Armed Forces (Special) Powers Act (AFSPA)

In News

  • The Union government has extended the Armed Forces (Special) Powers Act (AFSPA) in Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland. At the same time, the AFSPA has been removed from several areas in Northeast India.


  • In Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and Northeast India, the AFSPA is a contentious and unpopular law as it allows security services to operate without the risk of prosecution or requirement of a warrant. There have been repeated calls to repeal the law over the years.
  • It has long been alleged that human rights violations and extrajudicial arrests and killings take place under the garb of AFSPA. A string of incidents in recent years have highlighted these concerns, ranging from the Mon killings to the fake encounter in Shopian in J&K.
    • In December 2021, a total of 14 civilians were killed in and after a botched Indian Army operation, according to MHA. 

What is Armed Forces (Special) Powers Act (AFSPA)?

  • Origin of AFSPA:
    • The Act in its original form was promulgated by the British in response to the Quit India movement in 1942. 
    • After Independence, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru decided to retain the Act, which was first brought in as an ordnance and then notified as an Act in 1958.
    • The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, enacted in the year 1958, grants extraordinary powers and immunity to the armed forces to bring back order in the “disturbed areas”.
    • The Act came into force in the context of increasing violence in the Northeastern States decades ago, which the State governments found difficult to control. 
  • Meaning:
    • Armed forces have the authority to prohibit a gathering of five or more persons in an area, can use force or even open fire after giving due warning if they feel a person is in contravention of the law. 
    • If reasonable suspicion exists, the army can also arrest a person without a warrant; enter or search a premises without a warrant; and ban the possession of firearms.
    • Any person arrested or taken into custody may be handed over to the officer in charge of the nearest police station along with a report detailing the circumstances that led to the arrest.
  • Provisions:
    • Under Section 3, the Central Government or the Governor of the State or administrator of the Union Territory can declare the whole or part of the State or Union Territory as a disturbed area.
      • An area can be disturbed due to differences or disputes between members of different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities. 
    • Section 4 gives the Army powers to search premises and make arrests without warrants, to use force even to the extent of causing death, destroy arms/ammunition dumps, fortifications/shelters/hideouts and to stop, search and seize any vehicle.
    • Section 6 stipulates that arrested persons and the seized property are to be made over to the police with the least possible delay.
    • Section 7 offers protection of persons acting in good faith in their official capacity. 
    • The prosecution is permitted only after the sanction of the Central Government.

Rationale behind imposition of AFSPA

  • Effective functioning of Security Forces: Armed Forces are deployed in counter-insurgency / terrorist operations when all other forces available to the State have failed to bring the situation under control.
    • Armed forces operating in such an environment require certain special powers and protection in the form of an enabling law.
  • National Security:  The Act plays a crucial role in maintaining law and order in
  • disturbed areas. Thus, protecting sovereignty and security of the nation.
  • Boosting morale of Forces: AFSPA boosts the morale (mental well-being) of the armed forces for ensuring the public order in the disturbed areas as removal of the Act would lead to militants motivating locals to file lawsuits against the army.

Arguments against AFSPA

  • Violation of the Human Rights: The exercise of these extraordinary powers by armed forces has often led to allegations of fake encounters and other human rights violations by security forces in disturbed areas while questioning the indefinite imposition of AFSPA in certain states.
    • Human rights violations in AFSPA areas are not inquired into and followed by adequate action. Thus, it is against the principle of natural justice.
  • Violation of the right to remedy:  Section 6 of the Act “immediately takes away, abrogates, frustrates the right to constitutional remedy which has been given in article 32(1) of the Constitution.
    • AFSPA was outside the powers granted in the Constitution since it was declaring a state of emergency without following the Constitutional provisions for such a declaration.
  • Ineffectiveness of the Act: Critics argue that this act has failed in its objective of restoring normalcy in disturbed areas although being in existence for about 50 years.

