Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 25 March 2021

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 25 March 2021


India TB report

  • According to the India TB report, in 2020, there were 18.05 TB notifications, which was a fall of 24% from 2019 due to the disruptions caused by the pandemic.
  • Released by the health ministry, the report said that, between January and February 2020, the notifications were on an upward trajectory, with 6% more cases reported in the same period in 2019.


  • As a result of the lockdown, notifications in the public sector fell by 38% and 44% in the private sector in April and May.
  • Of the reported 24.04 lakh TB cases in 2019, treatment success was 82%, mortality rate was 4%, 4% patients were lost to follow up and treatment failure and regimen change after initiation of treatment was about 3%.
  • The approved budgets toward the programme have increased substantially, from ₹640 crore in 2016-17 to ₹3,333 crores in 2019-20, however, there was a fall in budget to ₹3,110 crore in 2020-21.
  • Over 95% of all cases reported were initiated on treatment in 2020 and the treatment success rate for patients reported in 2019 was 82% (83% among patients in the public sector and 79% in the private).
  • The report said 20,892 (42%) of patients were initiated on a shorter MDR-TB regimen at the time of diagnosis. This is a significant decline from 2019.

 Glacial Lake Outburst Floods

  • Glacial Lake OutburstFloods (GLOF)is sudden release of water from a lake fed by glacier melt that has formed by the lateral, terminal and medial moraines.
  • Moraines are accumulations of dirt and rocks that have fallen onto the glacier surface or have been pushed along by the glacier as it moves.
  • National Disaster Management Authority has issued guidelines on Management of Glacial Lake Outburst Floods in October, 2020.
  • Guidelines outline roles and responsibilities, actions to be taken by various stakeholders, including the Government.


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Special purpose acquisition companies

  • Earlier this month, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued an investor alert, which was the first warning of sorts, when it came to SPACs, or special purpose acquisition companies.


  • An SPAC, or a blank-cheque company, is an entity specifically set up with the objective of acquiring a firm in a particular sector.
  • The aim of this SPAC is to raise money in an initial public offering (IPO), and at this point in time, it does not have any operations or revenues.
  • Once the money is raised from the public, it is kept in an escrow account, which can be accessed while making the acquisition. If the acquisition is not made within two years of the IPO, the SPAC is delisted and the money is returned to the investors.
  • Certain market participants believe that, through an SPAC transaction, a private company can become a publicly-traded company with more certainty as to pricing and control over deal terms as compared to traditional IPOs.

 Traffic jam in the Suez Canal

  • The Suez Canal, a critical shipping artery that connects the Mediterranean and Red Seas through Egypt, has been blocked after a large cargo ship ran aground while passing through it, bringing traffic on the busy trade route to a halt.


  • A human-made waterway, the Suez Canal is one of the world’s most heavily used shipping lanes, carrying over 12% of world trade by volume.
  • It was built in 1869.It provides a major shortcut for ships moving between Europe and Asia, who before its construction had to sail around Africa to complete the same journey.
  • The 150-year-old canal was controlled by British and French interests in its initial years, but was nationalised in 1956 by Egypt’s then leader Gamal Abdel Nasser. Over the years, the canal has been widened and deepened.
  • In 2015, Egypt announced plans to further expand the Suez Canal, aiming to reduce waiting times and double the number of ships that can use the canal daily by 2023.



  • Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (POWERGRID) has established an e-Tendering Portal-PRANIT.


  • It will lead to less paperwork and ease of operation, making the tendering process more transparent.
  • It has been certified by Standardisation, Testing and Quality Certification Directorate (STQC), Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India.
  • With this, POWERGRID is now the only organization in India to have an eProcurement solution on SAP Supplier Relationship Management (SRM), complying with all applicable requirements relating to security and transparency as stipulated by STQC.
  • POWERGRID in pursuit of digitalisation has been undertaking a number of innovative enhancements within SAP SRM framework.



  • The search for drugs and therapies to treat drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) came in for some good news, as enrolment of people for atrial studying a new regimen was stopped after an independent board indicated it was “superior” to the current standard of care.


  • TB-PRACTECAL, a phase II/III clinical trial sponsored by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF-Doctors without Borders), tested a six-month regimen of bedaquiline, pretomanid, linezolid and moxifloxacin, against the locally accepted standard of care.
  • At the interim analysis, 242 patients had been enrolled in seven trial sites across Belarus, South Africa and Uzbekistan.
  • Earlier this month, the trial’s independent data safety and monitoring board recommended that randomisation of patients into TB-PRACTECAL be stopped, as more data was doubtful to change the trial results.


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