2HIDU.1.html

 

Keywords: GS –1 Art & culture
Daily Current Affairs

OPEC+ - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News: Saudi Arabia and other OPEC+ oil producers recently announced further cuts in their production, aimed at supporting market stability.

About OPEC+

  • In December of 2016, OPEC formed an alliance with other oil-exporting nations that were not a part of the organization, creating an entity that is commonly referred to as OPEC+, or OPEC Plus.
  • Prominent members of OPEC+ include Russia, Mexico, and Kazakhstan.
  • OPEC plus countries include Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Brunei, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mexico, Oman, Russia, South Sudan and Sudan.
  • It refers to a group of 23 oil-producing countries that includes 13 members of OPEC (Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Algeria, Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Libya, Nigeria, the Republic of the Congo, and Venezuela) and 10 other oil-producing countries (Russia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Brunei, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mexico, Oman, South Sudan and Sudan).
  • They usually meet every month to determine how much oil the member states will produce.
  • The objective of the organization is to “coordinate and unify the petroleum policies of its Member Countries and ensure the stabilisation of oil markets in order to secure an efficient, economic and regular supply of petroleum to consumers, a steady income to producers and a fair return on capital for those investing in the petroleum industry.
  • OPEC+ controls over 50% of global oil supplies.
  • OPEC+ remains influential due to three primary factors:
  • An absence of alternative sources equivalent to its dominant position.
  • A lack of economically feasible alternatives to crude oil in the energy sector.
  • The comparatively low-cost price advantage against the relatively high-cost non-OPEC production.

OPEC

  • OPEC is a permanent, intergovernmental organization.
  • Established in 1960 by founding members Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, OPEC has since expanded and now has 13 member states.
    • Member countries are: Algeria, Angola, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela.
    • Qatar terminated its membership on 1st January 2019.
  • OPEC aims to regulate the supply of oil in order to set the price on the world market.
  • The arrival of fracking technology for natural gas in the U.S. has reduced OPEC’s ability to control the world market.
  • While OPEC does ensure that there is a steady supply of oil in the global market, it has come under fire for holding considerable power in the industry, which allows it to keep prices as high as possible.
  • Saudi Arabia is the largest oil producer among OPEC members.
  • Russia, which produces more oil than even Saudi Arabia, plays a crucial role, along with OPEC, in influencing global crude oil prices.
  • It is headquartered in Vienna, Austria.
  • Member countries of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) produce about 40% of the world's crude oil.
  • OPEC's oil exports represent about 60% of the total petroleum traded internationally.

 

Source:

https://epaper.thehindu.com/ccidist-ws/th/th_delhi/issues/31036/OPS/GI7B2JT6M.1+G6IB2KM29.1.html

 

Keywords: GS –2 Important International Institutions, GS –3 Indian Economy & Related Issues
Daily Current Affairs

Advance Pricing Agreement (APA)


Why in news? Recently, State-run GAIL (India) Limited entered into an advance pricing agreement (APA) with the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT).

About APA:

  • The Advance Pricing Agreement (APA) programme in India was launched in 2012 vide the Finance Act, 2012 through the insertion of Sections 92CC and 92CD in the Income-tax Act, 1961.

  • APA is an agreement between a taxpayer and tax authority determining the transfer pricing methodology for pricing the taxpayer’s international transactions for future years.
  • It can be Unilateral, Bilateral APA (BAPA), or Multilateral APA (MAPA).
  • Benefits: Avoids double taxation, certainty for complex and high-risk transactions, reduces compliance costs, promotes ease of doing business etc.

 

https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1912685#:~:text=The%20Central%20Board%20of%20Direct,32%20Bilateral%20APAs%20(BAPAs

 

Keywords: General Studies –3 Indian Economy
Daily Current Affairs

Automated Testing Station (ATS)


Why in news? Government has extended mandatory fitness testing through a registered ATS for heavy goods and passenger motor vehicles to October 1, 2024.  

About ATS:

  • An Automated Testing Station (ATS) uses mechanical equipment to automate the various tests required to check the fitness of a vehicle.
  • In 2022, fitness testing was made mandatory from April 1, 2023, under Central Motor Vehicle Rules 1989.
  • Special purpose vehicles, state governments, etc. were allowed to open ATS for testing the fitness of both personal and transport vehicles.
  • Fitness testing for commercial vehicles (transport) is done every two years up to eight years, and every year for vehicles older than eight years.
  • Fitness testing for personal vehicle (non-transport) is done at the time of renewal of registration (after 15 years) and repeated every five years in case renewal of registration is applied.

 

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/govt-extends-mandatory-fitness-testing-of-heavy-goods-passenger-vehicles-till-october-2024/article66684664.ece

 

Keywords: General Studies –2 Government Policies & Interventions
Daily Current Affairs

National Logistics Portal Marine (NLPM)


Why in news? Recently, Union Minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways launched the App Version of National Logistics Portal (Marine) ‘Sagar-Setu’.