Way Ahead

  • Compliance to Human Rights: It needs to be emphasised that human rights compliance and operational effectiveness are not contrarian requirements. In fact, adherence to human rights norms and principles strengthens the counter insurgency capability of a force.
    • The Indian army has been recognised as an apolitical, secular and professional force by the country. The armed forces need to restructure their approach to operations in states where people are increasingly and rightly developing zero tolerance to human rights violations.
  • Justice Jeevan Reddy Committee Recommendation: In 2005, this committee recommended that AFSPA be repealed, highlighting that the Act has become “a symbol of hate and an instrument of discrimination and high handedness”.
  • Removing Ambiguity in Law: The terms like “disturbed”, “dangerous” and “land forces” need to be clearly defined to ensure greater clarity. 
  • Development of Disturbed areas: AFSPA is required to counter insurgencies and lack of development in the Northeast region is also a major reason for the insurgency therefore the Government should take urgent steps to create new opportunities for growth and development.
  • SC ruling on AFSPA: The constitutionality of AFSPA was challenged in the Supreme Court in 1997. A five-judge Constitution Bench unanimously upheld the law. Although the court agreed that the Constitution did provide for deployment of armed forces in aid of civil power, it held that such deployment can be permitted for a “temporary period” and “until a situation of normalcy was restored”.
    • The court said that while declaring a region as “disturbed area”, the opinion of the state government must be taken and there must be a periodic review of the situation.
    • A complaint containing an allegation about misuse or abuse of the powers conferred under the Central Act shall be thoroughly inquired into 

Section 144 CrPC, 1973

In News

  • Recently, A report titled ‘The Use and Misuse of Section 144 CrPC’ was released in presence of Former CJI U.U Lalit.


  • Section 144  is a colonial era law with the aim of preventing obstruction, annoyance to the general public and to maintain peace and tranquillity in the area.
  • It gives power to a district magistrate or any other executive magistrate empowered by the state government to issue orders so as to prevent any untoward incident related to law and order situation.
  • The order can be used on  certain individuals in a given area or the general public .
  • This Report compiled by four lawyers based on Right to Information responses offers a ground-level analysis of how Section 144 is being used in Delhi, over a duration of one year


  • The Report states that prohibitory orders were issued over 6,100 times in the national capital in 2021.
  • After  examining  nearly 5,400 orders issued for the enforcement of Section 144 in the city. The report found cases where  Section 144 was used to regulate the sale of balms or cough syrups, which are often used as drugs.
  • The report also found section 144 being used for found that 25.6% of the total number of orders issued by the police were  CCTV installation orders .
  • It found that 43% of the total number of section 144 orders were pertaining to regulating businesses through record and registration requirements.
  • The report concludes that implementation of Section 144 orders leaves much to be desired. It opines that Section 144,CrPC instead of being used as an exceptional measure,has become a part of the regular legal framework such that they are periodically re-issued at the expiry of two months.

Powers under Section 144:

  • It empowers the executive magistrate to issue an order prohibiting the assembly of four or more people in an area. Members of such unlawful assembly can be booked for engaging in rioting.
  • Under the section, the magistrate can direct any person to abstain from a certain act or to pass an order with respect to a certain property in the possession or under the management of that person to maintain peace.
  • It can restrict the movement of persons, ability to carry arms and unlawful assembly.
  • It also gives power to the authorities to block internet access.
  • Moreover, obstructing law enforcement agencies from dispersing an unlawful assembly is a punishable offence.

