With a renewed focus on tackling leprosy, the Union Health Ministry has devised a strategic road map for achieving zero cases of the infection by 2030.
- Despite India being declared “Leprosy Eliminated” in 2005, the country still accounts for over half (52%) of the world’s new leprosy patients.
GS II- Health
Dimensions of the Article:
- What is Leprosy?
- What are the symptoms?
- How does it spread?
What is Leprosy?
- Leprosy is a chronic, progressive bacterial infection caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium leprae.
- It primarily affects the nerves of the extremities, the skin, the lining of the nose, and the upper respiratory tract.
- Leprosy is also known as Hansen’s disease.
- Hansen’s disease produces skin ulcers, nerve damage, and muscle weakness. If it isn’t treated, it can cause severe disfigurement and significant disability.
- Hansen’s disease is one of the oldest diseases in recorded history. The first known written reference to Hansen’s disease is from around 600 B.C.
- Hansen’s disease is common in many countries, especially those with tropical or subtropical climates.
- It’s not very common in the United States.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source reports that only 150 to 250 new cases are diagnosed in the United States each year.
What are the symptoms?
- The main symptoms of Hansen’s disease include:
- muscle weakness
- numbness in the hands, arms, feet, and legs
- skin lesions
- The skin lesions result in decreased sensation to touch, temperature, or pain.
- They don’t heal, even after several weeks.
- They’re lighter than your normal skin tone or they may be reddened from inflammation.
How does it spread?
- The bacterium Mycobacterium leprae causes Hansen’s disease.
- It’s thought that Hansen’s disease spreads through contact with the mucosal secretions of a person with the infection. This usually occurs when a person with Hansen’s disease sneezes or coughs.
- The disease isn’t highly contagious.
- However, close, repeated contact with an untreated person for a longer period of time can lead to contracting Hansen’s disease.
- The bacterium responsible for Hansen’s disease multiplies very slowly. The disease has an average incubation period (the time between infection and the appearance of the first symptoms) of five years, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
-Source: The Hindu
Recently, Karnataka BJP president triggered yet another controversy when he asked people to chase away Tipu Sultan supporters “to the forest” as “only those who perform bhajans of Ram” should remain “in this land”.
GS I: Modern History
Dimensions of the Article:
- About Tipu Sultan
- Was Tipu Sultan a tyrant and a religious bigot?
- Some of the reforms Tipu Sultan introduced.
- How did Tipu die?
About Tipu Sultan
- Tipu Sultan was born Sultan Fateh Ali Sahab Tipu on November 10, 1750 in Devanahalli, present-day Bangalore.
- He was born to Hyder Ali, who rose through the ranks of the army of the Wodeyars, the then Hindu rulers of Mysore.
- Hyder Ali ceased power in 1761 with Tipu succeeding his father in 1782.
- Tipu was an educated ruler, having studied the Quran, Islamic jurisprudence, languages, philosophy and science.
- He was also adept in the art of warfare, having been involved in his first battle at the age of 15.
- While fighting the British in 1767, Tipu first came in contact with European culture and lifestyle, something that would fascinate him.
- This fascination would be reflected in his rule of Mysore: Tipu undertook various policies and reforms which would modernise the princely state and go on to become a lasting aspect of his legacy.
- Hyder Ali died in 1782, during a period of conquest and expansion of his realm.
- Thus, Tipu inherited the throne under trying circumstances, with his primary motivation being to consolidate the territory he had inherited from his father.
- Over the past 20 years, the kingdom of Mysore had slowly expanded by capturing disputed areas at its borders.
- Tipu inherited rebellious provinces in Malabar, Kodagu, and Bednur, all of which were crucial to Mysore’s strategic and economic interests.
- His rule in these areas is what is often cited as proof of his bigotry and authoritarianism.
Was Tipu Sultan a tyrant and a religious bigot?
