Daily Current Affairs: GK Today- 18 November 2017

Indo-Bangladesh Exercise ‘SAMPRITI 2017’ comes to an end

Closing ceremony for the seventh Indo-Bangladesh joint exercise SAMPRITI was held at Counter Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School, Vairengte in Mizoram. Exercise SAMPRITI is an important bilateral defence cooperation endeavour between India and Bangladesh.

The exercise is aimed at strengthening and broadening the aspects of interoperability and cooperation between the Indian and Bangladesh Armies while working together in a counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism environment under the UN mandate. Exercise had two distinct components which included Command Post Exercise (CPX) and Field Training Exercise (FTX). The CPX focused on planning of counter-terrorist operations whereas during FTX focus was on company/platoon level tactical drills. A tactical exercise was also conducted during the FTX.

Both contingents displayed great enthusiasm and professionalism while carrying out joint drills and skill displays during the conduct of exercise and it was a great learning experience for both the contingents. The troops have not only learnt about each other’s organisation, but have also identified best practices. The exercise was a great success and has taught valuable lessons to the troops of both the countries. Joint Exercises between Armies across the world are increasingly becoming an important aspect of the bilateral relations. Exercise SAMPRITI between the armies of India & Bangladesh was not only symbolic of their maturing relationship but will also built trust and confidence between both Armies.

 

Moody’s upgrade Sovereign Credit Rating of India to Baa2 from Baa3

Moody’s Investors Service (“Moody’s”) has upgraded the Government of India’s local and foreign currency issuer ratings to Baa2 from Baa3 and changed the outlook on the rating to stable from positive. India’s rating has been upgraded after a period of 13 years. India’s sovereign credit rating was last upgraded in January 2004 to Baa3 (from Ba1).

Government of India welcomes the upgrade and believes, as rightly noted by the Moody’s that this is in recognition of major economic and institutional reforms undertaken by Government of India. These reforms include introduction of path breaking Goods and Services Tax (GST); putting in place a sound monetary policy framework; measures taken to address recapitalisation of public sector banks and a number of measures taken to bring formalisation and digitalisation (The JAM agenda) in the economy – demonetization, the Aadhaar system of biometric accounts and targeted delivery of benefits through the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) system.

Moody’s have also rightly recognized the Government’s commitment to macro stability which has led to low inflation, declining deficit and prudent external balance and Government’s fiscal consolidation programme which has resulted in a reduction of fiscal deficits from 4.5% of GDP in 2013-14 to 3.5% in 2016-17 and its consequential sobering impact on general government debt. Government intends to stay the course on fiscal consolidation in the medium term.

 

Health Ministry introduces Daily Drug Regimen for treatment of Tuberculosis

The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has recently announced the launch of daily regimen for TB patients across the country under The Revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP). The Health Ministry has been providing the thrice weekly regimen for the treatment of tuberculosis (TB), however it has now decided to change the treatment strategy for TB patients from thrice weekly to daily drug regimen using fixed dose combinations (FDC) for treatment. This change will bring transformation in the approach and the intensity to deal with this disease which accounts for about 4.2 lakh deaths every year.

The daily FDC anti-TB drugs will be made available to private pharmacy or at private practitioners to dispense to TB patients who seek care in private sector, depending upon the convenience of patient and practitioner free of cost. The Health Ministry will take this forward with all major hospitals, IMA, IAP and other professional medical associations to expand the access to daily FDC to all TB patients.

The salient features of this treatment strategy are use of Ethambutol in continuation phase for all patients, drugs to be given daily (as against only 3 times weekly previously), fixed dose combination (FDC) tablets to be used which will reduce pill burden (as against separate 7 tablets previously), for children, child friendly formulations as dispersible tablets and use of Information Technology (IT) enabled treatment adherence support system.

Current WHO Global TB Report, 2017 has reported that incidence of TB has reduced from 28.2 lakh to 27 lakh and mortality by 60 thousand over the last one year, which is a testimony of anti TB drive by Government of India.