Issues with the Section 144 : 

  • The provisions of the section are extensive and gives the magistrate unjustified power.
  • The immediate relief against the order is the revision application which needs to be submitted to the same officer who imposed section 144. This is against the ‘Principle of Natural justice’.
  • It infringes upon the fundamental rights of the citizens (Article 19, 21).
  • It usage has become exceeded its permit and is being used for mundane/common matters

SC Judgements : 

  • In Babulal Parate vs State of Maharashtra Case, the apex court refused to strike down the law.
  • In Dr Ram Manohar Lohia case, 1967, apex court stated that ‘no democracy can exist if public order is freely allowed to be disturbed by a section of the citizens’ thus refusing to pull down the section.
  • In Madhu Limaye case, 1970, the court said that ‘the power of a magistrate under Section 144 is not an ordinary power flowing from administration but a power used in a judicial manner and which can stand further judicial scrutiny’.
  • Thus, the court has upheld the constitutionality of the law at numerous occasions stating that the restrictions imposed through Section 144 are covered under the reasonable restrictions to the fundamental rights laid down under Article 19(2) of the Constitution.
  • As per the court, the fact that the law may be abused is no reason to strike it down.

Way forward: 

  • Section 144 merits a relook by the supreme court considering its wide usage.The state should bring forth an appropriate framework to be followed before the imposition of the section to make it objective .

Mega Textile Parks

In News 

  • Recently the government announced seven mega textile parks under the scheme PM Mega Integrated Textile Regions and Apparel (PM MITRA).

More about the PM MITRA Scheme

  • Key highlights:
    • The seven Mega Integrated Textile Region and Apparel (PM MITRA) parks will be set up at Greenfield or Brownfield sites located in different states.
    • It will be developed by a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), which will be owned by the State Government and the Government of India in a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Mode
    • The scheme is inspired by the 5F vision of the Prime Minister of India. The ‘5F’ Formula encompasses
      • farm to fibre; 
      • fibre to factory; 
      • factory to fashion; 
      • fashion to foreign. 
  • Core infrastructure: 
    • It will include an incubation centre and plug and play facility, developed factory sites, roads, power, water and waste-water system, common processing house and CETP and other related facilities like design centre, testing centres, among others.
    • These parks will also have support infrastructures like workers’ hostels and housing, logistics park, warehousing, medical, training and skill development facilities.
    • The Scheme shall be implemented on a pan-India basis and is intended for the holistic development of the Textile sector.

The first phase

  • Under the first phase of the PM MITRA scheme, large textile parks, spread across at least 1,000 acres, will come up in seven States —
    • Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Uttar Pradesh.
  • It will house the entire textile value chain, from fibre to fabric to garments
  • The parks will have plug-and-play manufacturing facilities and all the common amenities required.
  • Role of Central government:
    • The Central government will disburse Development Capital Fund of ?500 crore in two tranches for each of the seven facilities. This is for the creation of core and support infrastructure.
  • Role of State governments:
    • The State governments will provide the land, be part of the SPV, and give the required clearances. 


  • Self sufficiency:
    • It is in line with the vision of ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat’ and to position India strongly on the Global textiles map.
  • Streamlining value chain, investments & employment:
    • The scheme seeks to streamline the textile value chain into one ecosystem, taking in spinning, weaving and dyeing to printing and garment manufacturing, is expected to generate investments worth ?70,000 crore. 
    • It would also lead to the creation of 20 lakh jobs.
  • Strengthening the sector:
    • The parks, which will be open for foreign direct investments, will be located in States that have inherent strengths in the textile sector. 
    • Each park will have effluent treatment plants, accommodation for workers, skill training centres and warehouses.
      • It is designed to attract investment from companies looking to scale up, requiring integrated manufacturing facilities in one location.
  • Global competitiveness:
    • It will reduce logistics costs and strengthen the value chain of the textile sector to make it globally competitive.
    • Expanding the fibre and product line will give India a larger share in the global market, from the current 5%. 

Impact of PM MITRA on MSMEs

  • The industry has mixed views on the immediate impact of the huge investments that are expected to come into the parks in existing units.
  • MSME & textile sector:
    • The micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) sector is said to control almost 80% of the textiles and apparels currently made in India. 
    • Further, the Indian textile and clothing units are more cotton-based. 
  • Issues with supply chains:
    • With mounting challenges such as the global geopolitical situation, and overseas buyers exploring China as well as other sourcing options, the past two years have seen notable shifts in supply chains. 
  • Significance of the scheme for the sector:
    • Orders are transitioning to suppliers who are highly price competitive and have sustainable production processes. 
    • The MSME exporters are also realising that there is a need for integrated, larger facilities and these factors are expected to drive the industry’s investment plans.