- Warfare in Tipu’s time was brutal and those who rebelled were dealt with an iron hand.
- Among the punishments Tipu applied to rebels or conspirators were forced conversion and the transfer of people from their home territories to Mysore, with some of the absent populations replaced by migrants from other regions, such as the Bellary district.
- The forced removals occurred from both Kodagu and Malabar, the former as a response to continued resistance against Mysore rule, the latter – specifically, Nairs and Christians – as a result of their resistance and perceived treachery in the Anglo-Mysore Wars.
- The Hindu right’s narrative of Tipu’s bigotry emphasises Tipu’s militarism as well as his perceived attacks on “Hindu” rulers and subjects.
- While he undoubtedly ordered forced conversions in areas he annexed, Tipu also patronised various temples and Hindu shrines, including the Sri Ranganatha temple at Srirangapatna and the Math in Sringeri.
- Both these actions were to solidify his position as a ruler — the former to crush dissidents and the later to gain legitimacy among his largely Hindu subjects.
Some of the reforms Tipu Sultan introduced
Tipu’s fascination with European culture:
- It was evident in many of the innovations that can be credited to him and his rule.
- One of his emissaries returned from France with gunsmiths, watchmakers, workers of porcelain from Sèvres, glass-workers, textile weavers, printers who could work with Eastern languages, an engineer and a physician, not to speak of clove and camphor trees, European fruit trees, and seeds of various flowers.
- Tipu wanted Mysore to be a modern rival of the European powers and made investments in technology accordingly.
Iron-cased rockets in warfare:
- Tipu is credited for the introduction of iron-cased rockets in warfare.
- While rocket-like weapons had previously been used in War, Tipu’s army used what can be termed as the first modern war rockets in the Anglo Mysore Wars (though some sources say that it was his father Hyder Ali who introduced these and Tipu only improved upon existing models).
- These rockets were used to devastating effects against much larger British armies, driving them to panic and disarray.
- The British used Tipu’s models for their own rockets, which would go on to play an important role in the Napoleonic Wars.
Administrative and Economic reforms:
- He introduced new coins, started a new land revenue system in Mysore, as well as introduced sericulture, which continues to employ many Kannadigas to date.
- Furthermore, some claim that upon hearing of the plight of lower caste women who were not allowed to wear blouses, Tipu personally supplied them with cloth.
How did Tipu die?
- Tipu Sultan died defending his fortress of Srirangapatna against British forces in the Fourth Anglo Mysore War in 1799.
- His forces were heavily outnumbered and his French allies had not been able to come to his aid.
- His final act of valour and defiance has been glorified by many who see him as a nationalist, anti-colonial icon.
- In the course of India’s freedom struggle, Tipu Sultan became a symbol of resistance against British rule, with emphasis on aspects of his persona which suited the nationalist narrative.
-Source: Indian Express
Periyar Tiger Reserve:
A four-day bird survey conducted by the forest department has identified 231 species of birds in the Periyar Tiger Reserve, of which 11 species of birds were not recorded during the previous surveys.
GS III: Environment and Ecology
Dimensions of the Article:
- About Periyar Tiger Reserve:
- About the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA)
About Periyar Tiger Reserve:
- Periyar Tiger Reserve is situated in the Western Ghats of Kerala, India.
- It covers an area of 925 square kilometers.
- It was declared a Tiger Reserve in 1978 and is home to around 40 tigers.
- Other animals found here include elephants, wild pigs, sambar, gaur, mouse deer, dole or barking deer, Indian wild dog, and various species of primates.
- The rare lion-tailed macaque, Nilgiri Langur, Gee’s Golden Langur, Common Langur and Bonnet Macaque are also found here.
- Periyar Tiger Reserve is also being considered as the habitat of the elusive Nilgiri Tahr.
- The terrain of the reserve is hilly and undulating with a maximum altitude of 2016 meters.
- The vegetation consists of tropical evergreen, semi-evergreen, and moist deciduous forests.
