Kala-azar ‘eliminated’ from all blocks of Bihar
While Bihar has over 67% of kala-azar cases in the country, but all the blocks of state achieved the target of its elimination in 2022, for the first time ever. However, in order to be declared kala-azar free, the state has to maintain this target for three consecutive years.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation country lead (neglected tropical diseases), Bhupendra Tripathi, praised the state’s efforts in achieving this target. Explaining the concept behind becoming kala-azar free, Tripathi said if any block has less than one case per 10,000 of its population, then it is said to have achieved the elimination target. However, validation is done after three years.
In Bihar, Isuapur in Saran and Goriakothi in Siwan were the two blocks in the category of endemic. However, by the end of 2022, both managed to reduce the number of kala-azar cases as per the standard set.
Even though Bihar has managed to reduce the numbers and come out of the category of endemic, it has the highest cases of kala-azar as well as the deaths due to it in the country.
As per the data shared by the National Centre for Vector-borne Diseases Control, there were 547 cases of kala-azar in Bihar till December 2022, out of total 810 cases across the country. Also, out of total 39 kala-azar deaths reported in 2022, maximum 26 were in Bihar.
But, state’s own journey shows tremendous improvement. For instance, it had 7,615 cases in 2014, which came down to 3424 in 2018 and to 547 in 2022.
India, Nepal to enhance eco, dev ties
India and Nepal resolved to further enhance their ties in the sphere of economic and development cooperation during talks between Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra and his Nepalese counterpart Bharat Raj Paudyal. They also reviewed the wide-ranging bilateral partnership and had a fruitful exchange on strengthening the comprehensive bilateral relations.
It is expected that Kwatra will also discuss with his Nepalese interlocutors the possibility of a visit to India by Nepal’s Prime Minister Prachanda. Prachanda has said that he will travel to India on his first foreign visit.
Nepal and India will discuss various matters of bilateral cooperation such as connectivity, power trade, agriculture, health and culture among others during the foreign secretary’s visit, according to a statement issued by Nepal’s foreign ministry on Sunday. “The visit is in continuation of the regular exchange of visits between the two friendly neighbours,” it said.
India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy is an integral component of Indian foreign policy. The policy seeks to build cordial and synergetic relations with India’s South Asian neighbours in various areas such as economy, science and technology, research and education, among others.
Bihar and Chattisgarh among States that allocated more towards education
Among the big States in the country, Chhattisgarh and Bihar allocated the most proportion of their budget towards education in FY23. While Chhattisgarh allocated 18.82 per cent of the State’s estimated net budget expenditure to education, Bihar allocated 18.3 per cent.
The States that have spent a higher portion of their budget expenditure on education are Delhi, Assam, and Himachal Pradesh, which allocated 22 per cent, 20 per cent and 19 per cent, respectively, of their budgets on education this fiscal year.
While Chhattisgarh and Bihar are spending more on education, they do not fare too well on literacy. The literacy rate in Chattisgarh is 77.9 per cent, while the rate for Bihar is 70.9 per cent, one of the lowest in the country, according to the National Sample Survey 2018.
Centre to set up 2L farm credit societies, dairy-fishery co-ops
Aiming to achieve the goal of “Sahakar-se-Samriddhi” through the inclusive growth model of cooperatives which are presently unevenly distributed in the country, the Union Cabinet approved setting up of 2 lakh Primary Agriculture Credit Societies (PACS) and dairy-fishery cooperatives in uncovered villages and panchayats over the next five years.
The plan will be implemented with the convergence of various schemes by leveraging the ‘whole of government’ approach. The proposal will enable cooperative societies to set up and modernise necessary infrastructure.
At present, there are around 63,000 functional PACS in the country while primary dairy cooperative societies are around 1,99,182 having around 1.5 crore members who are engaged in procurement of milk from the farmers, providing milk testing facilities, cattle feed sale, extension services, etc. to the members.
Similarly, primary fishery cooperative societies are around 25,297 in number having around 38 lakh members. These cater to one of the most marginalized sections of the society, providing them marketing facilities, assisting in procuring fishing equipment, fish seed and feed, and also providing credit facilities to the members on a limited scale.
PGI cleared 11% kidney transplants last year: RTI
The Internal Scrutiny Committee of premier medical institute PGI cleared 23% of live/cadaver kidney transplants at the hospital in 2021 and 11% in 2022, according to a reply to an RTI query sought by TOI, which means not all registered were approved owing to medical reasons and delay in meetings of the committee.
In 2021, out of 999 patients waiting for kidney transplantations at the PGI, 228 were given approval by the committee, while a few others had to wait for other reasons. A total of 187 transplants were conducted.
The PGI is one of the few centres in the country that offers kidney transplants at almost one fourth the cost as compared to private hospitals. The institute has the largest and oldest kidney transplant programme in the country.
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