Way ahead

  • In order to make a giant leap in exports and domestic sales, the industry has to also be price competitive right from the raw material stage and gear up to meet the sustainability and traceability demands of international buyers.
  • The State governments and developers should give thrust to the PM MITRA parks for sustainable and cost-effective solutions for pollution control and other issues that the value-adding segments of the textile chain face.
    • India can take a cue from countries such as Turkey where integrated textile parks are highly efficient.

Source: TH

Biotransformation Technology

In News

  • A UK-based startup claims to have developed a Biotransformation Technology that could alter the state of plastics and make them biodegradable without leaving behind any microplastics

About Biotransformation Technology

  • It is a novel approach to ensure plastics that escape refuse streams are processed efficiently and broken down. 
  • It was co-developed by the Imperial College in London, UK, and a Britain-based startup, Polymateria.
  • The technology would digest the plastics packaging waste naturally with the help of microbes and biodegrade the waste without leaving behind any microplastics.
  • This biotransformation technology is the world’s first that ensures polyolefins fully biodegrade in an open environment causing no microplastics.

 How it works

  • Plastics made using this technology are given a pre-programmed time during which the manufactured material looks and feels like conventional plastics without compromising on quality. 
  • Once the product expires and is exposed to the external environment, it self-destructs and biotransforms into bioavailable wax. 
  • This wax is then consumed by microorganisms, converting waste into water, CO2, and biomass.


  • Food packaging and healthcare industries are the two prime sectors that could use this technology to reduce waste. 
  • The increase in cost is relatively small compared to conventional plastic that does not contain” this technology.

Usage in India

  • Some well-known Indian firms in the food and packaging industries deploy such technologies. 
  • Within the healthcare and pharma industries, this technology provides biodegradable solutions for non-woven hygiene products like diapers, sanitary napkins, facial pads, etc.

Other initiatives of India 

  • Government introduced a plastic waste management gazette to help tackle the ever-growing plastic pollution caused by single-use plastics.
  • In 2022, the Indian government imposed a ban on single-use plastics to bring a stop to their use in the country.
  • The National Dashboard on Elimination of Single-Use Plastic and Plastic Waste Management brings all stakeholders together to track the progress made in eliminating single-use plastic and effectively managing such waste.
  • An Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) portal helps in improving accountability traceability and facilitating ease of compliance reporting in relation to EPR obligations of the producers, importers, and brand-owners.
  • India has also developed a mobile app to report single-use plastics grievances to check the sale, usage or manufacturing of single-use plastics in their area.

Other alternatives to reducing plastic waste

  • A switch to jute or paper-based packaging could potentially cut down plastic waste. This could also build sustainability within the paper industry, and save on the import bill for ethylene solutions. 
  • Wooden packaging is yet another alternative, but that will make the packaging bulkier and increase the cost.
Do you Know ?As per 2022 data, India is generating around 3.5 billion kgs of plastic waste annually and the per capita plastic waste generation has also doubled in the past five years. Of this, a third comes from packaging waste.In 2019, plastic packaging waste from e-commerce firms was estimated at over a billion kilograms worldwide, according to Statista.A joint research project by the Department of Management Studies, IIT Delhi, and Sea Movement noted that Amazon generated nearly 210 million kgs (465 million pounds) of plastic from packaging waste in 2019. 

Ethical Guidelines for AI in Healthcare

In News

  • The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has released the country’s first Ethical Guidelines for Application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Biomedical Research and Healthcare.

What is Artificial intelligence(AI)?