- More than 171 species of grasses have been recorded in the reserve.
- Some of the important flora found in the reserve include teak, mangoes, rosewood, jamun, jacarandas, terminalias, tamarind, royal ponciana, and bamboos.
- Periyar Tiger Reserve is home to many tribal communities including the Mannans and the Palians.
- The reserve is named after the River Periyar, which has its origin deep inside the reserve.
- Two main rivers, Pamba and Periyar, drain the reserve.
About the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA)
- The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) was established in December 2005 following a recommendation of the Tiger Task Force, constituted by the Prime Minister of India for reorganised management of Project Tiger and the many Tiger Reserves in India.
- The Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 was amended in 2006 to provide for constituting the National Tiger Conservation Authority responsible for implementation of the Project Tiger plan to protect endangered tigers.
- The National Tiger Conservation Authority is set up under the Chairmanship of the Minister for Environment and Forests.
- The Authority will have eight experts or professionals having qualifications and experience in wildlife conservation and welfare of people including tribals, apart from three Members of Parliament of whom two will be elected by the House of the People and one by the Council of States.
- The Authority, interalia, would lay down normative standards, guidelines for tiger conservation in the Tiger Reserves, apart from National Parks and Sanctuaries.
- It would provide information on protection measures including future conservation plan, tiger estimation, disease surveillance, mortality survey, patrolling, report on untoward happenings and such other management aspects as it may deem fit, including future plan for conservation.
- The Authority would also facilitate and support tiger reserve management in the States through eco-development and people’s participation as per approved management plans, and support similar initiatives in adjoining areas consistent with the Central and state laws.
- The Tiger Conservation Authority would be required to prepare an Annual Report, which would be laid in the Parliament along with the Audit Report.
- Every 4 years the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) conducts a tiger census across India.
-Source: The Hindu
Indo-Tibetan Border Police
Recently, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) approved the raising of seven new battalions of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) force.
GS III: Security Challenges
Dimensions of the Article:
- About Indo-Tibetan Border Police
- Roles and Responsibilities
About Indo-Tibetan Border Police:
Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Home Affairs.
- The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) is one of the five Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) of India, which is responsible for guarding the country’s border with Tibet (China) along the Himalayan range.
- The motto of the Force: “Shaurya-Dridhata-Karma Nishtha” (Valour – Determination – Devotion to Duty).
History and Formation:
- It was raised in 1962, in the wake of the Sino-Indian War of 1962 for deployment along India’s border with China’s Tibet Autonomous Region.
- Its primary task was to guard the border with China and to prevent any further aggression.
Roles and Responsibilities:
- The ITBP is responsible for guarding the 3,488 km-long India-China border.
- It also provides security to various installations and projects in the region.
- The force is also deployed for disaster management and relief operations in the Himalayan region.
- ITBP personnel are also deployed for peacekeeping operations under the United Nations.
- The ITBP is headed by a Director-General (DG) who is assisted by various other senior officers.
- The force is organized into several sectors, each headed by a Deputy Inspector General (DIG).
- Each sector is further divided into several battalions, each headed by a Commandant.
Recruitment and Training:
- ITBP recruits both male and female candidates for various posts.
- The selection process includes a written test, physical efficiency test, and medical examination.
- Once selected, candidates undergo rigorous training in various aspects of border guarding, including mountaineering, survival skills, and weapons handling.
Uniform and Insignia:
- The ITBP uniform is similar to that of the Army, with a distinct red and blue patch on the shoulder.
- The force’s insignia features two crossed Khukris (traditional Nepalese knives) with a snow lion in the background.
Awards and Honours:
- The ITBP has received several awards and honours, including two Presidential Unit Citations for its role in the 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pakistan wars.
- ITBP personnel have also been awarded the Kirti Chakra, Shaurya Chakra, and other gallantry awards for their bravery and valour in the line of duty.
-Source: The Hindu