About NLPM:

  • The National Logistic Portal (marine) (NLP) is a project of national importance, as envisaged by the Ministry of Ports Shipping Waterways and the Ministry of Commerce & Industry.
  • NLPM is a national maritime single window platform encompassing complete end-to-end logistics solutions.
  • It helps exporters, importers, and service providers exchange documents seamlessly and transact business.
  • The overarching NLP Marine Vision is to cater to various stakeholders in the G2G, G2B and B2B model.
  • It has the capability to integrate with various Port Operating Systems/ Terminal Operating Systems and other stakeholder(s) systems in the ecosystem.

More Information:

  • The app will provide real-time information of activities that are generally not in reach of the importer, exporter, and customs broker including vessel-related information, gate, container freight stations and transactions on fingertips.
  • It also enables digital transactions for payments required for the clearance process of import and export like container freight station charges, shipping line charges, transportation charges, etc.

 

https://pib.gov.in/PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=1912565

 

Keywords: General Studies –3 Indian Economy
Daily Current Affairs

Eravikulam National Park (ENP)


Why in news? The Eravikulam National Park (ENP) in Kerala, the natural habitat of the Nilgiri tahr in Munnar, has a new attraction — a fernarium set up inside the park.

About ENP:

  • It is located in the High Ranges (Kannan Devan Hills) of the Southern Western Ghats in the Devikulam Taluk of Idukki District, Kerala.
  • It was declared as Eravikulam-Rajamala Wildlife Sanctuary in 1975 and was elevated to the status of a National Park in 1978.
  • Vegetation: Grasslands, shrublands and Shola forests.
  • Highest peak: Anamudi at 2695 meters (also the highest peak of the Indian Peninsula).
  • Rivers: Tributaries of River Pambar in the east and tributaries of the River Periyar and Chalakuddy in the west.
  • Fauna: The largest population of the endangered Nilgiri Tahr, other animals include Nilgiri Marten, Ruddy Mongoose, Small Clawed Otter, etc.
  • Flora: Neelakurunji (blooms only once every 12 years), Drosera peltate, etc.

Ferns

  • They were the ecological indicator of healthy forests.
  • Ferns are part of the Epiphytic family.
  • They grow naturally in a soilless condition.
  • The plants obtain water and nutrients through leaching from trees.

 

https://epaper.thehindu.com/ccidist-ws/th/th_delhi/issues/31037/OPS/GI7B2JT6C.1+G6IB2KLLE.1.html#:~:text=The%20Eravikulam%20National%20Park%20(ENP,up%20in%20the%20hill%20station

 

Keywords: General Studies – 3 Environment
Daily Current Affairs

Nagri DubRaj Rice - Edukemy Current Affairs


Why in news? Recently, the Geographical Indication Registry has granted Chhattisgarh’s aromatic rice, Nagri Dubraj, a geographical indication (GI) tag.

About:

  • After Jeeraphool rice in 2019, Dubraj is the second brand to get the GI tag.
  • The women's self-help group “Maa Durga Swasahayata Samuh” of Nagri in Dhamtari district has been harvesting Dubraj and had applied for the GI tag.
  • Features:
    • Nagari Dubraj is also called Basmati in Chhattisgarh, as this rice is used as a flavored rice in traditional feasts of Chhattisgarh.
    • The origin of the city Dubraj is believed to be from Shringi Rishi Ashram area of Sihawa.
    • It is also described in Valmiki Ramayana.
    • The rice is of an indigenous variety and has small grains.

 

https://www.business-standard.com/india-news/chhattisgarh-s-nagri-dubraj-rice-variety-gets-geographical-indication-tag-123033101208_1.html

 

Keywords: General Studies –2 Government Policies & Interventions
Daily Current Affairs

Leishmaniasis or kala-azar - Edukemy Current Affairs


Why in news? Recent work by the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science (IACS) has shown the potential of the quinoline derivatives to treat drug-resistant leishmaniasis or kala-azar (black fever).

About:

The quinoline derivative is a potent inhibitor of enzyme topoisomerase 1, which is essential for maintenance of DNA architecture in the parasites.

kala-azar

  • kala-azar is also known as Visceral Leishmaniasis or Black Fever or Dumdum Fever.
  • Kala-azar is a vector borne (sandfly) neglected tropical disease caused by the protozoan parasites of the genus leishmania.
  • More than 95% cases from India and other tropical countries.
  • The four States endemic for kala-azar in India are: Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, and Uttar Pradesh.
  • Transmission: It is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected female phlebotomine sandfly.
  • Signs and Symptoms: Fever, weight loss, anemia, and enlargement of the liver and spleen.
  • Treatment: The treatment of kala-azar involves the use of drugs, such as sodium stibogluconate and meglumine antimoniate.

 

 

https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/iacs-novel-compound-treats-drug-resistant-kala-azar-infection/article66685449.ece

 

Keywords: General Studies – 2 Government Policies & Interventions, General Studies – 3 Health
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