  • Artificial intelligence(AI) is defined as a system’s ability to correctly interpret external data and to use those learnings to achieve specific goals and tasks through flexible adaptation.
    • AI uses complex computer algorithms to emulate human cognition albeit with far reaching capabilities of analyzing large datasets.

Applications of AI in Healthcare

  • The induction of AI into healthcare has the potential to be the solution for significant challenges faced in the field of healthcare like diagnosis and screening, therapeutics, preventive treatments, clinical decision making, public health surveillance, complex data analysis, and predicting disease outcomes. 
  • For example, Computed Tomography (CT) scans can be automatically read by AI as well as radiologists. 
  • Tuberculosis screening can be done by AI using Chest X-Rays.
  • As a result, AI for health has been recognized as one of the core areas by researchers as well as the governments.

Need for the Guidelines

  • As AI technologies get further developed and applied in clinical decision making, it is important to have processes that discuss accountability in case of errors for safeguarding and protection. 
  • Despite all the potential benefits, adopting AI for health brings to the fore several ethical, legal, and social concerns, especially as it pertains to its development and deployment. 
  • Development, as well as deployment of AI-based solutions in healthcare, span a number of issues, including those related to data safety, data sharing, and data privacy.
  • It is therefore mandatory to have an ethical and regulatory framework before AI for Health becomes part of health research and delivery of healthcare. 

The Guidelines

  • Aim: To create an ethics framework which can assist in the development, deployment, and adoption of AI-based solutions.
  • For whom: These guidelines are to be used by experts and ethics committees reviewing research proposals involving use of AI based tools and technologies.
    • These are applicable to health professionals, technology developers, researchers, entrepreneurs, hospitals, research institutions, organization(s), and laypersons who want to use AI technology and techniques in healthcare.
  • The guidelines include sections on ethical principles, guiding principles for stakeholders, an ethics review process, governance of AI use, and informed consent.
  • As per the guidelines, the ethical review process for AI in health comes under the domain of the ethics committee. 
  • The guidelines will be updated time to time as and when need arises.

Government Initiatives to Streamline AI in Healthcare

  • India already offers streamlining of AI technologies in various sectors including healthcare through the National Health Policy (2017), National Digital Health Blueprint (NDHB 2019), and Digital Information Security in Healthcare Act (2018) proposed by the Health Ministry which will pave the way for the establishment of the National Data Health Authority and other health information exchanges.

About ICMR

  • It is the apex body in India for the formulation, coordination and promotion of biomedical research, and is one of the oldest medical research bodies in the world.
  • Background:In 1911, the Government of India set up the Indian Research Fund Association (IRFA) with the specific objective of sponsoring and coordinating medical research in the country.
    • It was redesignated the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in 1949.
  • The governing body of the council is presided over by the Union Health Minister. It is assisted in scientific and technical matters by a scientific advisory board comprising eminent experts in different biomedical disciplines.
  • The ICMR is funded by the Government of India through the Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • In 2007 the organization established the Clinical Trials Registry – India, which is India’s national registry for clinical trials.

National Rabies Control Programme (NRCP)

In News

  • The Union Government has launched the National Rabies Control Programme (NRCP) for the prevention and control of Rabies. 


  • The Strategies of the National Rabies Control Program are as follows:
    • provision of rabies vaccine & rabies immunoglobulin through national free drug initiatives
    • training on appropriate animal bite management, prevention and control of rabies, surveillance and intersectoral coordination
    • strengthening surveillance of animal bites and rabies deaths reporting
    • creating awareness about rabies prevention
  • The Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) has also requested the concerned authorities to take appropriate action and to effectively implement the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2023 to control the dog population.

National Rabies Control Programme (NRCP)

  • It is a zoonotic viral disease. Rabies is 100% fatal but 100% vaccine preventable.  33% of global rabies deaths are recorded in India.
  • It is caused by the Rabies virus, of the Lyssavirus genus, within the family Rhabdoviridae.
    • It is an Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) virus that is present in the saliva of a rabid animal (dog, cat, monkey, etc).
  • Common Vectors/ Reservoirs of Virus:
    • The most common reservoir of the virus is the domestic/street dog especially in South Asia and Africa.
    • More than 99% of human deaths due to rabies are caused by dog-mediated rabies.
    • In developed nations like the USA, animals that transmit rabies are bats, foxes, raccoons, and skunks.
    • Most mammals can carry the virus and hence can cause the disease.
  • It spreads by bite of a rabid animal that leads to deposition of the saliva and the virus in the wound.
    • The incubation period varies from 4 days to 2 years or sometimes even more.
    • Incubation period means the time interval between the bite and occurrence of symptoms/signs of the disease.
  • Symptoms:
    • Fever, Headache, Nausea, Vomiting
    • Anxiety, Confusion, Hyperactivity, Hallucinations, Insomnia
    • Difficulty swallowing
    • Excessive salivation
    • Partial paralysis
    • Fear brought on by attempts to drink fluids because of difficulty swallowing water, etc.
  • The death invariably occurs in 4 days to 2 weeks due to cardio-respiratory failure.
World Rabies DayIt is celebrated on 28 September which marks the anniversary of Louis Pasteur’s death.Louis Pasteur was a French chemist and microbiologist, who developed the first rabies vaccine.He also discovered Pasteurisation, Vaccines for Anthrax and Cholera and Chamberland filters.

About National Action Plan for dog Mediated Rabies Elimination by 2030 (NAPRE)

  • Under this, the union will encourage all the States and UTs to make Rabies a notifiable Disease.
    • notifiable disease is any disease that is required by law to be reported to government authorities. 
  • “Joint Inter-Ministerial Declaration Support Statement” for Elimination of Dog mediated Rabies from India by 2030 was also launched. It emphasized on the need of One Health Approach for achieving the 2030 targets.

Maharashtra & Climate Change

In News

  • Recently released  Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) ‘s Synthesis report paints a dull picture for Maharashtra.


  • The Synthesis Report integrates the main findings of the Sixth Assessment Report based on contributions from the three Working Groups, and the three Special Reports.
  • The report highlights that Maharashtra will be one of the worst affected states due to global warming.
  • The  report has warned that the state of Maharashtra could face the following problems
    • Being  located on the Arabian Sea coast,the state  is likely to face the twin challenges of high temperatures as well as water scarcity and large-scale flooding due to rapid climate change.The report also warns of an increase in the frequency of flooding.
    • Higher temperatures could lead to heat waves, which could pose a significant health risk to the state.
    •  Being a major agricultural state, changes in temperature and rainfall patterns can have a significant impact on crop yields and food security.

Specific Recommendations of the report:

  • The report suggests the following measures for mitigation
    • It calls the state to build resilience in the economy, infrastructure and social systems to cope with the effects of climate change.
    • It also  suggests  to act on achieving renewable energy targets, improving public transport, electrifying the transport system, and strengthening the energy sector through emissions reductions
    • It says that Maharashtra should Stop the conversion of natural ecosystems (terrestrial, coastal and marine) and enhance restoration and encourage reforestation.
IPCCThe IPCC is the UN body for assessing the science related to climate change.It was set up in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization and United Nations Environment Programme to provide policymakers with regular assessments of the scientific basis of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and options for adaptation and mitigation.

Moray Eel

In News

  • Researchers have discovered a new species of Moray Eel off the Cuddalore coast.


  • Moray eels, or Muraenidae are a family of eels found worldwide
  • They have small Eyes and they rely mostly on their highly developed sense of smell, lying in wait to ambush prey.Their body is generally patterned.
  • Moray Eels occur in all tropical and subtropical seas, they live in shallow water among reefs and rocks.
  • Moray eels can be found in both freshwater habitats and saltwater habitats.
  • They are known for two types of jaws: one is regular (oral) jaws with big teeth and the second jaw is called the pharyngeal jaw (which drags prey inside the eels stomach).
  • This newly discovered species has been named after Tamil Nadu as Gymnothorax tamilnaduensis with common name as Tamil Nadu brown moray.

Source: IE

India’s first cable-stayed rail bridge

In News

  • Anji Khad bridge in Jammu’s Reasi district is a major step in the Indian Railways’ ambitious plan to seamlessly connect Kashmir to Jammu, and the rest of India.

About the Project

  • Anji Bridge, the first cable-stayed railway bridge in the country and  is part of the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link (USBRL) project.
    • Anji River is a tributary of Chenab River between Katra and Reasi district of Jammu.
  • The Anji bridge forms an important link in Indian Railways’ aim to connect J&K to the rest of India with all-weather rail connectivity. 
  • A large number of sensors have been placed on the Anji bridge so that the structural health can be monitored regularly. 
  • It has been designed to handle heavy storms and wind speed of up to 213 kilometres per hour. 

Significance of the Project

  • The project is expected to bring about socio-economic development of the State of Jammu and Kashmir through enhanced connectivity within the region and with the rest of the country. 
  • The project was envisaged to provide an efficient all weather transportation channel that could function in adverse weather conditions and reduce the travel time to various destinations in and outside the valley considerably. 

Udhampur – Srinagar – Baramulla Railway Link

  • It is a National project undertaken by the Indian Railways for construction of a 272 km long broad-gauge railway line through the Himalayas, with the aim of connecting the Kashmir region with the rest of the country.
  • The project comprises three ‘legs’– a 25 km length going northwest from Udhampur to Katra in Reasi district, the site of the renowned Vaishno Devi temple, a 111 km track rising northeast from Katra to Banihal in Ramban district, and finally, a 136 km stretch from Banihal to Baramulla, going north and then northwest, with Anantnag and Srinagar along the way.

Marburg virus disease

In News

  • Five people have died and three others are infected with the Marburg virus – in Tanzania.

What is Marburg Virus Disease?

  • It  is a highly virulent disease that causes hemorrhagic fever, with a fatality ratio of up to 88%. It is in the same family as the virus that causes Ebola virus disease. 


  • Human infection results from prolonged exposure to mines or caves inhabited by Rousettus bat colonies. 
  • It can spread through human-to-human transmission via direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people, and with surfaces and materials (e.g. bedding, clothing) contaminated with these fluids. 


  • High fever, severe headache and severe malaise. Muscle aches and pains are a common feature. 
  • Severe watery diarrhoea, abdominal pain and cramping, nausea and vomiting can begin on the third day.
  • The appearance of patients at this phase has been described as showing “ghost-like” drawn features, deep-set eyes, expressionless faces and extreme lethargy. 
  • A non-itchy rash has been noted between 2 and 7 days after the onset of symptoms. 

Severity of the Disease:

  • Many patients develop severe hemorrhagic manifestations within 7 days, and fatal cases usually have bleeding, often from multiple areas. 
  • Involvement of the central nervous system can result in confusion, irritability and aggression. Orchitis (inflammation of the testicles) has been reported occasionally in the late phase (15 days). 
  • In fatal cases, death usually occurs between 8 and 9 days after onset, usually preceded by severe blood loss and shock. 


  • Preventive measures against Marburg virus infection are not well defined, as transmission from wildlife to people remains an area of ongoing research. However, avoiding fruit bats (Rousettus aegyptiacus), and sick non-human primates is one way to protect against infection.
  • To prevent person to person transmission wearing protective gowns, gloves, and masks; placing the infected individual in strict isolation; and sterilization or proper disposal of needles, equipment, and patient excretions should be practiced.


  • Supportive care – rehydration with oral or intravenous fluids – and treatment of specific symptoms improves survival. 
  • There is no proven treatment available for Marburg virus disease. However, a range of potential treatments including blood products, immune therapies and drug therapies are currently being evaluated.


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